A demo is a program that displays a sound,
music, and light show, usually in 3D. Demos are very fun to watch,
because they seemingly do things that aren't possible on the machine
they were programmed on.
Essentially, demos "show off". They do so in usually one, two, or
all three of three methods:
They show off the computer's hardware abilities (3D objects, multi-channel sound, etc.)
They show off the creative abilities of the demo group (artists, musicians)
They show off the programmer's abilities (fast 3D shaded polygons, complex motion, etc.)
Demos are an art form. They blend mathematics, programming skill, and
creativity into something incredible to watch and listen to.
Grant Smith puts it another way:
Jonny looks around, confused, his train of thought disrupted. He
collects himself, and stares at the teacher with a steady eye. "I want
to code demos," he says, his words becoming stronger and more confidant
as he speaks. "I want to write something that will change people's
perception of reality. I want them to walk away from the computer dazed,
unsure of their footing and eyesight. I want to write something that
will reach out of the screen and grab them, making heartbeats and
breathing slow to almost a halt. I want to write something that, when it
is finished, they are reluctant to leave, knowing that nothing they
experience that day will be quite as real, as insightful, as good. I
want to write demos."
Silence. The class and the teacher stare at Jonny, stunned. It
is the teachers turn to be confused. Jonny blushes, feeling that
something more is required. "Either that or I want to be a fireman."
- Grant Smith,
Frequently asked Questions
Houman and Trixter have prepared a FAQ on demos, in case you
want quickie answers to your most common questions. An electronic
version exists, as well as a hyper-text
How to get Demos
These anonymous FTP sites are the best places to get demos and demo-related information.
ftp.hornet.org: Home base
for the demogroup Hornet--an extremely diverse site offering
music, graphics, magazines, programming info/source code, etc.
A one-stop-shop--and highly recommended. If you have
to visit only one site, make it this one (or, if you're not in
North America, visit one of its mirrors, ftp.luth.se in
Sweden, or ftp.uni-paderborn.de