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Submitted by Carsten Dachsbacher, posted on March 29, 2005

Image Description, by Carsten Dachsbacher

These screenshots show our 4k-intro released at the Breakpoint 2005 demoparty. The executable size (in fact it's a cabinet file which can be executed as batch file) is exactly 4096 bytes containing all code, graphics and music data. To get the intro running you need DirectX 9.0c (february release with D3DX included as a DLL).

Some technical stuff:
  • The rendering is done using one vertex shader (computing lighting, colors and transformations) and 3 pixel shaders (ps2.0) for planets (with coloring and fake bump-mapping), atmospheres (empirical light scattering model) and planet rings (with shadows)
  • The planet textures are created using a modified subdivision fractal, the background nebula-like textures are generated using fractal methods.
  • The sound is generated using General Midi instruments from the gm.dls file (part of DirectX) and additional sound post-processing.
  • You can find it at:

    Image of the Day Gallery


    Message Center / Reader Comments: ( To Participate in the Discussion, Join the Community )
    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active.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 Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

    March 29, 2005, 10:11 AM

    omg that looks totally awesome!


    March 29, 2005, 10:31 AM

    although i do have some weird rendering artefacts on the planets. i've got a radeon 9600SE and drivers and dx are up to date (i had to download D3DX9_24.dll because it wasn't included in de archive nor on my system...)


    March 29, 2005, 11:24 AM

    Thank god for d3dx.dll eh?


    March 29, 2005, 12:16 PM

    No artifacts on my Radeon 9500 Pro, and it looks really fantastic! How you guys managed to sqeeze the filesize down to just 4kB completely baffles me. Good job!

    By the way - which place did you get at Breakpoint 2005?

    Sylvain Vignaud [Sly]

    March 29, 2005, 12:30 PM

    > By the way - which place did you get at Breakpoint 2005?
    1st - see the given link

    Jari Komppa

    March 29, 2005, 01:32 PM

    Doesn't work for me - whines about a missing d3dx9_24.dll. I have the latest directx installed.


    March 29, 2005, 01:45 PM

    You need the directx SDK installed. Should be somewhere in SDK. Look at the readme...


    March 29, 2005, 02:28 PM



    March 29, 2005, 02:37 PM

    Wow, quite impressive for a 4k demo.

    Nice music, neat composition... Only a few nit-pics here and there about the subject and theme itself, but hey, its still wicked!

    I didnt have the DX SDK installed so it wouldnt run, and didnt want to have to install that bloated thing on this box, so I managed to find the DLL required:

    Apparantly its against the license agreement to distribute d3dx9_24.dll as a separate file, but somehow these people are doing it anyway. Yay.

    - Jacob


    March 29, 2005, 02:56 PM

    Apparantly its against the license agreement to distribute d3dx9_24.dll as a separate file, but somehow these people are doing it anyway.

    In Mother Russia, the .dlls distribute you!

    (sorry, I was just reading slashdot...)


    March 29, 2005, 04:24 PM

    Firstly, WOW!

    I'm most interested in the fractals used for the planets and nebula's, the results are deffinately impressive, can you give any hints or more specifics, you have inspired me to try something similar myself now, although i doubt it will be nowhere as near as good as this, nor 4k :)


    March 29, 2005, 08:16 PM

    I remember seeing this on This was awesome, good job. One day someone may yet beat the reaction that Heaven7 got.

    Jari Komppa

    March 30, 2005, 02:06 AM

    Very pretty textures, but.. requiring dx sdk? What next? 'requires internet connection' ?

    Brebion flavien

    March 30, 2005, 02:18 AM

    For 4K it's extremely impressive, but i wish i'd see a version with better textures. Some textures don't seem filtered; some other textures seem to be low resolution and quite blurred. Is there a way to run a "very high details" version, even if it takes a long time to load ?


    March 30, 2005, 02:32 AM

    Jari Komppa wrote: Very pretty textures, but.. requiring dx sdk? What next? 'requires internet connection' ?

    As far as I know this is the price for making use of D3D if you can't compile the executable with the .lib files included due to the size-restrictions...

    -> However, amazing results!

    Albert Sandberg

    March 30, 2005, 03:02 AM

    I was there (breakpoint'05) and it blew my mind. It was just too good to be true.

    If you're jealous, try do this yourself instead, I know I can't.


    Carsten Dachsbacher

    March 30, 2005, 03:10 AM

    Ok, first of all, thanks for your comments ! It's always nice to get feedback...

    For those of you unable to watch the executable versions I prepared a XVID here (~14mb):

    Carsten Dachsbacher

    March 30, 2005, 03:13 AM

    I'll do a high-quality version (hopefully) in the next few days...

    The planet textures do not take long to generate - the artifacts there are due to the fake-bumpmapping, but are less noticable with high-res textures.

    The nebula texture take extremely long to compute. In the original version I used 512 and generating two textures takes about approx. 20sec on a P4 2.4Ghz (with acceptable quality)

    Carsten Dachsbacher

    March 30, 2005, 03:15 AM

    In fact it does not require the SDK. It requires D3DX provided as a DLL and up to now you can get this in the last SDK version or the redistributable pack (from Microsoft download site). In near future this DLL will be part of the regular DX package.

    Carsten Dachsbacher

    March 30, 2005, 03:19 AM

    yes and no ;-)

    If you have a look at the .exe you'll see that I use three D3DX functions:
    - D3DXCreateSphere: I have to generate texture coordinates myself
    - D3DXCreateTextureFromFileInMemory: I construct a TGA file in memory
    - D3DXVec4CatmullRom: for camera movement

    To say it short: using D3DX saves a few bytes (~100), but with some more time and optimizations it would have been possible without D3DX. In fact, the code without D3DX exists in my project, too ;-)

    Carsten Dachsbacher

    March 30, 2005, 03:38 AM

    The fractals used for the planet textures are derived from good old "subdivision plasma" (aka midpoint displacement/diamond step) with a modified displacement strategy. This creates more plateaus and steeper slopes.

    The nebulas are really simple to create - as soon as I tell you that they are created using the buddhabrot technique (e.g. see Paul Bourkes webpage for more information). I used varying number of iterations for RGB-channels (others did that before) and not just a standard Mandelbrot/Julia fractal.


    March 30, 2005, 04:23 AM


    this is great! I am doing myself some 3D space flying demo for the game I am working on, but it does not look half as good as yours, too bad.

    The lighting looks awesome and that galaxy at the beginning, too :)



    March 30, 2005, 06:31 AM

    I need osme DX9 Hardware :'(

    Looks very neat from what I can see on the screenshots. It kinda reminds of "Beyond" by Conspiracy...


    March 31, 2005, 03:10 AM

    Nice... :)

    I first couldn't find d3dx9_24.dll in my sdk (though it's a few months old) ...
    I also couldn't hear any sound/music at all. ;)

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