Best demos

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By SjaaQ

Champion (371)

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22-04-2021, 21:29

AxelStone wrote:
wolf_ wrote:

The MSX-scene didn't quite have the "show, don't tell"-vibe.

Totally agree, the MSX demos are quite slow compared to other scenes. If we see one of our "holy grails" like Unknown Reality, it's really slow and boring to see (at least for me) with so many interruptions and so much text. A demo needs to be a non-stop effects show.

We put in lots of text in UR just to get though loading times. And when the loading was finished, we need to extend the effect some longer just to make the loading worthwhile. That made it feel slow, but we aimed to effects the have the duration of the music. So lots of fillers. This is a big difference compared to Amiga demos, most of them had just 1 music track and were a lot shorter (and felt quicker). We could have done that too, but we had too many tracks to fit in.

By badsector

Rookie (27)

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25-11-2022, 00:14

So after watching most of these MSX demo's I wonder.... If I wanted to create a great new demo showing off what MSX 2 could do (seriously and for fun) what should a 2023 MSX demo feature?

  • Should it be a short demo (5min) or a MEGA DEMO!!! (20min) ?
  • May it contain SCC and/or MSX-AUDIO and/or MSX-MUSIC. Or should it be "vanilla" ?
  • Can it load in between? Can I use 512KB or should it be 128KB max?
  • Should it be released at an Oldskool demo comp. like Revision or is it better to choose another one?
  • What would you like to see?

Let's discuss...

By aoineko

Paladin (809)

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25-11-2022, 01:06

In my opinion, there are two aspects that were often mixed in the demos and that made their quality:
- An artistic aspect (original art direction, beautiful music and graphics),
- A technical aspect (with amazing things that we were not used to see).

On the artistic aspect, I have no doubt that we are able to do very good things nowadays.

It's on the technical side that I think there is the most challenge. The programmers have already pushed the MSX close to its limits and to create new original effects, you need a lot of imagination and technical knowledge.

That said, there are quite a few technical proof-of-concepts that we have seen on MRC that would surely have their place in a demo. I think for example of the Salutte's Kart demo and its SNES-like 3D effect.

By gdx

Enlighted (6003)

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25-11-2022, 01:21

aoineko wrote:

On the artistic aspect, I have no doubt that we are able to do very good things nowadays.

Yet it is this aspect that is usually missing.

By badsector

Rookie (27)

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25-11-2022, 09:57

I watched a lot of C64 demo's and there are some great ones out there. Just to name a few I very much like:

I know, I know: The C64 videochip uses de same memory as the processor so super fast access to the video memory is possible and the SID is more powerful than the PSG.
But MSX has a 2nd independent processor (VDP) that can handle a lot of graphic actions while the Z80 does something completely different. And a sound processor like SCC could blow the SID completely out of the water.

It's not so much the hardware that is the limiting factor here. Demo's like mentioned above should (in a somewhat other form) be possible on the MSX-2. It comes down to tricks I think. A lot is pre-rendered, pre-calculated or some other trick that looks like they re-draw the whole screen every frame.

Creativity (the artistic aspect) is I think very important, but we have a lot of creative people on the site.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (10076)

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25-11-2022, 10:16

badsector wrote:

But MSX has a 2nd independent processor (VDP) that can handle a lot of graphic actions while the Z80 does something completely different.

...like waiting on the VDP... Wink
The trouble with the VDP is that it's very much limited to block-based operations. The more interesting demos usually rely on pixel-operations. Block-based operations are fun for simple scroll-texts and snout-demos, but rotating an image, manually drawing a textured triangle etc., that's really something else.
More in general, it's a matter of being able to change the whole screen during each int, or at least every two ints. You tend to end up using screen 0/1/2/4 for fast but bulky tiles, or when going for bitmap modes: palette-cycles, sprites and native VDP-scrolls. That's not much of a choice really.

Also, let's not forget that this C64 could stream data from disk while the music was playing, that's not something an MSX can do (other than a non-changing bass-tone in UR, or a Music module Sample in FDD2).

MSX is more a game machine than a demo machine, really. A few exceptions of course, but not in the league of other systems by far.

By badsector

Rookie (27)

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25-11-2022, 11:05

@wolf_ I must say I disagree. Look at this effect. Do you think those heagons are redrawn every time the screen changes? They have like 4 different pages they switch and they only change the color registers for each character block to make it appear that a hexagon was removed / added or changed color. Granted: they do it brilliantly but this effect should be possible on MSX too in Screen 2 of 4. Same as the intro here.

The intro with the clouds is also very possible on MSX. Even in screen 0 I think.

There are also a lot of things the C64 can't do well where MSX has the upper hand. Like pallet changes (even mid screen) and 512 colors. Line drawing (with basic logic operations). More memory to work with. Our processor is faster (not much, but a little). So we have a lot going for us as well. We are in the same league of the C64 and the Amstrad CPC I think. We just have to exploit the things the MSX is excels at.

I know that disk loading is crap on MSX, although there are ways to even improve that a lot.

The whole idea behind making demos is to amaze the audience with things that shouldn't be possible, but can still be done through tricks. Like a illusionist or magician giving the illusion that something just happened that is impossible.

I think we haven't even scratched the surface yet.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (10076)

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25-11-2022, 11:10

Show me the MSX version of C64 Second Reality, then we'll talk.

By badsector

Rookie (27)

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25-11-2022, 11:23

HAHA! Now that's a challenge! Well I'll be working on my own demo first but maybe after that I'll give it a try.

But you must at least have some ideas of features you'd like to see in a demo? What, given the possibilities of MSX, would you like to see done well in a demo?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (10076)

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25-11-2022, 11:31

As long as it has avoids scroll+logo, you're good. Make one tune, the length of the whole demo, sync effects to that tune, make it truly multi-part, and be done with it. No one cares about reading 45 minutes worth of greetings, anti-greetings, credits, and other bull. Even if that scroll has all kinds of palette cycles, stretchers and #18-waves, we're past that now.

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