Noise Atari Demoparty

Noise Atari demo party - Reviews

Party report by twh'2k6

Wahey! This EaSTer was so Noisy!

Usually a party report goes with the chronology of the trip including some very detailed information about broken cars, car stops, borders, places and other meaningless stuff. This report is about the Noise demo party in Kosice/Slovakia 2006 which I visited together with my scener friend krADd. Of course this report makes no difference to this. But before doing so, I would like to begin with the actual end, and therefore I place the executive summary right on top of the report.

First of all I like to say 'Thanks!'. As expected the party was a great success. We had it all: releases, great people, East European bathrooms, a lot of fun, a pizza delivery service and a true demoscene party feeling. The organisation was just awesome and for every single action we've taken, somebody in advance had thought about how it could be realised best. Thanks for all the effort that you guys put into making this vision a real project. Though criticisms should be mentioned at the end of this report too, I like to clearly state that at no time my inner voice asked if it was right to do a 1000 km road trip across Europe for this party. But now let's go into detail about a not very unNOISEy way of celebrating eaSTern.

Some people were put off by the distance from the party place and also maybe the place itself. We also thought about this and the other question whether it now made sense to go or not. Initially when the party was announced, quite a lot of people were interested in this event and made enough NOISE about their likely presence there. Then after a while, more and more people, especially from central and western Europe, thought about the distance twice and cancelled it. I think everybody had a fair chance to think about the feasibility of this trip. So did I, and I was well prepared in order to get the most fun out of the 1000km road trip, starting from Munich/Germany. As with most parties the journey itself is a substantial part of the event. So within the given time limits, we enjoyed it as much as we could, and quickly visited exciting places like Vienna/Austria or Budapest / Hungaria. I could begin telling stories of this, but let's concentrate now on the party report and discuss those details later with beer at the next party :)

I think after 14 hours or so, we finally reached the target area, as I would describe the neighbourhood in my words. Say it is a question of honour, that I was very much motivated to find the party place by myself and the web page printouts only. But it's the way life is, and after a while we gave up and we asked XI of Satantronic to help us idiots to ultimately find the party place. A warm welcome and some quick unpacking actions later, we had our machines (I with my 8-bit Atari, krAdD with his beloved Falcon) up and running. Not much later I had my first Belgian beer which I had specially bought in Luxembourg the week before.

Right from the beginning it was my impression that the party place was very suitable for a demo party. However, as with most sports halls the look'n'feel is good, but it certainly can't compete against unique locations like Dresden's legendary Tusculum. From the organisational point of view almost everything was prepared very well. We had a kitchen, showers, sleeping room, a chill-out area and of course the computer hall. They were the best conditions to have a good time with friends! And so it came to pass, that not much later we enjoyed the real spirit of the event.

Day one and a sleeping room experience later (On parties, I always have my industrial ear plugs with me. A professional snorer competition is not that what I like to do after a 1000km ride!) the productive part started. People were busy in implementing the task, as defined by the real-time competitions. Speaking of people, I could see that not many more people showed up after we have had arrived at the party place the night before. By its nature most people came from Slovakia, but also some people from the Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden and Germany could be seen. All in all I would say that at most 30 people showed up. The small amount of visitors was ertainly under the organizers expectations. But honestly, from the visitor's point of view it doesn't make very much sense to think about it too much. So I concentrated myself on that what I was supposed to do: having fun!

But there is no fun without a challenging task. It was my goal to have my 8bit Atari upgraded to stereo. As I am not that useful in the hardware department, I asked my Czech friends Bob!k and Krupkaj if they could help me. To keep it short, after two days of hard work and a broken QMEG-OS chip later, my Atari finally played Grayscales fantastic 'jatatap' pokey module (a 2k6 Forever8 release) in stereo. But that was not all: The organizers prepared a free bowling match, including free food! Wow, what a decent offer! I mean this was really a great thing. Though the language barrier between the nations was never a real issue, the remaining ice was finally melted down by this cool action! In the evening, some folks including me took advantage of the cool chill-out area, and we enjoyed movies and various Futurama episodes.

