Tag Archives: interactive

Supernova: Blast Off!

Jenny -Supernova

This is a screenshot of a post someone put on their Instagram Story!

supernova

The night of the Art Party!

I learned about augment reality in our first class this semester, by using the HP Reveal app. At first I was very frustrated trying to figure out the app but amazed by augmented reality and that elementary children use the app. My original idea was continuous dance, I would be dancing in a purple suit then you would come up to one of the symbols on my suit and an overlay of me dancing would appear. I  found out after a little trial and error that the app is very finicky and I would not be able to dance while someone uses the app. But this was only the very beginning of the idea. I soon became a space alien because of our theme for the Art Party; Supernova! I would have a helmet and glitter all over my face, complete with eyeshadow. I started by making the helmet, I used a bike helmet to paper mache over as a base.
paper mache set up

This was the set up for the paper mache helmet

helmet 2

Helmet with the point

helmet 1

Helmet after one round of paper mache without the point

helmet 3

Helmet with foil, finished product

Overlays: The overlays were my favorite part of this project. Performing and interacting the night of the Art Party was fun but I could not actually dance at the Art Party or else the overlays do not come up, so filming them was the best!! The first round of overlay videos that I showed Angela were of me dancing to the entirety of Bennie and the Jets by Elton John, and two other videos of me dancing to Stitches by Shawn Mendes with different colorful space videos being projected onto me. Well Angela liked the videos with the projection so much more. And I was asked to choreograph different dances for each overlay. Each overlay would then have separate choreography, a different song and a different colorful projection. Below are the overlays: Symbols: I wanted them to be abstract and not 100% recognizable. During this process I discovered that it is very difficult to register symbols that are simple. My symbols were not recognized by the app my first few times, the app would not pick them up. This was incredibly frustrating. But this also pushed me to make the symbols more unique because the app can not recognize images that have already been used to trigger overlays. During this time I also was having a difficult time because the lighting was always different and the angle people pointed their phones at the symbol were always different too. So even when the symbol registered the overlay would not come up because it was a different angle or light. In crit we solved this problem. I found that pictures of the symbols worked just fine at registering the images. So not only were the physical symbols on my suit but many printed copies of the symbols were too. The prints then worked and triggered the overlays! Some of the symbols had to be put on a flower background to make them more unique and able to be registered. The others just have the purple background that is the suit. Below are the final symbols used:
Green Blue Dot

Green Blue Dot

Purple Blue Dot

Purple Blue Dot

Ball of Beads

Ball of Beads

Pink Dot

Pink Dot

Disco

Disco

Rose

Rose

Cloud

Cloud

Garlic Flowers

Garlic Flowers

Plastic Star

Plastic Star

A couple weeks before the Art Party I was workshopping how to get people at the party to download the app, and tackle the learning curve of using the app. I decided I wanted to make stickers that had pictures of the symbols. I would greet people at the door and use showmanship to get them to download HP Reveal and from there I would get them to follow my account. Then so that they were able to manage and use the app I would give them the sticker. This way before the performance they would have experience with the app and hopefully be hooked! I’ve found that having something an audience member can take away with them is a key factor in interactive art. The Performance! The art party was a huge success in my eyes. I would bate people coming into the party by asking “would you like to “Blast Off?” this got their attention and I would continue from there by asking them to pull out their cellular devices and download HP Reveal. During the sometimes awkwardness of people downloading the app and us waiting around for that I would explain, that “We were going to travel through time and space together, and that because we are going to travel so far and so wide we have to make an account or else the connection between planets will be lost! AH and we wouldn’t want that would we?!” Audience members were hesitant to make an account but you have to to see my overlays so that was my reasoning. I would I did three big performances and after those I walked around and interactive one on one with people. I found that once the weirdness of downloading the app was over and they had the sticker people were into it. Especially during the performance, I did a little dance and jumpy thing to signal that we were “Blasting Off” I also explained how every symbol was a transport into another galaxy and the overlay was us traveling to the new planet! Audience members ate this up. Every couple minutes during the performance I would ask if we were ready to “Blasting Off” again and I would ask for space, then I would do a new little dance and spin, then I would strike a new pose. This way the audience would be able to get at symbols they couldn’t before. Over all this was a very labor intensive project that had a lot of trail and error and a lot of glitter but it was all so worth it. I loved it so much and I love augmented reality and how accessible this app is.  
Me in the suit, the first day I got it!!

