Interview with Szoke 0fh Atomik


Hi to all readers! My name is Szoke, which means 'blondy' in English. I'm 20 years old, studying technical informatics at the Technial University of Budapest (TUB). I first met a computer when I was 6. It was a C64. I first learned BASIC, and when that was not enough for me, I learned Assembly. I joined a cracker group, called DigiLevel 9, using the nickname SpriteKiller. We cracked a few games and wrote intros. Later on I bought an Amiga 500. Half a year later, the Amiga Assembly was no secret for me any more. In '92 I got a 386 SX, later I changed to a 486 DLC, then (a month ago) came a Pentium MMX. I learned Pascal, C, C++, Java, Modula 2, CGI and TCP/IP, and, first of all: Assembly. A year ago I joined a demo group called AtomiK. We have made some 4k-intros, multichannel music, and some smaller drops. I was born in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. I grew up in a large flat. While in high school I learned Maths and Physics, now I work with Internet Based Communication, CASE, Ray Tracing and size coding.

What would you answer if someone asked you to characterize yourself in short words?

Let's see my character! To start with a funny picture of me, in an RPG, I would be a mage. I'm a bit lazy, but I like when lots of things are happening around me. I like parties, all kinds of them, from a computer party to a bubble one in a swimming pool. Oh, it follows from this that I like going out, too. I used to be a bit shy, but nowadays I'm called 'Mad Blondy', you may figure it out, why. :) I like being under pressure (of school, of work, etc). I love having lots of friends, writing, reading, speaking.

Can you tell us more about your group AtomiK (history, members, biggest successes)?

A new group was formed in 1995 by Otix and VaVa in order to make great changes in the Hungarian software industry, but the Hungarian software industry didn't want to be changed. The group was called "4'O CLOCK" (Bandits at 4'o clock! :). They just made very poor proggies because of using Pascal.

While the group still had the same members, it was renamed in 1996. The new name created by VaVa was "INNOVATORS". They tried to do something like development, so they started lots of projects. The first one was a shoot 'em up game with a "C&C-like view" and a rambo-like hero to eleminate enemies with, but they killed the project after writing a sprite editor. They tried to develop a 3D-editor-like thing too, but without any Asm and PMode knowledge they didn't find 640K enough for everything.

In July 1996 a one-week-long final of a competition was held in Csilleb‚rc, where Europe's biggest pioneer camp had been before. The founders of AtomiK (qvas, SCP, VaVa) met here for the first time. SCP had met VaVa before, but they didn't know each other very well. Qvas was the classmate of SCP, and they're classmates nowadays too. During that week they tried Internet, and the scene was introduced to them by SiD. Qvas became 2nd in that competition with a lame game (1912), which he is denying nowadays. They took leave of each other without any concrete plans at the end of that week.

On one of the cold days of February 1997 4 dark figures gathered at VaVa's kitchen. Besides him Otix, qvas and SCP were sitting around the table. AtomiK SW was founded. The founders were: Otix, qvas, SCP, VaVa, WooDoo People (he didn't take part in the meeting). They were so happy that they played some Doom (about 4 hours) and Otix kicked them really badly. They made a plan to develop something real good together, but for long month every member was working on his own small project alone.

During the spring the first real group-meeting was organised in the geology department of Veres P ln‚ Secondary School. I don't know exactly why VaVa brought them there, but thanks to him anyway. All AtomiK members except WooDoo People (all the 4 dudes!) and Stonee (Archee / CNT now), who they wanted to join the team, gathered there. They changed their minds when he called all of their ideas fucking simple and said he would write it. This mentality didn't meet AtomiK's brotherly atmosphere, so they turned him down. They were probably not so good in coding but the brotherly atmosphere remained and they thought that was much more important.

AtomiK started its scenework in spring 1997. After making the "Let's go party!" wishes they faced the fact that fulfilling wishes was not an easy thing to do. During the RAGE and ANTIQ pardeys nearly all AtomiK memberz were getting a suntan near Lake Balaton / abroad / other places, so the group was not able to take part in these events. Because of this, they were looking forward to Cache autumn, but after reserving some tables, the the party was canceled. Suxx.

In the second part of the year the lineup of AtomiK was changed seriously. At first a professional classical musican, SN, joined, who is the sister of SCP and learning at the Hungarian Music Academy. Scrag, who likes gabber and sometimes draws cool pics, was the next newcomer. The third one was a coder, Athelstane. Their "debugger", WooDoo People, who was just debugging his own BASIC proggies, was fired. Otix, who had been playing with Quake since the first playable demo was published, left AtomiK too.

In December 1997 my group finally succeeded in going to a party called Jumper '97. Of course there were lots of problems. At first, they could not find a free place on the bus, so they had to wait half an hour in front of the station. There were problems with the computer, too: qvas's 486 DX4-100 could not find VaVa's WD Caviar HDD. After 2 hours of mending and praying it was working properly as a slave, so they were ready for the boot ceremony using a boot disk with GUS and CD drivers on it. Thanks to it, it took ca. 2 minutes for the system to stand up! But once they had a running computer, AtomiK could make their entries: a 5K-intro by SCP and a classical music by SN. After some nights without any sleep qvas was introducing the 3D-Studio to Hippee by making a lame picture which became an entry afterwards! During the compos my group had to face lots of suprises. At first, there was a loud applause after SN's music, then they realised that qvas's picture had passed the pre-jury, and finally they had to watch how the organizers interrupted the running of SCP's intro. Finally SCP and qvas became last, and SN's music was placed 5th.

