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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 10:36 am 
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HihiDanni wrote:
This is something that's been on my mind for a while. Here are my thoughts:
(...)

Apart from the part about the demos themselves being "dishonest", those are a lot of good points. Demos are a bit of a strange thing, cause in order to appreciate them you need to actually know what's going on - but at the same time you also need to be able to entertain the audience who knows nothing about the hardware. I remember the winners of demoscene compos often being plain cutscenes with catchy music or funny animations rather than the ones that pushed the technical boundary of the system.
In the case of the SNES, Oerg866 has a good point that trying to figure out how to code stuff that could easily be done with Mode7 would be pretty superficial for a tech demo. Platform elitism is one of the dumbest things ever that gets only more dumb when people drag it up on the subject of 90s consoles in 2017. I would love to see what you can actually do with a SNES demo, as I think you could really have some impressive things that no other pre-3D console could pull off if you start getting really creative about it, just like the MegaDrive is doing its own thing.
I think the whole elitism thing on the demoscene extends to more than just platform elitism though, as there's always been this sense of friendly rivalry between groups. But like any other kind of friendly rivalry, things can get heated and some people will come across as aggressive.


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 11:50 am 
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HihiDanni wrote:
A lot of demoscene stuff is basically smoke and mirrors. I get that the whole point is to optimize around a lack of interaction but I'd think the majority of people don't realize this. The effect is that you have people who think you can create an interactive game using all of these effects (see: YouTube comments section, but then, I should probably get back to blocking the comments, as they are rarely insightful). A lot of stuff is at least partially faked or pre-computed (Second Reality 3D scene), which strikes me as rather dishonest.

Demos just have to be entertaining. It doesn't matter if an effect is "faked" as long as it is still technically impressive - which would rule out stuff like a pre-rendered video except for the video player itself when the system itself can barely support FMV. In other words, the code can be impressive even if the result itself is not particularly unique. Of course the best is a combination of both.

It's also a bit like stage magician shows - everybody knows you most often can't code a game around a scene because that scene itself is already 100% optimized to the technical limits.


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 12:40 pm 
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creaothceann wrote:
everybody knows you most often can't code a game around a scene because that scene itself is already 100% optimized to the technical limits.

Not everyone unfortunately... you wouldn't believe the number of people who see the PS1 T-Rex demo and ask "why don't any games look this good?" When you think about how the console is presumably using so much power to render the PS2.5 dinosaur that it can't even render a simple Mode 7-esque floor, the impressiveness drops to zero. I think tech demos for native 3D hardware are pretty lame in general, although a couple stand out (most anything for the Atari Jaguar will, given that the games commercially released for it were so terribly optimized that you don't have a good understanding of what the system can actually do).

HihiDanni wrote:
When even Speccy coders do it

That was the least tasteful thing I've ever seen.

Sumez wrote:
Oerg866 has a good point that trying to figure out how to code stuff that could easily be done with Mode7 would be pretty superficial for a tech demo.

Exactly why the few SNES demos generally suck. On one of the Smash it Elix demos, there's just a Mode 7 plane spinning in the background while 8 64x64 sprites act as the vertices for a cube. Um, okay? :lol: I still think Mode 7 can be useful though, but, like any other hardware assisted graphics in a demo, only if it's being used in a clever way alongside the CPU. For example, you could make a 4bpp raycaster with sprites with Mode 7 for a textured floor and ceiling. (However, you might need the Mode 7 multiplication/division registers, but I'm just trying to make a quick example.)


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 2:09 pm 
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That's exactly what I was thinking. I'm sure you can use Mode7 really creatively if you're good and able to think out of the box. Something unique would be an effect that didn't actually LOOK like Mode7, since we're all used to the "standard Mode7 look" from all the games that used it, but I'm sure it can be utilized for much more unique ideas.


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 2:29 pm 
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Mode 7 is most often used as a rotoscaler but it's actually working off a generic transformation matrix. I'd say one of the less used effects is the ability to vertically shear images at the pixel level. The effect could possibly be combined with horizontal interrupts for more complex visuals but the timing on it might be tricky.

Edit: By horizontal interrupts I meant mid-scanline interrupts, but perhaps something could be created using both?

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Last edited by HihiDanni on Sun May 14, 2017 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Something I've been kind of wanting is just a simple visual reference of using HDMA on all the PPU registers. Many of them are obvious (e.g. mode, brightness) and some don't make any sense (address?) but it'd still be nice to have a visual representation of same.


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 2:33 pm 
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@lidnariq: What? :lol:

@HihiDanni: The timing would most definitely be tricky. I'm sure 93143 could explain it again for us. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 2:42 pm 
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lidnariq wrote:
Something I've been kind of wanting is just a simple visual reference of using HDMA on all the PPU registers.

This is making me want to make a PPU documentation ROM with examples of the different graphical features. After all, the Genesis/MD has one for its VDP, and it could potentially be useful given some of the PPU's quirkier functions.

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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 11:38 pm 
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Then add some colour windows over the top for "shadow vectors" just because ;)


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 11:58 pm 
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More cliché SNES hardware effects? :lol: Windowing is pretty cool if, again, it isn't entirely obvious. I really like what they were trying to do with stage 5's boss in R-Type III (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExfYd_1D5Ww#t=22m56s) but the shapes that they were trying to do were too complex. The windowing could still be better though, as it's apparent that the window borders are being figured out computationally in some way instead of being entirely pre-made.

Like Mode 7 though, I think it can be used in more creative ways. I wonder if you could use the two windows to save CPU time for rendering untextured polygons, where the two largest are window layers. You still have to find the edges though, and depending on if you're drawing from back to front or front to back, it could be a real pain in the ass.


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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 1:11 am 
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No needs to be impressive technically,if you look at overdrive 1, there is nothing impressive on the effects side, it is composed at 90% of hardware effects(intelligently used), but was very well paced, with very good transitions and a non less good music,you add some solid artworks, and all the ingredients are here to make a good demo and this is why it was so popular IMO .


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