Me in the suit, the first day I got it!!

IMG_2083

The first day I got the suit I was so happy and struck many dramatic poses

View from behind, audience members using their HP Reveal with the stickers!

View from behind, audience members using HP Reveal with the stickers!

I was on quite a few audience members Instagram stories

I was on quite a few audience members Instagram stories

Interaction! Blasting Off!!

Interaction! Blasting Off!!

After Striking a Pose!

After Striking a Pose!

 

Community Blanket — Madeline Dupre and Jennifer Morris

An overhead view of the cloud, with our blanket twisted in the middle

An overhead view of the cloud, with our blanket twisted in the middle

Madeline with the blanket before the installation started

Madeline with the blanket before the installation started

  The original inspiration for this project was that our housemates often spend evenings knitting together, talking and watching television. We both love knitting, finding it to be relaxing and a nice activity to do with our hands as we socialize. Our original idea for this project was to create a full blanket that we would ask the participants to unravel and give us the pieces of yarn. We soon realized that this wasn’t realistic, so instead we changed the focus of our project to be one of collaboration. We often knit our own projects separately, but this installation was a team effort, so we wanted it to be fully collaborative. In order for it to be this way, we decided to each knit about half of the blanket. Then we would sew these halves together while still knitting the blanket, so we would knit from both ends. We still wanted people to interact with the blanket, so we decided we would gather materials that could be knitted with that were not yarn (ribbon, shoestring, twine, cut up tablecloth, string made of plastic — all in a variety of colors). People would then add these to the blanket by handing them to us to knit in, and we would teach the audience members (who we later dubbed community members) to knit as well.  
Half of the blanket before one class critique

Half of the blanket before one class critique

  After one of our first critiques on this project in class, we realized that if more than two other people were participating, they would get bored and wouldn’t feel engaged with the piece. We also wanted people to do something besides knitting, because we know that sometimes the idea of knitting can be intimidating. With this, we planned to encourage community members to braid or otherwise combine some of the non-traditional materials and either ask us to knit them into the blanket or tie them into the fabric we had already knit in any way they wanted.  
Madeline working on the blanket at Spring Fest

Madeline working on the blanket at Spring Fest

During one of our final, aesthetic-focused critiques for this project, we decided that to frame it, we wanted to be sitting on a fake cloud to add to the comfortable, homey feeling. We got pillow stuffing and formed it into a circle to sit on, and we sat across from each other, wearing kind of cutesy outfits of shorteralls and pastel t-shirts. The blanket would go across the cloud, and we would knit it simultaneously.
The cloud pre-formation

The cloud pre-formation

Our experience of the installation was overwhelmingly positive. It was nice to be in the middle of Open Studios, where people were milling about and being contemplative, and changing that space to have it be one of direct and kind interaction. When we invited people to sit with us, one of the main points of pushback was that many said they could not knit. In these instances, we responded by saying that we could teach them, or they could do something else. This was one of those wonderful moments where what we had planned lined up with reality. Overall, we made new friends and completed a blanket that truly feels like it came from the community. If we had unlimited resources and could do the project again, we would have liked to perhaps have made a schedule for all of the community members to actually be able to use the blanket, or we would have done multiple sessions of sitting in Heimbold, asking people to participate in a similar way each time. Because at Open Studio there were so many people that were so excited, but we couldn’t physically and emotionally support all of them in making the blanket, the idea of multiple knitting sessions seems wonderful in retrospect, to have been able to forge a strong sense of community.

