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Latest news

Version 0.2.1 released (19/11/2012)

This version corrects a few bugs introduced in version 0.2.0. In particular:

About FractalToy

FractalToy is a graphical program for exploring iterated fractal function systems, such as the Mandelbrot and Julia sets. It's written in Java, and is platform-independent. It has a primary goal of being easy-to-use, with intuitive operations and instant visual feedback upon modifying parameters.

FractalToy is currently in early development stages, so implemented functionality at the moment is only limited to zooming/moving around fractals and taking still image snapshots. However future development will include the ability to create motion sequences that can be rendered to digital video files for playing back visual effects in realtime. An API is also provided for writing your own fractal functions easily, if you're a Java developer.

Why the humble name? There may not be anything world-saving about FractalToy, but it sure might make a fairly good source of amusement and fascination for some of you out there :)

FractalToy is open source, and is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 3 or later.

What's a fractal?

This is some background information on fractals, with opportunities for further reading. You don't have to understand this to use the program - but if you're curious, read on, as you might appreciate it more the better.

To quote Wikipedia on Fractals:

A fractal is "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole," a property called self-similarity.

Roots of mathematically rigorous treatment of fractals can be traced back to functions studied by Karl Weierstrass, Georg Cantor and Felix Hausdorff in studying functions that were continuous but not differentiable; however, the term fractal was coined by Benot Mandelbrot in 1975 and was derived from the Latin fractus meaning "broken" or "fractured."

A mathematical fractal is based on an equation that undergoes iteration, a form of feedback based on recursion.

Using the screenshot gallery as a starter, if you search deep around the various fractal shapes provided, you may find some formations that often occur in nature.

For instance in Mandelbrot, you can often find trees, tree roots, rivers, waterfalls, and even complete replicas of the original Mandelbrot "bulb". The fractals all have near-infinite detail; there is always more to be revealed as you zoom in further.

In the Burning Ship fractal; zoom in to the lower-left region of the image "behind" the main "ship"; you'll find many smaller ships hovering away in the distance, exhibiting this fractal's self-similarity.

In the Pickover Stalk renderings of the various other fractals, you'll find many different organic kinds of shapes, most of them resembling either alienesque tendrils, ribcages, neural networks or tightly-woven netting.

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