If this is the first time you hear of a demo group called "SYNC", you should stop reading right now
and have a look at the following demos:
Swedish New Year 1 (Original version doesn't boot on TOS >1.02, Hackbears compilation works)
Whattaheck (Umm, nope - we didn't send our screen in in time)
SoWatt (our screen doesn't work on STe)
Swedish New Year 2 (one of our screens doesn't work on STe)
... we did release more than this, but not much. Anyway, back to the story:
Once upon a time, in the eastern part of southern Sweden (in the city of Ängelholm) MrMac and Pylon X
makes a few bouncing raster-bars. This is back in the ancient times of 1987 (same year as TEX release
their first demoscreens) and that is also the beginning of SYNC. Joining these two SYNC-founders right away is a classmate of Pylon X, called Boozter. You'll see these three in the photo in Swedish New Year 1 (first photo of crewmembers in a demo on the Atari?). We do however lack one person now, the fourth person in the photo, namely Redhead.
For the ones who know a bit more about SYNC, this is when everything takes off. MrMac and Pylon X meets
Redhead at a party "somewhere in Skåne, maybe Klippan. (MrMac)" and he immediately joins up. So, looking at the photo in SNYD1 you have (from left to right): MrMac, Boozter, Pylon X and Redhead
SNYD1 is released in 01/01-89, that is 6 days before The Union Demo, and almost a year after B.I.G Demo. SYNC's screen contains what some would call the first tracker-replay on the ST, but I haven't been able to verify that. After all, The Amiga Demo was released much earlier.
We'll take a break from SYNC here, and start talking about two other almost completely unknown groups. Have a look in the Whattaheck demo again, but this time look for a screen by AAC (Anti Amiga Crew) instead (that screen, btw, earned the following remark from TFE/Omega: "That's not a demo!!!"). The members of AAC were Mega and Jee, and they also lived in Skåne (Malmö). At one party (Örkelljunga, we believe) they met a group called PWC (ProWare Crew) - another totally unknown group that consisted of two members called Red Fox and TALK. These two groups discovered that their basic ST-coding knowledge was about the same, and they both managed to get the secret behind "SYNC-locking" (timing the CPU to the videoraster) from - yes - SYNC, at that party. Red Fox knew Redhead beforehand, and had bugged him a lot on how to make demos in GFA Basic (yes, PWC actually did release a GFA Basic demo called "StarDemo". Formatted to 84 tracks 11 sectors, it wasn't widely copied ... only a few drives could write it). AAC also released a GFA Basic demo, called "Hits of -88" together with their buddy Jay of Jihad Systems. It had a small intro in assembler though.
As it happened, AAC and PWC joined together in a group called SMILE. At this time, everyone coded some 68000 ASM with Devpac, and TALK changed name to BlueSTar. Red Fox also made a fullscreen now, which at the time was one of the very first, at least in Sweden. Before SMILE could release anything though, Redhead phoned them up and offered them membership in SYNC. This is, as far as we can make out, in the summer of -89. Cuddly Demos had just been released, and a big party was coming up in August.
That party SoWatt was released - where Redhead officially announced PWC as being members of SYNC. AAC wasn't mentioned, probably because there were some problems with the internal organisation. The "old" people in SYNC wanted some more coders, a graphician and a musician. BlueSTar, while also a coder, was a good graphics artist and was "allowed" in. Red Fox and Mega were coders, no problem there. Jee (who now changed nick to 7an) couldn't decide what to do, and didn't join SYNC until later - when we all discovered that he indeed was the great musician we wanted! In the meantime 7an joined up with a guy called Jim and did some weird stuff. Anyone who's met a SYNC member knows we're always doing weird stuff :)
We're now in the late summer of -89, and things are happening. Read the scrolltext in SoWatt, and you will see talk about "the SYNChron Demo". No, this is not the little screen with disting graphics some demo collections have listed as being the SYNChron Demo (two such small screens were made by MrMac in late -88/beginning of -89) - the SYNChron Demo was *huge*. Cuddly Demos is famous, but even TCB themselves mention in their scroller that they expect it to soon be "broken". They're talking about the SYNChron Demo - the huge collection of fantastic screens Redhead (mostly) had been working on for several months.
Quote from the SoWatt scroller: "THE SIZE OF THE DEMO AT THE TIME OF THIS COPYPARTY WAS TWENTYONE SCREENS OF WHICH FIVE WERE FULLSCREENS THREE SCREENS INCLUDED SAMPLING SYNTHESEIZERS OR DIGISOUND THERE IS ANOTHER SPREADPOINT CONVERSION AND AN AMIGA DEMO CALLED SNURKEL AS FAR AS I KNOW MADE BY DEF JAM AND THE SILENTS ALSO AS FAR AS I KNOW" - Redhead.
