2016/07/01

[Good evening Friday] July, Summer Sky, Lemonade, Books, SPF50


July is here, it’s summer. Or at least early summer is here.


I start listening to the music which gives me the summer mood; something which makes me imagine the breezy driving along the blue sea… because this won’t happen in my real life.  I don’t like heat and there’s no blue sea nearby. I don’t even remember the last time I saw the real sea (the one from the airplane counts? or that’s more like sky)

Weather forecast says we’re gonna have nearly 35c days from this weekend. So I guess it’s time to start my summer rituals: Stay in and avoid sun and heat. Actually it’s a great season to read and watch movies…



The Sea and Cake is something I enjoy listening during warm weather... and this video is just. So summerly. Something I won't/didn't do but enjoy imagining what the real summer is like... :)

Have a great summer!




2016/06/08

[Good evening Wednesday] singularity


I saw a short Japanese reportage about AI called AlphaGo (Google DeepMind) the other day: How it works, difference from the previous AI model, and how the games with a human top player went. It was impressive, but it scares me, as it should.


modern age pillow talk

2016/05/04

[Good evening Wednesday] Visual or Aural


Back in my university days, I took a test to figure out whether I rely more on visual or aural information. I forgot the exact ratio, but I found out that I had a strong tendency to capture information from audio rather than visuals.

This test was part of teaching methodology class, and it was about to give effective teaching materials by understanding student’s cognitive tendency. If the student’s visual, it’s more effective to use pictures. And if they’re aural, it’s better to use listening CD. And if they’re balanced? …I forgot, but probably video would be effective (because they can get both equally… right?)

Obviously this test was simplified version since they don’t include other tendency like verbal or kinetic but to know whether you’re visual, aural or balanced, it’ll help you when you learn something. I couldn’t find this test anywhere, but I guess it’s not that hard to know your type when you pay attention to your behavior or thinking process. When you recall something do you see image or words in your mind? or hear something?

I give you an example. There was an old workmate of mine who’s trying to learn Japanese. He said he had been listening Japanese conversation CD but it really didn’t work. After having meetings with Japanese people, he often said “I’m probably not blessed with language skills…”

However, when we were walking outside, he frequently pointed out the store sign with Japanese kanji characters and checked if he understood its meaning correctly. It was very accurate that I had to ask why he knew much. And he revealed that he enjoyed looking at the Kanji picturebook which he originally bought for his kid... And... you know what I’m trying to say.

To me, it was clear that he was visual. He was capable of reading and handling complex charts easily and explain things by drawing. And he paints well too.

We say “I know myself very well” In a way, yes. But in a way, no, not really.

So… which type are you?


Now listening: "Pipoca" 
(Hermeto Pascoal must be extremely or fully aural... :D )





2016/04/08

2016/03/16

Whisper #417-424


#417

Was that a violet you gave me?



#418


#419
No one wants to be categorized as “one of them”
that's what you mean, I understand
because I feel the same

But you just did that to me


#420
I wanted to be heard, too.
Just like you wanted.

#421
So hear me, this is what I wanted to say:


#422
Right now, nothing makes me more insecure than James Bay's skinny jeans.


#423
this isn't a coincidence, is it?
i'm asking you here.

#424
Say it in whisper, not on twitter.





2016/02/29

Tokyo Demo Fest 2016


Last weekend, I visited Tokyo Demo Fest 2016. Here are some photos from the events!

先週末の20日、21日は、東京・秋葉原近くで開催された「Tokyo Demo Fest 2016」に参加してきました。そんなわけで、会場で撮ってきた写真をちょこっとだけご紹介します!


TDF marked its 6th time! and this year it was held at the new place called “3331 Arts Chiyoda” close to Akihabara. The building used to be an junior high school, and it has nice café and stores on the first floor, and the second floor was art gallery. (Each classroom was turned into a space for one artists… what a smart way to use classrooms!) Many events were going on at the same time as TDF, so there were a lot of people!

Tokyo Demo FestTDF)は、今年で6回目の開催!今年は前回までと異なり、秋葉原近くの「3331 Arts Chiyoda」という会場で行われました。この会場、もとは区立の中学校だったそうで、1階には素敵なお店やカフェスペースがあり、2階はアートギャラリーになっていました。(アーティストごとに1つの教室を使って展示をやっているのが、とてもスマートだなぁ!と思いました。ちょっと文化祭チックでもあるし!) この週末はTDF以外にもいろんなイベントが行われていたので、会場はたくさんの人であふれていました。



(Left) On its second floor. Now you get the sense that it used to be a school. Nostalgia… TDF info desk is at the far end of this hallway.
(Right) Tokyo Demo Fest was held in its Sports hall. (It was quite funny to see the people giving seminars under the basketball goal hoop… :) Comparing with the venue of previous years (café), it’s really getting closer to the look of European demoparties… isn’t it?

