Evoke 2006 Live Report

(August 11, 2006)

Summer is the traditional demoscene party time: Assembly, Evoke, Buenzli and over half a dozen others take place in only about two months of time. While I only watched Assembly on AssemblyTV last weekend, I’ll attend Evoke 2006 in person. Instead of writing a lame post-party report as usual, I’m going to do a live report and write about stuff as it happens (given that the Internet connection works). So stay tuned and watch this post grow over time …

Friday

[11:45] Time to start. I’m going to pack my stuff, take a shower, and leave a.s.a.p.

[18:15] I left at 13:00 and arrived at 17:45, due to a massive 2h traffic jam on the A2. This was a little late, because there were almost no free blocks left to take seats on :( So I temporarily moved to moodsplateau’s place, thus delaying the final decision a bit :) I was pleasantly surprised that even the deranged-west guys came over to Evoke this year.

[20:40] In the meantime, Gabi, jk and subc arrived (19:30 and 19:45, respectively), the only ones missing are biff, faline and dq now, which is starting to become strange.
The opening ceremony, which took place with just a little delay after 20:00, was quite simple: A video with the official soundtrack and some words from the main organizers, that was all. I’m now looking forward to the Crest demoshow.

[21:20] The textmode part of the Crest demoshow is running. Now, textmode is quite impressive, but I honestly can’t wait until I see the Assembly ’06 demos in their natural habitat: the bigscreen ;)

[22:40] Somehow the others managed to talk me into going to the next D̦ner shop Рwhich is bad, because I missed the interesting parts of the demoshow :( Meanwhile, biff and the remaining Kakiarts members finally arrived at the partyplace.

In the remaining night, I did some additional work on the 4k intro, accompanied by the great live music set of mo. and Sudio. I went to bed (that is, a sleeping bag in my car) quite early at 2:30 that night.

Saturday

[8:50] Awaking at quarter past eight, I didn’t quite know whether I should sleep another few minutes or not. The decision to leave the car immediately turned out to be the worse idea, because there’s that strange early-in-the-morning mood in the main hall now: It’s silent, everyone’s sleeping (some people even snoring :), just a few people are still or already awake. Oh well. I guess I’m doing some additional work on the 4k now.

[9:20] 4021 bytes … argh, how do I fill up the remaining 75? I’m running out of ideas.

[12:45] At the moment, everything is about finishing compo entries. Recording the nano demo was easier than expected, everything worked flawlessly at the first attempt. The 4k got a fitting name from Gabi and was finished with only 21 bytes of space left (which I managed to fill up with junk :) So, everything’s going smoooooooth.

In the meantime, I also attended the Intel seminar on profiling of multi-threaded applications. The seminar was quite short and the guy who held it spoke much too quietly, but it was nevertheless interesting. There also was the ASCII compo with a hell of a lot of entries (14 or 15, I’m not sure). I didn’t see all of them because I was busy finishing the various nano videos, but the entries I saw were all of decent quality.

[12:55] Somebody seems to be trying to break into my system via VNC … What he doesn’t know is that KDE informs be about these attempts, so it’s been only a matter of seconds to set up the proper iptables rule. I hope that he didn’t manage to do other stuff already.

[14:50] I had some trouble with my 4k intro – the sound totally f***ed up on the compo machine. The problem is that I requested a sound buffer size of 4096 samples and got 1024 – which is bad, because I rely on the buffer size. So I quickly hacked together a fixed (slightly larger than 4k) version that worked. The strange side effect is that the normal version shrunk by some bytes. It turned out that this was due to an additional instruction(!) that was used to badly overdrive the sound (without clipping) – but it was implemented in a wrong way, so it instead overwrites some unallocated memory. Oops :(

[16:50] The 4k intro compo has just finished. Man, that was a ride! The quality of the intros was just awesome. It’s absolutely incredible what skilled coders are able to get out of the 4k size with Crinkler. I’m actually running out of words here … I can just can say: Grab the intros, grab them all, and watch them.
Interestingly, there was only one Linux entry … guess which one that was … :)

Just before the 4k intro compo, I had an interview with a guy from a local youth web platform, who did an interview with me about the nano demo.

[19:00] We finished jk’s 64k release and now the Animation Compo is about to begin. The Moodsplateu guys are already dressed in the costumes from the video they submitted, so it’s going to be a funny show :)

[19:38] I was right, it was a funny show, and it looks like a clear victory for Moodsplateau.

[20:55] Right after the compo, I finalized the nano entry by burning the CDs with the screen-capture videos from the demo and gave it to the organizers. Then I went outside with the rest of the Kakiarts crew to have some chit-chat at the parking lots.
In a few minutes, the Ogg Music compo is about to begin. Let’s see if they preselected my brother’s track.

