Filipe was a lonely boy from a European country far from the center of the continent, Portugal. Although he was highly talented, he did not lead a happy life. Being one year younger than his classmates as a result of early immatriculation, he was always behind their social development. As a result, he could not find any real friends, let alone a girlfriend - the girls did not understand his way of thinking. Neither did his parents care as much for him as he wanted them to do. Not even they realized how gifted he really was.
In his social isolation, Filipe started seeking a hobby he could do alone. In this way he soon discovered the computer - quite a rare piece of technology in Portugal at that time. Fascinated by role-playing games, Filipe purchased a Sega Mega Drive and bought the latest state-of-the-art-RPG Phantasy Star for it. In this role-playing-game, he could really develop his own character, communicate with the people as he wanted, defeat his enemies and be praised by the rest. Later he got a PC, where he could play even more complex games.
Years passed. When Filipe graduated from school and started studying civil engineering at the university of Porto, he still played computer games. His parents had lost all hope that he would do anything else in his life. However, that was a wrong assumption. At university, Filipe discovered the Internet. And with the Internet, he discovered the demoscene.
Filipe was fascinated. The colours, the effects, the texts - simply awesome! And he decided that he had to create something like that himself.
When his parents still thought that he was wasting his time by playing computer games, he was already writing articles for diskmags and making his first steps in coding. He knew that he had to join the scene. It was his hope. His hope to socialize with people. At least in a virtual way.
And when Filipe had already decided that he, being so different from all other human beings he knew, had to be an alien, he visited his first scene party. He made friends with many nerds from all over the world, from Israel to Belgium. Also, he released his first demo. It did not even get last place, as he had thought it might. Quite a success for the beginning!
During the long journey back home, Filipe decided that after all, life was worth living.
Filipe became obsessed with the scene. He flunked exams and exams. His whole spare time he spent learning to code. And writing down his immediate thoughts in order to sent them to various diskmags.
Soon he decided that this was not enough. The diskmags were seldomly released, and as each mag featured only a few articles by him, Filipe's scene-handle was hardly recognized. The demos got low ranks, and so hardly anyone bothered to download them. Filipe, however, wanted to make contacts with the scene. He wanted to finally find some friends. Friends who shared the same interests and were interesting in exchanging their thoughts with him.
It had to be something big to get recognized, Filipe realized. Or something regular. Something showing either his talents or his activity.
Filipe chose the activity.
In September, a few months after Filipe had discovered the demoscene, he released a textfile entitled "DemoJournal". This journal was to become a weekly newsletter about the scene, distributed via e-mail and ftp to the whole demo community worldwide.
The first demosceners who saw DemoJournal laughed at it. A puny 10 kbyte textfile with childish rumours about more or less known sceners - that is supposed to be the future of the scene? The sequel of the legendary DemoNews newsletter? Oh God, some sceners sighed. But Filipe, a determined atheist, did not give up. With the support of a few friendly fellow sceners, he managed to release a second issue within a week. Then the third, fourth, fifth issues followed.
Nobody had believed it, but indeed Filipe managed to keep the weekly release-manner. Heavily impressed by the readers' feedback, he tried to make the magazine more serious, wipe out the pseudo-funny rumours, and add more information. And he succeeded. The scene accepted DemoJournal. The number of subscribers rose. Soon 100 people regularly got the newsletter via e-mail. From that point in time, it did not take long till the number of subscribers doubled.
Still some elite sceners were sceptical. "DemoJournal is just a pile of shit", a leading democoder once commented. "136 kbyte of texts in a week - but what kind of texts? It's absolutely no problem to release a weekly magazine consisting of a hardly ever changing list of sceners, some constant adverts and only a few news here and there", another one said.
Poor Filipe! After all, DemoJournal was not his only activity. He still wrote at least three articles for every issue of every active international diskmag and occasionally made funny intros and demos for parties. Yet, DemoJournal was the only thing he ever got feedback on. It was disappointing to see that the improvements he had made to the journal had not had any influence on the opinions of some sceners. And even the positive feedback he got did not satisfy him. Everybody regarded him as Mr. DemoJournal, the man who could put their advertisements and news in his magazine. But he wanted to be regarded as a person, as Filipe. He wanted the people to take him seriously, to care about his character and his opinions. He wanted to make friends with people who wanted to become friends of his, not friends of a service.
