22 Mar

Amazing 4KB Ray Tracer

2008-07-27T12:24:18+00:00: Updated with an even more impressive 4 KB raytracer from RGBA1


The above is the output of a 4KB intro by Rgba that uses purely generated data to render a nice creepy landscape scene. To give some perspective: the same image compressed into a JPEG of similar size would look crap. And it still needs code for displaying the compressed image. You can try and run the program yourself, it can be downloaded from the Rgba site (32-bit Windows binary)2. It takes about 10 seconds for the image to appear on my Athlon XP 3000+. Let’s hope they will make a screen saver of it, with random parameters for the scene.

Things like this make me think of how much things have gone forward since I first looked into ray tracing. It used to take many hours for a similar image to render in POV-Ray (not including the time used for modelling!). Nowadays, you can optimize for size (as opposed to optimizing for speed) and still have a reasonably fast ray tracer. It’s not too far fetched that the above landscape could be rendered real-time on a fast processor and probably with some speed optimizations.

3 thoughts on “Amazing 4KB Ray Tracer

  1. My guesstimate of how long it takes on my 3000+ is really a big guess — in any case, it didn’t take a LONG time. As in “rendering an image in 1995”. :)

    I read that Carmack interview last week and I have agree with him. Real-time ray tracing starts to be a realistic thing for the masses but rasterizing has a pretty good head start. Maybe some kind of hybrid will be the future. It could already be possible to do low-res radiance by ray tracing and the detailed rendering with rasterizing.

    Btw, thanks for the links. They should be rather interesting for folks who are interested of stuff like this.

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