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Web GL Ocean Simulation (david.li)
695 points by clukic on Nov 26, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 134 comments



The code is quite cool to look at. Love seeing the extensive use of matrices and mathematics to create such a beautiful and mesmerizing display.

If anyone is interested in playing around with it, I threw it up at JSFiddle here: http://jsfiddle.net/zyAzg/

Excellent demo.


Just to clarify - the bulk of the work here is done in GLSL shaders on the GPU, not with matrices in JavaScript.

All that matrix code you see in the source here is basically just the minimum prerequisite for doing 3D graphics, it would be the same if you just wanted to get a spinning cube with some camera control.

The real magic happens in the shaders which compute water mesh displacement, normals and shading directly on the GPU (21 simulation passes + 1 rendering pass + 1 initialization pass, using several floating point textures, seems like stateful simulation with ping-ponging, basically using graphics rendering pipeline to do GPGPU without a need for OpenCL / CUDA).


this is magic? isn't this precisely what the hardware was designed for? i wouldn't call this GPGPU personally - this is very much graphics.

GPGPU is more about e.g. doing multi-precision integer arithmetic on the GPU - where the processors are used for something which doesn't fit the 'streaming processor being fed vectors' pattern which the architecture was made for (of which this demo is a very good example) - quite literally 'general purpose'.


Most people wouldn't have thought of using graphics hardware to do physical simulation, especially of fluids.


i'm not sure where to start here...

actually this is exactly what everyone thought when this hardware was new 10 years ago... and even before that we were thinking about it. look at rendering demos from that time that leveraged the shader - this was the dumbass obvious thing that almost everyone did.

this is not physical simulation - not even close. the navier-stokes equations are still really quite difficult to do anything real-time with unless you make some serious compromises.

i will conceded that this is very loosely based on physical reality. but actually, you can do a lot, /lot/ better with clever hacks.

as an example of one of the much, much better solutions which approximate reality than this - the old school 2d 'water' effect created from feedback and a clever 3x3 convolution filter shaped as a ring with a hole in the middle, for instance is visually much more impressive and computationally simpler - and it actually is a solution to a discretised wave equation. render this old effect as greyscale into a buffer than use it as a height/displacement-map style texture - with this solution implementing real-time ripples and fluid like response to objects entering the liquid comes down to rendering the outline into that buffer and these kinds of waves simply fall out rather than requiring maintenance or trig calls...


Cool, that sounds pretty awesome. Do you have it on a webpage I can run?


dingdingding


1999 navier stokes solver on GPU:

http://www.cs.unm.edu/~mskarim/fluid_smoke_gpu.htm

I was doing this in college 10 years ago. Cmon now.


It won't impress anyone on the internet until you port it to WebGL.


I wasn't trying to say this simulation isn't rad (it is) but the idea that the contribution here is that it does fluid dynamics on the gpu is absurd


simulation of fluids is huge in computer graphics and the GPU is completely necessary for anything close to real time. Physics engines are built to process on the GPU.

I was at one point perusing a PhD in Computer Graphics and I studied many papers ranging from haptic devices w/ liquid simulations (great paper on making pancakes which change properties as they cook [1]) to research from our lab on volume rendered simulations to prevent temperature shock in introducing cool water (relatively) to prevent a meltdown of a nuclear power plant.

[1]http://www.gmrv.es/Publications/2013/CMOL13/haptic_multistat...)


> ust to clarify - the bulk of the work here is done in GLSL shaders on the GPU, not with matrices in JavaScript.

I noticed that, which I thought was pretty cool. I was playing with it in Chrome on OS X when I realized that it wasn't doing too much to my CPU, even when I cranked the simulation up to max.


>basically using graphics rendering pipeline to do GPGPU without need for OpenCL / CUDA

It would be really cool to see a project that would make that easier to do in JS more generally. Basically a similar idea to Parakeet or Numba, but with GLSL as a target.


> >basically using graphics rendering pipeline to do GPGPU without need for OpenCL / CUDA

> It would be really cool to see a project that would make that easier to do in JS more generally. Basically a similar idea to Parakeet or Numba, but with GLSL as a target.

The problem with doing this on WebGL (which is essentially GLES2) is that the internal precision of the pipeline is not required to be a full 32 bit float. There are 10 bit integers and 20 bit floating point numbers and all sorts of funny number formats in the hardware. When most scientific/numeric computation is done in 64 bit double precision, going to less than 32 bits is a problem.

