2015/04/21

Interview with Demoscener – Navis (ASD)



Welcome to the Interview with Demosceners #10!

Hm…10th? Tenth?! Yes, the 10th!! Hurray!!! Before going to the introduction, I’d like to say big and capital “THANK YOU” to people who accepted to talk with me, and to people out there who reads this. I should be so lucky. Lucky lucky lucky.

Ok, so for 10th guest, we welcome Mr. Kostas Pataridis aka “Navis”, from Andromeda Software Development aka “ASD”.

ASD is one of the most known and popular group in demoscene. (And yes, they’re trophy stealer.) Their heavenly works are often cited as an example of demoscene and of article with “Is demo art?” headlines. I can go on and on about their demos here, but instead you just check out what they create on video and get shocked to know that it’s made with computer code.

In this interview, Navis shared what’s inside of his head, some stories behind his milestone demo, how he gets his hand “dirty with code”. Be sure to read till its end, there’s surprise too!

Since it’s the 10th time, I’d like to be cheeky and say this without question mark… "This is ASD. Demo is art." Enjoy! :)


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Hi Navis. First of all, could you let us know what you do in the demoscene?


Photo provided by Navis



Most of the time I watch other people do stuff, and occasionally I do my own with my group called ASD (Andromeda Software Development). We go through winter thinking, and through spring/summer acting on those thoughts. I do the code and occasional graphics, and my friends in ASD do the rest. We’ve been doing exactly that since 1992!





Wow, that’s more than 20 years ago! So naturally you started to use computer before then?

I had my first computer around 1984, when I was 6. Commodore 64 – color monitor, disk drive. It was very expensive for Greece.


And how was it like to use that for the first time?

I was instantly hooked, and I knew there and then that I wanted to do graphics – creative stuff. Not “What is your name? Hello Kostas” programs but lines and colors. But in order to do that, you have to remember that there was a big barrier as well; the language. Computers then were for people who speak English but I didn’t speak at that age. And although they have similar root, alphabet is also different from Greek’s.


Then how did you tackle that barrier?

Phonetically, to start with. Though we share many symbols, many are very different in the way you pronounce. For example, the letter “v” is “n” in Greek, and the letter “h” is like “ee”. A couple of years later I started going to a school to learn English, which is very typical in Greece. Then I could read books about programming etc.


And I’m not surprised if you tell me that you were very bright student at school… :)

Not really, I was a good student in general with good marks, but in the 5-10% of the “distribution”. I had some skills that would not shine in the Greek school, just like many other people I’m sure. Programming and engineering is not what you get to do much.


Then what’s needed to shine in Greek school? Greek philosophy?

We did at school quite a bit of that, and languages and maths/physics etc. In general, I got a good background at school (until 18) but the system is not great. With the emphasis on learning things rather than imagining. That’s where I was “better”, but there was no opportunity to show that. And also there is a saying in Greece from ancient times, like a motto: “Excel others”. Excel others – I hate it.


Eh… but seems like you do sometimes…

I never was much of a fierce competitor, and I don’t like excelling over others. If I do, it just happens or there is a reason to be better at work or something. But the life is not a zero-sum game…


Ok, so you were good at imagining things. Do you drew pictures or made something at home?

I was into music. I spent more time every day at music school than normal school. Learning instruments, theory etc. I play the piano, French horn and other brass instruments. Trumpet, euphonium… those sort of things. For many years I was planning to study this at university, but (good fortune) I didn’t. And I also did computer programming at home – the graphics. And I did swimming in competitions. I was not a geek.


Hmm. Indeed that doesn’t sound like a typical geek boy life :) Then how did you find demoscene?

So I was doing my graphics on C64 and then on PC without knowing much about what is going on in the rest of the world. Then I got a modem and found out about the international demoscene in 1992 through Finnish BBS.

So we formed a group in 1992 as a group to make software and demos, even though we didn’t exactly know what the demo is or its rules. And thus the silly name stuck.


demo5” is your debut?

Yes, but there are some others from around that era that have been lost. So I’m not sure if this was the very first or not. Others are lost forever, only remain in my memory.


And these were not released at the demoparty?

