Iconoclast by Andromeda Software Development [web]

                   i c o n o c l a s t
                    a n d r o m e d a
                     s o f t w a r e
                  d e v e l o p m e n t

                 Presented at Assembly 2005
                       written by

                       scored  by
                   amusic and leviathan

                       drawn   by
                    amoivikos and ch3


        Iconoclast can run on machines with fast CPU and GPUs
        with  ps2.0 shaders  (Geforce FX  and  6+ series, ATI 
        Radeon 95++,X series). It can run on lesser machines, 
        but most of the effects will be absent (probably only 
        the particles, strips and skyboxes would be visible).


        "you are not ready for this"

.code - Navis

        Iconoclast  is a product of enormous labour and  love.
        It was written  between the beginning of March and end
        of July  2005, without any  significant  direction  or 
        sequencing of parts. Unlike  planet risk,however,there 
        is a very vague 'storyboard':  The transition from the 
        old world (in terms of demoscene)  to a new, hence the
        'destruction'   of  oldskool  artifacts  in  the first 
        parts (up until  the  point  of the   hourglass, which 
        serves as an intermediate step).The  original idea was 
        to  dive  then into  a completely   different style of 
        demo -  so, the  mellow  parts  would  be followed by 
        angry, noisy and  completely   over  the  top, surreal 
        graphics - maybe similar to the  ones in 'Aphorism for 
        the masses'. However this  idea  was abandoned and the 
        new approach was a  bit  more  confined  to  what  one 
        would   call  'normal  effects and music', while still 
        retaining a hint of surrealism.

        The  demo  is  split  into  the following  distinctive 

         1) Introduction.  This  was (as is the tradition) the
          last part to be written,  and  it  is based on an old
          idea we had:A fractalesque algorithm to create random
          urban topographic maps. (and  maybe a tongue-in-cheek 
          reference  to the beginning of last year's winnerdemo
          'Obsoleet' :-)). 

         2) Breathing object. The  object  with the holes, and
          the  saws passing through it, cutting it into pieces.
          No  geometry  is  being  altered, it  is all on pixel 
          shaders with "alpha testing" being used as a means to 
          recreate that Constructive Solid Geometry feeling.

         3) Barbwire, rose  and moon. That being the last part
          written, it  was meant to tone down things a bit, and
          let eyes rest for a while, before

         4) Hollow object, refractive box, the door. One part,
          one long  camera take. This part  really serves as an
          interlude  between part 3 and part  5.  Having a door
          'opening up' the skybox could raise the philosophical
          question   of  what  exactly are  the  limits  in the 
          universe that each scene creates,in this or any other
          demo/computer game.Are skyboxes the surrounding walls 
          of the world, outside which nothing can exist ?

         5) 'Underwater' scene,  a  collection of great oldies 
          -well, 3 of them. Then the transition  into the music 
          box. Again, one  long  camera take. A  very painfully
          constructed   scene  and   probably  the  most   time 
          consuming one,  due to the fact that a high degree of
          optimisation was needed to make it run fast enough.

         6)  Polaroids  reflecting   a   scene,   'Antikythera
          mechanism',  sharks,  apes , the end ... How could an
          ASD demo not have the trademark sharks(even though it 
          is a different model each time :P).This long part was
          rather straightforward in construction - the goal was 
          to  build 4-5 scenes  and  connect  them so that they 
          blend into each other in a completely organic fashion
          (not only  in terms of content, but also in framerate
          consistency),without the need to change camera angles, 
          do fades, post-processing effects  or  whatever  else. 
          This  is a  tradition that   has  been in development 
          since EON, Ambience/Antidote for the masses,and party
          Planet Risk demos.

        Lots   of  time was spend 'adding' effects, particles,
        models, splines and  then even more taking them out of
        the final equation.Spend a month adding, spend a month
        taking away, leaving only what really matters in.It is
        good enough when no more and no  less is needed. It is
        very  difficult  to make a judgement, and one can only 
        improve by watching and making more demos.
        Last thing worth mentioning is the  attitude  of doing
        as much as possible by hand.There is no 'scripting',or 
        stored camera paths in 3ds files.Even some of the mesh 
        animations   are   procedural. It is  our  belief that 
        hardcoding can speed up the process of creating a demo, 
        as  it eliminates the need for a  very  versatile  and 
        fully   integrated   scripting and  spline laying tool.
        Sin/Cosine are the  humble bricks  with which  one can 
        build cathedrals, as long as  there is enough patience 
        and imagination ! 

