Monday, December 28, 2009

Oldskool Demomaker (OSDM) Is No Real Code and Lame

I got such comments several times already. Some folks make a real fuzz about it and take it rather serious. I understand where the haters of OSDM (Oldskool Demomaker) are coming from and thought that I should make some comments about this issue. I have a section on my web site dedicated to OSDM and my own intro productions created with it, if you want to learn more about what I am going to talk about.


First, I am not a “CODER” myself and never really was, at least not in the Scene. There I was a graphician and also designer, next to being a group leader and organizer and sysop of a bulletin board system, short BBS. I did program tools, such as PPE’s for the BBS software PCBoard, but never intros, cracktros or demos.

OSDMLogoRoy2[1] Close Look at OSDM

I believe that many of the nay Sayers' never really looked at OSDM up close and personal.

OSDM has many limitations and restrictions that could be compared to the limitation that programmers of old DOS PC faced and had to work with and around. You have to cheat a bit here and there to get effects the way you want to, just like back then. OSDM has its own scripting language too by the way, so it is not only point and click. Or let me rephrase it. Yes, you can get results with the tool quickly and with relative easy, but the result looks like quick and dirty as a consequence of that also. Nothing to be proud of, I agree with that totally.

Hard Core Coding Is Dead (Almost)

On modern day PCs, no oldskool hard core coding is really much done anymore nor is it necessary. The computers are so powerful and the OS already comes with so many ready to use APIs for graphical effects, like vectors, texture mappings, lighting effects etc that it does not require any hard core code to create fancy 3D worlds and flashy effects. Most demos today that win the demo compos at demo parties are winning because of their unique designs and not because of their “code”. Coming up with a new mash-up of effects that is new is more important than to crank out highly optimized Assembler code.

The exception today is probably only the 64KB and even more the 4KB intro competitions, because the limit in size for the entire production requires highly optimized code. The standard API stuff and Vector definitions, textures and music would take up too much space to get results that could make you win in a competition.

OSDM Productions Don’t Compete

OSDM is not about competition and showing off coding skills, so it is okay, if the code is not optimized and bloated, because it still works fine and renders the desired results fluent on today’s computers. Creating and watching an Intro with OSDM is actually more like an interactive trip back on memory lane to embrace good old days of the past, “oldskool” stuff.

This is also one reason, why I am using mostly “classic” and well recognized tunes for the music of my OSDM intros, to reinforce the notion of “oldskool” and past glory. Not that there is no other music that I could use instead. There are plenty of old tracks by my buddy’s from SAC that were never used for an Intro or Demo as they were intended while just ending up as another tune in one of our SAC Artpack releases instead. So it was and is a conscious choice of mine. I hope to bring back memories… good ones I hope.

I also add a new touch and personal flavor to it. My own stuff. Some stuff I only do to show off what I can do with OSDM to impress my buddies from the OSDM fan community who might start wondering how I did this or that with OSDM. OSDM is not written in perfect code and you can get very unexpected results when you turn on all the knobs and switches when you are creating effects combinations. Some of it is hard to impossible to predict and makes things IMO also more interesting. It’s not a coder contest!

Creating Real Cracktros With OSDM

Some of the intros I created with the intention to be used as real release cracktros and I ask the question: “Why Not?”. Sure, I could have it coded or probably even could code it myself. No big deal. As I said earlier, I don’t have to produce hard core code to get the desired results. Generic routines, libraries and code will do just fine. What is the difference really to what you do with OSDM? It is also just a graphical interface around an effects library that was written by another dude for Pure Basic, plus some supporting tools.

You don’t even have to use the interface really. You could just do everything in the preferences file, which is an .INI text file to define what you like and then only use OSDM to compile the final executable. It’s just like a wrapper; a wrapper that helps folks who do not consider themselves to be a “coder”, like me. I remember when I created designs for intros that were never coded, because of the lazy or incapable programmer, sometimes even an animation with a 2D animator program like Autodesk Animator Pro or Deluxe Paint Animation to illustrate what I want it to look like. Now I can do it myself. I am “Geek” enough to figure out how OSDM works, which is not so easy really, because its interface defies all standards of “usability” and “user friendliness”.

Times Changed, Things Changed

I sure understand where the negative attitude (mostly from coders) towards OSDM comes from. I was the same years back. I remember the Humble Guys Intro Maker 2.0 for example. It bothered me too back then in what was it 1992 or 1993? Yeah, I created an Intro with it once, a Fake one, for a lame release under a fake group, which was real, but too lame to release under the name of any of the groups I was running or a member of.

Times changed though and the reasons behind tools like OSDM also.

See For Yourself

Have a look at my Megatro 2009 Intros Pack (11 MB ZIP), which includes 28 Intros that I created with OSDM. You must admit that they are not too bad, if you try to forget about coding for the moment. Oh, the menu system for the release was programmed by myself in Pure Basic by the way. Nothing fancy, but the generic code I mentioned before. It was an afternoons worth of time to do it from scratch and my first program ever in that programming language.. go figure. OSDM has a feature to produce “Megademos” like my Megapack, but I did not use it, because of some shortcomings that were impossible for me to work around and at the same time unacceptable to use as is for my release.

I’d like to hear other folks point of view, arguments, opinions and comments. You can do so also anonymously, if you don’t want to reveal your name or scene handle in the comments section below.


Carsten aka Roy/SAC

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