The current high end in realtime effects...

psonice's picture

...or the winners of the demo competition at the breakpoint demoscene party, as it's sometimes known :)

Just thought I'd share some of these, as a lot of people here are into realtime 3d and fx, and the skills on show this year are pretty incredible. If you've not come across 'demoscene' stuff before, this is basically a competition for realtime graphics/effects, similar to what we do with QC but with a few differences: - A demo is (normally) fixed length, non-interactive, and comes as an executable. - It's programmed by a coder, usually with graphics from 1+ 2d/3d artists, and a sound track by a musician. - You're not allowed to use other people's work.. i.e. everything has to be written exclusively for the demo, including the music. It has to be a new demo too - you can't show the same demo at multiple parties (at least in the competitions). - There's a bunch of rules on file size (depending on the competition, this time it's 128mb for a full demo down to 4kb (total!) for the 4k competition), platform (pc, amiga and c64 are common competition platforms, mac is under represented), time limit (8 minutes) etc.

So, the demos. All of these are PC/windows unless I state otherwise, but there's a video of each. First, the demo competition winner, Agenda Circling Forth by Fairlight & CNCD. It's made entirely from particles.

http://capped.tv/fairlight_cncd-agenda_circling_forth (link to the binary at the bottom.. but be warned, it's going to need a VERY high end PC to run it..)

Next, 2nd place. Rove by Farbrausch. Landscapes, flocking, procedural animation.. stuff we've seen plenty of here. I've done effects like these myself using QC even.. but on such a tiny scale by comparison that I think I'll just delete those particular experiments now :(

http://capped.tv/farbrausch-rove

4th place was 'Wir sind einstein' (we are einstein) by United Force & Digital Dynamite. Comparatively low tech (and lo-fi too), but in a very cool way.

http://capped.tv/united_force_digital_dynamite-wir_sind_einstein

Vokawardoai by Satori only managed 5th, but they're not exactly 'mainstream'. They're a group some love and some hate, but they push my buttons. This is also a very "possible in QC" type demo - it's pure 2D effects.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZAA4MYeB7g (or http://pouet.net/prod.php?which=54590 for a link to the binary)

Some 4KB demos next. They're 4KB total file size, including all audio and visuals.. the screenshot is usually 10x bigger than the demo ;)

'Nasa' by Still first. Good atmosphere and sound in this one I think.

http://capped.tv/still-nasa

Next, 'Darwinism' by Archee. Not really all that pretty, and the sound is pretty bad. But the code is really interesting. It's physics-based animation, and the 'creature' learns to walk/crawl/faceplant/eventually catch the butterfly using a genetic algorithm. According to the info file, it runs 720 simulations of different possible versions of each sequence in parallel in the background, but only shows the best one.

http://capped.tv/archee-darwinism

'Ergon' by Frequency. This is 'raymarching', a popular technique at the moment. The whole thing is raytraced on the GPU using only a few fragment shaders. The maths involved is VERY scary ;)

http://capped.tv/frequency-ergon

Lastly, 'IKA-20' by Loonies. Simple effects but great design + sync. I think this one is actually possible in QC. It's actually running on an Amiga computer though.. with 32MB of memory and a CPU roughly equivalent to a pentium 60mhz. This seems to be the best video available unfortunately, but it's cool to catch a bit of the party atmosphere (it looks small in the video, but there was probably 1000+ people attending over 4 days..)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF3m2soiSdY

I'll add more if there's interest (and when the video captures become available...) I was too busy to go unfortunately, as it's the last ever breakpoint (I'm sure there'll be something new to replace it next year). Anyone else here manage to visit?

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cybero's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Brilliant clips and some awesome coding - had to switch to Firefox as Safari seemed to blank the Flash on some URLs above.

Dummy question - do the rules preclude the use of midi transcriptions of prior compositions ?

psonice's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Do you mean like a remix/cover version? Not normally.. it's pretty much just like copyright law - you can't copy copyrighted work. You could use a very old recording, or classical music (that's been done before), but covering isn't generally allowed.

