4042 / The Vikings
Added on May 6th, 2010 (5363 views)

Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Torben Norling, I'm 40 years old and I grew up in Östersund, Sweden. Nowadays, I live in Stockholm (Sollentuna) and I work as a self-employed software development consultant doing web, java and some iPhone development. Check out gnilron.com.

What handle(s) did you use and how did you come up with it/them?
My alias was 4042. The name came from a Swedish TV-series that I can't remember the name of. 4042 was some kind of HAL wannabe computer. The series ended with a zombie-like person having 4042 inside his head, travelling to Esrange Space Center (a Swedish rocket launching site) and boarding a rocket. Cool stuff.

What group(s) were you in?
The Vikings. I joined North Star/Fairlight and Phenomena when starting to work on the Amiga.

What roles have you fulfilled?
I was a coder and I did a number of demos with crazy long scrollers. I had cracking ambitions, but never really did any serious.

How long were you active for?
I'm not really sure about this, but I think my C64 period was between 1985 and 1987. I then started working on Amiga stuff until around 1989 if I remember correctly.

Tell us about those years and how you got into the scene in the first place.
My interest in computers started with gaming. I started off with a VIC-20 and did some BASIC coding on it, but two screens of code meant I was out of memory. I moved on to a ZX Spectrum 48K and did some more BASIC programming. I was really hooked on adventure/console type games and actually created a few myself. Around 1985, I got my C64 and I got straight into learning 6510 machine code. I think my ambition was to do game development, but I somehow ended up in the demo scene instead. I first did some work on my own, but after a while, I joined forces with some guys in my neighborhood. The Vikings was born. Fun days!

Describe a typical day for you in front of the computer.
I got home from school, played some games I already had, and then checked out the new stuff I got from friends earlier in school. I often stayed up late waiting for the cruncher to finish its work. This really took a long time. :-)

Did you personally invent any special techniques or tools to make things easier for you?
Not really. I remember that I used a machine code editor to do all development. I used no cartridge (now, that would have helped a lot), and this meant that I didn't use a source code editor of any kind. I remember that I used to put in NOP instructions when I realized that I needed to do more code at certain places in the memory. I got into situations where I had to write all the code down on paper and then type it in the editor again. When starting to work on the Amiga, I had more knowledge and things were much easier. On the bright side, I learned the entire instruction set. :-)

When you look at what you did back then, what are you most proud of?
Hmm... I'm not really sure I did anything that cool. I think my Amiga work was a bit more advanced with 3D graphics and stuff like that. I remember spending crazy much time studying the Amiga hardware and how to do filled polygons using the blitter chip the correct way.

Who were your heroes on the scene and why?
Mr.Z – He did some serious cracking back then. He was the best. 1001 Crew – They did lots of cracks too and I think they did the Knight Rider mockup game. Fun stuff. Talking about demos, I remember Sodan as one of the best developers.

What, for you, was the coolest thing ever invented on the C64?
I can't point out anything special, but I think the level of knowledge of how to make the C64 scream in terms of performance was cool. Things like how to make the SID chip play sampled drums by sliding the volume up'n down, counting exact clock cycles to make full screen scrollers and stuff like that were really cool.

Did you go to any copy-parties, meetings or tradeshows?
Yes, a couple. We had a few i Östersund, but I think I was already working on the Amiga when they took place. I'm not sure when, but I remember a party in Karlstad where the guys from Triad had some kind of ceremony dropping a computer (ABC 80? Atari ST?) out of a window and into the ground.

In your opinion, what was the scene all about?
I think the main thing was to have fun and compete with each other doing cool demos, cracks, and so on. Personally, I learned lots about software development.

What were the particular highlights for you?
(No answer)

Any cool stories to share with us?
(No answer)

Are you still in contact with any old C64 people today?
Yes, I have a few of them on Facebook. I think most of the C64 guys from Östersund have moved to other cities in Sweden, but I run into them when I go to the Storsjöyran festival in Östersund. Storsjöyran is a kind of homecoming festival, or as I called it in an old scroller I recently read, "Greatlakedizzinies". :-)

When did you get your C64 and do you still have it lying around somewhere?
I got it around 1984/85 if I remember correctly. I sold it when I got my Amiga 500. I wish I still had it!

Was the C64 really as special as we like to think it was?
Yes, because this was before the PC took off as a home computer. The C64 didn't have dynamic performance issues with a crazy number of performance profiles due to the combination of CPU/GPU and stuff like amount of memory. I think this lead to an extreme focus on this single type hardware, and in the end, lots of cool productions were created.

When can we expect to see some new C64 output from you? :)
:-) Would of course be fun! Has anyone written a HTML5 Canvas based C64 emulator yet?

Do you have a message for your old contacts and/or anyone reading this?
Well, if anyone have my old demos, I would appreciate to see them again.

» Head back to the list of available interviews

1. Morpheus
2. Bacchus
3. Antitrack
4. Yip
5. Lucifer (in..
6. Lord Nikon
7. Antichrist
8. Drax
9. Zzap
10. Honey
11. Ian & Mic
12. Ixion
13. Lucifer
14. O.B.
15. Danko
16. Gotcha
17. Incubus
18. The Sarge
19. Grendel
20. Icon