CAPOW (Cellular Automata for Electric Power simulation) is an ongoing research project whose web page is full of scientific lingo which I find hard to understand but at least the program they have for download is fun to play with. Basically CAPOW draws colorful patterns based on the movements of some plotted graph. (I’m not even sure if that comes close to accurately describing how it works.) You can change the views of these patterns so they are rendered in 3-D, which looks pretty trippy. There’s even a screen saver version that draws these cool patterns when your computer is idle. There is plenty to play with here, none of which requires extensive scientific knowledge. All it takes is some curiosity and who knows, maybe the physics behind this program will start making sense.
Don’t let the 40MB download size scare you. The source code is included and there are tons of sample files to check out, but all you really need to run CAPOW are the executable files in the root of the ZIP file, which is only 1MB. Oddly enough it saves its settings to the WIN.INI file in the Windows folder.
The demo programs at this site are amazing feats of programming. I never even knew it was possible to create vividly rendered 3-D landscapes with cool lighting effects along with quality synthesized music in an executable file no larger than 65KB. There’s also a first-person shooter game here called kkrieger that’s only 96KB. It too is amazing. Be warned though. Although these programs are clean and very safe to run, some of them will generate false alerts from your anti-virus program so you probably won’t be able to see some of these feats of programming in action.
This is amazing. Juggler 2001 is a very cool animation of a guy juggling while being reflected in 3 bouncing mirror balls. The camera flies around the juggler as the sky continually changes color. All this in one executable file that’s only 4,000 bytes. There are multiple versions of this program included in the archive with various rendering styles. The Juggler_Fakemode.com program in the 8bit folder seems to work best with Windows XP. Check it out.
This is the coolest looking Tic-tac-toe game I’ve ever seen. The familiar X and O pieces have been rendered into wooden blocks that gently fall into a pool of crystal clear water and then float on the surface, moving along with the realistic wave effects. No doubt this is processor-hungry eye candy but if you have a fast enough computer with OpenGL, you’ll enjoy this unique approach to a timeless classic.
MIDI Jam is an incredible MIDI file player that plays your MIDI files in visual form using 3-D instruments that play the exact notes in real time. It’s just like watching a virtual orchestra play. Easily the coolest MIDI file I have ever seen. Check it out.