“Revision” is probably the Olympics of the demoscene. The world’s best tiny graphics coders assemble, show off their works, and learn new tricks to pack as much awesome into as few bytes as possible or make unheard-of effects on limited hardware. And of course, there’s a competition. Winning this year’s 256-byte (byte!) competition, and then taking the overall crowd favorite award, was [HellMood]’s Memories.
If you watch it in the live-stream from Revision, you’ll hear the crowd going (virtually) wild, and the announcer losing his grip and gasping for words. It’s that amazing. Not only are more effects put into 28 bytes than we thought possible, but there’s a full generative MIDI score to go with it. What?!?
But almost as amazing is [HellMood]’s generous writeup of how he pulled it off. If you’re at all interested in demos, minimal graphics effects, or just plain old sweet hacks, you have your weekend’s reading laid out for you. [HellMood] has all of his references and influences linked in as well. You’re about to go down a very deep rabbit hole.
The version of “Memories” presented here works in the DosBox emulator, and takes advantage of some of the particular architecture, but the general principles should be generalizable everywhere else. And if you’re not constrained to 256 bytes, such as if you’re using the comparably spacious flash ROM of any ten-cent microcontroller, you’ve got some wiggle room.
We’ve featured some pretty amazing demos in the last couple years, but they’ve been written for the incredibly luxurious SEGA Genesis and Amiga platforms. And as awesome as they are, both are characterized by sweet graphics and music that was composed using off-device resources and take up ridiculous amounts of memory in comparison. [HellMood]’s “Memories” is written, and optimized, in straight assembly.
Will we ever see more bang for the byte? We don’t expect to, but we’re more than happy to be surprised! Give us what you’ve got!