[NEW GENRES: Interactive] Gumball Processing

For my second piece this semester, I wanted to have fun. According to my therapist and mother, I am autistic. Because of this, I process many things differently from someone who is not on the Autistic Spectrum. I am also a trained chef, and have worked in restaurants (and at home) for years. These two facts come together beautifully as I explored my own sensory processing through “Gumball Processing.” Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 2.51.29 PM Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 2.50.14 PM tiny-kitchen-bacon-and-eggs   The idea for the “Gumball Processing” started with an investigation into the self. I wanted to make a piece that would bring my mind a little bit closer to the minds of my participants; a part of this was understanding art as sensory processing. Again, I went to Saskia Bakker’s Design for Peripheral Interaction. Bakker, never letting me down, helped me map my own brain process to the rest of the world. I also read “Hertzian Tales and Sublime Gadgets” by Anthony Dunne, which inspired a distinct distaste for digital interactive projects. Although Dunne was eloquent and helpful in reconsidering the digital, I found that there was a deep antagonism in the ways that digital pieces would capture and employ data about humans in the analog world. I then dedicated this project to working without any sort of digital component. First came the food. IMG-3780 IMG-3781 IMG-3782 IMG-3783 IMG-3784 IMG-3785 IMG-3786 IMG-3787 IMG-3789 IMG-3790 IMG-3791 It was important to me early on that my brain be accurately represented in this piece. A part of my sensory processing is that I do not eat collectively; rather, each texture and taste is isolated and recomposed as a sensual harmony. For this piece, I wanted to show how exactly I isolate and reconstruct food. The compartmentalization of eating is what inspired the design for the gumball machine, as well. IMG-3900 IMG-3903 IMG-3904 IMG-3906 IMG-3908 Creating my gumball machine was not easy. I consulted many Youtubes and listicles on how to DIY my way to a functional gumball dispenser. However, few of these suggestions proved functional. I instead designed my own gumball machine, using the power of math and a little bit of creative thinking. IMG-3899 IMG-3898 IMG-3897 IMG-3896 This featured a lot of working and reworking, some of which happened while I was in the Wood Shop itself. However, with determination and some help from Francis, our local fibers expert, I completed my first design for “Gumball Processing.” IMG-3895 IMG-3894 IMG-3893 IMG-3892 However, this would be far from the final design. IMG-3912   Due to many mechanical flaws in the pull mechanism, the ‘gumballs’ would not drop. Several re-designs later, Professor Angela Ferraiolo solved my entire project in one sentence. She said that my issue with the piece was “mechanical,” and that I was “losing the interaction.” Not only was she right, but she helped me re-conceive what became EAT MY ART. IMG-4067 IMG-4068 IMG-4069 IMG-4073 The night before and day of Open Studios, I prepped my former gumballs. The menu consisted of four complete dishes that were then separated into two to four components each. The star of the piece was the Raspberry Tart Bun (pictured above), a soup-bun-style tart that was baked in biscuit dough and covered with cinnamon. This was separated into four components (the syrup, the raspberries, the soft inner dough, and the crispy outer dough). In total, I created 95 tiny dishes. This was one of the most satisfying moments in this project. IMG-4075   Rather than rely on the framing of the gumball machine, I wanted participants to be formally served my dishes. Dressing the podium with a lush red velvet and creating custom marbled labels is what the piece needed to ground itself in a world. The piece was also aesthetically pleasing, which was unintentional but very wonderful!   7D0C462F-D1DE-441A-9B6A-80AFB5FED828 Unfortunately, although many people stopped to look at my piece, most of them were too shy to eat anything! I removed several of the wells to create the illusion that people had been eating them; this, along with some very dedicated friends/decoys, made the piece more accessible and more people were inclined to try eating the dishes. Strangely, it was as I de-installed that the most people visited and ate with me. Approximately seven people consecutively stopped me as I was packing up and asked what my piece was and if they could try it. This better explained why people had not eaten before: every person mentioned that it look too nice to touch. In this way, my dressing of the piece thoroughly backfired. Part of the success of a gumball machine is that it is unintimidating and many people know how to use it, either instinctively or from interacting with a gumball machine itself.
  The most important lesson from this was PRAXIS MAKES PERFECT. Although I read Andrew Boyd’s Beautiful Trouble last semester, I didn’t quite learn my lesson until this one. I wish I had spent more time perfecting the design of my turning mechanism in the beginning of this project, as well as spent more time testing with people it in the latter half. This is not the end of the gumball machine, though; I intend to finish this piece over the summer. This is also not the end for “EAT MY ART;” I hope to create more pieces about the interactions between people, food, and art. Part of the satisfaction of this piece for both myself and the participants is the shared relationship to the food. I want to work more with this relationship and better investigate this simultaneously distant and intimate relationship. Also, I love to cook.

