Breakpoint 2007

(April 6, 2007)

It’s easter again, so it’s again time for world’s biggest demoscene-only party: Breakpoint. No need to mention that Kakiarts was again present at this awesome event.
As with the Evoke 2006 report, this one will be a »live« report. So I’m appending content to this entry during the party.

Friday

[22:38] Internet access didn’t work until a few minutes ago, so I’ll basically have to recap the whole day.

The organization of the journey was a bit chaotic this time, but in the end, we found a solution: I took two guys from Riesa and Chemnitz (ted and Sly42) with me, while the guys and gals from Annaberg (biff, faline, dq and the little brother of wua) came together in one car, as did gabi, jk and a friend from Leipzig. SubC and wua came alone in their own cars.

I left Glauchau at 7:20 and arrived in Bingen at 12:30, way before the projected arrival time. Deranged (west) came there just minutes before us. So we went into the main hall, which was surprisingly full, considering that the official opening was just half an hour ago. We reserved some seats before all visitors had to leave the main hall again in preparation to collect the entrance fees.

Meanwhile, wua and the Annaberg folks arrived. Because of the excellent weather – warm and sunny – we were not in a hurry to get back to the hall. So we stayed an hour at the parking lot, chatting a lot and killing some beers before we finally re-entered the hall, paid the 60 Euro fee and brought more stuff to our seats. Later, SubC and the Leipzig folks arrived, too, and so we were kinda complete.

The most important thing that had to be done this day was finishing our 4k intro, which meant that dq and tristan had to create a soundtrack and I had to complete the code. The music thing was a bit problematic, though, since our two musicians were not very happy with the, erm, user-friendliness of the »kklangzeug« editor. (kklangzeug is considered to be the best 4k synthesizer system these days.) But after a few hours of complaining, they got used to the tool and came up with some first promising sounds.

At the moment, the band BASS is playing some demoscene and non-demoscene (e.g. the Lordi cover »Breakpoint Halleluja«) classics with real instruments. And, what can I say, they’re great. They really get better each year!

Saturday

[13:07] I worked on the 4k intro until 3:30 a.m. and went to bed when a nearly-finished version was done. It still had sync issues on my machine, but on every other computer I tested it on, it worked, so I decided not to worry.

After five hours of sleep, dq woke me up. Too early, I thought, but I couldn’t fall asleep again, so I resumed work on the 4k. The early wakeup actually was a very, very good thing, because only so I managed to finish the intro in time – that is, 5 minutes after the deadline :)

Since the electronic entry submission system was already closed for the 4k compos, I had to go to the compo organizer (ryg in this case) to get the entry submitted. This wasn’t a problem, because the deadline was just minutes ago. I also learned that the 96k game compo deadline was already over, even though I firmly believed that there was still one hour left. I talked ryg into extending the deadline until what I believed to be the correct time, 11:00, so I could submit our game, too :)

Around noon, mist of our crew went to the city to buy booze and food for the BBQ that’s planned for this afternoon. They came back right in time to see the first funcompo: Typing (or rather, trying to type) a »Hello World« program using Windows Vista’s speech recognition software. All candidates failed spectacularly until someone finally had the clever idea to cut’n’paste the reference code that was opened in another WordPad window. This wasn’t an easy task, too, but after a few minutes, it worked.

[15:00] The newschool executable music compo just finished. The overall quality of the 13(!) entries was mediocre, with Zixaq’s entry (IMHO) clearly the best.

[22:27] The afternoon was filled by a true »compo marathon«, with six compos in a row. It should have been seven, but the C64 4K compo has been cancelled. But there have been large delays even without it ;)

Amiga 4K intro: Two very good intros, the first one lacking a bit in graphical excellence, the second one in sound.

PC 4K intro: The average quality of the entries was on par with today’s high standards, but the compo somehow lacked real »jaw-droppers«. Our entry was also received very well, so I think we’ll get something between 4th and 6th place.

Theme graphics and Freestyle Graphics: There’s not much to say about these. Both had many OK entries, the greatest one being (again) from Prince of the Obsessed Maniacs [tOM], who worked 11 weeks for an awesome high-detailed comic image.

Amiga 64K intro: Lots of well-done, but technically rather uninteresting AGA c2p stuff. I know I’m biased, but in my opinion, Moodsplateau’s Amiga 500 entry is the clear winner.

Animation/Video: The quality (and number) of entries was nowhere near last year’s level. In the end, I think that JCO’s great »Jakob Bienenhalm« video will win.

After the compo marathon, we went outside to celebrate the great kakiarts + deranged + P.O.O. Crew + Moodsplateu barbecue fest with up to 20 people, deliberately missing the scene.org awards (for my part, out of protest against the bad jury decisions ;). Right now, we’re back in the main hall and waiting for the Press Play On Tape live act.

[23:54] Press Play On Tape are now playing, and I have to admit that I prefer the BASS gig from last night, even though they have some special highlights, like the interpretation of the fr-08 soundtrack. While waiting for the C64 Demo compo and some well-deserved sleep, I started to upload my compo entries to my site and submitted the 4k release to pouët.

Sunday

With two hours delay, the C64 demo compo started. There were two good demos by Smash Designs and Oxyron, but these were completely overshadowed by the entry from Resource and Chorus. The title »Desert Dream« already suggested that the demo was going to be a hommage to the classic Kefrens Amiga demo of the same name. And indeed, the demo was a remake, and a quite perfect one at that. Every detail of the original has been preserved (w.r.t. to the C64’s limits, e.g. number of colors). Immediately after the compo, I checked against the original and found only negligible minor differences. Words can’t describe this, it must really be seen to be believed.

