Inteview with Jpn

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INTERVIEW WITH LEVEL FOUR 
 
JPN/LEVEL FOUR was interviewed by CHESTER/BRS. 
 
1. LEVEL 4 is a big'n old name in the AMIGA-scene. Just tell the story about your group. 
-Thanx for your appreciation but I don't think that we are very known in scene. Our group was founded on January 1986. We were 4 members from whom I am the only one who is still a member of our group. Our intention was to built a group with some creative computer-freaks and to help each other in case there are problems. The capability of the AMIGA required to have freaks who are specialized on one subject like music/graphics etc. so we watched out for people who did their job very well and asked them to join our group. But still the most important thing is a good understanding wich guarantees steadiness. In 1989 we were members of AFL for three months but quit after we found out that there were no others who could support our code-work (that time we were mainly coders and only one GFX-Art.) (for further informations about our history refer to DISC  
 'the 80s'). 
 
2. What's your opinion about the whole AMIGA-scene especially the German? 
-The scene is getting more and more lame because the majority of the AMIGA-freaks that proclaim to be part of the scene just use their computer to become famous by 'cool' swapping. They do not realize that a computer can be used in a more creative way. Especially in Germany '''freaks''' tend to judge people by superficial attributes like: new stuff, famous name, cool letters etc. Human qualities are no longer demanded. For many of these 'would be no. 1-freaks' their activities in scene are a parallel to real life where they try to make career (Often people that are predestinated to fail in real life). This craving for recognition makes people becoming more and more arrogant and makes them trying to be like other freaks expect them to be refering to their position in scene. 
 
3. The biggest problems in Germany, and some other countries, are the police and the phonebill. Tell us your experiences with'em. 
-In April 1989 I was visited by police while I was in school and they confiscated the whole software available in my room. I was terribly frightened but later on they stopped their investigations and I even got some of my disks back (though important source-codes were missing !). The result of the police action was that I stopped all my illegal activities and I just kept the contacts for whom stuff just played a secondary importance (I really love megalong letters from nice contacts!!!). I often have quarrels with my mum because the phonebill sometimes does not harmonize with our monetary situation. The advantage is that I am prevented from talking unimportant bull-shit because I think twice before phoning someone. 
 
4. What do you think about the GDR? Perhaps a new scene will start with the Eastern-countries? 
-I don't think that a scene in the GDR will develope in near future because pupils there are not yet taught the handling of computer. Furthermore the introduction of products made in western coutries will last for a while. A cool swapperscene will be soon possible because swappers needn't have knowledge about coding - they just have to be cool and able to use a copy-program. Maybe all upcoming parties which are organized by germans will be held in the GDR instead of the netherlends? 

6. Let's go to an other topic. Give us a short list of the best productions of LEVEL 4. 
-I cannot say that something is best because we release different kind of stuff. We make demos, tool, games, music so you should ask other people for their opinion about our products. Maybe the best-known production was FLASCHBIER! Short list of all productions on AMIGA: 
-Label Designer + Programmverwaltung 
-AMIGA-Writer (written in C) 
-Contact Manager 
-Font-master 
-Squeezer 
-Disk-Coder 
-Fastmon 
-Turbo colours 
-C64 Emulator (joke !!!) 
-ASCII - SEKA generator 
-3 music-disks 
-Flaschbier 
-DEMODISK I 
-DEMODISK II 
-SCHEISS-DEMOS (damals AFL) 
-L4&SHADOWLIGHT DEMODISK 
-HIP-HOP MIX 
-SLAVE-DEMO/MUSIC/TOOL Disk 
-Meetingdemo 
-Nop-Demo 
-Schwabblerdemo 
-...some shit demos 
 
7. What's the aim of LEVEL 4 in the future? 
-Our aim is to keep a good relationship to each other, to create good stuff and to improve our skill in coding, graphics and sound. 
 
8. Are there any secrets about new LEVEL FOUR productions, perhaps MegaDemo, Parties, etc...?  Please, give us the news. 
 
-We do not have any secrets. In about two weeks we will release a musicdisk with some of my older songs (improved) and some new ones. There will be some own compositions and some conversations from the C-64. Moreover we will start working on a '4 years Level 4' celebration demodisk where every coder/musician/ graphician shall show his capability. MIC is writing a game and I am working on a game-concept. MCS improves the DISC-editor slowly and the rest is desperately waiting for inspirations for a good demo. Our members in Kiel plan to open a BBS (though I'm sceptical about it!). 

9. D.I.S.C. is the magazine of yours. Tell us the story about it, the cooperation with Phaze 101, and perhaps with Vision in the future ... 
-I began to reflect about making an own diskmagazine when none of the present magazines satisfied me. I thought about making a magazine which will be mainly dedicated to coders but then I decided on making a magazine which should be interesting to every freak. Another reason maybe is that I wanted to write articles without being censored and without to have care of the article's length. I just wanted to avoid those things other diskmagazines failed to do. I asked TORCH from Phaze 101 who was making the 'NEW PHAZE' whether he was interested to join DISC or not. Against all my expectations he agreed. On the APEX-party I met Yankee (I think you know him!) and he also joined DISC. Vision promised to join DISC but till now no articles were made by them. 
 
