Teletext at Nova

From development blog. Comments are welcome via email.

Demoparties are computer art festivals, often spanning a whole weekend. They feature demos, whose purpose is to show off computer graphic art, music and programming skills. Highly-skilled, tightly-knit demo groups work together to squeeze performance out of old and new computer hardware, often employing clever hacks, in order to produce amazing audiovisual effects. These demos are shown on a big video projector connected to a sound system in view of the artists, musicians, coders, and other attendees sitting at benches in a large hall, though there is often plenty of socialising in other rooms or even outdoors. The demos are voted on by everyone attending at the end of the party, and the authors of the demos which left the biggest impressions are celebrated as winners at a prize-giving ceremony. Since the 1980s, a culture has grown up around all this called the demoscene, though its roots go back before even that.

2017 was the most recent year that I went to the Nova demoparty in Budleigh Salterton. I was visiting with my friends from the CRTC demo group, with which I was more or less involved. With the agreement of the organisers, we were trialling teletext graphics as a new competition, a sort of rather British variant of the ASCII and ANSI art competitions. We weren't sure about how that would fit into the scene culture at first, but people responded to it really well, and we got six entries that year for the competition. To give some idea of what a demoparty is like, have a look at the teletext compo being shown on the big screen in this archived stream. Steve — now with an impressive scene CV — won that year with Dragon and Castle, even though it bent the rules by using a special extra large version of that I hacked up on the Saturday, allowing 200 lines in the frame rather than the usual 25.

Munching on a pizza, I was idly sofa-scening yesterday — that is, tuning into the party's video stream from home — to see how it was going for Ruairí, h0ffman and the team. I was pleased and surprised to see that the teletext competition was still a part of Nova and has been held ever since 2017, with compos in 2018 (with archived stream) and this year, 2019 (with archived stream). Nova accepts remote entries, so I'd really encourage anyone out there playing with a teletext editor and making nice things with it to send in an entry for Nova 2020 and keep teletext going in the demoscene.