Continuing the series of Critical Hit 2015 prototypes, here is the next one: CloudKeeper. Again, we had two weeks and a completely new team of four people to make another experimental game. Our discussions quickly arrived at magic as a theme and circular projections. Some members of my group had a circular projection on the floor last time, so to shake it up a bit, we wanted the projection to by on the ceiling. And thus, the idea of the magical sky creatures was born: Creatures that escaped into the heavens, and the player, a cloud keeper, has to bring them back.

I had a lot of fun with electronics in my last project, so I wanted to do more of that. And I still had a Touch Board that I never had time to use so far – an Arduino with capacitive sensing, which, among other things, can do this:

Distance capacitive sensing! (photo taken from the Touch Board kickstarter campaign)

It worked quite well for very low ranges (<4cm), which was suitable for our purposes. At first we tried to make one crystal which players can touch from multiple directions, but players used to swirl their hands around it like it was a crystal ball and that didn’t make for very predictable controls. In the end, we settled for 5 cardboard crystals, each with only one function and aluminium foil inside. The capacitive sensing actually worked really well through the cardboard! Some crystals controlled movement, and the closer you got to them, the faster the movement got. (And not being able to see why cardboard can sense how close you get to it added a fun technological-magical aspect to the whole thing.)

Apart from that, we also wanted to have generative creatures – kind of like my Chimera Maker, but this time I also got to procedurally animate the creatures! Kailin Zhu drew them and created the crystals you see in the video and pictures below, Titouan Millet made beautiful generative cloud shaders and Peter van Haaften generative music and sounds.

Oh, and I also made the creature nest, a separate executable which showed the creatures flying away from and returning to earth, seen in the video on the monitor. It communicates with the main game via a server using the Yahoo Games Network (formerly PlayerIO). I tried to make it work with standard Unity peer-to-peer networking, but the University network didn’t like direct connections at all.

Finally, all this generativeness combined resulted in:

Cloud-Keeper-Icon

Magical creatures have escaped into the heavens,
and the player must sift through layers of clouds
to bring them back to the earth.

Using a set of five crystal touch/distance-sensing controllers,
the player wanders through a generative audio/visual cloud world
to catch these lost mythical beings and return them to their home.

Credits:

  • Titouan Millet – Programming and generative visuals
  • Kailin Zhu – Craft and illustration
  • Tobias Wehrum – Programming, electronics, and generative creature engine/animation
  • Peter van Haaften – Generative music and sound engine

The video footage was recorded by Mattias Graham and Tobias Wehrum.

This project was made possible through the Technoculture, Art and Games Research Center’s Critical Hit: Games Collaboratory and the support of Concordia University and Dawson College and financial contribution of the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie.

Work in Progress and Playtest

Initial touch board tests with electric ink... (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

Initial Touch Board tests with electric ink… (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

...and with other materials! (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

…and with other materials! (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

Painting a prototype crystal (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

Painting a prototype crystal (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

Or resident crystalomancer at work (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

Or resident crystalomancer at work (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

The set-up for the playtest (photo by Kailin Zhu)

The set-up for the playtest (photo by Kailin Zhu)

Eyes on the creature... (photo by Mattias Graham)

Getting closer… (photo by Mattias Graham)

Creature spotted! (photo by Mattias Graham)

Creature spotted! (photo by Mattias Graham)

Sloooowly, slooowly... Eyes on the creature... (photo by Mattias Graham)

Sloooowly, slooowly… (photo by Mattias Graham)

Critical Hit 2015, the incubator for experimental wearable games that I’m currently taking part in, is still going strong. After Fruit Fever, we formed new teams to do our second big prototype. This time we wanted to do a theatrical experience with a non-linear story.

After the brainstorming, we came up with (un)done, a story about love and break-up. Two players face each other, wearing ponchos with strings dangling from them. When they tie a string together, they hear a positive memory from the couple’s relationship, like the first date or kiss, moving in together or getting a pet. When they open a knot instead, a sad memory will play: a fight, a thing they hate about each other or just drifting apart. By players tying und untying different strings (and with the help of a little randomness), the story that unfolds is always different.

Additionally, a woven screen on which generative art is projected separates the players from an audience. The more strings are tied, the more colorful and intricate the projected art becomes; when knots are opened, the projection is slowly erased again. In the end, the projection is blank again and nothing remains but the memory of what once was there.