Eh no, you see in 92-93 I was 14 years old with no contact with the rest of the world. I was only starting to with my first modem and it was NOT internet. So at that time, even sending an email could take a day.

And in 1994 I think, I was contacted out of the blue by some other Greek guys who told me about a demoparty (Gardening). It was the first ever Greek party. So we made “Counterfactual” for that party and went to that one in 1995 (that was my first) and it was fun. We travelled a distance of 500 miles? By train, bus, train… whole day travelling. It was quite an experience for teenager.

Then in 1996 I went to same place, but after that I left Greece to study abroad. So I stopped making demos for 4 years.


Was there any difference when you made something just for fun, and for the party with audience?

I can’t really remember, because since then we always make demos for parties with audience. It’s better this way. It’s good to have audience. I like the anticipation. As the old saying goes “if all people disappeared, would a painting have any value anymore?”


You want to make them surprised?

Pretty much yes. The element of surprise, of reward, of the discussion afterwards. Also the creative process before the party. It’s enjoyable when it works, when not... it is nightmare.


Yes, I remember you documented that well in your blog. The nightmare part…

It happens often. But it happens because we want to make good demos. And “good” is very hard.


Ok. So let me go back to when you’re taking break from demoscene. Even you were not making any demos, demoscene was on your mind?

Yes, demoscene was in my mind. I was always watching production from Assembly, The Gathering, The party etc. But I was also interested in partying and sharpening my social skills as a teenager. I studied engineering but not computers at the university. I was actually not doing much programming during these years. Still more than a student majoring in computer, but not like I do now.


And then you came back by winning 1st prize with “cadence and cascade” in 2001. What made you come back to the scene?

Yes, but I don’t think the prize doesn’t mean much in this context because it was quite a small Greek party. I did master’s course on computer graphics, I learned OpenGL and sharpened my C++ So why not? Also, there I met aMUSiC and we said “let’s try our chances abroad”.


aMUSiC is one of the musicians in ASD right? How did you meet him?

I bumped into aMUSiC probably in 1996 but we didn’t know each other. Then I met him properly in 2001 where we released “cadence and cascade” [video] and after that party he joined as a musician. Our next demo (“Edge of Forever” [video]) was done with him, and since then all music was made by him. Basically I think it was one of the best decision I made in my life.


I’ve read that you make music after the coding is done in ASD…

Or at the same time. But not the other way round.


Alright, then will you tell us your typical creation process?

It’s quite simple. I develop an effect or two for fun, then one day I start one scene and another one. And in a few weeks I have half a demo ready with placeholders for other effects, models and 2D. Then we discuss it, and aMUSiC gives me music at some point. After that it is all like in auto pilot.


Do you ask something like “this demo should be rock ‘n’ roll”?

Never. He can do whatever he likes.


He decides after watching demo?

Yes, it should be half or more ready by that time, so he knows how it feels or how HE feels. He may be in the mood for something light or dark. I think people like that we make very different demos sometimes. Ok, they may have similar “resources” or “smell of ASD” but they have very different effects, music styles etc.


But if the music comes in half point or later, how do you keep the tempo of the demo? It’s just hard to believe. Your demo, everything is sync with music…

Well, I don’t know but it does eventually. It’s hard sometimes, but there are some tricks like “slow down time in a demo”. Also, aMUSiC is very clever with his composition, you can have a slack off 10-20%. It’s different each time but we always find a way to fit them.


That’s very interesting.. Then what about you? Do you set any theme or mood, or write down your ideas on a memo pad before making?

Very very vague storyline, but no memos, no notes, nothing. I start with vague storyline and 20-30% of the demo. This is what glues the demo together. You always need to have a glue, avatars or something. Otherwise it will be just another demo of cubes.

But first you need to know WHERE you’re going to present because it is one thing to make a demo for a small party and another to make for a big party. There are no guideline, and it’s quite chaotic… like “when and if I have free time”.


Your demo has lots of imaginary creatures.. Are they living in your head? Where do you get the inspiration for your work?

