1440 points | by GeorgeHahn 256 days ago


  • rezmason 256 days ago
    I'm amused that we share initials and a passion for this kind of project! Mine's .

    One key difference: this guy built his demo from scratch, whereas mine's a port of someone else's work. It's great to see another implementation, with its own techniques and features.

    • _mbwo 256 days ago
      This person is really incredible. Just check out their work:
      • mandeepj 256 days ago
        Copied from

        Through the nineties, Microsoft software engineers carried on a tradition of writing clever and distinctive software projects alongside the software they were primarily tasked with writing— this is where Solitaire and Minesweeper came from, for instance. These engineers also wrote "easter eggs" into their primary software, such as the beautiful flight simulator hidden in Excel 97.

        Amazed by reading the above. I'm a sucker to read and learn from that clerverness.

    • jmiskovic 256 days ago
      Amazing to see you in comments; your version was inspiration for this project:

      The video didn't generate much interest so unfortunately I didn't release anything playable.

      • rezmason 256 days ago
        That's really neat! I like the tunnels under the giant trapezoids, they make me think of those enormous trapezoid buildings in Blade Runner.

        I can't take credit for Drivey's aesthetics, I'm just honored to have carried it to HTML5 ;) Somewhere out in Australia is the original programmer who I'm sure would love to see this, but who also loves avoiding the spotlight.

        I just did a quick scroll of your Twitter feed and jeez you're prolific, this stuff is really cool. I'll try Hexpress this weekend.

      • aaroninsf 255 days ago
        Among "features it would be neat to add", fading timelapse smeers as in your photo of the curve would be luvly.
    • justinlloyd 256 days ago
      I do not like how your city planners put pedestrian crossings on blind curves. That's really bad design that could lead to accidents.

      P.S. It's a joke. This is a really well executed demo.

      • rezmason 255 days ago
        I agree, but the original creator put them in and they add some spice to the environs.

        I like to joke that Australia (where Drivey originally comes from) has a low enough population that the pedestrians are in no real danger ;)

    • phist_mcgee 256 days ago
      As a fan of vaporwave this is

      aesthetic 可ぷき

      • S-E-P 256 days ago
        I’m vibing
    • mhd 256 days ago
      Oh, I think I remember the original Drivey and was following the dev blog for a while back then. But I think in the end, it didn't go anywhere (no pun intended).
    • jstanley 256 days ago
      Neat! I like that this is kind of the opposite effect (obviously Drivey is way more polished).

      Drivey shows objects as their silhouettes on top of a light background, whereas Nightdrive shows objects as their lights on top of a dark background.

      • rezmason 255 days ago
        Pleased to meet you! ^_^ Nightdrive is a jewel.

        Some people are making a strong case (I think) for calling these types of projects "demos", but also, I think the inability to fit them in the arbitrary structure of existing nomenclature is a good quality for a project to have. :D

        Have you considered using a small bokeh image in place of circles in your renderer? Their size is based on the (usually unchanging) optical properties of the eye, rather than the eye's distance to the light, so you'd fade them rather than resize them, and if you round their position to the nearest pixel you might be able to draw them with 2D canvas context speedily.

    • breck 256 days ago
      Wow that's gorgeous. Is there a link to the source?
    • flanbiscuit 256 days ago
      interesting that this is running very slow (like 1 frame per second) on Chrome, but runs very smooth on Firefox. I'm on the latest version of both for Mac.
      • rezmason 255 days ago
        That is very odd. I wonder what your Chrome browser's zoom is set to, that might affect its resolution.

        If you create an issue on the repo, I'll try and figure it out when I have the bandwidth.

        • flanbiscuit 253 days ago
          Just tried it again on my work laptop Chrome (Mac, latest) and it's running smooth, so it was something with my personal laptop and not your code.
    • zxcvbn4038 255 days ago
      That is amazing, I remember seeing an early version of this on Windows and being impressed. It is great to see it revived and with source!
    • neilparikh 256 days ago
      Would be neat to have eye gaze be literally controlled by where you look using webcam tracking! Not sure how accurate it would be though.
      • nolok 256 days ago
        Only tengentially related but eye tracking + foveated rendering is the thing that makes me the most excited about PSVR 2 !
    • JKCalhoun 256 days ago
      Was yours based on "Drivey"?

      EDIT: never mind, it looks like it was, very cool.

      • rezmason 255 days ago
        Yep, my third attempt in ten years!

        The original was written in "JujuScript", with strong types and novel operators. I pretended it was Haxe, and ran around fixing compiler errors it till it compiled to JavaScript. I built out a small Three.js project to hook it to, built up the features, then refactored it into something I felt was maintainable. I tried preserving the organization of the original script as best as I could.

        Sidenote: I belong to the "port it" school of software preservation. My friend who runs the BlastEm project belongs to the "emulate it" school. I've seen both approaches have been employed to preserve Glider, which I think implies how important that game is to people. :)

    • zulu-inuoe 256 days ago
      That's really cool, but I wonder why on my machine is maxes out all the cores on my CPU and still runs at something like 1 FPS on high If I turn it to Low it runs okay but looks.. not great.

      But I don't see anyone else having issues so, is it just me?

