[demoreview #3: fr-038 "Theta"..........................]
author(s): farbrausch party: tum2004 year: 2004 duration: 4.24 ranked: 2nd


"Ladies and gentlemen, after the loading bar has finished, we'll land onto the geometrized world of 'Theta', the trance-based demo. Please, fasten your seatbelts. We hope you had a nice flight."



(whoa, that was a heck of a loading bar)

"Theta" starting out
The Greek-letter "theta" encloses more than a meaning.

In Greek numerals, it has a value of 9. In mathematics we find it normally to represent an angle. In physics, it's usually containing the value of a phase. In medicine, we have, along with alpha and beta, theta brainwaves, seen normally in young children or hallucinogen addicts.

In the mixed world of demoscene, the therm is obviously indicating a peculiar and hypnotic alien-world, where the most various demo-references exist, along with stomping speakers and robotic spiders with red glasses.

But we started with geometry. Theta is made of simple 3d solids, almost "platonic" ones, just to stay on theme: tetraedrons, cubes (or better, "hexaedrons") and octaedrons. And even simple spheres. But this would be boring, if not used creatively.

So, how is a scene built in "Theta"?
Pick a tetraedron, clone it. Place some copies of that one near each other. Then group those solids and make many copies. And place them gerarchically in the scene. Add some shadows, and voila, the scene is ready. Quick alien-world recipe.

How to build a scene with only cubes and pyramids
2d textures are not more complicated. Indeed, believe it or not, we have only three types of texture in "Theta": a checkerboard, mapped on walls and on floors; a black and white striped texture, mapped on all the platonic solids and on cylinders; a plasmatic yellow texture, covering the center spheres in some initial scene. All the other graphic elements are just Tron-like 2d effects or flat-shaded polygons.

This demo was born as a personal trial of paniq/farbrausch, just to measure himself with the new, sparkling creative tool of konsumer konsult: werkkzeug three (wow, that was heavily german). That's it, the third iteration of the developing instrument used by the farbrausch guys from fr-08 (.the .produkkt) on. Pratically, it's a one-man production: paniq appears as responsible of concept, music, graphics, design and direction. Just a few days before the party where the demo will compete (the ultimate meeting 2004), the trusted cp comes to give a hand.
Even if the demo has some unfinished corners (like the abrupt ending or the initial version's slowdowns), a great stylistic coherence fills the entire production.

Is there a demo without tunnels?
"Theta" is a giant jumping discoteque.
Everything is moving to the rythm of a 4/4 bassdrum.
You can hate or love it.
Cubes jump on platforms.
They alternate.
Cubes descend from stairs, evocating mechanic factories (and pandemic by the byterapers).
The tetraedrons stomp in circles, pushed by the subwoofers at the borders of the imaginary dancefloor.
Even the robotic spider of the end is tied to this collective dance: it goes ahead in his tunnel stomping one leg at time.

The references to demoscenic humus are clear, even if theta is a stylized world to its barebones:

*) the tetraedric pyramid of the beginning recalls the aztec spaceship of "relic/nerve axis"
*) the stair-descending cubes, as said, repropose the same effect of pandemic/byterapers
*) the black and white city traversing flyby brings us back to 1998 and the masterpiece "state of mind" by Bomb
*) the ending spiderrobot is a self-reference ("kasparov/elitegroup")


The stomping spider
The references from the real world, instead, span from Tron to Escher's lithographs.

"Theta"'s world makes no sense to our minds. Probably it's simple a mathematical world created by bored gods just to aesthetically please their eyes.

Many misteries remain unsolved, like the function of the red wires that span "Theta"'s corridors. Why just one wire at the beginning? And why seven wires bring us to the exit in the eye of the stomping spider? We don't know, even if we can easily recognize ourselves jumping on a dancefloor, like the rotating tetraedrons of fr-038.

Download "Theta" here (for the purists, a slightly graphically different version exists, the party one).

Fr-038 "Theta" has been rated:

posted by friol at 8/26/2007 04:23:00 PM - under: , , - comments? here (0)



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