psonice's picture

Would anyone be interested in a QC competition? This would be at a demo party (which would be Sundown, in the UK in september/october). You'd need to make something demo-like (i.e. it would be a complete package, with music, graphics, and effects, and it would be non-interactive. Actually, it could be interactive to some extent, but nobody would be touching the keyboard + mouse etc. while it gets played).

There could be two ways it would happen. If there's a lot of interest (i.e. at least 3 entries :) it could be done as a dedicated QC competition. If not, the entries could perhaps go into the normal demo competition. There will have to be some discussion on what is/isn't allowed too.

So, are you interested? If you are, what would you want to see in the competition (things that would impact on the rules, like being able to grab content off the internet, and whether custom patches should be allowed or not).

Is there a better site to ask about this btw?

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cwright's picture
This sounds awesome!

I've always loved seeing what people are able to do with compositions :) I'm no artist (more like a paintbrush maker), so I probably wouldn't enter, but I'd love to watch :)

I don't know of any other sites that do this sort of thing, perhaps because there were about 7 QC users prior to Leopard. Now there at least 100 :)

I'm all for it. Let me know what you want, and I can try to build the interface on if you'd like :)

psonice's picture
Art skills not required...

People in the demoscene appreciate code as much as art, so showing some good effects is enough. Of course they'll bash it if it's really ugly still, and it's better to work with an artist if you can :) This is what I'd call a 'coder demo':

It won an award, and plenty of people like it.

Anyway, I'm in contact with the sundown organiser, so I'll find out soon what the score is with a compo. What do you mean by building an interface though? For the competition submission and stuff?

cwright's picture

I don't know how events like this work — if you plan to use an existing site for submissions and all that, or if a new one needs to be made. If it's the latter, and you'd like it be here, I'm willing to try to set some things up to help it along. So, yes, submissions and stuff.

/me wishes these demos wern't windows-only... my only windows machine decided to nuke its registry this morning, so it's out of commission until I have a need to get it working (read: probably not for a long time... :)

smokris's picture
Custom Patches

On the subject of whether custom patches should be allowed...

It troubles me to see brilliant demo-coding efforts lost due to propriety, though I understand that in the short-term this is perhaps important as a competitive advantage.

For the hypothetical QC compo you mention, could we go with the policy of allowing custom patches to be used, but to only allow custom patches published under an OSI-approved open source license on or before the compo submission cutoff date? ( volunteers to host such custom patches.)

That way, development teams with coders could maintain competitive advantage for the target compo, while the coding effort is preserved for the community to enjoy in the future.

Does that make sense? Would that upset too many potential competitive coders in the not-yet-extant QC demoscene?

psonice's picture
There are mac demos, but the

There are mac demos, but the standard is generally not as high as the pc world, and there's not that many. If you exclude ports, there's way too few :( Anyway, links below. Try some other platforms, with emulators perhaps (there's some incredible work on old 8/16 bit platforms, and some really good one-offs on obscure platforms). - the main site for the mac side of the demoscene top 10 mac/intel demos - change the 'prod' bit (prod = production = everything) to demo, or 64k, or whatever else you want to look at, and change the macosx/intel bit to just macosx to get the older ppc stuff (x-mix rules, IF you can get it to work. I seem to recall it needing 10.3, or an earlier version of tiger)

and a bit of history ;) - apple II. The oldest one (top of the list) in the archive is 1981! Nothing exciting, but you can see the birth of the demoscene there, with the early pirates starting to leave messages infront of games. The messages became flashy screens so the crackers could show off their skills, and the flashy screens eventually separated from the cracked games and became demos.

Thanks for the offer of the site. There's no fixed way really that demo parties work - generally, you hand your work in at the party, or get somebody to do it for you, but for something like this it would be open to people outside the party too. Then you have an ftp, or accept entries by email, or have a site like you suggest.

