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 :

One of the very first appearances of vectorballs courstesy of the  Lost Boys with the 1990  Mindbomb demo (video below).

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.

One shape among the many to be seen in the 1991  Gateway to Hexenland demo by Avengers.

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.

The title screen of 1992 My socks are weapons is perfeclty served by  vectorballs. u service du design. Superbe intro du groupe Legacy.

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 :

A DNA branch made of  vectorballs ! Thanks to Dune, Sector One and MJJ Prod for this screen taken from My Galaxy. (2007)
Vectorballs still rock the place in 2003 ! Style helps a lot !

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.

Let’s continue and actually end with a couple of excepts taken from the famous Mindbomb demo by mythical The Lost Boys. Released in 1990 it still remains a milestone in the history of the Atari ST !