[NEW GENRES: Interactive] Singularity

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, Eating Disorders In Physics, the term ‘singularity’ refers to the phenomenon of all things colliding into a singular point. Theoretically, the singularity occurs at the middle of a black hole where the strength of the gravity is greatest. The gravity is so great that, at the Event Horizon, not even light may pass through; that is what creates a black hole. This means that past the event horizon, there is no possible future as light cannot move forward. As the mass is inevitably pulled toward singularity, it is torn to shreds by the sheer gravity of the point. Eventually, all particles that enter the black hole must move toward one point; there is no longer a past, and no other future— only singularity. “Singularity,” or as my classmates know it “The Elevator,” was an experiment in space. Using Kluszczynski’s Strategy of Network, I wanted to create a space for pause and interaction on a mental and physical level. The idea of The Network is that interactions between participants is the formation of the interaction of the art. In this case, I was eager to have participants not only interact with each other, but themselves. This was the intention of “Singularity.” “Singularity” was also a product of my own trauma. In February, I was sexually assaulted by my partner. For many weeks, and still to this day, I suffered greatly; I often re-lived the assault and other past traumas, was unable to focus on work or entertainment, and visited therapists daily and then weekly. It was difficult for me to leave my bed for several days and still now I have trouble eating regularly. The idea for this piece happened one night as I laid in bed. I wished, desperately, for a reprieve from my own thoughts. I wished for a place where the world would stop around me so that I could grieve, rebuild, and carry on. That feeling of loss, pain, and hope is what created “Singularity:” a place where time and space did not exist, only the sensation of moving.
  When it came to constructing my space for healing, I wanted to encourage people to reflect on themselves. However, in order to reflect, I wanted to give participants the opportunity to enter the space with me. In order to invite my guests, I developed seating in the form of a large, communal bean bag and a projection that was intended for the ceiling. This would make guests focus on a plane that they don’t normally interact with: the above. The projection featured a starscape that infinitely propelled forward through space, featuring stars and planets of another time. The purpose of this projection, my Event Horizon, was to allow guests to feel as through they were moving forward, even if they may be standing still.

IMG-3579

    Originally, this piece was made for a much larger space. However, given time and practicality, I chose to move it. My ideal selection was the silver elevator in the Heimbold building at Sarah Lawrence. This elevator was massive and moved three floors, so it was ideal for all the components of my installation.

controlpaneldecal1

    The theme for the Art Party that this work was featured in was space, which was very convenient. To match with the theme, I planned my aesthetics to feel simultaneously comfortable and futuristic. The result of this effort was an elevator covered in reflective mylar.

IMG-3575 IMG-3574 IMG-3609

    I had a deep interest in multi-sensory artwork. After reading selections from Design for Peripheral Interaction by Saskia Bakker, I focused my work on using auditory information as a way to stimulate the participant’s ability to divide and focus their mental capacities, or, multi-task. When choosing what audio to add to my projection, I thought very carefully about what I wanted my guests to feel. I chose to manipulate a public-use recording of Esti Dal by Kodály, a famous Turkish song. I chose this piece because of an English translation I heard and learned years ago:

Peaceful darkness Night descending Fragrant now with summer’s ending; There I rested, softly sleeping Wishing, wanting, His sweet safe-keeping.