First, lets see what rc55 (who organises it) thinks of the idea. If he agrees, I'll discuss it with him - perhaps he can add it to the sundown website (they had some sort of system running for this type of submission last year). Either way, some promotion on sites like this would be a good thing!

psonice's picture
I agree that it would be

I agree that it would be better. But there are very, very few open source demos out there, so I think a lot of people would be against it. For the top groups it's about competitive advantage (they often build up their tool sets over many years to get to that kind of level), but I think it's also that most demos tend to be a big collection of hacks and cheats so not really suitable for releasing ;)

There's a big tradition in the demoscene of doing 'impossible' effects, and they're usually done by some clever cheat or other - so long as the result impresses, it's fine. Well, ideally it should be the first time that method or effect is done, copying somebody else's idea is somewhat frowned on. :) As an example, you'll see some very impressive 3d on 8-bit machines. Sometimes it's real, sometimes it's actually just a pre-made vector animation loading from disk.

I think releasing any custom patches should be strongly encouraged then, but not compulsory.

cwright's picture

I'm going to second that. While a ton of effort is "burned" in keeping demo stuff closed, that is in part what makes it so amazing. With a turnaround time of years, it would be hard to develop a unique artistic feel/effect set if each year you "equalized the playing field" by OSS'ing everything that was used previously. I can't think of a compromise where everyone wins off-hand... maybe an x-year delay for OSS/release? For example, I don't think FutureCrew would mind too much if Second Reality was opensourced in 2008, over 10 years after its release. Or maybe I'm mistaken.

Besides, a demo coder worth his salt can disassemble the plugins if they're really curious to know what's happening :) That's how kineme got to be where it is today, after all ;)

smokris's picture
Composition DRM / QC vs Tracker

Got it. I'm just wondering.. isn't the hypothetical QC compo going to attract a somewhat different crowd than a 'typical' demo compo, because QC Compositions are essentially open-source anyway? As far as I know .qtz files don't have any DRM-style restrictions --- you can always open them and see their contents.

Possibilities for making QC compositions not-quite-as-open:

  • Embed .qtz files in QuickTime movies, but I presume those are fairly trivially extractable..
  • Write a loader app that internally stores an encrypted .qtz file and runs it from memory. (But in this case there's not really any straightforward way to tell whether a particular demo is *actually* using QC for the demo or just trivially linking with the QC framework but doing all rendering directly or something.)
  • Write a trivial composition (one "renderer" patch?) and put all the real stuff inside a custom patch to which you don't release the source. (I think such a composition should be in violation of the hypothetical compo rules, as it doesn't use QC in any real sense.)
  • ...

Also I guess I see a hypothetical QC compo as being more like a Tracker compo --- tracker files are "open source" in a similar sense. Though composers (and the community) frown on people stealing their samples and riffs and stuff, being able to see the "source" of tracked compositions makes for an awesome learning experience. And the fact that tracker files are open doesn't seem to have eliminated the possibility of competitive advantage in tracking.

psonice's picture
Not really an issue...

There are really 2 cases.

First, you enter a composition, using the built-in patches. I doubt you would really care about protecting your work, as there's nothing really secret there, so it would be open source by default.

Second, you build yourself a proper application (I think this is necessary anyway for custom patches). I've yet to check this, but I strongly suspect that the .qtz files would be included as resources in the package, making it still partly open source. People could see how your demo works roughly, which isn't a problem (it's very common for demos to include some kind of .script file that can be viewed and edited). But any really amazing effects that have been custom-made would be custom patches, which would be part of the binary and therefore hidden. The creator then has the choice of open sourcing their work or not.

I think in the second case, the real issue is whether it should compete in the .qtz competition or in the normal demo competition. One for rc55 to consider :)

smokris's picture
Totally. I'm thinking that

Totally. I'm thinking that (if the decision were mine to make :^) ) your case #2 would be treated as "normal" demos, as these demos would simply be using QC as a part of the "normal" toolchain (it just happens to be provided by Apple and available to other developers, unlike most parts of the normal toolchain) --- but that there could ALSO be significant value in providing a separate compo and restricting it to entries qualifying under your case #1, and that this compo might more closely resemble an "art" compo (visual and audio) than a "demo coding" compo (in terms of the potential audience, and perhaps the relative time investment in the submitted work).