Demo competition

Skip straight to the rules

Create an executable program that displays real-time rendered graphics and plays music. Show off the combined programming, musical and artistic skills of your team.

Description (what is a demo?)

A demo can probably best be described as some sort of real-time generated music video. Usually a collaborative effort, a demo represents the combined skills of several people, featuring stunning graphics and amazing visual effects synchronized to a kicking soundtrack.

A demo is an executable program, coming in sizes from just a few single bytes up to tenfolds of megabytes when including all data files. Using technology like DirectX and OpenGL, making demos is both an art form and a technical display.

Viewing tips

To fully understand the nature of demos, the best thing to do is to actually download a demo and watch it. Because we are such good people, we've compiled a list of good demos for you to watch. Most of these demos are made for Windows, but there's video links for the Mac and Linux crew:

Former TG winners:

  • Rupture by ASD

    Winner of the TG09 demo competition.

  • Camden Town by PlayPsyCo and Kvasigen

    Winner of the TG08 demo competition.

  • Gamma by Outracks

    Winner of the TG07 demo competition, and also awarded the Award for best soundtrack in 2007.

  • Animal Attraction by ASD

    Winner of the TG06 demo competition, and nominated for the Awards for best soundtrack and public choice in 2006.

  • Meet the biots by Portal Process

    Winner of the TG05 demo competition.

A couple of other very good demos:

  • Stargazer by Orb & Andromeda

    Oldskool heroes unite to create 2008's best demo (Awarded Best Demo, Best Effects and Public Choice at the awards for 2008).

  • Frameranger by Fairlight, Orange and CNCD

    Winner of the Assembly09 demo competition.

  • Jesus Christ Motocross by Nature and Traktor

    Winner of the Breakpoint09 Amiga demo competition


  1. Hand-in

    Entries in the demo competition must be delivered through the web-based compo system as a Zip or Rar archive containing the executable file and all necessary data files and dynamically linked libraries (DLLs).

    Weird platforms

    If your entry is on another platform than the platforms mentionened in §3, please contact the Creativia crew as soon as possibly after you arrive at the party place to agree on the details of your submission.

    If you know that your platform of choice is hard to connect to a projector, please bring a video capture of your demo. Note that we will still need to see that your demo actually runs on its platform even if we will use a video during the compo show. Also, the binaries must be submitted so that they can be distributed.

  2. Deciding a winner

    The winner will be chosen by combining the results from popular vote with a jury vote. The popular vote will account for 67% of the total score, and the jury vote will account for 33%.

  3. Allowed platforms

    This year, we will not have a particular limit on platforms for the demo competition. That basically means that everything goes, as long as it is a realtime production distributed as binaries.

    However, we are not able to support every platform in the world, so we have a list of supported platforms below. If you are going to deliver a demo on a platform not in the list, please be prepared to help us find a proper emulator and/or provide a video capture to go along with your binaries. If this applies to you, please contact the Creativia crew as soon as you arrive at the partyplace (you can find us at the desk in the Creative Lounge).

    • Windows (compo machine will run Windows7, with latest Service Pack, DirectX and drivers installed.)
    • Linux (compo machine will run Ubuntu)
    • Mac (compo machine will run OS X)
    • Amiga (emulated) - If you have a PPC demo, provide your own vidcap
    • Atari (emulated
    • C64 (emulated)
    • Gameboy Advance (emulated)
    • Flash
    • Silverlight
    • .Net
    • Java

    Graphics cards and Windows versions

    Your entry should work on both ATI and nVidia configurations. If you have a preference for a particular brand, make sure you clearly state this in the .nfo file and in the comments field in the submission form.

    Our compo machines will be set up with Windows7 as standard, but we have Windows XP machines handy if needed. Please state clearly in your .nfo and in the comments field in the submission form if this applies to you.

    Configuration of emulators

    For entries showed using an emulator, you are allowed and encouraged to bring your own configuration file for the emulator. However, the demo crew has the final say in what settings the demo will be used to make sure that settings reflect actual hardware. (We will not allow 8GHz Amiga500s).

  4. Compo machine specs

    The compo machine(s) final spec is not ready yet, but it will be something along these lines.

    • Dual or quad core CPU
    • SM4.0 graphics card
    • More than enough RAM
  5. Size limit

    There is none, but that's no excuse for not cleaning up your data directory before submitting. Also, packed data files are still cool.

  6. Maximum playing time

    8 minutes (.. but your demo should be very interesting to justify being that long.)

    Try to keep up a good level of entertainment value throughout your production - remember that hundreds of people will be watching your demo, and they get easily bored.

  7. General rules

    The general rules for the Gathering 2010 creative competitions apply to this compo.

Additional information

  • Platform will be displayed when the entry is shown.