Today I’m going to try something new. As you may have noticed, I’ve written quite a few reviews of classic games on this blog. I therefore thought it was about time that I started writing about old-school demos as well. My first review will be of a demo called Tint from a Swedish demo group called The Black Lotus. Hope you’ll enjoy it!
Please leave a comment below if you’d like to read more (or less) about demos on this blog in the future. Thanks in advance for your help.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “demo”, here’s a definition taken from Wikipedia:
A “demo” is a demonstration of the multimedia capabilities of a computer (or more to the point, a demonstration of the skill of the demo’s constructors).
Without further ado, here’s my first demo review on Old School Game Blog!
A picture from Tint by The Black Lotus
Review of Tint by The Black Lotus for the Amiga 1200/4000
The Black Lotus is a Swedish demo group that was formed in the first half of the 1990′s. Most of their productions has been made for the Amiga, but they’ve released demos for the PC, Playstation 2 and Atari as well.
Their breakthrough came in Easter 1996 with an Amiga demo called Tint. It was released at The Gathering, which is a Norwegian demo party held every year at Vikingskipet in Hamar. The demo won the competition and received a lot of attention from demo enthusiasts, Amiga fans and believe it or not, mainstream media. It so happens that a Norwegian TV-show actually broadcasted Tint to the general public in 1996. Quite impressive if you ask me.
Since their breakthrough, The Black Lotus went from strength to strength. The climax was reached with a demo called Starstruck. This piece of art was released in 2006 at the Assembly demo party in Finland. Even though Starstruck had to compete with PC demos, it won the entire competition! This is an achievement worthy of respect, especially if we consider the difference between modern PC hardware and classic Amiga hardware.
Tint requires an Amiga 1200 or 4000 with 2MB of Chip-RAM and 4MB of Fast-RAM. You’ll also need 5MB of hard drive space to unpack the demo. Even though the demo runs well on a machine with a 68020 CPU, a 68030 or better is recommended for optimal performance.
Before we start looking at the demo, I think a quick look at the credits is in order:
- Programming by Equalizer and Offa
- Graphics by Danny, Facet, Louie and Rodney
- Music by Azazel
Lasting for about 12 minutes, it is safe to say that Tint is a long demo. It has been divided into different parts and these have their unique theme and atmosphere. Like many other demos, there’s no specific storyline in Tint.
Effects are very important in a demo and Tint has a lot to offer in this department.
The colourful voxel effect (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
The first one I’d like to tell you about is a texture-mapped tunnel that has lightning rods all over it. The routine is fast and looks pretty cool. Another effect is a rotating environment-shaded box, but with a head morphing out of it! That effect is simply awesome, but you have to see it to fully understand what I mean. Tint does also contain a fast voxelscape routine where you fly over a nice, colourful landscape. That one is nicely executed and well worth paying attention to. Beside these, there are phong-shaded 3D objects, a fog-scape, bumb-mapping routines and much, much more. If you’re looking to see cool effects on your Amiga, then Tint is a good choice. Please keep in mind that we’re not looking at animations here and that the effects are in real-time.
Cool effect from Tint (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
The graphics in general are nicely made. The still pictures are in my opinion particularly good. I’ve included a couple of them below, so that you can have a look at them yourself. I find it amazing that people can manage to pixel such stuff in Amiga programs such as Deluxe Paint. It’s truly a great accomplishment!
18 bit truecolour! (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
TBL (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Pictures aside, I like the palette and colour combinations used in Tint. It gives the impression that more colours are on the screen at the same time than it is in reality. Good job.
The area in which Tint truly shines is when it comes to the design and how the different parts of the demo are linked together. Everything you see on the screen is perfectly synchronized and adapted to the music. This makes it smooth and enjoyable to watch. The transition from one effect to the next feels natural and thought through. While watching, you’ll notice that the demo is slowly building up to reach some kind of climax. That climax kicks into gear in the last part of the demo and everything takes off. I’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of demos over the years, but it must be said that there aren’t many that does this as good as Tint, at least in my eyes. The music is an important factor in all this, as it is responsible for creating a large part of the overall atmosphere.
Tint is, in my opinion, one of the better Amiga demos of all-time. This demo was responsible for the breakthrough of The Black Lotus back in the 1990′s and it caused a buzz even outside the Amiga community. Tint features a wide variety of interesting effects, slick design and cool music. Everything on the screen is synchronized and smooth, which makes it pleasant to watch. I’ve got no doubt in my heart about recommending this demo to everyone out there.. have a look and you will not be disappointed!
Tint by The Black Lotus at Scene.org
For those of you who don’t have an Amiga or an emulator, here’s a video grab of Tint from YouTube: