I remember seeing the following a lot when I was younger, and recently saw it again in a DOSbox setting: enter image description here

For those that haven't seen it, the squiggly red lines shift and undulate quite a bit, and actually looks like it's doing something fairly complicated. What is the program actually doing here? I don't actually know anything about graphics processing, so I assuming that it's performing some kind of stress test on the system, but I have no clue as to what it might be doing behind the scenes. And: If the software is trying to tune itself, how would it know what to change, especially on an older system?

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    Just for context, that’s WinG’s calibration test. – Stephen Kitt Jun 22 '18 at 14:25
  • Huh, just looked it up. Pretty interesting: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinG – LSM07 Jun 22 '18 at 14:27
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    I hope it doesn't step on anybody's toes, but I transcribed the in-question answer to a community wiki (i.e. no points allocated) formal answer. That'll ensure this question shows up properly in the various StackOverflow places as not being unanswered. – Tommy Jun 22 '18 at 15:04
  • Yeah, @LSM07, you should post answers as answers in future. We're not like a typical forum. (Obligatory tour link.) – wizzwizz4 Jun 22 '18 at 15:36
  • Thanks @Tommy, I rolled the question back to its first version to avoid having the answer in both places. I do remember reading about the various calls that were compared, if I find it again I’ll add the information... – Stephen Kitt Jun 22 '18 at 15:37

Well, turns out the Wikipedia article has the answer already:

WinG would also perform a graphics hardware/driver profiling test on the first execution of the program in order to determine the best way to manipulate the graphics hardware. This test showed a window full of red curved lines, sections of which would wobble as performance was tested. Once WinG had determined the fastest calls that did not cause graphics corruption, a profile would be saved so that the test would not need to be performed again.

Thanks to Stephen Kitt for the comment of what to look up, "WinG"

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  • What operations would cause graphics corruption? What did he contents of a profile like look like? – Dai Mar 21 at 19:50

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