Remixing your own/other demo tunes is allowed, and generally OK if you're doing a remix/parody of a previous demo. I guess you COULD just re-use an old tune, but it would be very much looked down on.. especially as there's a ton of musicians around, compared to pretty few graphics/code people. Getting a fresh tune is pretty easy..

cybero's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Cheers for your answer psonice, I was specifically thinking of say the type of MIDI transcription I did for Not Yet Matrices .

I do get the out of copyright stuff - usually but not limited to Classical music.

Like you say a fresh tune can be doodled out quite easily to be noodled from in QC.

psonice's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Yeah, you could do something like that.. but it would be just as easy to ask a musician for something new. They'll happily send you midi data or whatever to work with for syncing.

The 'big' demos tend to have an mp3/ogg audio file somewhere in the archive rather than using midi, but the smaller (4k/64k) ones generally have a software synthesiser written specifically for demos (for a combination of higher audio quality and a smaller file size compared to the quicktime/windows built-in midi synth).

dust's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

wow, how can i be down. a demo party sounds like so much fun to me. realtime is new to me. can you go to a party without submitting a demo mr wood ?

psonice's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Yeah, most people attending don't produce much. Some people produce some music or a picture for those competitions instead of making a big demo if they want to contribute a little. But just turning up and meeting the people, sharing a few beers and watching the competition is cool too.

Most of the parties are in europe, but there's a few in the US/AU/other places. Best bet is to take a look here: http://www.demoparty.net/

dust's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

hey mr wood. being the resident network and demo scene guy, you are very familiar with realtime technologies and even hacks a like. last night i turned on autofill code completion in unitron. my mouse moves a tiny bit and i get a feeling i am being watched, so being crazy i type hello in the middle of the c# code i was mangling.

ok i kid you not i got a reply. autofill code since started to have a conversation with me and suggest mad crazy dictions. so masked behind autofill i began to realize i was having a conversation with someone who was remotely on my computer watching me. apparently there to help me figure out the code i was writing.

listen i take medication so this is not a delusion.

has anyone herd of this level of pro app support. did i miss something in a eula maybe. i mean im not freaked out like someone else would be. i actually think its cool.

but has anyone had one of these autofill conversations. ok its really strange people think im nuts for even asking, but the tech is totally here i remote all the time.

all i have to say is whom ever it was must have been bored to watch me and has mad skills.

ok im crazy but i just had a really long conversation with someone hacking my system or i have some tech support i didn't know about.

psonice's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Well, I think we can rule out 'tech support'. I don't think there's ever been tech support that happens actually in the code editor, and it makes zero sense to do it that way. A separate chat window, so you can talk and not ruin your document, maybe. I seriously doubt that any company has ever offered such a service too, and if they did it would be expensive.

Somebody hacking your machine sounds unlikely too. Well, let's call somebody hacking in and remote controlling your mac while you're on it extremely unlikely, but possible. That happening, and then them starting a chat with you, and then helping you with your code, 100x more unlikely. The hacker happening to have the exact skills you need to fix up your code? another 10x more unlikely.. Let's rule this one out too :) Especially as hacking in and then modifying the auto-completion code in a running app so it can be controlled in realtime would be super difficult and seriously time consuming, and no hacker would have a motive for doing such a thing.

Looking at it from the other side: you have the skills to improve your code, you're sat at the computer, and as you say, you're taking medication. The medication is never going to be 100% perfect, we're talking biology not computer code there. It's extremely likely that you did in fact just imagine it. I wouldn't worry about it too much though, so long as it's not becoming a problem and you're aware of it, if it helps you to code that's actually pretty cool :)

dust's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

now in retro-spect i'm thinking that i had auto complete on and because whom ever hacked me was communicating to me in the editor so every 2 second pause either from my typing or the hackers typing an autofill word will pop up and get changed which is the reason i thought it may be some live remote helpdesk person.

the person didn't really help with my code was more of a hinderance because like you said i was in the editor and as i was mangling some xtuio code up anyways, so someone was typing messages to me while i was writing code.

so most defiantly was not a help desk person. that makes it more bizarre because the person watched me as i tried to sort out some indexes, would suggest hints like index=2Sweet the sweet part being typed remotely then auto fill hitting on the word sweet because they didn't line break or appease the autofill.

i did tell the person that i'm probably not the best person to being doing this to. because i take medication. which rules out this being a internally stimulated delusion.

