Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Batman Forever

I decided to express my feelings for this demo. I know I have to. Because this is going to have impact. The scene will remember this. This demo owns in many different ways. It doesn't just own the CPC. It totally owns!

Amazing feats this demo has achieved. First of all this demo teases both the CPC and the C64 scene at the same time! I don't remember any demo doing such clever and hilarious teasing of two scenes simultaneously! This is a first.

Secondly, the presentation reminds me of Amiga. It's such a fast paced and impressive presentation that I can hardly think of any better in other 8bits. Maybe I exagerate with this because what is a succesful presentation is subjective and people might mention Edge of Disgrace but I think Batman Forever shows more energy.

How about the effects? I don't think I exagerate here and actually some of the records and effects would impress even if they were running in an Amiga demo. Maybe to this add the beautiful graphics and vivid colours of the CPC. Honestly, that texture twister with it's big size, smoothness and neat CPC graphics would be praised even if it was running on a 16bit machine. Or the dot records! This doesn't look like 8bit. The last good C64 record I remember must be 512 dots tunnel in Soiled Legacy except if this was beaten but surely it hasn't reached the record of this CPC demo. The dot tunnels even in Desert Dreams on Amiga (oh, or the amazing C64 conversion) or other demos on this machine aren't so much populated in dots. The vector city (compared to the one in Soiled Legacy again) is more high res and with much more buildings (even if it must be animation) than similar I have seen on C64 or even AtariST. I think I have seen a record of 6000 sine dots in an AtariSt demo.

Do you understand what that means? Some of the effects surely beat any 8bit records out there by far and maybe even 16bit records!!! I haven't seen such a feat in any demo before. Oh, maybe except in a single effect in Numen, the bump mapping somewhere in the middle which is smoother and has higher resolution and size than anything I have seen for example in AtariST and I don't remember a really good big bump mapper in a 16bit Amiga either.

Another thing I enjoy in this demo is the great use of zooming, probably by X-stretching with a fast software rendering routine and using the CRTC for Y-stretching the X-stretched bitmap. This is my guess and what else could it be when the size is enormous and the speed 50hz! I did a fast enough X-stretcher used in my demo X-kore and for a long time I wanted to learn the CRTC so that I can combine it with this routine and make the similar zoomers as seen on C64. But guess what, I never bothered to learn the CRTC. I know it was possible though and finally I have seen it now! The only thing where C64 is still better in this domain now is that their zoomers show much bigger bitmaps. One reason for this is they store their bitmap in char mode with different chars of preshifted graphics of the bitmap, that they combine for the X-stretch (in some manner I have to figure), so the time it takes for CPC to stretch one line they would probably stretch 8 lines, well not precisely because of different CPU but you get the point.

Last but not least, what rules in a demo is the initiative. It is the will to make impact, to push things, to motivate, to be a milestone for others to follow. This is what this demo has managed to achieve. This has created serious noise in our minds. This was a mental bomb that totally shuttered our vision of what is possible and how things could be improved. I tell you what. After this demo, two things have changed in my way I see CPC demos. When I remember all the past CPC demos released, when I try to watch them, I know I will be laughing now. When I think of my released and unreleased pieces of code, I cry.

I was scared for a while that the effect of this would be to not want to code anything anymore because it will take time to top this but no. What the effect of this has to me is to be willing to take more time to improve what I already have (there are many ugly elements in the ASB2 demo we are working on that makes me laugh now :). And another change is that I am willing to learn the CRTC. It must not be that hard really! I just have to focus. My X-stretcher (even if Rhino's might be even faster judging by some code I have stared at with the Winape debugger) and your average CRTC line splitting code would be enough to do the zoomer effects Rhino did and even more cool stuff!

All the pun in this demo is truly well said. Amstrad Begins. Now!