Interview with Paul "Midnight" Nettle / Terminal Reality


1. Can you tell us about you and your group?

I'm not really in a group any more, I'm a game developer. 120 hours a week doesn't leave much time for demos. :/ I started programming at 14, was too busy playing with the computer to give a damn about school, and ended up (barely) graduating. At the age of 19, I got hired by a game company for my first professional programming job. From there, I went on to work at an image processing firm, then on to Chrysler, then to Ford, then to Vysion, where I became manager of the software engineering department (age 21), then to the MIS department for a major book-store chain, and finally, where I am now, developing games for TRI as project lead. And I've been working on KAGE and tools for about 1.5 years now.

2. What do you think about the progress nowadays in the demoscene?

I think it sux with one exception. Winmoes. It's about damned time. Ragging on Windows has been a fad for too long. And most people rag on it for no reason other than "it's cool to rag on Windoze." In reality, Windows is where it's at, even though it's a Microsoft product.

3. Do you think 3D is making a better scene or boring one?

Neither. I think 3D is only a part of the scene. A good demo should be creative. If a good demo can be creative and show me something new totally in 3D, then cool. If it can show me something new totally in 2D, then cool. If it's a mix, that's cool, as long as it shows me something new. And I mean totally new, not a rehash of a 3-year old effect.

4. What do you think about making demos under windows?

Like I said before, it's about damned time. Only the people that don't have a clue think that Windows slows down demos. In reality, on the worst-case system, it slows them down by a single frame per second, but if the machine has any kind of descent 2D card in it at all, then the DirectX will result in a faster frame-rate than DOS. And really, programming a non-windowed app in Windows is hardly different than DOS.

5. What platform you think supports the demoscene better? Do you think DOS will survive?

I think DOS SHOULD survive. Just like I think that the C-64 and Amigas SHOULD survive. But I also think that Windows demos should be in the forefront. I'm sick of not watching demos because they won't run on my box, require all kinds of special configurations, etc. And all because of bad programming practices. Demos are about showing off your programming prowess. So why can't a good demo coder write a demo that runs under Windows?

6. What you think about hardware "support" on demos?

I'm undecided. Hardware sure does make for some pretty demos. But at the same time, the programming side of demos is about pushing the limits of the machine. And if you've got a 3D card that can blast out 2-billion, trilinear mip-mapped, alpha-blended, dual textured, gouraud lit triangles per second, where's the challenge? I think software should still be required. Maybe both should be requierd.

7. Which is/was your favourite party (if you attended one)?

I only attended ASM95 (as the representative for Epic Megagames) and I had a blast. I'd love to go to another one. Maybe after KAGE hits the streets, I'll take some time off and go to another.

8. What is your favourite demo?

I don't have one. I look for different things in demos, and no one demo has captured all of what I consider to be perfect. Some of my favorites include Headache (Statix), Stars (Nooon), Paper (Statix), and of course, Second Reality (FC) for it's un-matched seamless design.

9. Would you want to contribute to the demoscene with anything?

Of course I want to. I even considered putting a demo together for ASM98. However, wanting to and having time to are totally different beasts. KAGE got the best of me. This time. :)

10. What do you think about diskmags?

[You're not gunna like this one] ... I've only read a few a long time ago, and haven't read one since. =)

11. Are diskmags still necessary?

That depends if you read them or not.

12. What do you think about other media like irc, newsgroups, online-mags?

I think they're the best way to share information and ideas. IRC and Newsgroups can be distressing at times, but they can also (occasionally) share some good infos.

13. What groups do you consider "well-known" and in some way contributed to the scene?

I think FC started off by rasing the standards. Then other early 90's groups like EMF & Complex helped keep things happening, and Statix has always been there to put out something totally original every time.

14. When do you think to release a new demo from your group? (we would like to know :)

Maybe for ASM99... if things go well with KAGE, I might even be there to present it. =)

15. One last question, what are your favourite music bands? ;)

Enigma, Cranberries, Art of Noise, Moodswings.