--= L i f e F o r c e =--
a n d r o m e d a
s o f t w a r e
d e v e l o p m e n t
Presented at Assembly 2007
.Code / Direction - Navis
With Lifeforce we wanted to make a demo that has a progression and a cyclic narrative.
It starts where Iconoclast, our Assembly 2005 demo, ended: we enter into the mind of
the creator / avatar / muse (a small reference to Homer here) and descend into the
beginning of the journey of life. The images of nature and the laughter o f children
are the starting point. Like some other parts in this demo the happy and playful mood
is interrupted by sorrowful events (knife slicing the rainbow). The sequence that
follows (tree submerged in liquid, bubbles floating towards the surface) is the
progression to maturity and the passage of time. The character tries to climb the
mountain in vain and extends his arm to reach for the beating heart - the symbol of
youth.The images that follow (statue of men reading the scribes, bells ringing in the
distance) are a reference to religion, seemingly the last resort of some men in the
dusk of their lives. The second part of the demo begins in the bathroom sequence. The
man has died but left a message: "ZEI", which means he/she/it is alive. A message of
hope, maybe ? The black strips and octopuses represent the fear of death and guilt.
The strips guide us through a series of surealistic images that overlap one another:
images of living things that exist in the domain of the living (city, horse,elephant,
clown). We wanted to create a feeling of anxiety before the revelation of the last
scene in which we have drawn a full circle: The desert is revisited, only now, after
innumerable years it is an ocean, deep and dark. The crescendo slowly builds to a
nuclear blast that engulfs our world and memories. We too now sink down and
contemplate our own mortal fate.
Lifeforce, like all ASD demos, is almost completely hand made; which means that apart
from some static models and textures all model animation, particle effects, post
processing, camera paths, synchronizations and everything else that makes this demo
has been hard-coded. We believe that it is impossible to deliver a demo of the
complexity of lifeforce by using an available demoscripting engine and putting in
less work than hard-coding it the way we did in the first place. The code in
Lifeforce is based on a very minimalistic 3D engine (a combination of all first 20 or
so NeHe tutorials, for example, is a superset of our 3D engine) and heavy use of
image processing and shaders.
The demo was written exclusively on an Athlon 3000XP with a geforce FX 5600 ultra.
.Music - Amusic and Leviathan
Lifeforce's soundtrack began pretty late in the creative process. This time we wanted
to have more than just an idea of what the visuals were going to look like. When we
saw the magnitude of the scenes it was clear that we had to go in a different
direction with the music while at the same time try to maintain some of our trademark
sounds and progressions.With Memento Mori we went overboard with attention to detail.
The track utilizes more than 2000 samples and over 100 rack devices on Reason, which
eventually managed to get a 2.8Ghz Pentium 4 HT CPU cry for mercy, as it could not
replay the sounds in realtime.
The end result proves to be a lot more melodic and sentimental than our previous
tracks, more coherent as a whole and with a tighter beat and emotional synch. We did
not include traditional progressive rock elements such as variating time signatures
and syncopated rhythms and riffs this time as we felt that the flow of the demo
called for a more "swimmy" (as we call it) soundtrack-ish approach. As with the
visual part, the song explores the circle of life from birth to death,even if through
dramatic circumstances reminding everyone, as per the title, that they are mortal. As
the demo (and life) closes to the end, the sound gets rougher and more agressive,
portraying the multiplying aspects in a person's life until his lifeline is cut short
, perhaps before its time. The dance segue, seemingly detached from the whole, is a
friendly nod to those who understand that life should not be taken too seriously all
of the time.
.2D graphics - Archmage of Andromeda
The graphics zoomer in Lifeforce has some predecessors in demos from the likes of TBL
, FLT and even ASD, but from a very early stage we decided that I should take this
effect in a different direction. Instead of making a seemingly improvised progression
where a zoom-in of the first picture dictates the imagery in the next one, I started
out by painting three separate pictures. These images were intended to work as stand
alone compositions, and they would then be linked by zooming out through circular
elements such as the eyes and the monocle. There are nine zoom stages in all,
seamlessly blended for your viewing pleasure. As for the imagery itself, I was given
a lot of freedom to explore the underlying ideas of Lifeforce. By depicting
disciplined Nature rebelling against Man Defaced in the setting of a circus
microcosmos, and then by having Nature turn against itself in an unnatural way with a
tiger chasing a lionfish, I wanted to communicate the inevitable coming of the End -
and a sense of good riddance.
+ LifeForce +
+ January - August 2007 +