wtorek, 1 maja 2018

AMIcast - Text Interview 13 - Browallia and Menthos / Nukleus

Browallia [code^gfx] and Menthos [code^msx] from Nukleus about Versus, Demoscene, and Amiga NG.


Demoscene and AmigaOS 4, as well MorphOS and AROS are not playing in the same league. But sometimes is something happening. This something is, for example, the demo chart Versus also released for AmigaOS 4!
1. Let's start off with an introduction: please describe your first ever contact with a home computer. Was it Amiga or any other machine?

Browallia
Well, friends of mine had c64 and other computers. I got in touch with A1000 because a friends father used it in multimedia business. Luckily for me, he was very convincing to spread good vibes about Amiga to my family back then...

Menthos
Amiga enthusiast living in the northern part of Sweden. Family and house takes nearly all spare time. Started with a VIC 20 and later upgraded to a Commodore 128 before getting the Amiga 500 in the late 80's. It was mostly used to play games but also to create music, draw images and write school reports.

2. What was the configuration of your first Amiga? Were there any other models to follow on?

Browallia
...so the first computer became a family treasure - Amiga 500, kickstart 1.2 with the red power button. After that some A1200s and A4000 followed with accelerator card 040 and Picasso IV.

Menthos
Got the A1200 once it was released and later sold that to get an A4000 (R.I.P.). When the AmigaOneXE was released I got one of those too and that machine is still my OS4 fix while waiting for the Tabor board. Right now I mostly use an A1200 or UAE for Amiga scene work.

3. Do you use any of flavour of Amiga NG? AmigaOS 4, MorphOS or maybe AROS?

Browallia
I’m oldtimer myself, so favour this, but like that the momentum goes on. This question you should ask Menthos instead, since he is the one with gadgets, why I polish my grey hair hahaha.

4. You are both members of Nukleus demogroup. How did your adventure with demoscene start?

Menthos
From my early C128/Amiga years I have always loved intros and demos. In the late 80's I got contact with a guy at the local bookstore (where C64/Amiga/NES was displayed and open for usage/testing) and he wanted me to join his group Timelords (an unknown northern Swedish Amiga group that had some connections with the more known Amiga group Harman Kardon). He introduced me to Trackers and AmigaDOS scripting, but the group did not release that many products (mostly music discs and slideshows created with DOS scripts as we had no coder) the few years the group was active. That was the start. My story of NLS (short for Nukleus) started after 2000 when I connected with Browallia. I was publishing a Swedish amiga user groups magazine called Azine where he started writing scene articles. He then wanted me to join Nukleus as co-ed for their diskmags, so I did. I think I did an awful job as co-ed and instead I coded and released some small OS4 intros/demos. After that I wanted to pick up Amiga assembly programming again and here we are. :)

Browallia
Yup that’s about that, Nukleus is the farmer house to visit and dominates the Milky Way. I started 1993 and tagged my pictures with another handle. Nukleus was formed 1994 so next year we have 25 Anniversary.


5. Versus chart (disk) mag is available for AmigaOS 4. How is it possible? Normally demoscene are not interested in NG systems.

Menthos
When I got the AmigaOneXE and OS4 I started programming small Warp3D and MiniGL test programs. For the Amiga Summer Party 2006 a friend wanted me to contribute to the competition and I started to create the intro Cows and Bubbles. At the same time a new issue of the chart mag Versus was released by Nukleus and I added the charts inside the intro. It was called Cows n Bubbles feat Versus 4. After that I thought that it would be fun to do a diskmag engine for OS4 and started working on it and got to the state that it could do enough to be used as a diskmag. And that is the story.

6. Can we expect more production for AmigaOS 4 (or other NG systems) in near future from Nukleus? For example, diskmag or music discs are not popular now. The Internet changed everything.

Browallia
I do not agree with disk mags and music discs are not popular today. Internet may reach out to wider audience but remember that internet is dependent of the Amiga scene and not the other way around. And yes, you can expect more productions on these platforms from us.

7. Nukleus is working together with VOID group. Am I right? Lately, they released AmigaOS 4 music disk - Absolute Dølle 2. Will you work together to release more productions?

Browallia
For the Versus, it’s a cooperation between NLS and VOID, and our Norwegian fellows are good chaps. We share some common goals with Versus. In general, msxdisks are assume, and A.D is no exception. Worth to mention is that Nukleus did the first music disk ever released on OS4 on Amiga (2006).

8. There was big hope with Vampire II FPGA card and Amiga demoscene. It looks like demogroups are not interested in powerful configurations. Rather is the trend to release production of Amiga 500. Why? 20 years ago, 68060 processor was the wet dream of every Amiga coder.

Menthos
To speak for myself I always aim for that my small projects should be runnable on an (unexpanded) A500 as that is what most people associate the Amiga with. With limited spare time to do scene work I rather do small things for a bigger audience.

Browallia
For me it’s about going back to the roots. The identity to the Amiga core is traveling to AGA and A500.