I don’t get much references from what others do. I try not, too. I guess they are in my head or form follows function. We’re very restricted with resources; meshes, objects, graphics.. and to some extent, procedural graphics. So you show what you can do and mix. As for the inspiration source, there is not a straight answer really. It depends on the demo.


Sounds like your head is crowded with lots of creatures and functions and imagery… :)

Maybe, but not more than other people I think. Don’t worry, after a few years programming by the numbers will become a habit, like washing the dishes.


Haha… OK!

Behind each demo, there is a lot of work that you don’t see on the screen and another demo that goes to a bin because the color was not right or something. For big demos, I keep the best parts until I get better ideas.


Hmm, still I’d like to pick them up from the trash bin and see… :)

Oh, did I mention that I don’t keep backup? Things that I changed my mind about are just lost forever, so be it.


Ohhhh. :) OK, let me go back to the ASD history. So aMUSiC joined the group, and you decided to challenge the world stage. Then, you actually did in 2003: Making a debut in Assembly.

Photo provided by Navis

I went there with a couple of friends from the demoscene. This photo is from that visit in 2003. I’m in the middle, and the guy with the black T-shirt sitting next to me is the guy who produced Greek demoparties. We went there with a demo called “Dreamchild” and did quite well. I was very happy with that visit. It was my very first international visit.


You made this demo with “this is for Assembly, not for other parties” mind?

Of course. It was a struggle. “Dreamchild” was a technically difficult demo to make. It was before shaders at that time, so complex graphics were difficult to make. And I started to late. I still have the original notepad saying the demo making started on the 31st of May 2003. And I have to finish it just before the 1st of August. But my life was more carefree, so I had plenty of free time. I remember that I missed my flight and took another flight to Amsterdam, spent the night in town, slept on the floor… it was an adventure. The view with all the computers and meeting legendary people at the Assembly was overwhelming.


The voice you hear in this lyrics are Navis’ better half* Sweet :)

Sounds very young and wild days :) Were you happy that you released something at Assembly?

Absolutely, but I wanted to win. I went back home thinking “I should come back”. There were many groups back then, and winning there is very hard. At least back then. It can be down to chance, too. Imagine if you have to run against “debris” or a good demo from Fairlight.


And 2 years later, in 2005, you won with “Iconoclast”. People went like “WHO IS THIS”?

By 2005 people knew who we were because we went to Assembly 2004 and some smaller parties. We also sent some stuff to Breakpoint, The Gathering and more Greek parties.

In 2004 (the year I was making this demo), I went back to the university. Although I was also working, I had some more free time. And unfortunately my girlfriend went to Canada to study at that time, so my social life took a dive, meaning more hours for hobbies and quiet days in winter.


And all your energy went to “Planet Risk” or “Iconoclast”?

Both. “Planet Risk” [video] wasn’t very hard but “Iconoclast” was because it’s a bigger demo. I remember a hot summer day I was in my room in college, trying to finish it to hit 8 minutes. Basically giving it all. I could have just given up, but I don’t regret. It was a good moment to get the trophy.


“Iconoclast” is really… well, this demo has a power to shut everyone up. And there was this intense background…

>

“Iconoclast” is an important demo for me personally, because it signifies a split from the old world I grew up watching demos for their effects. By releasing this demo, I said “I did this, I could win. Now let’s do something that is esoteric and more meaningful, with toned down effects” And so another period started with smaller demos, noise demos, things like that.


But you released super big demo called “Lifeforce” in 2007..


Actually I say this to people sometimes, but my most crazy year was 2007. On the same month of April, these things happened: I got my PhD, I left my job, I got a new job, I got a new house to rent and move, I got married, I became a dad. All while working on this demo. You know on my wedding day, I woke up in the morning and did some Lifeforce programming :)


Unbelievable! So this was really a symbol of your lifeforce! :)

At that time, I used to set the alarm clock to 4am to wake up and do programming before going to work at 9. Then come back, look after baby and more programming. Like a clockwork for 3-4 months. Lifeforce had so many parts and little things and was very hard to make.

Photo provided by Navis

The cup I won from this demo is now on a bookcase behind me, and the baby sleeps in the next room.


