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How much Game Do You Get For 1k? 26

nafmo writes "In this day and age of quadruple-dvd games with amazingly big 3D worlds, one might think that the science of compact coding has been lost forever. Well, not so, ast the 2002 MiniGame competition proves. There are 62 games for 14 different vintage computer platforms, of which none take up more than 1024 bytes. The vote for this year's best minigame ends on 7th of October, so you'd better grab the votepack and start playing!"
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How much Game Do You Get For 1k?

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  • I think this would be alot more interesting if they used today's PC architecture, and stretched it to the limit with 1k. Maybe its just because I am too young to really know what Commodore 64 games looked like, so I dont have much of a basis to compare these games.
  • .the .product (Score:2, Interesting)

    by program21 ( 469995 )
    .the .product [], while not a game, is a demo in 64kb. 7 fully 3d scenes, 12 minutes of music, and a cool scroller. It's amazing enough to look at on it's own, but when you consider it's only 64kb, and runs on today's computers, it's unbelievable.

    • Actually, they outdid themselves not long afterwards. There's a second 64k demo on the same site that blows away even the first one, check it out.
    • Also check out the amazing 4k demos by Sanction [] - especially the unbelievable Omniscent demo from 1997. It is a clone of the popular 3D game Descent [] (it was popular a few years ago) - in 4 kilobytes! It even has music. Most of the wall textures are calculated on-the-fly as the demo runs, only the animated stars texture is predrawn.

      There are also two other 4k demos on the same site, but I personally prefer Omniscent.

      When runing, those 4k demos use a lot more memory than 4k, however. Commonly around 500-600k which is the maximum amount of memory avaliable under 16-bit real-mode MS-DOS (without using EMM386 and other expanders). Usually, the 4k binary is compressed using clever compression techniques and is decompressed when the binary is run. But still, cramming a 3D world with textures and music into 4k is quite an accomplishment!
    • Re:.the .product (Score:2, Informative)

      It's not really that amazing. The executable might be 64k, but it needs DirectX to run. So basically the executable contains 64k of instructions that tell DirectX what to draw. It's not as if they wrote a 3D engine demo in 64k. More like a 64k DirectX script.
  • Relevant Again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @02:14AM (#4325582) Homepage Journal
    The skill of writing small games is highly relevent again as new mobile phones with the ability to run custom software is starting to appear.
    Also, it would be nice if some game programmers ever asked them selves 'can I do this with less code and memory consumption?'. The answer would most probably be yes in many cases.
    An example of this is the use of large look-up tables instead of doing a medium-sized calculation. As the caches can't hold an entire game today, the penalty for using a large look-up table is probably pretty big, since it is spread over a larger section of the memory than a medium (properly aligned) calculation routine.
    When discussing code size, I must say that the best (in the amusing, fun, addictive way) I've had was Super Cars II on the Amiga. Great game, only one (or two) 720kB floppys. It had what many of today's games lack of: gameplay.
    • Super Cars II. Lotus Challenges. Now tell me again why i sold my amiga 500 six years back? =I
    • Re:Relevant Again (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Try Soldat (google for it, it's well worth the effort)
    • Re:Relevant Again (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Pedantry: Amiga 3.5" floppies were 880k, not 720k - in fact, games often reprogrammed the disk controller for copy protection and/or even higher capacities (that's why software like XCopyPro on the Amiga had tracks 80,81,82,83 in addition to 0 thru 79 - games often used them, and normal amiga diskcopy missed them).

      Later Amiga HD floppy drives allowed 1.76MByte on a "1.44 MByte" floppy.

      The programmable controller is why the Amiga can read PC disks, but the PC can't read amiga disks.
  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @02:23AM (#4325615)
    They are only 1K games if you don't count calls to the OS or ROM BIOS. Back in the old Atari 2600 days 1K really was 1K since there was no code anywhere but in the game cartridge.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As one of the authors, I can tell you that at least my entries use very few ROM calls. I believe I could effectively replicate the code used in no more than 200 bytes or so - and in the case of `dotathon', I could very easily have made it run ROM-call-free in 1k if I hadn't added sound.

      And FWIW, the smallest Atari 2600 cartridge size was 2k, not 1k.
      • Well, there were hundreds of Atari games, many of them quite obscure so it's quite possible there were 1K games and you just aren't aware of them.

        Of course, Atari games had to do a lot of low-level stuff that the other machines' hardware did for you. Like vertical blanking.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The rules for this particular compo stated you were allowed to use any ROMs and hardware features of the platform you chose. Maybe that's the reason we had a low number of console entries (2 NES, 3 GBC, 2 Lynx), as programmers of those felt they had a disadvantage. For you information, we had a similar programming event the other year which did NOT allow use of ROM routines or extra RAM for calculating tables.

      But even if you're using all features of a stock vintage machine, you still can't use visual and audial appearance to judge between a ZX81 and a Commodore 64 game. I see this more as a battle for best idea and gameplay on limited space.
    • I wrote an HTTP Capture utility yesterday (basically just a socket accept that dumps the socket traffic to a file). The EXE came off at 6k, and I felt pretty good about that.

      Then I realized it depends on the .Net Framework which is another 30 megs. :-)
  • Heh, rather than repeat myself, here is a link to an article I wrote for K5 on 1k chess for the ZX81 a while back: The greatest program ever written []. Enjoy.

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