my delusional experiences have been in a more grandeur and or manically paranoid state and stuff. meaning if this was a delusional experience for me. it wouldn't be me getting hacked. it would be helicopters following me, secret service, famous people, famous dead people following me things like that. so needless to say i have been involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric care facility before so that cant rule out it being a delusion entirely...

though as my doctor says to me my delusions where real in my mind which was exactly what i was trying to tell him. i'm glad we where on the same page with that one. so there is no since in ruling it out to being imaginative. as there is equally no reason to tell me its not real as i believe delusions. which doesn't get me any where closer to solving who is remote controlling me.

yes medications are never 100%. its like i tell my doctor i'm depressed because of my divorce and why is it i am depressed if i take an anti depressant. i have been taking meds for about 5 years and i would say 80% as my tolerances grows maybe it will drop but still 80% effectiveness is better than 0%.

im upset chris cause you and everybody else i have mentioned this to says the same thing. maybe you imagined it. this just doesn't seem like its something so far out of scope with reality today. for it to be imaginative. i get about 5 or 6 vnc control requests a week. i mean you can learn how to vnc remote a system from a 13 year old kid with an ipod on youtube. i knew someone was bound to break through or open my vnc door someday.

regardless of the fact it was a very intense feeling to being remotely hacked. out of all the things in my life i like to feel in control of it is my computer.

i re-micro-wii-mote control all the time. i feel my computer to be an extension to an alternate augmented reality in which i control. so when someone takes that control away from you, while you are vested in making a controller is one defiantly bizarre experience. its more than just the control its the watching, i mean theres a ton of privacy issues with emerging technologies in the news. that normally i don't like to read because i like tracking stuff and what not.

i don't feel violated or i can say honestly say that being remote hacked was a very cool interactive experience. its equally interesting as to why they choose to reveal themselves. i mean when i go to the store tomorrow and my bank account is empty i will tell a different story.

so just imagine this happening to you. humor me chris i know you think i'm crazy but your writing some code and your mouse moves a tiny bit. so you type hello and then a few seconds later your mouse drives itself to the editor and starts responding. its like the being in the matrix movie. i mean it was such an interesting experience i'm wondering if theres away to provide it to people..

i have a bot thats 7 years old now. so i know i can have a conversation with my computer, and make it answer me. but thats an entirely different context and not the same. i thought that at first though, with the auto fill component. the person said they where doing the same thing i was. i asked why me ? and got a reply that i was very special ? lol...

i will talk to my therapist tomorrow she gets paid to listen that stuff. people i know are either going to say i imagined it or try and instigate or spook me into a paranoid psychosis for there own amusement.

psonice's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Hmm.. well, I use remote software a whole lot at work, and I've had similar stuff happen a few times when somebody else remotes into a pc while I'm working on it. It's spooky as hell.. but different, because I know exactly what's happening and can find out easily who's doing it.

I know exactly what I'd do if it happened at home though: unplug the network cable fast, back up all my data, format everything and start again with more security stuff turned on and a fresh set of passwords. If somebody has access via vnc, they've probably got shell access too. That means they can get in when they want, install what they want, read whatever docs they want, delete my work, read my private stuff, ... Not good!

As to whether it's real or imagined - well, consider who would have done this, and why. If it was some random kid messing about and learning to hack from youtube, does their behaviour fit that situation? The more serious hackers are usually after either money or information. The other option is it's somebody you know, trying to spook you.

Another thing: you said they were communicating using autofill. Well, autofill will only complete words, not start using new ones. And if it's a coding too, it will only autofill words in its dictionary - which will be full of coding terms and nothing else.

