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8 comments

Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

Posted May 10, 2010 12:01 AM by T1tan01

.theprodukkt is a German demogroup that developed an award-winning first person shooter (FPS) video game that debuted in 2004. The game was brought to a 96K video game competition known as Breakpoint, where it received national acclaim. Additionally, the game won two German developer prizes at the Deutscher Entwicklepreis in 2006 in the Innovation and Enhancement category.

It's a Matter of Perspective

So what's so special about this FPS? It only uses 96 Kilobytes (KB) of space! That might not mean a lot to the uninitiated, so let's put this into perspective. .kkrieger, as the game is called, uses 97,280 bytes of disk space. A megabyte (MB), which comprises about 1/3 of your average MP3 file, consists of 1,048,576 bytes (B). This means that a song you are listening to right now contains 32.337 times the total memory space taken up by .kkrieger.

Now let's take a modern day FPS, Unreal Tournament 2004, as an example. This game requires a DVD to hold all 5 Gigabytes (GB) of information required for installation. If .kkreiger wanted to fill up this disk, you would have to copy it 55,188 times onto the DVD to equal the space taken up by Unreal Tournament. I know what you're thinking, "This FPS must look like garbage if it takes up so little space". Not so fast. Through the world of procedural generation, three-dimensional objects can be created with rich textures and realistic shading to yield remarkable visuals.

What's Procedural Generation?

With most video games, content is stored previously and then grabbed when needed while a user is interacting with the game. Procedural generation is different in that content is not previously stored, but generated on the fly through mathematical algorithms. Essentially, simple textures and meshes are stored that take up very little space instead of fully-designed models. Desired shapes are achieved through the deformation of simple shapes such as circles and boxes. The game generates its content on the idea that a fully-developed model can be created through a simple piece of the whole object. For all of you mathematicians out there, this is a branch extending from the concept of fractal geometry.

The game itself is separated into levels that contain creatures as well as power-ups and eventually boss fights. Every time a user enters a level, the creatures and the level itself are created using the approach described above. The result is a great-looking FPS that takes up very little space. If more games utilized this method of creation, the sky would be the limit for graphics and in-game content. For more information or to download .kkrieger, click here.

Resources:

TheProdukktt http://www.theprodukkt.com/kkrieger

Wkipedia .kkrieger http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.kkrieger

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#1

Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

05/10/2010 9:58 AM

I'm guessing that this is a offshoot of a contest that is possibly still reguarly held.

That contest is to code graphics and music (graphics being a animated scene) into 64k Bytes.

The people would code using DirectX and compression alogarithum's that would create pretty stunning visual and musical "Video's"

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#7
In reply to #1

Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

06/01/2010 9:27 AM

Check out "64k Intro"

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#2

Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

05/10/2010 10:20 AM

sound similar to fractal programing (or the concept of) which I thought all games are using now. This must also be some compromise, like this game may require more computing power, but maybe not much more than it would require when retrieving data the old way.

p911

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#3
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Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

05/10/2010 11:41 PM

It must be something to create textures through mathematical algorithms vs replication of texture images. Can you imagine World of Warcraft going from 18GB to say 200MB or less by utilizing this style of programming visuals. Only drawback to this is the computing power necessary to generate vs replicate images. Very Cool, but I bet the CPU is pegged to keep up with the computations.

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Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

05/11/2010 9:26 AM

Even games running on fully loaded PCs or PS3s utilize a multitude of tricks to shrink their data storage and wring out run-time performance. But I suspect a minority of games use fractal techniques to procedurally generate textures or geometries. No algorithm can compare to the creativity and skill of a good artist - besides, artists are a lot more fun to work with.

One common fractal technique that is used is terrain generation (google "fractal mountains"). Though again, you really want your real playfield to be carefully and creatively populated with eye candy, fractals can help extend your arena effectively infinitely. If you find yourself playing a game, for example a driving game, that effectively goes on "forever," you're probably playing on fractal terrain.

I would expect good performance from this particular game. The generation of the levels ("loading...") might take a little longer than loading megabytes of data from disk, but you'd be surprised. Disks are very slow, after all.

I'll have to check this game out. It should only take ten seconds to download. :)

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#6
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Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

05/11/2010 1:02 PM

I believe the SVG graphic file format is similar in concept, and is really a subset of the XML language.

Chris

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#5

Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

05/11/2010 10:37 AM

Perhaps this isn't the same thing, but the game that amazed me was "Another World" which was also called "Out of this World". This game came out in 1991 and the whole game fit on one 1.3Mb floppy disk and played fine on my 486 33MHz machine. I found a youtube video of someone playing the entire game, which I bet takes up more space than the game its self.

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#8

Re: Sorry Megabyte, We Don’t Need You Anymore

06/04/2010 4:17 PM

If I remember correctly, the limitation to this kind of procedural scenery/terrain generation is that it is limited to a 2 and one half axis world, rather than true 3D.

There is currently no way to satisfy the concept of up and down or over and under to emulate real world conditions. This is why these types of games use levels or zoning to simulate major terrain changes; especially "floors" on interior spaces.

FWIW,

Hooker

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