This project was a lot of fun and very interesting. I never made a theatrical experience before – and additionally, I wanted to learn how to deal with electronics and soldering and expand my knowledge about the Arduino. Thanks to my team and all the helpful other participants and mentors at Critical Hit that was a big success!

And now I proudly present:

FullSizeRender2_400x313

Step in the shoes of a couple as they meet,
fall in love, fight, and fall apart again.

Embody a relationship as you tie and
untie yourself with the other player, in:

(un)done, an intimate non-linear audio game
made at Critical Hit 2015!

Credits:

This project was made possible through the Technoculture, Art and Games Research Center’s Critical Hit: Games Collaboratory and the support of Concordia University and Dawson College and financial contribution of the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie.

Pictures of the work in progress and the final game

First electronics prototype (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

First electronics prototype… (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

...and the first ponchos (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

…and the first prototype ponchos (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

The final Arduino shield (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

The final Arduino shield connected to a bluetooth module. Soldering at its finest! (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

Weaving the screen dividing the players and the audience (photo by Kara Stone)

Masterfully weaving the screen dividing the players and the audience (photo by Kara Stone)

Colorful generative plant-like patterns

Colorful generative plant-like patterns

Generative art on the woven screen (photo by Tobias Wehrum)

One of the finished ponchos (photo by Kara Stone)

One of the finished ponchos (the patches are on the dummy, not the poncho) (photo by Kara Stone)

Tying strings together (photo by Mattias Graham)

Tying strings together (photo by Mattias Graham)

View from the audience area (photo by Mattias Graham)

View from the audience area (photo by Mattias Graham)

Pretty colors! (photo by Mattias Graham)

Pretty colors! (photo by Mattias Graham)

One of our creative exercises, lead by Jorge Lopes Ramos, was to make 3 games in 10 minutes each with a set of utensils. As if making a game in such a short time was not hard enough, he added another restriction: We could not give direct instructions to the group who would play our game afterwards. Instead, we should come up with a more creative way to instruct them.

With 16 participants making 3 games in groups of 4, we had a lot of different approaches.

I remember:

  • Communicating intent via naming the game.
  • Instructing the players to move via rhythm.
  • Demonstrating the game via theatrical improvisation with team members as game props.
  • Singing a short song before the game begins which contains hints to how the game should be played.
  • Trying to get across how the game is played by setting it up properly or having pieces whose usage should be clear.
  • Leading the game by having team members interact with it, resetting the game if played improperly.
  • Preparing an informative display out of props.

Some approaches were more successful, others… less. But all of them were pretty fun for both players and creators!

And now, here are the games I participated in:

Animal Jacks

Throw a stuffed hamster into the air, try to grab as many other animals as you can before it touches down. Then it’s the other player’s turn. We tried to communicate the instructions by alluding to the game Jacks.

Team: Owen Bell, Nicole Pacampara, Hope Erin Phillips and Tobias Wehrum

IMG_8428

Yay, plush animals! (Photo by Jorge Lopes Ramos)

Blowing Spinners

Twirl your spinners, blow them into the goal area and try to knock other spinners out! We demonstrated the game via a theatrical improvisation using team members as game props.

Team: Grayson Earle, Dawn Hang Yue Wong and Amanda Tom and Tobias Wehrum

Human, Farm Animal, Dinosaur

Rock, Paper, Scissors in its most exciting variant! We tried to get that across by making a little display with props and arrows.

(Interestingly, players thought that the display was part of the game and manipulated the props. Thinking about it, that might make a fun game mechanic if used properly.)

Team: Jessica Blanchet, Peter van Haaften, Titouan Millet and Tobias Wehrum

IMG_8484

Getting ready… (Photo by Jorge Lopes Ramos)

IMG_8485

Getting ready… (Photo by Jorge Lopes Ramos)

IMG_8486

Attack, my dinosaur! (Photo by Jorge Lopes Ramos)

IMG_8491

No idea what’s happening, but yaaaay? (Photo by Jorge Lopes Ramos)

Last week we finished the third week of Critical Hit 2015 in Montreal, an incubator for experimental wearable games! We continued our game from the week before about eating foodstuff to balance your health values:

The player is ill – their heart rate, body temperature and digestion are either two high or too low – and so the player tries to get healthy by eating foodstuffs. Each foodstuff raises or lowers one or two of the aforementioned properties. (To keep it replayable, those effects are randomly decided at the start of each round.) It’s a logic puzzle: The player has to find out what each foodstuff does by eating them, then look at the current status on their apron, and in the end figure out which foodstuffs to eat to get healthy.

