Concept

Second Reality

Summary
Second Reality (originally titled Unreal ] [ - The 2nd Reality) is an IBM PC compatible demo created by Future Crew. It debuted at the Assembly 1993 demoparty on July 30, 1993, where it was entered into the PC demo competition, and finished in first place with its demonstration of 2D and 3D computer graphics rendering. The demo was released to the public in October 1993. It is considered to be one of the best demos created during the early 1990s on the PC; in 1999 Slashdot voted it one of the "Top 10 Hacks of All Time". Its source code was released in a GitHub repository as public domain software using the Unlicense on the 20th anniversary of the release on 1 August 2013. Many techniques used by other demos, including Future Crew's own earlier work, were refined and reused in Second Reality. The demo had a soundtrack of Techno music composed by Skaven and Purple Motion using ScreamTracker 3. The degree of synchronization of the visuals with the music was highly impressive for its time. The demo can be started with a single character command line argument "2" through "5" to start from any of the later four parts. For another part that its introductory text calls "just an experiment" start the demo with a command line argument of "u". The screen will start filling with ever more stars warping towards the screen. In 2013 a reverse engineering analysis of SR with the now available source code revealed a design which is built around two characteristical demoscene paradigms: Teamwork and Obfuscation. Internally the demo consists of 23 separated parts which allowed independent, parallel development and free selection of programming language (assembly, C and Turbo Pascal) and development tools. The analysis of the source code also revealed that the long-standing and popular speculation that SR uses its own memory manager which accesses the MMU directly is not true; in fact SR uses standard DOS memory management functions. The demo runs best on an Intel 80486 PC with a Gravis Ultrasound or a Sound Blaster Pro (or register-compatible clone).
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