On day two, the major thing left to do was to present the entries and voting for them. The organisers used a special release of Raster's 8bit presentation system, which originally was created for the Forever8 party. I think Raster should have won a prize for this :) I think the official results of the party can be found easily on the internet, so it is not necessary to repeat them here. Of course the release of Evolution's new CT60 demo 'Supernatural' was one of the true Noise highlights. I am not that much into the Falcon scene, but I believe with 'Supernatural' that the first real CT60 demo has been released. The 3d scenes are amazing. My first impression of the first indoor-scene was sort of 'Hey look at this, it could have been a scene from a Falcon based Doom3 version'. Unfortunately the demo was meant to be a party release, and was very (maybe too) short. But thanks to Deez / Evolution this release could be the beginning of a new level of high quality demos on the Falcon.

It is just not fair that time is passing so fast when something cool is going on. After more discussions and other presentations the party for us ended at around 4 o'clock in the morning of Easter Monday. After a very smooth trip, and around 10 hours later, we found ourselves back again in Munich. Also we found out that even such a long distance is nothing special as long as you can make the road trip in a single day only! Europe is not that large, so this trip was absolutely feasible and not only for the insane!

Finishing up this report some criticisms should also be covered here. First of all I think the organisers did really a great job and not only due to the fact that this party was the first standalone-approach by the Kosice Atari team around XI. For the next time (I really hope there will be a next time!!) the party date should be discussed. Yes, it is true there is an Easter Atari Party tradition, but this is not only valid for the Atari scene. Having the party with Breakpoint in parallel is, however, a bad idea. Also it should be worth thinking about the proximity of Forever8 to Noise. This year there were only 3 weeks before the Noise party, when Forever8 took place and that event was not very far away from Kosice! One other thing I missed pretty much was a network/internet infrastructure. The presentation system was good too, but more music, better prepared play lists and better demo mixes could have made an extra thrilling experience. Last but not least it would be interesting to not only invite Atari folks, but also to actively welcome folks from the other scenes, like C64 , Amiga, or even PC.


kRadD's Adventures

Noise 2006

Originaly written for Alive 13.

After ages of waiting, Eastern 2006 finally came closer and after considering visiting Breakpoint (which is only 30 km away from my hometown Wiesbaden) I decided to travel the 1300 km to Kosice instead.

All I needed were some fellows who where willing to join me on that trip, since travelling 1300 km on your own is not much fun at all. Travelling by plane was no option, because it would mean a major cut down to my travelling gear. Anyway, in the end twh agreed to join me. We both were quite surprised, that our route planner told us, that our journey will take us to Vienna and Budapest. We though that we will travel through Czech Republic to Bratislava and then finally to Kosice. After studying the map a little bit, I found out, that Slovakia looks like Switzerland. What the Alps are in Switzerland is called "Karpaten" in Slovakia, but that is a minor difference I think. Well because most Highways in Slovakia are still "to be built", there's no fast route from Bratislava to Kosice and we had to use the Hungarian highways instead.

Wiesbaden, Germany

Tuesday 13th of April 2006

Putting all the stuff together for the party was not much of a problem, because everything was already boxed. After merely one hour of packing and not to forget smoking :) I left. My first stop was KFC and a supermarket, which consumed another hour, so I left Wiesbaden at about 3 PM and found myself caught in a traffic jam. Nice! This added another 15 minutes to my travel time, but there was still more to come. I lost another hour while passing the "Spessart" hills near Wuerzburg, but finally around 9 PM I arrived at twh's flat in Munich, which meant 417 km were already done.

Munich, Germany

Friday 14th of April 2006

I woke up at about 5.30 AM and we managed to get all our stuff into the car within approximately one hour. So we left Munich at about 6.30 AM.

Linz, Austria

Friday 14th of April 2006

Was it because of the fresh air? Was it because of the exhausting travel? Who knows? Just after entering Austria, we became hungry like wolves and were desperately looking for a McD. Too bad we missed one in Salzburg, since there seemed to be no other one along our route. So we were quite relieved to find an IKEA shop near the highway cross at Linz. We feared it would be closed for a religious holiday but much to our surprise we could see people entering the shop. So our empty stomachs made us leave the highway and we entered the famous IKEA restaurant.

