When we got our first computer in our childhood, none of us knew that we're going to change the world someday. Playing games and typing simple BASIC programs was intended to be fun. Swapping games with the guy next door was nothing serious. It still wasn't when we wrote our first contact letter to another guy in some other town; and finally we found ourselves in a dazzling network of contacts, great projects running around us, brilliant pieces of digital art filling our screens. This was the magic of the demoscene.

Years have passed, and our innocent childhood hobby has grown into an amazing worldwide subculture. Democoders, crackers, importers, musicians and graphists from all around the world changed the way we think about computers and the world itself, changed our life, changed us forever. We are special, we are demosceners. No outsider can possibly understand us. We are FREAX.

It all started in 1996. As a known diskmag columnist, I always wondered why nobody has ever bothered to write a long article about the history of this world, the scene as we know it. I started digging up traces of ancient times - how demos were made a decade before, how our computers were developed - and realized how rich and deep this subculture is. Even most sceners don't have an idea of its exact depth. This certainly deserves more than a mere diskmag article. I started writing a book, with the aim of covering everything ever happened. From the Commodore 64 to the Atari ST, from the Sinclair Spectrum to the PC - everything.

It is now 2006. A work of almost a decade lies in the several hundred pages which I have on my hard disk. It's vastly deeper than I ever imagined: it's not only the history of the scene, but all the ancient computers associated with it, the arithmetical routines used in demoeffects, the past and present of all freetime computer activities, and many more.

The book titled FREAX is divided to two volumes, each around 250 pages long. (And not because I beefed up each page with meaningless graphics and screenshots.) It will appear as an exclusive, full-color book, in very high quality. The layout will be something like this:


Just some introduction with a long list of those who helped the project.

Part 1. - The background

- 1. What is the scene?
A brilliant article from 1992 by Jean of Chromance, explaining the scene to outsiders.

- 2. The beginnings of computer graphics
A long and detailed chapter about the development of computer graphics, and the mathematical algorythms that are used in today's demos - vector graphics, shading technologies, fractals and many more.

- 3. Music for our ears
The history of computer generated sound. What is the difference between wavetable synthesis and frequency modulation? What is the basic principle of sound sampling? All explained in a friendly, non-technical manner.

Part 2. - The Commodore 64

- 1. The "Commy" and her great family
The story of the great Commodore and its computers, from the first typewriters to the Commodore 65. Yes, 65. Includes an exciting interview with Bil Herd, former lead engineer of Commodore Business Machines.

- 2. The beginnings
The very beginnings of all scene activities. What did the first crackers do? Which was the first program ever cracked? Who invented the term of releasing, and why was everybody using 3 character mnemonics? (An old version of this chapter used to be available for reading on the old FREAX website. Many additions had been made since.)

- 3. The life of a cracker
A long memoir by Weasel of Padua, first published in 1996, tells about how a young boy became a renowned cracker.

- 4. The golden age of crackers
Because crackers started it all. Copying pirated games was the first scene activity, and demomaking was just an offshoot. A glance at the C-64 scene of the eighties. Who was cool, who was not, who made the first diskmagazine, and why freezing was lame?

- 5. The rise of demos
Demomaking was originally not considered a serious activity. How it all started? Meanwhile, what was happening behind the Iron Curtain? Where was the first demo competition held, and who made the first hidden part? Interview with Grendel of Byterapers and Painkiller of Chromance.

- 6. Racing with the Amiga
The Commodore 64 around 1992-93. What was CompuNet? Which were the leading demo- and cracker groups of the era? The advent of great demogroups like Blackmail, Crest or Taboo. The story of amazing discoveries pushing the limits of the Commodore 64: Crossbow's special videomodes, multiplexed sprites and many more. Scene in the Soviet Union. The rise of newschool demostyle.

- 7. Over the ocean
What was going on in the USA? Was there a demoscene? Yes, there was. The amazing story of the C-64 NTSC scene, methods of phone phreaking and stories from behind the scenes. Memoirs from The Hobbit of Venom.

- 8. The present of the C-64
Demos and trends since 1996. SuperCPU, newschool effects, special developments. Is there a future for the C-64? Conceptdemos. Interview with Britelite of Dekadence.