To me, it looks like there are 2 trophies in this photo… :) I’m sure you have countless trophies in your room…

From Assembly I’ve got 4. aMUSiC has the first one at his home in Athens, the first one was golden and the other 3 I have them here are silver. I’ve also got some cups from other parties like The Gathering and many medals and Scene.org award over the years, but this cup in 2007 is the biggest and it’s quite heavy too. I had a problem taking it on the plane… Everybody was asking “what is it for?” but I didn’t want to tell them that I got from “geek competition” :)


Hahaha :) But seriously, why did you do that? You could have just gave up and enjoy newly-wed life and baby…

Maybe it was wrong to be obsessive, but I started something that I liked and the music was really nice, so I gave my best shot. Sometimes you only have one chance to do it. But I wouldn’t do that again.


No?

Been there, done that. There is no point killing yourself. I don’t like obsessions or to be focus on one thing in life. To say “make demos” all life is like “I can do good demos – yes, ok but what about something else?” It’s a hobby, and in the large scheme of things it is nothing. But while you do that, it is fun… That’s why I wouldn’t go obsessively all out for 4 months now, even if I had the option.


But I think you can say that now because you already achieved it by giving everything you have for Iconoclast…

Yes, that too. I’ve climbed my own Olympus so I’m content. Even though for another person it is a silly “Olympus”.

Right now, making a demo once or twice a year is satisfying enough. I don’t think I can honestly say that I can give up because my jobs revolves around it.


I’m glad to hear that you will stay :) Is there anything you really care when you make demo?

To be as unorthodox as I can. To get my hands dirty with code and enjoy, and make a truly handmade demo without tools – because I hate demotools.


What do you mean by “dirty with code”?

To put effort, to press MANY keys, to change your mind, to struggle, to start from scratch… until you get to exactly where you want without many compromises. In other words “too much typing”.


You just said that you don’t like demotool, but then what program do you use to make?

I use Visual Studio for programming, that’s for 99% of my demo. I don’t like demotools not because I have an objective reason for doing so. Other people will disagree but it just doesn’t work for me.


What is the advantage and disadvantage of making demo without demotools? Is it more fun or more efficient?

For me it is both. I think hardcoded demos show that they are hardcoded in little details, how scenes blend into each other and optimizations. I don’t know whether it is harder or not, but I simply don’t care for demotools. Disadvantage is that you have to be a programmer to write a demo. An “artist” cannot write a hardcoded demo.


I’m not sure if I understood what hardcoding is correctly… but if you don’t use demotools, you have to build scenes and have your code ready in your head before actually typing the keyboard, because you can’t play around with camera etc? So in a very extreme example, if I lock you in a room with only a pen and notebook, you can still write and complete a demo in the notebook?

I cannot write a demo in the notebook. The code is in my head, but it is mostly wrong :) But the basics are correct. Cameras are easy. The hardest thing is to get the idea. Honestly, transferring the idea to code is not a problem, one way or another we’ll do it. But the idea… this is a problem because you want new ideas. I mean, it’s about the ambience and what you show and the effect.


When you watch effects in movies or movement in the nature, do you often find yourself figuring out how to replicate it with the code?

Hm, maybe. But it must be very unconscious because I don’t notice it! :) But it happens.


Hmm… I’m a translator, and we tend to think about subtitle while watching movie., and that’s occupational disease. Is it something like that? Programmers’ occupational disease?

Probably yes. It happens as much as with other people I guess… people of the scene do even more.


OK… so let me ask you some questions around programming. What’s the most difficult part of programming?

Pushing my code to subversioning (SVN) systems, because I can never remember my password :)


You must be joking.

There is no difficult part really. The kind of coding we do for demos are not very hard. Algorithmic code can be quite hard but I’m talking about in general. I write most of my stuff in shaders and I feel quite relaxed in there. Nothing can go wrong. Coding for demos is, generally speaking, not a problem if you know what you want to achieve and if the target is realistic.


Ok, then conversely, what is the best part or fun part of programming?

When I push my code to the SVN system, because that means I remembered my password.


Yeah yeah.

Just joking :) I’m indifferent to coding. It is just a means for my goal. It’s like saying “what is the best part of changing your pillowcase?” It is indifferent. What matters is that you’ll have a good night sleep if you change. So I’m happy when I get results, and results are colors and motion, not code. I don’t care about code, it’s ugly and unreadable.