Filipe entered a long period of depression. He still released DemoJournal, did his duties for the magazines and studied for university. But it was no fun for him. Sometimes he even considered leaving the scene. Perhaps after DemoJournal 52, when the first issue of the newsletter is one year old, he thought.
But then, a week before the release of the anniversary issue, he came to the conclusion that this would be no solution. Leaving the scene would just mean isolating oneself even more. In the scene, he had his best friends after all. The scene gave his life a sense. It showed that Filipe's former motto "life sux and then you die" is not quite true, that there is always something to reach in your life, even if it is only temporary satisfication of your desires.
Filipe thought about his talents. His talents, yes - he had not shown much of them to the scene yet, actually. There was much more power inside him than what he had showed so far. By combined diligence and gifts, he would manage to finally get accepted, Filipe thought.
He was determined that he had to spend more time on developing his democoding skills. Good demos would impress the masses more than good newsletters. In order to have time to train coding, however, he knew he had to get rid of the burden of DemoJournal, which cost most of his sparetime. On the other hand, he could not simply close down DemoJournal. No, he had other plans.
Two weeks passed. Two weeks in which nobody saw Filipe. His parents had gone on vacation, so there was nobody to control him. Filipe enclosed himself in the basement where his computer stood. These two weeks he spent almost entirely with programming, only interrupted by eating, drinking and occasionally logging in the Internet in order to get the latest news and make interviews to create the new DemoJournal issues.
The result of this self-imposed two-week coding camp made all this research work obsolete. It was a highly sophisticated program that could create new DemoJournal issues itself. It installed itself on IRC as a bot, and acting intelligently it could collect news and make interviews just like Filipe himself. Also, it evaluated all e-mails Filipe got, automatically putting the relevant information for DemoJournal together, and answered them. In the end, Filipe only needed to press a button, and a new DemoJournal issue was assembled, ready to upload.
The scene was surprised when they got the next DemoJournal. The quality was much higher than ever before. Good English, no spelling mistakes, fine layout. What has happened to Filipe, many wondered. How did he manage to improve that fast?
Filipe was happy with this result. Now after some weeks even the hard-to-impress elite sceners started liking DemoJournal. But that was not enough for him. He knew he had to rule the scene journalism business in order to get the attention he wanted.
So Filipe resumed coding the DemoJournal creator. After another two-week coding camp the fruits of his efforts saw the rays of sun. The program was much more sophisticated than before. Not only did it interview people to obtain information. No. It was actually a well-programmed trojan based on the principle of Back Orifice or NetBus.
DemoJournal was now distributed as an .exe file. When started, it displayed a beautiful diskmag interface, accompanied by shockingly good music. But that was not all. If your computer was connected to the Internet, which was the case time because of the inexpensive phone costs all over the world at that time, it established a connection with the powerful DemoJournal creator residing at Filipe's computer. The intelligent program then searched for information that could be interesting for DemoJournal. It worked very fast due to the powerful processors that were common then and Filipe's fantastic optimizing skills. If needed, it also copied keys, passwords and everything that could be used to decipher encrypted information.
Nobody noticed this trojan in DemoJournal. It was very well hidden. In fact the code of the trojan functions was not even in the .exe file that was distributed along with DemoJournal. It was on a web-server DemoJournal established connection with any time it was started.
Had the scene still been as careful as they used to be in the old C64 cracker days, sooner or later they would have noticed what was going on. But in the days of complex systems such as Windows nobody made an effort to debug and check everything before he started it. Everybody just relied on the commercial anti-virus programs, which of course failed to detect the trojan. After all, it was unknown outside the PC demo community, which was pretty small in relation to the total number of computer users.
Filipe's program had incredible analyzing functions, which could even create personal profiles of sceners according to the information it had obtained. So not only the news but also the interviews for each DemoJournal issue could be made automatically without Filipe having to do anything.
He got so much material that he realized DemoJournal would get too big if he still released it every week. So he decided to release it daily.
DemoJournal. The leading magazine. Daily.
No scenzine could compete with it. Facing DemoJournal's dominance, the editors of the other diskmags soon decided to stop their work. However, the reason was not frustration. On the contrary, they found DemoJournal so perfect that they saw no use in trying to make something better. It seemed impossible. At least if the magazine was to be scene-related.
A scener of today would think that the other editors now started supporting DemoJournal. That's not quite right. In fact they did support it, but not by deliberately writing articles and sending them to Filipe. The e-mails they wrote and everything else the DemoJournal creator program had recorded showed their opinions, writing styles and attitudes. There was no need to do anything more themselves. The DemoJournal creator wrote their articles for them.