(左) これが2階。この廊下を全速力で走る在りし日の中学生の姿が浮かんでくるようです。(しかしなぜ若者は直線の通路を見ると走り出したくなるのか) この廊下の突き当たりがTDFの受付です。
(右) こちらが会場となった体育館。体育館ということで、セミナーがバスケゴールの下で行われているのを見るのがなんだか面白かったです(笑) 昨年までのカフェでの開催と比べると、本場ヨーロッパで開催されるデモパーティーの雰囲気にぐぐぐっと近づいているように思いました。最初は会議室で開催されていたと聞いていたので、6回目でこの成長ペースは本当にすごい!


(Left) Zavie from Ctrl-Alt-Test, one of the organizers and also a chef here. He made a pile of crepes (literally) and served us by adding some fillings… It was tasty stuff and I was camping in front of it. :D Thanks, Zavie-san!

(Right) The new venue allowed guests to bring in food and drinks. And there was a table for freebies: someone (hole-san?) started beers and other people joined in, I heard. Snacks, pizza, drinks, sushi… it’s such a great and fun idea! Will this table become a tradition of Japanese demoparty?

(左) デモグループ「Ctrl-Alt-Test」のコーダーであり、TDFのオーガナイザーの1人であり、今回はシェフも務めてくださったZavieさんです。Zavieさんは、出身地のスペシャリテでもあるクレープを、それこそ本当に山のように作ってきてくださり、その場で好きなジャムなどを挟んで振る舞ってくださいました。おいしかった!Zavieさん、ありがとうございます!

(右) 新しい会場では、食べ物飲み物を持ち込むことができるようになっていました。いきなりさすがのアイデアだなー!と驚いたのは、「フリーフード・テーブル」とでも呼ぶのか、このテーブルの上のものはご自由にどうぞ、というコーナーができていたこと。聞いたところによれば、どなたか(holeさん?)が最初にビールを置いたことから始まって、お菓子やピザ、お寿司、ドリンク各種などなど、みなさんが持ち寄ってできたコーナーだそうです。これは日本のデモパーティーの伝統として続いていくのかしら、、(これは日本じゃなきゃ成り立たない文化のようにも思う、、笑) パーティーっぽさを盛り上げているコーナーに見えました。


It was obvious that the number of guests are growing (does this mean Japanese demoscene is growing too?) and there were quite a lot of demosceners coming outside of Japan. On the left, it’s Velo and Cryptic from Approximate. About 10 people were coming from Sweden, and there’s this Swedish table at TDF venue :) Velo said he’ll write a party report, so we’ll look forward to it!
 On the right, it’s Navis from ASD! He gave a seminar about his new demo released at this party. He was visiting Tokyo with his family, and it was really nice to see them all at the party place! Yokoso Japan!

会場が大きくなったことからも参加者が増えたことが伺えますが、実際、TDFには日本全国からだけでなく、海外からも多くのデモシーナーが集まっていました。写真左は、大作64K作品の『Gaia Machina』でおなじみ、ApproximateVeloさんとCrypticさん。スウェーデンから10人ぐらいのグループでやって来たそうで、TDFの一角がスウェーデンコーナーになっていました。(Veloさんが「今回のTDFのパーティーレポートを書くよ」と話していましたので、楽しみにしていましょう!)
写真右は、デモシーンで知らない人はいないであろうASDAndromeda Software Development)のコーダー、Navisさん。ご家族で東京を訪れていたそうです。セミナーではTDFでリリースしたデモの制作についてお話されていました。


(Right) Amiga chocolate I got at the entrance...
(右) 受付でいただいたAmigaチロルチョコ。かわいい。

2nd stage BOSS” by 0x4015&YET11
TDF2016 Combined Demo Compo 1st

こちらは、Combined Demo Compo部門の優勝作品。これで4KB


Really cool works were released at this party, and you should check with your eyes! You can check all the releases and give comments to creators at Pouet. And for seminars, I heard that recorded video will be published later, so be sure to check TDF website or Twitter for the updates. (You can also follow the excitement of this party by checking the hashtag #TokyoDemoFest on Twitter :)

For everyone I met at the party, it was all nice seeing you! And organizers who made this happen, thank you so much for the great time!


→ For demoscene related posts including past TDF reports and interviews are here.

今年のTDFでも、素晴らしい作品がたくさんリリースされていました!ぜひご自身の目でご確認ください!リリース作品は、PouetのリンクからYouTubeでチェックしたり、作品をダウンロードして見ることができます。(そしてコメントも残せます!) セミナーは、録画されたものが後ほど公開されると聞いたので、TDFのウェブサイトTwitterで最新情報をチェックしてみてください。また、Twitterでもたくさんツイートが飛び交っていたので、「#TokyoDemoFest」のハッシュタグで追いかけてみると会場の興奮の様子がわかって面白いと思います!