      • enraged_camel 256 days ago
        Same here. I've also experienced it with other JavaScript simulations. I suspect it has something to do with Chrome's hardware acceleration because it works smooth as butter on Firefox.
      • 2OEH8eoCRo0 256 days ago
        Sounds like a lack of hardware acceleration. My i7-1185g7 is sitting at 20% but my Intel Iris Xe GPU is maxed. Runs smooth though.
    • tomcam 256 days ago
      Gorgeous and hypnotic.
    • zxcvbn4038 255 days ago
      That is amazing, I remember seeing an early version of this on Windows, its so great to see it revived and with source!
    • archon810 255 days ago
      Hmm, nothing happens for me on mobile (Chrome, Pixel 6 Pro). Just a black screen with some controls on the bottom.
    • sprkwd 255 days ago
      Yeah. That is awesome.
    • smrtinsert 256 days ago
      This is beautiful.
    • latchkey 256 days ago
      Great work on this though! Super impressed. Would be fun to clean it up and convert to typescript.
      • luismedel 256 days ago
        Honest question. What do you see "not clean" in the original code?
        • latchkey 256 days ago
          Good question. The honest answer is that I don't know and that's the problem.

          A compiler would tell me what all the types should be and if they are being respected. I'd also write a lot of unit tests to make sure that the code is doing what it is expected to as well as enable refactoring more easily. The code isn't formatted consistently, so that also makes it hard for me to read, I'm kind of OCD about that and having tools like eslint/prettier, which do it automatically, makes this super easy to fix. Linting the code would also point out other issues that the compiler misses. Putting it into CI would ensure that all changes get checked and builds would fail, if there are issues.

          So I guess that is what I mean when I say 'clean it up'.

          • latchkey 254 days ago
            Update: Getting a lot of downvotes (yes, I know against HN 'rules' to comment about that), but I don't get why people dislike my response so much and would love feedback on that (similar to how the OP asked for honest feedback).

            What I did was pull the source code, load it up in IDEA, convert the .js files to .ts files. Then looked at the errors. Most of what stood out was that the author included a copy of threejs directly and used parts that TS can't infer types on. Not a huge deal, but makes following the code more difficult for sure. I don't think it would take too much time to update it at all.

            • rezmason 253 days ago
              If you compiled me, you'd know that you are a type who I respect ;)

              I think you're right on many counts, and I appreciate the effort you took to see what TS could do for this kind of project.

              If you create an issue on the repo, I can notify you if I make an attempt at using TypeScript to maintain it, in a branch at least. No guarantees, but I've considered it before, and it'd be worth my time once I have some to allocate.

  • rgovostes 256 days ago
    See also Martijn Steinrucken aka BigWings's The Drive Home:

    ShaderToy: [WebGL]

    Video: / Making of:

    • jstanley 256 days ago
      This is fantastic, thanks for sharing!
  • possiblydrunk 256 days ago
    >There are a few more things that I think would be fun to do:

    First off, it's beautiful! Second, just because you can, doesn't mean you should :)

    I think it's art, so be careful about adding more. The minimalism is beautiful. Just a bunch of moving lights, but they capture the feel of night driving! If you add everything mentioned as upgrades, it will be a simulation. An impressive engineering feat, but (I think) less as a work of art.

    I wonder, what does someone who's never ridden/driven in a car at night 'feel' when they see this?

  • willhinsa 256 days ago
    This reminds me of the movie Drive (2011), in particular the first song on the soundtrack, Kavinsky - Nightcall

    • keyle 256 days ago
      Wow Drive is from 2011? Man... I feel like it's a new movie. I loved it, maybe that's why.
      • moffkalast 256 days ago
        Well it is a new movie, at least by period standards.

        Broadly speaking you've got the B&W era until the 70s, the "old classics" recorded in colour on actual film up till the 90s, then the period of questionable CGI and campiness up till somewhere like 2005 when what we feel like is new/recent cinema starts. The ongoing era of decent invisible CGI, quality digital cameras, and post-9/11 hopelessness.

        It's why I still watch a lot of 90s/early 2000s movies, there's just something different about that era that feels nice.

        • uhtred 256 days ago
          the period of questionable CGI and campiness is over? Have you seen the never ending churn out of marvel "movies"?
          • TOGoS 256 days ago
            Having grown up with the crappy "Jurassic Park somehow pulled off what no other movie of the time did" CGI of the 90s, the effects in the Marvel movies look pretty seamless up to the point where people's fingers start shooting green lightning or whatever. The nature of their plot holes and overall dumbness feels different, also. Much more polish, to the extent that I can almost ignore how stupid the whole thing is when I'm watching one. Almost.
      • Bakary 256 days ago
        I think we get that "goddamn years are going by" feeling with movies especially because they are connected to a specific year yet are disconnected from other memories (unless you brought your crush to one of them maybe)
    • jcynix 256 days ago
      Very nice! I instantly recognized the tune but from a completely different event, namely

      That's the cover by band London Grammar and TIL about the original one. Didn't know about the movie which now is on my todo list, thanks.

      • nickkell 256 days ago
        I remember Alt-J performing a cover of "A Real Hero", another song from the Drive soundtrack, at Glastonbury festival years ago. The film and soundtrack were really cool.
        • mckirk 256 days ago
          Incidentally, that song was written with Chesley Sullenberger in mind, the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, which he glide-landed in the Hudson River.

