26 Aug

Assembly 2012


This is a post that is late, but I decided to write it anyway. Assembly 2012 was a Demoscene event organized between 2-5.8.2012 at Hartwal Areena in Helsinki, Finland. A short description of what one might mean by “Demoscene” is as follows: Competitions or ‘compos’ for short, in various categories such as music, drawn graphics, programmed animated shorts, or even filmed material. Different compos have different rules and restrictions to make things interesting. This year, there was a new category called 1K Intro. An intro is a short programmed visual (sometimes with music too) presentation. 1K refers to the limit of the executable program, i.e. 1024 bytes. This was awesome because this is the smallest compo category so far, and pushes the skills of the programmers to the very limits of what is possible. Some were silent, some had a basic soundtrack. All in 1K or less.

Other categories include 64K intro, Demo, Fast Graphics (you get a theme and 1.5 hours of time), Fast music (similar, but with a set of notes that have to be included), Listening-  and dance music compos. Ok but enough about that. I’m not involved in the demoscene, but I very much enjoy watching and listening to what these people create each year. This was my..  fifth Assembly I think? I could hypothetically have participated in every single Assembly (the first one was organized in Kaunianen, less than 5km from my childhood home) in 1992. Therefore, this was the 20th aniversary, and something I simply could not miss.

Other goings-on at Assembly include the Art Tech seminars on various subjects. I attended one, which was a short presentation on Bitcoin. Others were about game design and marketing and.. all manner of topics. There were two Angry Birds competitions. I participated in the second one, and came in second in the finals! There are various gaming competitions (which are becoming a main-stay at the Assembly events), and even actual physical sports, such as soccer, basket ball and floppy-disk throwing. Rovio had an Angry Birds stand where you could play AB with giant boxes and various AB toys to throw around. There were stands by people like EFFI (whom I whole-heartedly support), and vendor stands by companies like Jimm’s PC Store,  Asus and others.

Four days of all manner of shenanigans, and like 4000-5000 participants, 3000 of which have computers with them. It’s quite a sight if you’ve never seen it before. I was mostly looking at the democompos, and playing some games like Battlefield Bad Company 2, Max Payne 3 and a few others. I had my significant other, U, with me. This was her second Assembly, and she really liked it I think. I think I’ll go one more time. Just.. one more? I say this every year. And then I end up going anyway. And besides, it was a nice place to try out my new Intel Core i5 build, which performed excellently, despite a small Truecrypt snafu by yours truly.

There were two concerts during the event  (no raves like the previous years, which I do not like!). The first was by Poets of the Fall. They are special in that two (?) members of the band have been active in the demo scene, and started out at assembly years back. They are also significant because they became famous by making the theme to Max Payne 2, which came out in..2003, and was made by Finnish game developers Remedy.

The second concert was volumes more awesome, by ‘Jeroen Tel’, maker of dozens of game themes and soundtracks. Even though most of those games preceed me by years, I enjoyed the “chiptune” concert very much.

Okay, enough chit-chat. I have some pictures, which I will post later to this same post. I just have to go through them first.

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