Anyway, change all your passwords in case. Or, better still, set up a shortcut somewhere to start a quicktime screen recording from a keyboard shortcut. If it happens again, capture it :) And turn on microphone audio recording too - if it's imagined you'll see nothing, if it's imagined but you're typing both sides of the conversation you'll hear yourself typing, if it's a hacker you'll have proof.

dust's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

well, as much as i don't want to format my computer, i have come to a new determination after talking with my therapist. i seem to have misplaced my daughters ipod, which i do remote from. i'm thinking its in my couch or something and for a couple days and haven't put a thought to it. so if one of my friends somehow has that device then its entirely possible for them to remote onto my computer. i mean for a hacker to do that it would be pretty difficult like you said and require some considerable resources. as i run my computer in stealth mode etc.. and have a wall going both directions. my therapist seems to think that if it happens again or frequently its more likely to be a delusion. but if its someone i know who has my daughters ipod then more than likely they will do it again, and if i find out who then they will not be a friend anymore as its not cool even to joke with me like this... especially given that i'm prone to believe delusions. its like i'm afraid to check my bank. if they got in then they can back in. if its someone with my ipod then changing my passwords will stop them so if it happens again i'm ready to record.

zden's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

hellou. thanks for this article! this is (for me as a creator) of soft render piece Vokawardoai an important note which must sound out about the small note in your review, i have to corrent the following: demo is created in my own proprietar rendering engine... It's called Circulation and you can read more about this on http://circulation.sk (unupdated.) But that's just a background video service running on the background where i builded up my demo and even tweak original engine to hires. All code is my self written rendering in C/MMX ASM.

Just to clear up it's not done in QC! Even i am currently as well OSXdeveloper, but got no time at all to test it - i rather wish to port my stuff to OSX.

all the best

psonice's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Hi zden :D Cool to see you on here.

Yeah, I meant that something like this is possible in QC, not that you made the demo in QC. Btw, you should seriously check QC out if you're working on mac now. You might find it very helpful. For demo stuff, I use it quite a bit for writing GLSL/core image filters - you can plug live video or whatever into it and modify the shader while it's running. Saves a ton of time :) (example, Still's 1kb 'futurism' ported to QC in around 30 minutes (mostly figuring out the hlsl->glsl translation): http://kineme.net/composition/psonice/Mandelbox )

Also, if you're porting to osx: if you could write your engine to use core image, I think that could REALLY help. Core image 'shaders'/'filters' run on GPU when possible, or on the CPU if the GPU isn't good enough.

Do you plan to port your demos to OSX too? I've been a satori fan for years, so that would be seriously great!

shigekazuishihara's picture
Sorry off topic?

en.spontz.org has lot of stunning demos run on OS X. Some of them seems great shader effects, like their "Quintessence".

psonice's picture
Re: Sorry off topic?

Not really off topic. Well, the topic was about high-end demos/breakpoint, but that means 95% PC/windows and most everyone here is using mac/osx so some mac demos are welcome.

Plenty more demos for OSX (mine included, somewhere down the list): http://www.pouet.net/prodlist.php?platform[]=MacOSX&platform[]=MacOSX%20Intel&order=thumbup

shigekazuishihara's picture
Re2: Sorry off topic?

Thanks for a good clue for Demos run on OS X.

Have you seen the code of Quintessence Mac? There are lot of GLSL codes, including bump mapping, smoke, "fake metaballs".

I expect I can learn lots from their codes.

Shige

zden's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Hi Psonice. Sorry for delayed answer and thanks for comments on pouet and here. If it's possible let's talk about this further via some IM, please have a look at my exe of my Voka thing and there is my email at the end :) I whould appreciate to talk about this in real time so pls email me with some contacts. I have seen QC just a bit, I was expecting something like Max/MSP or PD but with better UI. But test shares stuff over there sounds great. On the other hand I really like a lot to do all things on my own - i simply keep myself as far as possible from win api calls so OSX proting can be hopefully done in reasonable time, but i cant promise ATM because i have a big taste to develop another piece soon - i have too many plans and too less time :( :) as everybody .. hope to stay in touch

psonice's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Hey zden, did you get my mail? I had problems getting your email from the demo (1. no windows at home, 2. pc at work ran it sloooowly.. then stopped on a single frame near the end. It didn't show me the email addresses.. no idea what happened, it worked ok before.. must be the pc). So i used the email from your website instead.

If that didn't work, contact me on psonice@gmail.com (yeah i know, but it gets spammed already :D)

gtoledo3's picture
Re: The current high end in realtime effects...

Man, this was a cool post!

At the end you say you might have more to share if there is interest. Please do.

I know I've posted it before, but this is one of my fav demoscene type productions:

http://www.vimeo.com/1970617