On this page you can find basic information for first-time visitors. The text below applies to pretty much every demo party.
As you are aware, this year is special - there is a pandemic, and we need to be able to trust visitors to both know how a demo party works and what its rules are and we also need to implement a very strict security concept.
As a first-timer, we therefore do not recommend to come alone. Please find an experienced scener who takes care of you - or postpone your first demo party visit to until after the pandemic is over.
[This page has been taken from the Revision Website, who took from the Breakpoint Website. Please note this does not mention the special Covid-19 regulations this party has!]
WHAT IS ONSCENE?
onScene is a demoparty made by and for the demoscene.
SO WHAT IS A DEMOPARTY?
A demoparty is -- on the first glance -- like a LAN party. Depending on the size, a few or hundreds of visitors may bring their computers and set them up at the location. Unlike a LAN party, demoparties have an emphasis on creativity. Attendants are encouraged to compete in scheduled competitions (referred to by demosceners as 'compos'). These 'compos', spread out over the length of the party, are in categories that allow the attendants to showcase their artistic talents with the use of computers.
In short: a demoparty is a multimedia art festival that usually lasts for several days.
WHAT IS THE DEMOSCENE?
The Demoscene considers itself as a loose connection of creative minds with passions of creating digital art. A 'demo' is created by groups of people, or sometimes single individuals, to DEMOnstrate their skills. The traditional skill base of the demoscene is considered to be coding, music, and design.
Since at a demoparty visitors are encouraged to participate, and participation requires at least a bit of knowledge of the 'scene', it is unusual for visitors to not have at least a basic understanding.
WHY A DEMOPARTY?
The process of creating a demo does not actually require physical presence of the contributors; visual, logical, and aural data can be distributed to others without ever actually seeing the other contributors. Over the history of the scene, many different ways of contributing to the process and creation of a demo were used: telephone calls, written letters, electronic bulletin boards, and mailed floppy disks in the early days; today, telephone calls, emails, the internet.
However, the scene is not just a technical forum; it is indeed a social experience. And as such, 'sceners' enjoy meeting with each other, catching up with old friends, making new friends - so there is a need for these 'meetings' which we call demoparties.
It is a place to meet and make friends (just imagine meeting hundreds of people with the same hobby and interests as you), to complete the last steps of your demo production together with your group, to exchange ideas - or just drink beer or socialize. Nevertheless the main focus concentrates on the so called "compos": competitions where scene artists ('sceners') can participate and show their work in a friendly competition with others.
I'M NOT A DEMOSCENER, WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
We encourage every person interested in the demoscene to come to a demoparty, but you must understand that the whole community is about creating art and not just consuming. While it is not required to enter a competition, you'll be encouraged to participate in some way - and we believe at the end of the demoparty you'll leave and want to start on YOUR next demo - even if you've never created one before.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
There are many options to come to onScene. If you live in an area where there are many sceners, you may be able to arrive by an organized bus trip. If you live a further distance away, you may need to arrive by plane, train or car. Check with anyone you know who is a scener and see how they are traveling, and also check the travel pages on the onScene webpage.
I'M ONLY COMING FOR A SINGLE DAY, DO YOU HAVE ANY SINGLE-DAY PASSES?
No, we do not offer single-day passes, and we have a very good reason as to why.
The entrance fee is used to finance the whole event - parts of the main party cost and competition prize money are paid from this. The costs of tables, chairs, and the rental of the hall are fixed. It does not make a difference if you stay 12 or 73 hours - the overall rental cost of these necessary items is the same. Participants rarely switch chairs or move about during the party - and our party hall is filled with tables and chairs. We need to have enough seats for everyone, and need to have them for the entire duration. If you, personally, do not occupy a chair the entire time, the chair does still have an associated cost.
Having day tickets would encourage lots of unrelated people to show up at the party, for the real sceners this would give a "zoo"-like feeling. By requiring everyone to purchase 4 days of party, we reduce the participants to those who are really interested.
Some other parties in the past have tried selling single day tickets, and the results were not positive: Increase in theft, the "zoo" effect contributing to a bad atmosphere, and multiple complaints to the organizers of the parties that this was simply not a good idea for the future.
So if you really are interested in the demoscene, please try to stay during the whole party. You'll actually feel much better about it afterwards, with a better understanding of what the experience was, and you'll have the time needed to really get into contact with tons of people. You'll become part of the party.
HOW IS THE OVERALL ENVIRONMENT AT YOUR PARTY?
Overall, the conditions you find at a party are not always optimal (it can be too cold or too hot sometimes, there may be power breakdowns, loud noise, bad air...) and can't be compared to your cozy home. Nevertheless, onScene staff does great efforts to make the party as comfortable as possible for their visitors. Apart from that, the overall slightly chaotic appearance of a demoparty is considered to be part of the fun by most sceners :-)
WILL THERE BE ENOUGH SEATS?
