Yes, Cult of Real-time Image – Understanding the Hardcore is my master’s dissertation to Aalto University School of Art and Design. However, it’s more importantly (and perhaps more successfully) a philosophical journey to self-realization of why real-time imagery is such a fascinating and subversive medium – at least to me.

In the thesis, I make a case that so-called Hardcore Viewership of real-time image reduces into three underlying concepts, which are real-time, simulation and definition.

After that, I analyze each concept in its own respective chapter (excluding the concept of simulation which takes two chapters instead of one).

Finally, I take a look at how the spirit of the “Cult” manifests itself through various cultural objects and conventions.

Table of contents:

CHAPTER I: Introduction

1.1 Goals
1.2 Structure
1.3 Regarding Computer Animation

CHAPTER II: Ideology and Viewership

2.1 Hardcore Viewership
2.2 Infamous Case of Killzone 2
2.3 Story of Sprite Scaling
2.4 Three Pillars of the Cult

CHAPTER III: Real-time and Image

3.1 Real World and Representation
3.2 What is Real-time?
3.3 Computer and Real-time
3.4 Real-time Image as a Physical Object
    3.4.1 Screen
    3.4.2 Hardware
    3.4.3 Input (optional)
3.5 Frame Rate

CHAPTER IV: Concept of Simulation

4.1 Overview on Simulation
4.2 Simulation and Source System
4.3 Source System and Real World
    4.3.1 Simulation as a Genre

CHAPTER V: Simulation of Visual

5.1 Design vs. Algorithm
5.2 Structure of Simulation of Visual
5.3 Simulation of Space
    5.3.1 Bitmap–based Simulation
    5.3.2 Polygon-based Simulation
    5.3.3 Fusion of Technologies
5.4 Simulation of Light
    5.4.1 Shading
    5.4.2 Shadows
5.5 Simulation of Motion
    5.5.1 Physics
    5.5.2 Artificial Intelligence
5.6 Simulation of Style

CHAPTER VI: Need for Definition

6.1 Resolution
    6.1.1 Screen Resolution
    6.1.2 Texture and Lighting Resolution
6.2 Color Palette
6.3 Polycount
6.4 Level of Detail
6.5 Accuracy of Motion
6.6 Image Quality

CHAPTER VII: Manifestation of the Cult

7.1 The Demoscene
    7.1.1 The Scene
    7.1.2 Understanding the Demos
7.2 Tech Demos
    7.2.1 Hardware Tech Demos
    7.2.2 Software Tech Demos
7.3. Benchmarking
    7.3.1 Overclocking
7.4 Online Discussions
    7.4.1 Creator Discussions
    7.4.2 Consumer Discussions

CHAPTER VIII: Recap and Conclusions

8.1 Future Research