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Programming As Art — 13 Amazing Code Demos

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-know-it-when-i-see-it dept.

Programming 210

cranberryzero writes "The demo scene has been around for twenty years now, and it has grown by leaps and bounds. From the early days of programmers pushing the limits of Ataris and Amigas to modern landscapes with full lighting, mapping, and motion capture, demo groups have done it all and done it under 100k. To celebrate this art form, I heart Chaos takes a look at thirteen of the best demo programs on the web. Flash video links are included, but it's more fun to download them and give your processor something fun to chew on."

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210 comments

Second reality (5, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 6 years ago | (#22221870)

I think any serious demo list needs to include Second Reality.

While obviously there are more impressive demos from a graphics point of view (since SR is 15 years old), I'm still to see one with a better soundtrack and a better integration of video and audio.

Skaven's music is still one of my favourites - I wish it was properly resampled, as obviously S3M and MOD are a bit outdated :-)

Re:Second reality (1)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22221942)

/.ed already!

Re:Second reality (2, Funny)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222094)

/.ed already!

Maybe their webserver was an Amiga with a hand-optimized assembly webserver - ART!

Re:Second reality (1)

flanders123 (871781) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223960)

Maybe their webserver was an Amiga with a hand-optimized assembly webserver - ART!
...Nope. It's hosted on Go Daddy. - HACK!

They likely exceeded their bandwidth allotment.

Re:Second reality (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224068)

each 100k file expands to stress the full bandwidth of the TCP stack and internet pipes on each download... it's a feature!

Re:Second reality (2, Insightful)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222050)

I had to grimace when I didn't see Second Reality as well...but then I noticed the writer qualified the collection with "of the last few years."

I've always been partial to Purple Motion, some of the two-channel modules he did as an exercise really withstand the test of time, despite the self-imposed technical limitations. All the FC music was exceptionally high quality overall though, IMO.

I don't know what "resampling" or changing formats would do for the old module music, as you can't increase audio quality beyond the original source bits, you can only subtract through "downsampling." S3M even supports 16 bit 44.1 stereo samples, so despite the long-in-the-tooth standard, it's possible to use it at a fidelity level comparable to today's audio work. Many people never employed it near that quality level in the 90s though, for many obvious reasons.

Re:Second reality (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222066)

My issue with S3M is that it doesn't support new-note-actions like IT does, meaning you have to use a ridiculous amount of channels to make things sound smooth.

Re:Second reality (1)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222922)

When making a comparison of the formats regarding their utility to the composer, I prefer IT to S3M as well. I was in love with ST3 (and even ST2, briefly) for quite some time, but when IT came out I was instantly converted. I guess my point was mostly that S3M doesn't necessarily preclude the composer from employing and reproducing audio at CD quality, at least in theory.

Re:Second reality (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222280)

I've always been partial to Purple Motion, some of the two-channel modules he did as an exercise really withstand the test of time, despite the self-imposed technical limitations. All the FC music was exceptionally high quality overall though, IMO.


I agree... and you're doing Skaven a disservice by not including his name when you mention Second Reality. :) Don't forget that he did half of it, too.... That said, I have the PM part of it on my portable MP3 player, and not Skaven's part. :P I am not an atomic playboy...

I, too, was really surprised when Second Reality didn't show up on the list. :(

KKreiger ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222630)

Always thought the KKreiger demo was pretty impressive for only being 96k

Synopsis:

theprodukkts first product: chapter I of our experimental first person shooter. all the code, textures, geometry, sound, monsters and, well, lots of bugs - all crammed into 96 kilobytes.

http://www.theprodukkt.com/ [theprodukkt.com]

For sure (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222732)

Way too many demos were of the variety of simply being a slide show of effects. They'd do one thing (and often tell you what that was) then go on to the next thing. There'd be a soundtrack playing but it was just background noise. 2nd reality was the first one I ever saw that was a real good integration of everything, where it was just an overall cool show. The technical merits of the effects were secondary to the fact that it was just damn cool to watch.

