Did anyone here own an Amiga between the late 80's and mid 90's? Did you use to connect to your local BBS and download demos with your 2400 or 9600 baud modem through your telephone line? Do the demo group names Decay, Cydonia, Pearl, Digital Access, or Punishers mean anything to you?
If you answered yes to all those questions, then this will definitely be of interest to you!
tsumea is proud to announce that we are now hosting Ozscene - The Australian Amiga Demo Scene archive!
While we may associate the term 'demos' in gaming as brief cut down previews of games, in the demoscene they mean an entirely different thing altogether. They were technical masterpieces, produced by a collaboration of talented programmers, artists, and musicians. These teams pushed the boundaries of the computer hardware far beyond what games did.
There were no engines you modded - all code was written entirely in assembly and hit the hardware directly, and the visual effects were generated in real-time and generally at full frame-rate. Artwork was usually limited to 32 colours or less from a palette of 4096 and completed within Deluxe Paint, pixel by pixel. Music was about plotting notes into a 4 channel tracker, and the entire demo had to do something amazing usually with a standard 7mhz Amiga and just 512k of ram, all fitting within a 880k 3.5 inch floppy disk or two.
Demo scenes were a popular subculture of computing for the young the world over, and you'd be surprised to know of some game companies that have their roots in the demo scene. DICE (Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment) who created the Battlefield series of games started out as the demo group called The Silents on the Amiga. Their first games were Pinball Illusions and Pinball Fantasies, if any old school Amiga gamers remember those great games.
Australia had a vibrant demo scene community during the Amiga era with a great number of interesting demos created here. Decay, partly based in Orange, NSW, was one notable group that made it on to nationally broadcasted TV with their work. Their demos featured digitised motion video with realistic audio samples from the popular programs like The Simpons, Steve Vizard, and the Hinch news program, which was rarely seen on a computer at that time with the limited specifications mentioned earlier. And then there was Cydonia, one of the more prolific and productive Australian Amiga demo groups in the scene contributing with over 25 demos in their relatively short time of existence.
There are a lot of stories behind many of these demos, some triumphs and rivalries, but unfortunately, it's well beyond the scope of this news item. Needless to say, the Amiga demo scene was definitely a memorable part of my past time as a teenager with an Amiga 500 and Amiga 1200. Just running through the list, I can see pixel artwork, logos, animations, and fonts that I've made in over a dozen titles listed on the archive page. The name Sumea actually comes from one of my favourite demos on the Amiga.
Thanks to Peter Budziszewski for collecting and compiling all these files and creating this list which we're now archiving on tsumea. We'll be updating it whenever we receive any more contributions. I recommend downloading WINUAE to emulate these Amiga files, and you can grab the WINUAE emulator here.
Check out the archive at the following link!