A few e-mails by Adok, a few statements he made on IRC, a few opinions from older Hugi articles - material enough for the DemoJournal creator to write another Adok article within a few seconds.
The usual scener of today will not believe it, but the scene was not upset by this at all. Adok of course knew that he had not written this article, just like Unreal could not remember having made that interview. But nobody minded as the articles and the interviews were just as if they had made them themselves. The same thoughts were expressed, the same writing style was used, the same effect they had on the readers. Only at the beginning the people were puzzled and wondered where Filipe had obtained all those pieces of information. But with time they accepted that he was a genius and stopped caring.
When Filipe now appeared on IRC, he was treated with huge respect. Some people acted as if he were a magician. "You were right, you really must be an alien", one editor even said. Filipe began to feel happy. Everybody admired him. His opinion was always asked for, and nobody doubted that it was right. He, the atheist, had become something like a Scene God.
There was just one thing that did not quite fit in this image. It was the level of Filipe's demos. Although their level had vastly increased since Filipe had had more time to practise his coding skills, there were still better ones by other groups, and Filipe won only a few smaller parties with his productions. They were mainly voted for due to Filipe's fame in the scene.
Many sceners said that the main reason for this was the lack of design. Filipe's code was great, just like the graphics and the music, which Filipe's scene friends had made for him. But the final kick, the transitions, effect combinations and synchronization with the music, was missing.
Nevertheless there was actually no reason why he should care about this problem. After all, he had reached his most important aim, namely to get respected in the scene as a person. But now perfectionism seized Filipe's soul. To be the leader in all areas of the scene, that was his new aim.
Another of the infamous coding camp sessions was held. This time Filipe implemented a program that could create demos and intros itself. By analyzing other demos and comparing them with their popularity by evaluating various charts as well as the information the DemoJournal trojan stole from the sceners, its artificial intelligence found out what the people liked about the productions. In this way the level of the created demos and intros could steadily be raised.
Soon Filipe won every demo and every intro competition that was held. He became a rich man by the prize money. This money he mainly invested in his PC, but he also bought stocks in order to keep the income going.
Parties began to close down their compos because they had become obsolete. Everybody knew who would win. As a result many demogroups stopped creating demos and intros. Within a short time, the demoscene became a Filipe-fanclub. All sceners, the lamers as well as the elite, now did nothing else except leech the latest demo by Filipe - a new one was released every day.
Filipe had achieved his aims. He was not only respected in the scene, he was ruling the scene. From the prize money and the stock investments, he got enough money to make a living. And more, all the female sceners fell in love with him. There was a real contest among them about who would become Filipe's first girlfriend.
But every luck has an end to it.
One day a clever webmaster discovered that something was wrong in his network. He disconnected it from the Internet and started searching. After several hours of debugging, he finally found the code in DemoJournal that would connect to the trojan, which itself would connect to Filipe's PC. By tracing the connection, he found out where Filipe lived.
The next day the infamous men in blue visited Filipe. The suspicion was: excessive hacking and espionage. In front of the shocked, flabbergasted parents, Filipe's computer equipment was confiscated, and he was taken into detention while awaiting trial.
Somehow an influential secret service learned about this case. Of course they knew the potential power of Filipe's programs. With minor changes, you would not only be able to use them to create puny newsletters and demos, but you could get access to secret information of foreign powers and gain world power.
By bribing the court with several billions of dollars, they got access to the computer. Fortunately, Filipe had been aware that something like that could happen. So he had implemented a function that would destroy the computer, triggered by the user's typing rate and behaviour.
It worked out. Had the men from the secret service been intelligent enough just to take the harddisk and connect it to their own computer, they could have got the wanted programs and data. But in their greediness to get the key to the ultimate secrets, they just booted Filipe's PC. It did not take long until the harddisk was low-level formatted and the screen exploded. All the intelligent programs and all the data that had been stolen from the sceners was lost. For ever.
As a result, the court could not prove that Filipe was guilty of espionage. Hence, he was acquitted.
Free again, Filipe decided it was time to end his demoscene career. He had changed the scene a lot. Now it should manage to exist without him and build up its creativity again.
He, Filipe, had reached everything he wanted. Now he could enjoy life with the money he had earned and with the girls that were still in love with him. Also he had time to finish university successfully. But that was more like a hobby rather than something he needed for his pursuit of happiness.