This song encapsulated the exact sense of safety and momentary belonging that I wanted guests to feel. I manipulated the song so that it the singing sounded more mechanical. The end effect that I wanted was something between the sound effects of the gears of a spaceship and the low drones of meditative musics. Esti Dal served this purpose perfectly, and the audio was later looped for the video.

IMG-3582

    My other concern for this piece was the framing. I read The Two Magics by Nelms early in the semester, and was immediately concerned with how I would dress my next project. It was important to me that the ideas that went into the project were both communicable and fun. Using the power of social media, I reached out to several friends and asked them to help me translate ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’ into multiple languages. These words were then added to the beginning of the video, to officially welcome guests. I also crafted a warning sign, as I was concerned about people’s ability to move through my piece. Both of these supported the intergalatic feeling that “Singularity” required.

IMG-3581 IMG-3609 IMG-3613

    Surprisingly, this piece was a hit.

    I checked in on my elevator several times throughout installation night, and not once did I see it empty. In fact, at one point, a party of approximately twelve people were in the elevator, lounging and talking. I could not have asked for a better reception. The mylar was dynamic and moved as the elevator changed floors; the projection, now moved to a wall, was mesmerizing and beautiful; the sounds of the moving elevator complimented the squeaks and groans of my edited Esti Dal.

    Most importantly, as I sat in the elevator at the end of the night, I felt at home. “Singularity” was a space of my creation, intended to bring peace or piece of mind to any guests who would join me at my Event Horizon. And, strangely enough, they did.

 

Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

  When I began this project I was unclear about how I wanted to represent myself. As I started the coding I realized I wanted to use unrealistic colors rather than conventional skin tones. Initially the hair was a basic arc but later I decided to add the curls to frame my face. I added the small white freckles because their are very unnoticeable freckles under my eyes. Finally my favorite part of this was the eyes and mouth, they move to show a wide range of emotions. They can show shock, indifference or, anger. I really enjoyed playing around with the interactive features and getting a better sense of the canvas.       Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait ggg    

