Interview with
Hopper of SquoQuo

By Adok/Hugi

Please introduce yourself to your readers.

Hi, my name is Hopper/SquoQuo. I'm doing the code, 3d, most gfx, part of the design and sometimes even the sound for all projects of our group SquoQuo.

How long have you been into the scene? What's your scene history?

Well, it all started in school, when Bugger, me and a friend of ours met from time to time to play games on good old Amiga 500. It was then when we saw our first cracktros. Some day we've got a disk with some demos on it. Curious what this might be we threw it in, and there it was, the Red Sector Megademo. That was a blast!

Later on Bugger got some demos for his PC, stuff like Second Reality and the Space Pigs Megademo. This was the moment we decided to start doing demos ourselves.

So, in early 1992 we finished our first demo, SquoQuo Megademo on the Archimedes 3000. Some years later I got my first PC (I started information technology at the university, you couldn't get around a PC then ;). Shortly after that we visited our first real demoparty, Mekka&Symposium 1998.

When and how did you start learning to code?

My very first computer (if you can call it so) was the "Kosmos Experimentiercomputer". It was a dull thing with about 1kb ram, a 6 digit-hex display (if I remember correctly), but it was great fun. And you could plug it to other Kosmos stuff like a bag-pipe simulation circuit.

My first real computer was an Atari 130XE (the 128kb version of the 800XL many may know). I started learning Basic, doing simple games and some day I thought "it must be possible to do better stuff with it". So I bought a MacroAssembler and started learning 6502 assembler.

Until university I learned all by trial&error and from articles in computer magazines. Then at university I learned how to program as it's meant to... Stuff like structured programming, wow ;)

As Modula-2 is not especially cool for demos I got used to x86 assembler than, did our first PC releases and later learned C++.

Please introduce your group SquoQuo. When was it founded? What's its release-history? What members does it have today?

SquoQuo has existed (as earlier mentioned) since 1992, at least that's the date of our first SquoQuo release. Since then we've done several demos for the Archimedes and a bunch of stuff for the PC, nearly everything from 4kb to fully-blown demos. We even did a wild entry in 1998.

SquoQuo's core is Bugger and myself. We're always brainstorming demo ideas, getting weird ideas while sitting in the pub and drinking a beer. He's my right hand when it gets to designing the whole thing. I'm always coming up with some "first shot" scenes and he's always mugging about stuff he doesn't like about it and things that he's missing and stuff. In the design phase it's really teamwork.

Then there's Yoda, my girlfriend who comes up from time to time with some ideas. I always ask her what she likes and what she doesn't like, she's the design beta-tester ;)

For a while we're proud to have Genetic Gemini in our group for doing the music. He's doing great work, especially since music always has been the part I had the most difficulties with.

Last but not least, since Breakpoint 2004 we welcome Scythoior as a freelance member, who does music for us whenever we're in urgent need of it (like for our Buenzli 2004 demo).

Sadly we're still lacking a good 3d artist, the part of our demos most people complain about ;)

What are your current scene-related projects?

Currently we're working very hardly on our Buenzli demo. I switched our engine from OpenGL to DirectX right after Breakpoint, originally we wanted to do something completely different for Buenzli, but as time ran away we realized that we couldn't finish it. So we delayed this project until 0a000h 2005 (hopefully) and started to do a quick-hack demo for Buenzli. As the DirectX engine is a bit unstable right now and still lacks a lot of features the OpenGL engine had, we're still using the OpenGL for Buenzli. Apart from that (as I already said) there's a project for 0a000h, major stuff which needs a lot of work. Hopefully we can finish it this time.

And then we're also doing a game project for next Breakpoint. This will also involve a lot of work, especially for implementing the physics engine. No more details, sorry ;)

But in general there's always an "idea pool" where we scribble down all ideas we've got, some of them make it into real projects like a demo.

What is your opinion about the demo scene?

Scene rocks! We've met some great friends at scene-parties. If you meant release-wise: I feel the scene is coming to a "second spring". After all are a bit exhausted from 08/15-flyby-demos there's a lot of stuff coming out with fresh ideas in the past. The scene is now moving away from code-demos more over to art-demos as nearly everything has been coded. I guess it's a bit similar to the release history at computer art events like Prix Ars Electronica. They've also moved on from "show off" videoclips to art stuff, sometimes very experimental but always refreshing.

What are your favourite demos, intros, coders, artists, musicians?

Oh, that's not fair as my memory is not the best ;) Allright, some things I still can remember:

Demos: Protozoa rocks for its strange DOF-microscope like visuals. 00101010 by FAN is one of my absolute favorites, the music rocks and the visualy fit perfectly. As I guess nobody wants to read a 20kb list of my favorites that should be enough for now ;)

Intros: Hm, Poem to a horse was the last FR-intro I really enjoyed. As for 4k I really like Mojo Dreams, my jaw was hitting the floor with a bang when those mountains started to move on the big screen ;)

Coders: There are a lot of guys that do great stuff, most major groups have huge code. A trend I absolutely dislike though is this *-only demo stuff (hello Kolor!) Kolor has a great engine for sure, but I doubt there's anything in it that wouldn't be possible on an ATi card...

Artists: Nobody particular here I can remember, sorry

Musicians: Aren't they artists too? ;) OK, although Genetic Gemini will beat me for this, my favorite musican is Little Bitchard, he's doing great stuff. I also like KB's singing tracks a lot. Again, too many to mention them all

What is your favorite SquoQuo demo?

Although it was a quick-hack production (as most of our demos were) I like "Code Red" alot. From all our demos it's the one with the most consistent look&feel to it. Last but not least Genetic Gemini's music just fits perfectly.

What was your biggest success in the scene?

We never won at a big party, but doing 3rd place in MS98's 4k competition was really a blast. Apart from that it's always very nice to win at 0a000h. You don't get big prices for it but the people there are just great. We'll try to stick to that tradition and win next year again ;)

What are you doing in real life?

I'm working in a research department of DaimlerChrysler, this department is for example designing software processes for the development of software in the car. Mainly it's designing PowerPoint presentations though ;)

If there were one thing you could improve in the world, what would it be?

Oh boy, that's a very political question... For the moment I would be happy, if G.W.Bush weren't be elected again ;)

A final message for our readers?

Reality is where the pizza man comes from...

Hopper/SquoQuo & Adok/Hugi