Seam Carving & Tiny First Person Shooters

My friend James was impressed by the Tilt-shift photography I mentioned in the previous post, and sent me some related material.

Seam carving is an image resizing technique which works by identifying horizontal and vertical seams with low information content and then removing them, rather than simply removing pixels according to a fixed scaling algorithm.

This means that the proportions of important items within the picture are maintained. The same technique can be adapted to increase the size of an image (especially in a single dimension) without making it look skewed. And more intriguingly, by first marking parts of the image as “low value”, you can seamlessly erase elements of a picture automatically — no Photoshop expertise required.

This YouTube video does a good job of describing it:

Not content with this, James also pointed me towards .kkrieger, a simple 3D shoot-em-up with an impressive twist: the executable size is less than 100 KB. (Yes, that’s Kilobytes). The program would have easily fitted onto a standard 170 KB floppy disk from the Commdore 64 era 25 years ago!

Despite this, the game has pretty decent graphics and sound, not dissimilar to Doom, as this screenshot shows:

Screenshot from .kkrieger

The amazingly small file size is achieved by generating all textures algorithmically at runtime. This leads to long, though not excessive load times.

To download the game or read more about it, visit the main .kkrieger website.