The core concept didn’t change much except going from multi- to singleplayer – this week was mostly about finishing the hardware (last week we only had a digital prototype to test with) and figuring out how to teach the game to new players.

We came up with two ways:

  1. Starting simple, upping the difficulty: First there is only “temperature slider and 2 foodstuffs”, then there is “temperature + heart and 3 foodstuffs” and finally we get to “temperature + heart + stomach and all 4 foodstuffs”.
  2. Using a screen which displays hints for the effect of all 4 foodstuffs in the beginning (“Kiwi: -1 temperature”, etc.) and then reducing the amount of hints by one every round.

In the end, we couldn’t decide which one we prefer and implemented both: One version self-sufficent with just the apron/fork/Arduino, and one version with an additional screen.

And now, without further ado…

FF

Malnutrition is making you sick.
Luckily, you have found some healthy-looking
food, but you don’t know what it does yet.

Pick up your fork and watch as what you eat changes
your body and figure out the right combination.

Munch your way to health in FruitFever!

Source code available at GitHub.

Made possible by Critical Hit 2015.

Credits:

This project was made possible through the Technoculture, Art and Games Research Center’s Critical Hit: Games Collaboratory and the support of Concordia University and Dawson College and financial contribution of the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie.

More “Working on the Game” Photos

(You can find the images from last week here.)

Jelly with different resistances. More conductive than tasty.

Jelly with different resistances. Conductive? Yes! Tasty? Eh… (photo by Mónica Rikic)

Back to fruits and cheese it is

Back to fruits and cheese it is! (photo by Mónica Rikic)

IMG_3819

Owen here is showing off the latest in the “fashion meets games” category. (photo by Mónica Rikic)

2015-06-30 17.11.41

Controlling an LED apron with Unity was definitly a first for me! (photo by Milin Li)

The final digital prototype. When the apron/fork is attached, the upper middle display vanishes. Currently 3 hints what the fruits do are shown - in a harder mode, there would be less or even no hints.

The final digital prototype. When the apron/fork is attached to the computer, the upper center display vanishes. Currently 3 hints to what the fruits do are shown – in a harder mode, there would be less or even no hints.

Eat fruits, receive LEDs! (photo by Mattias Graham)

Eat fruits, receive LEDs! (photo by Mattias Graham)

Feed your playtesters well! (photo by Mattias Graham)

Feed your playtesters well! (photo by Mattias Graham)

Playtesting and/or eating (photo by Mattias Graham)

Playtesting and/or eating (photo by Mattias Graham)

I’m currently taking part in Critical Hit 2015 in Montreal, an incubator for experimental wearable games. This week, we started our first prototype! The God of Randomness teamed me up with Owen Bell, Milin Li and Mónica Rikic – so 3 of our 4 members are programmers, but luckily my team members are also great at wiring, sewing and making. The theme for the first game was “mini & forbidden”.

The Concept

Our first thematic impulses were to make something with either witchcraft/voodoo or bacteria. This quickly lead to the idea that somebody is ill and must be cured by one or multiple people, possibly using magic. From there we got to our current idea: Two people are ill – their heart rate, body temperature and digestion are either two high or too low – and both try to get healthy before the other one does. To do that, they eat fruits. Each fruit raises or lowers one or two of the aforementioned properties. (To keep it replayable, those effects are randomly decided at the start of each round.) It’s a logic puzzle: The players have to find out what each fruit does by eating them, then look at their current status and figure out which fruits to eat to get healthy. In the end version of the game, there should be neither screen nor keyboard: The players actually eat real fruit with specially made forks that can sense fruit types and wear aprons with LEDs showing their status.

After we got that game idea, we found Pixelate, a “Guitar-Hero-style eating game which detects food you are eating”. We did our own Arduino sketches and fruit resistance experiments, but were heavily inspired by the fork they used.

But enough text – have a few pictures of us working on it over the week!

Working on the Game

Owen testing fruit resistence (photo by Mónica)

Owen testing fruit resistance (photo by Mónica)

 

An early fork prototype...

