By Charles Webb
The short video below is called The Timeless, and on the surface, it’s a clever little fly-through of urban environments and the halls of old buildings set to techno. It’s the kind of thing that you’d see thrown up on the back wall of a rave and if you saw it, you’d shrug and continue down your K-hole.
But Mercury’s creation is technically very impressive: the entire animation is a hefty 64 kilobyte file. Now as a point of comparison, the original Oregon Trail is about 1.8 MB, or about 28 times smaller than that floppy disk-era game.
Created as part of the Revision 2014 demoscene event, The Timeless uses an algorithm that creates procedurally-generated visuals and music in real time. Procedurally-generated content is nothing new: the indie gaming scene is packed with titles that use procedural generation algorithms to create randomized levels and content.
It’s basically the programmer’s way of flexing his or her technical muscles in order to show how they can create A/V content programmatically (the demoscene is also where the chiptune movement was born).