Demoscene The Amiga renaissance
Commodore filed for bankruptcy in 1994. One year later ESCOM, a PC manufacturer and chain of computer stores, bought what was left of the company1. The elegance and efficiency of the Amiga architecture had finally been beaten by Moore’s law, and the PC: x86 processors, with supporting graphics and sound cards, were able to do way more than even the most powerful Amiga simply by having more transistors in their components, higher clock speeds, cheaper storage and better communication options. Sceners, gamers, and the public in general, were migrating to PCs.
In the demoscene, Amiga 4 channel modules gave way to full scores composed and mixed on PC, taking way more space than the Amiga floppy could provide. Hand drawn low resolution graphics with indexed colour were stomped by 24 bit artwork created with Photoshop, or full 3D worlds with texture mapping, coupled with effects made possible by raw power that the Amiga simply could not conceive.
Those who remained faithful to the Amiga often tried to create similar 3D graphical spectaculars, requiring more and more hardware until the most powerful (and expensive) processor in Motorola’s 68k family was a requirement, along with lots of disk space to play back the fully sampled soundtrack… Were these Amiga demos?
In 1991, 2266 Amiga demos were released2 making up nearly 50% of all releases. By 2001, that figure was 170 – just under 10% of releases that year. Naturally demographics had a strong influence too, as the once-young sceners had to prioritise jobs, family and other commitments instead of slaving away to create their unique blend of art and science.
For a decade, the Amiga – and indeed the overall demoscene – was moribund. The 53 Amiga releases in 2010 made up less than 5% of the total demoscene output. Computers had become just a business tool, and creating demos earned you nothing other than recognition from a subculture,
It seems all of Gaul the scene is entirely occupied by Romans PCs. Well, not entirely… One small village community of indomitable Gauls Amigans still holds out against the invaders
Something wonderful has happened. Your Amiga is alive!
2011, for the first time in a decade, the number of Amiga productions increased, despite the overall number of releases decreasing. And this trend continued, with over 100 demos released every year from 2014 onward. (As an aside, the C64 has followed a similar trend, with its leanest year in 2009 but growth since. PC productions have however been on a downward trend since then.)
Demos were back. The demoscene is back. In 1995, AGA overtook OCS demos in terms of the number of releases annually… until 2011, when OCS took over, and hasn’t dropped back since. In 2021, just 10% of Amiga demos were AGA, with the rest being OCS.
Many sceners have come out of retirement, tempted by the chance to relive their youths, or through having more time to reconnect with their passion. The challenge of once more creating the impossible on what is now seen as limited hardware, with limited resources, is appealing, with the majority choosing the more limited OCS as their canvas. And the quality of productions is incredible, with many running on a single floppy disk, and compatible with the venerable Amiga 1000, designed nearly 40 years ago!
The Amiga scene – and the wider demoscene targeting 8 and 16 bit platforms – is enjoying a renaissance. In this book “Demoscene the Amiga renaissance”, we explore the downs, and then ups, of the Amiga demoscene from 1997 to the present day.
1 For more information, see Commodore: The final years, by Brian Bagnall, or Wikipedia, or any number of online histories. They all make for depressing reading for Amiga fans.
2 Source: Pouet.net, data downloaded on october 5th 2022
Details about the book
• Same format as volume 1 & volume 2
• High quality book printing
• Book title in front and back printed in silver finish
• English Edition
• Hardcover edition, offset printing, sewn binding
• High quality pictures 300DPI
• Finished format 165 × 230 mm
• ~450 colour pages
• 135 gr glossy coated paper
• More than 90 demos presented
• Soft touch front + UV coating
• 2mm cardboard cover
A lot of legendary groups
Abyss / Anadune / Arsenic / Artwork / Bomb / Brainstorm / Capsule / C-lous / CNCD / Cocoon / Darkage / Dekadence / Deph / Desire / Dual Crew Shining / Elude / Embassy / Encore / Ephidrena / Essence / Extend / Flex / Floppy / Focus Design / Ghostown / Gods / Haujobb / Insane / Lemon. / Limited edition / Loonies / Loveboat / Madwizards / Mankind / Maturefurk / Mellow Chips / Melon dezign / Mystic / Nah Kolor / Nerve Axis / Network / Offence / Ozone / Potion / Ramses / Rebels / Resistance / RNO / Sanity / Scarab / Scenic / Scoopex / Silicon / Skarla / Smoke / Spaceballs / Subspace / Supergroup / Suspend / The Black Lotus / The Deadliners / TRSI / Unique / Wanted team / Zenon