The new version of our tool is released! Here is the changelog:

  • Allow forward declarations in the input code and remove them (functions are automatically reordered). Please use the syntax “int foo(int x)” and not “int foo(int)”.
  • More intelligent renaming based on the context the variable is used.
  • Allow structs in source code, fields are not renamed. Field names cannot look like vec fields (.rgb, .r…) because I haven’t written the typer yet.
  • Remove the –macro-threshold option. Will be fixed in a future version.
  • As usual, several bug fixes

The most important news is the improvement on the renaming strategy. In the 0.4 version, the Minifier tried to reuse the same variables again and again, and increased the frequency of a few characters. Now, it’s getting more complex: the name of a variable  depends on how it is used.

For instance, if you often call functions “max” and “mix”, you’ll often have the “x(” pattern. Thus, GLSL Minifier will probably name your function x to increase of the frequency of this pattern. The same goes for each two-char pattern the tool will find.

Here are some statistics I’ve just made, using shaders from 4k intros. I’ve taken a short C file, inserted the shader as a string, compiled, and compressed using Crinkler (/COMPMODE:SLOW /ORDERTRIES:3000). So, it’s all about making the shader compress better. Numbers are the filesize in bytes:

  • Retrospection
    • Original: 1462 (hand optimized)
    • Minifier 0.4: 1429
    • Minifier 0.5: 1421
  • Valleyball
    • Original: 2240 (using old BluFlame minifier)
    • Minifier 0.5: 2184
  • Another theory
    • Original: 1511 (hand optimized)
    • Minifier 0.4: 1475
    • Minifier 0.5: 1463
  • Lunaquatic
    • Minifier 0.4: 2635
    • Minifier 0.5: 2613
  • Sult
    • Minifier 0.4: 1411
    • Minifier 0.5: 1408
  • Slicesix
    • Minifier 0.4: 2493
    • Minifier 0.5: 2432

Conclusion: If you’re not using any tool to minify your GLSL shader, I bet you could save at least 20 bytes on your 4k intro. Try and see!

=> GLSL Minifier 0.5

I’ve just fixed a few bugs in GLSL Minifier. Here is the list of changes for the 0.4.2 version:

  • Smaller file to download (700kb instead of 1.8Mb), using MPress. Thanks eyebex!
  • Print -.5 instead of -0.5. Thanks to stan_1901!
  • Parse octal and hexadecimal numbers. Bug found in Valleyball source code, thanks BluFlame!
  • Can compress several shaders at once, but only if the –preserve-externals flag is set.
  • Reorder uniform/varying/attribute declarations. This reduces the size of some shaders.
  • Fix a bug where the order of instructions was messed-up. Thanks to XT95!
  • Fix the –macro-threshold option. Thanks to Řrřola!
  • Forbid the reusing variable names in the same function (which is rejected by ATI compiler). Thanks again to Řrřola!
  • Handle multiline macros in the parser. Bug found in The Wind under my wing code, thanks Navis!
  • Improve the way the C header file is generated, trying to avoid name clashing. Thanks again eyebex!

My testing scripts are not fully set up, so you might find some other bugs. Please report them! If you use the –preserve-externals option, you might get name clashes if you use one letter names. That will be fixed another time.

Download GLSL Minifier

After months of work, we’ve finally released our first demo: B – Incubation. As I love reading how other demos are made, I’m going to share a few things.

Zavie and I seriously started Incubation in January. At this time, we had no real experience in size coding, and almost no code base. We didn’t even know how to write a shader. All we had was a texture generator. We decided to start from IQ’s 64k framework (to get compiler options and basic code optimized for 64k intros). We planned to release our intro at Breakpoint in April, but it was so crappy that we decided to delay it. We finally released it at Evoke, in August.

Some groups (e.g. Farbrausch, Conspiracy, Fairlight) create their demos with a tool, while other groups like ASD prefer pure code. In Incubation, everything is hard-coded, but we used some tricks to improve our productivity and reduce the number of compilations. When the code is compiled in debug-mode, many shortcuts are available, such as time-control (play, pause, backward, forward), and camera control with mouse and keyboard. Camera data is stored in an array, and we use a spline to interpolate positions (thanks IQ!). This array is in a separate file: In debug-mode, we can reload it at any time; in release, the file is simply included. The same goes for the light position.

