Twenty four hours after getting back from tUM 2010 I almost completely recovered from the party coding, sleep deprivation, walking in the snow, and from the two hours late train ride to get there as well as get back from there. As planned, our new 64kB PC intro, E – Departure was presented there (sadly there was no other 64kB entry, so it was shown in a combined competition with PC demos).
What first drew my attention on this party was the website: carefully polished, with a beautiful layout, loads of useful and detailed information, random photos and links to productions from the previous years, etc. Also some details like the number of different music competitions (executable, tracked, streamed, loop : even though I am not into music myself, I think this is great), the fact that tracked music would feature a tracker rendering, the namevoting preventing rule, all stacked together left no doubt it was a carefully prepared event. Moreover, the so called Ultimate Breakfast and the free coffee and tea gave the feeling it would be pretty cozy.
Once there, all of this proved to be true. Flawless German organization. The Intranet had an embedded Google Map with everything a scener might possibly need, from food and cash dispenser to computer stores, and featured a food delivery service: the so called Foodwave. No need to get lost outside to find some hypothetical pizza, one just had to choose from the broad choice, pay at the food desk, and get back to coding or to whatever other activity more interesting than braving the cold the party was providing, until the food delivery was announced. A truly great service.
The party place itself, at a walking distance from the train station, is a very nice hall with a nice looking inside iron architecture. The wooden floor, although making stomps more disturbing during the night, contributes to making it a very warm environment. The work done on the lighting and theme is nice too: this year it was the 10th edition, and various artifacts from previous years were exhibited here and there, as well as some printed graphic productions. Those details and the rather small, but not narrow, size of the place make a cozy feeling, but not a mediocre party: there are great people there, and the competition have a fair level even though the number of entries could be way higher. The real downside of this place though, and maybe the biggest downside of the party altogether, is the absence of showers, and the absence of hot water in the toilet. Washing as little as hands and face with cold water during a German Winter is probably among the rites of passage into adulthood, along with explaining to Scamp you’re launching in Norway a demoparty called The Breakpoint Replacement.
Something I absolutely loved there was the job Franky did by bringing one of his pinball games. A good old late 80′s blinking and blipping pinball! It became a hot spot, where people gathered and chatted while playing when there was nothing to see on screen. I doubt I would have met as many sceners otherwise. The Ultimate Meat Thing was a very nice job done by the Nuance folks, even though a bonfire in the snow isn’t exactly as much fun as one during summer. The Ultimate Breakfast on the other hand was pretty cool, as a way to wake up and all have a meal together while waiting for the first events.
I won’t list all competitions, but the main productions were without a doubt the new Farbrausch demo, fr-063: Magellan, and the much awaited Easter Party invitation, Rumors and Facts, by Rebels. The 4k intro White One, by Never, also got the audience with its delicate feedback effect. Another production that blew me off was the epic streamed music entry, End Credits, by jco.
At last, a thing that disappointed me (apart from how we ranked) was the way the party feeling suddenly vanished once the competitions ended. While Breakpoint, Evoke and Main all had a live show to end up with, nothing happened and many people left, leaving the place with a weird feeling. It’s not like there wasn’t any live acts, there was even one right before the demo competition, but this felt like it was missing a decent final.
So as a conclusion, the Ultimate Meeting is definitely a good party, with the nice feeling brought by its small size and perfect organization. But to compare it to another German party, I prefered Evoke 2010 (which doesn’t have this family feeling though).