“Infinite Words” is an infinitely recursive crossword puzzle, a word fractal or “wactal”. Computers permeate modern society and most of the words we read are in now in digital format. The letters on our screen are no longer composed of lines and curves as they have been since the dawn of time. When viewed up close we are able to see that they are formed of crude blocks called pixels. Usually the fonts we read are anti-aliased or large enough to mask the truth.
Interestingly the grid of pixels necessary to represent a letter can be shrunk down to a 5×5 grid and still maintain readability. At this size the lines and curves are forced into discrete rows and columns.? Instead of a solid blocks we can think of each pixel as a tiny letter and make the restriction that each row and column of those pixel letters must form valid words. To further complicate the problem some letters are composed of mostly diagonal pixels, X being the worst case where there are no horizontal or vertical stretches. To remedy the situation I added a special rule to guarantee that otherwise single letters will instead form words on diagonals. This defines a word fractal or wactal.
The resulting effect is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. Every English word of 5 letters or less (about 14,000 total) is represented. Good and bad, war and peace, live and die, qanatand crwth, frank and force, fuck and shit, pixel and word. They are all there, interlocked in a never ending cascade of organized chaos. Currently I have it set to use the Official Tournament and Club Word List making this a useful vocabulary building tool for games like Scrabble, Boggle, anagrams, etc. This is also why you may see some obscure (and obscene) words.
But wait, there’s more… The Infinite Words Screensaver does more then just words, there are several other modes. Check out the “Pipe Dream” video above.