          That guy is a real hero, and apparently a real human bean.

      • dm319 256 days ago
        I love this cover by Natalie McCool:

    • jgwil2 256 days ago
      Seems to be a popular aesthetic for synthwave compilations on YouTube:

      I wonder if Drive originated this aesthetic or if it's just coincidence.

      • Bakary 256 days ago
        I can't tell you what originated the aesthetic, but it's not Drive because some songs on its soundtrack were already part of the established aesthetic.

        It's definitely one of the major works in that world, however.

      • qkls 255 days ago
        It's "Outrun" aesthetic, for example
    • ElectroSlayer 256 days ago
      Great song! I personally hear this track from Kavinsky when watching that demo:
    • pcthrowaway 256 days ago
      I was thinking of this song exactly before I turned on the music; thought it might even be the same song for a second. I wonder why the (visual) aesthetic is evocative of this song?
    • aleksiy123 256 days ago
      Real human bean. Love this movie.
  • err4nt 255 days ago

        It's hard to classify what it is. It's not a video, because it's generated dynamically. It's not a game, because you just watch. It's not a screensaver, because it's not the 90s. Maybe it's a "demo"?
    It's an animation.
  • rippercushions 256 days ago
    This reminds me of Desert Bus, the legendary/notorious driving game by Penn & Teller. During the second half of the game, you're driving at night and the view is not dissimilar.

    Of course, because Desert Bus is literally the worst game ever, the steering continually veers to the side and you have to keep nudging the wheel or you'll crash.

    • Mountain_Skies 256 days ago
      Wonder if anyone has built an AI to drive the bus and get that sweet single point.
  • coldtea 256 days ago
    >The entire scene is created purely by drawing circles on a HTML5 canvas. It actually works a lot better than I expected. The biggest flaw is that the cars are totally transparent, so you can see lights from distant cars even where they should be occluded by closer cars.

    Hmm, why not just draw a black rectange around any pair of car lights? It should work for givimg the impression of a solid car within the context of the video...

    Edit: hmm, he does say this "This would be slightly harder than street light occlusion. Probably a first pass would be to render a black cuboid behind each car's lights, so that the cuboid blocks out anything that would be blocked by the car."

    • jetbooster 256 days ago
      I somehow feel the simplicity of everything only being paired lights giving an _impression_ of something somehow adds to the charm
  • mortenjorck 256 days ago
    > It's not a screensaver, because it's not the 90s.

    It may be 2022, but I would love a screensaver version of this.

    • jcynix 256 days ago
      It would definitely fit into xscreensaver's collection, yes.
      • Jaruzel 256 days ago
        Depending on your OS it should just be a matter of starting a webview with the code as the default page and running it full screen. Then a small loop looking for mouse/keyboard events so it knows when to quit.
    • Method-X 248 days ago
      I want this on my Apple TV so bad.
  • mdtusz 256 days ago
    This reminds me of this video:

    He does incredible work with shaders and explains them in very clear detail.

    • ciaron 256 days ago
      I watched this video a couple of years ago and was blown away by what can be done with shaders.
  • kitd 256 days ago

    It would be cool if it flipped from left- to right-side driving depending on host's IP address?

  • 7373737373 256 days ago
    I wanted to do the same for the train feeling:
    • TOGoS 256 days ago
      Hmm, some of those trees appear based on parallax to be farther away than the shoreline that they're painted over. Otherwise, pretty nice.
  • teddyh 255 days ago
    > It's not a screensaver, because it's not the 90s.

    XScreenSaver had its most recent release two weeks ago.

  • shadowofneptune 256 days ago
    I love how this written. I've wanted to document how a personal project works, and this style's exactly what I was looking for.
  • davidkunz 256 days ago
    As a German, it would have been more relaxing if cars on the left were faster.
    • Mountain_Skies 256 days ago
      That was my first thought too. I was going to post "Tsk tsk, going slow in the middle lane, making people pass you on the right" but then noticed it was in the UK.
  • fiat_fandango 255 days ago
    Does anyone have good resources for creating "generative assets" like this?

    I have a decent handle on js but I have no idea where to start in terms of tooling. For now, I've been trying to build basic eye tracking to apply a "block" of color over eyes with an animation in said block on top of a real-time video stream.

    Elsewhere, automating mouth animations from audio / even moving a character in a random motion when audio input is provided.

    Any advice where to start would be greatly appreciated!

    • BasilPH 255 days ago
      I've done fun things with p5.js, which might have the primitives you need to do what you described.
      • scyzoryk_xyz 254 days ago
        p5.js is amazing and made just for this purpose. That coding train guy made countless tutorials on generating visuals with js.
  • DecoPerson 256 days ago
    Beautiful. This is something I’ve thought about too. Thanks for making it!

    One of the most beautiful light effects I’ve seen while being a passenger in a car is the reflection of oncoming headlights on the underside of powerlines, whether they be mains power or for electric trains. It’s a dazzling pattern, reminiscent of the wormhole scene in Interstellar.

