A scener's worst nightmare at a demoparty

category: general [glöplog]
I often wondered how frequently demos crash or fail to run at demoparties when shown on the big screen, considering the nature of the competitions at such events. Then I heard that sometimes a demo can be recorded before projection, especially if it's likely to crash. Is that true? And if they are shown actually "live", then how often have crashes occurred? I can imagine it must be horrible for the group or groups involved when that happens! :(
added on the 2016-12-10 16:56:52 by Foebane72 Foebane72
Happened twice with the same demo untill they changed the compo machine at X

added on the 2016-12-10 17:10:24 by magic magic
It very much depends on the demoparty and its organizers if demos will be prerecorded or not. Some do, some don't. PC demos are generally shown live (is there any exception to this besides Assembly?) but random crashes have become way more rare the more mature Windows/Direct3D/OpenGL got, and of course organizers will try your demo several times on the actual compo machine before it gets shown live.

Thinking of it, I can't remember when a demo has last crashed live at a demoparty I've attended or organized in the last years. Two, three attempts at starting it, yes (mostly because sane defaults in resolution selector dialogs seem to be a lost art), but a crash in the middle? No idea.

Notable exeption: Game compos where each year another one tries to run a massively multiplayer game off a Raspberry Pi and wonders why it doesn't work with 500 users instead of the two they tested. :P
added on the 2016-12-10 17:14:26 by kb_ kb_
Notable exeption: Game compos where each year another one tries to run a massively multiplayer game off a Raspberry Pi and wonders why it doesn't work with 500 users instead of the two they tested. :P

while this makes me laugh hard every time i still hope someday someone comes up with a concept/platform that actually works =)
added on the 2016-12-10 17:17:39 by wysiwtf wysiwtf
It´s pretty uncommon nowadays.
For Reasons, being all parties having a Deadline...so the Organizers will have time to test all prods on the compo machine (or atleast a 1:1 machine, same config as the compo-machine)
...and if something does not work, the makers get informed and have time to fix it...then it´ll get retested until it works or the actual compo starts, in which case the makers had bad luck and the prod won´t get shown.

In case of X the makers were fiddling until seconds before the actual compo started. (Organizers often are obliging to extending the deadline, sometimes even until the compo starts! In those cases there´s no time to test/fix anymore of course!)
Crashes happen. Crowds understand, they have patience. I've seen people carry their own computers up to the compo booth during the compo because the demo crashes everywhere else.

But nobody except the authors are going to notice if the demo runs fine to the end but looked or sounded totally wrong. This happened to me once back when ati and nvidia drivers had entirely different opinions on what OpenGL means - fortunately it was "just" a sleepless party hack but still it kind of sucked.
added on the 2016-12-10 17:28:55 by skrebbel skrebbel
In case of X the makers were fiddling until seconds before the actual compo started.

nope - it was finished 2 or 3 days before the party :) it uses a known unstable technique ("VSP") and also crashes on the majority of my own C64s. thats what you get for sloppy coding =)

that said, at ms96 (iirc) our PSX demo refused to start up in the compo (for some odd reason all compos were recorded, but not the console compo....). in that case we were really working on it until last minute and delivered the cd when the compo was already started, and we foolishly assumed it would work on the compo machine when it boots on ours. oh well :)
added on the 2016-12-10 18:05:10 by groepaz groepaz
groepaz: Oh, well, seems i stated my own assumptions as a fact here by accident! ;) Had heard from someone else (of course also completely uninvolved) that you were fiddling until very close to the compo...may have been a different prod he was talking about, though.
Sorry for misinformation!
my worst nightmare at a demoparty is meeting Dwarf and getting forced to drink pepper schnapps
added on the 2016-12-10 21:20:25 by farfar farfar
There must be a planet where all my lost extension cords went.
added on the 2016-12-10 23:00:49 by Emod Emod
I think Generation X must have crashed at least 3 or 4 times during Amiga demo compo at Nexus 95. Poor Fastjack!
added on the 2016-12-10 23:47:12 by noname noname
Crashes are more rare but there is always a chance.
For entries that have issues, the biggest reason I can think of is that there simply wasn't enough time to test the entry before the compo run. This includes but not limited to stuff like having some older version of the entry, issues with a demo part and/or projector gamma, performance issues and some shader bugging out and not showing correctly.

