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demo and demoscene

Contributor(s): Thorsten

A demo is a non-interactive multimedia presentation that is rendered in real time .

Demos are usually created to showcase some or all of the following: computer hardware and/or software capabilities (such as multi-channel sound or 3-D effects); a specific subject (such as a product or a musician); or the abilities of the programmer (such as complex motion).

There are organized competitions for demos, which classify them as belonging to one of three subsets:

  • Intro 4k, which is fairly basic and generally has no music
  • Intro 64k, which has no restrictions other than size
  • Demo, which may contain any possible media.

Demos are the work of computer enthusiasts who often spend many days (or even weeks or months) creating a demo that may not have any external motivation (such as money, or acclaim in the broader world). Here are some related terms:

Demomaker: typically a male between 15 and 30, identified by a pseudonym
Demoscene: an underground community that includes elite programmers, composers and artists
Demogroup: a group of demomakers with complementary skills that collaborates on presentations
Demoparty: a showcase for demos, sometimes involving thousands of participants.

The demoscene originated in Europe and is most active in Scandinavia, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland and France, although it is gradually making its presence felt in the rest of the world.

This was last updated in March 2008

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