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Submitted by Pablo de Heras Ciechomski, posted on September 11, 2000

Image Description, by Pablo de Heras Ciechomski

This is a shot from a demo that I and three others did during four weeks this summer. The demo called "The Box" is completely black and white, using only 1 bit for colour. Since we used OpenGL we actually could use 16 bits but decided not to. My vision was to free our minds by setting rigid rules for the content. Counterintuitive - maybe :)

Check out the full details and download the demo from

Pablo de Heras Ciechomski

Image of the Day Gallery


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

September 11, 2000, 02:19 PM

I can do better with pen and paper... Good exercise for beginners, but not impressive, sorry.


September 11, 2000, 02:29 PM

I would have to disagree with you Nick. Using 2 colors he was able to give the appearance of depth to the image.. It may not be a technical masterpiece, but is kinda cool from the artistic side.



September 11, 2000, 03:00 PM

Okay, this is the sh*t that makes me very angry.
I hope that someone removes that post.


If you don't find it impressive, that is fine. However, you should either keep it to yourself or find a better way to express it. In the latter case, you should also offer some constructive criticism, maybe point out something that the author could have done better, that would impress you.

I for one hope that you find another site to post your self-ritcheous statements. What have we seen from you Nick?

The point behind this image of the day, as far as I am aware, is not to impress, but to share. It is open to beginners and advanced alike, and comments such as yours make it very hard for people to share their work.
Please Nick, go away.


September 11, 2000, 03:59 PM

Amen brother bit64!!

>> I can do better with pen and paper...

Really? You could draw all of that @ 24fps with just pen and paper? Wow! Disney would sure love you...

Pablo, did you try adding motion blur? If you were to draw your frame buffer with an alpha opacity every frame onto the exisitng screen buffer, then it creates the appearance of motion blur (as the new pixels blend over the exisitng ones, depending on the alpha value). Have fun ;)


September 11, 2000, 04:10 PM

You guys should actually watch the demo. It's super tight.


September 11, 2000, 04:32 PM

Nick, a little question, when you see a Picasso, do you think it's crap?, man, this is art, not the best GFXs in the world. If you want to see lots of GFX try any game out there, if you want to see an artistic representation, watch the demo of Pablo, it's really cool!!

Daniel Palomo van Es

September 11, 2000, 04:56 PM

Definitely a very cool demo, don't let some simple soul scare you off.

Please post some more iotd when you have something to show again!

Keep up the good work 8)

Daniel Palomo van Es


September 11, 2000, 04:57 PM

I am deeply sorry if I offended anyone. I am sometimes so thightly focused on performance and realism that I can't see the art anymore. I do find this demo very original and artistic. Please accept my apologies.

Dan Brown

September 11, 2000, 05:15 PM

Motion blur would have been ok, but it would have compromised the idea of 1-bit graphics.

I'll take a look when I get home from work, it's a great idea for a demo.


Jaap Suter

September 11, 2000, 05:58 PM

I loved it!!!

Very cool. The demo has to be one of the best I've seen since a long time. Creativity above all!!

My compliments.

Jaap Suter

Jeroen B

September 11, 2000, 06:39 PM

I agree with Jaap. I got a very nostalgic feeling when I watched this: It's been just too long since I've seen new demo that is also creative.

Keep it up,



September 11, 2000, 07:04 PM

YOU ARE A GOD! THAT IS TRULY THE BEST BEST/COOLEST PROGRAM IVE EVER SEEN, I WISH THAT CONTEST DIDNT GET CANCELED BECAUSE YOU WOULD OF EASILY WON!!!, I coudnt keep my eyes off it!, please make another demo. I wish I wasnt currently working on a project because I would love to help:), thanks for the Application,


September 11, 2000, 07:05 PM

I just watched it...


Very trippy, nice peice of art. (I should know, i have an Assoc. Dipl. of Arts). I like the meditation figure at the end, is this the author injecting himself into the peice? ;) This is definately a creative peice, it's what classic video artists would love to do, if only they were better at maths...

Timothy Barnes

September 11, 2000, 07:34 PM

>I can do better with pen and paper... Good exercise for beginners, but not impressive, sorry.

That's not even near cool. You deserve to be ignored and such.

Timothy Barnes

September 11, 2000, 08:25 PM

Wow! That's freeking awesome! I don't care how it didn't have textures/lighting and such because the camera effects and animation just rocked! I didn't watch the program, but I downloaded the AVI. :) btw, how did you do your camera effects!? Those completely blew me away. I bet you could pull off Bullet Time (TM) off really nicely.