An early fork prototype… (photo by Mónica)

 

...and an early digital prototype to test the game mechanics  (photo by Mónica)

…and an early digital prototype to test the game mechanics (photo by Mónica)

 

Science! (photo by Mónica)

Owen used Science! It’s very effective. (photo by Mónica)

 

Working on the real fork (photo by Milin)

Working on the real fork (photo by Milin)

 

I have NO idea how they broke, I swear! (photo by Milin)

I have NO idea how they broke, I swear! (photo by Milin)

 

The MakerBot Replicator 2X printing our fork case (photo by Milin)

The MakerBot Replicator 2X printing our fork case (photo by Milin)

 

The finished fork prototype! (photo by Milin)

The finished fork prototype! (photo by Milin)

 

More Science! (photo by Mónica)

More Science! (photo by Mónica)

 

Fruits and vegetables after a day of electrical resistence testing (photo by Mónica)

I wish I could say that no fruits/vegetables were hurt during the electrical resistence testing, but, well… (photo by Mónica)

 

The glowiest of all aprons ♡ (photo by Milin)

The glowiest of all aprons ♡ (photo by Milin)

 

The latest digital prototype for playtesting

The latest digital prototype for playtesting

The Playtesting Session

On Friday, all the games made this week were put through their paces to find out what works and what should be improved next week. We didn’t have our physical parts ready yet, so the digital prototype I made had to substitute for the full experience. I occasionally tested with people over the week, but never with two people who hadn’t played before – and (in retrospect unsurprisingly) it didn’t go very well: Most people didn’t figure out how the fruits worked. Other complaints were that the feedback is too subtle and/or lacking, that the two players barely interact and that the competition doesn’t put enough pressure on the player. Another thing that didn’t work out well was using fruits: Some people thought those fruits have effects like their real counterparts, while the effects are actually randomized each round.

I talked a lot at the end with Tom Fennewald, who participated in the playtesting sessions. Among other things, he suggested that the basic mechanic of the game is fine and what is really missing is adjustable transparency as difficulty: Show what the fruits actually do to start it out like a tutorial, then slowly make it harder by hiding effects.

We will try this and other ideas that we had next week. I’m looking forward to see where this is going!

Oh, and I definitely learned one thing: I should test things more and earlier.

I’m currently taking part in a Concordia summer program called “Critical Hit” in Montreal, Canada. It’s about making games – and, more specifically, about making experimental games using wearables. The first week was more about getting to know each other, getting several workshops (among others for using Pebble and Muse) and playing urban games with each other before the actual jamming is going to start.

I did make one game this week though: Chronic the Hedgehog, an Urban Game on escalators about persuading strangers, made in about 1 hour together with Jessica Blanchet, Grayson Earle and Titouan Millet.

(Video taken by Jessica Rose Marcotte)

The game is played with two teams, two escalators, two cups, a dice per team member and a lot of unsuspecting strangers.

One team starts at the upper position, the other one at the lower position. I will explain the game from the lower team perspective – the other team just does the same mirrored.

To prepare the game, the lower team places a cup in front of the downstream escalator. Then each team member takes a dice and they queue in front of the upstream escalator.

Once the game starts, the first team member steps on the upstream escalator. They cannot move their feet – they have to stand on it until they reach the top. In the meantime, they try to get a stranger on the parallel downstream escalator to take their dice and put it in the cup on the botton of the downstream escalator. If they succeed, this team member is done. If they don’t, they have to take the downstream escalator to go down again and queue for another try.

Once your team member reaches the top, the next queued team member can start.

The goal is to be the first team which has all their dice in their cup.

And yeah, that’s the game. It was a bit chaotic, but pretty fun.

If you want to read more about the first week, take a look at the recap post on the Critical Hit website!

PS: Here’s a picture to appease the preview thumbnail generation gods of Social Media.

Chronic-the-Hedgehog

After doing dailies a few weeks back, I’ve started working on my first bigger generative art project: A chimera generator which fits slices and parts of animals together collage-style. And now I’m finally done! I proudly present:

#031: Chimera Maker

Chimera Maker

Remember all those times when you
really needed a weird animal generated?

Now there’s an app for that!

Get it in the Android Play store for free!

Download it for Windows/Mac/Linux!

 Open the Unity WebGL build right in your browser.
(That’s takes a really long time to load though.)

All generated pictures are licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Original picture credits:

031_chimera_maker_01     031_chimera_maker_02     031_chimera_maker_03

031_chimera_maker_04     031_chimera_maker_05     031_chimera_maker_06

031_chimera_maker_07     031_chimera_maker_08     031_chimera_maker_09

031_chimera_maker_10     031_chimera_maker_11     031_chimera_maker_12

031_chimera_maker_13     031_chimera_maker_14     031_chimera_maker_15

031_chimera_maker_16     031_chimera_maker_17     031_chimera_maker_18

031_chimera_maker_19     031_chimera_maker_20     031_chimera_maker_21

031_chimera_maker_22     031_chimera_maker_23     031_chimera_maker_24

Four weeks ago, I started doing daily generative art Processing sketches – and now I am at the end of this fourth week. I’m glad I held on to the “do one sketch every day” mantra, even when I wasn’t feeling inspired – I made some pretty fun stuff this week. Alright, let’s dive right in!

