Something I threw together on a snowy afternoon for the festive season! Snow falls from the top of the screen covering any windows you have open and settling at the bottom of the desktop


The Nerdy Bit!

This screensaver is rendered with Direct3D 10 with hardware accelerated Point Sprites for snowflakes and there’s a little bit of Win32 magic to find out where the windows are so that the snow piles up on top of them.


The amBX Downloads page contains a couple of screensavers which makes use of their ambient lighting/effects middleware. This screensaver is very similar to their Fireflies screensaver but in this version the flies themselves do not emit any light on the amBX peripherals. Instead, when they come close to one of the 8 cylinders around the screen, they “discharge” some of their colour to it and it is the cylinders which set off the amBX lights.

If you don’t have an amBX kit then it’s still relaxing to watch the swarms flocking gently around the screen, slowly shifting hue as they do so.

Fireflies screensaver


The Nerdy Bit!

This screensaver uses OpenGL to perform the rendering. It also makes use of the amBX middleware. Each fly/particle is affected by the other flies within a certain radius and steer themselves based on a few simple rules which cause them to avoid crashing while still following the crowd. I was inspired to implement this kind of flocking algorithm by the Boids article on this site.


The ripples screensaver creates a warped/rippled effect on your desktop just as if someone had dropped a pebble into it!

Ripples Screensaver



The Nerdy Bit!

This screensaver uses OpenGL to perform the rendering. Upon initialisation an image of the desktop is grabbed and from then on is used as an OpenGL texture. The ripple effect is performed by a fairly simple GLSL shader.

  1. December 30, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I so wish I could find a legit copy of that ripple type screensaver. All the ripple screensavers either have the parent company go out of business or the coder disappear……. 😦

    • December 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Nikolaus. I’m still around, I’m afraid I’ve just been a bit too busy to post anything for a while. Are you not able to download the ripple screensaver from the link above?

  2. Aaron Weaver
    April 11, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I am trying to upgrade my old opengl screensaver to a modern version. One that supports shaders. Have been googling for a for days off and on for a simple example. I need to see how they do the windowing calls.

    Do you know where I can get a simple example to study?

  1. November 30, 2010 at 8:38 pm

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