I am not sure I can say why but I feel drawn to fractals, I just love them, their colors, eerie shapes and cryptic patterns ! But should I first tell you what a fractal is ? 🙂 They are shapes generated by mathematical formulas that repeat endlessly, especially when you zoom in. There are fractals all around us in natural elements such as leaves, flowers, grass, snowflakes and many others.
Have a closer look at the shape right above and you may notice that every « branch » ends with the same pattern. In other words if he had a magnifying glass we could see that the same pattern repeats only smaller and we could zoom in again and again… These patterns are named after the people who discovered them or created them (but I’m not a fractal expert you know). Among the most famous fractals I can name mandelbrot, julia or sierpinski…
The only real drawback with fractals is that they require calculation time, hence some (more or long) delay before being displayed on screen and with such limited computer as the Atari ST it truly makes a difference and somehow becomes a challenge. Not to mention that too many fractals can end up being boring to death. Yet if you find the right balance between delay and time spent on screen I believe that fractals can still be enjoyable even today. 🙂
Fractals met a peak of fame and glory in the 90s but today they are seldom seen any more. Maybe we have seen all that could be done with that effect. They could return but under another approach and to be honest I have no clue about that form. Hard to think about crazy ideas featuring fractals because of the calculation implied or else we would be presented with a « precaculated effect » or even an animation (see my article on that topic).
All that could be said about fractals has been said : mysterious patterns repeating endlessly letting us dive into another realm… Maybe not worth a full poem so let’s show you some videos instead 🙂
We start with the Coast demo by Black Monolith Team. This screen is a small part of the 1991 Punish Your Machine megademo, a collaboration of several demo crews. You will note the calculation time I mentioned earlier before another fractal is displayed.
And now we end with a very special video as it shows a demo… that has never been released ! You can guess that I was stunned when I found that video of the 1993 Final demo by Extream ! The zoom effect on the fractal is really impressive as well as the rotating 3D fractal (even tho we can clearly see this is only an animation :)).