#022: Tentapus Generator

That’s right – it has 10 legs, not 8! I really like how the legs always look so different. While generating, sometimes it almost looked like it was dancing. I might actually use this in a game one day – it certainly looks like it would be fun to play with.

s15_03_22_tentapus_generator_01     s15_03_22_tentapus_generator_02     s15_03_22_tentapus_generator_03

s15_03_22_tentapus_generator_04     s15_03_22_tentapus_generator_05     s15_03_22_tentapus_generator_06

#023: Thorny Path

A rehash of #022. Looks kind of plant/thorn-like.

s15_03_23_tentacle_frame_01     s15_03_23_tentacle_frame_02     s15_03_23_tentacle_frame_03

#024: Fruity Planets

One of the absurdest things I ever made and definitely the star of this week! It was so much fun generating images and thinking up stories for the different planets. The basic concept of “planet with a radial collage” is taken from the amazing book Generative Design which I cannot recommend highly enough. The original images were dedicated to the Public Domain and are taken from http://creativecommons.photos.

s15_03_24_fruity_planets_01     s15_03_24_fruity_planets_02     s15_03_24_fruity_planets_03

s15_03_24_fruity_planets_04     s15_03_24_fruity_planets_05     s15_03_24_fruity_planets_06

s15_03_24_fruity_planets_07     s15_03_24_fruity_planets_08     s15_03_24_fruity_planets_09

The first of these pictures even recieved a small poem by my friend Marina Bahlke:

With silent steps the tigers try to walk
their applejuicy-drippy paws make stalk-
-ing antelopes way too hard

they sizzle, crackle, slosh and crunch
and before having air as lunch…

…they enjoyed a fine meal in one of the palaces and lived happily ever after.

Thanks a lot! That’s already the second piece of fanfiction I get for making, uh, “art”.

#025: New Emoticons For A New Century

Because the old emoticons were boring, our robot overlords have generated new ones. Rejoice! (What do you mean, you can’t type a reverse F on your keyboard? Get a better one!)

This might not look like it, but of all my generative art dailies, this has taken the most work. I actually revisited it multiple times on following days to add things, like a hat or side decorations. It was fiddly to get right, but I am very pleased with the results!

The font used is FreeSans by GNU FreeFont.

s15_03_25_new_emoticons_for_a_new_century_01     s15_03_25_new_emoticons_for_a_new_century_02     s15_03_25_new_emoticons_for_a_new_century_03

s15_03_25_new_emoticons_for_a_new_century_04     s15_03_25_new_emoticons_for_a_new_century_05     s15_03_25_new_emoticons_for_a_new_century_06

#026: A Handful Of Characters

The title already alludes to it: What you are seeing there isn’t totally drawn with simple lines and curves, but composed out of font symbols that aren’t necessilary looking like the normal letters of the alphabet. The resulting images are interesting – and what’s more, it offered me an excuseto use my beloved fonts Mara’s Eye, Mage Script and Were Wolf, haha.

The fonts in the pictures are: Iokharic, Mage Script, Mara’s Eye and Visitor Script by Neale Davidson, Magzetician Regular by GrandChaos9000 and WereWolf by GemFonts.

s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_01     s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_02    s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_03

s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_04    s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_05    s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_06

s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_07    s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_08    s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_09

s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_10    s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_11    s15_03_26_a_handful_of_characters_12

#027: FormWeaver

Another part of the Weaver series (see #09 and #09b), experimenting with drawing faint lines between points. This time, the results look a bit like linen spanned between points and illuminated from behind.

s15_03_27_formweaver_01    s15_03_27_formweaver_02    s15_03_27_formweaver_03

s15_03_27_formweaver_04    s15_03_27_formweaver_05    s15_03_27_formweaver_06

#028: Isles

A shiny sea-with-isles generator. I think it’s a worthy end to my 4-week-daily series!

s15_03_28_isles_01     s15_03_28_isles_02     s15_03_28_isles_03

s15_03_28_isles_04     s15_03_28_isles_05     s15_03_28_isles_06

Download

Windows (32 bit)

Windows (64 bit)

