Born some years ago in order to realize intro and graphic demos, the Darkage, with an unexpected change of ''direction'', have recently decided to widen their own '' productive line'', trespassing on the field of the commercial productions: the first timid results of this pacific ''invasion'' are two programs dedicated to pure entertainment (Alive and Tales of the Heaven both still in progress) and Extreme, an intuitive generator of special effects in real time, mainly addressed to graphical and video operators.
Thought for being used with the maximum semplicity, the packet puts to our disposal eight different precalculated effects: the first one, Tunnel, generates a textured cylindrical gallery; the second, Wave, produces a circular ''eddy'' of the image towards the center of the screen; Light, the third, creates luminous beams whose colouration changes in function of the choosed texture; the fourth one, Atmosphere, wheel the image following a cyclical path; the fifth, Sphere, is similar to the previous one, but it adds a spherical element in the center of the screen; sixth, Floor, as the name suggests, visualizes a ''plan'' with textured ceilings and floors; Water, the seventh, creates some kind of ''raining effect'' generating small puddles on the screen, and the last one, Rotazoom, wheel and magnifies the image causing, at the same time, a ''lenghtening'' on the axis.
The visualization of the effects can obviously be modified recalling the
options panel: by changing the default numerical values, it is possible to
choose the coordinates of the point where we can place the center, thus we
can select the relationship between movements and photograms, increase or
decrease at will the field of vision, define the number of the drops of the
Water effect, stare the camera on a precise point or ''oblige it'' to
follow a predefined distance (circular or waving), to replace the images
colors, and to load personalized shovels and textures.
Other secondary options concern the possibility to work in multitasking during the visualization of the effects (not recommended, especially in presence of CPUs not particularly fast), in addition the interlace on the textures and the possibility to use the starter for the execution of the effect.
Innovative and original under several aspects, Extreme does not represent an absolute new development: the same idea and approach strongly remember an old product of 1994, Videotracker, whose functionality (but not the purposes, of course: VT is substantially a demo-maker) introduces in fact many points in common with the packet of the Epic Marketing. In one theoretical directed comparison, Extreme would win only on the level of the pure spectacularity and of the greater flexibility: the old program by Peter van Campen had also the ability to sinchronize own ''creations'' with modules and sound samples (the sound is still not supported in Extreme, but we think this is an intentional ''lack''), possessed a greater nummber of effects, it offered an adequate modularity (the number of graphical routines could be widened at will) and allowed the insertion of small animations in own creation.
Moreover, Extreme does not supply to the operator the (useful) possibility to create - and to save- plans (Videotracker allowed it): the effects, therefore, must be by force launched one at time, and the only way for showing them in sequence consists in providing yourself a video recorder and throw them on tape.
In spite of the strong limitations found, imputable above all to the young age of the program, Extreme has revealed itself as a valid and interesting product; the effects, evocative and of remarkable impact, carry out dearly their function, and the semplicity of the graphical interface (though a little poor indeed) make easily comprehensible the use of this tool.
It is however advisable to use it together to other programs (X-DVE, ScalaMM...), and in conjunction with genlock or other video equipment.
To emphasize, finally, the cleaning of the code source: during our tests, Extreme has never generated system blocks.
Minimal configuration: 68020@14Mhz - 2 Mb Fast Ram
Advised configuration: 68030@40/50 Mhz - 4/8 Mb Fast Ram
Optimal configuration: 68060@50/66 Mhz - 8 Mb Fast Ram EDO
Facility of use: 98%