Kaotyk Brein is a very particular
demo group created in 1997 by two international
students in France. Yours truly joined the group an year later, composing the
famous trio of KB.
The special thing about KB is that it never actually released a demo,
since KB's life has been full with... normal life responsibilities.
We were creators, full of imagination. We had the technique, the skill, and the
create demos, computer video clips that some people now consider as works of
In spite of that, we decided to take the path of education and complete our
studies in the
most traditional way. We are very happy with it, but we sometimes look back at
college days with nostalgia, and regret the days where we were the part of last
decade's digital artists.
This page is this story. It is the tale of our amazing adventure to the limits
k.a.o.t.y.k °° b.r.e.i.n ]=
bringing kaos to ordered minds
At the time, the PC Demo scene was living a golden age all over Europe, slowly
attracting more members. For those that have absolutely no idea of what I am
talking about, we will have to go through a little voyage to the land of
Imagine a world where the Internet was an obscure network used only by the
military, research institutes and other lucky few. A world where
"dot.com" and "new economy" where terms totally unheard of.
A world with slow computers with no fancy 3D graphics, and where the only thing
a PC was used for was work, flight simulating, and adventure gaming...
On the other side of the spectrum lied amazing machines that where used for...
less serious purposes. Examples of this are the Commodore Amiga, the Atari ST,
and all the 16-bit generation consoles that marked a generation (the Super Nes,
for instance) with their 256-color graphics and synthetic sound.
In this world where "Quake" was only short for a natural catastrophe,
the 3D graphics where only reserved to some powerful workstations of digital
imagers, and some arcade games. People drooled all over Daytona USA, wondering
when, if possible, they could ever have this at home.
Looks pretty far in the past, eh? Indeed.
In this little world suddenly came a revolution. A Finnish demo group called
"Future Crew" released what is considered the father of all PC demos:
If you look at Second Reality today you may just think it's basic, although the
length of the production, fitting in such a limited space (2 Megabytes for a
10-minute show!) should be enough to impose respect.
A 'demo' is a useless program, a kind of computer video clip generated in real
time. Its purpose is to show off the skills of their creators, or, in a more
modest and noble point of view, to create something entertaining to watch. As
you may expect, there have been endless discussions about how a Demo should be
considered as "art" or not, and whether Demos should concentrate more
on technique rather than design - or the opposite (these discussions are not
over even today).
Today, if you want to do a computer video clip, you would just bring up a
recordable CD and record the video you made with a DV camera on it, encoding
the thing in MPEG4 to obtain a near-DVD quality. But in those days, recordable
CDs and CDR drives where something so expensive that people sticked to an
extremely cheaper computer media: 3"1/4 disks of an overwhelming capacity
of 1.4 Megabytes! Whee!
And that was the whole deal: to produce some kind of multimedia entertainment
that would fit in one or two disks. Impossible? Sure not! Skilled people
started to push back the limits of their computers. It got to some point where
PCs where displaying graphics and sounds with a technology surpassing even that
of commercial games! As you can expect, a lot of the demo people now are
related in some way to the gaming industry.
These demo makers teamed with a bunch of friends forming a demo group, and
groups competed skills against each other in massive 3-day gatherings all over
Europe: the fascinating demo competitions ("compos"). The most famous
compos usually held once a year, in the same place. Others appeared out of
nothing and then disappeared. Imagine going with your friends and your
computers to a huge room (the bigger the better), completely filled of
computer-invaded tables (the closest thing to this is now a huge LAN party, for
those who know what I'm talking about - but the LAN events does not have the
'creation' factor in them, as least as far as I know). You would stay there for
three days, meeting fellow creators, watching other people's productions, and
overall having a huge blast. Sometimes there were so many things to do that you
could not even sleep out of excitement!
As you can imagine, discovering such a fascinating world at the end of high
school was very exciting to our minds. Although we were all friends from
school, we took the lone wolf approach: we started to create our own
"one-man" groups, with names that would make the zany-named dot.coms
envious. An example of these early names is "Punks Gone Cyber"
(populated by yours truly) and "Cybernetic Artware" (composed by
Fahruz and... himself).
One fine (dreadful) day (night), Fahruz and Mad Process decided to join forces.
The former mainly specialized in graphics and music, whilst the latter
concentrated fully to music. The group, it was then decided, would bear the
good name of Kaotyk Brein (KB). Although it had been discussed that this was a
natural state of the members (judging from some of their wacky ideas), we have
to admit that it is generally what you get when you put more than two college
students in a room with some bottles of good beer...
Time passed... over a couple of years KB contacted many members of the Demo
scene, exchanging creative ideas, reviewing creations, or just having fun
hanging out and discussing about almost everything. At some point, the two KB
members looked for a new member, and turned to their closest friends, who where
also interested in the demo scene although with a more passive role. I was
offered many times to join them, although I always refused out of honesty: I
was so busy with my college work that I doubted I could have the time to do
anything useful for the group. However, I really liked the atmosphere of the
scene and so often accompanied my KB friends to scene-related events (like the
famous Pizza Hut gatherings in the middle of Paris!).