    Perhaps something to add to your “more” list? :smiling-emoji-with-eyes-closed-and-sweat-bead:

    Edit: At first I thought there were also stars, but it was just dust on my phone…

  • sillyapple 255 days ago
    If this is what most people see driving at night I'm jealous. Astigmatism makes every light source at night a big star-burst for me. Oncoming lights are near-blinding at some angles, the only way to cope is stare at the road lines on the opposite side.
  • aabbccsmith 256 days ago
    This is the sort of thing I'd leave on an unused monitor all the time or have on display somewhere. Really cool aesthetic
  • tsuujin 256 days ago
    Who else grew up playing Night Driver on the Atari 2600?
    • ASalazarMX 255 days ago
      I was pleasantly surprised the article actually had something resembling Night Driver. Such a simple concept, but it was a game that stimulated your imagination. That and star Riders were brilliant for their time.
    • pronlover723 256 days ago
      • Animats 255 days ago
        Night Driver (1976) was the first video game with a first person 3D mode.[1] It's about as minimal a 3D system as you can get. The picture of the car is painted on, not on screen.


    • axus 256 days ago
      First thing I thought of when I saw the title. Was using the paddle control less or more frustrating than the typical game?
      • ASalazarMX 255 days ago
        I loved using the paddle. Atari controls were not very durable, and the paddle's potentiometer degraded into a simple switch, which Night Driver handled perfectly too.
      • tsuujin 256 days ago
        The paddle was awful but it was also novel so young me loved it.
  • jensenbox 256 days ago
    I suggest detecting the viewers geographic location and changing the left/right side drive.
  • cnasc 256 days ago
    For something similar, I always liked this blog series:

    Unfortunately it seems the author passed away a few months ago

  • gwillen 255 days ago
    > I found it actually worked better if I omitted the x offset from the distance calculation (so just sqrt(y2 + z2)), otherwise objects near the edge of the field of view were weirdly distorted. But I wouldn't suggest doing that in the general case.

    I think this is because you should actually just be dividing by y, the perpendicular distance through the screen. Probably adding z to the mix, while wrong, doesn't make it too weird because of the limited set of z values used.

    If the result with just division by y looks distorted, then I would suggest fiddling with the value of k, which effectively controls how wide-angle versus telephoto things look.

  • franciscop 256 days ago
    > "It's hard to classify what it is [...] Maybe it's a "demo"?"

    Exactly, those are demos, and while I believe it's slightly different there's a whole culture around it that I've never been aware until recently called "demoscene"! I even have a small "Demos" section on my website with a bunch of those, not to the same level of quality though since for me it'd be a bit more like "self-contained small experiments that resulted in something cool so I put it together as a demo":

    - "Zoom", hyperdrive-like effect:

    - "Tree generation", specify a JSON/HTML structure and it'll generate a tree: (disc: it was inspired by a broken demo I saw from someone else)

    - "Stereo Depth", calculate depth of a couple of stereo images using JS:

    - "Terminal player", specify a bunch of commands in plain text and they'll be "played" like a video:

    • Ruarl 256 days ago
      I would have classified it as a "simulation". Which is what the author calls it, but then tries to find other things to call it too. Simulation is fine.
  • pavlov 256 days ago
    > ’Maybe it's a "demo"?’

    There’s a long-standing tradition of people creating realtime graphics software on personal computers that doesn’t offer any interactivity. They are indeed called demos and the community is called the demoscene. It goes back to the late 1980s and had a golden era in the mid-90s on Amiga and PC. (Pre-Internet, watching and making demos was one of the few socially and creatively oriented things you could do for free on a home computer.)

    To be pedantic, this isn’t a full-blown demo. Small demos are called intros, and a category of them is the size-constrained intro (e.g. 1kB or 4kB). So this could be either a small intro or an effect as part of a bigger demo.

    It’s worth looking up some of the small intros. People can squeeze entire GPU-raytraced universes with music into a few kilobytes.

    • skrebbel 256 days ago
      IMO the author could very much submit this to a demoparty in the "demo" category (assuming they'd substitute the music with a fitting original work).

      These days, the only notable difference between demos and intros is file size. If it's bigger than 64kb, it's a demo. You can totally have a short, single-effect demo like this one, and there's plenty such demos out there.

      Ergo, I disagree, I think this counts as "full-blown" for any reasonable current definition.

      • pavlov 256 days ago
        Fair enough. The definition of a demo in the '90s was definitely multi-part: multiple effects with usually still graphics in between (such as group logos or pixel art rip-offs from fantasy paintings). A single-effect demo that wasn't an intro would have been rare.
    • danjoredd 256 days ago
      Man...I need to get into the Demo scene. I have been disillusioned with the tech world because of just how utilitarian everything feels. I have been looking for something like this forever
    • soham 256 days ago
      Would love to see some small intros. Any links/sources you may suggest?
  • simonjgreen 255 days ago
    I have many many childhood memories of long journeys up and down the country visiting my grandparents sat in the back of my parents car at night with scenes just like this etched in there. And I'm from UK too so was delighted they did this the "right" way round :)

    Brilliant work, love this.

    And the music reminds me of Kavinsky too with the obvious association with Drive.

    Also, I know it's not actually there, but my mind insists on filling in a "not quite black" sky over the road and the occasional tree or similar to the sides as shadows. Fascinating effect.

