Interview with Skate
Published in Vandalism News #53
Performed by Jazzcat
In this edition of World of Demos we examine the profile of one of the creators of Snapshot. Introducing one of the fresh personalities in the world of scene demos, he is the main man behind the winning demo from Breakpoint 2010 and has recently joined Plush. He hails from Turkey and is one of the main organisers of the 7DX event-series.
We take a look at the person behind the handle and uncover some interesting facts...
Please welcome SKATE...
What do you like to do in real life?
I was working too hard lately almost doing nothing except programming some commercial stuff but luckily it's about to change in a few months and I'll find more free time, lose some weight, spend some time with my family. In short, I'm planning to get back to life.
My favourite thing to do is skateboarding (well, sex doesn't count right?). My handle comes from skateboarding which is quite obvious I guess. I'm also an electro guitarist. Recently I bought an Ibanez RG3550MZ Prestige and nowadays I'm practicing to gain my guitar control back.
My other favourite things are playing basketball, watching DVDs with my wife, playing with my kid, teaching him skateboarding and other dangerous stuff for his age.
Who or what was your first encounter with the scene?
I had already met with Atari 800XL and Commodore 64 and I'd had a beginning level basic programming knowledge before I first met with the world of scene. I was too young, not even 10. My brother started writing game solutions for a local game magazine called "64'ler" (don't mix with 64'er, "ler" indicates plural form in Turkish, like 64's) and thanks to my brother, I found a chance to meet with some guys from the crack scene in Turkey who were writers of that magazine or visiting "Besiktas Bilgisayar" which was a computer store belongs to the wife of the magazine's boss.
Tell us how you got involved...
My oldest friend Can (Caisson/Ascraeus) and I wanted to build a scene group. There was only one problem. We didn't have enough knowledge. I had drawn an ugly "Thunders" logo which was the name I've chosen for the group but I wasn't able to code an intro yet. Ripping and using game tunes was ok (or was it?) but we definitely needed a hand about coding. Mert Hekimci (Turk/Accuracy later known as Digahole/Onslaught) was our hero. He coded our first intro using my lame logo. He also gave me some source codes of him and by examining these sources; I improved my basic (understanding basic components of programming) and also officially met with 6510 assembler.
Living by Glance showed some real team work, reflecting on this demo now almost 5 years later, what are your feelings towards it?
That "was" a real team work and I don't think we could finish it with absence of a single member who was involved. My feelings are not too complicated. I feel relaxed and happy. It's my best work in my scene history. We are all proud of it. I also feel very lucky. Because without correct team members like (in alphabetical order) Datura, Endo, Hydrogen, Nightlord and Norvax, I would never be able to finish and release a demo like that.
5 years... 5 long years. That period was painful, specially the last 4 years. From 2005-2006 everything was ok. Because we had released Living, our first demo in 2005 and we were happy about it.
Our goal was to make a better demo. We discussed a lot of demo concepts and we decided to make one of them. We failed! Then we choose another alternative demo Project (which meant to be released at X 2006), we failed again. That wasn't a good sign and all of us were disturbed about this. You can read more details on Snapshot's note file. From 2007 to 2010 were the hardest times for Glance.
Winning Breakpoint 2010 with Snapshot, now how did that feel?
Breakpoint is not a Commodore 64 only party like X but it is (was :( ) the biggest scene only event. So, it was very important for us. We were even ready to release our demo out of any compos to get rid of the burden but while we had the chance, we wanted to win Breakpoint as a consolation prize of 5 years of work. I was the only member who couldn't go to the BP 2010 so, I don't know the feeling of being there when they announced the winner. I just jumped (almost hitting my head to the ceiling ;)) in front of BP-TV, that's all. :)
Snapshot, what did you feel you did well and what could have been improved?
I'm very comfortable with my parts except one. I wasn't able to add the walking tiger to the water reflection part and it was really easy to add, I had many free cycles left. It would improve the effect quality a lot since walking tiger would reflect to the water as well. Hydrogen had drawn the animation, everything was going fine. But I decided to leave the group and for a while I didn't do any improvement for my parts. When I returned on the keys, this part was already linked and there was no memory space left. Of course we could solve it if we didn't have 100 other higher priority problems to solve...
My goal was to make some original, never seen before parts and I think I succeeded. Thanks to Norvax and Nightlord we already had some world records so my support was mainly the world firsts. I'll keep trying to surprise the audience.
You left the local group element and joined up with Plush. How did this happen? A dream comes true?
