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Old 02 December 2012, 22:21   #20
Photon's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hult / Sweden
Posts: 4,550
To spell it out, it is because if a competing coder sees a screenshot with a new idea, he gets the new idea too - and knows the level of quality reached by the other. He therefore has an advantage - he knows 'what to beat', so to speak.

I concede that that kind of reasoning was more pertinent in the early days of A500/A1200/AGA-030/AGA060 than today.

What is relevant today is that if you do code one of the few effects that would shock and awe an audience who has seen most of the effects ever made, know the machine capabilities/limitations, and whose eyes can't be fooled by tricks, you'd be very protective of your idea until release.

Also, it's not like WIP screenshots of games, where you'd get some standard routines running and then add content. That's usually not what demos are about. A coder may spend 16 free evenings in a month working on one part of a demo, and what you would see on the screen would be
  1. nothing
  2. nothing, still writing perfect buffering code
  3. perfectly buffered nothing (well testplots)
  4. buggy lines
  5. fixed lines
  6. fixed small optimization that took a whole evening to implement lines
  7. fillroutine, test-colors
  8. presto! cube with glitches (making new ultimate polyroutine)
  9. glitch free cube
  10. one glitch left cube
  11. light sourced cube
  12. cube is now spinning around its axis. yay.
  13. cube with added poly to test sorting
  14. poly corner moving like a wing, small sorting glitches fixed
  15. effect routines are perfect. imported dragon, all kinds of trouble, hanging and graphics trash all over the screen
  16. imported flapping awesome dragon with perfectly light-sourced surfaces and glowing eyes

Just an example. The point is the other 15 WIP screenshots would be boring and not at all like game screenshots.

Another difference to WIP game screenshots is of course that you usually don't make games for prestige, and you don't compete with them. There are some demoscene gamecompos, but the prestige is not there (and even more games are made outside these compos). You make games for others to have fun playing, and you want as many as possible to play your game, it doesn't matter if it's optimally coded or if it uses new or better technology, the proof is in the fun to be had.

So exposure is good for games, bad for demos. The reason has a little bit to do with that the Amiga demoscene is (barely) alive today, and it was a long time since there was a real gamedev scene for Amiga. Back in the day, with a few exceptions, gamedevs didn't release screenshots of a game until the month before release.

Remember also that the few exceptions (gamedev diaries to drool over in Amiga magazines) were from people who coded Amiga full-time.

Today, you simply can't say that "I have 4 weeks x 5 full weekdays x 10 hours and an office to go to, to code all day until it's done".

That makes progress sporadic, so that you get in 2 weeks of work during summer and a few evenings in autumn. So even if you make a blog with the progress and screenshots, you must drool very patiently.

The complaint that AGA-060 is for the very few is very real though. A500 is still THE platform, according to me.

Not because of the number of users or because I dislike A1200/AGA-060 or because I'm stuck in the 80s (well, I may be so accused, but it's not relevant) - but because it's the "most" limited and old platform, and only the old, limited platforms can get the added appreciation that the other limited platforms get. It's simply not fantastic that an A1200 can display a converted picture made in Photoshop or Painter. Of course it can! If someone brings 32767 color modes to an A500, or even hand-paints a 64-color picture, of course it's fantastic!

Last edited by Photon; 02 December 2012 at 23:06.
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