Similarly to my 2005 piece entitled Demographix, AE64 is a tribute to the demoscene and to the legacy of world’s most popular microcomputer: Commodore 64.
While this video was created using the typical contemporary arsenal of tools (mainly After Effects and Cinema 4D), it conforms to most of the basic graphical limitations of the C64 such as a limited 16-color palette, low resolution, use of the overscan area etc. To maintain the spirit of the demo, I also created most of the effects using various scripts and code snippets, procedurally automating many of the tasks typically animated using keyframes.
The idea for this video (or, if you prefer, a “wild demo”) came to me a few weeks ago, during the 7DX demoparty. Seeing how this nearly 30 year old system still has people coding for it, developing new tools and techniques as well as actively participating in various demo competitions – really stroke a note of nostalgia in me. I remembered my first C64, countless hours of games, graphic programs, chip tunes… I even recall creating some zine with my friends and printing it on a noisy dot matrix printer. (To be technically correct, my first computer was an Atari 65XE, but for the sake of the story, let’s ignore it.)
For the soundtrack of this piece I chose “Katana Blaster (Constantly Playing Mix)” from the album Impostor Nostalgia by Big Giant Circles. The piece was composed by Mick Gordon and since I pretty much had it playing on a loop for several weeks now, I simply had to use it. The song manages to beautifully mix the classic chip tune sounds with contemporary electronic vibes and dubstep rhythm – and Mick was kind enough to give me the rights to use it for this video.
To learn more about Mick Gordon and his music, visit his site at: mick-gordon.com. Big Giant Circles can be found at biggiantcircles.com, while the entire album is available for purchase at bandcamp.
If you ever owned a C64, I am sure you will enjoy this piece. Happy new year!
Concept, Design, Animation & Scripting: Quba Michalski
Music: Mick Gordon (based on the original piece by Big Giant Circles)
Tools: After Effects, Cinema 4D
This video can also be viewed on YouTube