Auld's Tongue in Cheek List for 4k Demos

h2> Aulds TIC List for 4k Demos

I started reading and working on 4k demos over a year ago now. I still don’t have a 4k demo to publish. Why? Well, here is a tongue in cheek (TIC) list of all the stuff you need to publish a winning Assembly 4k demo or a Pouet 0.8 ranked 4k demo. Of course I’m not saying if you have all this you will win. I am saying that the entry level bar is high now.

Think of it this way… for every time someone says on Pouet “Great demo but it lacks…”, I write it down.

The List

You won’t get a second chance with most people. This generally means producing a compressed one for the demo machine and a safe version.

You’ll be marked down if my graphics card can’t run your demo or my PC doesn’t support your ordinal importing. This is a trade off of course in the squeeze to reach 4k.

You’ll be marked down if you spend 30 minutes pre-calculating. You’ll ve marked down if I you don’t display something interesting if your demo takes a minute to load.

Support the escape key. Everywhere. Respond instantly to it. Restore PC settings smoothly when you exit.

OGL or D3D is almost required. Hardware acceleration is the key. Perhaps a cool raytracing engine, especially accelerated through OpenGL etc.

You need to texture stuff so you need a texture generation system of some kind.

Fades, wipes etc. You need a 2d graphics engine in other words.

No, not one effect done many different times but actually “scenes” connected in some way require an animation system.

If you do 3d that Jo Schmo could do, and don’t get some sort of “wow” factor going, you’ll be marked down. Something somewhere has to be called an effect. Hint: you won’t find an effect on NeHe. You need a unique.

One effect isn’t enough. A demo design flowing from one effect to another is good. Better is a story. People are beginning to expect even 4k demos to make a point, say something, keep your interest. Call it a theme if you like.

A scream, a boing, a whee, a thump.

It has to suit the demo and sound good. Pure midi might be marked down. Real time synth is best. You’ll need something to generate sounds and something to play them at the right time. Synchronising with the graphics is a requirement now.

You’ll need a text engine. You’ll need friends. Though people will understand if you can’t squeeze friends into your 4k.

Don’t leave the screen blank for 2 minutes. You’ve already lost if you do. The bar progressing from left to right is becoming old…

People are becoming bored with rotating, spikey balls. You need something new.

You’ll need something for your info file on Pouet. The cooler the better.

For fun here is an extra credit TIC list.

One set of graphics on another. Its done all the time in 64k and its coming to 4k. You’ll need a more advanced animation engine.

This enables you to capture a scene and do imaging on it or to create cool textures by rendering OGL to a texture.

One or more old skool effects to show your heritage buried deep in your demo or maybe on your loading screen. Of course you don’t have to be old skool but it shows some additional knowledge and respect. Its ballsy too. It says, I could do old skool if I had to but I’m better than that.

Lots of people still can’t do them so throw one in, even if it does use more bytes than doing the damn thing in C.

Throw this in, use an unusual mode and people will never work out what you are doing. Switching on the accumulation buffer is recommended for all demos at some point.

Bounce something. Wobble something. Drape some cloth. Navier Stokes it. Worth points because Jo Schmo can’t do it.

Go on, its three lines of code to put as many copies of the boring geometry on the screen as possible. People are always impressed with more (how do they get that into 4k?)

Bump mapping, radiosity, HDR, ambient occlusion, refraction, reflection will all get you points. Throw in shadows and wow, its a winner.

Even if you never spoke to them. ;-) told you this was TIC.

Lastly here is a TIC List of Don’ts for 4k demos.