Alternative Party 2010

Demoscene

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X-Mix 2004: Ion Traxx by MFX is a long demo synchronized with a techno soundtrack

Demoscene is an international community of programmers, musicians and visualists who aim for exploiting the possibilities of computers to the maximum. It was born in the 1980's as groups cracking commercial games put their own "intros" (greetings) in the beginning of the cracked games and later the focus shifted to the intros and demos themselves, many groups abandoning their cracking activities and new groups being born solely as demogroups.

Art forms

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Dawnfall by Oxyron, released in 1995 at The Party, is a classic C64 demo

As an art subculture, the ways of demoscene are very diverse. The first demos and intros appeared on Commodore 64 and this "oldschool" heritage can still be observed, and there are still many groups actively producing demos and other productions on 8-bit machines.

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Himalaya by TBC, a 4 kB intro released at Icons 2008

The best-known "art pieces" of demoscene are the demos themselves. They are computer programs (software) that is run on a computer, producing realtime calculated visual effects and a soundtrack that may also be generated on the fly by an integrated software synthesizer, based on pre-defined note data. Demos that are small in size (under 100 kB) are usually called intros, at least on modern platforms. Demo groups also create other kinds of productions, such as games, short films, music compilations and other artistic activity. All the productions of the demoscene are considered to be freely distributable, enjoyed by everybody.

Parties and competitions

The gatherings of demosceners are called demoparties. While there are probably people interested in demos on every continent, demoparties have concentrated in Europe. At these events, people meet each other, often collaborate in finishing their demos and other productions and participate in competitions. Competitions are a long-time tradition of demoparties and there are usually multiple categories in which entries take part. There are series for graphics, music, demos and intros, short films and often many others. Very often the computer platforms supported are limited to PC (Windows), Amiga and Commodore 64, except in the "wild compo", which is often a short film competition in which some of the videos are demos on some obscure platform.

The demoparties and other demoscene activities have created a community which naturally also produces skilled programmers and artists. Many companies have noticed this and since the dawn of the demoscene, sceners have been targeted by game companies looking for new talents. Quite a few well-known sceners are now working for the video game industry; opinions mix whether this is a good thing or bad.