Assembly Summer 2009 is over. 4 days of partying and great competitions. Check out both the realtime and sound+vision competition categories and final results. You can find many of the winning entries from YouTube, but I’d suggest loading the videos from Assembly TV’s video archive.
While the demo scene has traditionally been about taking slow computer hardware to its limits, nowadays computers are powerful enough to do just about anything easily. In the 90s, getting complicated 3D graphics to run smoothly was a great achievement, but now it’s trivial. So the progression of computer art parallels that of cinema: the first films didn’t need any good story, just having a train pull up to a station was enough to amaze people. So like in cinema (and still photography before that), to make something interesting, it’s not enough to just have fancy effects and proof-of-concept gimmicks – you need something else, and that else is art. To make an impression even a demo nowadays needs to have artistic values, and either tell a story, or dazzle with audiovisual awesomeness. Technical prowess is still needed in this genre, but it’s less and less obvious.
My personal favorites from some categories, which have something more in them than just great code (links are direct links to video files):
- Demo compo (basically anything goes, as long as it’s created in real time): The Golden Path by UF & DD
- 64k compo (entry size is limited to 64kb, which is around what a typical web page nowadays takes up without images): Genome by Phantom Lord
- 4k compo (entry size is limited to 4kb, which is about the size of an icon, or a typical e-mail message): Dollop by SQNY
- Short film compo: Kanava DELTA by Tekotuotanto (this one is in Finnish)
Disclaimer: I’m a volunteer at Assembly, heading the team in charge of web services.