Interviews



Interview with d'Arc

Published in Vandalism News #40
Performed by Jazzcat



Back in the very early 1990's I traded with several members of Topaz. I remember receiving packages from Scapegoat with their latest demos. What a thrill this was back then.

One of the key members who made this Finnish group so well known was Jani Hirvo, aka d'Arc. I feel happy to be able to introduce him to all of the readers out there in the pages of Vandalism News #40.


J)
Greetings, for those who might not know you until now, could you please give us a short description of yourself...

D)
My name is Jani Hirvo also known as d'Arc of Topaz Beerline. Currently 29 years old with a family of one little boy, Antero and wife Ulla.

During the active times I coded a lot of demo effects for Topaz. I also was involved in painting and swapping. I used to have a LOT of free time back then.


J)
Could you tell us when you first joined the scene and what happened through the years when you were involved?

D)
I met HTD at the age of 'young' and we decided to go and play California Games. We found out that we had similar interests in doing something with the C64 by ourselves. We were both 'coding' with basic and ripping stuff that we could. Old groups 'Finnsoft' and 'Duo' were born and some releases were given out.

We followed the demo scene as much as we could try to get the first contacts from anywhere we could. Eventually the hobby evolved into an interest in assembly and we finally noticed that *I* can not make any music and HTD can not code. :-) The work division was simple as that. We buried Duo and formed Fate. We did some pretty nice stuff, at least in our eyes. You can pick the material for example from CSDb.

After a while I got an offer to join Topaz and could get HTD in also. Since then and some 10+ demos, we're here.

Today my C64 world is not that active on coding and drawing but I follow the scene daily. I'm still friends with the same faces who were involved from the beginning. I (we) do have some unreleased stuff and someday they will be collected into a demo. As we've seen, it has taken a while.



J)
I remember well the demos you created for Topaz and Fate. Can you tell us more about those times and the demos being created at that time?

D)
Fate times were fun. You did what you could with the knowledge you had. A lot of things were copying others' ideas in to your own productions. In those days you just had to have rasterbars, splits, a logo and of course a scroll. Though, I never taught myself to do a multiplexer.

Within Topaz and by the time I learned more tricks, I could express my ideas in parts. I am still really proud of some demo parts I did. Especially things I did as the first (or biggest).

When you're young, energetic and with a lot of spare time you do more than today. It used to be so that one demo part was finished per week but nowadays finding the inspiration is the hardest part.


J)
What is your personal favourite demo you have been involved in and why?

D)
Simple: Graveyard Blues 3 - My God Is Playing Tricks On Me, Or If You Prefer More, Second Coming Of The
Problem Child.

There are parts that I feel are original (four windows), big (DYPP scrolls) and technically nice (The Ball).


J)
What is your opinion on demos in general? Design, hardcore-code, theme? To summarise: what is the most important element of a demo?

D)
Design for sure. A graphics show with nice transitions from a picture to another is better than a demo with "the biggest 3D object ever seen with an ugly logo".




d'Arc's all-time favourites:

Demos: I have to leave this blank. I mean, there are too many good ones. Most of the favourite ones are from the 'early days' when a lot of ideas were never seen before. To name one, I would say Camelot's "The Unnamed Demo" with the full screen zoom scroll. AWESOME!

Demo Groups: Camelot and Panoramic Designs.
Coders: The guys in Camelot.
Graphicians: I'd go with my friend Electric/Extend. It's great to see that not only he is good on C64, but also on other media.
Musicians: AMJ ... too many to mention.
Games: Laser Squad, but from a technical point of view Turrican II and the Creatures + Mayhem in Monsterland series.


J)
Were you ever involved in any commercial projects such as games or tools on the C64 or other platforms?

D)
As a commercial product I made the AFLI editor which was sold to CP Verlag. Not a big salary from that, but at least something. On the game productions I still occasionally work with the unfinished Penguin Tower. It WILL be released someday. It just takes a bit longer than expected.


J)
What is your opinion on the cracking scene and the personality differences between a legal and illegal scener?

D)
Cracking is good. That is one of the biggest reasons why a certain computer, game system or console sells well. You need to have the possibility to test and find games you like before buying them. There simply are too many to play (buy) that you need to have an alternative.

I am not sure if legal and illegal sceners have such a big difference in personality. Both are needed for a scene to survive.


J)
You worked on the disk magazine Fresh 'n Sticky. What is your opinion on disk magazines on the C64? have any favourites?

D)
Fresh 'n Sticky at the time was a protest against all the disk mags out there. During that time every group seemed to have a magazine of their own (we too!). Swap-disks were filled with them and you got the same mag over and over again. We wanted to have something else on the market and, well, did that.

Gosh, it's been so long that I have forgotten my favourite magazine's name. If my memory serves me right, it was done by Light... (ED: Faircharts or Smooth Criminal maybe) Today, I have to give big respect to you working with Vandalism and Domination. The magazines look good and releases come often enough to keep the magazine in the minds of the people.



J)
Ever had any wars or disliking towards some group or person in the scene?

D)
Not really. Only incident that comes to mind was this unfortunate connection to the stolen goods at Light+Phenomena. Our car was too close to the one having the stuff and eventually 1+1 become something other than 2.


J)
Regarding C64 graphics. What is your opinion on the way that it is created, e.g. wiring from another platform and touching up, copying from an existing artist, doing original artwork on C64 only?

D)
I see no problem with this. If you've ever tried to do  *good* work on a digitized picture, you notice it's almost as much work as drawing from scratch (with emphasis on the word 'good').

Then again, original art is always original. These people sure are real artists when compared to the 'pixel fixers'.


J)
What was your personal job preference. Coding or pixelling? Did you also try another art like composing?

D)
Coding. Though, I do like to draw on the C64 with a limited amount of colours. You need to have challenges. Never tried composing.


J)
Will your young son ever be introduced to a C64 and told about his father's experiences with it?  :)

D)
Of course! He's now almost 8 months and has seen the C64 games on television, I do play them occasionally. It probably takes a few years before he understands anything about games, but eventually he will try some.

Showing demos is of course a must, but this could end up quite badly. Just think about the time when you were young and your dad showed something of his interest. You probably ran out of the room screaming 'boooooring'.



J)
What are your hobbies outside the scene and how would you describe an average day of your life?

D)
Hobbies outside of the scene are of course family, but I suppose that doesn't count. Some sports activities including jogging, swimming, skiing, gym, inline skating, snow boarding... stuff like that. I do not compete or even do much of those during one  week. Just the right amount.

At home I code on the PC (Delphi), play games, spend time on the internet, watch movies... I've been pretty busy with Scapegoat with a HTPC project.

Go see - http://www.netikka.net/jhirvo/mok/
                       
An average day starts with a wake up call between 7:20 - 7:50 AM. A breakfast, 8 hours at work (ABB Substation Automation) and back to home possibly via the gym. Then I like to play with Antero for a couple of hours. If nothing else, we just scream at each other as it currently seems to be the fun stuff to do.


J)
Hehe, sounds like me and the main editor of this magazine.. :) To end this interview, here is your time to send any greetings to anyone you know...


D)
Of course all the Topaz members even though some of them have been quite quiet for a while. Extend needs to get a hi also. Then some personal hi's to a few oldies like The Dark Judge, Unifier (Flash) and Smile (Clique).


J)
Thanks for your time. Any last words for the audience?

D)
Keep on stunning people with demos!
http://sivut.koti.soon.fi/skape

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