  • teddyh 255 days ago
    Reminds me very much of Night Driver, the arcade game from 1976:

    • imknewhere 255 days ago
      I remember playing this game one time when I was a kid! I still think about it, from time to time, for some reason.

      I found the entire experience so disorienting. I remember my dad laughing at me, I did so terribly at it (TBF I was probably 6 or 7)

    • chclau 255 days ago
      That's also the first thing I thought when I saw the title
  • devsatish 256 days ago
    Really cool . Reminds me of the VR collaboration project (Dance Tonite) by Google Data arts team and LCD Sound System
  • bodge5000 256 days ago
    Im not sure the cars and lights need to be anymore than floating orbs, its quite a nice minimalist aesthetic with just the lights. I'm not sure it needs to be a game either, maybe the ability to steer the car would be good but any more than that might seem forced (and I'm not even sure it needs that). The only real problem I see is that cars pass through you from behind (the only time the floating orbs effect becomes an issue), but even that seems minor for what it is.
    • jstanley 256 days ago
      Yes, the "self-driving cars" logic needs a lot of work. That's the part I am least fond of currently.
  • chrisco255 256 days ago
    > What game can we make where the premise is that you're a passenger on the motorway at night time? It shouldn't be a particularly taxing game, I think the main experience should still be that you're just enjoying watching the lights, but it would be cool if there was some interactivity and some sort of goal.

    If you wanted to make it interactive, maybe a Pokemon Snap like functionality where you try to capture photos of random environment features or creatures.

    • justinlloyd 256 days ago
      A man running alongside your car window, jumping over obstacles. Technically this game already exists, but it would be interesting to combine with this demo.
  • abetusk 256 days ago
    I love this.

    It would be awesome to do this with a bladerunner theme. Like, sitting in a spinner going somewhere, with all the different cars, spinners and maybe buildings passing by.

  • breck 256 days ago
  • dghf 256 days ago
    > It's hard to classify what it is.

    “Synthwave multimedia project” would be how I’d describe it.

    It’s very good. Made me think of the Jeff Goldblum / Michelle Pfeiffer film Into the Night (

  • uhtred 256 days ago
    It's not just the driving on the left that gives away that this is not in the US, but also the fact that there are lights along the highway and reflectors dividing the lanes. Ha, safety precautions!

    I hate US highways at night, they are so dark, sometimes I feel I might as well have my eyes closed.

    Rant that no one asked for over.

  • stevenhubertron 256 days ago
    Very cool. Of course the music is retrowave.
  • aerovistae 256 days ago
    > The biggest flaw is that the cars are totally transparent,

    This seems easily fixable, no? Just make cars opaque black and assign progressively decreasing z-index to each spawning light. (Unlikely anyone will leave page open long enough to reach min value, and you could just reset at that point.)

    • rezmason 256 days ago
      Someone with your level of optimism has an advantage.

      The tricky thing is, this project's renderer is currently a queue of circles to draw to a canvas. It's under 100 lines of JavaScript. So any increase in complexity will require substantial changes, like abstracting over types of drawables.

      • Joeri 256 days ago
        There’s probably a simple but effective way to do it, like drawing the body itself as a few black circles.
        • aerovistae 256 days ago
          Exactly. Whenever drawing a pair of red circles for tailights, draw ~10 overlapping black circles between them. Bam. Done. I don't think this requires naive optimism, just 5 minutes of additional effort. Maybe less.
          • twright0 256 days ago
            Only five minutes! - Here's the source, show us.
            • upwardbound 256 days ago
              I'm not the previous poster but thought this would be a fun challenge. No way it was 5 min though; took me at least 20 min to understand what to change.

              Anyways, run this in your browser inspector to hot-patch the live demo so that each car has an opaque black circle as its body/chassis:

                  for (let i = 0; i < cars.length; i++) { console.log(i);
                      cars[i].headlights = cars[i].headlights.concat([ {xy: new V2d(0,0), z: cars[i].headlights[0].z, r:cars[i].headlights[1].xy.x, col: "black"} ]);
                      cars[i].rearlights = cars[i].rearlights.concat([ {xy: new V2d(0,0), z: cars[i].rearlights[0].z, r:cars[i].rearlights[1].xy.x, col: "black"} ]);
              • aerovistae 256 days ago
                Well done, nice job rising to the challenge! I definitely did not care enough to do it myself, so I applaud you. I just tried it out and it's perfect.

                To be clear, since of course this is the internet and one must be precise or else get nit-picked and "outplayed," I obviously meant 5 minutes for the author who already knows the layout of the code. Obviously. Any charitable interpretation would have taken that as a given. 25-40 minutes sounds more appropriate for a newcomer examining it for the first time.

                • upwardbound 256 days ago
                  Oh yeah I totally get you, I just added the disclaimer about it taking me 20 min because I didn't want people to think I was trying to brag/flex about doing it in 5 min, which I didn't do and don't want to try to claim any credit for.
              • jstanley 256 days ago
                Really nice! I hadn't considered making the opaque car bodies out of circles too :).
              • skykooler 256 days ago
                hmm, this doesn't seem to change anything on Firefox.
  • jjslocum3 256 days ago
    > It's hard to classify what it is. It's not a video, because it's generated dynamically. It's not a game, because you just watch. It's not a screensaver, because it's not the 90s. Maybe it's a "demo"?

