TSN / The Supply Team,
The Black Tulip,
The Light Circle
Added on May 18th, 2005 (6118 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
Torben Sjørslev Nielsen, 42, Ferritslev Denmark, born March 6, 1963, System Administrator at a large technical school (4,500 students, 600 employees, and more than 3,500 computers).
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
TSN is simply my initials. I was going to use Big – my nickname in school – but it wasn't good enough. I decided to keep my initials until I found a better name, but that never happened.
What group(s) were you in?
My main group was The Supply Team, but I also did freelance work for The Black Tulip and The Light Circle. I never left TST.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I did everything except music.
How long were you active for?
1985-1994 on the C64 and Amiga, and in 1996 on the PC.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
I bought a C64 in 1985 and started to buy games on tape. At the same time I met Kaze in a pub and we got into talking about the C64. He had also just bought one and we started swapping games. He soon introduced me to other guys in my town that wanted to buy games from me. People started to recommend me to others, and I could buy more and more games. I was in contact with a lot of guys, and that's how I met Kaze, Frany, KVH, Rambones, Hagar and Trix (soon to be members of TST).
The first year was mostly about playing games, learning Basic and drawing, but then Kaze learned machine code as he wanted to do a demo. This way we could start a group and get to know more people from around the world. This would also mean that we wouldn't have to buy games any more, and we would get programs and demos from others. After Kaze Demo #1, Kaze got some contacts that wanted to see more. We then decided to start a group where he was the coder and I was the artist and swapper. When Kaze Demo #2 came out, the birth of The Supply Team (TST) became reality, and many of the big guys in the scene wrote to us (Triad, WCC, Fairlight, Radwar, TCC, TLC, Shield, Decibel etc.)
At the same time I met a girl who wanted us to crack some programs her teacher needed in school (hehe).
I stopped swapping around 1987/88 and gave all my contacts to Rambones. I was ready to learn some machine code and did some nice demos, both alone and together with either Kaze, Wizz (I think I made most demos with him), Remo, or Chess, and later on with Zordex.
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
A typical day in 1985-89 would start with me going to work. When I got home, I would look in the mailbox for new demos and games. I created some disks for swapping, and later Kaze would come to my place to see if I had received anything new. We would then code for some hours. Maybe Frany, Trix, Rambones, KVH or Hagar would stop by and play Boulder Dash, Exploding Fist, Defender of the Crown or any of the new games.
1990-1995: At this time of my life, it was more or less pure Amiga business. I started the day by getting up at 8:00 AM to empty the post box. I checked if anyone had ordered some games from me or if anything new had arrived. 12:00-16:30 – took phone orders and tested games. 16:50 – went to the post office with today's orders and collected money. 17:30-23:00 – took more phone orders, and before going to bed, started making today's orders ready for the next day. The weekend was fun fun fun and I could easily spend $500-600. I could make around $6,000-8,000 every month – tax-free. The money was good, but this was only possible when I didn't have a job.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I made a sprite finder in Basic, a routine for putting Koala Paint pictures on the screen, floating colour chars, and sideborder split chars (I think I did it first). I really enjoyed drawing and made some nice pictures – according to my contacts and friends anyway. ;-)
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
That we were Denmarks' number one sideborder demo group (and top three in the world). One of our biggest scene heroes 1001 Crew praised No Limits (1987) as good use of the sideborder, and they nominated us Sideborder Demo Group of the Year after New Limits (1988) was released. That's something to be proud of!