Of course it still could be done in WebGL, the problem is that running it on different hardware would yield different results. If this is acceptable (e.g. image processing where bit-accurate results are not required), then why not.


I think the closest you'll get right now is something like THREE.js that builds shaders for you out of a high level graphics API.


That seems to me actually further than just writing the GLSL shaders yourself. I suppose the MVP would be a library that simply eases getting data in and out of webgl.



I know I have seen such a project on github once, but for the life of me I can't find it right now.


I'm not sure how I'd feel about a repost to jsfiddle without my permission if I were the original author. How is this any different than reposting xkcd or other webcomics on alternate hosting without the author's permission?


I'd hardly call him the original author - A. it's based off Jerry Tessendorf's seminal Ocean Wave simulation paper from Siggraph 2001, and B. the code's very similar to Keith Lantz's non FFT version here, just in JS and WebGL shaders instead of C++:

http://www.keithlantz.net/2011/10/ocean-simulation-part-one-...


because it's code in a browser. if the author didn't want us to look at the code, why would they let us download it?


Because you can see the code does not mean you have the right to distribute it. With your argument you mean it is ok to record music from some music service and post this wherever you like just because it is possible?

Ability to do something does not mean it is ok to do it.


I'd argue that it WOULD be okay to repost sound files. Just because someone was the first to string together a set of information means that nobody else is allowed to share it?


Please look up copyright. I know the concept of magical numbers that nobody is allowed to duplicate is grating, but this is what business and life is built on.

As a musician, if I posted a piece of music to a site that permitted it to be played in their Flash player on the site, this does NOT mean I want it to be distributed does it? Unless I explicitly stated that it was alright to distribute it.

EDIT: I didn't mean this to come across as snappily as it did btw!


Seems to me you might be discussing two different things: moral and law.


Nobody's talking about looking at the code — the issue here is redistributing it on a platform outside of the author's control.


via reductio ad absurdum, do you also think it's alright to reappropriate swaths of CSS, HTML, and images from other people's web designs?


This isn't reappropriation. It's just putting something in public view in another form of public view, for better analysis.


This is close. Assuming this is all academic, then the error is lack of attribution.


if a person didn't want his car stolen, why would he leave his car door unlocked?

just because it's viewable, does not mean you are granted the rights to do whatever you want with it.


I checked - his code is not stolen - it's still there at the website.


Great demo, well written code. Though reading through it also highlights that JS is not a great language for linear algebra. But I don't think anyone is really suggesting otherwise.


"JS is not a great language for linear algebra." what does that even mean? It's a general purpose language. It all boils down to how you want to use it, like any other general purpose language. A lot of times in cases like this, people choose not to make it look pretty and easy to read to gain performance. This simulation is very CPU intensive, trying to have pretty code and speed is going to be tough.


Look into something like Octave, where matrices are first-order data types, and you'll know exactly what he means.


Or look at Python/Numpy. General purpose language with a sufficiently advanced library that doing linear alg stuff becomes a very pleasant experience. Way, way, way nicer than spelling it all out like this JS code has to.

Then again, I might be biased there since I've spent a decent chunk of time porting MATLAB/Octave code to Python/Numpy so that we could get it into production in a robust way..


I actually like python/numpy, mostly b/c I'm very comfortable in the python stack. Numpy has come a long way, such that it has sufficiently shaved the squared off corners of the square peg, so it pretty much fits into the round hole.


To me, Numpy/SciPy are Pythons "killer apps". I would say the plurality of times I have decided to use Python in the past two or three years, it was because of them.


Had a look. Still think JS is fine.


JS is fine; in the same way that is fine to use a sandbox shovel to dig the foundation of a house. Languages are designed for a purpose, though they can be used for all sorts of things.

There is a larger upfront cost to learning the right language for the right job. However, many people opt to try to fit a square peg into a round hole.


"what does that even mean?" "It's a general purpose language" You answered you own question.


Not only tough but ultimately impossible; like C it is nice that people can stretch JS to maximize performance - a developer can always maintain separate file with "nicely" formulated calculations but at the end of the day what matters is the end user's experience of speed in the final app.


Can I ask why JS is no good? (Genuine question)

I thought the only consideration would be speed? The algebra is mainly looping. Isn't that way most languages try to handball algebra to LAPACK/BLAS?


> If anyone is interested in playing around with it, I threw it up at JSFiddle here

How do you know the author is ok with that?


