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Amazing 3D HD Content Crammed Into 4KB

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.

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. 

  • Ramar
    Gotta love stuff like this.

    Anyone else remember kkreiger?
  • cruiseoveride

    Can these techniques be used with actual video and audio?
  • nukemaster
    Cool, Kind if reminds me of the stuff from
    They have some very cool stuff as well.
  • warezme
    symantec won't let you see any of the 4K files, it flags all of them as trojans and moves to quarantine.
  • jmchien
    This is very impressive
  • Ramar
    cruiseoverideInteresting. Can these techniques be used with actual video and audio?
    Kind of, not really, maybe in the future? The idea as I understand it from studying theprodukkt is that you use math to compute textures, sound, and such. When sound synth becomes better maybe the same tricks can be used to reproduce music "from scratch", but for now it's a mostly midi-synth, polygon and texture kind of thing.

    On a side note, I remember a single 64k demo from the produkkt stating at the end that it had uncompressed and created 3 terabytes of data during run-time. These people are geniuses, simply enough.

    warezmesymantec won't let you see any of the 4K files, it flags all of them as trojans and moves to quarantine.
    Avast, AVG, etc. Stop paying for bloated software!
  • mlcloud
    So here's what I view it as: a skewed portrayal of the value of hard drive space and processing power.

    In other words, we prioritized hard drive space massively and devoted more into the original formula or encoding. In a world where everyone's computer was running at 90ghz with several terabytes of RAM, but harddrives were only in the single-digit megabytes sizes, then this sort of thing would pop up more frequently and would be used universally.

    Fortunately, we settled for a different balance. Encoding and design does not take an absurd amount of time and fine-tuning and programming, and (sorta) in exchange, our video files often reach the gigabyte range, both of which are things we can afford and accept.
  • LionelHutz
    This stuff is cool, but impractical for the typically desired use of displaying ARBITRARY video, such as video frames for a movie. You're basically just wandering around an interesting mathematical formula, known to produce interesting terrain when interpreted in a certain way. Try to derive the formula that encodes, say, Bourne Ultimatum, and I'd be more impressed.
  • computabug
    Yay! Me hi-def torrents go faster!
  • If this is so cool then why did it crash my Lap Top so comprehensivly? Yes Norton flags the files as Trojans and I made the mistake of trying to open one of them. Had to hard reset and the reboot took nearly 30 minutes with a 3 step file check so anybody using Norton just be aware of that!