Unfortunately the great Swedish meatballs we were hoping for were only served from 11 AM onwards and the clock just showed 10 AM, so we decided to take the breakfast menu instead. It turned out to be a cool decision, and we enjoyed the breakfast very much. Afterwards I used the time to buy some furniture at IKEA. At that point, it was already worth to travel the 1300 km to Noise party instead of the 30 km to Breakpoint, because I haven't had time to spend at furniture shopping for ages. Maybe that's a new kind of commercial Atari party travelling. Something like: "Have fun, meet a lot of ATARIans, and go shopping during the travel!"

Vienna, Austria

Friday, 14th of April 2006

We decided to take a small detour, in order to give Vienna a short visit. It was nice to see the city, and if we would have had more time, maybe we would have stopped somewhere since the city looked quite inviting. While driving through the city we passed a big and beautiful palace, and learned that it was called "Schoenbrunn Palace" from a sign we discovered shortly afterwards anyway it was time to get back en-route, so we had to postpone a closer inspection of Vienna.

Hegyeshalom, Hungary

Friday, 14th of April 2006

At the Hungarian Border we had the great idea to change 15 Euro to Hungary Forint. I still have all the money. What about a party in Hungary? :)

Budapest, Hungary

Friday, 14th of April 2006

Twh bought a map of Hungary at an Austrian highway shop, but despite of that we immediately got lost in Budapest. So we had the oppurtinity to pass 5 of the 7 bridges of Budapest crossing the river "Donau". We also passed a sign that told us to visit the main Budapest fortress. Because we had already lost another hour, I said "next time". But then twh had to find a restroom (this way at least he could spend some 50 Forint :-). Since we accidentally found the right street, and the fortress was quite near, we changed our mind and gave it a visit. In the end it was really nice and we had a look at the nice scenery of Budapest and once again, we saw all bridges we crossed so far :-)

After we left the fortress and crossed another bridge, we were really sure to be back en-route. At one junction where we only had to go straight, we double-checked the map, and found something that looked like a shortcut to us. So we left our safe route. Well, what can I say? Suddenly all traffic signs disappeared. Damn! I told twh who managed the driving since the Hungary border that we could take any direction, since somewhere we will hit the highway if we don't cross any bridge again! Just as predicted, we hit the highway half an hour later and we were really happy to have passed Budapest heading to Godvllv (nice name :-).

Miskolsc, Hungary

Friday, 14th of April 2006

In Miskolsc we left the highway, and found ourselves on a small countryside road while the sun had set for ages. It was pitch black outside and twh couldn't resist telling tales about some people in Hungary who stop cars at night, and do strange things to them, not to mention the passengers. I have to admit it was a little bit frightening. However nothing happened and after some time we reached a traffic jam consisting mostly of trucks, which could only mean one thing: We were close to the Slovakian border. Luckily a Slovakian driver passed the queue of trucks on the other lane and we decided to tail him. Without that car, we may have waited for hours.

Kosice, Slovakia

Friday, 14th of April 2006

The distance to Kosice was about 20 km from the border. Despite the fact that the Noise party organisers put very nice maps on their webpage, we had trouble to find the right "highway exit" to the party location. When we finally arrived at the local crematorium we decided to turn and drove a little bit around, until we found the right suburb.

We were 100% sure, that the location had to be 100 m south of us, but we couldn't find the right street to get there. All streets were crowded with parking vehicles and besides it was pitch black outside. After trying almost all possible streets we decided to call the organizers. What can I say? They managed to pick us up and awkwardly enough it turned out that we simply had to use the only street we hadn't tried so far. ;)

So with 800 km and 14.5 hours spent on the road we arrived at the party location around 9:00 PM. It had been a little adventure to drive through Hungary and Slovakia in the dark, but it was well worth the trip, because we saw a lot of interesting things. Perhaps more important, remember that I bought some IKEA furniture for my flat! :)

At this part I expect most people have already fallen asleep from reading this party report, so we better try to wake em up and talk about the party instead of travelling :)


The party location was a local sport complex surrounded by huge blocks of flats, so you only faced concrete while standing outside for a smoke. Not the tiniest bit of green was to be seen outside. However on the inside everything looked really cool. The infrastructure was great. Proper toilets, showers, a kitchen with ATARI.sk cups for everbody, a sports hall, where you could play any kind of sports (i.e. football, tennis, basketball etc), a huge sleeping room with a beamer, and of course the party room with enough space for about 50 people. Our first action on arrival was to sign the guest list. Since we got there quite late, we were no. 16 and 17 on the list. Later there would be a total of 20 names on it. The other visitors were: Satantronic, Mikro, Bohdan, Jan / Jaysoft, Bob!k, Zdenek from Atari Club Prostejov, Baggio and Deez from Evolution, Sedma and four guys from Poland (I remember Vulgar and Gustaw). Anyway, afterwards we got our name batches and a free Noise party t-shirt!

