Hi everybody, let me introduce myself in my first tech file: I'm Roy Jacobs, but I'm known in the demoscene as Sagacity of Haujobb. Yes, I code demos. The most recent one actually won the The Party '99 unaccelerated democompetition, it's called "Melrose Space" and you can probably find it at http://www.scene.org for download. So then, what will I be talking about in here? Anything, really. For my first time, it will be:
One of the things I'm starting to notice recently (yes, I notice things!) is that a card like the GeForce is pretty cool. You might have come to the same conclusion, but the reason that it's so cool, to me, is *NOT* primarily the Hardware T&A, uh, T&L combined with the stupidly high speed. It's actually the fact that there are so many fun features to play around with. Bump-mapping is an obvious one, but those cubemaps are quite nice and render-to-texture is just as hilarious as something quite funny indeed.
Linking this to the demoscene: The fun part about coding demos is that you really don't have to cater for anyone. If you feel your demo needs MMX you just code it and slap a "MMX Required" tag in the FILE_ID.DIZ. Some people may be annoyed, but hey! Also, recently a lot of people have started making Accelerated Demos. At first this meant you'd need a 3DFX since everyone was busy in DOS using Glide. Nowadays quite a bit of people use OpenGL and quite a bit of people use D3D, so the demos have a bigger chance of working. Unless you have a 3DFX. You see, the 3DFX has a maximum texturesize of 256x256 and renderdepth of 16-bit and that just isn't good enough for demos. Too bad I still have a Voodoo2 (which technically isn't even mine, but let's not get into that). Everyone's requiring a TNT2 (or compatible) card now. Which at first I thought was quite stupid, but since the demoscene used to be at the forefront of all technologies new and cool, I guess this is acceptable. And some demos also offer to run in 16-bit with scaled-down textures, so it's not *all* bad.
Which brings me back to the GeForce. I read a bit on NVidia's site about Cartoon Rendering. So far so mundane, but it showed how to do this on the GeForce with minimal CPU usage. This I liked. Whereas most of you will probably ignore it because your Quake-clone will look kinda dumb in cartoon-style, I can use this kind of information. Obviously, I can't use the method presented there since I don't *HAVE* a GeForce yet, but it gave me some nice ideas.
In a year or so, a lot of people will have a 3d-card with features similar to the GeForce. That's when the demoscene can finally get creative again. A while ago, everyone was saying that the gamecompanies "outcoded" the demoscene once and for all. The reason for this was, I think, that the scene wasn't using 3d-cards while games were. The fact was that demogroups did not *WANT* to use the 3d-card simply because there wasn't a lot of interesting stuff to be done with them, except play some 3d-scenes or whatever. With the advent of the GeForce we can try to use 3d-cards in various new and interesting ways to redefine the words "Eye Candy". For a taster of what I mean, you should downloading Sunflower's demo "Wonder". You can also get it at http://www.scene.org by searching for the releases at "Gravity '99".
Until next time,