Well, story is a little bit different. First of all, all members of Glance are my very, truly close friends and we love each other. I know some of them for 12-13 years and we built a game company together (R.I.P ;)), we organised and still organising parties (7dx party series), we played games together, we visited other member's weddings, child births etc. So, I wouldn't leave Glance under normal circumstances. There is a proverb here "kol kirilir, yen icinde kalir" (don't bother to translate it, it's something like "keep it in the family" but a little bit deeper). So, I don't want to share all the details. What I can tell you is problems started after BP 2009. We went there, couldn't finish the demo in time and returned empty handed. After that, I tried to make some changes on the demo like changing the outdated IRQ loader but we couldn't have an agreement.
One of my effects "infinite zoomer" was already beaten by HCL a year ago and I didn't want to wait for other surprises. I had coded the water reflection effect two weeks after Living released in 2005. I just wanted to my codes to get on the surface in shorter than 4-5 years. That's the main reason I left Glance. It doesn't mean Glance will not release a demo in a short period. I just don't want to risk it. None of us are that young anymore (even I was the youngest member of the team).
After sending my good bye mail to Glance, Hydrogen asked me not to make an official announcement of leaving Glance until the release of Snapshot. I updated my CSDB profile but didn't say a word to global scene. Only it's discussed on local Turkish forums.
It took another one year for me to gain my freedom. When I got my freedom, I contacted with two groups Chorus and Plush. Chorus told me they wanted to stay as a Hungarian team but Plush (with 16 German only members) accepted me as their first international member. I already knew Krill and Cosowi personally and I had contact with Dow Jones in the 90s. So, I didn't feel as a complete stranger. They know how to welcome new members. Plush has very friendly members. It helped me with the adaptation period. In Plush's mailing list, they decided to talk in English from now on just because of me. I'm really thankful for the sacrifices they've made for me.
You may think that Plush wasn't that active lately, either. So, why did I choose them? First of all, I knew they were planning to be active again. We have talked on this subject with Krill at X and BP. Also, I was not trying to find the most active group and placed in their member list for nothing. Instead, I wanted to be a fresh blood, help them to accelerate, be a true member of the group. That's what I'm trying to do now.
You have been one of the main organisers of the 7DX-events in Turkey. Can you tell us a bit about this party and what is involved?
7DX Demo Party series started in 2002. Before that, all I remember was the Summer Assembly '99 which held in Izmir (Thanks to Analog group). After Summer Assembly we haven't seen any scene related activity. Hydrogen/Glance gave us the idea of making our own party for keeping the scene alive & together in Turkey. He also found the name 7D2 which was the hexadecimal equivalent of the year 2002. That's why our party name is counting each year. :) Last year we made 7D9 (with 160+ visitors) and this year we'll organise 7DA in December 2010 (exact date is not certain yet).
When we first started organizing 7DX parties, there was no Glance. We were all Bronx members. So, first 3 parties 7D2, 7D3 and 7D4 are known as Bronx parties. That's changed after we left Bronx and built Glance. Core organiser team members are Hydrogen/Glance, Datura/Glance, Endo/Glance and myself (all ex-Bronx members). In time, Spritus/Resident, Bakkada/Demodojo, Beast/Crescent, Norvax/Glance and Compec Club (a Bogazici University Computer Engineering Club) joined the organisation team. This year Caisson/Ascraeus (my oldest friend remember?) will be in the organisation team as well. He was responsible for last year's web site design and a lot of other visual works.
We never had an entrance fee. All 7DX Demo Parties are free.
Strange isn't it? :) How does this happen? First a few parties were easy. We had around 30-40 visitors. But now we have 160+ visitors which means we need some sponsors.
Our biggest sponsor is "S-Mart" company. Company owner M. Fatih Kilic is also a scener (Mfk/Bronx). They are the ones who are responsible of Pandora console, a possible scene platform. :) We have some other scener involved sponsors like
"eksisozluksozluk.sourtimes.org" which ran by Arteffect group (Ssg, Fatalica etc.). Also Beast/Crescent is our media sponsor as well as an organiser who runs darkhardware.com.
We don't have a huge scene (never had) like Germany, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland etc. Our scene is smaller and to be honest we are not effective enough in the global scene. If you love the scene, if you love your country, what would you do? We are organising 7DX Demo Parties as a step.
Are 7DX Demo Parties the only scene parties in Turkey? Yes and no. Currently (and unfortunately) yes, but in 2006 and 2007, Nightshift parties are organised by Nightlord/Glance and Vigo/Bronx as a second friendly party in Turkey. But unfortunately Nightshift is discontinued. I still have some hope for new Nightshift parties. Any other Turkish parties are welcome too of course.
As final words about 7DX Demo Parties, for many years I thought organizing a demo party is the best way to improve
Turkish scene. That's right but we have all seen it's not enough alone. We need more global successes like Snapshot. Hereby, I call all my Turkish scener friends to make a killer demo and kick some ass. :)
Edge of Disgrace seems to be a major inspiration for you to continue with Snapshot. What would you say to other people who seem to be intimidated by that demo?