    It's a simulation.

  • svdr 256 days ago
    Is it legal to overtake on the right in the US? It's not in the country where I live (NL).
    • blauditore 256 days ago
      This was made in the UK, so overtaking on the right is the proper way. Note the opposite traffing passing on the right too.
    • 93po 256 days ago
      Yes, you'd basically be stuck going well under the speed limit otherwise, because you will 100% always find someone going really slow in the left lane and oblivious to blocking tons of traffic. Even when there's sign after sign saying "Unlawful to use left lane unless passing"
  • danparsonson 256 days ago
    Related: tutorial for writing something similar with ShaderToy -
  • megalomanu 256 days ago
    Beautiful, congrats! This reminds me the final shot of Playtime (not a spoiler! at 2:07: )
  • altacc 256 days ago
    So realistic that it hogs the middle lane when it could move to the left ;)
    • AnthonyUK 256 days ago
      The red line indicates the hard shoulder but yes, even after the law change here in UK I have not seen much actual change on the road tbh regarding middle-lane hogging.

      People are either ignorant, lazy or don't care as there is very little chance of being caught.

    • jcynix 256 days ago
      That might be realistic, cf. a female's view of the autobahn:

      by the late cartoonist Martin Perscheid.

      What irritated me a bit instead, where the cars passing on the right side, until I realized that it was made by someone from UK ;-)

  • system2 256 days ago
    Music version is amazing:
  • pacoverdi 256 days ago
    In a similar vein, check out the js1k 2013 winner entry, "Strange crystals" [0].

    Also check out the author's detailed explanations.



  • zxspectrum1982 256 days ago
    Nice but I usually turn my lights on when I drive at night :-)
    • pixl97 256 days ago
      I mean, unless they are riding their brakes then their lights are on.... It just happens that all the cars have their front bulbs out.
  • ffhhj 256 days ago
    This reminded me of Night Driver for Apple II:

    • mdswanson 256 days ago
      Me too...though in the arcade and on the 2600.
  • Apocryphon 256 days ago
    Well, that's beautiful. I remember a procedurally generated night city skyline demo that was on HN years and years ago, this is a somewhat similar endeavor.
  • danjoredd 256 days ago
    I miss seeing little projects like these that don't serve a purpose, but just look neat. I love it! I hope to see more "demos"!
  • Ezhik 255 days ago
    Representing cars as just two lights is so simple yet so effective. I've toyed with a slightly similar idea as well:

    There's also a screensaver out there which generates an entire little city, with neon branding on buildings and all.

  • toss1 256 days ago
    Very cool. One 'flaw' that immediately strikes me as cool is that the cars are transparent — so, for instance, when a car passes you between you and the oncoming traffic, you see the taillights, but also the oncoming headlights/streetlights are not obscured by the car. So it's sort of disembodied headlights and taillights, which makes the effect even cooler... fun!
    • skrebbel 256 days ago
      Tbf I think that's the point
  • mageofpanthera 256 days ago
    Cool Work! Look into Digital Weaving for the 'Flow'


  • kdazzle 256 days ago
    Thats’s awesome. Kind of reminds me of this vector-y 80s game I had as a little kid - the Tomy Turbo [1]. I’ve been trying to make something similar myself but keep pushing it aside. Anyways, nice work - it looks great!


  • fulafel 256 days ago
    In demo terms it's an "effect".
  • makach 256 days ago
    I just loved how the author explained writing code without using any specific code. That's clever, lovely done!
  • kevinmchugh 256 days ago
    Weirdly I had the idea to do the same thing, including doing it in js, a year or so ago. This is much nicer than what I'd pictured. Mine would've been set to Kamasi Washington's Clair de Lune.

  • UberFly 256 days ago
    Love it. It gave me a bit of that early-internet "wow, this is really cool and new" feeling. Thanks.
  • foobarbecue 256 days ago
    Love this, including the music, but here's an old favorite track of mine that would also fit:
  • BigJono 256 days ago
    Love it.

    Might be a good thread to ask. A few years ago I found a couple of sites that were like shadertoy but for 2D canvas shit like this. One I think was (which appears to have disappeared), and I can't for the life of me remember what the other was.

    Does anyone know of any such sites?

  • Lukesys 256 days ago
    This gentleman made a great web game for the UK TV show, Countdown. Been using it for years...

  • jordemort 256 days ago
    I love this. I'd love an idealized version where nobody ever passes on the right even more.
    • gavmor 256 days ago
      Notice oncoming traffic is also on the right? It's UK traffic. For peace of mind, try tossing a `transform: scaleX(-1)` on the <canvas /> element.
  • caeril 256 days ago
    > It's not a screensaver, because it's not the 90s

    What's funny is that screensavers may end up coming back into vogue if OLED displays continue to have burn-in issues. Ray-traced flying toasters may be in our future.

  • gabesullice 256 days ago
    I enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed watching the demo. Both the demo and the writing style are simple and calming, I didn't even notice that the cars were on the wrong side of the road until I saw the TLD ;)
  • hlandau 256 days ago
    Very nice!

    Not exactly the same thing, since it's a high-paced action game, but I was always fond of the DOS game Skyroads, which has a similar aesthetic. (I believe someone has now made a web-based version called OpenRoads.)

