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The borders have been broken
After the straight technical approach by the early Atari ST demoscene, artists and musicians were finally able to show their talents through a mass of new editing tools. From 1991 many creative people came up with decent digital styles for the first time. Some of them were coders as well. They have learned to work in multiple digital disciplines.
This is the rise of the hybrids. The second part of the “border series” is dedicated to their intense artistic development.
The Atari ST and the Creative People
The story of a digital underground scene, forced to be amazingly creative in coding and art. We go back in time, when the Atari ST and Amiga were still revolutionary mouse-operating machines and the future of DTP and interactive design has begun to shape nowadays IT professions.
The book series exposes the Atari Corporation, surpasses the marketing of Atari Computers and explores the contemporary life of a demo scene, whose creative people were on a rollercoaster ride to the blooming digital entertainment industry.
Volume 1, 1987 – 1990, BREAKIN’ THE BORDERS (on sale)
Volume 2, 1991 – 1993, BEYOND THE BORDERS (this Kickstarter)
Volume 3, 1994 – …….
Read more on microzeit.com
We ask the people
What was it like to grow up in the 80s and 90s? How did the scene people manage to do something the industry did not? And why? Which challenges shaped those minds? How did the early digital artists work? The musicians? Which tools did they use? What did they learn? And what are they doing today?
Read more on microzeit.com
Wrapped in a shiny cover, the new book represents the vibrant pixel era beyond the events of volume 1.
Even though we are hooked on this flashing pixelated envelope, it remains a simple visualization. It symbolizes our vision. The real cover will be unwrapped before delivery in 2018!
- English Hardback Edition
- ~ 450 pages
- Offset printing, 120 raster
- High pigment inks
- Thread sewn binding
- 230 x 170 mm landscape format
- Size of a 12″ Atari monitor
- 135 gr/m² semi-matt illustration paper
- Surface sealing
See vol.1 layouts on microzeit.com
The early 90s. It’s the beginning of the end of a whole digital era.
It also marks the golden years of underground culture. The demo scene grows steadily and discovers a variety of new techniques to overcome the limits of Atari’s 16/32-bit systems – often with an upcoming profession in mind.
The game industry is changing and Japanese consoles overtake the market by storm. The Manga style infects European artists. IBM PC’s are gaining more attention. Philips CD-ROM promises to be the storage media of the future, while Commodore stays a tough opponent. Atari tries to rescue its market share by introducing the Falcon and the Mega STE, yet striving back to the console market with the first 64-bit console.
Thalion in Gütersloh experience an internal division and must face their origin. Most European game publishers turn their backs to the ST. Former sceners won’t give up so fast, instead they are even heading to new horizons. Only one last thing has to be given to the test: are the crackers responsible for the overall sales decline?
BEYOND THE BORDERS goes beyond – in every aspect. This volume not only presents some of the best artistic works on Atari’s 16-bit computers, but also gives the readers a chance to experience the downfall of the home computer industry from an Atari perspective.
Volume 2 is a highly compressed tome, packed with unforgettable Atari ST/e demos, unbelievable last-minute-achievements, underground background stories and features.
The following creative people announced their participation, whether as informer or full interview partner. The outcome can only be revealed in the finished book:
- Angelo Bod (Elite)
- Alexander de Vries (DBA)
- Arnaud Carré (Oxygène)
- Arnoud Kindermann (Synergy)
- Bengt Sjölen (SYNC)
- Chris Holland (Maggie-Team)
- Christophe Balestra (Diamond Design)
- Claude Agez (Equinox)
- David Newman (Torment)
- Fabrice Odero (Legacy)
- Frederic Mutter (Tsunoo Rhilty)
- Georges Kessler (ULM)
- Gunnar Gaubatz (Delta Force)
- Joris de Man (Synergy)
- Jurie Horneman (Thalion)
- Kay Poprawe (Animal Mine)
- Kay Tennemann (ACF)
- Laurent Fargues (Hemoroids)
- Manuel Pires (DNT-Crew)
- Markus Velten (Animal Mine)
- Martin Griffith (Electronic Images)
- Matthias Böck (STAX)
- Michael Opel (STAX)
- Michel Savariradjalou (Dune)
- Mickaël Pointier (NeXT)
- Nic Alderton (Electronic Images)
- Nicolas Carre (Oxygène)
- Nicolas Simon (Oxygène)
- Rich Spowart (Maggie-Team/Alive)
- Sebastian Gerard (Overlanders)
- Sietse Postma (DBA)
- Sven Bauer (Eclipse)
- Tilmann Bubeck (Delta Force)
I reach out my hands to even more artists of that time. Some have offered me their collaboration already.
Furthermore the people of volume 1 will assist with their knowledge and experiences again. They refer as contemporary witnesses, but staying in the background: e.g. Marc Rosocha, Erik Simon, Richard Karsmakers, Stefan Kimmlingen, Michael Schüßler, Michael Raasch, Niklas Malmqvist, David and Tim Moss or Jochen Hippel and more…
People from the cracking scene speak about their activities and voice their opinion on software piracy in the 90s. BEYOND integrates the pros and cons of this deeply divisive topic of the ST scene.