Non-Linear Post-Mortem: Heretic

Screenshot (19)   Game Design and Non-Linearity  Heretic is a 2D PRG that follows a young girl living a barren village. Resources are slim, the soil is untenable, and the villagers only think of their own needs for survival. The villagers live in fear of dying and the unknown, and have begun to carry out witch hunts, resulting in the burning of various women at the stake for crimes of witchcraft. The player can choose to leave the village and enter the forest, of which most villagers are afraid. If the player brings an item to the book, the village will be changed – for better or worse. The player can decide the fate of the village and the villagers based on what items they bring to the book. For now, I’ve designed four items that the player can bring to the book – a shepherd’s crook, a sword, a shield, and a potted plant. Each item is symbolic of the change it will bring to the town, though not necessarily in the way that the player expects, and not necessarily in a way that the other villagers are happy with. The potted plant, when brought to the book, will result in the construction of a new garden for the herbalist, giving her the ability to grow more plants. The player can continue this cycle and improve the quality and size of the garden with each trip to the book. However, the blacksmith may feel threatened by the increase to her resources and decide to accuse her of witchcraft, leading to her being burned at the stake. The widow, also, has a shepherd’s crook from her late husband that may be brought to the book. If the player does so, the widow will receive a sheep and a small plot of grass in which the sheep can graze. Again, the player can continue this cycle, but risks arousing suspicion of witchcraft the more the player helps the widow. During witch hunts, the women targeted were primarily women who seemed threatening to the capitalist control of production and reproduction. Herbalists were threatening because they had natural knowledge of plants, and often assisted with women’s reproductive health. This power over life and death was threatening to a system that need to control reproductive power to be able to exist. Widows, too, were threatening, because they existed outside of the bounds of marriage. Ultimately, I would like this RPG to illuminate the sexist underpinnings of the witch hunts, and the way they were used as a means to protect capitalist patriarchal power through player choice and consequence. If the player chooses to bring the blacksmith’s shield to the book, a large wall will be built around the village. They can continue to fortify the village by bringing the shield back to the book, and the villagers will never suspect the blacksmith of witchcraft, because the resources he provides isn’t threatening to the capitalist system. The nature of the book should be ambiguous. It may be magical, or it may simply give the player the practical knowledge to achieve the change she seeks. Originally, I was going to have the player bring items to a gathering of chanting women out in the woods, but decided against it because I play testers very quickly associated it with a coven of witches. The book, to me, represents knowledge, which is ultimately what truly threatened the capitalist regime. This game is non-linear most obviously in that the goal is entirely up to the player – whether they want to help or hurt the village – and in that there’s no set path to reach that goal. Though there are only a few items to bring to the book right now, in the future, I want there to be many more, so that there are even more paths and twists and turns. One path won’t necessarily cut you off from another path – if you build a wall with the shield, you can still bring the potted plant or the shepherd’s crook to the book later. Though it will take a lot more design time, I want this game to reflect the possibility of alternate timelines as Borges described in Garden of the Forking Paths. In one instance of the game, the player may wish to indirectly kill all the other NPCs and leave the village in ruins. In another, the player may achieve a utopian village with bountiful resources and no conflict. In another, the player may try to save the herbalist but attempt to kill the blacksmith and the widow, and so on and so forth. The paths should fork and cross over one another and double back and allow for as much exploration as possible. In a lot of traditional RPGs, players use weapons to combat enemies, and the enemies make up the bulk of the narrative. In this game, there aren’t any discernible enemies.  Yes, you can capture and kill a rabbit – but that’s not an enemy. The player can decide to buy the sword – one of the more expensive items – but the player can’t use it to kill villagers. If the player brings the sword to the book, the player may expect to receive some suit of armor, or a bigger sword, etc. But instead, a random building in the village will be destroyed. Just as the book isn’t necessarily magical, the changes it brings aren’t always good. The changes the book makes depends on the player and the items the player brings, and just as it can help make the village great, it can also destroy the village. In that way, this RPG is non-traditional – often, RPGS have one goal – to save someone or something – and there is one way to achieve that goal. In this game, the goal is up to the player, and the ways to achieve that goal don’t follow traditional narratives. For many games, a sword represents heroism. But in this game, the sword represents the violence of domination and oppression. Screenshot (18) Art Design Overall, I’m satisfied with how the game looks and feels. I drew inspiration from illuminated manuscripts of the 1400s and 1500s – a time of intense upheaval in Europe as the society transitioned from feudalism into capitalism. Illuminated manuscripts were usually drawn by religious orders, and were only accessible by those in power. I wanted to play with their patterns and symbols to evoke a religious and medieval aesthetic in my game, and also to re-appropriate the styles of the books to turn them against the will of the aristocrats that commissioned them – even if they did so five hundred some odd years ago. During my last leg of development, I decided to change the main village to be very rocky and barren, in stark contrast with the forest.  I wanted to convey the level of separation of the humans from the natural world through color in my game. Often, human culture and society feel like they are natural to those participating in them, thought they are anything but natural.  The colors of the human dwellings have bright accent colors that serve to further alienate them from the forest environment.    Screenshot (17)    Screenshot (15) Working in 64×64 in this dev cycle was not the best idea, because each tile took at least an hour to make, if not much more. The rock facade took at least eight hours. I got lost in the artwork, rather than the gameplay.  I ended up spending a lot of time on water tiles that ultimately didn’t get much use in the game, because I worked on artwork before actually testing my paper prototype. I had the idea that the girl would maybe crash land on an island in a boat, but decided to scrap that idea because I wanted her to be a part of the community. I might use the water tiles for a fisherman narrative later, but I shouldn’t have devoted so much time to an idea I was completely unsure of. The walk cycle took a lot longer than expected because animating with pixels was a lot harder than i first thought it would be. It seems simpler because you’re working with small units, but it can actually get harder because making a bunch of squares into a cohesive moving shape is kind of difficult to do when you haven’t done it before. I got so frustrated by the walk cycle that I didn’t finish it till last minute, and then I didn’t have time to code in animation of items being picked up, etc. Animating the movement of the feet was particularly difficult, and I’m still not satisfied with the end result. I’ll probably change it in the future. sheep   What I Learned Always test your paper prototype first! That’s one of the big things I realized this semester. Don’t develop a bunch of art and THEN gameplay, because you’ll end up focusing too much on art and not enough on programming. I have a very clear idea of where I want my game to go now, but I have very little of it programmed because I was focusing too much on what the game looked like, and not enough on what actually happened. I spent hours designing the sheep above and it didn’t even make it into gameplay because I didn’t have enough time to program it. Granted, I still probably would have only been able to code and animate one narrative from beginning to end because the art is so detailed, but I wouldn’t have spent so much time on art that I’m now not sure if I’ll use. If I could go back, I would design in a lower resolution and make my paper prototype before I even touched pixel art. I prioritized art over programming and now my game looks really pretty, but it’s not actually that playable. This was a really hard to game to conceptualize because I was working with really abstract concepts, but I’m glad that I did it. I want to keep working on this game because I don’t think there are a ton of RPGs like it, and the ideas I’m trying to illustrate about capitalism are ideas that I want to continue to explore. Designing this game actually really helped me to understand Frederici’s ideas, in a way that just reading them did not. I had a lot of fun working on this game and I definitely intend to finish it.  

