Wonder what demos are? One thing is for sure: they cannot be described demos with a few words. The best way you can get an idea about them is to watch them by yourself. Nevertheless we try to give an idea what they are.
Basically demos are programs that show visual effects. They represent the best the authors can create with the limited computational capacity of a micro computer. Deep in the philosophy of making demos is their competive nature. Thus we think that demos are best described by telling why they are done.
Demo is always considered to be a good indication of the ablitities of those who created it. The authors create their reputation with the demos they make. This heritage comes from the fact that true demo coders have always had the urge to do something that has never been done before. Traditionally demo should have some fresh ideas and preferably some lightning fast code that breaks all the records. All this should be combined with good design and music to make the production a legend.
Demos are composed mainly of three components: code, graphics and music. In many occasions these are done by different people. Thus making a demo is mostly a team effort. The job of the coder is to create the program. Thus coder is very much respected because in the end the demo represents what he can do. The graphician has the job of creating a cool look for the demo and bettering the design. Musician creates the music and possible special effects. Together these two artists can create real atmosphere in the demo.
The competitive nature of demo making becomes clear when thinking about the demo parties where practically all the demos are nowadays released. The main event of a demo party is demo competition. In the competition demo groups compete against each other for the honour of releasing the winning demo. Of course the prize money is also a big motivator. Nowadays good design has become probably as important as good coding.
Summarizing: a demo must be entertaining, surprising, amazing and it should be one that must be seen again. A dream demo is superior in every aspect - it is an experience!