Pal / Damage Inc.,
The Golden Triangle,
Warriors of Time,
Added on October 28th, 2009 (4013 views)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Pål Syvertsen and I'm 36 years old. I come from a town in southern Norway called Arendal, where I was born on the 29th of November 1973. I now live in Oslo and I have done so for the last 16 years. I run my own graphic design, illustration and animation studio (www.flottaltsaa.no), I have a daughter at the age of 6,5 years and she is the brightest light in my life. My interests are in design, animation, 3D and 2D, photo, smiling, friends, discussions, family, music, film, C64, and in the computer scene in general.
What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
I think I called myself Lizard when I released the first pixels and demos, then later changed it to Rooster. I got the name in the late 80's from a WWF wrestler called the Red Rooster. I thought 'Rooster' sounded so cool, hehe. I also did things on the Amiga and PC, and on the Amiga I always used PAL resolutions when saving files and creating presentations, and I thought hey, I am also a good PAL to my friends, my name is Pål... and so this became my new handle. I think it's a mighty fine one, and I use it in forums on the net and so on.
What group(s) were you in?
I'm not sure about the earliest ones, but here's a try: Damage Inc., Abscess, The Guilties, Process, The Golden Triangle (TGT), Warriors of Time (WOT), Bonzai, Triad (I was in the group a few days, I think), Shape, Panoramic Designs, and Offence on the C64. On the Amiga, I was a member of Imp666 but soon joined Razor 1911 as I thought they were cool and powerful. I moved on to Scoopex, The Silents and then I think I joined Vision for some weeks, but ended up starting Offence on this machine too.
What roles have you fulfilled?
I was a swapper, graphic artist, editor, organiser, motivator and a man with many ideas. I think I always have been there for my friends in the scene and outside, and maybe that's something I'm really proud of. I never do cruel things on purpose. Sometimes I do not so clever stuff, but it's never done in a mean way. I think this has to be one of the important things about my scene life, as I'm in general just a nice bloke trying to get others to have a nice time too. Life is for us to enjoy and not destroy.
How long were you active for?
I was active in the C64 scene from 1987-92, I think. I created graphics for some Amiga games after this, and then just worked full time with graphic design, multimedia, animations, company profiles and so on.
What's cool is that in the very beginning, I had a ABC 80 machine and a Dragon 32. The ABC 80 was a really amazing toy when my mother brought it home in 1981. It had some really freakin' cool hardware! It had a cable with two poles in the end of it, which would help the ABC 80 to tell me the pH value. I was in love for the first time!
I was typing in programs from magazines my mother had brought with her home from work. I didn't understand them, as instructions were in English and they were computer programs, but I typed them in and my mom helped me correct the mistakes. I think this made me realise that you have to do something in order to get a reward. I knew this from normal upbringing, but this made me think of it in a new way. When I got the Dragon 32, I fell in love with games like Hungry Horace and Touchstone's Revenge. I remember both of us getting blisters from playing all night long in the weekends. The joy on the Dragon 32 had really sharp edges.
Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
In my home town, we had this computer store called PM Danielsen. One of the employees, Bjørn Bilstad, let us test all the games and all the new hardware as long as we bought something from time to time. When Bjørn got angry, we knew we had to buy something. I got to know folks like Alpha of The Golden Triangle and the Rawhead (Amiga) dudes in this store. I also got to know Tamtrax, and together we started doing demos and swapping. My scene life begun for sure!
Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
If I was home from school because I wanted to be in front the computer, I started early and waited for Mr. Postman. If at school, I would rush home to be greeted by 10-20 envelopes every day. I looked through all directories and then took a closer look at the ones that interested me. I always went out with friends, people from different walks of life, in order to not become a "in front of the screen" kind of guy. This was very important as I understood early that it could take up to much time and influence my personality in a bad way.
After this, I returned back home to do my homework. I then pixelled something and thought of demo parts one could do. I always had Sky Channel or MTV running on the telly, or I listened to SID's or records. During late nights, we had conferences with other scene freaks, all for free of course, thanks to blue-boxing and AT&T. It was such a cool time.
Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
I invented the rule to not trust anyone to do things for me. I still go by this rule and it works.
