Ah, the Mandelbrot set.  How does such a simple algorithm produce such intricate, beautiful pictures?

 Wendybrot Screenshot 1

There's a seemingly endless variety of patterns and colors.

Wendybrot Screenshot 2 

I got the urge to write my own Mandelbrot set explorer a few days ago.  XNA makes it pretty painless (under 1000 lines of C# and shader code for a pretty feature-packed implementation), and I'm happy with the result!  "Wendybrot" updates the image after each iteration through the algorithm, so you can see the image grow almost organically over time.  And I added controls so you can play with the color palette for those classic psychedelic palette animation effects from the old 8-bit days.

 Wendybrot Screenshot 3

Hopefully you'll find Wendybrot_1_0.zip attached to this post.  Here's some key info from the ReadMe:

Requirements

To build and run this program, you need:
- Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express (Beta 2)
- An Xbox 360 controller
- A graphics adapter that supports VS and PS shader model 2.0
- Patience...Wendybrot creates beautiful images but it's not instantaneous
 

Note that you must have an Xbox 360 controller to use this program (or be willing to add keyboard support yourself).

So all you XNA-heads out there, give it a try.  If you'd like further explanation of any of the techniques I used (palette animation, 2D without SpriteBatch, dynamic texture updates, my weird mipmap-esque node rendering, etc.), send me an email and I may write about it in a future post. 

I'm looking forward to getting this running on the Xbox 360.  Guess I need to learn how to write multithreaded code in C# soon...

-Mike