Source Code (GitHub, MIT license)

Instructions:

  • Tentapus Generator:
    • Left-click to refresh.
    • Right-click to refresh, but keep colors.
  • Thorny Path: Left-click to refresh.
  • Fruity Planets: Left-click to refresh.
  • New Emoticons For A New Century:
    • Left-click to refresh.
    • Right-click to lock/unlock a tile.
    • Mouse wheel to change font.
  • A Handful Of Characters:
    • Left-click to refresh.
    • Right-click to switch between modes (mirror, circular).
    • Mouse wheel or +/- to change font.
  • FormWeaver: Left-click to refresh.
  • Isles:
    • Left-click or X to refresh.
    • Right-click or C to refresh, but keep color palette.
    • Middle-click or V to refresh, but switch colors.

If you’re not on Windows, fret not; for some reason I can’t compile for Mac and Linux, but you can just download Processing and open the sketch files in the archive. It’s really straightforward. If you need any help doing that, just send me a mail or comment here.

And what does the future hold?

I already mentioned that this marks the end of my series of dailies. It’s not because I’m out of ideas and even less because I’m getting bored of it: Quite the contrary on both accounts! The reason is simply that the dailies eat a lot of time that I would sometimes rather spend researching generative art techniques – and that I have several ideas that don’t fit into the daily format. So from now on, you can expect bigger results. Thanks for reading, and please join me next time too!

And thus, the third week ended. It had its hits and misses, but I learnt new stuff and I’m especially content with the three dailies at the end! And now, without any further ado:

#015: Probably a Metaphor for Something

On the other hand, maybe it isn’t. Let’s… let’s just skip this one, okay? I guess it’s safe to say that it didn’t go where I wanted it to go.

s15_03_15_probably_a_metapher_for_something_01

#016: Hypnotic Eye

This one didn’t really go where I wanted it to go either, but luckily, sometimes cool things happen while you’re experimenting. The video recording didn’t have a high enough frame rate to show how it smooth it really looks, but I recommend downloading the processing sketch or an executable – it feels pretty hypnotic full screen and with a high frame rate.

s15_03_16_hypnotic_eye_01      s15_03_16_hypnotic_eye_02

s15_03_16_hypnotic_eye_03      s15_03_16_hypnotic_eye_04

#017: Circuits

This one is inspired by a chapter of Generative Design about stitching together simple SVG shapes in a grid to form more complex patterns. I wanted to try making circuit-like images, so I designed my own shapes in Inkscape. Fun, but man, this took some time doing for the first time – the sketch uses 36 shapes, and everything had to correctly align. I like the results though, some parts look really interesting!

s15_03_17_circuits_01     s15_03_17_circuits_02     s15_03_17_circuits_03

s15_03_17_circuits_04     s15_03_17_circuits_05     s15_03_17_circuits_06

#018: Cloudy Tunnel

Another one in the category “I thought this would look better”. It’s kind of like a more boring version of #013 (Fissures). Oh, and it serves as a reminder for me – I wanted to go somewhere entirely else with that, but I forgot my goal along the way because I didn’t keep switching back to my reference.

s15_03_18_cloudy_tunnel_01     s15_03_18_cloudy_tunnel_02

#019: Insect Generator

Ha, this one is fun! Originally I just experimented with using perlin noise on circle drawing, but then I realized that the results look kind of like insects with the right parameters. While I experimented further, I discovered that a certain parameter makes them look very alien and glitchy. That parameter is part of the sketch now, slowly escalating on each result, leading to a tour from normal earth insects to otherworldly abominations.

s15_03_19_insect_generator_01     s15_03_19_insect_generator_02     s15_03_19_insect_generator_03

s15_03_19_insect_generator_04     s15_03_19_insect_generator_05     s15_03_19_insect_generator_06

s15_03_19_insect_generator_07     s15_03_19_insect_generator_08     s15_03_19_insect_generator_09

#020: Forest of Lights

One of the few sketches where I have a concrete inspiration – this time from the manga Soul Eater. The trees with the light balls on top of it fascinated me, so I tried my hand on generating something similar. It was a bit hard to get something decent looking despite using 2D graphics without cool premade lighting effects and shaders, but in the end a bit of cheating (the tree shading is totally randomized and even though they are reminiscent of low-poly models, they are fully 2D, haha) got me close enough to where I wanted to go!

s15_03_20_forest_of_lights_01     s15_03_20_forest_of_lights_02     s15_03_20_forest_of_lights_03

s15_03_20_forest_of_lights_04     s15_03_20_forest_of_lights_05     s15_03_20_forest_of_lights_06

#021: Gradient Skyline

And the last of the pack! This one uses palettes again to create interesting color combinations, but this time I’ve learnt my lesson and picked them by hand. Also, for the first time: Gradients. And pixel line shifting.

