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The making of Cosmosis: Remix
by merlucin | Chapter 1: Procedural... or not?
Cosmosis: Remix is the result of a heavy optimization in the way we make demos. Let me explain this. From my point of view, there are two different approaches to demomaking.

Most groups use a procedural approach when creating their productions. Perhaps the most clear example is farbrausch with their werkkzeug. A procedural approach means that everything in the demo is made following a procedure. And every procedure is composed of certain number of small and simple steps that can be reused, of course. The problem with this way of working comes when creating content, for example a texture. Instead of generating the texture with your favourite application you must use the small units in order to get, for example, perlin noise and then combine this output with others in order to get the result you are looking for. This takes ages, but it is optimal in size: just a few bytes per texture. It often allows to make the texture independent of the resolution.

The second approach, and the one we used in this production, is one oriented to the results instead of oriented to the way you create these results (the procedure). Instead of having small units we have big and highly parametrizable ones. these big units are less flexible that the procedural ones, but allow us to get fast results with certain control over them. One of the advantages is time: instead of spending a two years or six months working in the procedures to compose the effects, you only need a couple of hours to watch something nice in the screen that you can then adjust to make it appear as you like. Optimal in time vs optimal in functionality, you have to choose! :D

The last reason to work in a way oriented to the results was the music. I have the strong belief that music represents the 75% of the success of a demo. The quality of a soundtrack composed in a procedural way can't hold a quality comparable to a streamed one. Note that I am talking about mastering, not composition!. In order to experiment this in your own, simply turn off the sound of your favourite demo and try to enjoy :)

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