This changed during the summer of 1997, when I was in an internship in a small
town. I wanted to learn assembly coding since junior high, however I had no
idea on how I could approach the subject. My internship was in a bank as a
clerk but in a small agency in a town almost abandoned for the summer
(everybody was on vacation). It was interesting in a way, since it allowed me
to view the internal gears of a retail bank, but some afternoons where really
What is the relationship, you may rightfully ask. Well, it turned out that
having so much free time while waiting for costumers, I brought with me a small
assembly book that I digested slowly. I still had a long way to go at the time
(I just discovered advanced algorithmic), but I was already fascinated by the possibilities
of mastering computer programming. But let’s go on with the story.
During the same summer, I was once again offered to join KB. This time I
accepted. Having passed the first year of college gave me a different vision of
things, and I realized that my mistake was to think that I should work alone to
create something for the group. Instead, I now saw that working all together,
in different tasks but towards same goal, we would be motivated by each other
and go beyond our limits.
Just after the internship, a very big demo competition was to be held in
Wasmes, Belgium. Perfect timing ! Its name was the Wired'97, which was simply
the most impressive and fun gatherings I have ever been into. We stacked all
our computing machines in Mad Process' car, and took the three-hour trip to the
place (we almost got lost twice, but we managed to get there anyways by our
This was a great demo party because everybody in the group (even our
guest-member, Cold, who ultimately never joined but we where looking forward to
it) participated in different ways. We did not prepare anything in particular
for the big competitions, but we gave our shot to the "surprise"
These compos are different in the way that the time is very limited (often less
than 24 hours) and the subject is revealed during the gathering. The subject is
simple enough, but only the most amazing productions would win (actually, there
usually were good prizes for all these gatherings. Often the first-place
winners went home with a brand new computer!).
It was the perfect place to put my recently learned programming knowledge to
test. Mad Process tried the music surprise competition, mumbling in inspiration
since he long mastered his craft and had not to worry about how to do things.
Fahruz considered doing some graphics but we where short of computers (we
brought only two for four people), so he just hanged around having fun and
occasionally commenting on what we were working on, motivating us to continue
(a huge help when you spent one hour to figure out something and can't find
Cold was our CD-man (the only person in the group to have a CD writer), and he
was mostly playing games over the place's Local network (that was sometimes so
bad (the network, not Cold) that it crashed a full row of computers...). Although
we teased him for only thinking of playing, but he made sure that we could
obtain copies of other groups' new productions (or what they released at the
party, at least).
Neither Mad Process nor I won the competition. I was short of ten bytes of
being the winner. This looks close, but it is not: the purpose was to program
something to do a certain task is as much small space as possible. My compiled
program was 63 bytes long, but it was not enough. Mad Process did an excellent
job in my opinion, and deserved a place in the podium. But the jury was mostly
subjective and his music was not to their taste. But we were still very happy! The important thing was not winning, but
how much fun we had participating.
The vacation ended and everybody resumed going to his respective colleges.
We had a lot of ideas and our first demo was slowly on its way. It was however
severely delayed since everybody was busy doing something.
Some of us gave a hand to other groups. Mad Process did the music for some
other people (e.g. Lithium), and I helped out some e-zine demo groups with
articles and short stories (eg. Reality Failure, Extravaganja). Fahruz on his
side was the busiest of all us in college, and so he solely concentrated in our
And then, this era ended slowly when life took each other's in their own
Fahruz was busier and busier in college, preparing a huge exam. He had to stop
for a full year to concentrate on his books. At some point he decided to move
to Germany to continue his studies, and is still there, making good money
working part-time in JAVA programming. He offered me to join him many times
there, but my ignorance of the german language was not to the liking of the
companies' human ressources.
Mad Process became more involved in music (altough not at the expense of his
law studies) and was offered to join another demo group as a musician. He
accepted, and joined Psyko to release Machina. It was a very good demo, but
with no soul, more technical than fun. After this, his interest in the demo
scene slowly faded. He did some work for a game company (still as a musician),
and nows concentrates on doing his own CD under his own label, Ultrakorrect.
Cold, our occasional guest almost-member, dissapeared somewhere in London. We occasionally get an email telling us
about what pub is good but nothing else. He still tries to code, be a 3D
artist, and a musician at the same time. Maybe he is working in a top secret
project that will amaze us when finished. Let's wait, then.
Yours truly did what's on this site. Telling anything more would be
As a result, we never actually released a demo, altough that was our premier
objective. Today, it would not make much sense, at least on the technical side
since there are 3D cards whose power double every six months. Most demo sceners
have become "serious" people, some working for gaming companies, other
in IT firms, and some still doing those kind of things, like the MadOnionh guys
with their 3DMark2001 benchmark (which could be considered as a demo with no
We had other projects, but we where always out of time or outdated, since we
had more urgent serious responsibilities to attend. Life happens to
However, this was an excellent period of our lives. We had a lot of fun by
meeting huge amounts of interesting people from all over Europe, and a lot of
ideas that we could still use today, but in a different manner. I believe that
today we would be more inclined towards design rather than technique, with a
more artistic approach, although without pretensions and merely for fun. This is clearly the most important side of it all, and will likely be our future driving force. Since we have been shown that technique evolves and outdates, while pure creative beauty, lying in the eye of the beholder but in the heart of its creator, is eternal.
- Newsdee, June of 2001.