Though it was already quite late, I immediately build up my falcon and started coding on my team tap falcon multiplayer Tron game. I made good progress but at about 2 AM, I finally went to bed.

Saturday, 16th of April 2006

After waking up, and some coding I heard, that our Czech friends were planning to visit Kosice and we quickly decided to join them. I also asked Baggio and Deez of Evolution if they wanted to accompany us, and so we ended up meeting at a public parking place in the middle of Kosice. After teaming up we invaded the main street. Bob!k joined the gang of foreigners while the rest of the Czech had some very extreme sightseeing.

Twh and me still were looking for some breakfast, while the Evolution guys were lucky enough having theirs at the hotel already. However there was one minor obstacle to overcome first. We had to get some Slovakian money. Unfortunately the first cashpoint didn't accept any of our cards, even though it said it would. Maybe (for sure :-) because it was an Austrian bank :-) The next one (a Czech bank) did the job, and I said: "Let's have a thousand (Slovakian) crowns or so!" Hey, what a cool feeling!

Now since we were equipped with money, we started looking for a café, but because of Easter most of the shops, pubs and cafes were closed. We finally found a restaurant inside the only "real" warehouse (a Tesco) at the main street.

Inside we learned that nobody from the service personal could understand us and vice versa. Lucky enough for us, it seems the Slovakian language is similar to the Czech one, and so we managed to get each of us a pancake and a cappuccino with help of Bob!k. In the end we had a nice breakfast.

Now since we were equipped with money our stomachs were filled, we wanted to have a closer look at the city of Kosice. The shopping street is attractive with nice houses, but I have to say that I had expected more. Unfortunately the main tourist attraction a tower was closed, and so we had no chance to watch the city from above. Before returning to the party location we made a halt at the local supermarket and bought the most important party accessories: "Chips, beer and vodka."

Right after our return to the party place, the multijoy competition started. We played "Shoot em all up" with the multijoy16 adapter on a Atari 8 Bit. It's hard to control your player because of the timing, but it always makes a lot of fun to play with 16 persons simultaneously. I did well and scored a good 2nd place in the first round, and a 5th place in the second round. The son of XI won the first round and Jan won the second round. They both got a mp3 player, a cup and a nice ATARI.SK t- shirt.

But the compos where far from finished. The organizers presented a screenshots and the people had to guess the name of the corresponding game. The first who found the right name got a point. I did quite well again, but again some others performed much better. I think I named games like Eliminator, Nebulus and some other. In the end Vulgar won the competition. However the compo was very funny and I hope the idea will be picked up and improved at other parties in the future.

Afterwards some people with a never ending demand for food (guess who :-) ordered some king-size pizza. Just when they finished it, the organizers announced, that there is a reservation for bowling and free food for everyone. At the bowling centre, we could find a well styled sideboard. At the end most of the food was bundled so that we could eat it on Sunday. Only one guy was angry about himself, the one who just had a pizza :-) The food and the bowling were included in the entrance fee, but the drinks were to pay. I'm quite sure that the pub earned enough money on the drinks.

To be honest, bowling is not my favourite game, so Baggio, Deez and me talked a lot while the others had much fun hitting pins with heavy balls, or was it the other way around? Anyway when the tournament started I was really lucky that it didn't made the last place. Surprisingly baggio had the second best score and since XI, who made most points was one of the organisers he named baggio as the winner of the bowling compo. The 1st price was a bowling sphere signed by the other combatants. Nice idea!

We went back to the party place a bit later, just to find 3 of the Polish guys leaving the party to return back home. What a pity, since I had no time to talk to them, the only remaining Polish guy named Gustaw was very friendly but he didn't speak German or English, so communication was a bit difficult.

I spent the rest of the day coding, while the normal party continued as usual with videos, supermarket visits and stuff like that.

