[In the latest of an occasional series of demoscene-related posts on GameSetWatch, AteBit's Paul 'EvilPaul' Grenfell checks out the results of the historical final Breakpoint demo party in Germany, presenting a plethora of great demos and intros.]

This year's Breakpoint demoparty took place between April 2nd and 5th in the sleepy town of Bingen, Germany. Started back in 2003, Breakpoint has been the scene of some amazing parties and the birth place of many truly memorable demos and competitions. It's also witnessed more than its fair share of general drunken antics, performed by the hundreds of demosceners that descend on the town each year.

With almost 300 works being released at the party this year, it's going to be hard to cover all areas. The competition categories ranged from Freestyle Graphics to the PC Demo competition, and touched on pretty much everything else inbetween.

Here, I'm going to focus on the main demo categories and show you some of my favorites from the party. If you are interested, then I encourage you to visit Pouet where you can now get hold of most of the other competition entries.

And, as always, I'd thoroughly recommend that you try and download a few of your own favorites and run them natively on the original PC or other computer (as opposed to just viewing a video) to experience them as they were intended.

PC Demo

Breakpoint's main demo competition didn't disappoint this year, with an impressive 23 entries in the category. The winner from Fairlight and CNCD is an absolute stunner:

Agenda Circling Forth by Fairlight & Carillon & Cyberiad

Everything you see in this demo is created by particles running on the GPU. You can read a detailed description of how it was put together on a blog post from one of the authors.

The rest of the competition entries were more standard fare, but included some nice work from the likes of Farbrausch and United Force & Digital Dynamite. Two of my favorites sat further down the results though, in sixth and tenth place respectively:

Vokawardoai by Satori

Satori have been around since 1995 but have been quiet for the past few years. This trippy software rendered demo (yes, that's right, software, not GPU rendering) is their first demoscene release since 2007.

Shiny New Plastic by Holon

Stylish music and visuals in this Java demo from Holon. This is only their second ever demoscene release.

PC 64k

Once again, the PC 64k competition suffers from a lack of great entries - in fact there were only 8 entries in the category in total. There were certainly a few good releases though, including the winner from TGGC, CodingCat and BluFlame:

Imagine by TGGC & CodingCat & BluFlame

I also like the third placed entry from Floppy, which comes wrapped in a classic "early noughties 64k" style package:

Bremen by Floppy

PC 4k

It used to be that 64k demos were some of the most impressive things released each year, while the 4k category got very little love. With the introduction of more powerful GPU shader languages, though, 4k is fast becoming the new 64k. Demogroups now seem to be much more interested in making these tiny demos (or moving straight up to the main demo category) and bypassing the mid-sized 64k category altogether.

This year at Breakpoint there were 18 entries in the 4k competition. There does seem to be a glut of similar styled 4k demos however, with reflective blue and gold organic shapes almost de rigueur over the past year or two. Thankfully, then, there was a bit of variety present at Breakpoint.

Darwinism by Archee

The competition winner, Darwinism, shows another interesting way of packing content into such a small space by using genetic algorithms to evolve a creature as the demo runs.

Terminal Fuckup by Loonies

Loonies give us a stylish 4k with great music and sync in this 6th placed entry. This is one of my favourites from the competition, mainly because it looks so different to all the others. I also like the Amiga and slightly oldschool stylings of the graphics.

Nasa by Still

Also looking different to everything else, and also placing low in the rankings is this beautiful work from Still.

Another release worth mentioning here is the winner of the "4k Procedural Graphics" competition. In this category the author must write a program no bigger than 4k which, when run, generates a single image on the screen. Like the 4k demo category, procedural graphics have also come to prominance recently thanks to advances in GPU shader technology.

Burj Babil by Loonies

Loonies winning entry, Buri Babil, is a stunning interpretation of "Construction of the Tower of Babel" by the Belgian painter Hendrick van Cleve III.

Amiga Demo

Breakpoint has been a stronghold for Commodore Amiga demogroups since it began back in 2003, with several groundbreaking demos being released there over the years. This year, then, it was great to see strong support from the Amiga community and at least a couple of groups who have been quiet for some time returned to the fold for this last hurrah.

We Come in Peace by Elude

Elude came in peace with this AGA powered 3D demo and walked away with 1st place. The style of this one is a classic example of what modern Amiga demos look and sound like.

Prototype 1 by Haujobb

Haujobb have been a force to be reckoned with since the mid 90's, but this is their first demo since 2007. They took 3rd place.

Fetish 2 by Ozone

Another old favourite, Ozone (authors of Smoke Bomb, one of my favourite Amiga demos ever) last released a demo in 1999! Here they took 5th place with their slightly risque demo, Fetish 2.

The Ventures of Prince Dakkar and his Pilgrimage to The Abyss by Tulou

I also have to mention this super-cute demo from Tulou, which took 6th place in the competition.

Amiga 4k

Only three entries in this competition, and only one that counts - the second and third placed entries were what are known as compofillers. Competition organizers usually require at least three demos to be entered or else the competition will be canceled. Compofillers are demos quickly hacked together to provide enough entries to make the competition happen. Without these two extra demos (both by the same group, Focus Design) we might not have got to have seen the winner:

Ikadalawampu by Loonies

C64 Demo

Some serious effects in this 12 minute winning demo from Glance:

Snapshot by Glance

This is a demo in two parts. The second half can be found here on YouTube.

C64 4k

The winner of the C64 4k competition was actually a 1k demo from PwP.
Dramatic Pixels by PwP


The author, Viznut, has written about this demo on his blog.

Animation

Animation competitions, like wilds, are often a bit odd to say the least. Their entries usually encompass a huge range of styles, subject matter and quality and it's one of the categories where you often have no idea what the voters at the party were thinking (or drinking!) when they made their choices. The winner is usually the entry that got the biggest laugh or included mention of enough current memes. I'll be ignoring most of the entries then, and delving down to third place for my winner:

hbc-00008: How to use Blender by ½-bit Cheese

½-bit Cheese have released nothing but high quality animations with a big side order of humour since they first hit the scene in 2008. This time they've very kindly decided to school us in how to use the free, open source 3D package, Blender - It's certainly got me interested enough to download it and give it a try! This animation only placed third in the competition, but is my favourite by far.

Console/Real Wild

Probably the most interesting competition this year was the wild category. In the top ten alone we have demos released on Dreamcast, Vectrex, Vic 20 and an obscure expanded RAM variant of the C64 as well as two demos published on homebuilt hardware from LFT and Darklite. All are worth watching but the winner for me has to be this love letter written on the TI-89 calculator:

High School Love by Adinpsz

The demo itself is cute enough but it's the crowd's reaction and participation (faithfully captured in the YouTube video) that make it so unforgettable.

That's all folks!

And there we have it, the end of Breakpoint 2010. The end of Breakpoint. The end of an era. With a keen demand from the demoscene for an Easter party to take place again next year, it remains to be seen what will happen. Will the Norwegian party The Gathering, which is also held over the Easter weekend, step up and fill the shoes of its younger but more famous brother? Or will a new team take the party to a new country? Only time will tell!