I wonder if it was all handwritten. Esp. functions like invertMatrix or premultiplyMatrix. Or what he used to generate the code.

I once used WolframAlpha to get me some complicated formulas and wrote a custom WA-plaintext-output-to-C translator for that output to use it in my code. Here is the script: https://github.com/albertz/helpers/blob/master/wolframalpha_...

Example input: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=solve+a*x_1%5E3+%2B+b*x...

Output: s->a = ((x1 + x2 - 2.) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)); s->b = ((- (((x1 + x2 - 2.) * pow(x1, 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((4. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((7. * pow(x2, 2.) * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - 1.) / (4. * x2 - 4.)); s->c = (1. / 2.) * ((((x1 + x2 - 2.) * pow(x1, 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((4. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((6. * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((pow(x2, 2.) * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((6. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((4. * (- (((x1 + x2 - 2.) * pow(x1, 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((4. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((7. * pow(x2, 2.) * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - 1.)) / (4. * x2 - 4.)) + 1.); s->d = (1. / 4.) * ((((x1 + x2 - 2.) * pow(x1, 3.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((4. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * pow(x1, 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - (((x1 + x2 - 2.) * pow(x1, 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((pow(x2, 2.) * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((2. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + x1 - ((pow(x2, 2.) * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((4. * (- (((x1 + x2 - 2.) * pow(x1, 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((4. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * (x1 + x2 - 2.) * x1) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - ((7. * pow(x2, 2.) * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) + ((6. * x2 * (x1 + x2 - 2.)) / pow(x2 - x1, 3.)) - 1.)) / (4. * x2 - 4.)) + 1.);

(https://github.com/albertz/music-player/blob/master/ffmpeg_p... SmoothClipCalc::setX)


It's worth pointing out that you should rarely, if ever, use exact formulas since there are a lot of problems with numerical stability amongst other things. Often it is faster to just numerically solve the system.

For example, in your case you are solving Ax=b which you can easily solve by a simple LU decomposition. Plus if your A changes, your exact formula is wrong, so using an LU decomposition just makes sense. Plus your code will look way cleaner as well. And way easier to debug.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LU_decomposition


The conventional wisdom (in scientific computing) that you seldom need to compute an inverse of a matrix does not apply to computer graphics. 4x4 matrix inverse is one of the most useful functions in computer graphics and is used a lot.

It is most often used as a hand rolled 4x4 matrix inversion function, not a generic NxN matrix inversion.


His system of equations is not linear so vanilla Ax=b won't work.


It is actually linear. a,b,c,d are the unknowns and x1 and x2 are the inputs.

A bit confusing since normally x1,x2 denote the unknowns.


Unless you like econometrics: then X are data, betas and gammas and sigmas are unknown (oh my!).

Jargon is fun, unless I want to communicate across fields :/.


Well today I learned. I never knew that. Stupid mathematics and its inconsistent notation.


It makes sense when you look at historical development, but there is no reason to learn separate notations now without learning all sides :).


Not if you are doing econometrics/statistics.


He's solving for abcd, which is linear in powers of x. I'm not going to argue for what's the correct solution, but it's certainly not that mess.


In case that the exact formulas for this solution would be numerically unstable, why would the LU decomposition improve the numerical stability? Also, why should it be faster?

Well, to be fair, in that example, if the compiler does those `pow(x2 - x1, 3.)` calls multiple times, this would not be optimal, but otherwise, it should be ok.

I did this because I will probably never ever change the matrix A here and I wanted to make that code very fast. Otherwise, it's of course a good idea to use some more generic solution.


I'm not implying yours are not unstable, it's just there is a chance it might be. Typically exact formulas exhibit such properties.

LU decomposition is numerically stable, for the most part. You can run into problems with floating point arithmetic if you're not careful. This just has to do with the way you solve the problem. By breaking up the matrix into an upper and lower triangular part and solving the resulting triangular system, you often avoid things like powers or square roots and just reduce everything to basic addition and multiplication which tend to have more stable numerical properties.

As for speed, well in this small case of N=4 there is probably very little speed increase since LU is O(N^{3}), although this can be improved depending on symmetries of the matrix. Maybe for N=5 I might write out the exact formulas but beyond that I would just a LU solver since the amount of code for an LU solver is fairly compact.

But, as you correctly point out, if you are never changing the matrix A then you are probably safe with writing it out this way.