Edge of Disgrace is an amazing demo and it's one of the biggest milestones in C64 history. If you read the note file of Snapshot, you're going to see a special section for Edge of Disgrace.
But personally EoD didn't affect me that much about Snapshot. There are two reasons. First of all, I've finished (or started) most of my effects which are used in Snapshot long before EoD is released. Many transition parts are coded by Norvax, Endo
etc. So, if we are talking about Snapshot, EoD affected me for beating one of my effects. :)
I think if EoD was never released, we might have weaker transition parts in Snapshot. EoD helped us to take a better
care about the linking quality of the demo. But I don't agree with EoD being the major inspiration for us "to continue" with Snapshot. I know it's written like that in the note file but personally I don't completely agree with it. It's not that I don't appreciate the demo, I just don't believe EoD was our main inspiration. If I need to pick a demo of Booze, Royal Arte has a bigger role for me. Don't forget that it's just my opinion, I'm not talking for the other members of Glance.
For other groups/sceners who think EoD is a hard to beat demo, I'd say they're damn right. :) But it should never stop them for
trying. EoD is close to perfection, we all know that. But also it has weak points like using too much plasmas and zoomers. I'd
go for alternative effect ideas (that's what we did at Snapshot actually). That's the only way you can make a demo as good as
EoD. If you try to "improve" HCL's effects (specially plasmas and zoomers), you don't have much chance I believe. HCL is evil!
;) As a coder, I don't want to make comments for graphics and soundtrack. EoD is very strong because it combines high
quality code, graphics and music. That's the way rest of the scene should follow. And yes, that's the hardest way.
X2010 will possibly be an opportunity to compete against the likes of Crest, FairLight, Booze Design, Offence and many more. I guess that is a good goal but you might feel you don't want to repeat what happened at Breakpoint 2009 again with not-quite-making-it?
I'll be at X 2010 with a demo, ready to compete against those groups. I never underestimate anyone but of course when making a demo, my aim is taking the first place. But to be honest, I'd prefer to loose against a demo like "Meet Crest" instead of winning. After all, I'm a big Crest fan! :)
About being not able to finish a demo like what happened at BP 2009... This may repeat at some point but for X 2010, there is no doubt a demo which contains my effects will be in the compo. I don't want to make more spoilers, I think this is clear enough.
Please feel free to send some greetings, special messages or words of wisdom out to the C64 world...
First, thank you for this opportunity. I want to send greetings in two categories. Scene related and non-scene related.
My scene related greetings go to:
- Digahole: You are the man who is responsible for all of this. Without you I could be a shoe salesman. Thank you for giving me a hobby + a profession.
- Hydrogen, Datura and Endo: You three walked the longest path with me in the scene. You have a special reserved part in my heart. Thank you for everything guys.
- Nightlord, Norvax: Maybe we had a shorter history together but working with you guys were amazing. I feel so lucky. I learned and still learning a lot from you.
- Turbo, Vigo: Most respected sceners in Turkey. You two should never stay away from the scene. As long as you are there, we know the scene continues.
- Spaztica: One of the oldest farts I know. :) Thanks for keeping the scene spirit and running tr-demo scene forum all these years.
- Caisson: You are the one who was there from the beginning. We shared a lot of things together. Thank you my friend.
- Arcane, Aegis, Hades, and Madhead: You are the other important names for me from the 90s.
- Spritus: As one of my best friends, I give you the "best scener of all times" award. Ok, that was a little exaggerated. :)
- Plush Team: Thank you guys for accepting me as your first foreign member. I'll do my best to make extraordinary demo parts for you. I know you got bored from "normal". ;)
I salute all of my friends from the scene. I'm sorry I couldn't write all of you one by one.
My non-scene related greetings go to:
My wife Ceyda, my son Kaan, my brother Umur and rest of my family. They supported me all these years for everything.
Thanks for your time! One last question, will the scene ever die do you think?
Hehe, a funny question. :) I always believed that if the scene dies as we know it, some other "unknown" people will start making demos "somewhere else" (maybe calling demos "real-time calculated graphics" or using some other terminology). They will start sharing what they do with each other. In time they'll want to meet with each other. They are going to organise meetings. When they got together, some of them will like each other and boozing will start. Also competitive souls will push them to make competitions. Result is the scene again just like we know it. Scene is a part of human evolution, you can't get rid of it. :)
See you at X2010 I hope - any last words?
Yes, I'll be there and I'm very excited about it. I know it's going to be huge!
Hereby I invite all sceners to 7DA Demo Party which will be held in Istanbul / Turkey in December of 2010. It's going to be the 9th 7DX Party. Don't forget to follow www.7dx-party.org. English site will be up in a few months.
That's it I guess. Thank you for this nice interview with well prepared questions.