Elegant Minimalism

Back in early November, I covered the 10K Apart contest, which challenged Web developers to build rich Web pages as economically as possible. Entrants were limited to 10 kilobytes of code and media combined, which in this day and age would seem to be a crippling limitation.

But 367 entries were submitted. And on September 21 the winners were announced, with the grand prize going to a simple but addictive HTML5 game called Sinuous, designed and developed in a mere 6.9K by Hakim El Hattab, an interactive developer based in Sweden.

In the game, a test of manual dexterity, not a single image is loaded; everything is written in pure code (exploiting the browser's built-in scripting language and the HTML5 graphical elements now fully supported in Internet Explorer 9). The goal is to survive as long and rack up as many points as possible, which you do by using your mouse to navigate through a vast night sky full of deadly red dots. If you can maneuver your dot into a green one, you gain temporary invulnerability, which you use to destroy red dots and collect points. As soon as you collide with a single red dot, the game is over. If you manage to rack up one of the high scores, you will be immortalized in Sinuous's list of the top competitors.

Since winning the contest, El Hattab has developed a more intricate version of the game that offers additional levels and a few more game objects, but which is still a model of economy. You can also check out more of El Hattab's ingenious and beautiful HTML5 creations on his Experiments page. Their elegant code will impress those of us who enjoy looking under the HTML hood; everyone else will enjoy their playfulness and cleverness.

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