POVRay Short Code Contest #3
March 26, 2004 11:43 AM   Subscribe

POVRay Short Code Contest 3 - Surprisingly complex (though not necessarily pretty) images created with scene files of no more than 256 characters. I like the recursive trees. Via abcde.
posted by signal (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:52 PM on March 26, 2004

I second that amazing. You don't have to be a math whiz or anything to appreciate that stuff. And you can get the program for free.
posted by ejoey at 1:22 PM on March 26, 2004

Just to be clear, are you allowed some sort of source image?
posted by bitdamaged at 2:06 PM on March 26, 2004

Nope, nothing but the code shown, and no "includes", either, meaning you can't import any geometry or materials.
What I find fasciniating is how much (apparent) complexity you can get with so little actual information. Also, it's sort of an opensource-art, since you can see exactly how it's done, repeat the process, tweak it, etc.
posted by signal at 2:11 PM on March 26, 2004

Nice blend of math and art for those of us who are into that sort of thing.
posted by Triplanetary at 2:45 PM on March 26, 2004

I hope I'm not off-thread, coz this is truly an amazing peice of software, but I love-to-bits Terragen. Doesn't this work on similar principles? Programs producing beautiful pictures?
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:44 PM on March 26, 2004

No. Terragen works through a combination of algorithms *and* user-input to produce its mesh data. Which is to say that Terragen uses both this and the more standard method of scene definition.

An example of something that works on the same parametric dataset concept would be Farb-Rausch's Das Produkt demo, as well as the Poem To A Horse demo.

It's quite possible that with the spiraling costs of game development (due to the need for higher-resolution meshes for every tiny last detail of any game), we may see the emergence of an open database of parametric mesh definitions for common objects, which one could just plug variables into the various fields of in order to produce seemingly unique models based off a common definition.

I have a good bit more to say on this topic, but it's been over 24 hours without sleep and I need to go to bed.
posted by Ryvar at 5:28 PM on March 26, 2004

In a similar vein, the demo scene has been churning out amazing art with insanely small amounts of code for years. Check out Sponge, a 4k program which is cooler than most of the bloated graphic splash pages you see on modern websites and uses one fiftieth of the space. A larger, but still extremely impressive demo is Protozoa by the Kewlers (warning, semi-lame demoscene site) which is a triumph of on the fly rendering.

It's really amazing what some people can do with a miniscule amount of code and a lot of ingenuity. Consider this: the first program that I linked to takes up as much space as the Metafilter logo which appears on the masthead.

on preview: Ryvar seems to be on the same page as me, but he has a much better grasp of the technical side than I probably ever will.
posted by mmcg at 5:40 PM on March 26, 2004

I think I keep linking this here, but these people are doing great stuff in just 256 bytes.

The picture with the "rocks and blue sky" is amazing. I don't know how the author generated such beautiful, realistic colours with that little effort.
posted by Jimbob at 6:50 PM on March 26, 2004

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