Code Self Study Forum

Sizecoding and the Demoscene

Reading about fantasy consoles on Twitter led me to some sites about sizecoding and the demoscene, which I wasn’t familiar with.

Sizecoding is a wiki dedicated to the art of creating very tiny programs for the 80x86 family of CPUs. By “very tiny programs”, we mean programs that are 256 bytes or less in size , typically created by members of the demoscene as a show of programming skill. The size of these tiny programs is measured by their total size in opcode bytes, and are usually presented as executable .COM files to be run in pure DOS, a DOS VM running inside another operating system, or an emulator that can run DOS such as DOSBox.

Examples include a paint program in 16 bytes and a maze generator in 11 bytes.

Here’s an article:


The demoscene is an international computer art subculture focused on producing demos: self-contained, sometimes extremely small, computer programs that produce audio-visual presentations. The purpose of a demo is to show off programming, visual art, and musical skills. Demos and other demoscene productions are shared at festivals known as demoparties, voted on by those who attend, and released online.



There are so many interesting subcultures in computing, usually with a very devoted following, e.g. the people who meticulously build their own keyboards. I often don’t share the same level of interest/obsession with the members of these groups, but I almost always enjoy reading and hearing about the things they work on.


Personally, I think about recreating the humble keyboard for the sake of finally building a comfortable one. I think that most keyboards to-date were built for the simplicity of designing/etching the circuit board. In my mind, the keyboard’s role should be to augment the human anatomy (rather than the human contorting itself to the design). So here we are, decades later and we’re suffering physically through bouts of carpal tunnel because our relationship with hardware wasn’t correctly made in the first place.

It feels like a lot of computers, products and software never had any art inside them. I bought my 3D printer because it was beautifully-designed from an appearance standpoint; I had to modify the hell out of it to make it produce beautiful parts however. I remember thinking that my eMac was beautiful in appearance. But now when I look at some of the tiny boards I work with I sometimes see beauty in a product. My pair of Orbi routers are beautiful.

There is beauty in small bits of code. I’m known to complain about code bloat, to be honest.