After the night and a chilly morning, the next compo marathon started ….

Tracked Music: Most of the titles were OK, but nothing special. Except for one: A happy hardcore remix of a norwegian(?) child’s song, which was really funny.

Executable music (oldschool): I missed this compo because I held a private lecture in OpenGL for the deranged-west guys and girls.

Photo: No surprises here. The overall quality of the entries was very good, as expected.

C64 Graphics: Again, a compo with decent, but not extraordinary quality.

Streaming Music: A mix of 8 uninteresting tracks, 2 drum’n’bass tracks (of which dq’s was clearly the best), Sonsbeek’s hip-hop-styled track, and JCO’s 80s-style love song.

96k Game: Apart from our 80k billiards game, there was a simple and boring platform game, a rather uninspired C64 puzzle game, and two beat’em’ups. Although with completely abstract graphics, both used physics engines for extra effect. While the first one was simple and 2D (but with a bucketload of options), the other one was with 3D figures composed of cubes. This was really fun to watch, because most of the time, the figures were tumbling awkwardly instead of actually fighting each other :)

PC 64k Intro: Yet another compo with nice, but not special entries. It was a bit alarming to see curl-like sprites in almost every one of them, though. A new trend, like the increasingly boring growth effect?

Console / Real Wild: This compo was just great. It started with hardware hacks, like a 5x5x5 voxel full-RGB LED cube. Then came three portable demos for Java mobile phones, 1980-era Sharp pocket computers and TI-83 calculators. After that, there were a few demos for a wide variety of 8-bit computers, including Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, Atari XL and MSX. Moving toward newschool, there were really good entries for Nintendo DS and Gameboy Advance. (Notable: »Matt Current« by Shitfaced Clowns. No, I’m not mixing things up, the name is real :) The top three was marked by a decent PS2 demo, a nice XBox360 demo (I saw that coming) and the excellent PSP demo »Suicide Barbie« by The Black Lotus.
All in all, a massive amount of quality demos. Too sad that Breakpoint does put all non-PC/Amiga/C64 stuff into a single category instead of using the more generic old-school/low-end/high-end approach used by The Ultimate Meeting. This way, the 8-bit entries will simply get lost between the PSP and GBA stuff.

Amiga Demo: I was a little bit disappointed by this compo. All the top-notch Amiga democrews were missing except Tolou and Madwizards, who marked their 68k comeback with a nice, but not really impressive demo.

PC Demo: Twenty-three entries long, this compo contained lots of the usual abstract/glow/growth effect/techno stuff. Exceptions were the chilly and nicely (HDR-)rendered »Angelic Forum« by Anadune and ALLien Senses, the clearly »Iconoclast«-inspired »Fairytale« by Traction and Brainstorm, and LKCC’s proof that up-to-date graphics don’t need shaders, titled »Above«. The legendary Amiga group Andromeda (of Nexus-7 fame) returned on the PC with »Nuomenon«, mfx had their (by now) usual artistic-yet-boring demo and Synthesthetics, constantly getting worse, ripped of last year’s compo winner in »Lucy in the Sky with Deities«, even surpassing the crappiness of the original. But then the believed-to-be-dead german section of Farbrausch came to the rescue. In »debris.«, they modified, crushed and destroyed a whole city and, later on, even the sky above it. The graphics, direction, timing and camerawork is nothing short of impressive. And so is the file size: It’s below 200k, which indicates that the demo was originally planned as an intro, but the creators decided to focus on adding more content instead of cramming it into the 64k frame. A wise decision, because this demo, though it’s tiny, kicks all the competition’s ass.

[2:04] Right now, I’m waiting for the deranged-west folks to go to bed so I can do that, too: My air mattress is below the table we’re sitting on ;)

Sunday

After a few hours of sleep and an additional two-hour delay, the prizegiving ceremony came on. The results were largely as expected, with only a few minor exceptions, namely the PC 4k and the Real Wild compos. However, in both cases, the surprises were not negative. In the 4k compo, the stylish Metalvotze entry only got the third place while »sprite-o-mat« (a typical cool-idea-executed-well-type entry) won. In the Real Wild compo, I expected that the many nice 8-bit entries totally got lost between the equally awesome GBA/XBox/PS2/PSP stuff. To my surprise, they stood a good chance against the high-end platforms, with one ZX Spectrum entry even beating the XBox360 one, getting up to the 3rd place.

Immediately after the prizegiving, the lights in the main hall turned on, indicating that it was time to clean up and go home. One hour later, we were all on the parking lot, taking the traditional post-party group pictures, saying goodbye to each other and starting the voyage home. I arrived there at 20:20.

Prizes

Now I’m going to brag a bit with what we acheived in the various compos ;)

  • Photo: 11th (KeyJ) and 2nd (bearb/gabi)
  • Theme Graphics: 3rd (baerb)
  • Freestyle Graphics: 5th (gabi)
  • Tracked Music: 1st (dq)
  • Streaming Music: 1st (dq)
  • 96k Game: 3rd (KeyJ/gabi/dq)
  • PC 4k Intro: 5th (KeyJ/tristan/dq/gabi)

With this results, we continue the tradition of winning at least one compo on each party since Breakpoint 2005 (7 parties so far). Let’s see how long we can hold up this track record …

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