I think I understand really well thanks to your pillowcase metaphor… :) In your opinion, what is the definition of “good code” in general?

Functional. But if you work with others, then it should be readable so that others can contribute.

Within demoscene I never share code so there is no point doing so. Actually I have to write demos fast because I forget what the hell I’m writing. It’s very convoluted in a very ugly way. But it’s very very functional.


Ugly…? Seems like quite a lot of people are checking and admiring your code on the web.

They are laughing at my code, nobody is admiring my code. But that’s ok because I do, too. It’s a work of art called “Grotesco”.


Ahahaha :) But seriously, I’ve seen many people check your work and code and say “he’s genius”… Are you a genius?

No and I would hate to be one, and I know my insignificance.


Then what do you want them to call you?

For now, I just want to be a good father and husband. To be good in the demoscene is still quite high in my priorities in life, but even if I stop today I would be happy (though I’m not going to, by the way).


So, “good coder” is enough?

Ha. I’m not a good coder! Did I mention that?


No you didn’t.

Ok, actually I’m fairly good with some things, but I still have a lot to learn. People would hire me for programming jobs but that’s based on other skills (including loyalty) not just coding. But as I said, code is a too, the means to achieve a goal. If you have enough money you can buy all of that. And as I said before, I hate “excelling over others” especially in art.


Alright. Then, if someone who is interested in learning programming seeks you advices for where to start, what do you recommend?

I would point to Processing. By the way, my daughter is 8 and she is learning programming at school! It is with a program called Scratch from MIT. Maybe there are similar programs but I think it’s quite cool that they do that.


Oh, I tried something like that the other day! It was fun, I didn’t have to write any code :) Did you already try that with your daughter?

I haven’t yet. But it’s a good idea, I can try with her tomorrow. But I would recommend Processing for adults. Every year I give a talk to school in Athens about this. And about demoscene and what they can do. The students are around 16, so hopefully one day we can get some new blood although the scene in Greece is pretty dead, as everybody has left the country sadly…


Well, I hope the Greek scene will revive one day… What do you say if your daughter wants to be a programmer?

I say “good choice”. Also, I think we need more girls doing that because it is quite uneven. I believe that is for sociological reasons, but I actually work with women programmers so she could be well-paid one too. But so far she seems to get different genes of her mother, so she likes languages more.


She’s lucky to have good teachers at home :) Okay, so let’s go back to demoscene topic and let me throw this classic and mandatory question: Tell me a demo which is special to you?

I can tell you historically: First, “Second Reality” [video] by Future Crew. Which, for me, sort of started everything. Although we’ve been already in the scene for a year or so, this was the demo which made me want to find more and more at any cost.

Then, “machines of madness” [video] by dubius from Assembly 1996. It was SO good and so ahead of my technology that it sort of made me give up for 4 years. I saw it and thought “yeah right, this is getting silly”.

In the 2000’s, among many others I can remember some: “Zoom 3” [video] by AND from Assembly 2003. Then some Fairlight demos, especially “Agenda Circling Forth” [video]. And “debris” [video] by Farbrausch, of course.

Debris was released completely out of the blue at Breakpoint 2007 and it was a BIG shock for me. On the day Debris was shown for the very first time, my daughter was born. It was a very important demo for me because we were working on our demo for Assembly at that time, and competition was fierce. But that was then, now I’m not in such competitive spirit… maybe it comes with maturity or age. In general, I’m very happy to be in the company of many many fine demo makers.


What about the demos you made?

As for ASD demos, my favourite demos are “Metamorphosis” and “Rupture”. I think Metamorphosis is our most perfect demo, and it’s very difficult to top that. Rupture is good enough, but in another level, more technical.


