[Intros that defined the 64k genre..........................]
Choose zero demotools and shaders

There was an era when demotools were not needed to create a mindblowing intro, an era when 2D effects outnumbered 3D effects, sounds were not realtime generated but sampled, scene poetry was scene poetry and progress bars were made of ASCII characters. In that era the PC scene broke its Amiga roots and assumed its own shape.

This is a trip through that period and its milestones we still remember now, 15 years from there.

Symbology - Admire (1993)

Quite nice Admire logo
This intro turns pale if compared to modern productions, but at its time it was a breakthrough.
The 64k format wasn't perfectly consolidated (this intro weights 75kb, in fact), but intros up to 1993 had always shown quite static scenes and repeated the same cliches ad infinitum: multicolour plasmas, 3D starfields, shadebobs.
Symbology, instead, makes a technological step forward: it shows 3D scenes and a free camera, and an embrional but vivid "story".
The plasma-cube eaten by the landscape-wormhole is epical.

Drift - Wildlight (1995)

Shadows and floating typography
Everybody remembers Drift.

Drift shows some youth errors (full blue is a coder-colour, the 3D-julia is a nerdy and old effect), but the use of shadows and the (generated) music create an unpreceded episode. There are not toroids or ducks in this intro, but objects with a well-defined personality.

The end credits make you shiver still today.

Lasse Reinbøng - Cubic team (1995)

Eat more cough drops
Lasse Reinbøng suffers from its "german" fingerprints (see the lack of coherence in some elements and the kitchy typography), but at its time the number of scenes enclosed in 64kb and the seamless transitions surely hit the scene.

The quantity of simultaneous rotozoomers in one of the first parts impressed everybody, running at full framerate on a 486.

Supermax - Complex (1996)

The beautiful colours of Supermax
Supermax is the intro that helped the scene break the 256 colours barrier.

A bunch of shiny spotlights and an extremely realistic bump mapping are enough to create a sci-fi mood. This time Complex needs no 3D scenes, no strange effects, only the title, some four fingers melody and a breathtaking typograpy.

Paper - Psychic Link&Acme (1996)

2D has been never so three-dimensional
It's the first intro with a central "theme" (paper, indeed) instead of the usual effects sticked together.

Some moments, like the 2D drawing that comes to life and gains the third dimension, or the paper planes that fly along some splines at the end, are unforgettable still today.

Legend says that sceners at Wired '96 continued to build and throw paper planes for hours after seeing this intro.

Famous cyber people - Pulse (1996)

That's the eye of Mordor, isn't it?
Pulse show some Orange influence in this really peculiar intro.
Famous Cyber People doesn't impress for the variety of effects (at the end it's made of variations on the same one) or for the 3D models (during the whole 64k, only one is shown, and it's almost hidden), but for the beauty of music, pixeled images and chromatic choice.

The 2D bumped tunnel is something organic and threatening.

Deesbab - Orange (1996)

I can see the earth spinning
Orange, instead, cite themselves.
The constellations and alien sounds of Deesbab create in a few seconds an unique and inimitable atmosphere. We'll find echoes of this intro in masterpieces like Bjoer or Viagra, or in anything else, up to the SQNY productions. The makers of Bjoer (TPOLM) will negate the similarities with Deesbab, but it's like negating a portrait owes something to the Mona Lisa.

Drain - Vista (1997)

Scene poetry in full effect
It's the official sanctification of scene poetry.
Despite its low resolution, Drain doesn't look out of place if compared to modern intros. The number of effects, each one different from the others, is elevated. The technical mastery of the medium is impressive (there are a few intros with sound for GUS and Soundblaster).
Scenes are clean and linear, but evocative.
The cut between the purple free directional planes and the lens flare at the end is flawless.

Spotlite - Funk (1997)

A tree between the shadows
Funk makes the final ascent to the peak of software rendered 3D.
The scenes, if watched nowadays, have a really slow pace, but the spotlight of the title made people scream for a miracle. Even for modern intros, it's rare seeing a similar level of detail in object illumination.

It's strange that from a kitchen (where legend says that Digisnap, the coder, wrote this beauty) comes one of the most advanced intros of the last millennium.

And as a final gift, daTunnel has packed those 8 intros in a nice demozip. Watch it with Dosbox and imagine 1993 is here again.

posted by friol at 4/22/2010 10:33:00 PM - under: , , - comments? here (3)

the Tunnel - demoscene blog(c) friol 2o18