Because it’s Friday: A 3-minute movie in 4095 bytes

August 22, 2014

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

This entire movie — images, music, everything — is generated from a Windows PC executable of just 4,095 bytes. That's not a typo: we're not talking bytes not megabytes or gigabytes here. Less than 4kb total creates this entire scene.


For comparison, a medium-quality video file of this exact same scene in AVI format comes in at over 64Mb: that's space you could use to store 16477 copies of the original executable. So how was it done? The entire scene is procedurally generated on-the-fly. The terrain, the textures, and even the camera moves are generated using algorithms, and the music is synthesized. (More details on how it was done here.) That's how the executable can be so small (although to be fair it does make use libraries installed on a standard PC like DirectX).  

The video was created in 2009 for a demoscene conference, Breakpoint 2009. After stumbing upon this video (in this Quora thread) I was surprised to learn that the demo scene is still a thing. I have fond memories of the cool animations and music that would play on my old Commodore 64 and Amiga machines, and glad to see that this avenue of creativity is as strong as ever.

That's all for this week. See you back here on Monday!

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