DFI's latest falls into the category of those FX demos which don't aim to do everything, but to show off one effect. In this case, a rather nice 3D voxel landscape, complete with odd objects (some recognisably fish, some I'm not so sure), and a very nicely drawn light source.
The demo uses a 24 bit colour display, the graphics are very complex and detailed, and lens flare is used extensively on the light sources, particularly at the start. However, although Fishtank 2 produces superb imagery, the downside is that the frame rate is very low: only a few frames per second on my RiscPC. This tends to spoil the effect rather, as the frame rate isn't high enough to properly convey the illusion of movement.
I understand that DFI are working on a game which will use this graphics engine: it should be very impressive, but hopefully they'll think of those of us who can't afford a RiscPC2 (well, "Phoebe2100"... don't like that name), and provide a low detail mode! :-)
This is Reactive's second demo - it's a pretty long number, getting the most out of the two main effects in it. Firstly, we have an unusual tunnel looking like it's made out of spider's web in close-up, with a plasma-like background to it. A Infinity symbol 3D object appears in it and spins around. After some intermediate effects we see the second theme - a vehicle flying over a landscape that looks like it's covered with mole-hills, or cinder cones, or something, depending on the scale you see it as. There are variations on the theme, and at the end of the demo the tunnel is superposed over the landscape effect, nicely combining the main themes of the demo.
All in all, this is fairly promising as it's a big improvement on Reactive's first effort, Awakening, but it won't make many waves on the Acorn demo scene.
By Paranoia Complex
The review of this is very late really, sorry but when I was putting these pages together I had difficulty getting this demo to work on my StrongArm machine :-( Basically the trick is to switch the cache off before running it, hope it doesn't crash (if not try again after a system reboot), and only switch the cache on again once the full-screen title appears.
So what's it about? Very Christmassy: after the title screen, we're presented with a nice scene with snow, and Santa on his sleigh, but it all goes horribly wrong when a bus charges up into view and Santa knocks it over!
You guessed it - this is taking the mick! That was the main scene - afterwards there's some titles, the demo's theme song (quite funny really, although some people might find it offensive) and that's it. Don't let the "Dire" rating put you off: I rather liked this, and it certainly provides a little light relief. The reason for judging it so harshly is because the actual technical content isn't up to standard: Paranoia Complex, you'll need to do better there before you win any awards.