Despite these defeats AtomiK didn't give up and went to the Flag'98 party. They took higher quality stuff: the computer was an optimised iP166 and the entries were much better than the previous ones. They made music, a 4K intro and a wild GFX. Qvas and Scrag formed a phun compo team called Matuska Szilveszter Memorial Express in association with Fiksz radio crew and reached a good place (qvas stole a Pentium paperbox in which the prizes [some sweets] were kept after finding nothing in that). Unfortunately Scrag's music was thrown out by the pre-jury, but Codeless, VaVa's 4K, became 3rd and The Happiest Barrack, the communist wild by qvas, became 4th. Probably that was the place where AtomiK became a not-wellknown-small-group from an unknown-small-group. Two dudes joined AtomiK during the party: Avion, a talented tracer, and me, Szoke, a professional coder.

Unfortunately SCEneST'98 was cancelled so we had to organize our own party to satisfy our partyneeds. AtomiK #1 (da SCEneST substitution pardey) took place at the weekend SCEneST was planned to be held in Athel's house. We had great time watching demos, coding and doing idiotic things. Athel and qvas organized a fun compo which was quite good. We are planning to make a wild demo from the video made at the party.

Thanks to my contacts, our email adress is ATOMIK@IDG.HU since spring 1998. This is a kind of mailing list where the subscribers are the memberz of AtomiK.

Unfortunately just qvas was at the great Hungarian party RAGE & sceNEst'98. The other AtomiK members were not able to go because of reasons just like last year. We had no releases.

At AntiQ we won the web page contest. Since that, nothing happened.

SCP works at SZTAKI, he has a project called Acis, which is a 3D programming library. Qvas works on a driving licence teacher program. VaVa works on a many projects. :))

What do you exactly learn in your technical informatics study at Budapest?

We learn about the following subjects:

- Computer Aided System Engineering

- Computer Architecture (Multiprocessing systems, timing, SXL, transputer and OCCAM, kinds of architectures)

- Computer Culture (The past and the future, Viruses, Hackers and Crackers)

- Digital Design (Small and medium scale integrated units, Z80 microprocessor)

- Economics (Capitalism, market mechanism, supply and demand, domestic economy, international trade)

- Formal Languages (Lisp, Prolog)

- General German (Vocabulary, practice in speaking and writing skills)

- General Technical English (Technical vocabulary, practice in speaking and writing skills)

- Linear Algebra (Elementary numerical methods, vectors, matrices, graphs, groups and fields)

- Mathematical Analysis (Differential and integral calculus, multivariable and complex functions, differential equations)

- Physics (Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Electrodynamics and Quantum Theory)

- Programming (Algorithmization, coding in Pascal, C and C++ under DOS and Windows)

- Queeing

- Signals and Systems

- Software Engineering (Project, Demands, Planning, Jackson System Development, GUI, OOP, Verification and Validation)

Do you have any other hobbies except programming and the computer?

Yes, of course! My Girlfriend, Esther :)), Reading (fantasy, science fiction, computer related materials), Writing (computer related articles in monthly newspapers, fantasy and science fiction stories in newspapers, both English and Hungarian).

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are the following: Of course, I would like to work in the computer branch, but i still don't know, which part of it. Maybe something with Assembly or OS programming, in which I'm very interested. The other thing is Ray Tracing. I'm really involved by it, but you can't live from it. :(

Can you tell us more about your hobby, writing Sci-Fi and Fantasy stories? Why did you start writing stories? How long have you been doing it? In what newspapers have you published your stories? Did you have any problems writing stories in English at the beginning?

I was in England for a few months, and I had (because of a misunderstanding) more spare time than I had expected. I asked one of the leaders of the camp which I was attending whether they had a newspaper or something like this. They answered, of course, we have a few of them. Then came the question, which 'spoiled' [:)] a few of my long afternoons: "May I write some articles?" ... So did it begin nearly 5 (or 6 (?)) years ago. My very first short story was called Vittori, it took me about 5 (!) hours to make it, five very long hours ... It was really easy to write, I didn't have any problems with it, maybe only the pen ran out a few times. :))

What do you think about today's demos, the use of MP3 music files in demos, and the missing of a 4k intro compo at The Party 1998?

Whether to use MP3 in a demo? It is a hard question. I think using tracked music is in the demo feeling, we shouldn't miss it, but it doesn't allow the singing ... But the best musics were some Amiga MODs, and the musics by the old ones, FC, Noon, mandula. But 4ks mustn't extinct! I think they are one of the greatest things ever invented ... of course beside 256b compos. :)) They give the meaning of the existing of a large group of people (to which I belong, too). And they are the vestibule of many effects used in demos later...

Have you ever tried doing other 'scene' activities besides coding, such as creating GFX or music?

Beside coding and organising I tried Ray Tracing, but I was much better at writing ray tracers than using them well... And once I tried IT, but I always had so bad hearing, that it wasn't even worth trying...

Can you tell us something about your girlfriend? :)

Her original name is Eszter, but nowadays she is called Essie, or better: Nessie. She was born in 1980 in Budapest, Hungary. Now she is learning French and English at Grammar School. Later she would like to study sociology and psychology. She likes music, reading, paintings, travelling, her cat, and me. :) That should be enough about her. :) Ohh, and we are over one and a half year!

What is your favourite saying?

It's: "Life is a Carnival, take another Look!" - The Band

Do you have an advice for our readers?

Yes! Don't sit in front of your computer all day! Go out, make friends, make parties, live your life as long as you can!

That's all folks! Thanks for listening!

Szoke 0fh AtomiK

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