The following palettes are used (and highly recommended): Thought Provoking by Miss_Anthropy, cheer up emo kid by electrikmonk, Ocean Five by DESIGNJUNKEE, fresh cut day by electrikmonk, (◕〝◕) by sugar, Dance To Forget by joy_of_summer, Storming Psychedelia by Bionic Blender, Gamebookers by plamenj, A Dream in Color by madmod001, Hymn For My Soul by faded jeans, Koi Carp and 400 Lovers by Tzadkiel, it’s raining love by tvr, vivacious by plch, antidesign by death—of—design, mai by lovelyrita and Pop Is Everything by jen_savage.

s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_01     s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_02     s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_03

s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_04     s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_05     s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_06

s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_07     s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_08     s15_03_21_gradient_skyline_09

Download

Windows (32 bit)

Windows (64 bit)

Source Code (GitHub, MIT license)

Instructions:

  • Probably a Metaphor for Something: Watch. Contemplate. Close. Move on and try something else.
  • Hypnotic Eye: Left-click to restart.
  • Circuits: Left-click to refresh.
  • Cloudy Tunnel: Left-click to refresh.
  • Insect Generator:
    • Left-click to refresh (and increase alien glitch)
    • Right-click to refresh (and reset alien glitch)
    • Mouse-wheel or +/-: Cycle through coloring options
  • Forest of Lights: Left-click to refresh.
  • Gradient Skyline:
    • Left-click to refresh.
    • Right-click to refresh, but keep palette.

If you’re not on Windows, fret not; for some reason I can’t compile for Mac and Linux, but you can just download Processing and open the sketch files in the archive. It’s really straightforward. If you need any help doing that, just send me a mail or comment here.

And now, once more into the fray! I’ll do a fourth week of dailies, and then I’ll change the format a bit. I’ve got some experience with smaller sketches now, but I wonder what I could do with more time – so instead of daily sketches, it’ll be one or two bigger sketches a week. But for now, you can look forward to the next and last round-up of dailies next Sunday. See you then!

And the second week is over! I had some interesting and diverse results this week. I’m especially fond of the Silk/LightWeaver and some of the results of Stormy Weather look very dynamic.

#008 – Silky Smoke

A variant of #006 (CircleTrails), inspired by this video where Casey Reas talks about the circle collision thing that #006 also uses, but with drawing lines between them. Silky Smoke works in a similar way, but isn’t about drawing a persistent picture and more about the movement created. It looks okay, but I have to admit that I was hoping for more.

s15_03_08_silky_smoke_1     s15_03_08_silky_smoke_2

s15_03_08_silky_smoke_3     s15_03_08_silky_smoke_4

 

#009 – SilkWeaver

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce the star of this week: SilkWeaver! It’s not self-praise if I’m praising the results of a program I coincidentally, right? Either way: Aesthetically, I these are the best pictures I’ve created so far. And the complex patterns are created quite simply actually: It’s another variant of #006, but this time, there are lots of little circles wandering and some bigger circles called “weavers”. When a weaver intersects with a circle, it draws a line from the center between the two to the center of the little circle. That’s all the magic!

s15_03_09_silkweaver_01     s15_03_09_silkweaver_02     s15_03_09_silkweaver_03

s15_03_09_silkweaver_04     s15_03_09_silkweaver_05     s15_03_09_silkweaver_06

s15_03_09_silkweaver_07     s15_03_09_silkweaver_08     s15_03_09_silkweaver_09

s15_03_09_silkweaver_10     s15_03_09_silkweaver_11     s15_03_09_silkweaver_12

 

#009b – LightWeaver

My friend increpare noted that the images made by SilkWeaver are too dark, and yeah – he’s right. So I looked up how to use the additive mode in Processing. Turns out, that’s just a single line – and now my SilkWeaver is a LightWeaver. When you start the sketch, that’s the standard mode – with “m” you can switch to the SilkWeaver mode. You know, if you like Silk more than Light.

s15_03_09b_lightweaver_01     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_02     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_03

s15_03_09b_lightweaver_04     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_05     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_06

s15_03_09b_lightweaver_07     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_08     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_09

s15_03_09b_lightweaver_10     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_11     s15_03_09b_lightweaver_12

 

#010 – Homage to Mondrian

I guess the inspiration here is quite clear. The variation with the zig-zag lines also looks fine and more interesting than I thought it would.