Along those lines today, one of the best I think is "The Popular Demo." There's nothing particularly special about what is done, the same group has done more impressive technical demos (they are the guys that do the 64k 3D demos) however it is just really well done overall. It's a great song, great visuals, and great sync between the two.

To me, that kind of skill is even more impressive than a nifty coding effect.

Re:Second reality (3, Informative)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222872)


Second Reality is considered by many to be the Ur-Demo, and I'm not entirely sure why; it's not a revolutionary milestone in the evolution of demomaking, merely a refinement of a lot of effects and design choices which had existed previously (notably in Future Crew's own "Panic" demo, released a couple months earlier).

No less interesting than the original demo is the Commodore 64 port of it released in 1998, by Smash Designs and The Obsessed Maniacs. The same effects running on hardware 10 years older (and with far less power), and yet the graphics and sound are only marginally degraded from what was possible on a 486/VGA/SB PC. There's a vidcap of most of it on YouTube here [youtube.com].

Re:Second reality (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223650)

While obviously there are more impressive demos from a graphics point of view (since SR is 15 years old), I'm still to see one with a better soundtrack and a better integration of video and audio.

I have... Panic, from the year before. Much more cohesive, much less of a mishmash than SR's "hey now look at this! now look at this! now look at this!"

Unfortunately, Panic doesn't seem to get a fraction of the love SR gets... I'm still a while away from setting up Dosbox or whatever (not sure if it would even work) but would love to see it on Youtube.

2nd Reality is the std by which I measure demos (1)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223710)

Absolutely, Second Reality set the "Holy Shit" bar for me back in the day, and nothing has surpassed it to this point.

The only thing that has come close was the fr-08: .the .product [theproduct.de] demo in under 64k back in 2000.

Re:Second reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224008)

a few years back, purple motion released a cd appropriately entitled "musicdisk," which included a reworked version of his half of the second reality soundtrack (i.e. screamtracker note and control data fed to modern synths). not sure where you might find it now, but it is worth a bit of searching.

Other demoscene links (4, Informative)

Ed Pegg (613755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22221882)

More really good demoes are compiled at my maa.org article, 64K or less. http://www.maa.org/editorial/mathgames/mathgames_08_16_04.html [maa.org] The main demoscene sites are better though: http://www.scene.org/ [scene.org] and http://www.pouet.net/ [pouet.net] . One of my own recent favorites is a 4K demo, synchroplastikum http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=20967 [pouet.net]

Re:Other demoscene links (1)

Ed Pegg (613755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222116)

The original site for the article seems to be slashdotted... but it pretty closely followed the Top Ten list at pouet.net. I'vel already forgotten which "unpopular" demos he included. My own article, mentioned above, is a better list of good demos, in my own humble opinion.

Trojan in synchroplastikum (2, Informative)

Maddog Batty (112434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222120)

AVG throws a wobbly on synchroplastikum stating that there is a Trojan in it.

Re:Trojan in synchroplastikum (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222162)

Tell you what, you manage to find a modern trojan that fits in 4k, and I'll be impressed.

Re:Trojan in synchroplastikum (1)

Ed Pegg (613755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222230)

There are a few hundred comments at Pouet about synchroplastikum, with several analyzing this very issue. Also, Calodox is an extremely respected programmer. He probably uses some extreme programming tricks to get this particular incredible demo to work, which AVG is good to be suspicious of.

Re:Trojan in synchroplastikum (1)

simonv (1021495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222494)

Bit defender is also complaining about generic trojans.

Re:Trojan in synchroplastikum (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224342)

Maybe the logic goes that if it's an executable, and only 4K, it must be a trojan. No actual program is that small anymore.

Re:Trojan in synchroplastikum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224058)

Old 4k intros used exe droppers in their packages that dropped the stuff into C:\windows\temp, which threw off not one or two AV scanners. Also the batch file packed (using ms compress with invalid batch header) droppers caused some distress in some AVS.

Nowadays most use Crinkler, which doesn't require exe dropping to work.

Re:Other demoscene links (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222334)

To get synchroplastikum to run I had to turn off data execution protection for the file, clearly some mad coding skillz there.