  • IMAYousaf 256 days ago
    This is really nice. I'd actually love it as a screensaver/background.
  • Overtonwindow 256 days ago
    It’s 11 o’clock at night and this is absolutely perfect. Bravo on the music version.

  • brazed_blotch 256 days ago
    Lay-by by Tennyson complements the simulation quite well

  • dotancohen 256 days ago

      > What game can we make where the premise is that you're a
      > passenger on the motorway at night time?
    The same game passengers on the motorway already play. Punchbuggy yellow!
  • xyzzy_plugh 256 days ago
    Relaxing except the cars are driving on the wrong side, at least for me.
  • zasdffaa 256 days ago
    See also this very natty shadertoy demo
  • manunamz 256 days ago
    It would be really neat to create a variation of this that simulates driving through mountain roads -- starry night sky, dark mountain silhouettes, the occasional cabin light...
  • rvba 256 days ago
    I remember when I was very young I wrote something much simpler using PRINT and GOTO. Hand drawn formula car (drawn using /\ [] and |) would scroll indefinitely in a simple loop.
  • btbuildem 256 days ago
    I'd call this a "demo" for sure -- harkening back to the mid-90's when people built things for fun / just because they could / to explore
    • skrebbel 256 days ago
      People still do this.
  • z3t4 256 days ago
    Would be a nice "game" experience with VR googles
  • techas 256 days ago
    Very nice!

    I thought this would be about the Atari game with paddles… lol

  • runxel 256 days ago
    It's superb! Only needs city lights now. Think of driving up the hill next to a city. And then less cars. That would be soothing.
  • OzzyB 255 days ago
    Yes, it's a demo, welcome to the Demoscene™
  • bee_rider 256 days ago
    It might be nice to have something like this with very, very limited interactions to run in the background while programming or whatever.
  • kesava 256 days ago
    Was lot of fun staring at it for a long time. However, every driver using turn signals when they change lanes is not realistic :)
  • holoduke 256 days ago
    I would love to see someone making a video of this and put it in stable diffusion to generate a even more synthwave experience.
  • brap 255 days ago
    Was that a helicopter I saw? Couldn't find anything about it in the source or discussion... nice touch!
  • aerovistae 256 days ago
    > if your browser runs JavaScript:

    I don't understand this remark. What browsers do people use that don't have javascript?

    • rezmason 256 days ago
      Some people run their browsers with JavaScript turned off. Some folks disable CSS. Some even browse via Lynx, a text web browser. It seems like the author's met some of these folks.
      • aerovistae 256 days ago
        I had never heard of Lynx, thanks!
    • b0afc375b5 256 days ago
      I think it just means "if you have JavaScript enabled". But to give a technical example, Lynx doesn't support JavaScript.
    • Bakary 256 days ago
      For most people, this will mean Ublock origin settings. For a smaller number of people, stripped down greybeard-approved browsers
    • jstanley 256 days ago
      I don't like to presume :)
  • garaetjjte 256 days ago
    I feel this isn't complete without mesmerizing shadow patterns from streetlights on dashboard.
    • system2 256 days ago
      If he spends more time on this project I bet he will turn it into a full-fledged pc game.
  • spookierookie 256 days ago
    Saw it for a min. Nice.

    Then I bumped into the car in front of me which was changing lanes. Not nice.

    • jstanley 256 days ago
      Yes, sorry about that. The lane switch planning is incredibly poor!
  • kenver 256 days ago
    This is wonderful, well done. The limitations you mention just add to the style.
  • chclau 255 days ago
    Very very nice, but I don't like that the cars are transparent
  • Keyb0ardWarr10r 256 days ago
    Please allow the lanes to be reversed, we drive on the right side
  • radar1310 256 days ago
    It would be great to have the car I am in have headlights:)
  • windows2020 256 days ago
    transform: scalex(-1);

    It's beautiful art. The code too. Great work.

  • tempodox 256 days ago
    The music should be Kraftwerk's “Autobahn” :)
  • felipelalli 256 days ago
    I don't know why, but this is so cool.
  • Melatonic 255 days ago
    Reminds me of the San Mateo bridge
  • edreismd 256 days ago
    This is real art! Much more than SD
  • cooze 256 days ago
    i'm desperately mashing my keyboard hoping that some button would allow me to drive
  • skrebbel 256 days ago
    > Maybe it's a "demo"?


  • swayvil 256 days ago
    Excellent vibe. Good art.
  • soupbowl 256 days ago
    This is awesome, good job!
  • rajeshp1986 256 days ago
    what an amazing concept. Thank you for making this!
  • pelasaco 256 days ago
    nice, had a flash back of LSD, sweet old days.
  • pbronez 256 days ago
    Fun, but backwards! Wish I could toggle right-hand drive
  • pnf 256 days ago
    No headlights?
  • smallerdemon 256 days ago
    I love this.
  • jdfx3 256 days ago
    I love it
  • ramshorst 256 days ago
    Kudos !
  • foxbee 256 days ago
    Hugeeeeee vaperware vibes right now
  • kashif 256 days ago
    its art
  • nickdothutton 256 days ago
    This is art. If a pile of bricks wrapped in paper, or a lump of decaying meat in a box is art, then this is art.
  • arduinomancer 256 days ago
    edit: nvm
  • mavu 256 days ago
    > It's hard to classify what it is. It's not a video, because it's generated dynamically. It's not a game, because you just watch. It's not a screensaver, because it's not the 90s. Maybe it's a "demo"?

