[review #8: every solid has six faces..................]
History of cubes into the demoscene

Who wouldn't like a cube like this shattering in his backyard?
"In the beginning, there was The Cube".
No, it's not another Transformers' incipit.

History of 3d in demoscene probably begins with just one, lo-res, jagged rotating cube at the exact center of the screen, for minutes, hours. Its movement is the familiar one of an object that moves with equal increments on every axis, unavoidably falling in a Gimbal lock after a few hundreds of iterations.

There is a moment, in the scene, when putting a cube on the screen means building an high fence between the other groups and the circle of the ones that "have 3d" in their productions. Once "the cube" is conquered, the only thing left is proposing it in every possible fashion: the bouncing cube, the glenz cube, a cube with and without a scroller, the cube with faces too clearly made of triangles and so on.

This theory of cubes suddenly ends in a day of August 1993, when in the lukewarm Helsinki a group that made history ("are you from the Future Crew or you are just wearing their t-shirt?") brings on the megascreen of Assembly *the* cube. It's big. It pops up from the bottom of the screen, from nowhere, in the magnificency of "surround" sound. The background is black, and the cube's faces are made of plasma.
After 2nd Reality's cube, the life of every scener wouldn't be the same anymore.

Clearly, the use of cubes in demos won't end here, but, for a while, the scene will adopt another more rounded solid as the symbol of its subculture (see "toroid"), just until everybody would wake up from a wet dream, realizing that everyone is using toruses and the demos are a neverending orgy of donuts.

'self mapping', whatever that means
So the hexafaceted beings are forgotten for a long time in the scene, but some reminiscences continue to appear in sporadic apparitions:

- The recursive cube of Astro, the legendary Astroidea's intro. Its apparition is memorable for two aspects: the six-faced solid has on its parietal walls a mystic (for that time) AMD cpu ("intel outside") and every face magically represents the previous iteration of the cube itself, in a recursion that gives dizziness and vertigo to the audience. The cube can't disappear differently than drowning in the magnificence of an anthology checkerboard-tunnel.

- The voxel cube of Reanim8r: the second most overrated demo in history has a section that was common at that time (1995 circa): the "object show". But this time, the proposed shaders are much more complicated than the old "fake-phong" and gouraud lighting: we go from alpha-channel glenz to multi-light bumpmapping. And in the middle of this tech-show, it appears: it's the voxel-cube, the extreme incarnation of the phoenix of the scene; you hardly can recognize it as a cube, maybe the routine isn't perfect, but the cube has again its lapse of glory.

The superfurry voxel cube
- The magnet-cube of Elektroniks by Doomsday: in a demo that stations on one of the last steps of the stair that brings to hardware acceleration, the honorable placement as last-effect is reserved to the incarnation of a leitmotiv that goes through the whole demo: "where pressure is higher, head explodes". Doomsday are prone to slogan-based demos (you can't be called a scener if you don't know that "it's easy to score in Portugal").

The hardcore coders can easily spot that the magnet-cube of Doomsday has much more than six faces. The others just remain with the doubt of what really nests under the skin of the unstable solid.

What's under those six faces?
But, apart from this rare citations, in the late 2000 the cubes return from the parallel dimension where they have been relegated.

The propitious occasion is Breakpoint 2007. That scene is properly farb-raush-ish: the backyard of any building of a modern city. The atmosphere is surreal and desert as in Kasparov. In the middle of the backyard a shiny cube is floating in his majesty. The faces reflect the sun that is going down. And suddenly, the hundreds, thousands of cubes forgotten by the Scene are coming out: they were there, in front of our eyes, and we just didn't see. They simply compose the volume of the cube that was spinning at the center of the screen seconds before, as in a 1990 Amiga demo, and, before they shatter onto the asphalt, they remind us the real soul of the scene, the matter of which dreams are made.

posted by friol at 3/10/2008 11:50:00 PM - under: , , - comments? here (2)

2 commenti:

Arpz ha detto...

Really enjoyed this post and the rest of the blog. I also really enjoyed the 'object show' moments in some of the older demos, or perhaps, the '8 bobs!' '16 Bobs!' '32 Bobs!' 'INFINITE BOBS!!!' of the Amiga times. I think it was nice to be able to get a description of what you were seeing, in a sense there was only one way to better a demo proclaiming infinite bobs, and that wasn't stylistically, but to simply create a demo with infinity X 2 bobs....

Anonimo ha detto...
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