I just come from a numerical fluids background so seeing exact formulas makes me uneasy. And in my work since the number of grid points N tends to be variable so general formulas are not available. Plus I've noticed a lot of programmers tend to not know numerical algorithms. In fairness, I don't blame them. All the numerical computations courses I've taken and TAed are very boring and don't make you do anything fun and numerical analysis has this reputation of being dry. If you actually made them write stuff like a Navier-Stokes solver, you would get them interested.

By the way if you want to learn more about numerical linear algebra, which is the cornerstone of most scientific and high performance computing, I personally enjoy Trefethen and Bau's book. Although it's aimed at a mathematical audience and assumes such.


Wait, no, LU decomposition is not stable unless you're doing pivoting. And if you're doing pivoting, then it very much stops looking like an "exact formula", because it'll get filled up by ifs and variable renamings, etc.

There's plenty of cases in graphics and simulation where solving even a 4x4 matrix needs careful numeric consideration (see this paper about tetrahedral mesh simplification, section III.D, page 7: http://www.sci.utah.edu/~hvo/papers/tetstream.pdf)

If you care about accuracy at all, do not use the straightforward "exact formulas" like Cramer's rule. That's just asking for trouble.

And for numerical linear algebra, I'd go start with Strang and chapter 9: http://math.mit.edu/linearalgebra/


You are quite correct about stability but I didn't want to get into technical details. And indeed you bring up correctly that such numerical issues mustn’t be treated lightly. I don't do computer graphics and the matrices I deal with are well conditioned such that problems of stability that arise due to linear algebra routines are negligible. In my simulations, instability arises due to the wrong time-stepping scheme, which is a completely different issue.

And good recommendation by Strang. I believe he has some fantastic MIT OpenCourse lectures on numerical linear algebra as well.


> I wonder if it was all handwritten. Esp. functions like invertMatrix or premultiplyMatrix. Or what he used to generate the code.

Yes, it probably is hand written. Or more likely, copied from some well known resource such as MESA.

Computer graphics deals extensively with 4x4 matrices, so there are hand written implementations of elementary operations such as matrix inverse, all unrolled and precomputed so that there's no loops or anything. (NOTE: this isn't really basic loop unrolling, these are not simple loops to begin with).

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1148309/inverting-a-4x4-m... http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2624422/efficient-4x4-mat...


For cases where the most basic simplifications are enough (0*x=0 etc.) there is this one: http://glat.info/flatorize/


> Your browser does not appear to support the required technologies.

It would've been nice to have an 'I don't care, proceed anyway' button. The check excludes Safari 7, which runs the demo just as well as Chrome.

http://jsfiddle.net/bYHfh

^ removes the hasWebGLSupport() invocation.

Very nice demo, though!


I am on latest chrome on win8, I still get that message. I guess it needs something more powerful than the onboard GPU I have.


I'm using the onboard/ondie Intel HD4000 and it works. You might have a driver that is blacklisted. Chrome and I think other browsers have a list of drivers known to allow execution of dangerous shader code and block WebGL in those cases.


Agreed. Chrome 27 on Linux, and I get that message, but the demo actually runs fine.


Is there a google chrome extension that allows me to modify the served javascript from the original page?


Agreed, I get the message, but your link leads to a very cool demo, on Firefox 17.


Thank you for the Youtube fallback! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrUehq6vJss&feature=youtu.be)


Honestly very impressive, idea: if made into fullscreen (i.e. without edges visible) and with an added horizon and an emulated sun-rise/sun-set this would make for totally enthralling watching - the "live'ness" of it makes it a thousand times more interesting to the eye than images or pre-recorded video material.


I'd love to see that!

A dream/stretch goal would be some sort of a vessel (fishing boat?) that allowed me to recreate the 'perfect storm' and WASD around while trying stay afloat.


It could even pull weather data for wind speed and direction along with time of day for the suns position.


Sorry if this is a dumb question, but how hard would it be to add a boat that realistically bobs up and down with the water?


Just calculate the boat's water displayment via some very approximate measure. Then use that to determine buoyancy relative to boat weight and just integrate that overtime and add some dampening to represent friction/inertia.

But there is a better way of doing interactive waves from a boat, wave particles:

http://www.cemyuksel.com/research/waveparticles/waveparticle...


Really not hard at all, actually -- depending on how realistic you'd like it, of course.


Very nice and fully custom code too! The UI is really clean and fits nicely with the WebGL via CSS transforms I believe. Props to you.

