What are 64k intros?

64k scene is a website about so called 64k intros, a kind of size constrained digital art from the demoscene.

The demoscene is an international computer art subculture which explores artforms on computer platforms. Often following self-imposed sets of rules or constraints, those artforms include graphics, music, game or animation, but the most typical one are the "demos".

Demos stand at the crossroad of short films, music videos and video games. Although they present a non-interactive experience, often music driven, like a music video does, they are rendered in real-time like video games are. Intended to awe their audience, they are a demonstration of programming, visual art and musical skills.

64k intros are demos with an added arbitrary limitation on the size: they consist of a single binary file of no more than 65,536 bytes. With no extra assets, no network access and no extra libraries, they intend to further astonish the viewer with what can be achieved within such a small size.

One of the core competencies of the demoscene is size-coding, which tries to make the program code as lean as possible. In addition, the tracking of music as a programming-like composing technique and the hacking attitude aimed at mastering new hardware platforms play important roles in the scene. In all those instances, self-limitation is an important creative driver.

Like other demoscene productions, 64k intros are usually shown during competitions at festivals known as demoparties. But despite being released online, they rarely get the attention they deserve. This website intends to show some noteworthy examples of the genre, and gather some documentation and resources for creators, newcomers and seasoned alike, who are interested in this kind of size coding.

How to watch an intro?

If you click on a screenshot, it will open a capture on YouTube. Unfortunately, the visual quality is lower due to the video encoding. While YouTube captures are convenient, you may consider downloading the intro and excuting it on your machine.

When you click on the Information icon, you will be redirected to Pouet, which contains more information about the production. In particular, you will see the platform (often Windows, occasionally Linux or Web). You will also find the download link: it is usually a .zip file containing the executable (with a few other files that are not required for running the intro, such as a screenshot or an info file). The intro shouldn't need anything else to run, except for up-to-date drivers.

Antivirus software might flag issues with an executable. This happens because of the compression techniques (some viruses have used the same tools). The executables have been tested many times by lots of people, without any issue. We regularly contact antivirus companies to avoid the false reports, but we don't have a perfect solution.

How was the selection made?

This website shows a curated selection of 64k intros that are noteworthy for their artistic or technical qualities. The initial selection was made using popularity on pouet.net and Meteoriks nominations as input.

You can contribute to this website by opening pull requests, or give feedback in the issue tracker.

Where to see more from the demoscene?

Pouet and Demozoo contain more exhaustive lists of demos.

We also recommend checking:

If you are interested in the topic, consider attending a demoparty. It is a great way to discover the demoscene, and meet the people.