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Sodan for introducing me to demos, 1001 Crew for making stunning sideborder demos, Triad for always sending me games that worked 100 percent, Decibel for making the coolest disk covers, Radwar for sending stuff we didn't get from anyone else, Wizz and Kaze for being some of the best coders in the world, and Rob Hubbard for his cool music.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
For me it's still the demo New Limits by Kaze. It had a seven sprite sideborder scroll that filled the whole screen, and he used raster colours and digital music samples too.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes. The ones I remember are the Danish Circle party, the Dexion meetings in 1987-88, and the Danish Gold/Jewels/Dominators/Upfront party in 1988. I think I went to one or two other parties as well, but can't remember for sure.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
In the beginning, I think people did what they could to entertain by making nice demos, nice graphics and good music. But then some stupid bastard invented a demo-maker for lamers that couldn't code themselves. This was for me the death of the C64 scene (at least the real demo scene where new things popped up all the time). That's the main reason for me leaving the C64 in 1989. I was sick and tired to see so many bad demos that didn't have any originality, and no good games were released either.
What were the particular highlights for you?
It's hard to pick any specific moments, but some of the first copy parties we attended, where I saw many of my contacts in person for the first time, were special. If you know about TST's history, you also know we had quite a few wars going on between us and groups that were stealing routines from us. We also had fights within TST which resulted in Kaze and Wizz leaving the group a few times. They always came back and that was a highlight for me because I think we created some of our best demos when we reunited or when we were at war with some group.
Another highlight I can remember is when UBI Soft offered me a job back in 1988/89. I still have the letter. I turned it down because I didn't believe I was ready for the challenge, but it showed that people had noticed my work.
Any cool stories to share with us?
One story is about Remo, a member from our German division. We were at Danish Gold's copy party and we fooled around teaching him some Danish sentences. One of the sentences was: "How do you do? Har du slugt en flue?" (Have you swallowed a fly?). Remo said this many times when he suddenly froze and started to cough. And his face turned red. We couldn't believe it, but a fly had actually buzzed his way into Remo's mouth! We laughed like hell, and even today 16 years later, we still tease him about it. ;-)
Another story is from the last day of the Dexion party when I scared the shit out of some lamers. My friends told me that some lamers were destroying things in the school where the party was held. I found one of the lamers and asked him what the hell he was doing. He started to shake and ran away. I let him go and didn't think more of it. Ten minutes later, the guy came back with some of his friends that were shouting: "Where's the dude from TST? He needs a beating!" A crowd gathered, and I stepped forward and said: "Do you mean me?" They took a look at me and their faces turned pale, and said something like: "Oh, oh, nnnnn... oot nnnoot you. We made a mistake. Sososo... rry, sorry, we are very sorry.", and finally ran away. I was told that some people had said “TSN is looking for you” when they started some more trouble later on. Apparently, they packed all their gear and went home right away after that (I was good at scaring people with my sheer presence.;-))
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
I still see Rambones quite often, I see Frany from time to time, and Kaze, Wizz maybe a few times a year. I often talk to Wizz, Kaze, Rambones, and Remo on MSN, and not so long ago I got in contact with Blitz/2000 AD. I haven't seen the rest of TST for many years now.
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I got it in 1985. I haven't seen the thing since I moved two years ago, but I know I still have it because every time I search for it, I find a lot of C64 stuff (games, demos, tape recorders, books, magazines, cartridges, old letters from my swapping period etc.) I have a big house so there are still many places to look. ;-)
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Yes it was. Foremost the games had good game play. I still play some of those old games, not because of the graphics of course, but I can remember when I bought my Amiga and played games on that. I never got the same feeling as when I played on the C64.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
I think never, but I have thought about making some C64 drawings again, maybe re-do my TST homepage or make something for Rambones' TST homepage.
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
I had so many contacts (200-280 I think), but special greetings goes to some of the guys I remember as nice friends: Triad, West Coast Crackers, Shield, Decibel, Radwar, Dr. Mabuse, Byterapers, Random Access, and many many more. I know there are others who I should greet, but my memory is fading, so sorry guyz if I forgot you!
I'm searching for some of the old graphics/artwork/logos I made for other groups/contacts. I can only find the graphics I did for TST and some unpublished work for The Light Circle. I can't remember for which groups I drew, but I made at least three or four logos on the copy parties. If anyone can remember if TSN/TST did some artwork for them, please let me know by sending a mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
back to the list of available interviews