We also use a tricky macro, called Tweakable Value, to tweak our constants at runtime. For instance, we use it to update text position, fade in / fade out dates, and so on. As you can see, there are many things we can edit and update without recompilation (shaders are obviously reloadable at runtime, too).

In Incubation, we use about 50 colour textures, 25 normal maps (for parallax mapping), and 25 specular maps. Everything is generated in code – we don’t have any fancy node-based editor. I wrote a minimalist script language to call the texture generator functions and get immediate feedback without recompilation. We later replaced this broken language with picoc, a C interpreter.

For fun, I put this texture generator on my webserver. Imagine: You enter a few lines of code in your browser, press a button, and see the generated texture within a second. As everything is shared, we can see when other people’s textures, copy and edit their code, etc. Although a browser is not the best tool to write code, it is awesome for social interactions. We started making many textures for fun, we invited our friends to play with the online texgen, and we got many interesting results. For example, Rubix made a Pacman shape for fun, I decided to put it on a wall, and it ended up in the demo.

Pacman on a wall

Here is a random list of things we’ve used: kkrunchy, v2, game of life, L-system, Voronoi cells, Perlin noise, convolution filters, parallax mapping, godrays, depth of field, glow, Bresenham’s line. Nothing new here, but this might help some beginners.

Size limit has not been an issue for us; 64 kilobytes is a lot when you have only code and no external library. We didn’t even apply the planned optimizations, but we’ll probably do the following for our next intro: truncate floats, reorder data, do delta encoding, obfuscate shaders… Here is the estimated compressed size of a few parts:

  • Music: 15.5k
  • Textures: 10k
  • Camera data: 4k
  • Animations data: 5k
  • Shaders: 3.5k

Yes, this is very different from Panic Room, about which Smash mentioned that “You might be surprised to learn that the shaders are the biggest single (yes, compressed) data block in the 64k, bigger than the meshes, samples, music data, texture data etc. modern rendering apparently doesn’t come for free.”

Next time, we’ll improve our rendering and get meshes. :)

So last weekend we were at Evoke in Cologne, Germany. It was our first time there, and we decided to go after being told to do so by some friends and, to be honest, also because of the very engaging invitation demo. The event was great, beyond what we already heard about it: rather cheap entry fee, cool atmosphere, nice barbecue, great sound system and huge screens in an awesome location, an old factory (although not very straightforward to find). We were surprised by the number of productions and their level: there sure are things to watch or listen to. But from our point of view, one of the best things was the cheering feedback from other sceners. It seems some people liked the adventures of our spinning OpenGL cube. :-)

A Weighted Companion Cube and the Evoke 64kB demo trophee

We released earlier our first 64kB PC demo: “Incubation”, codenamed B.

The live feedback of the public, reacting at most winks we put, was really awesome. Likewise, the comments we can already see on Pouët are very much appreciated. Thank you all. As we are very tired, we will get some rest first (actually, two of us three are already sleeping somewhere :) ), then we will fix a couple of things: correct bugs some people seem to be experiencing, capture a video, etc.

For now, here are just these links:
Pouët page: B – Incubation
Download Incubation

Goodnight all.

We’ve just released GLSL Minifier 0.4! It fixes many problems, and add some new features. Tuesday update: version 0.4.1 improves a few things and adds an option to preserve external values, such as uniforms and varying. Here is the list of changes:

  • Command line is properly handled. Try the “-h” option to see the complete list of flags.
  • The -o option has been added, if you want to get the output in a particular file.
  • There is also a –shader-only, if you don’t want the C header and the formatted string.
  • Vectors accesses are made uniform, using (by default) only the “rgba” set. For instance, “foo.x” is renamed into “foo.r”.
  • Macros can be inserted to shorten external functions calls and types. This can greatly reduce the uncompressed output shader. However, the compressed file will most of the time be bigger (we’ve tested with Crinkler and kkrunchy). You can choose the threshold to control the number of macros that are inserted. This option is disabled by default.
  • The renaming algorithm has been changed. Previous versions of this tool were based on the GLSL 1.10 spec, which states that functions and variables use different namespaces. This is not true anymore since GLSL 1.20, so I had to remove a few tricks in the renamer & obfuscator.
  • The smoothstep function can be rewritten using IQ’s trick. It’s not done by default, because it’s not always a good thing to do.
  • Some information is now displayed on the console.
  • The –preserve-externals option has been added, so that you can use this compressor even if you have multiple shaders!