TDFでお会いした皆さま、そしてTDFのオーガナイザーの皆さま、楽しい時間をどうもありがとうございました!

→ 過去に参加したTDFのレポートやデモシーナーへのインタビューなど、デモシーン関連の投稿はこちらをご覧ください



2016/01/15

Interview with Demoscener – Cryptic (Approximate)


Welcome to the Interview with Demosceners.
This time, we welcome Cryptic, a coder of Swedish demogroup Approximate!

In this interview, Cryptic reveals how their latest work was born, why he likes to make 64k demo and how to tackle the stress before deadline… and so much more!

Happy reading! :)



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First of all, could you please introduce yourself briefly?


Photo by Cryptic

My name is Jonas Fredriksson, known as Cryptic in the demoscene. I'm a member of Approximate, a small demogroup currently consisting of me and our musician Velo. My main responsibilities are code, graphics and design.


I watched your latest release “Small matters of the heart” on Revision streaming last year (video is here). That was really beautiful! When did you start working on that demo? And how did it happen?




I’d worked on the technology on and off in my spare time without any clear direction since we finished “Gaia Machina” final version in the beginning of 2014. The actual start of this intro was probably after I talked to BoyC of Conspiracy about having a real 64k showdown at Revision. Basically it was to increase interest in PC 64k scene which had kind of lagged behind PC demo and PC 4k categories in recent years (with a few wonderful exceptions by demogroups such as Mercury, Brain Control to mention a few). So we decided to have something ready for Revision 2015.


And how did it go? Everything went smoothly?

In the end it turned out to be both good and bad thing. For the good parts, it gave us the deadline we needed to get something completed, and it was wonderful to see such a good 64k compo at Revision. But we would probably have needed another 1 month or so (with work, real life etc. getting in the way) to fix some technical issues and getting the design to the level that we were comfortable with.


So you had some different plan?

I had an idea of making something more plot-driven since I was hoping the graphics would match up. But in the end, we had to put together all the animations, stories etc. in a too short time span and had several bugs (mostly caused by me not being able to push all the shaders we wanted into 64k, combined with the graphics we wanted). This had a severe impact on the graphics quality as well as the time we needed for the story refinement.

So on the one hand I am glad that we released and that it was such a great compo, but on the other hand I felt that Gaia Machina was much more stable in terms of tech, story and design (even in its party version).


Oh really? Well, speaking of “Gaia Machina”, I’ve read that you started to work on that in 2009 and released in 2012. And its final version was released in 2014. It’s almost 5 years! And you didn’t release any other demos during this period… you never felt like “oh, I want to make something else!”? How could you keep your motivation for so long?

Mainly because it’s such an interesting hobby :) But as it is a hobby other things tends to get in the way, which means that I do not have as much time as I would like to spend on demo coding. And yeah, I do get that feeling to do other things as well, when it happens I go and do those and come back to demo coding a while later.

So it’s not that I have spent my whole time between 2009 and 2012 on demo coding, but it’s rather an on and off thing. One of the main reasons for the delay happening between Gaia Machina (party version) release in 2012 and its final version release in 2014 was because of the very sad passing away of our group member Meaty in 2012.



I’m sorry to hear that, yes I saw his name was credited at the beginning of the final version…
I felt that a story plays the key role in your demo, but you have whole story ready before you start coding? Do you keep your ideas in a notebook or something?

The development process has mainly been technology driven and the story has come along as I start creating graphics, and then we get fleshed out a bit more from that. I do write down/draw some of the stuff I come up with but not as much as I should. Instead I play around with my 64k tool. :-)

For Gaia Machina, the main story arc was really simple and clean so I could build the effects and mood out of that. In the case of Small matters of the heart, I was still not done with refining the story when we had to release, which to me is quite annoying since it turned into such a story driven intro.


Then what is Approximate’s general demomaking process? Music first? Title first? Could you explain to us a bit more?

In the past we started with the technology. I worked on 64k code and graphics and Meaty worked on the synth code. We have always tried but never succeeded in having an iterative process between music and graphics, even though we have planned to do that for quite some time. In the case of Gaia Machina, the music was completed at the party. So I spent a lot of time before the deadline to adapt the graphics to the music.

For Small matters of the heart, we had a bit more time before the party since Velo had a test version some weeks before the release. Although that time I was a bit caught up in trying to finish the code and story in time to actually sync the music properly. When it comes to the title, it has historically been decided a couple of hours before the deadline.


And where do you get the inspiration for the demos?

Most of ideas come when I’m biking, walking in nature or travelling to somewhere. The times when I get new impressions are when I am not actually using my computer but just let the mind wander.


