I'm interested to know whether the demoscene has historically introduced new techniques that would have otherwise taken longer to discover, contributing to the progress of computer graphics. Has it become more or less relevant over the years?

I know that some of the early demos took advantage of known hardware errors and went beyond what was considered possible at the time, but what I'm interested in is whether any of the new techniques introduced were then taken up by researchers or professional programmers to become part of the mainstream accepted way of doing things.

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to add meta on wether or not this is a relevant qestion? $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    Aug 27, 2015 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ @joojaa no one has complained about it yet, but feel free to raise it on meta if you like. $\endgroup$ Aug 27, 2015 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ It really does seem like a "conversation" and not a question that can be answered. I know on other stack exchange sites that they prefer questions that can be answered, but not sure what the policy here is. $\endgroup$
    – Alan Wolfe
    Aug 28, 2015 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @AlanWolfe we're in the progress of deciding collectively what our policy will be, so go ahead and mention anything you find relevant on Meta. That way we can have clear guidelines before opening up to a wider community in public beta. I do like to ask questions on the borderline to try and kick start that discussion about policy... $\endgroup$ Aug 28, 2015 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ At SIGGRAPH this year, there was a demoscener who showed an old demo. They did texture mapping with two instructions per pixel, by using self-rewriting code. Not exactly a discovery, but pretty neat. $\endgroup$
    – imallett
    Sep 2, 2015 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


The demo scene has been doing Ray marching for a long time, but only recently have main stream AAA games started using it. The main use I've seen it for is for screenspace reflections, raymarching against the zbuffer (killzone, call of duty). Also, shadertoy was made by inigo quillez, who is from the demo scene. People are now using shadertoy to prototype and share graphics technique research. So I'd say the answer is yes, but I'd like to hear more examples if other people have any (:

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Besides a source of advancements its also a great way to learn and an even better place to find examples. I know myself have learned shaders over the past year mostly through Shadertoy. I've found it to be such an open source community it's awesome how everyone shares their techniques. $\endgroup$ Aug 28, 2015 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ Good point! I also have to say, that as a professional game programmer, when I see a demo scene person make something I didn't even think was possible, it makes me want to learn about it and try to bring those techniques into the games I'm working on. $\endgroup$
    – Alan Wolfe
    Aug 28, 2015 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ ...and on the other hand, Wolfenstein 3D used ray marching (in 2D). $\endgroup$
    – Pseudonym
    Aug 29, 2015 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ Oh right totally! John Carmack did some amazing things with ray casting $\endgroup$
    – Alan Wolfe
    Aug 29, 2015 at 14:25

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