Re:Other demoscene links (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222668)

I tried that but it *still* crashed when I tried to run it. Meh. Is that the skillz?

Re:Other demoscene links (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222622)

First one I downloaded (MojoDreams) got flagged as having a trojan. Nice site.

Re:Other demoscene links (1)

Ed Pegg (613755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223496)

Running a .com file (Compiled Executable) from an untrusted source is always a bad idea. Many of the programs at Pouet.net and Scene.org will cause antivirus programs to flag. Although it's beyond my skills, the .com file can be run through a decompiler.

Re:Other demoscene links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222806)

In your article, your download link for Demoscenes.zip seems to be broken. Can I find this nice collection anywhere else?

256byte demos (1)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22221956)

This demo site [256b.com] is cool. Talk about optimization, these programmers put modern programmers to shame.

Re:256byte demos (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222106)

most of my memory leaks are several orders of magnitude larger than these entire demos, and they do far more than memory leaks have ever done for me!

Re:256byte demos (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223334)

most of my memory leaks are several orders of magnitude larger than these entire demos, and they do far more than memory leaks have ever done for me!
My own memory leaks have kept me employed in the past. Much more than demos have ever done for me. (but Second Reality rulz!)

Re:256byte demos (4, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222250)

If you consider optimizing the crap out of something which is ultimately pointless, to be somehow comparable to what real programmers do, I suppose.

I used to write these things back when all I wrote in was assembly language. It's cool, it's fun, it's a puzzle and a challenge. Comparing it to "modern programmers" though is sort of like comparing a Sudoku expert to a professional in applied mathematics. The Sudoku expert will probably outclass the generalist at Sudoku but I wouldn't describe it as putting the mathematician to shame, nor would I trust the Sudoku expert to work out some difficult integrals for me.

Re:256byte demos (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222620)

If you consider optimizing the crap out of something which is ultimately pointless, to be somehow comparable to what real programmers do, I suppose.

I used to write these things back when all I wrote in was assembly language. It's cool, it's fun, it's a puzzle and a challenge. Comparing it to "modern programmers" though is sort of like comparing a Sudoku expert to a professional in applied mathematics. The Sudoku expert will probably outclass the generalist at Sudoku but I wouldn't describe it as putting the mathematician to shame, nor would I trust the Sudoku expert to work out some difficult integrals for me.


Alas, I came across the yearning to re-watch some of these demos lately. They're nice, but then you realize nowadays, when one could benefit from learning all these tips and tricks for optimization, the source code's lost to the ether forever.

After all, it would be nice to have the source to see how they did those nice Second Reality effects or Mars. Sure it won't compile on a modern compiler and assembler, but sometimes it's fun seeing how to do things better. Yes, you could run it through a disassembler, but figuring it out then becomes an exercise in frustration due to the heavy optimization.

I just wish half this stuff existed in source form these days. Heck, I wish ScreamTracker and ImpulseTracker were open, as well. They did so much so efficiently.

Re:256byte demos (2, Insightful)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222726)

Optimizing like that isn't all that comparable, no. But it's a really great way to learn how to code stuff that's still zippy even on derelict hardware. In a world where operating systems like Vista are becoming norm, I'd think that kind of skill is one people should be learning, no?

Re:256byte demos (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223894)

This is a great example with sudoku expert vs. math expert -- my dad is a retired math professor, and (along with many others) he figured out how to solve any generic sudoku with some kinda algorithm/formula. Sure, being able to quickly solve one in your head is great, but having the general solution is way more practical.

Re:256byte demos (1)

fringd (120235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223154)

interesting. can these demos only be run in windows? i ran some of the ones from 256b.com in dosbox on linux, but they run very slow. what api are they using to effect these visuals? or are they just trying to write directly to a vesa compliant device?

Slashdotted already? (1)

Atrophius (1227582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222008)

That was fast.

Can someone kindly provide another link please? (1)

diegocn (1109503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222044)

501 Internal earlier and 403 Forbidden now, I guess the webmaster already seen then effect.

Re:Can someone kindly provide another link please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222084)

Its not in googles cache, as it was posted yesterday. I don't think there is anywhere else to find it.

