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A PC demo is a non-interactive multimedia presentation, mostly composed of 3-D animations combined with 2-D and full-screen effects, designed to run on a PC to demonstrate and show off programming, artistic and musical skills. A displayed demo is computed in real time so that it can be used to demonstrate a system's computing power.
A PC demo is made within a computer art, competition-oriented subculture known as the demoscene, which specializes in producing demos. There are also demogroups, which create demos, including PC demos, to demonstrate their abilities in programming, music, drawing and 3-D modeling.
Before IBM PC compatibles, all home computers had nearly identical hardware, making their performance characteristics all the same. Therefore, differences among demonstrations of various computers were attributed to programming alone. A competitive environment was created in which demoscene groups emerged, creating amazing effects as they attempted to outperform each other.
With recent computer hardware advances in the processing speed of CPUs, faster video graphics card processors and 3-D acceleration, many past challenges have been removed. In response, demo writers turned their efforts toward making beautiful, stylish and well-designed artwork. However, older demosceners were dismayed and formed groups just to demonstrate their skill at creating demos using limited hardware at demo parties. This is how the current demoscene emerged, where individual artists and groups compete in technical and artistic excellence. Demo shows, galleries and TV programs have all been produced to show off both group and individual creativity and technical expertise.