Part 3. - The Amiga

- 1. A queen is born
Where the story of Commodore ended, started Amiga. How has Jay Miner raised a new standard for home computing, just to be torn up by the lame managers of Commodore? Funny stories about the development. Who was Joe Pillow? Amiga models introduced. Interview with Dave Haynie, former lead engineer of Commodore Amiga, with a lot of behind the scene stories.

- 2. The dawn of the Amiga
The history of the Amiga scene from 1986 to 1990. The first demogroups, the first pioneers of democoding. Interview with Celebrandil of Phenomena. The introduction of trackers and module musics. The first Amiga diskmags and megademos from Dexion through RSI to Budbrain.

- 3. The age of trackmos
It all started with Mental Hangover, continued with Enigma, and changed the entire scene to the end of 1991 with Hardwired, Odyssey and Voyage. The great revolution, the rise of the professional demoscene. The phreaking story continues: how have crackers avoided paying for the phone?

- 4. The beginnings of design
Then came Melon Dezign and turned everything upside down. And Lizardking brought us the doskpop. The classic Amiga 500 demoscene, with names like Kefrens, Andromeda, Spaceballs or Sanity.

- 5. AGA arrives
Amiga 500 had 32 colors. The new Amiga 1200 had 256, and was much faster. The first AGA demos and a glance at the East European scene. Pygmy Projects, Virtual Dreams, Complex and Lemon. all kick ass. The period of great megaparties and the rise of gouraud shading.

- 6. Peaks and downturns
The scene between 1995-97. A detailed, in-depth introduction of the isolated Polish and the Hungarian scene. CNCD breaks all trends with new design ideas, and The Black Lotus follows suit. Interview with Legend. The peak of the Amiga scene. This is the longest chapter so far.

- 7. The dusk of the Amiga
Every good thing has an end. Cinematic demos return, taking advantage of 060 accelerators. Nerve Axis, Mellow Chips, The Black Lotus, Scoopex, Haujobb, Madwizards... but the scene is already going down.

- 8. After the millenium
Today's Amiga scene: accelerated Amigas and the PPC. Interview with Azzaro and Kiero of Madwizards. Is there a future?


Part 4. - The PC

- 1. The intelligent terminal
The ridiculous story of the Wintel platform

- 2. Ancient times
When 4 colors, a simple beeper and 640 kilobytes should have been enough for anyone. A long article by Trixter of Hornet.

- 3. The birth of the PC scene
Hiding in the shadow of the great Amiga, the PC scene has started around 1991. The first pioneers: Ultraforce, Renaissance, Future Crew, Witan and Triton, from Vectordemo to Second Reality. The first demoeffects invented on PC. Crackers on the PC and the story of ANSI art.

- 4. Ducks and torii
When the PC scene went boring. The age of 256 color gouraud demos, with plenty of ducks in them. Then came Orange and Jamm.

- 5. The MS-DOS age
1995, when the PC first gained on the Amiga. Why was Hungary so isolated? The duel of Dope and Stars: Wonders of the World. Interview with Jmagic of Complex.

- 6. True color demos
The PC scene in 1996-97, when we already had VESA modes, but no 3D acceleration yet. The top of MS-DOS demos. This chapter is still in development.

The rest of PC scene history is still to be written.

Part 5. - Smaller scenes

- 1. Apple Macintosh
The Mac was never really a good demoplatform, although time by time there were attempts to code demos for it. Today there's a fairly active Mac scene, but probably even they don't know about their roots. Actually the entire scene was started on the Apple-II.

- 2. ZX Spectrum
The computers of Sir Clive Sinclair, which are still so popular in Russia. Hardware and scene history from the eighties to nowadays.

- 3. Atari
A long and interesting story about the greatest competitor of Commodore and its computers. The history of the company that made videogames and home computers a reality. Why was the Atari ST scene so special? What were demomenus, and why was Atari scene slang different from the Amiga? What could a Falcon do? Is there an Atari XL scene?

Besides of these, there will be a separate chapter about the Acorn, all game consoles, handheld devices, and another chapter for the "misunderstood" computers, which have failed the market, but nevertheless there was a small demoscene around them. Such were the Commodore Plus/4 and VIC-20, the Thomson, the Oric and some more.

Closing words
Meditation about the entire thing - what is the demoscene after all, and why did it born?

APPENDIX - Dictionary
Demoscene slang explained. Demoeffects, expressions, jargon, illustrated with pictures.