10.We know that it's hard to publish a magazine, many groups just publish one to have such stuff. What's your opinion about the 'magazine-boom'? 
-Making a good magazine requires serious ambitions and interest from people involved. Most groups that make diskmagazines just make them to become famous (people generally tend to release every shit). Many magazines are needed to gain knowledge about different styles and topics. If there weren't no other diskmagazines, the quality of the dominating magazine (CJ) would have declined much more than it already did. The only disadvantage is that it sometimes happens that an article about a big event is reported twice. 
 
11.CrackerJournal and ZINE, what's your opinion about these two leading diskmags? 
-The CJ is still the leading magazine because it's contents don't differ from the interests of the majority (wars, news, quarrels, ad's...). I do not like the way aricles are written. They seem not to read what they have previously keyed in because sometimes even a word is missing. Besides the bad English they tend to become self-content by praising their own magazine and being arrogant in a certain way. Anyway, I like the CJ somehow (though they kept 4 disks of mine without having published my advertisement... cool, cool !!!). ZINE is a good magazine, too. The English is much better than in the CJ and the interviews are more intelligent. Some articles do not even interest my dog but the general impression is good (If ZINE or CJ were perfect it would be no use to make DISC !!!). 
 
12.What are you doing in D.I.S.C.? 
-I'm translating articles, correct articles which are already written in English, collect advertisements, make charts, demo-corner, chatterbox, Assemblerkurs, diskstealercharts. 
 
13.How many members do you have and what's their function? -We are now 14 actve members (and passive ones): JPN        (CODING, MUSIC) 
MCS        (CODING) 
MMS        (CODING) 
MIC        (CODING) 
SNOOPY     (CODING) 
6502KIT    (CODING) 
FROG       (MUSIC (!)) WHITESTAR  (GRAPHICS) 
CMR        (GRAPHICS) 
COUGAR     (GRAPHICS) 
ESI        (SWAPPING) 
YANNIC     (SWAPPING) 
DR. NOBODY (MODEM-TRADING) 
ATL        (MUSIC) 

14.What hardware do you use? 
My equipment is: 
- AMIGA 2000 
- 2*3.5" drives 
- 2*5.25" drives 
- Monitor 1081 
- printer: STAR SG-10 
 
15.What's your opinion about other computers like Archimedes, Atari ST, C-64, Macintosh, Next, etc. ? 
-ATARI ST: faster than  
MIGA but it's hardware is shit. Only real good coders are able to code fast games on a computer without custom-chips. C-64: I had one for 3 years and I think that this was a great computer especially the Sound Interface Device was great and I wish the AMIGA had a soundchip made in the same way. 
MS-DOS computers are still worst of all because it's compatibility prevents the developers from improving the computer directly. The only thing they do is releasing stupid high priced cartridges to improve the shit they sell. 
 
16.What do you think about the software for the AMIGA (Games, demos, utils) ? 
-I think that the software developers should concentrate more on coding good utils instead of wasting their time by writing stupid games. I haven't played a game for a longer time because the things I do for our group and for DISC take most of my spare-time. People should better wait for good ideas before coding a game. Furthermore it seems that most time is spent on coding an introducing sequence that lets you wait for half an hour before the game itself can be played. I'm too impatient for that. There are still too few utils available. The acceptable ones have to be improved by freaks and new ones won't be made because the average AMIGA-user is just interested in playing games. Demos are very interesting if they are good. But most of the demos being spread are very boring and I always think about the wasted time which was involved. 
 
17.What's your opinion about cracking games and other programs? 
-In my opinion crackers are mainly failed coders who want to become famous in a fast way. The intentions have changed. Today only quantity counts. Crackers do not think about the consequences for a software company (or they try to ignore !!!) which invested a lot of money in a game. Swappers may not understand but coders who intend to sell their products commercially will surely curse the ones who crack them (even more if they knew each other from the good old scene). If cracking were  forbidden, only the real freaks who want to use their AMIGA in a creative way would remain. I woul vot for a 'cracking by necessity'- solution. 
 
18.What's your opinion about modems? Do you think that they could destroy the good personal contact between the groups? How do you spread own productions? 
-Modem-trading surely destroys the personal contact if people stop writing to their contacts. But if there is a really serious contact then it is obvious to keep him (the whole question depends on people's attitude). 
 
19.You are releasing sounds, too. There came a lot of Soundsoftware in the last months, but the ultimative SoundTracker is still ultimative, or isn't it? 
-The Noisetracker is still the best of all available music-systems wich use samples as instruments. The disadvantage is that one pattern always requires 2kB no matter how many notes are played. The use of waveforms enables short sounds (for games) but the avaiblable programs are too difficult or some important functions are missing. Best would be a mixture of Noisetracker and Hippel's replay-routine including a routine which crunchs a Noisetracker module to a replayable file. 
 
20.And finally some last words from you ... 
I think that I've written enough... 
 
So, thanx for this interview and good luck for your crew! 
(typed in by CHESTER/BRS)