Week 6: Project Proposal 2 / by Valzorra

Background

While researching Probability and Chance, specifically how to visualise the concepts, I came across a series of works in the field of Generative Art and Algorithmic Art (for more information, refer to Week 5: Mathematics Visualised). Looking at those striking images inspired me to think about an experience where one is completely surrounded by Generative Art and where one’s interactions with that environment continuously change it. For the most part, Generative and Algorithmic Art does not involve any interactive elements, but rather is restricted to either a static image or a short film. Therefore, Generative and Algorithmic Art could be elevated to a new level of interaction through the medium of video games. Additionally, I believe that there is more to be done in the field of Abstract Art Games and the ideas they could convey through algorithms, shapes, and form, so this project would provide a great way to explore that idea.

Project Overview

The project would essentially be a VR walk-through experience that allows the player to interact with its environment. Based on those interactions, the environment would change in accordance pre-determined mathematical functions, many of which would be based on Calculus (for more on that, please refer to the my work during Tech Workshop). As we have learned from Markov Chains and Matrices, in order to make procedural change, we oftentimes need a starting state. As the player transitions from their starting state and interacts with the environment, the environment will get continuously more abstract, changing with every movement, every touch of the player, based on functions like Probability Distributions, the Reimann-Zeta Function, Sine and Cosine Functions, and more. That’s the basic overarching goal and premise of the project, now on to the specific locations the players will explore.

Once they enter the experience, players will be placed in a tunnel like structure. This tunnel will be shaped to echo what the inside of the spine may look like. Within this tunnel, players will be able to walk, jump over obstacles, touch its walls, go up and down the tunnel in any way they please. As they progress through the tunnel and explore it’s structure, the environment will change with each movement and touch. Each action will have a mapped function to it, and those functions would then be applied to the tunnel, changing its shape, its course, even potentially destroying the tunnel. The experience will slowly transition from a detailed environment to an increasingly abstract and low-poly world. Finally, the player will reach a large open space, almost like the centre of the skull, where they will be able to look at and reflect on the changes they have made within the environment. That’s why each experience through this tunnel would be unique to every player. Additionally, this connects to a series of universal themes and ideas that would make the project that much more thought-provoking. It ties into the idea that actions have consequences, that everyone’s life path is different and those differences must be appreciated. It displays how mathematics is the underlying construction of the universe through an artistic medium. It would also connect to the idea of reflection upon one’s actions and how focusing on the big picture rather than the small details can sometimes be more revealing than anything else. Another exciting point about this project is that I believe it could work terrifically in a Virtual Reality Environment.

Concept Pieces

This would be an incredibly visual process, with no fixed narrative experience. Walking through the tunnel would generate a visual story and trace of your actions and movement. I have not created my own sketches of the concept as of yet, however, I have attached a series of images that will hopefully help convey how this may look visually. The first image below is a good example of how the space may look when the player first enters. I have not made any decisions in relation to colour just yet, however, that would be the overall starting shape of the tunnel.

Annihilation, 2018

Annihilation, 2018

As the player progresses through the tunnel, they will inevitably create patterns of trajectory, they may touch certain objects within, they might pick things up or destroy parts the environment. Based on those actions, the landscape of the tunnel and path may continue to change in ways such as the ones displayed below.

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As the player progresses through the environment further, its shape and outline will continue to change based on the predetermined set functions. It will inevitably get continuously more chaotic, more abstract and as previously mentioned, the world may even collapse on itself at that stage.

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At the end of the experience, the player will have a moment to reflect on all of the changes they have caused within this environment, which may end up looking something like the image below. This moment of reflection will allow the player to appreciate what their actions have caused in this world and whether or not they like what they see. Hopefully, it may also encourage people to reflect upon their own lives and consider whether or not they are happy with what they have so far. The question to follow would be if it’s too late to change or if things can be restructured.

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