9. There was also time for Power Amiga with 3D graphics board. The prices of this hardware are insane, do you think people who bought it will see new prods in next years?

Menthos
Classic Amigas with PPC? I left that scene when my A4000 was eaten by battery acid. So I do not know if there is any life left there. As for OS4/MorphOS/AROS I don't think there will be much scene related releases. I think most sceners having NG machines still think it is more fun to do scene work on the Classic machines.


10. Some of old members and groups coming back to demoscene. Is it a trend or only pure nostalgia? A lot of great groups like Potion or Encore are not active since years.

Browallia
Hahaha, no this is because we have time after raising kids or that game developer-carrier we dreamt of. Amiga is a hobby, so for them having a relation to it, the relation will not vanish... It’s in all old members veins.

11. The whole demo scene is not so popular like it was in 80-90's. Why? Will this community survive?

Menthos
I hope so. It feels like there is a lot of activity now by older sceners now returning and starting to release products for all types of retro computers. I don't know how the PC scene is doing as I have no interest in that. But hopefully the old sceners will inspire a new generation.

Browallia
Yes it will survive. At least the generations born in the 60's-80's. After that, some nostalgic kids will use it from time to time, but they won't use it same way (they will not even pay for the first demo scene museum the small little bastards!).


12. How looks like comparing Amiga platforms and mainstream PC in creating demos or intros? For a noob like me it looks like is much easier to create a demo for PC with all new technologies, libraries, and SDK than 060 kicking ass demo for Amiga. What do you think?

Browallia
Well hard question I guess, at least if made in assembler instead of high level language. It’s a lot of effort, regardless the platform. Also in high level languages you use sweat and tears for creating good design, music sync and beautiful visuals. But we all love to cheat in the scene, and you can always cover up a bad effect with layers on the PC, so it looks "cool"... This machine power you don’t have on the Amiga, so that’s why PC-demos sometimes look so awful. Because if a coder/designer on PC fail to cover up, then they are truly screwed, and it just look awful. So, on Amiga, we are blessed, especially since old skool is not an anomaly to “less is more”. It’s like you are afraid of being nude, so you cover it up will a lot of effects (compare Star Wars ep. VIII with Star Wars ep. IV). In the end, I think Adam and Eve should have used a flower pot to cover up if they agree to that new design will live forever *lol* (ok, now I go into deep philosophy, don’t join me here if you don’t want to drown into oblivion).

Menthos
To get something moving on screen and have music playing is of course easier on a system where you can have a lot for free by using libraries and engines. I think that is one of the problems getting more new blood in the retro scene. You have to do so much before you even can start drawing anything on the screen. But that is one of my motivations code, to overcome the obstacles and to learn how to utilize the hardware in different ways.

13. What are you missing on Amiga platforms (tools, memory protection, etc.)?

Menthos
Modern up-to-date browser with low footprint and a larger user base.

14. Current Amiga market splits into 3x NG and 68k systems. Maybe this "big split" almost 20 years ago killed any hope to rescue Amiga?

Browallia
No, I don’t agree with you. If we wouldn’t have those different systems, some people may have left somewhere else instead. We simply can't change the flows of streams so it’s just there to accept. Maybe Menthos has another view of it?

Menthos
The Amiga is not that easy to kill. But I think the hope to rescue the Amiga died when Commodore cut development funds and later went under and no real development moving the platform forward was done a couple of years. Amiga paused but not the world. But there is still much life left in the Amiga. There are movement in all 3 NG platforms and there are also a lot of new hardware coming for the Classic Amiga and new ways to keep them alive when parts need to be replaced. Amiga will never come back to its glory days but it will be kept alive as long as we as a community want it to be.

15. What Amiga could you advise for the newcomers? Classic, NG or emulation?

Browallia
Any Amiga.

16. How to join a demoscene group?

Browallia
Well, if you have a driven passion, you will not find it hard to join. You need to find out what you want to contribute with in the scene and then just do it :)


17. What professions are needed in a modern group? Coder, tracer, musician or maybe still swapper?

Browallia
This question is always interesting and changing over time. Again, if you have a passion, you can do whatever you want that you mentioned above. I (Browallia) think that its a question about which direction you want to lead your group. Your group is like a brand. For some groups, its simply expected that the quality is good, else, they got dissed etc. Some professions may also be people doing design scripts for demos, web master, or even a social media guy is needed today.

18. Amiga users are getting older and older. Are we not too old for demoscene lifestyle? :)

Menthos
The number of hours sleeping at parties have increased for me looking back 15-20 years. But to be able to go to places to meet other people with the same interest, that is something one cannot be to old for.

Browallia
Yea, I simply add “Not as long its ok to be polite to an older lady” ;)


19. Greetings!

Greetings to all our friends and supporters of Versus. Families and remnants of Amiga society. You know there is a new issue out there and brewing.

Links:

NLS – that’s what’s Inside!

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