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Interview with Cycleburner of Megastyle Production

Here is an interview with one of the most talented and creative individuals on the C64 ever; Cycleburner of Megastyle Inc. The interview was first published in the FairLight DiskMag Reformation, probably in 1993 or possibly in 1994.

Hi and welcome to the 'Hot terminal' Mr Cycleburner!

Thank U! My pleasure.

When did you start out, and when did you join your first group?

I got my first computer in 1983, and in 1987 I joined the first real demo group.

What groups have you been in during the years?

Groups I've been a member are The Black Knights, which became Weird Science, and then I joined Contex when Weird Science split up, and finally I joined Megastyle when Contex split up.

How did you start out on the scene?

I joined "The Black Knights" after seeing their address in a demo. We then changed name a few times, before we and some famous group I can't remember the name of (The Flash Boys?? Not quite, but something like that ;) formed Weird Science 2662. (By the way, this part of Weird Science later formed Tridon, which was perhaps rather unknown, but they were very good.)

What aliases have you been using?

In my first demos I used the name "NOP" (No Ordinary Programmer), and when I joined Contex, I changed to Cycleburner.

When did you start making demos, and when did you start competing in demo competitions with them?

I guess I started making demos in 1987 or so, and I think it was my second demo that won first prize at a party in Askim. (I even beat Rawhead, and Omega Supreme wasn't too happy about not winning... ;)

What is your most famous production so far?

The most successful demo I made in Weird Science, was probably "Sign'o' the Times" (which won in Askim).

But I guess the demos I'm best known for, are the ones I made in Contex. Everyone keeps saying "Look Sharp" was so great, but I can't understand why... Besides, it only got a fifth place at the party it was released. I was more satisfied with "Youthquake", but it was "only" third... "Top Priority" is probably the one I put most work into (and it has the most parts too).

We could have done a lot of great work in Megastyle, but school took too much time for all of us. They actually asked me to join already when I was in Contex, but I chose to stay in Contex. Who knows, maybe we would have done something even greater if I had joined Megastyle earlier. Rune "Sparkler" Spaans is an outstanding artist, and I'm glad he's doing the graphics for my game now.

I myself liked Sign'o'The times very much. But I agree that Youthquake is better than Look sharp mainly because it was a new style and that Youtquake is so filled with energy, it really kicks! This brings us in to the demo style d at your latest demo, and it really is a different demo. Do you see this as a new trend, or is it just a reaction towards all techno freak demos that are so common?

It's definately a new trend. The old logo+scroller concept is out of date. Rather than making some special special effect with a scroller, a good demo today should contain some special graphical effects, and the text should be limited to credits, short explanations and such. Furthermore, pressing space bar also belongs to history. A demo should proceed automatically, without displaying an effect too long. And of course, most importantly, visual effects must interact with the m usic!

What is your coding philosophy, i.e. what do you find important?

My "coding philosophy" is that I don't care much about tricks that are hard to code. Design is everything. But if you can incorporate some clever coding tricks into a great looking demo, then that's ideal. Furthermore, I don't like effects that aren't updated 50 times per second (or 60 times per second on NTSC).

Do you try to find a use for a new routine, or do you make up the 'story' first and then figure out which routines (FLD's, FLI, and such) to use?

In most of the demos I've made on the 64, I've sampled some music, and then I've let the music inspire the rest of the demo. Sometimes I have made a routine first, but that's not usually how I work. It tends to get boring that wa

Do you like the just technical demos, or do you think that people should work more on design?

I hate technical demos, unless they contain something really amazing. The first demos with sprites on the border were pretty shocking to me, although the design could have been better. I'm amazed by effects that previously were t e, but 4000 dots or 500 scrollers is too boring.

What are your tools of the trade?

The assembler I use was in fact made by my father! I guess Turbo Assembler probably is better, but I like my father's assembler since it uses decimal numbers. I think decimal numbers are more natural than hex on the 64, since you usually start programming in basic (where you use decimal). By using decimal in the assembler, you don't have to learn all the register addresses from the start again. As a consequence of using decimals, I don't always understand what people mean when they talk about D011 and so... I have to convert the numbers to decimal first. But on Amiga I use hex, naturally.

Until recently, I actually had no cartridge, so my equipment was rather primitive. At first I used a sampler that a friend of mine had made, and it was actually his interest for electronics that first made me get a computer and later get into sampling.

What are your views on the different scenes? The C64 scene will obviously whither away. You told us that you are working on a game for the Amiga, is that your new turf?

Yes, I will be working on my own game for Amiga for some while, and if it turns out like I hope it will, I will continue producing games for Amiga. I'm not so into the different scenes, but I'd like to make some more demos for Am ve higher priority.

Right now people are moving to PC, Amiga, SNES, and other scenes. Do you think you will be active on several scenes, just the Amiga, or not at all? In other words, how do youpicture the future?

I'll probably stick to the Amiga. However, if the CD32 isn't successful, the Amiga will be in big trouble, and I might consider moving to 3DO or something instead. Time will show.

Can you tell us about any weird experience you have had when attending a party?

Now, about weird or funny things that has happened at parties, I only seem to remember the bad parts, like my power supply failing to work, my screen not surviving the transport, competition prizes being withdrawn, competitions being cancelled or cops cancelling the whole party... Maybe I'm just very unlucky, or maybe I'm suffering from amnesia... But at least I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of interesting people at the parties.

Thanks for the chat, live long and prosper!

And may the force be with you!

Interview made by: Joachim Strömbergsson a.k.a. Watchman of Fairlight
Source: The Fairlight CyberHome

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