== Frequenty Asked Questions ==
Isn’t this a LAN party? How is it different?
Traditionally a "LAN party" is more of a game playing fest where people rock up with their "super cool" computers and compete for supremacy. (an exaggeration, but the stereotype) A LAN party is usually focused around gaming, competition & general showing off.
A Demoparty sees people bring whatever computer they wish - oldskool or new. You are unlikely to see casemods or games, but you will see a bunch of cool graphics, OpenGL 3D code tests, content on oldskool computers from 80's and a few people working on compertition entries. Likewise 2D & 3D graphics artists can swap ideas.... chipmusic & oldskool-style musicians can mingle and talk tracking / instrumentation / hardware... and retro fans or newbies can ask questions and discover the art of making realtime material "using hardware" and not just faking content in an animation program.
A Demoparty is a place to showcase your visual or musical work, experiments, and be a proud computer geek at whatever level you feel fit. Be it a graphics geek, a code cruncher, an electronic-music nut, an extreme Flash addict, 3D guru or Photoshop nerd… at a demoparty most other people are too!
At a LAN party, 90% of the people will be playing games, copying data or showing off benchmarks. At a demo party, 90% of people will be havin' a chat / having a beverage / coding / photo-shopping / animating / making music / watching demos / tinkering with hardware / showing off some oldskool hardware.
For more info about what the demo scene is, see below.
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Q: What is Syntax?
Syntax is focused around the creative use of computer hardware to learn and develop audio/visual/programming skills and push the boundaries of your ability. It is:
-> an opportunity to enter your work into small competitions for demos, music, graphics, ASCii and animations
-> a chance to chill out and watch demos; listen to demomusic and to hang out / meet with other likeminded people
-> a place where you can get back to your computery roots; to again enjoy that trusty old computer you grew up with
-> a place to find out more about realtime animation, tracked music, and what this demoscene stuff is all about
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Q: How much does Syntax cost? Can anyone come?
Syntax is free! Yes, anyone can come - but please register or you may be stuck outside (potential door code).
Let's clarify what this event is though:
a) Syntax NOT a gaming event and you probably won't see anyone playing any games unless it's on a machine pre 1990 or is purely to demonstrate graphics. A Demoparty is for (any level of) coders, musicians, graphicians, 3D people and general hardware appreciators. If you love computers and do more than just gaming then you will more than likley enjoy Syntax.
Attendants are encouraged to compete in shceduled competitions (referred to as 'compos'). Spread across the duration of the event, these compos are categorised in a way that allow the attendants to showcase their artistic talents with the use of computers. You do not have to bring a demo, tune or other artwork to attend Syntax but if you are able to, it makes the event more fun for everyone. Syntax crew are very welcoming but also very passionate about coding or graphics or chipmusic so be prepared for maximum geek factor.
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Q: What is the demoscene?
The Demoscene considers itself as a loose connection of creative minds with a shared passion of creating digital art. A 'demo' is created by a group of people (called a demo crew or demo group), or sometimes single individuals to "demo" their skills. The traditional skill base of the demoscene is considered to be coding, music, and design.
In the 80's, individuals traditionally used aliases instead of their real names. This was because the demoscene started as a subculture of the cracking / hacking scene where putting a full name to your work was not a sensible idea! Having an alias also helps avoid confusion. For instance, there maybe multiple people called “Rob” at a party, but only one person would have that name as an alias.
Of course, you can always consult the most reliable and quality source of all information in the universe and see what Wikipedia have to say about the demoscene.
Want to watch demos? Then visit Pouet.net which is where almost all demos live after a party. If you don't know where to start here are a few impressive international releases of varying styles from 2000 - 2006:
FR-08 (64k Demo by Farbrausch. A classic - quite a few years old but runs on practically everything)
Chaos Theory (A demo by Conspiracy. Needs decent 3D hardware, but for 64k, it's incredible!)
Final Audition (A chunky demo by Plastic. Needs a semi-decent 3D card to run)
We Cell (Quality coding. Very smooth for something written in 2004)
Gerbera (A typical Moppi Productions demo with a lot of character and chill soundtrack. Years old now.)
Still Sucking Nature (No 3D hardware used. Realtime Raytracing in CPU and no Polys. Slow but technically wow)
Rob is Jarig (Joke demo created as a birthday present for a scener. It has become surprisingly popular)
Note that the above are just examples! Some more typical Aussie demos are below.
Australian Demoscene : Demo downloads
Youtube channel (for Syntax) : www.youtube.com/syntaxparty
For executable versions visit Pouet.net and search for "Party" then "Syntax" for all previous Syntax demos.
Flashback - Is a demoparty based in Sydney.
Beach Party - Another Melbourne demoparty. Yes, as the title suggests. It's outdoor and it's near the beach.
Nullabor Demo Party - A demo party held in Perth. A lot of emphasis on animation / game developement.
Australia xmas compo - An online demo compertition held anually. Now replaced with Beach Party
Coven (1996 - 2001) - A demo party which was held in Adelaide for 5 years running. Some great demos here.
Australian Demo Compo (1988) - It's about the earliest we could find...
There are many more parties than the above which have occured in Australia, especially in the Amiga/ c64 scene but are largely undocumented. If you have any floppies containing old demos or other works bring 'em along to Syntax.
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Q: When will Syntax take place?
Facepalm. Up the top of the page. Also on home page.
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Q: Do I have to be there for the whole event?
If you are any form of computer programmer, coder, graphic designer, mathematician, modeller, 3D or 2D artist, composer, musician, animator, animation buff, computer enthusiast, or collector of old computers then you should certainly come for the whole event which will kick off at 12pm. Maybe a little later in the day if you prefer not to arrive early.
Syntax runs over a weekend. Most of the climactic, official stuff happens on the Saturday night around 7pm when the music and main demo compos are shown (until about midnight). The rest of the party is allocated for people to hang out and meet each other, competitors to get their stuff finished (typically add greets then bugfix when it decides not to compile!), and generally share in some good ol' computer appreciation time. It is a relaxed & social atmosphere and a good chance to meet to people behind the handles and hang out with other like-minded, demoish people. Everyone who has ever come to a Syntax event (for the whole day) has had a ball.
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Q: Should I bring my own computer?
Yes. A computer is a personal thing and we cannot easily provide computers for people to use.
If you are travelling from far, we have a few "guest" machines for people to use. If you are emulating there are people at the party who can write Amiga and C64 floppies for you. 1541 Ultimate is also available.
A Laptop is a great idea as they are easy to carry around and save you bringing your whole box. But feel free to bring "the works" monster of a machine. Bring your own CAT5 Cable (at least 2M - 10M recommended). Please register and tell us what you plan on bringing so we know power & space requirements.
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Do I have to enter a compo?
A lot of people are often left thinking "my work won't be good enough" but this is rarely the case. You do not have to submit a long and epic demo at Syntax and many prods (especially nuskool) are short and sweet.
At a demoparty, everyone respects the work of others. Regardless of the quality or what stage you are at, getting work screened or released at a demo party is a massive buzz. It is a fantastic way of getting inspired to take things to the next level or just make something full stop. For many people, a demoparty is the only reason anything is actually reaches "near completion" - be it music, graphics or demo! So if you can make anything graphical, musical or codebased then you should give it a go because without enteries - there is no party.
If you are able to make a tune, new or oldskool demo, graphics or anything oldskool - have a crack!
Don't know where to start? An introduction to tracking (music for Amiga and C64) has been written by our very own cTrix.
cTrix' introduction to making oldskool tracked music.
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Q: Can I help you organise the party?
Yep. Send us an email to info[hat]syntaxparty.org