Mariusz Bartosik

Graphics programming, demoscene and book reviews

Solskogen 2017 Newschool Demo Compo

Zeven by Ninjadev
Zeven by Ninjadev

Have you ever been to a party organised in a forest and where most participants sleep in tents? That’s the experience offered by Solskogen party! Its recent edition took place between 14th and 16th July in Flateby, not too far away from Oslo. Let’s review newskool demos from the biggest demoscene party in Norway.

#1 – Zeven by Ninjadev

Looking at this long credits list, I think that a better name for this demo would be “Twaalf”. 12 coders working on a demo is a very rare configuration. Maybe that’s the beginning of collaborative, massive scale demo making, where many people work on different parts simultaneously using shared Git repository?

One sure good thing about this is the amount of included effects. The demo is about 3 minutes long but features more scenes than any other release in this compo. Actually, there’s a chance that it has more effects than all of them together.

There are various 3D scenes, tunnel, zoomer, and more. I really like the greetings part with a different effect every second. The kaleidoscope effect is also neat. Everything is precisely synced to a cheerful soundtrack by Iverjo and Sigveseb.

What is missing, is a stronger connection between these scenes. In some places, it feels like a showreel of random graphics programming examples. I guess that can be fixed with throwing bunch of art directors into the mix next time :)

“Zeven” uses WebGL, so it is possible to watch it online. As the most-web based releases, the code is open source. Or at least that’s the intention, as I haven’t found any licence file in its GitHub repository. Also, check out their node-based demo tool called nin.

And last, but not least: Ninjadevs are constant supporters of Solskogen party, so it’s a well-deserved win.

Credits:
Eldfor – code
Alf – code
Capitalism – code
Cristea – code
Stiaje – code
Lionleaf – code
Kefirsjeiken – code
Lulle – code
Rohtie – code, graphics
Run – code, graphics
Iverjo – code, graphics, music
Sigveseb – code, graphics, music
Zeven by Ninjadev on Pouet

#2 – Shunting Yard by Cocoon

Not too far away from the winners, with only 4 points less, we got a new release from Cocoon.

Over the years, the group with very talented members and a great demo tool has gradually become (in)famous for re-using their ideas and effects. Just for fun, before running this demo, I tried to predict its content. So, a rotating object in a small room? Very likely. Centered fly-by through an infinite number of rooms? Possibly. The skull at the end? Almost certainly.

I double-clicked on the executable, and after a few seconds of the loading screen, I got rickrolled by the authors, as the demo crashed. Too bad. I checked the requirements in the readme file and made sure my GeForce 670 GTX is still DX11 compatible. Well, it is. Maybe 2 GB of VRAM is not enough for this demo or it needs more texture units, I dunno.

Anyway, thanks to provided YouTube capture, I could verify my predictions. Unfortunately, I was more or less right. There is some good news though. This time the soundtrack is not an aggressive drum ‘n’ bass music, so that’s something new, and I really like it (i.e. both, the music and the change). Otherwise, similar effects could be seen in previous demos like Soul Splitter, Proximity Shift or Terminal 7.

Of course, visuals still feature great looking real-time global illumination lighting with PBR materials, and all the fancy post-processing stuff. Technically this demo really stands out from the rest of releases. Guille is far ahead of others here. So, I guess that until all other coders will catch up with the technology, Cocoon can keep releasing recycled stuff as it still looks exceptional. But, wouldn’t be great to see something really, really new from them?

Credits:
Guille – codework
Ntsc – visuals
Tineidae – music
Shunting Yard by Cocoon on Pouet and Demozoo

#3 – Life On The Grid by Keyboarders

I wish that more demos would have such great soundtracks! From the very first seconds, this one took me into the world of retro synths of the 80s. Ponas did an excellent job here, and I would say that his track (is “669” its official name?) is a good candidate for the Meteoriks award in “Best soundtrack” category.

Visually, this is a one effect demo. At first sight, dynamic FFT spectrum resembles classic Winamp visualisation plugins. But this is kind of intelligent one, and has more features to show as the demo progresses. Quistein published an interesting write-up about creating this demo, so I encourage you to take a look at the backstage.

Even if this demo doesn’t have 12 coders or real-time global illumination shaders, thanks to its music and fitting visuals, it’s my favourite from the compo. Well done!

Credits:
Quisten – visuals
Ponas – music
Life On The Grid by Keyboarders on Pouet and Demozoo

#4 – Supervoid by 50 Shaders of Grey

Despite group’s name, these spheres are actually very colourful. Formally this is a demo, but if you look at its files, you will notice that most space is taken by BASS and OpenTK libraries. Well, there’s also one mp3 file. The rest could easily fit in intro format.

If you remember 4k releases from Revision 2017, Absolute Territory by Prismbeings used a similar concept of a sphere and global illumination lighting technique. BTW: I guess I should link to a review of Revision 2017’s 4k intro compo here, but I hope no one will notice that I haven’t written one ;)

“Supervoid” has an interesting soundtrack and visuals are nicely synced to it. But, if you don’t like the music, there’s also an unofficial, alternative version.

