Writing about vectorballs gives me a chance to pay tribute to pioneers in Atari demos as this effect is very old. Indeed even though I cannot tell a date I know for sure that it belongs to the first demos effects that were born in the middle of the 80s.
On the paper it is quite plain : first you need a painted ball (painted by a graphician and not drawn by programming) then you build up shapes by linking several of these balls together. Here comes a first screenshot :
Even tho vectorballs were very fashionable at that time, they were shown in so many different ways that you never really grew bored. Have a look at the screenshot above with a blue dithered floor and sky full of stars and tell me it doesn’t look nice.
In this other example shown below you can notice how stylishly the screen is presented with a gorgeous mirror effect set on the ground while a complex object made of vectorballs keeps spinning around.
Once again we can admire the way vectorballs are used to add design to an already stylish presentation. I don’t think that displaying some vectorballs requires a lot of coding skills but of course you need to be a talented coder to display as many as possible ! Besides design and color choices really make the difference and allow a very old effect to still look young and kicking even today ! Vectorballs can also be seen in unlimited bobs or sprites screens but this is the worst example I could give you as this effect loops after a few seconds and gets boring to death, what reminds me of shadebobs somehow.
Unfortunately recent demos have almost completely forgotten vectorballs and that is a bit sad since this effect can still be used in new ways (or even the good old way provided you bring a polished screen). 🙂 I only have a couple of examples of modern demos featuring vectorballs but they really look pretty as shown below :
Since vectorballs keep moving it is surely time for a live presentation thanks to some videos excerpts like this one taken from the wonderful2003 Fantasia demo (screenshot above) by Dune and Sector One.