Worthy winner of the PC 4kB intro competition at Revision 2012 and latest example of the compact-coding tradition exercised within the demoscene, Hartverdrahtet by Akronyme Analogiker is a three minute long audio-visual trip into a procedural fractalverse, compressed into a minuscule piece of software. No bigger than 4096 bytes – less than an empty Word document, as demoscene activists like to point out – the executable file contains all the mathematics needed to generate the unfolding visual complexity and audible ambience upon a double-click. A solo effort by a talented coder who calls himself Demoscene Passivist, Hartverdrahtet reveals a mesmerizing cosmos observed through what could be an electron microscope – ethereal, greenish and a little eerie.
The real magic is in the lingo: “It’s a mix of shere-tracing, fake ambient occlusion and a lot of post-processing. And it took me nearly two months to complete it,” the programmer and recipient of last year’s ‘Echtzeit Newcomer Award‘ reveals on his Tumblr. “The shader basically encapsulates a sphere-tracing based raymarcher for a single fractal formula with camera handling. An extra post-processing shader adds effects like god-rays, tv-lines and noise to make the result look more interesting and less ‘sterile’. The different intro parts are all parameter and camera position variations of the same fractal.”
Credit goes to fellow demosceners as well: the sound synthesis was done using 4klang, a software synthesizer with a tiny footprint created by Dominik ‘Gopher’ Ries and Paul ‘pOWL’ Kraus, particularly for generating music in byte-sized intros. To shrink the file size even further, CTRL-ALT-TEST’s Shader Minifier was applied – an “uniminified” and commented JOGL2 port of Hartverdrahtet is available on GitHub. And lastly, the name ‘Hartverdrahtet’ is a reference to Hardwired, an early demoscene classic for the Commodore Amiga, that was released by The Silents & Crionics at The Party in 1991.
Hartverdrahtet runs on Windows XP/Vista/7 (fast CPU/GPU adviced) and can be downloaded here. See the info file for detailed hardware specifications. A lossless 60 fps high definition video capture – taking up 1,1 gigabytes – is available as well.