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After WeCan 2013
Last weekend I've been in £ódľ at WeCan - multiplatform demoparty. It was great! - well organized, full of interesting stuff to watch and participate, as well as many nice people and of course a lot of beer :) Here is my small photo gallery from the event. On the first, as well as second day in the evening there were some concerts with various music (metal, drum'n'bass). ARM - one of the sponsors, delivered a talk about their mobile processors and GPU-s. They talked about tools they provide for game developers on their platform, like the one for performance profiling or offline shader compiler. On Saturday there were competitions in different categories: music (chip, tracker, streaming), game, wild/anim, gfx (oldschool, newschool), game, intro (256B, 1k/4k/64k any platform) and of course demo (any platform - there were demos for PC, Android, but the winning one was for Amiga!) I think the full compo results and prods will soon be published on WeCan 2013 :: pouet.net.
But in my opinion, most interesting from the whole party was the real-time coding competition. There were 3 stages. In each stage, pairs of programmers had to write a GLSL fragment shader in a special environment similar to Shadertoy. They could use some predefined input - several textures and constants, including data calculated real-time from music played by a DJ during the contest (array with FFT). Time was limited to 10-30 minutes for each stage. The goal was to generate some good looking graphics and animation. Who had louder applause at the end was the winner and advanced to next stage, where he could continue to improve his code. I didn't pass to the second stage, but anyway it was fun to participate in this compo.
Just as one could expect by looking at what is now state-of-the-art in 4k intros, winning strategy was to implement sphere tracing or something like that. Even if someone had just one sphere displayed on the screen after the first stage, from there he could easily make some amazing effects with interesting shapes, lighting, reflections etc. So it's not suprising many participants took this strategy. The winner was w23 from Russia.
I think that this real-time coding compo was an amazing idea. I've never seen anything like this before. Now I think that such competition is much better - more exciting and less time-consuming than any 8-hour long game development compo, which is traditional on Polish gamedev conferences. Of course that's just different thing. Not every game developer is a shader programmer. But on this year's WeCan, even those who don't code at all told me that the compo about real-time shader programming was very fun to watch.