    You know, even men are allowed to just make Art.

  • abitnegative 256 days ago
  • developershrug 256 days ago
  • yakorevivan 256 days ago
  • draw_down 256 days ago
  • warmuuh 256 days ago
    As German, the thing that annoys me after 5 seconds is that the driver is overtaken on the right side and does so himself ... Hate it
    • bnegreve 256 days ago
      The driver drives on the left, so over taking on the right is the proper way to do it.
    • kleiba 256 days ago
      I wouldn't use the word "hate" but I also find it irritating, even though I'm not German.

      Admit it, though: you dislike even more that in that app, you're not zooming by everyone else on the left-most lane, right? ;-)

  • masswerk 256 days ago
    BTW, while we may think that driving is a universal thing, I instantly found it amazing how North American this is. From the integrated indicators, to cars passing on your right, to the road lights and even how the road undulates. Having said that, great project!

    Edit: Well I got this entirely wrong and missed that this was meant to be lefthand traffic. (I caught a segment that looked more like there was an independent road passing an interstate crossing a city, rather than being opposite lanes.)

    • mbrameld 256 days ago
      I think it's from the UK or somewhere else that they drive on the left. Opposing traffic is on the right.
      • jansan 256 days ago
        Also, the domain may be a hint.
    • hugginn 256 days ago
      Isn't this left hand traffic though? As in, not what you'd find in America? It feels very Swedish to me, except for the traffic direction.
      • netsharc 256 days ago
        If it's Sweden before 3 September 1967, even the traffic direction is correct...

      • masswerk 256 days ago
        You're right. Still, cars passing on both sides was so North American to me that this blended in this specific impression.
      • Jamie9912 256 days ago
        What do you mean Swedish except for the traffic direction??
        • hugginn 256 days ago
          Depends on where you are of course, but reminds me of approaching Stockholm, just before it gets so thick that people start loitering in the left lane. Perhaps Salem, if traffic isn't too heavy.
    • berkut 256 days ago
      Erm, the cars are driving on the left (red taillights on left side of motorway, white headlights on right)... wouldn't North America be the other way around, with cars overtaking on the left?
      • masswerk 256 days ago
        I happened to watch a segment where the cars on the opposite lanes looked more like passing on an independent road, so I missed that this was meant to be lefthand traffic. And it really looked more like an interstate passing through a city. – My failure.
      • otabdeveloper4 256 days ago
        He means cars overtaking you using the lane to your right. In Europe this is against the rules.
        • berkut 256 days ago
          Yes, but the cars are driving on the left in this demo (like in the UK), so on the right is where you do overtake legally - in the faster lanes. I haven't noticed any "overtaking" on the left, where it would be illegal in some countries that drive on the left in the few minutes I've watched it.
    • jstanley 256 days ago
      What do you mean by "integrated indicators"? Don't cars have integrated indicators all over the world?
  • delronde 256 days ago
    > It's hard to classify what it is.

    It's generative art :)

    You should launch it on

    You might find these interesting:

    • jstanley 256 days ago
      I am a cryptocurrency fan but never understood NFTs.

      Can you please explain what anyone would get out of buying an NFT as opposed to just looking at the web page for free whenever they want?

      Not trying to be dismissive, just trying to understand.

      • delronde 255 days ago
        Why do people like to buy skins on Fortnite or Call of Duty? People like to own things to show status, taste or just express themselves.

        If the question rather is, "Is owning an NFT the same as owning a physical item?". It's not exactly the same, but it's close enough to feel the same emotionally (you and only you can decide whether you want to transfer, sell or even destroy it). And it's strictly better than owning any other digital license because it's on a neutral platform with deterministic rules.

        With respect to generative art in particular, it's a great fit because it allows a someone to own a unique instantiation of the algorithm. e.g. take a look at this collection: you can create infinite variations on the same theme, but the artist has determined that they only want 250 pieces in total to exist. So when someone "buys" the art work for the first time, a completely unique piece of work is generated based on the random transaction hash. The algorithm still exists as a whole and anyone is free to view and enjoy it, but people still buy and trade the unique pieces because they enjoy it.

        In fact, there's an upcoming project that really leans into the idea: Anyone is free to create any number of outputs they like and share them. But only 999 NFTs will exist, some people people want to pay for the right to have their selection immortalized as one of the 999.

        I don't understand the visceral hate (not from you, just in general). People who want to just look at it are free to do so, people who want to pay and own it do so, and the artists are paid directly (and get perpetual royalties). Who's losing out?

        Anyway, my original comment was not even about NFTs, just wanted to bring attention to the fact that this is generative art, and other artists have similar posts about their work and how they use JS to replicate similar real world phenomena.

        edit: I didn't realize you were the post author. Your work is amazing. I'm sure it will be appreciated by generative art collectors should you choose to publish it. Feel free to reach out to my username at if you have any questions. I'm a serious gen art collector, and there's nothing I would love more than to introduce new folks to the space.