That was slashdotted fast.

Demo art (1)

Depili (749436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222014)

As one of the many organizers for a large demoparty, Assembly [assembly.org] I have to say, that each year brings more suprises in the 64k and 4k intro competitions, where groups create programs with executable sizes of 64kb or 4kb.

As already pointed out, second reality is worth seeing, and after that 1998 by Kewlers & MFX will show where we have gone from that.

Re:Demo art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22223018)

Okay, I really need to follow the rest of the group more closely. I had no idea there was a sequel already.

Re:Demo art (1)

Depili (749436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223968)

Well, it isn't a sequel, just another demo with the same kind of themes. Also it is noteworthy, that second reality, a demo for 386-era computers, has also been ported to the commodore 64 :)

MARS.EXE (4, Interesting)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222022)

Second Reality, Unreal, the various music demos from the scene, these were pretty incredible. But one of the demos that rocked my socks the hardest was because of what it did for so little space. It was called 'MARS.EXE'. It was about 4KB and, when ran, would generate a VGA 3D world with shading and what looked like a fractal sky. You'd use your mouse and navigate in any direction (always facing the same direction, sure, but you could strafe) and you would slide up and down the smooth terrain.

There were demos with better graphics, but the most astonishing thing was what this could do with so little disk space. This ran under DOS, not Windows, so there wasn't a bunch of free APIs it could take advantage of, it was all crammed into a tiny-tiny package with built-in mouse support and everything.

Anyone can make a 'demo' that blasts megs of raw graphics through a video card. Hell, half the 'demos' today are probably made in the modern equivalent of 3DS or something with a chunk of 'player' code attached.

But that 4K 3D landscape program... that was tight.

Re:MARS.EXE (1)

alta (1263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222062)

I remember mars, it was sweet. In my CIS 150 class (C++ at the time) we had a bunch of brand new gateway's with 75MHz pentiums. They were running windows 3.11 and they all shipped with mars. FUN!

Re:MARS.EXE (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222546)

I loved mars as well and frequently fantasized about future space flight games that would feature fractally rendered landscapes of its ilk.

I was most amazed by the speed with which it generated what were at the time very high quality 3D graphics.

Re:MARS.EXE (1)

vesabios (1149567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222992)

YES! MARS.EXE was indeed tight. I used to load that up regularly and fly around. I always wished someone had made a video game out of that landscape.

web site down! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222026)

FUCKING slashdot links NEVER work!! What's up with all the down web-sites ? Just like that stupid Stanford 3-d imaging thing. What a bunch of shit!

Re:web site down! (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223526)

Well, you can always bet on Goat-C to be up....and that link always manages to appear on Slashdot.

Layne

I hope it comes back soon (2, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222036)

Because this seems more like Art for geeks [slashdot.org].

Also, kind of funny. We're asked to download 'em so our processors have something to chew on and we make their server choke...

Re:I hope it comes back soon (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222902)

I thought at first when I saw the summary "at last, I've been vindicated." I've been saying for twenty years that programming is an art form. In fact I had a rather good naturedly heated discussion with Charles Broussard about this very subject on the Planet Crap website five or ten years ago, back when I was heavily into computer gaming.

His position was that programming wasn't art. Mine was that it is. Oddly (or not) his training is programming, while art was my major in college (You've probably seen "Steve's School of Fine Art" [mcgrew.info], a humorous (hey, I try, tough room) look at art that's been on the internet as long as slashdot has).

But this is a bit disappointing, as it seems my position isn't vindicated at all. Art has been made with computers for years, these demos are just a continuation. I maintain that the code itself is art.

I also maintain that the programmer's tools (C++, etc) are akin to the artist's tools ten thousand years ago; i.e. mud and a stick. Your grandchildren will have wonderful tools.

-mcgrew
Spam, eggs, sausage and spam. On a stick.) [slashdot.org]

Re:I hope it comes back soon (2, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223204)

I maintain that the code itself is art.
Part of what I do is code review. I've seen some very elegant code and I've seen some very bad hack jobs that just get the job done....If it's not up to par I send it back to be rewritten.
In that statement you've likened me to an art critic... I'll just haul off and pop a few in my skull, making the world a better place for all.