BTW geistner waves reference here: http://http.developer.nvidia.com/GPUGems/gpugems_ch01.html


Reminds me of this shader toy shader. https://www.shadertoy.com/view/XdsGDB


Yeah, love that one too. Insanely great. But it's raytracing the sphere and raymarching the water distance-fields per fragment, right? Not gonna fly realtime any longer (or at all) if you ever wanted to use it with additional polygonal art. ;)


Where would one start if they wanted to learn the math needed to achieve something like this?


I'd suggest a good book over Wikipedia articles, most math articles are particularly useless for learning stuff IMO.

I learned quite a lot from "Mathematics and Physics for Programmers", although I wouldn't call it perfect. I'm also quite interested in "Essential Mathematics for Games and Interactive Applications".

It's true, once you've got linear algebra figured out you can do a whole lot in the simulation/games space, but it helped me to learn the more advanced stuff in terms of games and simulations.


I've alluded to this in other comments but a lot of the mathematics is linear algebra. As gaius mentions, check out the wikipedia article. There are plenty of linear algebra books out there. Recently I've really enjoyed the book by Meyer which is free although it does get quite advanced and is mostly theorem / proof-style. It's also free so who can complain.

http://matrixanalysis.com/DownloadChapters.html

Here is a link I found yesterday which gets you solving the 2D NS equations.

http://lorenabarba.com/blog/cfd-python-12-steps-to-navier-st...

I've take a quick look through it and it seems pretty good. It introduces many of the most important ideas of solving PDEs. Obviously there are huge tomes on various techniques to solve the Navier-Stokes equations but this link, I think, does a pretty good elementary introduction. A more comprehensive treatment would require a more thorough background in mathematics (e.g. I wrote a 2D NS solver using the vorticity formulation and FFTs but to understand the equivalence requires a greater background).

As for the cool visualisation, I cannot help you. I don't know any fancy graphics programming since I normally use the built-in plotting tools of Python and Matlab.


Start with matrices and eigenvectors and take it from there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrix_(mathematics)


Might be system dependent, though couldn't help but notice a non-trivial difference in the OpenGL rendering quality, between Firefox and Chrome.

Chrome 32 beta on OS X, produced an anti-aliased canvas, whereas Firefox 25 had the dreaded jaggies @ 1680x1050


I have the same thing in Win and Linux.


This is a really awesome demo. Great work.

I'd love to see it with different ocean floors to be able to see how waves break in different locations based on certain conditions. Someone please make this happen! :D


It's heavily based on Jerry Tessendorf's "Simulating Ocean Water" paper, so it only does open water: interaction of water and wind using Phillips' Spectrum.

So it doesn't model the interaction with land in any way.


I really like the layout of the controls, it's a mix between infographics & some movie-like GUI and it works pretty well.


I can't use the controls at all (Chrome, OS X). Clicking the sliders just moves the whole plane around.


Works flawlessly here (Chrome, OS X).

I also love the controls, reminds me of Bret Vistors interactive document examples.


Awesome demo, and a great way to turn your laptop into a heater. Still, performed quite well on my 15" retina mbp.


I knew this is a bit irrelevant, just want to show a pure js ripple effect which I borrowed before: http://jsfiddle.net/esteewhy/5Ht3b/6/


This runs at about 7 frames per second in Chrome on my 10-month-old 13" Macbook Pro at work.

Are people with better graphics cards seeing 60 (or even 30) fps? I'd love to be able to see this in all its glory.


I don't know how to check the FPS, but it looks perfectly smooth to me on a 2010-era 15" MBP.


It's definitely performing better than that on my 2nd gen 13" MBP on Chrome. Could it be struggling with retina?


60fps in Chrome on MBP 15"


60fps here (3.4ghz Core 2 Quad/GTX 470/Firefox/fullscreen 1920x1200). CPU usage is 9%, GPU usage is 22%.


20.1fps, 2008 Macbook unibody, Chrome. Not using much CPU so seems to be doing GPU stuff.


Running better than that for me in Chrome on the Mid-2010 13" MBP work has me on.


60fps (old Intel HD graphics in Linux Mint).


Relevant: http://www.babylonjs.com/Scenes/Worldmonger/index.html

Scene with water, made with BabylonJS.


Hitting ctrl-+/ctrl-- on chrome leads to interesting results :) Impressive demo, kept staring at it for a while pondering the exciting future the web platform has in it.


I am surprised how this runs smoothly even on lower end PCs. I was able to view it perfectly smooth on a old Dual Core, integrated graphics and 2GB RAM linux box.