I personally thought Iconoclast or Lifeforce was your memorable! :) You see there are some gap like this between the creator and audience… like, you think “this is perfect” but audience reacts not as you imagined…

Ooh no no, Iconoclast or Lifeforce wouldn’t even be in my top 5. I know why they appeal but not to me. Not now at least. Actually even then, not so much. To find the materials for a demo like Metamorphosis… now this takes some time or many years. But a demo like Iconoclast, I can make a better one now, much much better. But why would I? Others can do that too and I have done it once or twice before. Effects and fillers for the sake of counting the time until the end… that’s how I really feel about these types of demo. They also eat A LOT of personal resources, all the modeling, the images, the synchro with the music… ahh… demomaking becomes a nightmare. That “hyper megademo” type… never again – I said it after Lifeforce. And with the exception of “Happiness is Around the Bend” [video] I stayed true to that. 


Can you predict audience’s reaction or likings?

I think I can predict the audience response to a fairly good extent, but then again I’ve been on Pouet (demoscene portal site) since its birth, watched all demos and read all comments, so it’s not hard. I’ve also been to parties, spoken to people etc. Just typical observation, it’s not hard.


Quite a lot of people seem to like “hyper megademo” from ASD. But you stick to your rule and their reaction doesn’t affect you?

Well, I think “let’s make something that doesn’t kill us and is still creative, people still like it, and is new”. There is no point otherwise if you don’t enjoy it. You need to enjoy the process first. Also, the audience should never know exactly what to expect and we keep true to this. We have demos from minimalistic arty-farty to more realistic to traditional megademo. So I think there are audience for everything.


But you do appreciate others’ comment even though you stick to your rule?

Of course. I appreciate comments and other people’s work. AND I appreciate talent in others. I understand that not all groups have the same capacity, but this is a fluid world, one day you are at the top of the world, the next day they feed you through a straw. So keep a cool heart and head, the mighty fall…


“Like dreams on a spring night” we say that in Japan.. Yes, indeed you have different types of demos. But somehow, I always sense rage under the calmness from your demo. I don’t know why though…

For me, a demo must have some sort of story, and there is a story in a lot of my demos. And as you say rightly, these stories are mostly about the battle of something “positive” and “negative”. Although I don’t believe there is such thing as good vs evil in the grand scheme of things (ie. Outside this world of people). The best example of that is our demo called “Violent Nature” released in 2013.


You see violence in nature, the sun eaten by black holes etc. This is violent, but at the same time it is the only way for the universe to become what it is, a place that made us (a very anthropocentric approach, but we are people watching demos, so not a problem here). So there is violence and anger behind. And people are always running away from things or worries. Very rarely it is about pure love, if it is, it’s in the face of danger (like Rupture, Midnight Run).


Come to think of it, we often see the running people in ASD’s demos... What are they trying to run away from?

From some sort of disaster or their inner demons, I suppose. It can be up to metaphysical/religious ground. I also have a thing about movies about search for God. I really appreciate them even if they only vaguely touch this subject.


Search of God… is it something like a theme that you pursue in your work?

Yes, well, the “why” (is the theme). Why is it happening this to us humans to animals/plants. And how you can escape from something, that by definition contains everything you know/understand. So you say “I don’t want this universe/life” but tough luck, there is no escape. It is simply impossible by definition. You’re stuck even if you die. This is the world of many of my demos like “Beyond the walls of Eryx” [video], “Midnight Run” and Metamorphosis. Actually, there is a seed of that quest and bitterness in most of my demos.




Ok. I always think ASD’s demo are poetic artwork. Well… speaking of artwork, I saw a video of ASD’s visuals with famous person’s music on the internet… Can I ask you a bit about this?

I have nothing but wishes for good luck for Giorgio whom I deeply admire and respect and to the good people that helped us.


According to what I’ve read somewhere, you also found out about this by watching it online. What did you think about when you first saw it?

Flattery, I suppose. Then I wondered who gave the permission and if there was a mistake that was made. When I read the credits… anger?


You don’t sound angry at all! As a big fan of this demo, I felt the world of "Spin" [video] is tainted and I was so angry that I couldn’t do anything properly for a whole day! I really hope things like this is never happening again!

Yes, but the case has been settled and I have no further comments to make on this.


Ok, I should calm down. But I’m glad to know that it’s settled. But if saw that video without knowing demoscene, I would have searched “ASD” :) Out of curiosity, if someone asks you to make new one for them, will you do it?