Muxlim (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222042)

The Lifeforce by Andromeda Software Design demo begins with saying "Allah is Greatest" and "There is no god other than Allah"!

Programming is NOT an art (1, Troll)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222048)

Programming is engineering and not different from any other type of electronic engineering. and it's time we recognized this and brought this arrogant, rogue broughahah called 'programming' under control.

Re:Programming is NOT an art (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222248)

Of course programming is an art. By your logic, painting, sculpture, literature or music could be described as engineering. While a fair amount of so-called art has no artistic merit; many engineered pieces do.

To say that engineering must by definition be devoid of artifice is to admit to being a bigoted philistine.

Software art, yes, but... (4, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222056)

I don't think it is "programming as art" as much as it is "making art through programming", because the art-object - the thing that we are looking at and appreciating - is the execution of the program, not the source-code itself. We can be impressed at the skill and ingenuity of writing the program within the space confines that each demo category produces, just like we can be impressed at the self-imposed restrictions of Dogme 95 film-makers. Those restrictions are orthogonal to the effectiveness of the demo itself, though.

The programming is the how of the art work. But just like we can think of painting as art without thinking of "brushstrokes as art", we can think of software as art without calling it programming "as" art. I do think it is possible for source-code itself to be a work of aesthetic appreciation (granted, with a somewhat limited audience, but then all audiences are limited) but that's not what this is.

Re:Software art, yes, but... (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222312)

I disagree. Sometimes the beauty is the final product, sometimes the beauty is the method of making the final product. I remember seeing a program that would open itself and then edit itself so that it would print out its own source code where, at first glance, it looked like a simple string parser. Printing out its source code isn't art, but the way it was done does qualify it as art.

For something like Unreal Tournament or Half Life or Super Columbine Massacre: RPG!, the end product is what required the skill. For a 100k program to show graphics as good as an XBox game with a fully fleshed out level and multiple weapons, the skill is in the code itself, so that's where the art is.

Re:Software art, yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222408)

I think my code would qualify as art to anyone who likes Jackson Pollock.

Re:Software art, yes, but... (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222416)

I don't think it is "programming as art" as much as it is "making art through programming
I used to agree with you 100%. But then i started looking at some of my code and realizing that i could tell what kind of mood i was in by my approach to whatever problem i was coding against.
How is me pushing keys to manipulate my computer any different than a pianist pushing keys to manipulate his piano?

Re:Software art, yes, but... (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222610)

I see what you are saying, and agree to a certain extend, but there is something about demoscene code that transcends pure craft. I don't know if it's art, but reading and understanding obscenely clever code can stimulate your emotions, or at the least, fill you with a sense wonder, something most art struggles to achieve.

That said, this is what I call programming as art: http://homepages.cwi.nl/~tromp/maze.html [homepages.cwi.nl]

Unfortunately, the Slashdot filter calls it "lame" and "junk", so I can't post it here.

Real Programmers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222112)

These folks are 'real' programmers, not affraid to learn the capabilities of the hardware, and push it to the limit [and then some].

Programmers today are nothing but typists compared to these folks, most are content to 'let java do it for me', and ignore 'the hard stuff' in favor of letting the compiler or language baby them, or simply abusing the hardware [everyone has 1gb of ram, and 1 2Ghz CPU, so I'll just use this slow sort routine...].

Don't worry about optimization, let the java JRE do it for you...yeah, let me know when you can code something of that level in java...or even C++.

my favorite way of benchmarking my processor is... (5, Funny)

avi33 (116048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222132)

...hosting a website and posting a link on slashdot.

Dugg! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222148)

Wait a second, am I on the right website?

Re:Dugg! (2, Funny)

superatrain (842910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222202)

I was hoping I wouldn't have to do this.

Sir, the term "dugg" came from "Slashdotted". You fail at both nerdiness and the internet. I am afraid I will have to revoke your nerd card now, assuming you have one at all. Please reconsider ever referencing Digg on Slashdot again. Doing so again may result in injury or death.

