A little preface: I already had a trip planned to Hungary for several months, but I didn't think it would coincide with any parties, so when the final date for Arok was announced, it was a surprise for me as well. But since I was already going to be in the country, I figured it's something I shouldn't miss (and of course that was a good decision). So, I tried to keep the fact that I will visit somewhat of a secret. In the end, it seems Chronos was the only one who didn't know I would be coming (Csio guessed it outright in a PM to me and I couldn't tell a lie :-)). The look on his face was priceless :-)
But first things first: Gaia and I discussed it and he graciously offered to take me down to the party place from Budapest. I took a 2 hour bus ride there, and somehow managed not to get lost. (He gave me some visual cues to look for, but apparently we have some disagreement about what a "red" building looks like :-)) We popped in to their place for a little while and I met his son and daugther (when I jokingly ask him about seeing some new releases, he said "here they are" :-)). The little guy (Roland) came with us, he's a cool little dude :-). In the car, Gaia's GPS lost its charge, but we couldn't plug it into the lighter to charge because Roland's little DVD player was in it. So, I attempted to help him navigate using a map. Miraculously, we made it :-)
We got there pretty much at the same time as Csio and Chronos. We were greeted by a lot of folks and I was pleased that I recoginzed quite a few other non-Plus/4 sceners that I met on other parties. Inside we set up our stuff. The heat was... well, a force to be reckoned with :-). The gym is very hard to properly ventillate, and despite the organizers best efforts (they covered the windows with black sheets, etc), it was very hot. Well, I guess everyone sweat as much as me and eventually you just forget about it. Chronos brought a little poster, which marked the Plus/4 corner. (It literally was a corner, we placed two tables - which were scarce - in a 90 degree angle.)
Next we collectively started to look for a suitable game for Roland (you can see him playing Escape Pro) here. Unfortunately the disks we had were full of scene-games (as opposed to commercial ones), and, well, they are not that great (to put it mildly) for a 4-year-old. We had a nice discussion about this, the concensus was that the lack of real-life play-testing must have been a contributing factor. Someone mentioned that the games by TCFS (most of which are not only high quality, but also highly playable) were always "tested on" his then-current girlfriend :-) Roland eventually ended up watching some more DVDs. The one good thing that came out of looking through all the disks was that I spotted a label with the words "Past Help". Since no-one knew what this was, we loaded it up, and it turned out to be a "lost" demo by St. GLS. Jackpot! :-)
BSZ and Sensor showed up late in the afternoon, bringing their goodies including the SID cards. TLC was the last to arrive. I found him at the nearby little store (which must have had ten times it's usual traffic thanks to the party). It was funny that they were very slow to make it into the party place because after every ten steps, someone new would come and chat with him :-) Eventually they also settled down inside. Gaia had to leave around this time, the little guy fought valiantly but eventually got too tired to stay any longer. BSZ was running his test program and to my surprise it had mouse handling in it! He had a pretty standard Plus/4 with him this time. (I asked him about the heavily modded one that's in a big case and he said it's too heavy to lug around.) This one still had some mods though: he replaced the kernal chip and had the Plussy connected to his laptop, and this setup could "automatically" (meaning: it requires no extra effort on the Plus/4) transfer files at very high speed. Very cool stuff...
At this point we settled into the regular party routine: everyone chatting and hanging out. The phrases "we could/should code something", "we could do this effect" and similar ones were heard often... Later SID Alliance played their concert, which was awesome. Near the end of it I headed inside and found Csio mucking away with some code. I sat down with him and the two of us started looking into it. After writing a quick routine to pack some animation graphics, we decided to write the playback for it. Once that was done, the idea formed that we should do a party demo :-) We were already in the spirit, so it happened. It was an awesome experience! We swapped the keyboard every few minutes, finished each others sentences, total old-school vibe. It was getting near midnight and we still weren't done, but the adrenaline kicked in. It was kind of funny how every half our the organizers came by and asked how were doing (Csio was one of the guys responsible for running the Plus/4 stuff in the compo). The answers went like this: "it's almost working", "it's mostly working", "were just doing compression now", "we're just transferring now" :-) This was done on Chronos' stuff, his cable was good to have but slow. We had some last minute trouble putting Exomizer on the demo, and we handed in the disk with a version where you had to run it with a SYS command. However, some other compos were still running, so this gave us time and BSZ came to the resuce - he managed to Exo the stuff on his Linux laptop, which we copied back to Chronos' machine and asked for the party disk back for one more transfer.
The graphics compo had many entries. (One comment I heard - and happened to agree with - that it was hard to remember all the pics and their numbers. Maybe it would have been to see them all at once at the end or something.) The party favourite was obviously Leon's pic. The demo compo was short but cool: Skoro's demo was very nicely done (though most folks probably didn't know it runs on a C16 too), our demo got some laughs, the C64 demo was nice as well. Voting, then a big break. Eventually the results were announced: Csio and I achieved Last Place and were rewarded with a single C64-related paper magazine (I wanted to cut it in half so we could split the prize, but Csio made me take it). Party antics: Degauss wanted someone to drink a Dreher for him, but even though we looked hard, none of the stores sold any. We still decided to take a picture, and figured we'll just fake it :-) Then we pretty much packed up and left (I got a ride from TLC, thanks bro :-)) And, as they say, that's all folks!
Csabo and Gaia with his two latest releases :-)
Chronos is setting up
Grass and Chronos are putting up the Plus/4 poster