Credits:
Duckers – Code, visuals
Flipside – music
Supervoid by 50 Shaders of Grey on Pouet and Demozoo

#5 – Quartz by Rohtie

After his debut demo Mycelium released at Solskogen 2016, Rohtie returns with a new production.

This one is also a bit surreal and you can definitely try to find hidden meanings in this short demo. And if not, well, at least you will know how single axis texture mapping on rounded objects looks like.

The info file says that it runs only on the newest quantum computers and requires at least 2048 qubits, but I was happy to find it running on my ancient 64 bit Intel i7 CPU, so you may give it a try too :)

You can expect distance fields rendering and procedural animation in this demo. Rohtie also contributed to the winning demo “Zeven”.

Credits:
Rohtie – Code, graphics, music
Quartz by Rohtie on Pouet and Demozoo

#6 – My Summer Demo Pt2: Atrophy by Ajna & Fecal Faced Martians

You might have noticed that there was “My Summer Demo Pt 1” in the compo too. Even if they are made by different groups, they are somehow connected, so go ahead and see the “Pt 1” first for the complete experience.

Visuals are monochromatic and feature various distortions, glitches and noise. There is also an English translation of Lorem Ipsum hidden somewhere there. All of this is accompanied by a dark ambient music and creates an atmosphere of a bad dream of some astrophysicist. Definitely something for alternative art lovers.

I haven’t found any video capture of this demo, so just run the executable or take a look at these 4 screenshots to get an idea what it looks like.

Ayn Rand()
Waffle
Xtrusion
My Summer Demo Pt2: Atrophy by Ajna & Fecal Faced Martians on Pouet

My Summer Demo Pt 2: Atrophy by Ajna & Fecal Faced Martians
My Summer Demo Pt 2: Atrophy by Ajna & Fecal Faced Martians

#7 – My Summer Demo Pt 1 by Paraguay

The first part of “My Summer Demo” is a calm introduction to a much darker second part.

I’m not sure what’s the story behind this two-part demo made by different people, but probably all of them just wanted to promote a new party. Just like Solskogen, “My Summer Party 2018” will be located in the forest, “at a wonderful rustic and remote getaway called Korsukylä”. If you would like to visit Finland between 5th and 8th July 2018, that’s the party to go. See My Summer Party website for details.

This demo uses JavaScript and WebGL, but currently, it’s not available online. See the readme.txt file if you want to run it in your browser, some extra permissions are needed.

Credits:
Rimina – code
Osyn – code, music, textures & videos
Adellan – graphics
Myy – textures & videos
My Summer Demo Pt 1 by Paraguay on Pouet and Demozoo

My Summer Demo Pt 1 by Paraguay
My Summer Demo Pt 1 by Paraguay

#8 – Yet Another Onescreener by BooZombies & Paraguay

The last place is usually reserved for fast made prods, just-for-fun demos etc. This is one of these simple compo fillers.

The legend says that this is a PC version of Britelites Pinkie Balls by BooZombies for Amiga 500, made from 25 years old source codes. And that was also a compo filler, so the tradition has been kept alive. The current version is definitely the biggest one, as the archive with this one-screener includes 170 MB of Java files.

This demo is not even 2 minutes long, but it features interesting experimental soundtrack. I wonder how it would develop in a longer form.

Credits:
Adellan – code
Super-Hans – code
Rimina – audio composition, samples
Asyn – samples
Yet another onescreener by BooZombies & Paraguay on Pouet and Demozoo

Yet Another Onescreener by Boozombies & Paraguay
Yet Another Onescreener by Boozombies & Paraguay

Summary

Another successful edition of Solskogen party; we have eight brand new releases in various flavours. What do you think about them? Any favourites? Do you think Cocoon should have won?

In the end, it’s all about the people. Many groups and individuals supported this party and created new demos. Thanks to them, Solskogen 2017 offered not only a fresh forest air but also an interesting set of new releases. Well done!

Official Newschool Demo Compo results

# Points Name
1 380 Zeven by Ninjadev
2 376 Shunting Yard by cocoon
3 311 Life On The Grid by keyboarders
4 285 Supervoid by 50 Shaders of Grey
5 226 Quartz
6 200 My Summer Demo Pt2: Atrophy by ajna & fecal faced martians
7 154 My Summer Demo Pt 1 by Paraguay
8 117 Yet another onescreener by BooZombies & Paraguay
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Written by Mariusz Bartosik

I’m a software engineer interested in 3D graphics programming and the demoscene. I’m also a teacher and a fan of e-learning. I like to read books. Over the last few years, I became interested in psychology and bioinformatics. In spare time, I secretly work in my lab on the ultimate waffles with whipped cream recipe.

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