Share your code! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222196)

I haven't been in the demo scene for a LONG time (C64 and Amiga days) but the biggest problem I had was that no one shares their code. The scene would be advanced so freaking far if people could work off each other.

Is it any different nowadays?

Re:Share your code! (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222438)

This is an interesting point and question, I think it's right on the money, I'm not sure why you would post AC. I run a programming website with tons of clever, freely available source code because I so dislike the hording mentality that infests the associated community.

Still, as far the demo scene goes, I think there is a certain amount of pride that prevents the authors from even wanting to see the code of others, because they would rather figure it out for themselves. That's a big part of the pleasure of programming, at least it is for me. If I see some impressive software, I'd much rather create my own version than modify something existing, even if that means reinventing the wheel and experiencing all the pitfalls along the way. That's how we learn.

Re:Share your code! (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222980)

...because they would rather figure it out for themselves...

I couldn't agree more with this statement. "Don't tell me how to do it, I can figure it out on my own" mentality.
I always chuckled when I would read a post on flipcode.. "How do you do quaternion camera?" or something similar...

But don't get me wrong, I also like the sharing of information for the good of the community, IE directX tutorials, good algorithms for hit-detection etc etc...

Awesome Demos (2, Informative)

seadoo2006 (679028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222220)

Anything from the demo group Farbrausch is guaranteed to be a good look. My personal recommendations include: --> FR-08: By far, this is the best demo of them all. 13+ minutes of sheer graphical goodness. In 64kB... --> FR-019: Awesome graphics, awesome music, just an incredible few minutes of sheer artistry. --> FR-025: Awesome music, cool graphics, adjustable resolution and graphical options. --> FR-041: Run this at the highest res you can and full options and you will make your graphics card cry. My ATI X1900XTX cant make it all the way through without artifacting due to heat. Only 177kB to boot... For non-Farbrausch demos, check out: --> "Heaven Seven" by Exceed: Again, just a beautiful few minutes of graphics. Hit the spacebar for a FPS counter. Only 64kB as well. --> "Fall Equals Winter" by Replay: Not a exceedingly stunning graphic demo, but the music is awesome in this one. Tip, you may have to run it with the windowed mode switch (-w)

Re:Awesome Demos (1)

seadoo2006 (679028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222430)

Sorry for my terrible formatting before...here is the revised post. Anything from the demo group Farbrausch is guaranteed to be a good look. My personal recommendations include:

--> FR-08 [pouet.net]: By far, this is the best demo of them all. 13+ minutes of sheer graphical goodness. In 64kB...
--> FR-019 [pouet.net]: Awesome graphics, awesome music, just an incredible few minutes of sheer artistry.
--> FR-025 [pouet.net]: Awesome music, cool graphics, adjustable resolution and graphical options.
--> FR-041 [pouet.net]: Run this at the highest res you can and full options and you will make your graphics card cry. My ATI X1900XTX cant make it all the way through without artifacting due to heat. Only 177kB to boot...

For non-Farbrausch demos, check out:

--> "Heaven Seven" by Exceed [pouet.net]: Again, just a beautiful few minutes of graphics. Hit the spacebar for a FPS counter. Only 64kB as well.
--> "Fall Equals Winter" by Replay [pouet.net]: Not a exceedingly stunning graphic demo, but the music is awesome in this one. Tip, you may have to run it with the windowed mode switch (-w)

Re:Awesome Demos (1)

danlock4 (1026420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223000)

Great post! Please, mod parent up!

I'm not biased. I merely agree completely with the parent poster!

Among the fastest slashdot-effects ever (1)

gwolf (26339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222236)

It's been less than 30 minutes since the story was published... And all we can now get is a "403 Forbidden" :(

403 Forbidden (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222258)

Forbidden You don't have permission to access /2008/01/28/programming-as-art-ihcs-fave-demos-i-heart-tech/ on this server. Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

This is when I click on the link.

What's up with that?