.music - Amusic / Leviathan 

         As far as the  music  is  concerned,  right  from the
         beginning  we  wanted  to make a completely different
         sound but at the same time  stay  true  to the  style 
         we  have  developed  over  the  years. The result  is 
         something that has  its  roots  into the  progressive 
         metal genre, but cannot trully be  called progressive  
         metal  anymore.Hence we devised  a  new  genre  which  
         we  christianed "Dynamic"  however it  might apply to 
         each one that hears the term.

         The general idea was that this time we wanted to make 
         a more  oriental/mediteranean  influenced piece along 
         with the  "traditional"  heavy  guitar  riffs, into a
         crazy and punchy song.  Alas,  when the first effects 
         started coming in  it  was obvious that the diversity 
         of  the  visual  part  called   for an  also  diverse 
         soundtrackish  piece.  Ergo, even if the result might 
         be  pleasant  to  the  ear (well if someone likes the 
         guitar) , it  cannot  be really understood out of the 
         visual context.

         As  with  the  visual  part,the audio part is full of 
         diverse and different ideas combined into  one piece,  
         while  each idea could be expanded  into  a piece  of 
         its own .  The  technique  used  for  this  one is no  
         different from the one we have  been  using since the  
         early  days we were writting music. 
         Devising as we write.
         Some ideas have been composed, arranged and performed  
         only  to  be found inadequate, deleted and  back from  
         scratch,  while others proved  to  be what we  really  
         wanted in just a single  performance.  This  must  be  
         the  piece  with  the most instruments and effects we
         have ever written.

         All in all, we are happy with the  experimenting  and 
         the result and we have the belief that we  managed to 
         create an original sound sum that has not been  heard  
         before  in a demo  (well  except  our  little tribute 
         to Future Crew and noOon).

.3d graphics - Ch3

         The common charecteristic for mos  of the  models, was 
         the use of primitive cubes or  hard  edges  to  achive  
         a more digital  rather  realistic  look.  Of course, a  
         reasonable polygon count was an issue , as many of the 
         models  are not static, but they  are  deformed by per 
         vertex calculations. 


          The shark model started from the realistic looking skin 
          which  is  based  on  reference  photos.  The  interior 
          skeleton though,was approached in a  more abstract  and 
          loose manner and it was made exclusively by hexaedrons.
          The deformation of the shark is  produced  procedurally 
          directly within the demo. 


          A lot of preproduction work was  done for  the design of 
          this character. After  its  form was established thought, 
          the modelling was a rather straight  forward  process,as 
          it is a simple looking model. The polygon count was kept 
          quite low,for performace but also for aesthetic purposes.   
          The animation was the most important  stage, in order to 
          convey the weight and power of the character. 


          This  character  combined  with the apes, determined the
          final part of the demo. It was  modeled  directly within
          the computer and  it  is  based  on  reference  photos ,  
          but with some  exaggerated  features.Again, low  polygon  
          look  was  an   aesthetic choice, but also helped in the 
          perforamnce of  its animation, as it  is driven by blend 
          shape  deformations. Its outfit and environment was made 
          with  cubes  to  give a more abstract look. 

.2d graphics - Amoivikos

         Finally, the  themes  for  the  2d graphics in this demo 
         were mainly influenced by images from olden days,ancient 
         artifacts and the baroque era.Lots of material initially 
         sketched  out, did  not make it into final, and that was  
         indeed for  the best.Following the pattern set by planet 
         risk,but happily with lots more involvement,the graphics  
         attempt to serve the flow of the "storyline" rather than 
         try to stand out  on  their own . A great deal of effort
         also went into experimenting   with  the  use  of  mixed 
         media   and  trying  to  tie them seamlessly into a more  
         unified look and feel.


         It has been a very  enjoyable year,  2005,  
         rolling out 5 demos and getting to 4 parties.

         See you all next year at The Gathering 2006 and PixelShow 2.