Crystal Dream 2

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Crystal Dream 2 is a PC demo by the demogroup Triton. It was released in 1993 at The Computer Crossroads demo party where it ranked 1st.

Crystal Dream 2 is often considered one of the most influential classical PC demos, on par with Second Reality, released the same year by Future Crew.



After an introduction screen ("ATTENTION! This is a Triton production, Time to wakeup"), one is asked for the sound device to use throughout the demo. When chosen, the screen fades to black and some text announcing the demo is shown. The words morph into various 3D wireframe rotating objects before the name of the demo is shown.

Text scroller[edit]

A variation on the text scroller, this one is rendered in 3D against an animated star field. Letters and camera move in a way the text is impossible to read. (Its actual meaning can be found at the end of the demo: "DANGER DO NOT TRY TO READ THIS TEXT!" and various greetings.)

Linear algebra[edit]

This part shows some 3D rendered objects such as a football and a torus, some of them featuring transparency and/or textures. The effect later changes into various intersecting objects and the famous "spacecut" sequence where a transparent box cuts out the middle of an opaque cube.


An animated colored sinusoidal plasma effect.

Mandelbrot zoomer[edit]

The screen fades to black and the words "Check this out" is printed in the center. Again, the scene fades to the classic fractal Mandelbrot set, being zoomed in fluidly, to the zoom ratio of over a million. The calculations are not done real-time, but rather precalculated and stored alongside the demo – the programmers admit this freely in the post-demo FAQ.

Vector slime[edit]

The scene is first labeled "Vector slime". It features a rotating cube undergoing various slime-like distortions.

Virtual reality[edit]

After the fadeout and the label "virtual reality", the scene fades to a 3D maze where two Tie fighter-like spaceships are displayed. The camera zooms to them and rotates around the first one, which begins then to proceed along the maze. The camera eventually abandons the spaceship and goes into a room with a large "TRITON" text.

Textured torus[edit]

A rotating textured torus also featuring realtime lightning.

Vector world[edit]

A sphere entirely mapped with a texture of the Earth, spinning before the camera.

Starwars scroller[edit]

A Starwars scroller, simply stating "This is our version of the Starwars scroller – The raytraced pictures are rendered in our own modellers". Interestingly, while the text is blue, every letter T in the text is colored orange. The scroller eventually "inverts", as the top of the text begins to stretch.


The last piece of the demo features the last moves of a chess game, rendered in 3D. The board is textured and the pieces move until checkmate. The invisible lightsource moves while the game is performing. According to the infotext, the scene features over 2000 polygons, a large number for the era's computing power.

Information viewer[edit]

The end of the demo is interactive, and the viewer is presented with a menu dealing with the credits, greetings and general information Triton didn't want the viewer to be forced to read.


Before and after the textured torus scene are displayed two raytraced pictures. They were, as said, raytraced in Triton's own renderer.


Crystal Dream 2 features four themes. All of them were composed with FastTracker.

  • The decalogue
  • Ambient power
  • Desert dawn
  • Trans atlantic


  • Mr. H (Fredrik Huss): code
  • Vogue (Magnus Högdahl): code, music, graphics, 3D design
  • Lizardking (Gustav Grefberg): music
  • Loot (Anders Aldengaard): 3D objects

Running the demo[edit]

Crystal Dream 2 was designed to run best on a MS-DOS 80486 PC with a Gravis Ultrasound sound device. On modern PC, it can be run using an emulator such as DOSBox.

The demo itself famously suffered from Pascal's Runtime error 200-problem; a known workaround to get the demo running on newer computers was to enter the BIOS settings, and disable the computer's L2 cache.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]