Fractals have the property of self-similarity. One type of figure that fulfills
this requirement, are Recursion Trees.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The idea is as follows: you draw the stem
of the tree, then the stem splits into two smaller branches, each of these two
branches again splits into two smaller branches, etc... until infinity.

Recursion Tree with Two Branches

To code such a recursion tree, we need of course a recursive function. This
function will draw one branch, and call itself again to draw two new branches,
and since it has called itself again, these two called versions will again call
itself again, etc... The parameters are changed each time to draw the branch at
the correct position, with the correct angle and size. There's also a stop
condition, it'll stop after n recursions, otherwise the calculation would never
be finished and it'd end up in an infinite loop. In the nth step of recursion,
2^n branches have to be drawn.

First, some variables and the recursive function are declared. "pi" can be used
to give your favorite angle in radians more easily. "maxRecursions" is for the
stop condition of the recursive functions. "angle" is a constant, it's the angle
each new branch will have compared to it's parent branch. "shrink" is how much
smaller each new branch is compared to it's parent branch. You can change their
values, the values here have been chosen to give one of the many possible nice
results.

double pi = 3.1415926535897932384626433832795;
int maxRecursions = 8; //never make this too big or it'll take forever
double angle = 0.2 * pi; //angle in radians
double shrink = 1.8; //relative size of new branches
void recursion(double posX, double posY, double dirX, double dirY, double size, int n);

The main function doesn't do much more than setting up the screen, and then
calling the recursive function. The value "h/2.3" in the parameters of the
recursion function is the initial length of the first branch (the stem). The
coordinates are the begin point and direction vector of the first branch.

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
screen(320, 240, 0, "Recursion Tree");
cls(RGB_White); //make background white
//Now the recursion function takes care of the rest
recursion(w / 2, h - 1, 0, -1, h / 2.3, 0);
redraw();
sleep();
return 0;
}

Now follows the recursion function, a function that only draws a single line and
calls itself a few times, but results in a huge tree!

Here's the part that draws the line. First the line is clipped to the screen,
then drawn. The line is drawn from (posX, posY) to (posX+dirX, posY+dirY). So
the position and direction of the line is given as a vector, instead of a begin
point, an angle and a size, because direction vectors are much easier to work
with. The size parameter itself isn't used to draw the line directly, it's only
needed later to calculate the direction vector of the next branches. If the
maximum number of recursions is needed, the function returns immediately after
drawing the line, without calling itself again.

And in the second part of the function, the new position of the new branches is
calculated as the endpoint of the previous branch, and the new direction vector
for the new branches is calculated out of the size and current direction of the
current branch. The new branches are rotated with the angle, the sine and cosine
formulas are actually the calculation of the rotation matrix. Then the recursion
function is called again with the new branch in it's parameters. This is done
twice: once for a branch rotated to the right, and then for a branch rotated to
the left.

It's very easy to make the screen bigger, just change the parameters in the
screen function, all the rest of the code is made relative to the size of the
screen.

Here's an alternative main function, that will redraw the tree all the time with
a different angle.

The angle is set to the time divided through some factor determining the speed
of the animation. Here are a few of the results you get for different angles:

Recursion Tree with MoreBranches

Instead of only 2 branches, you can also give it more branches of course. For
example, to give it 3 branches, let the recursive function call itself 3 times
instead of only 2. This gives a huge increase in complexity however: now, if n
is the max number of recursions, the number of branches to draw will be 3^n only
in the last step, so if n=8, that's 6561 branches!

It isn't difficult to extend to 3 or more branches, you just have to choose a
nice angle for the new branches. The following code also has something extra: at
the end of each branch, a green circle will be painted, making it look like
leaves. It also allows to turn on or off up to 4 branches separately, and give
each branch a fixed or time varying angle. In the main function are different
input keys that create different angles and settings.

Everything is declared again, the explanation of each variable is in the
comments. The angle of branch i will be angle*ai+ci, where angle varies with the
time.

double pi = 3.1415926535897932384626433832795;
int maxRecursions = 6; //max number of recursions
double angle; //angle in radians, this parameter changes with time
bool enable1, enable2, enable3, enable4; //enable or disable up to 4 branches
double a1, a2, a3, a4, c1, c2, c3, c4; //angle multipliers and adders for those 4 branches
double size, shrink; //the size of the first branch, and the relative size of the next ones
bool releaseSpace; //for input
int drawLeaves = 4; //what type of leaves to draw, if any
void recursionTree(double posX, double posY, double dirX, double dirY, double size, int n);

In the main function, some initial parameters are set, and then the while loop
starts. This while loop will draw the tree each time and change the angle a with
the time.

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
screen(512, 384, 0, "Recursion Tree");
//Initial settings
enable1 = 1; enable2 = 1; enable3 = 1; enable4 = 0; //1 enables, 0 disables branch
a1 = 1.0; a2 = -1.0; a3 = 0.0; a4 = 0.0; //how fast the angles rotate
c1 = 0.0; c2 = 0.0; c3 = 0.2; c4 = 0.0; //absolute angle
size = h / 3; //size of the first branch (the stem)
shrink = 1.5; //relative size of the new branch
while(!done())
{
angle = getTicks() / 3000.0;
cls(RGB_White);
recursionTree(w / 2, h - 1, 0, -1, size, 0); //This function will draw a single line and call
itself a few times, creating a tree
redraw();
//Presets of settings
readKeys();

The second part of the loop changes the settings like the angles, the number of
recursions, ... according to some presets. It's easy to change them or add more
if you like. The releaseSpace variable is used for the space key: it's there so
that if you press the space key, it'll only change the setting again after you
released the space key again.

First it'll clip and draw the line of the branch, and then, if the last
recursion is reached, it'll draw a leave. Which type of leave it draws depends
on the drawLeaves setting, that can be changed with the space key. If the max
number of recursions is reached, the function returns so that it doesn't call
itself anymore.