Programming? As Art??? (2, Insightful)

OldSoldier (168889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222282)

I am a bit disappointed in this article. The subject made me think of some really beautiful pieces of code that I've seen in my life. Breseham's algorithm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bresenham's_line_algorithm [wikipedia.org] which is an integer arithmetic method of drawing a line on a computer monitor. I would love to have seen 12 more such examples of "artful code" but instead I get a link to a slashdotted article which appears to contain interesting 3D scenes and maybe animations done with older hardware. Boring.

Re:Programming? As Art??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222640)

Ask CowboyNeal for your money back.

Re:Programming? As Art??? (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223140)

The subject made me think of some really beautiful pieces of code that I've seen in my life. Breseham's algorithm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bresenham's_line_algorithm [wikipedia.org]

The code for the Mandelbrot Set is beautiful too... merely a repetition of ' Z = Z^2 + C '.

The Bresenham integer line stepper is genius, especially for it's time, but now it's commonly implemented in hardware and isn't even learned by many new 3D coders. That's not knocking it's importance... it's the graphical equivalent of inventing the wheel. What you're looking at with demos now-days though is a Ferrari -- definitely a technological achievement and arguably art. Like the demos and basic line drawing, a Ferrari is much more complex than the simple wheel, but would never have been possible without the wheel's invention.

Re:Programming? As Art??? (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223356)

You might want to read the article when it comes back, you might be surprised. The demoscene prided itself with playing with math in the fact that you had objects on the screen moving and deforming in crazy and amazing ways. A lot of the earlier demos on the Amiga also used hardware tricks that sometimes fooled, or "broke" the hardware to do certain effects with amazing results. Sure, a lot of demos were just a texture mapped box spinning around to some really cool music, but the ones with the textures that were randomly procedurally generated, and the box that was spinning that exploded into hundreds of thousands of points that turn into mathematical equations while some really great music played were the ones that won awards at demo competitions. The trick was who could out nerd the other groups when it came to these.

Ataris and Amigas are newskool (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222308)

I broke my code on a C64 using an Expert Cartridge and an assembler. Used to hack out Rob Hubbard tunes and make border sprite demos as I recall. Personally, the best demo I can remember seeing was, "Mule's Music Demo". I also recall some "BorderZone" demo that was well cool. Amigas were easier to program than the C64, I have to say with all those registers ;-). Razor 1911 demos were popular with me.

They just HAD to pick 13, didn't they... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222488)

"Service Temporarily Unavailable"
"The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later."
"Apache/1.3.33 Server at www.iheartchaos.com Port 80"

Server is going down in flames (4, Informative)

mzs (595629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222520)

Wow wordpress can't handle ./ AND it creates craptastic HTML. Forgive me if I screwed this up fixing all of the empty anchors.

The demoscene first appeared during the 8-bit era on computers such as the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, and came to prominence during the rise of the 16/32-bit home computers (the Atari ST and the Amiga). In the early years, demos had a strong connection with software cracking. When a cracked program was started, the cracker or his team would take credit with a graphical introduction called a crack intro (shortened cracktro). Later, the making of intros and standalone demos evolved into a new subculture independent of the software piracy scene.

Prior to the popularity of IBM PC compatibles, most home computers of a given line had relatively little variance in their basic hardware, which made their capabilities practically identical. Therefore, the variations among demos created for one computer line were attributed to programming alone, rather than one computer having better hardware. This created a competitive environment in which demoscene groups would try to outperform each other in creating amazing effects, and often to demonstrate why they felt one machine was better than another (for example Commodore 64 or Amiga versus Atari 800 or ST).

Demo writers went to great lengths to get every last ounce of performance out of their target machine. Where games and application writers were concerned with the stability and functionality of their software, the demo writer was typically interested in how many CPU cycles a routine would consume and, more generally, how best to squeeze great activity onto the screen. Writers went so far as to exploit known hardware errors to produce effects that the manufacturer of the computer had not intended. The perception that the demo scene was going to extremes and charting new territory added to its draw.

