assembly2009.png[We've tried to feature the demoscene on GameSetWatch in the past, but we're delighted to announce a column from Paul 'EvilPaul' Grenfell from AteBit, who created the GSW-adored Pimp My Spectrum, among others. His first piece goes through results - with lots of video links - to this year's Assembly demoparty in Finland, in which Paul's 'Transform' 64k intro actually took first place, yay.]

Assembly is the largest combined demo and LAN party in the demoscene calendar, held every August in Helsinki's Hartwall ice hockey arena.

I've picked out some of the best entries from this year's competitions for you - which span categories as diverse as fitting your entire production into a 4kb or 64kb space, all the way to much bigger real-time demo categories and even

4K Intro

4096 bytes doesn't allow much space for graphics, music and everything else that goes up to make a demo but the 4k scene continues to impress. This year's competition had several great entries. Abstract shapes are definitely in right now but natural forms and environments are also gaining in popularity. I strongly suspect that this is due to the influence of the epic Elevated 4k demo released earlier in the year.

Muon Baryon by Youth Uprising & Ümlaüt Design & Outracks

Interestingly, the source code for this demo has been released. This would be a good starting point for anyone thinking of trying their hand at coding their own 4k demo.

dollop by SQNY

Deepness by Unknown Artists

64K Intro

The 64k competition has a size limit of 65536 bytes. Demos entered this year were strong and provided much more variety than we've seen recently. The mix included good Flash and ANSI Art-based demos as well as the expected hi-tech entries.

Transform by ate bit

Proof of Concept by Evoflash

Not the first ever 64k Flash demo, but definitely the first that can compete with the style and content of the PC 64k scene.

Hotel Bar Heroes by Portal Process

Oldskool Demo Competition

The Oldskool Demo competition is open to all platforms that were commonly available by 1992.

Assembly's Oldskool competition hasn been in decline for a few years now. Their choice to group both 8 and 16 bit computers into the same competition has also made it a difficult one to judge. Groups seem to be choosing to release at dedicated oldskool parties like Forever and LCP instead.

3.5 inches is enough by Unreal Voodoo

The winner of the competition and my firm favorite. The demo is written for a Mac Classic - an 8mhz machine from the early 90s, with a monochrome display.

Demo Competition

Assembly's demo competition once again provided us with some eye-popping treats.

Frameranger by Fairlight & orange & Carillon & Cyberiad

A stunning demonstration of cutting-edge rendering techniques, good design, great style, fast cars and fighting robots.

The golden path by United Force & Digital Dynamite

Wrath by matt current

The Flow by znah

One simple effect and a refreshing choice of classical music make up this beautiful alternative to the high-tech designs of the other demos from this competition.

Short Film Competition

The short film category showcases more traditional animation and film-making techniques. The competition usually includes a large percentage of live action shorts - not something the average demoscener is interested in - but there are always at least a few entries that they can warm to.

There'll be balls by Kouvola Krew

Heath Robinson would be proud of this one.

Subtle Confusion by Pistoke

No 1/2-bit Cheese this year, but luckily Pistoke stepped in to provide us with this stylish and humorous CG animation.

Sentience by Bad Loop

Wild Demo Competition

The Wild Demo category include demos written on computer platforms that don't fit into any of the other main categories.

C0D3R C0L0RZ by Throb & T-Rex

Starting off as a homage to 2007's stunning Debris, this Nintendo DS demo soon moved on to showcase the creators' talents as well as their sense of humor. For reference, the term "coder colors" describes any colour scheme chosen by a coder rather than an artist. Think bright, eye-melting colour combinations rather than subtle or complimentary ones. The primary red, green and blue colours in this demo are a perfect example of the phenomenon.

Severity Of Grey by Evoflash

Not content with coming 2nd in the 64k competition, Evoflash also gave us this larger Flash demo in the Wild competition.

In Conclusion

These are just my top picks from this year's party, but of course there were many more. If you fancy checking out the other releases then you can find most of them (over 70 at the last count!) on Pouet.net.

As with all demoscene releases, you are strongly encouraged, wherever possible, to download the binaries and run them on your computer for the best experience. Just be aware that you'll need a monster PC to run the winners of the Demo and 4k competitions at a good framerate! ;)

[Paul Grenfell is a UK based video game programmer by day, but by night he becomes evilpaul - head of the demogroup "Ate Bit". He loves showing people what the demoscene has to offer and occasionally he blogs about his own demos on evilpaul.org.]