Too sad they are using "OES_texture_float" extension :( It would be more interesting to see it done with pure WebGL.


I'd like to listen to the bottom edge of the simulated region played back as a waveform as the simulation progresses.


Crashed my browser (using Firefox 25 on Arch Linux). Maybe it would've worked, but I only waited for 25 seconds.


Wow, this is awesome. After many years of experience in programming this still makes me feel like a total idiot.


excellent work, thanks for sharing. my wavyness simulation resulted in more literal results [1] so i'm glad to have code to study for improvements.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnG6I1nsHy4


Error on line 36: An ”body” start tag seen but an element of the same type was already open.


A great demonstration on why such validation doesn't really matter at all.


That may be the only wave in SoCal today. But can I surf it? :)


Redundant but I just want to say it: this is well done:)


Very realistic, with the foam it would be perfect


That is really cool.

Is that some sort of fluctuating perlin noise?


I would love to see this code fully commented!


sheesh, all these great blogs... Mine looks like it was made by a middle schooler.


That's super cool!


This is really cool


looks cool, but it's really slow.


Really cool!


Love it!


which browser can display?


wow this is great!


I remember seeing this run smoothly on a P2 after a very small executable download in late 90's. How far we've come in a big, stupid circle back where we started.

Now instead of a small executable, we need a large executable to sit on top of a large API on top of the CPU before even touching the GPU, and a network connection to download all the dependant APIs and libraries every time the page is loaded.

The only impressive thing about this demo is how many YCombinator readers are impressed with blinkenlights


Yes. Makes me smile when I hear the word "demo" being thrown around. I always thought the point of a demo was to come up with something impressive with very limited resources. Remember 64k demos? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv7y3eKyVUo


I'd venture that the differences these day is that there is no install step and it works on many different systems.


>many different systems.

Sure, for varying values of "works" and "different" and "no install step".

I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that a DOS executable from the 90's will run on more machines in the world than this demo, given "platforms" similarly to what this demo takes as a given.


Sure, for varying values of "works" and "different" and "no install step".

You could say the same thing about anything related to web browsers. What's your point?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that a DOS executable from the 90's will run on more machines in the world than this demo

Right... except a user has to trust you enough to download and execute your DOS binary rather than just execute a javascript file in a browser sandbox.


I already have a sandbox, it's called a computer.


People value being not having to manually download and install software. You can either take advantage of this, or you can complain about it.


...or come up with a better way to download and install software, oh wait a minute Apple did that and made a billion dollar industry downloading apps.


Requiring & depending upon one corporation to monitor code that is written is not technological progress.


until someone comes up with a way to determine what is bad versus good then that is perhaps the best there is. I use companies to do all sorts of things for me - watching software is just one more thing.


You know...IE11 does support webgl...just saying. (I don't think it checked...)


computers have now become so powerful that this stuff is easy. you can implement it in a way which, aside from platform, is really quite naive and wasteful - and still get applause.

most programmers can come up with a much better solution to this problem if removed from google and forbidden access to gpu gems.

this is at least well presented though...

its a shame the code has been posted. whilst i normally assume that demos like this are unlikely to be smart or impressive these days - this time i know for sure. its actually a good deal worse than i ever would have imagined.

i'm still quite torn whether all this horsepower is a good thing or not.... on the one had we get a demo like this without much in the way of understanding or resourcefulness. on the other hand we have hundreds of man hours being wasted at dev studios because clever efficiency is rapidly becoming a thing of the past...


"most programmers can come up with a much better solution to this problem if removed from google and forbidden access to gpu gems." I doubt I could come up with such a solution even with access to google and gpu gems. I am not a particularly good programmer, but I know for certain that most programmers wouldn’t even know where to begin to implement something like this.


don't be so doubtful. i started out down this path without google and the internet so its especially easy for me to see, but consider: do you even want to make this?

if you did i'd bet you'd find a way - google, wikipedia and free copies of gpu gems make it stupidly easy. the amount of understanding required to produce a demo like this is no more than is required to copy someone else's code or algorithm in any other discipline.

even without those, if you wanted to make this i bet you could come up with something pretty good on a first attempt. even now i bet that somewhere in there you have a pretty good idea of an approach - you might think its dumb, inefficient or must have a flaw in it - you might have no idea about what you need to feed the rendering pipeline - but i'd bet its pretty good - probably a lot better than you'd give it credit for.


What is wrong with this solution?




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