Sunday, 16th of April 2006

After I woke up, I quickly fixed a problem within my game which had cost me endless hours on Saturday. Sometimes you only need a bit of sleep to be able to compile a playable version again, so better don't worry and keep drinking :) however we succeeded at playing the game with 8 players.

Next element of the schedule were the official compos. The real time coding compo was amazing, aim of the compo was to write a code snippet that displays white rectangles on a black background. Astonishingly the code length differed only 3 bytes between 8 and 32 bit version. In the end Bob!k's Atari 8bit version won the competition.

The mxplay skin of Jan was also nice, as well as the new version of mxplay which was presented by micro/mystic bytes. The gfx and music entries were fine, so even with few entries, real competition feeling could be felt.

Finally the master discipline was about to come up, the demo compo. Seeing "Supernatural" by Evolution was worth the trip alone. Can't describe how great it was to see this kind of demo on an Atari computer. And if you consider that it has been done in a hurry and that deez had to use slow routines and 16 bit textures you can imagine there is more to come in the future.

After the competitions, I demonstrated my game again. I also spoke a bit about LUA, the language the game was written in. Then Gustaw demonstrated the last Jaguar release called "Bomb Squad", which was released at the previous Euro-JagFest in Germany. Only a few people had seen it before. I had to play a round against the son of XI and lost it, damn! ... Noch ein Bier bitte.

When the competitions were over, it was time to relax, and the folks started watching Atari Videos. All the releases from the forever party were shown. We had a great time while watching the videos.

In the meantime the vote sheets were counted and a bit later the results were announced. Gustaw the only remaining guy from Poland had to collect the prizes for his absent friends. Evolution won the overall competition, because they scored most points of all entries. Their prize was a 17" TFT. Lotek Style won the mod competition, so I also had to carry something in order to bring him the prices.

Considering the long journey back home, we decided it was about bedtime :)

Monday, 17th of April 2006

At 4.30 AM twh woke me up and we packed our gear and left the party place. The evening before we were afraid, that no gas station would be opened, since we heard, that such things could happen in Belgium or the Netherlands (the organizers told us, that it happened to them on their way back from Outline). Anyway nothing like that happened in Slovakia. We found a gas station and after refuelling nothing could stop us anymore.

Budapest, Hungary

Monday, 17th of April 2006

This time we didn't get lost in Budapest. Of course we crossed another bridge, perhaps it was number 6 but after only 20 minutes we left Budapest behind us.

Salzburg, Austria

Monday, 17th of April 2006

Again we became hungry. Even with most aggressive search strategies we were unable to find the McD in Salzburg, which we had spotted there 3 days ago. We tried again and again to find one in the neighbourhood of the other IKEA shop, but it was closed. So we changed our plan, and decided to find a McD in Germany instead.

Bad Reichenhall, Germany

Monday, 17th of April 2006

We could not spot a sign indicating a burger restaurant, but we were so hungry, that we took the first highway exit right after the German border. Much to our surprise we found us directly in front of a Burger King. This made us wonder why there were no big advertisements on the highway side. Perhaps the reason is that a large Burger King sign would not blend too well into the fantastic Bavarian landscape. :)

Munich, Germany

Monday, 17th of April 2006

We unloaded all of twh's stuff after we arrived at his flat at around 5 PM. We realized that we are really old farts, since we were talking about such essential things like: "How much is it to bring your shirts to a laundry" or likewise. In former times, we got out of the car, and discussed ways on how to save a few CPU cycles in an inner loop or such. Well, I guess times are changing :-)

Wiesbaden, Germany

Monday, 17th of April 2006

After leaving Munich, I still had to drive about 5 hours. I finally arrived at 22.30 PM in Wiesbaden. The trip and the party were extremely cool. But I was glad to be at home again.

Lessons learned

- There are as many IKEA restaurants as McD. on the way to a party.
- Combining IKEA shopping with a Atari party is a brilliant idea.
- Hungary should spend more money in installing traffic signs in Budapest.
- If there are not that many people at a party, you have more time to talk to each of them.
- If you sit in a car driving around in a Slovakian city with two German, two Swedish and 1 Czech Atari fan, while listening to French punk music, you know that being European is great fun.
- Combining 8 Bit and Falcon is the right thing.

kRadD and twh for Alive, 2006-04-17