September 11, 2000, 09:37 PM

That is an awesome demo, man! I too had to download the AVI, but it really rocked!

<critic mode>
I found it refreshingly original in both concept and execution. This demo has restored my faith in what looked to be a dying demo scene.
</critic mode>

In other words, the demo rocked because it wasn't just another see-my-particle-system demo, but actually had a cool concept behind it.

Rock On Man


September 12, 2000, 01:38 AM

What I'm trying to figure out is how you did the XOR effect on the polygons. Last I checked, OpenGL didn't let you do that explicitly without using the stencilbuffer in an extreme way... granted, most consumer cards have stencil support now, but what about those poor 3Dfx users? :)

If you're not using stencils, I'd definitely like to hear what you are using.

Oh, and any chance you could port it (or let someone else port it) to some other platform such as Linux? It shouldn't be *too* hard, especially if you used one of the sound libraries which also exists for UNIX (such as MikMod).

That said, it looks cool enough that I'm going to reboot into Windows just to see it anyway. It's very rare that I reboot into Windows just to see a demo. :)


September 12, 2000, 02:04 AM

It rocked my world.

Keep it up my swedish friend :)

Albert Sandberg a.k.a thec


September 12, 2000, 02:41 AM

Argh. Damn thing crashed on my G400 - after it tried initializing graphics mode it got a GPF in the G400 ICD. Other OpenGL stuff works just fine, so I'm pretty sure it's not the drivers. ;)

Damn, and that was (honestly) the only reason I rebooted into Windows. Now I'm just disappointed. :(


September 12, 2000, 03:12 AM

Too cool!!

Pity you droped the Kung Fu game, great lighting (and lightning...) on the characters.

Keep it up!

Jonas Risbrandt

September 12, 2000, 03:39 AM

Whoo! This is one of the coolest demos i have seen lately. Cool concept, cool music and *great* camera-movement!

Keep up the good work!


September 12, 2000, 04:32 AM


I can see that framerate was important to some of the effects. It would have looked gorgeous with anti-aliasing. I assume you tried it but came across a problem? What was it?

NMartin, Bullfrog.

Alexander Stockinger

September 12, 2000, 05:03 AM

If you can do better, why don't you?


September 12, 2000, 05:08 AM

Smart demo.
I really liked the music as well :)


Pablo de Heras Ciechomski

September 12, 2000, 05:30 AM

0 Intro
I thank you all for the replies. Especially Nick :=) Without Nick maybe there wouldn't been such a cool discussion.

1 Reactions
The funny thing is of the people that I show the demo for half of them are impressed and the other half think it sucks. Just like the 1 bit rendering the reactions are also 1 bit :=)

0 Blending
For the technically inclined the blending is actually just an ordinary OpenGL blend function. All of the transparent polys are rendered as white. This way I can use the backgroundcolor in the blendfunction. So the rendered colour is (1-BkColour)*(SrcColour) which is inversion if SrcColour is 1. Very simple.

1 Sorting
I state in the infofile that I sort the polys back to front. This is unnecessary since the blending function is an inversion but I didn't realise it until later :)

0 Camera
The demo displays two tracks simultaneously. One track in the beginning is the credits text which is in fact a 3DS animation with its own camera. The flyby track is also a 3DS track but has empty objects called dummies in 3DS lingo, which are filled with programmed effects at run time, such as the effects by Bjorn and Martin. All of the camera movements are done by hand in 3DS so I parse out the FOV track and the rotation track for some freaky effects. The last scene is also a 3DS file.

1 Outro
Once again thank you for all the posts, both the positive and the negative. The most important is what you feel about it.


The Wolf

September 12, 2000, 10:32 AM

WOW !!, sorry for the late post, but I was away on business...

you should use the engine for a 'between dream and reality' kinda game, something real groovy.

Real good, can't wait to see what you're gonna come up with next!


September 12, 2000, 02:40 PM

Ohhh... wow, yeah, I forgot that OpenGL has so many blend functions. :) Neat trick... wish I'd thought of that. :)

Oh, and back-to-front sorting is still necessary if you're doing a depth test. Of course, a depth test is unnecessary too. A depth BUFFER is unnecessary. :)

Pablo de Heras Ciechomski

September 12, 2000, 04:03 PM

Depth buffering in transparent only scenes as the meditative scene is unnecessary. The scene where transparent and opaque polys are mixed needs depth buffering for the transparent writes. Transparent polys are occluded by the pillars in the roof for example. Nice you noticed it though.



September 13, 2000, 09:34 AM

You simply cannot anti-aliase a black-white screen. You would have to use greyscales for antialiasing.

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