Graffathon, a demoscene event for beginners

category: parties [glöplog]
Hi fellow sceners!

You may have noticed the sudden influx of new demos released at a mysterious event called Graffathon, so I thought I’d share you some info!

About two weeks ago DOT organized a computer graphics / demoscene hackathon in Finland. The event was called Graffathon, and it was targeted at beginners with no previous graphics coding / demoscene experience. The main goal was to produce the best possible demo in a weekend from the ground up using Processing. The event also consisted of helpful presentations given by sceners (including me, Preacher, msqrt, cce and more) and hands-on help to get everyone started on developing a demo. See full description at http://graffathon.fi/in-english!

The event went better than expected - all places (~60) were filled early and best of all, most of the visitors were able to create a demo during the weekend. A total of 19 demos, four images and five Blender-renderings were submitted into the competitions. The attendees were very productive!

Since the event is already over, my main intention with this post is just to let you know about this event and raise discussion about how to get more beginners into the scene. Also, you're probably keen to see what was actually produced:

- It took some serious effort, but we properly exported and packaged all of the 19 demos. See event’s Pouet page or go directly to Scene.org for downloads.
- We also made video captures, which are available on this Youtube playlist for easy viewing.
- Sources for all released demos can be found in this Github repository. The demos can be easily run from sources on any machine if you follow the instructions.

For this event, I also started some open source projects which you may find interesting:

- Moonlander, a GNU Rocket integration library for Processing.
- Demoscene starter kits (this needs your help – check out the project page!)

I'm more than happy to answer any questions about the event! Also, if you are thinking about organizing something for demoscene beginners, I’d be happy to help – in this case, shoot me an email to antti.hirvonen[at]gmail.com.


Antti / firebug (main organizer, DOT board member)

(Little more background for the interested if you didn’t click the link at the beginning: the event was organized by an association called Digital Media Club of Aalto University, or in short form, DOT. It is run by students of Aalto University and targeted (mainly) at students in the Helsinki metropolitan area who are interested in demoscene, game development, programming in general and other cool computer-related creative things. Our history goes back as far as the 90’s, as the club was originally founded in 1995 with the name “Demoscene in Otaniemi”. If you have any knowledge of our early days, I’d be more than happy to hear from you - not much documentation exists :)
added on the 2014-07-01 12:49:21 by firebug firebug
added on the 2014-07-01 12:57:34 by Gargaj Gargaj
Wow, very awesome! Definitely worth imitating.

Kudos for all your harf work, Firebug!
added on the 2014-07-01 13:16:50 by metoikos metoikos
Fantastic effort! Everyone take note :)
added on the 2014-07-01 13:31:54 by elfan elfan
Just wanted to say that the event was totally awesome and it's unfortunate that I had to leave so early. Will be back next year!
added on the 2014-07-01 13:32:49 by Preacher Preacher
Wow, what an amzing turn-out! This is really awesome, and I hope some of the participants are here to stay. I'm looking forward to watch their demos when I'm back from work!

Fantastic undertaking, and what metoikos said. :)
added on the 2014-07-01 13:55:31 by Kylearan Kylearan
added on the 2014-07-01 21:13:05 by dixan dixan
Awesome initiative! I should try something like this in Berlin some day. I watched some of the entries and it's pretty amazing. May I ask, where the music pieces are coming from? I think that creating the music over the week-end without a proper sound setup might be challenging.
added on the 2014-07-02 13:41:10 by pixtur pixtur
So thats what´s the nordic demoscene conspiracy is all about! ;) Recruiting fresh blood since the 90´s!
This stops me wondering why there are so many scandinavian sceners! :)

Jokes aside: Way to go! what Kylearan said!

Pixtur: Go for it! We should try to offer sth like this around Cologne aswell!
Awesome stuff :)
added on the 2014-07-02 15:15:35 by kusma kusma
Thank you all for your kinds words! Makes me happy to see a positive response from the scene for these kind of beginner events :)

By the way, visitors really liked the event, giving an average overall score of 4,3/5 in our feedback survey (everyone rated with at least 4)!

Awesome initiative! I should try something like this in Berlin some day. I watched some of the entries and it's pretty amazing. May I ask, where the music pieces are coming from? I think that creating the music over the week-end without a proper sound setup might be challenging.

You're right, music production in a weekend without gear and experience is almost impossible - it only works if one has already made music before and brings own gear (like some groups did). We instructed people to go look for openly licensed music from various sources, like Jamendo. If the track for a demo isn't made by the group, the track is (or at least should be) mentioned in the info file.

Oh, and the last thing: I finished Graffathon's archive page earlier today - go check the photos!
added on the 2014-07-03 15:10:32 by firebug firebug
This is pretty cool! We should have more parties like that. And what a surprising number of active girls.
added on the 2014-07-03 21:13:40 by dirtie dirtie
i think it's quite hilarious that the group with over 20 years of history got last in the compo
added on the 2014-07-03 21:23:03 by nosfe nosfe
20 years of boozing does not count :)
added on the 2014-07-04 09:19:57 by Preacher Preacher
Great idea.
Esp. like the talks and hand-holding parts.
added on the 2014-07-04 11:14:16 by p01 p01
wow, totally unexpected to get 18 prods from new (?) groups - good job! and indeed, hopefully some (many) will stay.
added on the 2014-07-04 12:19:12 by shadez shadez
Releases from this years Graffathon is still missing on scene.org and stuff, any finn have them and can upload?