I'm very proud of my pixeling skills with few colours, and I think in my mind I developed a grid for this that did me good. We also created a colour map editor that I used a lot when painting to change colours fast and so on. Early on in my Internet designing days, I was hired a lot to do ads for companies in Norway thanks to my ability to make sharp graphics (pixel by pixel), and animate GIF's that fit a set amount of Kbytes. I made a good income from this.
After being inspired by Red Wiz's 3D calculations on paper, I invented my own grid and thought pattern. I was very proud of this and it let me do stuff that others couldn't do. But I threw that away after using 3D software on the Amiga. I just moved on.
When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
I think Emotional Breakdown is a demo that's quite massive in both presentation and code. I like my angel image in the last part, and I've heard that a lot of other sceners thought it was a high quality image with the grey background and choice of colours. At this time, I had also created the graphics that Trasher used in Flexible 1 and 2, and I was quite proud of it. I'm not that fond of it today though. I think I'm most proud of work that unfortunately never got spread. We quit before we used it, but I know I have the disk, somewhere.
I had a game level design for both C64 and Amiga up and running at one of the parties here in Norway. I remember giving the disk to Martyn Brown of Team 17, and he was impressed. He never got back to me, but when I played Superfrog on the Amiga, I must say that I was blown away by the resemblance in level one and three. Hmm... The graphics weren't mine, but lets say they looked very much alike.
Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
My number one scene hero is Unitrax. He was so inspiring and he created a lot of art, code and music that blew me away! While others wanted to impress with something advanced, he just captured the mood and feel of the part or idea and went along with that instead. He created so many demo parts it's insane! He always had something cooking. He unfortunately died of heart failure after years of drug abuse. I miss you Marius, my good friend. It would have been so cool to have you visiting again, as in the past... Love you!
The best demo part I know of, is the last part in the Phoenix demo (http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/?id=549) by Marius. Together with the music of a young and hungry Geir Tjelta, this part holds some of the best memories from the C64 days for me.
My number one group has to be Horizon because they were the absolutely best there was for some years. Their clear lack of design was not an issue. They were beyond these measurements. The Horizon dudes were so nice too! I remember when we did an Amiga demo and Exilon of Horizon helped Challenger (Perplex) to make a specific routine faster and better. It was the logo routine that looked like 3D mapping, a routine we were famous for inventing. We had a part with this on the C64 too, but we never released it.
I could name more like Scoop, MDG, Panoramic Designs, Black Mail, Crest, Double Density, Judges, 1001, Cosmos, Triad, Pretzel, Hubbard, Fred, Moz(IC)Art, Prosonix, TDM, SIT, The Sarge, Bob, Jeff Minter, XAKK, Triangle, Upfront, Vibrants, Byterapers, Beyond Force, Shape, NATO, Origo, Ash & Dave, Stoat & Tim, Fairlight, and Amok. Sex'n'Crime was the best!!! I remember me waiting for the next issue to read about the latest.
All members of Offence are my scene heroes too. Love you all, and you have a special place in my heart.
What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
The coolest thing for me is really hard to say, but let's start with the full screen graphics scrolling routines. A lot of games used this and it got better as time went by. I think this played an important role in the interest of the C64 as a platform. If the development of these scrollers had stopped, the scene and the C64 would have died earlier if you ask me. I remember I got my younger brother to play Turrican, and as he progressed in the game, I realised the power and importance of smooth game scroller graphics.
Two things I'd like to mention is the Action cartridge and the Action Replay cartridge. They were a must-have! All The Final Cartridge lovers were so envy. Fast Load from Epyx was also a massive gadget to have.
I love the D.Y.C.P. part by Finish Gold in their Contest Demo, the Beyond Force demo with the raster splits, Mentallic and the circle scroller by Panoramic Designs, and the opening of the sideborder by 1001 Crew.
Another thing I think is of historic value, is the evolution of SID music. HVSC is a massive part of this and I enjoy the music almost every day.
Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
I went to my share of copy-parties in 1989-94. It was so fun to meet my heroes and the ones I swapped with. The last one I went to was the party in Sweden where Byterapers shocked me with a demo called World of Code 3. I remember Omega Supreme's jaw dropped down beneath his kneecaps! He was completely speechless.
