Icebird Acorn demos archive returnsBy Chris Williams. Published: 11th Feb 2006, 18:44:50 | Permalink | Printable
All the classics, all the hits, all back onlineAn impressive collection of demos and showcases of digital special effects are back online following a hiatus. Icebird.org was offline for a few years but is now back after maintainer David Schalig restored the archive. The demos were previously hosted on a borrowed university server which was eventually decommissioned.
Icebird were a group of crack coders, musicians and graphic artists who worked together to produce demos for RISC OS powered computers and party at events such as Yelling Jam and Siliconvention. Demos are typically short but exciting presentations of animated graphics accompanied by high energy music that attempt to grandstand the programming and design abilities of their contributors. The Icebird website packs a full range of demos from the early 1990s to more contemporary efforts including K2, Blu and Zero. You will not find a stronger nostalgia trip than watching a demo from 1991 in an emulator, complete with scratchy sample ridden techno, bouncing balls in 6 bits per pixel colour and scroll text that dares to use palette shifting. On the other end of the scale, the likes of K2 and Era try hard to make full use of the hardware of the period - StrongARM RiscPC with no floating point processor or video acceleration in sight.
David said: "Around 2000 and 2001, during the rise of the Internet and the fall of the Acorn world, we put much energy in this website. It was both our demo group Icebird's 'head quarters' and a downloadable archive for Acorn demos. It was also meant as a succeessor to Coder's Revenge - a demoscene diskmag we used to publish between '95 and '97 - the site has a section with articles.
"From end of 2001 Icebird's members went on to new things, some started to work, some are still active in the PC demoscene and joined the group Farbrausch. Yes, this famous group has Acorn roots. So finally, 2006: a new year and new plans. We restored the archive and put it back online. Until today there is no other place on the Internet which hosts Acorn demoscene releases. So we at Icebird were a bit worried that all these productions disappear forever in the void."
K2 and Mobius demos
Alongside demos, the archive includes intros, which are brief and compact cousins of demos, and art disks, which are where the musicians and graphic designers show case their talent. Also online is a large number of classic demos from yesteryear, disc magazine issues and the programming tools used by all the old skoolers. For anyone looking for a starting point, David recommends Trans Mortal from ArcEmpire, which he describes as "impressive ARM2 stuff".
"I think everybody at Icebird still loves the Acorn platform. It was unique and innovative, and as we grew up with it, we learned to view things from a different angle," continued David.
"We plan to catch up and upload releases from between 2001 and 2006. There even are a couple of as yet unpublished Icebird productions. Also we would like to do a design overhaul and convert the site from static html to something dynamic. And very importantly, in order to get more audience for Acorn demos - we plan to crosslink all releases to pouet.net, the mother of all demo archives.
"I personally would love to find the time and make another Acorn demo - something for the ARM2 Archimedes. I am keeping my old A3010 around just for this reason."
Demo reviews and screenshots
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