Short answer: Yes.
Long Answer: We try to provide as much space as possible inside as well as outside of the hall. Anyway, you should use space economically. While the hall looks rather empty in the beginning you might observe that it fills up continuously, as some visitors can only attend later, due to personal reasons or long travelling distances. Just pick yourself a nice place that isn't taken, but keep in mind that there will be other visitors that might need some space too. By the way, not everybody arrives with his computer.
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE CAN I MEET?
Usually you can observe the following two types of visitors:
Party-animal: Their intention is to meet friends and get to know other sceners, discuss demoscene-related stuff but also personal stuff. Such people are not necessarily lazy people, they might just have finished their releases in time and thus use the time at a party for the more relaxing things.
Workaholic: Visitors that try to finish their releases on site, either because of they are very dedicated, were too lazy beforehand, have struck upon a bug at the last minute, or are just taking part in one of the planned fast competitions (a competition announced during the party) held for fun. It is quite common for a lot of sceners to give their productions a final touch when everybody involved is around and things can be discussed easily. (Obviously the ambience is not really optimal for doing hard work, but 10+ years of people using demoparties as the time for finishing productions says something about that practice)
WHERE CAN I SLEEP?
The Party runs non-stop, and there will be people awake/working/partying at any time. But if you consider sleeping as essential you should choose your favourite from the following possibilities:
In the sleeping area inside the hall. Bringing your own sleeping equipment (fluffy blankets, penguin cushions, sleeping bag, ...) is a good idea. You might consider that due to the almost constantly high noise level, earplugs (free at the info desk) are a good idea in this case.
In your car, if weather conditions allow for that.
In case you don't want to forgo on any luxury we advise you to book a room at a hotel. More information can be found here.
CAN I TAKE A SHOWER? ARE THERE ENOUGH TOILETS?
As for your hygienic needs we provide showers (opened at announced times) and sufficient toilet facilities.
IS THERE ANY RISK MY EQUIPMENT GETS STOLEN?
We do not provide any lockers so you have to keep an eye on your stuff yourself. Or just ask your table neighbour to watch for it. Sceners tend to watch out for each other in this manner. Still, if your neighbour is hard at work on a project, please consider that they may not be able to actually WATCH your stuff - so do make reasonable choices about this.
Although pure demoscene parties are quite safe places to be you should take possible theft into consideration and, in general, leave your expensive equipment at home. 'Sceners' aren't generally going to be impressed if you have a water cooled system that overclocks to 7000 percent of the recommended speeds - they actually may be much more interested in a Commodore 64 with a great paint job.
HOW ABOUT FOOD AND DRINKS? CAN I BUY THEM SOMEWHERE?
If you feel hungry or thirsty you have several options to satisfy your needs. First of all, there is a wide variety of food and drink support on site. A bunch of food stands will offer all kinds of food - including vegetarian food. Our staff also sells all kinds of softdrinks as well as beer at really reasonable prices. Other options are self-supply, by visiting the nearby supermarket.
Because the party is actually taking place over the holiday weekend, you should be aware of the holiday schedule for shops. You cannot buy food on Friday, Sunday or Monday - so you may bring it with you. Or try to work out a deal with a friend who arrives beforehand if you wish to get food from a local store for that day.
HOW CAN I TAKE PART IN A COMPETITION?
Visitors can hand in their productions, also called 'releases', (demos/music/graphics/videos/...) to take part in the competitions. This is usually done by uploading the contribution via our intranet site. In rare cases (computer platforms without network access possibility, very large files) it is also possible to hand in a contribution at the infodesk. Just ask our friendly staff.
The deadlines are set so that our staff has enough time to go through all releases and check if they work properly. This also gives you the advantage that if there is a problem with your release, you can be informed and given a chance to fix it. That helps to avoid the disappointment of working hard on your production and not being able to see it, because it didn't work.
The basic requirements for contributing your releases to a competition can be found in the competition rules. In most categories we won't have a preselection, as the amount of releases is still manageable. So even if it is your first release, don't hesitate to hand it in and see what the crowd thinks of it. During the competitions, usually most of the crowd gathers in the hall to enjoy the releases on the 'bigscreen.' This is a great chance for positive feedback on your work.
WHO DECIDES THE WINNER IN A COMPETITION?
You do - that is - every visitor gets to vote for their favorite entries. On your arrival the team at the infodesk will hand you a vote key with which you can log into the party intranet. You can either use the live voting to evaluate the entries while watching/listening or browse through the releases after a competition has taken place.
The last event of the party will be the prize-giving ceremony. This is where the final results are presented, and the three best entries in every category will be rewarded with prizes.