We ask people from
- The Replicants
- Medway Boys
In the beginning 90s the video clip takes over – techno, house, acid and the new MTV culture mark it’s influences in the design of computer demos. Fast 3D techniques become the new thing to keep up with. Sequential multi-part presentations entertain with visual storytelling and through clever programming the little Yamaha sounds similar to the SID.
While most coders still squeeze out the last bits of the Atari ST/STE series, some already explore the 32-bit abilities of Atari’s Falcon machine.
Shiny multi-page layouts envision the most creative demo works of that time. A beautiful selection of contemporary motion design on paper.
- The Dark Side of the Spoon
- Decade Demos
- Ooh Crikey wot a Scorcher
- Punish your Machine
- Anomaly Demo
- Phaleon Demo
- Eat my Bollocks
- Synergy Megademo
- Froggies over the Fence
- Humeur Vitree
New plans, big challenges. As Thalion gets a call from a German air force officer, their business goes crazy. Now everything is set up for a new beginning. Marc Rosocha’s Eclipse is heading towards technical outstanding games and took the chance to start an overseas business corporation. A major circle is closing.
Get insights into the production and press reactions for important Thalion and Eclipse games – done in the spirit of the demo scene.
- Enchanted Land
- A Prehistoric Tale
- Trex Warrior
- Ghost Battle
- No Second Prize
- A320 Airbus Europa
- Monster Business
- Stone Age
- Lethal Xcess (WoD II)
Working out features and flashbacks is a great exploration of the whole book series. Like in vol. 1, BEYOND will be extended by features on art, technique, history or pop culture. At the time I visited the CeBIT and Atari Messe quite often and can also talk about demo parties and the making of a Megademo from my personal experience.
Popular meet-ups of Atari people
- Atari Messe (Düsseldorf)
- 5th 16-bit Computer Show (London)
- FEZ a bit (Berlin)
- Delta Force, International Coding Conference #2
- Bushwackers, Transbeauce 2
- Electra, Mega-Leif Convention
- Stallion, Fried Bits 1
Not only games evolve from the scene, but also tools. Expose Software tries their luck. To keep up with the fast-paced developments in the 90s a lot of new disc magazines appear – competitors to ST NEWS. We ask the editors of DBA and Maggie how they produced their content and what they challenged these days.
Tilmann Bubeck talks about his work on NEOchrome Master. Gunnar Gaubatz and Joris de Man shed a light on their extraordinary sound development.
What were the choices, what the experiences?
Learn more about contemporary disc magazines, chipsound editors and pixel painters. Find an overview of the most important creation tools. We ask the makers!
In the same pace the industry production for the Atari ST goes down, the scene productions goes up. Artists like NiKo and Spaz use intense diffusion techniques which literally let the pixels flow into each other. Due to the 120 raster we use for print, we have double as high density as offset print normally offers.
Rediscover the fascination of pixel art on paper in perfect detail.
BEYOND presents a lavish art gallery with mini portraits of the artists. See and believe what those guys were capable of, with just 16 colors and 320 x 200 pixels at hand.
The demoscene plays an important role in my creative life. In 1991 I joined STAX to intensify my efforts in pixel graphic and animation. I was hungry for working with other creative people. We made fantastic plans. With Matt and Mike everything turned out to be bigger than expected. But there was only one way to go – out of our little worlds. In BEYOND I want to share this life changing experience with you.
Volume 2 introduces the story of STAX. For that I’ll interview my old companions, after meeting them for the first time in 18 years.
“The history in this book is the reason why I am where I am today.”
– Fredrik Olsson / Apple employee
“I’m so impressed by how this is written. It feels way more like a story compared to all other ‘retro’ books. This is all so much about the people, and what gives it an extra dimension is the fact I’ve met lots of them at the STNICCC 2015 (demo party).”
– Maarten Martens
“I knew the quality of the book would be good, but I am shocked by the professional quality of this piece of art! Everything from the interviews and articles to things like paper and print quality.”
– Tobias Jansson
“Have watched this go from an idea to being realised. Well done, you have created a book worthy of the demoscene that inspired it.”
– Adam Ransom
“As one of the few U.S. people I knew with an ST, I always felt like I was missing out on the scene in Europe. This book has done an amazing job to put into view the things I could only dream to understand about: what was happening back in those days. This Kickstarter was worth every penny and more.”
– Nick Haas
“[…] Many sleepless hours trying to pixel something, joyful hours flew past in gaming as Thalion was our Psygnosis. […] Back then I had no idea why demos, early games and utilities turned out how they did. Or who were the wizkids behind them. Or how on earth they manage the ST to do things no one ever imagined possible when it was launched! Now I’m starting to get the picture and I’m hungry for more. For me this is not just another Kickstarter book I backed. This is an important moment in our beloved Atari ST history. A trip into our underground culture the way it should be told.”
– Marko Latvanen / Atarimania.com