playground for demos & audio/visual experiments
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Micros, a playground for demos

This repository is a minimalistic playground for writing demos against OSX or Windows, with an emphasis on making it possible to collaborate easily between multiple individuals.

What it is not: a framework, a graphic/audio library.

The build system is self-contained, it enforces a strict coding standard with warnings all activated and automatically formatting the code for you.

It standardizes on C++11 and OpenGL 3.2 and targets Darwin/OSX past 10.7 (Lion) and NT/Windows 7 and beyond.

It’s all on github ready to be forked or downloaded:


  • shell script build (clean + rebuild + test + run)
  • host system with OpenGL 3.2 core context and 48khz stereo audio
  • source only libraries accepted
  • C++11 only supported

Personal comment:

  • To avoid arguing about code style, putting in the “artistic style” code formatter.


You have two options

Forking uu.micros

Fork uu.micros; then compose your demo in any number of .cpp files under ./src/

Use ./src/main.cpp/ as an inspiration

Using uu.micros as a submodule

A little bit more involved; this method allows you to upgrade uu.micros later more easily, preserving the history of your piece.

Import uu.micros as a submodule of your git repository. For example:

$ mkdir modules
$ git submodule add --name uu.micros modules/uu.micros

Then put your .cpp files wherever you want (for example ./src/) and run:

modules/uu.micros/build --src-dir ./src --output-dir ./builds


Using our experience to define the most minimal and useful hooks to code a demo we come with the following:

#pragma once

#include <cstdint>

/// initialize runtime (and start the demo)
extern void runtime_init();

/// current time in microseconds
extern uint64_t now_micros();

/// information about a display
struct Display {
        // the dimensions of the display's framebuffer in pixels
        uint32_t framebuffer_width_px;
        uint32_t framebuffer_height_px;

 * entry point: called for each new video frame.
 * It will be called in strict time order by the runtime.
 * @param time_micros scheduling time for the frame
extern void render_next_gl3(uint64_t time_micros,
                            struct Display display);

 * entry point: called for each new audio frame.
 * It will be called in strict time order by the runtime
 * @param time_micros scheduling time for the first sample of the frame
 * @param sample_count count of stereo audio sample to fill
 * @param left buffer of audio samples for the left channel
 * @param right buffer of audio samples for the right channel
extern void render_next_2chn_48khz_audio(uint64_t time_micros,
                int const sample_count, double left[/*sample_count*/],
                double right[/*sample_count*/]);


changes can be found in ./Changelog


I decided to write this playground when reading Alex Evans’ idea about doing “round robin” demo projects:

<mmalex> Been wondering about doing an async 'chain' collab demo for years: rules: c++/GL only, 1 week work then pass it on... Repeat until deadline
<javiercampos> @mmalex Isn't that the exact opposite to async? :-)
<gpakosz> @mmalex on top of existing ground work demo system or from scratch?
<mmalex> @javiercampos heh :) I guess you're right! What's the right word...
<LiaSae> @mmalex The technical term for this in the cross-stitch word is round-robin :) Could apply as well!
<LiaSae> @mmalex Make that "world", d'oh.
<kamidphish> @mmalex Is that like the old C64 demos?
<nvining> @mmalex I'm in.
<Flawe> @mmalex very cool idea!
<uucidl> @mmalex I always wanted to do this yet it's always a problem with coders being anal about their frameworks and build systems etc..
<mmalex> @uucidl lowest common denominator ftw! build batch file/shellscript, minimum external deps (GL/playmp3()/gnurocket/stb_*), GO! ?
<uucidl> @mmalex and no data file, everything generated or in-source ;)
<mmalex>@uucidl yeah! and, drop playmp3() and replace with fill_48khz_stereo_buf_plz() callback -> synth.
<ElMarcel> @Flawe @mmalex Awesome!
<DeanoC>@mmalex could be fun. Different section per author or keep modifying the same bit, see where it evolves?
<DeanoC>@mmalex One section, where each week its evolved by the next coder or each do a seperate section link to the previous? Either way sounds fun
<keyboardjockey> @mmalex interesting. Should have each person branch off and have the next dev perform the merge, to become familiar.


  • Git (+ on windows the msys environment that comes with it)

find it at

  • Bash (on windows, use git bash)
  • a C++11 compiler (gcc, clang, visual studio)
  • OSX >= 10.7 (Darwin >= 11.4) and Windows >= 7 (NT >= 6.1)

All the rest is shipped within the tree

Writing a new runtime

Put your os specific code under a subdirectory of runtime like so


Then hook it up inside the platform specific compile function.

It should open a window with an OpenGL context. It should quit the demo when pressing ESC or Right clicking.

It should continuously redisplay frames and delegate their rendering to the API entry points.

Changing the code style

Edit the .astylerc file at the root

Don’t put editor specific stuff in source files

Build script

The script always rebuild the entire demo. It should not grow big enough for it to matter, and it is a guarantee of short feedback loops.

It should always create files in a separate dirs according to hostname

The build script can be edited to define compilation flags per machine or platform (for custom/weird environments)

Simply add a new function to add your per machine customization.