A lot of the issues are simply stuff that the author is also aware of due handing the entry at the very last minute :)

Deadlines exist, but unfortunately the amount of people who assume that they can get special treatment some times tend to pile up and you some times just have to relax on that rule, I've had situations where almost 30% of the real time entries hang on those extra hours. While I do my best to support such situations, some times you just end up with a broken entry or two on the screen since there is no time to test the sudden flood of entries at the last minutes. Without knowing the full story behind the entry as a viewer when issues DO happen, it's understandable that it might feel a bit lame.

Regarding recording, some exotic platforms (And all those lovely Linux entries), which require a pagan ritual blood sacrifice to be performed before running the entry are something I try to record when possible to save on possible train wrecks and boot times.. Of course without any quality loss. Even though I've ran a few smaller parties with full pre-records, I find it way more interesting to have things run live and if stuff happens, you at least get live fixing and the feeling of "real time" instead of an almost-corporate like staged show from a video playlist.. At least that's my feel on it. Demos are also about the systems they run on and I find the odd quirk or two to be part of the experience.

Anyway, organizers try to do their best and at least with every party I've been part of organizing, we always test the entries one by one, usually from start to finish and some times even try to involve the author on checking it out if he is not a lost cause due to a eventful night of boozing. Always making sure that the author knows if there are any issues we can spot. :)
added on the 2016-12-10 23:56:21 by oasiz oasiz
here are worse things than your entry crashing on the compo machine:

* your whole hd with your release on it crashing

* the hd of the compo pc crashing, with all remote entries on it
added on the 2016-12-11 00:14:25 by T$ T$
* your whole hd with your release on it crashing

That happened with my GBA demo at Underscore. "Fortunately" it happened right after the compo, but there was never a proper version. :(

When I was in the demo crew at The Gathering I think we used to set the deadline so earth that extending it wasn't really a problem. The participants had to beg for it though. :)

The record for late delivery is held by Outracks. Irvin (I think) ran across the hall with the demo on a USB drive while the demo before it in the compo was being shown. I ran the demo from the USB drive with no testing at all.
added on the 2016-12-11 00:44:14 by neon neon
Das Schlimmste ist wenn das Bier alle ist.
added on the 2016-12-11 01:10:28 by Sir Sir
Assembly records all the entries to all the competitions (except if there are so called live competitions). The schedule is really tight and using recorded entries in competitions eliminates the hassle, bootups and changing hardware and whatnot. Usually democompos at assembly have closer or above 20 entries.

it would take a huge amount of time to boot up and use a resolution selector or something after each entry. even with modern pcie-hdd's :)
added on the 2016-12-11 09:57:02 by h7 h7
I remember the time (about 13 years ago) in Posen (it was a Symphony party I think) that someone has dumped a shit into a dancefloor when the lights were off (as far as I remember that happened on the gig of Krzyż:Kross band). Everyone noticed that after the gig when the lights were turned on. That was a real torment.
added on the 2016-12-11 20:40:21 by Szczupaq Szczupaq
Sir: dann müssen wir halt Schnaps saufen!
added on the 2016-12-11 21:02:28 by T$ T$
There is another nightmare at demo parties, but I'm not allowed to talk about it.
added on the 2016-12-11 21:50:33 by lollol lollol
But since I'm at it: The nightmare is to NOT HAVE GIRLS REWARD YOU - whatever you do.

added on the 2016-12-11 21:51:21 by lollol lollol
wow that derailed fast.
added on the 2016-12-12 09:10:06 by skrebbel skrebbel
Lol wat?
added on the 2016-12-12 09:21:13 by okkie okkie
Nice guy detected?
added on the 2016-12-12 09:27:26 by jobe jobe
It's Mr. Stefan Reich AKA Vibrator AKA "one of the best computer scientists of Hamburg and possibly, the world". Nothing to see here.
added on the 2016-12-12 10:03:34 by StingRay StingRay
h7: When you've got proper compo organizers showing PC compos live without delays is possible. At Revision we have an ultra secret bag of tricks consisting of eg.

  • a bloody _sheet of paper_ with the playlist and notes if there's a resolution selector, what to press, how long precalc runs, whether there's something the audio guy needs to know, when exactly the demo ends, etc
  • Two identical compo machines, either as backup or in case we really need an OS switch in the middle (reboots between entries just don't need to happen anymore) or some entry precalcs so long that it's safe to start it while the preceding one is running
  • Emergency beatboxers when there's a sound problem
  • Beer
added on the 2016-12-12 11:28:52 by kb_ kb_