This demo won the ZX Spectrum demo competition at Forever 2006. It did this not by being an amazing piece of coding, but by playing on six years’ worth of in-jokes built in previous Forever parties.
I did mean to do a proper demo, honest – I spent three days working on one of the cleverest effects I’ve ever done. But then I realised that it was only two more days to the party, and a single half-finished effect wouldn’t make a demo, so I rushed ahead with some silly ideas instead.
The source code is here for the taking, but the only remotely novel piece of code is the scrolling landscape, which stores the bitmap in vertical chunks rather than the usual horizontal ones – so I’ll skip the commentary here, and explain the jokes instead.
The title is a bit of wordplay on “haluzky”, the national dish of Slovakia, where the Forever party takes place. Haluzky is (are?) potato dumplings, rather like gnocchi but with a texture closer to lumpy porridge, topped with sheep’s cheese and a sprinkling of crispy bacon. It’s an acquired taste.
The first part as a whole is a parody of Second Reality by Future Crew, possibly the most famous demo of all. The original demo pans across an alien landscape, then pauses as a fleet of spaceships fly past; here the landscape turns out to be the city of TrenÄin, home of the Forever party. (“Vitajte v TrenÄine” is Slovak for “Welcome to TrenÄin”.) The graphics here were originally drawn for an unfinished realtime compo entry at last year’s party; that year there was very heavy snowfall, hence the giant snowman. For the joke to work this time round, I was banking on it snowing again – and indeed it did, slightly, prompting EvilPaul to call me the Michael Fish of the demoscene.
I’m sure the music played by the spaceship doesn’t need any introduction. The tune played by the building in reply (Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, if you must know) comes from the Atari 8-bit’s on-board diagnostics routines. At the first Forever, during a sound check before the Atari compos, the corresponding screen flashed up and caused the Atari fans in the audience to commence a spontaneous chorus of “doo doo doo do do doo”; and ever since then, it’s been the unofficial theme music of the Forever party.
The second and final part is a tribute to Beruska, a charming animation made by Marek FiÅ¡er of Kingfisher Movie Studio and familiar to all Spectrum demo fans. The idea of having Beruska speak the greetings probably came from LCD, who (on the way back from a previous party) showed me a bizarre anime clip with a singing cat and accompanying subtitles. The graphics were all ripped from the original animation, but the sound samples were newly recorded – I chose a quiet point in the evening to sneak out into the lobby, away from the background noise of beeping computers, and squeak into my iBook’s built-in microphone. I surprised myself at how accurate the results were.