Even with modern technology, where much of the effects seen in demos could be replicated in programs like 3D Studio Max, the point of demos are not just the beautiful visuals and music but the abilities of the programmers involved to write code so tight, so efficient, that something might be several megabytes if rendered in a 3D program comes out to less than 100k. So heres IHCs favorites from the demo scene of the last few years. These demos are in no particular order, and while weve provided Flash video links to each demo, the greatest joy is downloading them (PC only) and giving your graphic cards something fun to chew on.

Good Design

Lifeforce by Andromeda Software Design [iheartchaos.com]
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

Raw Confessions by cocoon [iheartchaos.com]
Link to online Flash video [youtube.com]
Link to download [pouet.net]

sandbox punks by cocoon [iheartchaos.com]
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

chaos theory by conspiracy [iheartchaos.com]
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

The popular demo by Farbrausch [iheartchaos.com]
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

Ix by Moppi Productions [iheartchaos.com]
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [scene.org]

Technical Acheivements

Heaven 7 by exceed [iheartchaos.com] (64k Realtime raytracing in 2000)
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

debris by farbrausch [iheartchaos.com] (177k demo with amazing scope)
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

beyond by Conspiracy [iheartchaos.com] (Procedural universe in 64k)
Link to online Flash video [youtube.com]
Link to download [pouet.net]

Just a Touch of Funk by Digital Murder [iheartchaos.com] (runs on p200, motion captured by hand over several months)
Link to online Flash video [youtube.com]
Link to download [pouet.net]

The product by farbrausch [iheartchaos.com] (First 64k PC demo to really push the limits. Not the greatest content, though)
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

Honorable Mention

I feel like a computer by Melon Dezign [iheartchaos.com] (disqualified at The Assembly for using commercial music, but otherwise great)
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

Beyond the Walls of Eryx by Andromeda Software Development [iheartchaos.com] (Nifty design and flow, but not quite there)
Link to online Flash video [demoscene.tv]
Link to download [pouet.net]

RTFA (2, Interesting)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222594)

I haven't rtfa, but I won't look at "thirteen timeless demos.." if it doesn't have Second Reality by the Future Crew. That demo, singlehandedly, motivated me to be a programmer, and duplicate what I saw. If the author of the list hasn't discovered it, or decided not to include it, then imho, its would be a waste of time to look at it his uninformed list.

Juice was another good one.

The two polyhedral meshes, with transparency (blue on red, I believe?), blew my arse right off the map.

Re:RTFA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222810)

Second reality? Bah, humbug. This [pouet.net] is what the article needs to include to really live up to the title.

Kids these days (3, Funny)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222728)

In my day I had to hand-code demos in ARM assembler. On a 8MHz CPU. Without a floating-point unit, uphill, with no graphics card, both ways in the snow. We were so poor we had to unroll our own loops, write self-modifying code to build our own sprite-plot routines, and only use small SoundTracker modules. You tell that to kids these days, they won't believe you.

PS. This is actually true, apart from the snow and the uphill both ways bit. Also, TFA is 403.

Re:Kids these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22223808)

Oh, so you probably used an Acorn Archimedes (A305
or A310), and are now in your early thirties, yes?

Re:Kids these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224012)

The real bummer was that no-one else had an Archimedes to view it on, wasn't it?

Download this! (0)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222834)

I love these stories, and people toss up all these great links to really neat random programs we can all download and try out! It's like Christmass morning and you never know what great surprise you're going to find when you unwrap each present.

RainbowsAndBunnyRabbits.exe [oneborn.biz]

-

I like how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22222860)

...when I try and click the link it tells me I'm forbidden to see the list on that server...lmao. who cares anyway...

This is art?? (1)

kaaona (252061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22222918)

Forbidden
You don't have permission to access /2008/01/28/programming-as-art-ihcs-fave-demos-i-heart-tech/ on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Apache/1.3.33 Server at www.iheartchaos.com Port 80

Web Site Unavailable (0, Redundant)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223480)

This site is currently unavailable.

If you are the owner of this site, please contact us at 1-480-505-8855 at your earliest convenience.
Someone could please alert the owner?

Best of the Web? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22223948)

Well, it appears that GoDaddy's web service isn't one of them.

Slashdotted.

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