I won’t do a demo for a third party, more so without aMUSiC.


OK, I’m sorry for making you answer these sensitive questions. I shall go back to the demoscene topic… You explained how it was like when your daughter was born and you said you’re no longer that competitive. You’ve been in demoscene for a long time, and has your attitude/relationship toward demoscene changed over time?

More or less yes, although I don’t think my daughter has something to do with that. Maybe it’s just a part of growing older, and not caring too much about ephemeral things.


“Ephemeral things” like what?

Like winning cups, parties… that’s ephemeral.


Again, to me that sounds like words from the top. You can say that because you experience it, otherwise it may sound like a bit sour-grapey… :) Then, is there any “permanent things” – things that hasn’t been changed over this 20+ years of your demoscene life?

I suppose the thing that seems to be permanent is the excitement when making something from nothing with friends and presenting to the big world and the party.


You said writing codes is a means to achieve goal. Writing codes and making demo is a means to express yourself?

Yes, maybe that’s the easiest way for me to express myself.


Ok, thank you. So we’re in spring, which is a demomaking season for ASD. Are you making something?

I’m writing a demo for Assembly. I’m planning to go there this year.


That is so nice, you come back to Assembly! I visited last year, and I was really happy to be there.

Yeah it’s good, it will be the 7th time for me. You know it was my dream to go there one day since 1993, when I was a teenager. So I made my childhood dream a reality, because for me it was like Xanadu, the place of dreams. Assembly, not just any party. There were others and probably bigger party (like The Party) but Assembly was where Future Crew and the first batch of 4Ks are released. And Finland was exotic if you lived in Greece. 


And after all these years, Assembly is still special place for you?

Very special. There is much to do there outside the compo. BBQs and speaking to people and many memories. We’ve had a lot of fun. And since I know many people and many more know me, it’s always busy. It is summer, the day is long, you’re on holidays, sleeping on the floor… it’s all fun. Like we’re 20 again.


That sounds so nice. Last year I was shocked to see that venue was mainly covered with kids playing games but really happy to know that they put emphasis on demo compo.

The kids will always be there, they pay the bill.


Hahaha, oh, then we should be very kind to them :)

I don’t think they will turn it into gaming event, as long as we make the prods.


That’s great to know. Is everything going fine with your new demo?

The demo I’m making now for Assembly, I think people will like it. It is “non-photorealistic” as we say, quite dreamlike. What is left in the end, the best part I hope.


I very much look forward to that! OK, then finally a message for fellow sceners and demo fans out there please!

You’re a really nice bunch of people, and I’m happy to be part of it.


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Though Navis was very busy with his work and coming up productions, he kindly took some time and answering many questions. Thank you so much, Navis! Hope I didn’t steal much from your precious demo making time! :)

If you want to check ASD’s demo, be sure to check their website. And back in 2010, Navis was publishing “Makings” blog for “Happiness is around the bend”. You can check his inspirations in this interview too. He also shares his demomaking approach in this video (this was Breakpoint 2008 seminar). Oh, and his self-claimed “Grotesco” work is here


Thank you very much for reading this till end! :)

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- In case you’re wondering what “demo” or “demoscene” is, better check out the well-made documentary called Moleman2.  (and the director, M. Szilárd Matusik's interview can be read in here.)

#1: Interview with Demoscener: q from nonoil/gorakubu is here.
#2: Interview with Demoscener: Gargaj from Conspiracy, Ümlaüt Design is here.
#3: Interview with Demoscener: Preacher from Brainstorm, Traction is here.
#4: Interview with Demoscener: Zavie from Ctrl-Alt-Test is here.
#5: Interview with Demoscener: Smash from Fairlight is here.
#6: Interview with Demoscener: Gloom from Excess, Dead Roman is here.
#7: Interview with Demoscener: kioku from System K is here.
#8: Interview with Demoscener: kb from Farbrausch is here.
#9: Interview with Demoscener: iq from RGBA is here.

For some of my posts related to “demo and “demoscene” culture is here.



2 comments:

  1. Thanks a lot! You are awesome interviewer!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi gravisus ! Thanks so much for your sweet message! :)

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