GLSL Minifier has been tested on the hand-optimized shader used in Retrospection, a great 4k intro (many thanks to FRequency and TITS who provided me the code). Here is the data:

Input file size is: 1727
File parsed. Shader size is: 1725
Rewrite tricks applied. Shader size is: 1723
Identifiers renamed. Shader size is: 1610
Macros added.
Minification finished. Shader size is: 1495

Note that this is the uncompressed size (size after macro injection is not useful). Once compiled with the C code and packed with Crinkler, it turns out we saved more than 30 bytes using this tool. If they had GLSL Minifier, FRequency and TITS could have improved even more their intro!

GLSL Minifier was also able to save a few bytes on To the Road of Ribbon, even if auld^titan spent time optimizing the intro to fit in 1k on Windows. Here is an example of output of the tool. See how it’s easy to include the file in your C/C++ project!

  1. #ifndef SHADER_CODE_H_
  2. #define SHADER_CODE_H_
  3. const char *shader_roadOfRibbon = ""
  4.  "float c=gl_Color.r*55;"
  5.  "float e(vec3 e)"
  6.  "{"
  7.    "return min(cos(e.r)+cos(e.g)+cos(e.b)+cos(e.g*20)*.02,length(max(abs(e-vec3(cos(e.b)*.2,cos(e.b)*.2-.5,0))-vec3(.2,.02,c+3),vec3(0))));"
  8.  "}"
  9.  "vec3 o(vec3 c)"
  10.  "{"
  11.    "return normalize(vec3(e(c+vec3(.02,0,0)),e(c+vec3(0,.02,0)),e(c+vec3(0,0,.02))));"
  12.  "}"
  13.  "void main()"
  14.  "{"
  15.    "vec3 v=vec3(cos(c),-cos(c*.5)*.5+.5,c),r=normalize(vec3(gl_FragCoord.rg*.002-1,1)),n=v;"
  16.    "for(int c=0;c<55;c++)"
  17.      "n+=r*e(n);"
  18.    "vec3 l=n+=r=reflect(r,o(n));"
  19.    "for(int c=0;c<55;c++)"
  20.      "n+=r*e(n);"
  21.    "gl_FragColor=abs(dot(o(n),vec3(.1)))+vec4(.2,cos(c*.5)*.5+.5,sin(c*.5)*.5+.5,1)*length(n-v)*.01+length(n-v)*.01+(1-min(l.g+2,1.))*vec4(1,.8,.7,1);"
  22.  "}";
  23. #endif // SHADER_CODE_H_

Today is the new release of our GLSL obfuscator & minifier.

Here is the change log:

  • Feature: Variables that start with “i_” are now inlined. That will help you keep a clear code, name your values, while still having a short shader code.
  • Feature: The shader in the C code is now split into many lines (using quotes on every line), and indented. That will help you maintain the obfuscated GLSL code.
  • Improvement: The useless space that sometimes appeared after “else”, “do” and “return” is removed.
  • Bug fix: Postfix operators are now handled.
  • Bug fix: Some parenthesis were missing +various other fixes

Edit: I’ve just updated this 0.3 release to include a few additional fixes (mainly parse errors), thanks to Ponce.


GLSL Minifier has just been released. This is the first public version, but it’s still a preview. It has not been much tested, and probably contains bugs. However, I believe it’s usable and it should help intro coders a lot.

Changes since 0.1 version:

  • Bug fix: problems with field accesses
  • Bug fix: macros are now accepted (but ignored) in the user code
  • Feature: multiple declarations with the same type are now squeezed.
  • Feature: better renaming for the functions, they now have a separated namespace.
  • Feature: use overloaded functions in the generated code: if two functions don’t have the same number of parameters, they can have the same name.