Do you do anything particular while working on the demo? Listening music, drinking beers…

When it comes to actual coding and design process, I always listen to music while I’m working. I kind of need it. I feel I do the best coding late at night when you are all alone with some really good music and can just be completely “in the zone” without any risk of interruption. Beer is mostly used when we do brainstorming about new ideas or are stressed before demoparty deadlines :-)


Haha, so you start the party a bit earlier than everyone else :) What program do you use to make demo? Do you use your own tool?

For 64k development we are using a tool I have developed from the ground up based on C++ and OpenGL, that allows easy editing of contents such as textures, meshes, scenes, lighting, shaders etc. as well as optimising the data to please the packer. For music we have been using Meaty’s Mapprox synth that have a VST interface, which we usually use in combination with Renoise.


You’ve been releasing quite a many 64K demos. Why? What’s the appeal in 64k?

I love making 64k since they for me have the perfect tradeoff between size limits and design freedom. I can sit and do design quite freely in a tool and it’s easier to avoid that sterile math feeling that is so easy to get in with 4k. I also enjoy making the tools themselves, and 64k tools are pretty fun to make.


64k demo "ephemera" by Approximate (2009)


So you like 64k from making its tool… wow :) By the way, how do you get into the programming field?

I have always been interested in graphics and design. I found out quite early that it was more fun to create my own games than to play what others have made. And then I found out that the most fun part of the game programming was graphics programming and I have been stuck with it since then.


And when and how did you discover demoscene?

I was introduced to the demoscene in mid-90s. My first contact with the scene was through various cracktros that I watched, then being introduced to modules and Fast Tracker 2 and programming tutorials by sceners. I also read about the demoscene and demoparties in various computer magazines, especially the computer magazine “Tekno”. The first party I attended was Compusphere 1997 held in my hometown.


Ok, then shall we go on to this classic question? Your favorite demo, memorable demo, demo that changed your life… anything. Tell us a demo which is special to you.

The demo production that has affected me the most is probably “fr-08: .the .product” [video] by Farbrausch since that was what triggered my interest in 64k scene. I thought it was amazing when I first saw it and I got so inspired by reading the “making of” that I could not stop thinking about creating my own 64k. Other 64k that have also inspired me are “Project Genesis [video] by Conspiracy, “Paradise [video] by Rgba, “Zoom 3” [videoby AND, “Panic Room [video] by Fairlight and many others.

When it comes to demos, I love the flow in Andromeda Software Development’s demos where effects just blend together without any cuts, for example like in “Lifeforce [video]. Another demo that gave a great inspiration when creating Gaia Machina was “Sunflower [video] by Pulse. I really loved the atmosphere in that demo when it came out.


You know the scene back from cracktros, and I believe that’s quite a long time. Why do you like this culture? What is demo and demoscene to you?

For me it’s the combination of technology and art that fits me perfectly. I have always been interested in both so it’s the perfect subculture for me. You also get to hang out with a lot of really talented people and you feel like you are constantly pushing yourself forward and evolving.


What type of demo do you want to make in the future? Is there any dream or goal you want to achieve in the scene?

I would love to do something more abstract with great audio sync. I loved the demo “Artifacts” [video] by illogictree and I would love to do something like that. Other than that I guess I’ll just see when I get inspired by.

Currently I’m trying to teach myself sound and music programming since I would love to get a better understanding of that part of the scene. I will probably only understand the math part of it but it’s fun to explore and Velo can have a go at whatever comes out of that process in forms of synthesizers, audio experiments etc. and maybe have something ready when we visit Tokyo Demo Fest 2016. I have never been to Japan so I’m really looking forward to it.


I’m glad to know that you’ll be coming to Japan :) And, finally your message for demosceners and demo fans out there please.

Just keep making the stuff you love doing and socialize with other sceners. The demoscene is such a great place for musicians, graphic artists and coders to exchange ideas and understand each other's perspectives and work processes. I also hope to see a lot of you at Tokyo Demo Fest or Revision.

And finally I also have to mention to be on the lookout for updates on the demoparty Edison which Velo and friends organize, usually sometime in July. A relatively small but really nice demoparty in Stockholm, Sweden.


--------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you for answering the questions while you’re super busy, Cryptic!

If you want to see Approximate’s work, check out their website and Pouet page. And if you are on Facebook, you may want to like their FB page to receive updates :)

And, Cryptic and Velo have shared their Making-of “GaiaMachina” on Hugi (diskmag – demoscene magazine). In this article, they explain more insight around the demo in chronological order. Better check this if you love this demo :)


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


----------------------------------------------------------------------

- 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.
#10: Interview with Demoscener: Navis from Andromeda Software Development is here.
#11: Interview with Demoscener: Pixtur from Still, LKCC is here.


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



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