Demoscene Research thesis

by wolf_ on 12-07-2010, 18:02
Topic: MSX Related
Languages:

Students, and a lot of young and mid-aged professionals, used to be (or still are) demosceners. Sometimes these roots find their way into their career, like in case of Markku Reunanen from Finland. He made a thesis about the demoscene for his study at Aalto University, a subject that - in a formal way - hasn't been documented a lot, so far. In this thesis about everything you want to know about the demoscene can be found. MSX also gets mentioned here and there. A well worth read!

Relevant link: Demoscene Research thesis

Comments (21)

By Manuel

Ascended (14562)

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12-07-2010, 21:35

Note that it is written by one of the former Bandwagon/Lieves!Tuore members, Marq!

Great stuff! Smile Now the big read...

By ro

Guardian (4002)

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14-07-2010, 10:10

okay, I read (scanned) the doc. Looks cool. Tho it's mainly Amiga/PC scene .. oh, well.

By fondacio

Master (148)

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14-07-2010, 14:18

Just did a quick skim and it does indeed look like a very interesting read. The part that hits home most for me is this quote on p. 41:

An oddity among the various subscenes is the isolated Dutch MSX2 scene that actually followed a commercial model: according to comp.sys.msx discussions and Szarafinski (1995), demos were sold to other groups at fairs, which indicates that the scene in question was in some respects more aligned with the commercial MSX2 world than with the worldwide demo community.

That definitely confirms the impression I had at the time, and won't be a surprise to anyone here.

By wolf_

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14-07-2010, 14:29

Maybe it was the MSX fairs vs parties for other systems. If, in the early 90's, you're on a fair with a booth between companies selling import games, hardware etc., one is tempted to ask money for demos too.. dunno.

Which brings me to the $64000 question: who made (+ what was) the first sold demo, demodisk, musicdisk etc. in MSX history?

(actually, I guess many groups/individuals sold their demos on fairs just to get the booth and traveling costs back, gas, airplane tickets etc.)

By hap

Paragon (2014)

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14-07-2010, 15:43

who made (+ what was) the first sold demo, demodisk, musicdisk etc. in MSX history?Spectravideo made an MSX1 demo in 1983 (4?), showing its technical capabilities, released as firmware I think. Then there's some amateur one-screen demos printed as listings in (commercial) Dutch MSX mags, ones I recall are a CocaCola logo demo + song, and a tv test signal one, like this: http://keramischateliermm.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/testbeeld.png

Of tellen die niet mee? :P I guess you're more thinking about the first 'scene' demo?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9689)

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14-07-2010, 15:51

Scene indeed, you know, the stuff you've seen during fairs and in the PD sections of magazines.

By Latok

msx guru (3567)

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14-07-2010, 16:00

Hm, probably some FAC demo? Zandvoort 1990 or something? I remember buying a lot of demos at Zandvoort 1991 already. FAC demo V, Impaccen & Wegwezen, Impact Musix Disk #1. It was already very common to sell such things......So it must have been earlier. But that scene started around 1989? So uhm........Well..........Merlasoft, Starcracks, Xelasoft, Redsoft, FAC......Some of their products Smile Was Lightning ever sold?

By Hrothgar

Champion (478)

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14-07-2010, 16:01

I see a parallel between those sold MSX2 demos and the recent surge in sold MSX games on cartridge. Supposedly to cover costs for shipping and producing the hardware (cartridges aren't for free obviously), but they could just as well simply release the ROM file instead.

Are other computers' scenes also charging for physical copies of games nowadays, or is MSX unique in that as well?

By Latok

msx guru (3567)

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14-07-2010, 16:05

More generic question: do other retro systems also sell physical software like the MSX scene is doing nowadays?

By hap

Paragon (2014)

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14-07-2010, 16:11

Yes, at least on NES, ColecoVision, price range is about the same as new MSX cartridges.
much less active scene than MSX though, but now we're getting off-topic. oO

By Vincent van Dam

Hero (513)

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14-07-2010, 17:17

I think either "Lightning" or "FAC Demo 4" is the first sold demo in the Netherlands.

By Latok

msx guru (3567)

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14-07-2010, 17:22

Poltergeist, enlighten us Big smile Or Alexw, he probably knows as well Smile

By Marq

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15-07-2010, 18:10

Note that it is written by one of the former Bandwagon/Lieves!Tuore members, Marq!

I still _am_ a L!T member. We might even release something this year if time allows Smile

By Manuel

Ascended (14562)

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15-07-2010, 19:58

Marq: that's great! I didn't know you were still active. How's Antti doing? It's a very long time I had contact with him.

By tfh

Paragon (1649)

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16-07-2010, 10:37


An oddity among the various subscenes is the isolated Dutch MSX2 scene that actually followed a commercial model: according to comp.sys.msx discussions and Szarafinski (1995), demos were sold to other groups at fairs, which indicates that the scene in question was in some respects more aligned with the commercial MSX2 world than with the worldwide demo community.

Well, this quote is not entirely correct. (at least not for Fony, which Stephan Szarafinski was a member of (just like me). All our demos were freely available and everybody was free to copy them if they wanted. There was also no protection on the demo disks.
The only reason we asked money for it on the fair itself, was to cover costs (disks, booth, etc...) and yes: It also gave us a bit of extra pocket money. In the end, it came down to:

If you wanted to be the first to have the demo, you bought it at a fair for like 5 guilders (single disk) or 10 guilders (double disk).
If you were a bit more patient, you just copied it at the next availaable moment Smile

By Manuel

Ascended (14562)

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16-07-2010, 19:02

The first "commercial" demo I heard of was Unknown Reality in 1993. But I might have missed something before that, as this was also my first year that I visited an MSX fair (Tilburg).
Maybe music disks and demos are a bit mixed in the image of this thesis? Music disks were practically always sold.

All in all, I think very little demos were actually sold. I got most via BBS downloads or via disk magazines.

By tfh

Paragon (1649)

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16-07-2010, 20:04

@Manuel,
FDD#1 and FDD#2 were already sold @ Tilburg 1991 & 1992 Smile
Damn.. TFH feels old now...

By Latok

msx guru (3567)

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16-07-2010, 21:29

For me FDD#1 is a real feel-good-demo Smile Especially the 'writing'-part. Probably coz of the combi with the SCC music. Very sweet.

By Latok

msx guru (3567)

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16-07-2010, 21:29

And no, TFH. They don't remind me of boobs!

By Manuel

Ascended (14562)

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17-07-2010, 16:28

TFH: yes, but UR was never meant to be copied after the first half an hour Smile

By tfh

Paragon (1649)

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17-07-2010, 16:55

@Latok: Ehm.. Hmmm, so we actually forgot to put some boobs into that demo? ;-) Shame on us..
@Manuel: Good point!

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