He also mentions that we've failed to release this demo for the third time when we said we would, and that we won't make a new committment. Sadly, it was never released. Not a single screen. Other crews in Sweden had seen the work in progress though, and that's why SYNC got greetings like the one in TCBs mainscroller in SoWatt - "the second ÄsicÅ best crew in Sweden - SYNC".
Talking about Swedish crews here, we must remember that SYNC, TCB and Omega had a lot of contact with eachother. A lot of demo-tricks were brainstormed by these groups - most noticeably the incredible sync-scroller (at that time referred to in Sweden as "hardware-scrolling") which was a co-operation venture between several persons (Nick/TCB, Redhead/SYNC - sorry Omega, can't remember if TFE or HAQ helped out here!)
This co-operation of course lead to another New Year demo, namely (surprise!) Swedish New Year 89-90 (SNYD2). This time, Omega had prepared themselves, and both put the demo together, wrote a great mainmenu and 3 screens. TCB did a rather lame (sorry An Cool!) screen, but considering they said in SoWatt that they wouldn't do any more demos, that's ok. SYNC showed off with two screens that upped the standards in ST demo coding a bit - the Red Sector conversion inspired crews like Equinox to years later try (and succeed) to beat that effect. The screen had a great tracker-reply routine, something SYNC began to get famous for in these days. The other SYNC screen was the best scroller done to date, a fullscreen syncscrolling *huge* scrolltext with a parallax scrolling background (which, btw, was drawn by a guy referred to as Nibbel by everyone in SYNC. He insisted on being called "Fresh of TLT of Automation" - but judging from his size we think Nibbel was more appropriate!)
SNYD2 is however also, sadly, the last the public got to see of SYNC really. Of course things didn't stop here - we were still coding like mad. Redhead was very busy what had once been a conversion of Noisetracker (we met Mahoney and Kaktus, M.K. in .mods you know?) at a party in Furulund and Redhead just _had_ to make a good tracker for the ST. Called Soundtracker ST in the beginning, it changed name to Audio Sculpture when he realised this was something that would be commercially sold.
Red Fox left the Atari scene completely somewhere between -90 and -92 to do stupid teenage activities like getting drunk, laid and kicking people's heads off. The rest of SYNC went to the big ST News convention in Holland - where Redhead and MrMac (who had now joined him in working on Audio Sculpture) met a person called Zae. This is where the AS development kicked in at full speed, and Redhead and MrMac moved to France to do full time work on it. To make a long story short - yes, Audio Sculpture was sold. Redhead/MrMac got some (but _very_ little) money back from it, and then the reseller went broke. This was in -90/91, and no, the version of Audio Sculpture you've seen (v2.4) isn't at all as advanced as the internal versions we had in SYNC - blame the reseller.
SYNC wasn't holding together very well at this time, everyone did their own stuff. BlueSTar and MrMac began writing an STe game - halfway finished but never completed. Red Fox changed nick to Troed and cracked games for Elite (short period) and I.C.S (longer period). Mega worked on a program called Light Sculpture. No SYNC stuff gets released - though Red Fox got an intro out which contains a few fast routines, but in -92 stuff from -89 doesn't impress anyone. MrMac fools around with Megadrive home-development. Redhead plays with an ATW800 and makes a pre-emptive multitasking shell with full GUI and scaleable fonts for the ST .. in 31kb assembler. Then everyone suddenly has an urge to get educated ...
MrMac began studying at the University of Karlskrona/Ronneby, Computer Engineer. Red Fox studied for a Machine Engineer. BlueSTar studied for a Computer Engineer. Pylon X studied for a Software Engineer (also at the Univ of KNA/RBY) - and Red Fox decided to have two educations and joined MrMac and Pylon X in Ronneby, also as a Software Engineer. 7an moved to USA (where he now, even though being the youngest member of SYNC, is a happy father). Mega studied for Computer Engineer. Redhead studied on and off, but being the true hacker-coder he is he later joined up with some Omega, Electra and TCB members at a game company called GameDesign Sweden instead.
The saga ends?
Maybe. In -96/-97 BlueSTar got nostalgic, and created "SYNC - Official Nostalgy" (www.sync.st).
In -00, Red Fox got nostalgic, and is at the moment writing this little text.
Red Fox is also actively trying to get everything still on disks at the homes of various SYNC members onto the safe rescue of harddrives and cd-roms. As explained above, SYNC produced a HUGE quantity of demoscreens, versions of Audio Sculpture, other programs (Light Sculpture, FiskGen, DisAsm) and even some half-working games. Yes, if we find anything stable enough to release we'll do so.
What's already in the works is to try to fix the sad statistics for the released SYNC screens. As written above, two of the ones we managed to release does not work on STe. That has been taken care of now - while not released yet (as with everything SYNC ever did) Red Fox has a disk with the SoWatt and SNYD2 fullscreens which works on both ST and STe. Expect to see this released ... ... ... soon.
Current status of SYNC, in mjöffe-order: