Watching A New Dimension (C64)

Triad are one of the longest-serving C64 crews and have some classy demos to their name and the one I’m pontificating about today is from 1987, so over three decades old… and dear Rassilon it makes me feel ancient just writing that! Developed by Cosmo and Skyie, A New Dimension begins with a classic, silent Triad intro which is exited by a quick press of the space bar that sets off the decrunch for three more parts; the first of these is a no-nonsense raster show, filling the standard screen area with colour splits and moving some smaller bars around over the top but behind a logo and the intro text. The music playing at this point is Matt Gray’s fantastic title tune from the Thalamus game Quedex.

The second part has a little more going on and is almost a “bog standard” demo with a good piece of music this time by Demon, a nice bitmapped Triad logo taking up the screen and a fast-moving lower and sideborder scroller with chunky, multicolour characters and raster splits. Some of the letters have colours rolling up them whilst the rest have them moving downwards and, when I was poring over this demo decades ago, it took me a while to realise what was actually happening; the two sprite multicolours are being changed once every second scanline, alternating back and forth with every line so there aren’t any “messy” splits in the middle of the screen.

As a finale there’s a sprite-based Triad logo down the middle of the screen where each letter uses all eight hardware sprites to produce a motion blur-like effect as they swing back and forth, requiring forty sprites in total. This is accompanied by a character-animated triangle of stars, a multicolour character scroller with two of its colours being split and another decent Demon tune – the two pieces of his music used in this demo are known collectively as Hardcastle. There’s one final surprise to round the show off, pressing space here will take the viewer back to the first raster bars and the three parts can loop endlessly.

All three parts are fairly simple in comparison to what would come just a year or two later but they still hold their own pretty well, being solidly coded – there’s very occasional hiccups when the music in the raster part takes up too much time – and sporting well-executed linking; A New Dimension is one of the first demos to “wrap” at the end and that’s not exactly a commonplace design choice thirty plus years later either. I love a good raster part so that’s my favourite of the three, although the third part’s sprite logo is very effective indeed and the demo as a whole is still worth watching once in a while.

4 thoughts on “Watching A New Dimension (C64)

  1. Wow! A blast from the past! That classic blocky TRIAD logo at the start always indicates a stamp of quality to me and still makes me ‘tingle’ to this day.

    Although very old, as you point out, some really cool effects here. Who doesn’t love the rasters in the first part! I *love* the colour rolling in the scroller in the second part – something so ‘simple’ can be so effective sometimes. And the third part sprite letter ‘shadows’ are again simple but add a nice solid 3D effect.

    Nice choice of demo to blog about, Sir!

  2. Ta for that. =-)

    Since most of the more recent demos I’ve enjoyed have been covered at length on YouTube and so on so, whilst it’s not set in stone, I’ve sort of settled into looking at older titles which impressed me for one reason or another “back in the day” and the chances are there’ll be a lot of C64 and Amiga stuff appearing for that reason… I remember seeing some good Atari ST demos but only through a scener I worked with so nothing has sprung to mind so far on that front yet.

  3. You gotta love the music in this demo! One demo that I’d like to see, is Crazy Sample II by The Judges (assuming it’s on your radar), as it made a huge impression on me back in the 80’s. Other demos that slap me in the face are, Blue Eyes by Radix Developments and its follow-up featured in Crazy Life! by NATO.

    On the topic of ST Demos, did you see the Amiga conversion of THE BIG DEMO by The Exceptions?

  4. I had at least one of the Think Twice series on the list for possible future posts, might as well put Crazy Sample 2 down as well.

    Saw the Big Demo port, although the original didn’t really impress me at the time; getting the tunes over and playing was quite clever although you only really have to do the code once and the C64 versions still sound a lot better… I might have to look at the early TEX demos though, seeing the screenshots brought some vague memories up!

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