Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

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Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by Bananmos » Sat May 09, 2015 10:40 am

So, earlier this week I learned of the sad news that Niclas Svensrud (aka "PhD" or "Retro") passed away in his sleep from smoke poisoning when a fire broke out in his home, at just 37 years of age.

The first version of NerdTracker2 was released at the DreamHack'97 demo-party, when I was about half the age I am now. I did the coding, while Niclas designed the UI and provided guidance for the instrument editors and effects from a musician's perspective, as well as making lots of songs in it.

Way back then, Niclas was my closest friend, and we got into the creative side of computers through the demo scene, with me learning how to code graphics effects and Niclas learning how to make music in FastTracker2. Both of us being fans of the NES and the release of Nesticle and publicly available tech-docs for programming the NES created the idea of a tracker-based software for the NES.

In later years, we fell out of contact, as people do when they move around and priorities and life-style changes, and as I write this it's probably over 10 years since we last met. He added me on Facebook back in September, and we had some casual chat conversations, with me again figuring I ought to meetup with him next time I visit Sweden in the summer. Besides the general tragedy of his death, I feel sad in hindsight that I didn't make the effort to stay in touch and get to know the later more grown-up version of him.

I have moved on to mostly doing non-screen time things in my spare time with just the rare and occasional NES hacking for old time's sake. (guess that's what often happens when you turn your programming hobby into your career) In contrast, Niclas was still very much active in what remains of the demo scene culture in Sweden today, lately being involved in the organisation of the long-running "Birdie" LAN parties, organising things such as the NES music trivia competition (including waterpistol soaking as punishment for wrong answers). He was supposed to be taking part in organising the 25th "Birdie" in just 4 days from now.

So anyway, if you do enjoy some of the homebrewn NES software that has used NerdTracker2 for its music, do give Niclas a few thoughts. And more importantly, do make the effort to stay in touch with old friends who have played an important part in your life. You never know when they might be gone for good...

Tribute to Niclas with a Medley of some of his music tracks

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Re: Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by ccovell » Sun May 10, 2015 3:42 pm

That's really sad news. Today I'll raise a toast to Niclas' memory.

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Re: Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by thefox » Mon May 11, 2015 12:07 am

Download STREEMERZ for NES from! — Some other stuff I've done:

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Re: Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by Memblers » Mon May 11, 2015 12:18 am

That is shocking and sad to hear that he's gone at such a young age. He and I had chatted occasionally over the years, over ICQ, and a little bit on Facebook. I've haven't been on IRC or IM programs for a while, so I haven't been in contact with a lot of people lately. I remember maybe 6+ years ago, he was trying to convince me to put on some kind of chipmusic show in Sweden, after he talked to some random stranger who said he was a fan of my NES music. There's no way I could have afforded it then, but it did sound like a really fun offer.

softnes.ned is still one of my favorite NT2 songs, I remember when I was learning to code, I put that track into a demo I was writing that had a bunch of ball sprites bouncing off a moving bar, probably wouldn't have happened without the music making it fun to work on.

And NT2 itself, was such a huge influence on me getting involved in NES development. I actually had tried making something with the music engine in Mouser, but I didn't really know how to program, so discovering NT2 was a big deal to me.

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Re: Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by Bregalad » Mon May 11, 2015 1:51 am

I did not know the guy personally, but it's sad news he died so young, and in such a dumb accident. He contributed greatly to the NESDev communality. Peace to his soul.

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Re: Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by rainwarrior » Mon May 11, 2015 7:54 am

Sad to hear.

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Re: Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by B00daW » Wed May 13, 2015 6:53 am

I used his Alloyrun mix in a high school presentation in the '90s. My thoughts reach out to his family and friends.

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Re: Co-creator of NerdTracker2 has passed away

Post by Erockbrox » Sun May 24, 2015 12:00 am

Sorry to hear such a loss. What about a smoke alarm? Did he breath in too much smoke? A simple smoke alarm could save a life. How was the fire started? Wasn't there anyone else in the house to wake him? The death could have been avoided.

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