Demoscene group RGBA managed to cram high-def textured rolling landscapes, a music player, a light show (which syncs to the background tune), and various camera shots--ultimately comprising under four minutes of HD footage--into one very small 4KB file. The demo, entitled Elevated, is the result of a recent Breakpoint competition that challenged coders to cram as much as possible within the 4KB limit. As the contest winner, Elevated shows what can be accomplished using extremely tight code, and does so extremely well.
"Just so people get an idea of how much four kilobytes is," said Inigo Quilez, one of the coders in RGBA, "let's say that it's what one of those little static icons on your desktop takes. Or that one second of music in MP3 format, which is already pretty well compressed, takes a lot more than four kilobytes. Yet we managed to show almost four minutes of music and animation at full high-definition image quality."
As reported by TechRadar, most of the demo's data structures are generated within the system RAM at runtime using "a variety of techniques." Quilez said that Elevated is basically a huge formula that encodes shapes, textures, colors, and rhythms. The system evaluates the formula and "expands" the visual content. With that said, cramming content as seen in Elevated into a 4KB is no simple task. In fact, it's not easy at all.
"The formula and its subpart or subformulas are designed to mimic a terrain, which is more or less simple and has been done thousands of times since mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot first did it in the early '80s," he explained. "Colors are simply numbers for the computer, and the color of each pixel of the screen is the result of evaluating this big formula."
To check out Elevated, download the actual demo in ZIP format here, or download the AVI version here.
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Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more.