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SYNTH(tm)-ELECTROPIX 1.404 at INTEL "LEVEL UP" 2010 demo contest

Much has happened in the world of procedural content (math art) since the last GAMASUTRA article about SYNTH. Nearly 2 years have past, and SYNTH is now a finalist in the INTEL LEVEL UP 2010, as it was also in 2008 as a very early prototype. New?? Math??

Rhys Hovey, Blogger

September 23, 2010

3 Min Read


100% Math Art

64 Bit Only

Windows PC game

New version 1.404

(under construction)




In case you've never heard of the indie game SYNTH, it's a very experimental indie, that has been somewhat quietly in development for almost 3 years. It's a no holds barred experimental 100% math art game, that is written entirely in C++, including all graphics and levels, it was done with 100% programming and uses openGL 2.0 with GLSL. It's a game that requires 64 bit Windows and has high computer specs. It's a genuine mathematical monster.

SYNTH has various "tag lines" that go along with the weird picutures and screenshots that it has "generated" along the way,.

"Unleash the electron boggle of your mind"

SYNTH 1.404 level 1, (sinx) really kind of reminds me of a neon / electronic "cyberbog",. this is a place you definatly want to take that special moment, and use those secret neurons that you never knew you had. Why? Because this is a 64 BIT indie game that needs a Gforce 260 :)  As a professional video games programmer, I can vouch for the fact that I used a lot of graphical techniques that would have got me in trouble "on the job", so this is my playground where I can use such bizzare shaders, and gigantic raster display lists. Unleashing the "electron boggle" of your mind also has to do with all of those TURTLES involved with makeing SYNTH's freakish turtle graphics objects. If you don't know what turtle graphics are, you can "search" for it online, it's an ancient form of graphics.


For any procedural content generation weirdos out there, one of the things that you have no doubt noticed about doing MATH ART, is that you are typing the word "SIN" into the computer over and over and over again, like a unexorcised satanic freak. It's hard not to start seeing images of the pope and other weird demons start to appear in the mathematical landscape,.. "is this the SIN you wanted??? Perhaps this demon face is SINful enough USER? The EVIL puns never end for a game that has SIN FOR IT'S COS. SYNTH comes complete with mathematical "satanic" advertising campaign, complete with "virgin mary on toast" sightings, and DEAD C++ SCROLLS. SYNTH is actually safe for anyone, but my SIN advertising is "adult".

High Computer Specs?

As you have probably noticed with most INDIE games, you've never even READ the specs, and most of the time will have no problems. The bottom line is that most indie games are "laptop ready". SYNTH on the other hand is not. Luckily for me, I've been around computer programming long enough where SYNTH was designed for "computers when it comes out", which has basically been realized. This meant that because of being a "1 man team", I would need to leverage higher levels of "performance hardware" to speed up my lack of "performance software" because I was going to be to busy doing EVERYTHING, including ALL of the graphics in C++. 

SYNTH runs pretty well with the following:

NOTE: SYNTH's MAX framerate is locked at 15 FPS right now.

i7-920 (or Q9550)

GeForce 260 or >

4 GB of RAM (6 is better)

64 BIT Windows ONLY



Yip, 12 threads and counting, and I suspect that next year, I'll have 6 cores eaten up with WEIRD things, that are not in a lot of games. Real time procedural content generation is SLOW SLOW, for example there is a "procedural animated texture" that takes an ENTIRE CORE at 15 fps. This is ONLY THE BEGINING!!

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