The tUM 06 party report

(January 1, 2007)

From December 27th to 29th, I’ve been in Karlsruhe-Durlach and attended The Ultimate Meeting 2006. It was again an awesome (and quite successful :) party, although the number and quality of the entries was somewhat below expectations.

Like last year, subc kindly offered me a ride in his car. Also like last year, we stopped at his apartment in the night between the 26th and 27th. Because of that, we arrived at the partyplace very early – 10:30, that is. This allowed us to reserve what we deemed the best seats, in the very rear right corner of the hall. We had a good view over the whole hall this way, and I could easily sleep in the hall at night, as no one would ever accidentally trip over me ;)

The other members from our crew didn’t arrive until the early evening. Anyway, the total amount of Kakiarts Party Posse members present at tUM was quite low: It’s been just biff, faline, subc and me. dq couldn’t come because he had to work.

The most impressive thing about the party is how smooth everything went. In particular, there have been almost no compo delays, which is really amazing considering the tight schedule. The network and internet connection also worked OK – there was actually a dedicated AS entry and IP range reserved for the party at RIPE – it’s just us who had problems: Because we didn’t have enough switch ports, we set up our own NAT router. Due to that, we weren’t able to connect to the party IRC which was in IRCnet (IRCnet doesn’t like multiple connections from one IP). But I could live without that.

The main attraction of the party wasn’t the compos, the chat with friends or the booze. Instead, it was a thing that usually is not accepted at demoscene parties: Gaming! Precisely, a permanently-running Nintendo Wii with 3 (or 4?) Wiimote/Nunchuk pairs was the thing that stole the show from all the compos. Most of the time, large crowds assembled in front of the device to watch the players (among which were numerous famous sceners, like wayfinder, paniq or kb) jumping. As kb put it at the end of the party, »Nintendo kills the demoscene«.

Regarding the compos, there wasn’t much to blog home about. The number of entries was minimal (approx. 100 total, as opposed to the >250 of last year’s tUM) and the overall quality was mediocre at best. The only compos that managed to surprise me in a positive sense were the Executable Music and 4k Procedural Graphics compos. The intro/demo compos got merged across platforms due to the low number (2) of low-end and oldschool entries, the game compo has been canceled completely. The 4k compo was at the usual high level, with 3 very good intros from Minas, Limp Ninja and Mercury, repectively. The 64k and demo compos were nothing special at all. But in the end, I can’t complain. The whole year 2006 didn’t yield much high-quality productions apart from the Breakpoint and Assembly ones, so the tUM results fit perfectly into this scheme.

Being a very productive crew (in terms of quantity, not quality), we had a bunch of entries in the compos. dq had a nice Drum’n’Bass track, but unfortunately couldn’t come to the party. However, biff talked with the organizers who gave their OK to submit the track though. Being the only really exciting entry in the whole compo, it easily won the first prize. Biff also submitted the video »a.Day« that was originally planned to be released at Breakpoint (where it got preselected) and Evoke (where we didn’t release it to keep the battlefield clean for Moodsplateau) which eventually got #3 at tUM.

My 14-year-old brother also (remote-)submitted a streamed music entry. He already tried to submit it at Evoke, but it was preselected there, so he did a little bit of remixing and tried again. This time, it worked – the track was played in the compo. However, the mastering and »melodic frills« were severely overdone so it only came in 6th. Nevertheless, this is quite an achievement for a little guy who has started making music just one year ago. It should also be noted that the entry of German scene star JCO only got one point more than my brother’s song …

My own pet projects were the game-I’m-not-going-to-talk-about-now, a vector and 4k procedural graphics entry and another iPod nano demo, all of which got spoiled in one way or the other. The game was the only entry in its compo, so the organizers let me decide whether I’d like to have it shown outside of the competition or just delete it so I could re-enter it at Breakpoint. I chose the latter option, because the game was <96k anyway and Breakpoint’s game compo is limited to this size. This way, it will compete against equal opponents.

The demo was going to be based on a soundtrack made by my brother. Originally, it was planned to be a GP2X demo, but due to lack of time, I resorted back to iPod nano. However, the time problems didn’t decrease with that – nobody had any real cool ideas, and half of the demo was still missing when the party started, so we decided to scrap the thing altogether. The 4k procedural graphics entry was a by-product from this unfinished demo and got the 4th place.

I actually had two ideas for vector graphics entries: One was to use my special vectorizer tool to create a vector-based impressionist version of a photo, and another one was to submit a drawing of an »impossible« object I’ve done a few years ago. After some brainstorming with my favourite demo style consultant, subc, I eventually combined both ideas into a single image. faline then adopted our monkey mascot a bit so we could fit it into the image as well, and voilà, we got the first place with it!

Finally, we participated in a fast compo again. Just like our BP2005 fast entry, the decision to finally do something was made halfway between the compo start and the deadline. But unlike BP2005, this was only three and a half hours before the deadline (as opposed to 7) and the concept was much less clear. Anyway, we managed to cobble something together with pieces of the utterly unfinished vortexengine2 and one scene from »vortex«, with a cut-down version of a dq soundtrack and minimal extra graphics. We even had to apply for a 30-minute deadline extension, which we used to the max (due to a $&/(§$&$§(/§)%(” »bug« I had to cope with, until I found out that I was actually editing the wrong file). The compo was quite interesting: There were very many entries, and finally everything seemed like a shoot-out between our demo (which was clearly the best in the compo) and the namevoting-prone, but not-so-cool Farbrausch demo. To make a long story short: We won the shoot-out. I perfectly recognize that this was only a minor fast competition at a minor party, but anyway, I can’t resist being proud of beating Farbrausch ;)

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