In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
Love! I think the scene was a parallel universe to what we call "real life". I could be a superstar in the scene, and at the same time, "just" me in real life. I could be a rock God in real life, but still "just" me in the scene. The scene was a magic place where I knew that if I just used time, effort and determination, I could do it as good as my heroes. Some choose the battle path, but most of us choose the love path.
What were the particular highlights for you?
The Horizon parties were the best ever for me! The compos with lots of contributions were always cool to watch. The good old days with friends over at my place creating demos, games and so on, is also a highlight for me. The fart and eating nights at Trashers' place, where his father always thought it smelled strange in the room, are also rememberable. The trip to Germany to visit Yup over X-mas was cool. Numskull, rest in piece, you were a great fellah. When we released Emotional Breakdown, I was really excited. I was so proud over what we had done, and it's still a great demo today, I think.
Any cool stories to share with us?
I think it's cool that my mother had thoughts on how to do the multiplex sprites routines for one WOT demo part we later released at one of the Horizon parties. I'm so fond and proud of my mother! She always let me do the things I wanted to do as long as I took care of homework and other duties at home.
Once at a copy-party, I woke up because my sleeping bag was filled with water from a fire hose. Alpha of The Golden Triangle, you should know that at some point, you will be fooled too. :) I put a gum in Challengers' hair and thought it was so funny – until he did the same to me.
I remember the one time Tamtrax said to me that he wanted to get an Amiga. I said that I didn't want to speak to him because Black Mail had come up with FLI and so there was no reason for him to get an Amiga. Haha! I was so pissed at him.
In 2003, I had noted this artist on the web that did 3D graphics, and I called him up to say I thought he was great. He told me that he was about to quit 3D graphics and do 2D illustrations instead because it payed more. I told him that his 3D polyflow was so great and that the design of his characters were incredible. In 2004, he became a featured artist on NewTek Europe's site (www.newtek-europe.com/uk/community/lightwave/wernquist/1.html). In 2005, I became a featured artist on NewTek too (www.newtek-europe.com/uk/community/lightwave/syvertsen/1.html). I was so proud!
Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes, I am! I have cleaned out a room here at the office, and I have put a C64 in there. We meet one or two times a month to play games and watch demos. I also use old sceners as freelance artists in my company. Old sceners deliver and they deliver good!
When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I got my C64 after the Dragon 32. I can't remember, but I think it was in 1986. I still have the original one and several others lying around.
Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
I think so, both hardware and feature wise. But what made the Commodore 64 so special was the scene around it. Think of all the great, not so great, funny, not so funny, cool, lame, edgy, dull, stylish, ugly, and hardware bending productions this machine have hosted through out the years. The people creating the Commodore 64 made it special too.
When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
Soon, I hope. I have designed 20-30 new demo parts with finished graphics, sprites and code ideas. It's up to the programmers and music artists now. Codewise, we have two finished parts. We have a lot of unfinished music too. There will be new Offence demos in the future – trust me!
Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Thanx for the inspiration and moments you all gave me. It has been, and still is, a big part of my life. I'm pretty sure that when I'm in a old people's home, I will be pixeling for a new demo while listen to SID music.
To all scene people I have ever known: I think about you all as family and I hope you all will have a great life. If you think the scene once was fun, come back. For me, it's a really magic place to hang out in again! Yup, do not sleep all the time. Make love to your wife and be a good husband, but do also put aside time for coding some new demo parts for the demos ahead. Just for the fun of it!
Lars, Månestråle, Ole, Zeb, Kjetil, Preben, Ole, Stein, Geir, Vilde, Marianne, Mamma, Jan, Kjerand, Trond, Sykkelburneren, Einar, Morten, Rune, Mats, Andreas, Trond, Svein, Axel og dere, Marit og dere, Aredals gjengen, Yup, Thomas, Svein, JEK, Vegard, Russel, Thomas4d, Olav, Marius, Daniel, Inge, ThomasII, dem jeg har med til vanlig i livet, Kari, Pappa, mormor, farmor, tanter og onkler, fettere og kusiner og alle jeg kjenner. Jeg er glad i dere veldig mye, derfor kjenner jeg dere over tid... Love you all! At the border and beyond...
back to the list of available interviews