Before #010 I’ve just randomly generated colors, but I thought that this calls for a few handselected palettes. Luckily, the ever-wonderful ColourLovers has API access! I tried to make it call the API on runtime, but sometimes the call timed out because the site was taking so long to load – so now I’m just using a downloaded version of the result XML.

While I’m content with the result in general, when it came to taking screenshots I wished that I had handpicked the palettes instead of choosing randomly from the ColourLovers top list. Some are really interesting, but others simply don’t have enough contrast. Well, lesson learnt I guess.

(I’m sorry that I don’t have any idea whose palettes I’m using here – they are randomly selected from the top 100. If I’m using your palette, please tell me and I’ll credit your here!)

s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_01     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_02     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_03

s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_04     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_05     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_06

s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_zig-zag_01     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_zig-zag_02     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_zig-zag_03

s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_zig-zag_04     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_zig-zag_05     s15_03_10_homage_to_mondrian_zig-zag_06

 

#011 – Stormy Weather

This one had a long way behind it. Lots of circles attached to other circles, in turn attached to other circles, every rotating. At first it was constantly drawing and resulting in a thing that kind of looked like an ugly ball of wool. Changing it to motion blur led to the results below – much more dynamic-looking!

s15_03_11_stormy_weather_01     s15_03_11_stormy_weather_02     s15_03_11_stormy_weather_03

s15_03_11_stormy_weather_04     s15_03_11_stormy_weather_05     s15_03_11_stormy_weather_06

 

#012 – Calibrating, Please Wait

“Calibrating, Please Wait” got its name because it reminded me of how zooming/targeting display are sometimes displayed on TV – as if it was trying to get the right settings, but they are never quite right.

s15_03_12_calibrating_please_wait_01     s15_03_12_calibrating_please_wait_02     s15_03_12_calibrating_please_wait_03

s15_03_12_calibrating_please_wait_04     s15_03_12_calibrating_please_wait_05     s15_03_12_calibrating_please_wait_06

 

#013 – Fissures

Again, lots of little lines, rotating and moving, with additive blending. I guess I’ll have to experiment further with that technique as it always seems to have interesting results. In this case, it kind of looks like a very old scratched glass panel (or shard of ice) with fissures and light shining from the other side.

s15_03_13_fissures_01     s15_03_13_fissures_02

s15_03_13_fissures_03     s15_03_13_fissures_04

#014 – Noisy Forms

Last one! Polygons with 3 to 8 points and a random rotation determined with perlin noise according to the polygon radius. Not the most glorious way to finish the week, but I guess there are good and bad days, eh?

s15_03_14_noisy_forms_01     s15_03_14_noisy_forms_02

s15_03_14_noisy_forms_03     s15_03_14_noisy_forms_04

Download

Windows (32 bit)

Windows (64 bit)

Source Code (GitHub, MIT license)

Instructions:

  • Silky Smoke: Left-click to refresh. Right-click to switch between white/color modes. +/- keys or mouse wheel to change hue.
  • SilkWeaver: Left-click to refresh. Right-click to pause/resume. “m” to change blending mode (Lightweaver [default] or SilkWeaver)
  • Homage to Mondrian: Left-click to refresh. +/- to change speed. 1 to 9: Set scale. i: Switch between drawing or instant. s: Switch between straight or zig-zag.
  • Stormy Weather: Left-click to refresh. Right-click to pause/resume.
  • Calibrating, please wait: Left-click to refresh. +/- to change speed.
  • Fissures: Left-click to refresh. Right-click to refresh and draw instantly.
  • Noisy Forms: Left-click to refresh.

If you’re not on Windows, fret not; for some reason I can’t compile for Mac and Linux, but you can just download Processing and open the sketch files in the archive. It’s really straightforward. If you need any help doing that, just send me a mail or comment here.

And that’s it for the second week. Considering how small the results look, it’s surprising how taxing it can be to actually do a sketch a day (and to make videos, pick screenshots and do all the other things needed to publish the results). But I’ll keep at it at least for four weeks in total – some days where I felt particularely uninspired, like on the days I made Stormy Weather or Fissures, still had great results. The “I have to sit down and make something” now is a great if somewhat uncomfortable cure to “I feel uninspired”, apparently. Either way: See you next week!