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Programming As Art — 13 Amazing Code Demos 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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Programming As Art — 13 Amazing Code Demos

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  • MARS.EXE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:56AM (#22222022) Homepage
    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.
  • RTFA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BigJClark ( 1226554 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:37PM (#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.
  • For sure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:44PM (#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:RTFA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:48PM (#22222810)
    Second reality? Bah, humbug. This [] is what the article needs to include to really live up to the title.
  • Purple Motion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Plumber, Programmer, ( 1170969 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @04:37PM (#22226284)
    Actually, you can get a CD version of some of Purple Motion's work. He's got an album out called the "Purple Motion Music Disk." I have it and I like it. []
  • Re:Second reality (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dkf ( 304284 ) <> on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @09:36PM (#22229846) Homepage

    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).
    It's not that the demo is the most technically advanced, it's that it is a perfect combination of all the bits and pieces (especially the synching of the sound track). Demos are a form of art, and can be stupendous even if they're not at the very cutting edge; after all, there's lots of paintings out there that aren't cutting edge either, and yet they still pack a shitload of power.
  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @10:17PM (#22230168) Homepage Journal
    Here is one in real life [] (Real Reality). Even its soundtracks are kind of cool (wished they were higher quality).

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