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Programming As Art — 13 Amazing Code Demos 210

Posted by Zonk
from the i-know-it-when-i-see-it dept.
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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Programming As Art — 13 Amazing Code Demos

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  • by Ed Pegg (613755) * <ed@mathpuzzle.com> on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:45AM (#22221882) Homepage
    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]
  • by Maddog Batty (112434) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:05PM (#22222120) Homepage
    AVG throws a wobbly on synchroplastikum stating that there is a Trojan in it.
  • Awesome Demos (Score:2, Informative)

    by seadoo2006 (679028) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:13PM (#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)
  • by mzs (595629) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:32PM (#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 Far [iheartchaos.com]

  • Re:Second reality (Score:4, Informative)

    by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:53PM (#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].
  • by Knos (30446) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @03:31PM (#22225326) Homepage Journal
    We have mentionned this to grisoft a couple of times.

    If you actually check what AVG is complaining about, (and I must say they don't make it easy for the novice to know about that) you will see it is complaining that the executable has been compressed. ("packed")

    It's *not* actually detecting a trojan, just being overly suspicious.

    Try it out, pack one of your trusted executables with a packer such as kkapture, (http://www.farbrausch.de/~fg/kkapture/) the best generic packer the demoscene has to offer.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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