Demosplash 2012

We've got an exciting line-up of quite a few events scheduled to round out your exposure to the demoscene, vintage computing, and the associated hacker culture. Here are some general descriptions, and check the schedule for when they're happening.

Breakfast (Saturday)

Saturday morning, we'll be having an informal social near the event location at the recently opened Bagel Factory, located at the corner of Forbes Ave & Craig St. Stop by starting around 11am, grab yourself a delicious egg bagel sandwich (or whatever else suits your fancy), and chat with other attendees.

Chiptune Rave

Nothing beats some good chiptunes or some quality demo-style music ("mods" as they're often called). Come rock out to many famous (and less known) tunes, historic and recent from our huge playlist. We'll also be showing off an entire sub-genre of "rave demos" that are a little too psychadelic for the main screenings. We also plan to have lighting to match, using a bit of pro DMX audio-synced gear and from our hacking on beat-detecting LED-powering Arduinos. Come try your own beat-syncing algorithms for a live art display.

Demo Capturing

Even with a hardware collection as extensive as that on display here, watching a demo can be a real challenge: you need to the right kind of obscure machine (and often a particular version at that), frequently a rare accelerator card, and probably a pile of converter boxes to get good video output. While getting a demo running is half the fun, it can be tough to get the right moons to align. Instead, grabbing a video capture off the web is often the easiest way to catch a demo. But making high-quality videos that render well on online video sharing sites (e.g. Youtube) can be very tricky. We'll be talking about common gotchas, listing properties of a good capture, and giving pointers to good places to find demo videos online. We'll also be trying our hand at creating some high-quality captures on-site.

Demo Screenings

In case you haven't guessed, the highlight of this event is an extensive screening of demos, retro and modern, mostly on original hardware from what we believe to be one of the largest maintained collections in the US. Along the way, we'll be introducing each platform and providing context for each demo to best appreciate its significance.

Film Screening

Saturday evening, there will be a screening of another fun hacker-culture relevant film. See full details.

Happy Hour

Many people would argue that demos and the company of other people watching demos is best enjoyed with some frosty beverages, but unfortunately that's not practical at our on-campus event location. Instead, we're having an informal happy hour at a nearby pub just before the movie so you can get your fill before the final evening demo screenings. This will take place at the Panther Hollow Inn (or PHI-bar), the main watering hole near campus. Stop by during this time on Saturday, look for people with Demosplash badges, and enjoy some subsidized drinks.

PC Room with LAN gaming

As a tradition at LAN and demo parties, we'll have room to setup your own machine and game, hack, or work on a submission to the demo competition. This will be adjacent to the main auditorium, with a live video feed from the main room planned so that you won't miss everything. Ample power, an in-room LAN, and limited wired internet access will be available. Please bring an ethernet cable at least 25ft long and a power strip if you need more than an outlet or two.

Retro Clinic

Have a sick piece of retro? Recently dig up your old Commodore or Mac out of the basement and find it won't turn on anymore? Can't remember what incantations you need to start your old favorite game? Stop by with your machine during the retro clinic, where a few of the CMU computer club's restoration experts and other interested folks will have some diagonostic gear and can offer their expertise to help figure out what's wrong.

Retro Gaming

Get a rare chance to touch any of a huge number of vintage home computers and classical game consoles by enjoying some classic games. We'll have stuff as old as the mid-70s, a sampling of platforms from throughout the ages such as classical Nintendos, up through consoles from the early 2000s. Just for fun, we'll be having a tournament on two classic games (Pong on Atari and Tetris on DOS). Sign up for the tournament on Friday night, stop by Saturday night during your slots to compete, and if you've made it far enough, you'll get to compete in final rounds on the big screen just before the prize ceremony later that evening.

Sceners Introduction / Panel Discussion

Several active members of the US demoscene will be giving brief introductions to their activities, and a brief panel discussion will be held on the current state of this art form in the US and how to best nurture it. Have you done cool stuff in this area and want to speak your mind? Contact us, and we'll try to fit you in.