[21:03] I’m gettin’ crazy, they’re playing Kewlers’ »1995« on the bigscreen. Rocks!

[22:15] The quality of the music compo was quite mediocre. Some funny entries at the beginning, the rest was mostly boring – and only one of our three entries came through the preselection :(
The raytraced graphics compo is running right now, so I have to look at the bigscreen, excuse me …

[22:30] The very short raytraced graphics compo (only three entries) was directly followed by the pixel graphics come, which came to an end a minute ago. The entries there were numerous and there were also some really great ones, so Gabi has some stiff competition here this time …

[22:55] Mixed feelings. The 64k compo will start soon, with (as intelligence reports :) very few competition to jk’s intro. On the other hand, I know now that the wild compo will have some major kick-ass entrys, which are most probably going to leave »nano« in the dust :(

[23:21] The 64k intro compo just ended, with the predicted result: Our entry ruled away the almost non-existing competition (3 bad entries) like there’s no tomorrow.

[0:00] Coming up next: the alternative platform compo. Let’s see how »nano« gets squashed by all the high-class PSP, GBA and maybe NDS stuff :(

[0:33] The compo finally starts with quite some delay. I hope I don’t get a heart attack :)

[1:05] The really good entries begin … and considering that there are still some entries to come, I bet that we’re in for some really good stuff.

[1:25] I was wrong – there were less entries, and less good ones. In other words: We ruled. Seriously.

[2:33] This was the strangest PC demo compo I ever saw. It consisted of only 4 (read: four) entries, one of them being the usual »rob is jarig« stuff. The other ones … well, there were so few that I can easily describe them all in detail.
The first one was obviously from Smash Designs (also they didn’t use this name and went for »the usual suspects« instead), with a long precalc. And i mean a long precalc: 5 minutes! At least, the demo itself was quite impressive, with very good looking scenes that could come directly from a modern game.
The second one was from paniq, who was responsible for both the code (Python), the music and, of couse, the operating system (Linux). The content could be best described as a poem – but it was presented in a most original manner, with words appearing inside the letters of other words … it’s hard to describe, it must be seen to be believed :)
The third and final one was a demo from bypass with the nice title »Mac my bitch up«. Guess on what platform that run. Regarding the content, this was the weakest of the three serious entries: Simple 3D scenes in the background, and some nice decals/overlays in the foreground, that’s basically it.

[3:20] The party networks sucks. I’m trying for hours now to publish the nano demo to pouet.net … but all I managed until now utilizing both Opera and Firefox (yuck!) is the entry itself, the screenshot is still missing. Argh.

Sunday

[11:15] After waking up around 8:15 initially, I tried hard to fall asleep again, but without success. So I left my car at 10:00 and went into the main hall where we’re still waiting for the pricegiving ceremony to start … 2 hours to go …

[13:30] The pricegiving is scheduled to start now, so I’m going to take a seat in the front row now :)

[15:00] That’s it, basically. I’m going to write about the ceremony and the prices when I’m back home.

[Monday, 11:30] OK, I’m back again, now there’s time to write the rest of the report. I’ll start with the pricegiving ceremony, which was quite chaotic. As it seemed, the organizers didn’t have a clar plan for the ceremony at all, so it was all more or less funny improvisation.
I don’t remember the rankings from all the compos – but both »nano« and the 64k (»riot of flowers«) won their respective compos with quite some margin, which led some people on the IRC channel proclaim »Kakiarts rules the scene« (which is quite exaggerated, as Evoke is just one little party of about 30) even the day before. »Moebius« came in 5th, which is more than just acceptable regarding the extremely high quality of the compo. I bet that there was some namevoting involved :)

This time, the prices were some comparatively large amount of cash and some minor giveaway from one of the sponsors (like ATI graphics cards and Visual Studio or Office licenses from Microsoft). However, the alternative platform price was quite different: It wasn’t only the highest money price (more than PC demo!), the hardware extra was a FPGA board! That’s awesome, I actually planned to buy such a thing in the future, and now I have one for free :) I don’t know what the average C64, Amiga or (even worse, I think) NDS, GBA or PSP guy would have done with the board …

As a compo winner, you couldn’t just step off the stage and take your seats. Instead, you were immediately intercepted by Metapat for the obligatory demoscene.tv interview. Afterwards you had to go straight to »Evoke Express«, a tiny studio in one corner of the hall where some professional or at least semi-professional photographer took a photo from you for some report the Evoke organizers are apparently about to produce. This is why the top actors got somehow lost in their own corner, apart from the other people, which was a little bit unfortunate. On the other hand, having a talk with the true elite is also cool ;)

After the ceremony, things went downhill quite fast: departure was a matter of only half an hour, I guess. At about 16:00, we started our engines to drive our way back to saxony, where we arrived sooner or later this evening. The last one to arrive was me at 1:15.

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