Non-Linear Design Post-Mortem: The Strength Needed

The game The Strength Needed was a semester of fun, strife, and some sleepless night but by and large a wonderful experience and vastly informative for the next projects I inevitably wish to pursue next semester. screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-9-29-32-pm The game in its current state is a glorified walking simulator with a few deaths. While this may seem overtly critical as many of my paper prototypes and even the art itself seems promising in a finalized product, by and large it did not quite get to the point I wanted it to get to this semester. It presents several key features like the enemies that can kill you, some moving NPCs and a world with loadable levels, but the objectives, the A story if you will, was never truly finished so what you end up with when you have the art, a few things that kill you, and the ability to load between levels is a glorified walking simulator I suppose. A pretty one, but not near completion. screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-9-25-14-pm The project changed a lot over the course of the year. At one point it was a game about a small demon boy trying to defeat evil spirits while its body slowly degraded but then I decided to stick to the story of a game I previously made as a practice paper prototype that was way more well received then some of the other stuff I made this semester. One key feature that was in the very early paper prototype was the use of text, I cut out all of that. That is gone. I killed it with the power of a ‘delete’ button and sheer force of will. While I enjoyed the text I wanted to experiment with as much visual story telling as I could, even using words as structures and part of the world rather than using them in any narrative dialogue convention. A lot did go right about the project. The art mostly and a lot of the walk cycles and the entire Den of Gas room. That room turned out amazing. It had the most features fully furnished and thought out. The Gas Mask Lady in it moved the way I wanted her to, the gates projected the big ‘NO’ signs with her face on them. It turned out quite well. In fact, I was quite pleased with many of the animations that I did end up finishing, the Gas Mask Lady, Box Dog, the Wise One, The Player, etc. These all tuned out quite nicely. screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-9-24-57-pm As for what went wrong…well the game isn’t done which probably feels worse than anything, time sorta got away from me on this project. Will be good to keep working on it over Winter Break but that doesn’t help the current product. screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-9-25-50-pm   screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-9-30-20-pm screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-9-30-46-pm screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-39-35-pm screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-40-17-pm  screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-42-17-pm Art was shockingly easy for me to handle. I thought that was honestly going to be the most difficult part but I ended up just going for it and creating something I was super proud of. The main movement programming also wasn’t too hard, really my main difficulty came down to the code as I was unfamiliar with how much of coding in Unity worked especially as it related to the animator and talking with the physics engine. That said, my experience with it got progressively better as the game kept getting worked on and now I feel far more comfortable with programming, designing, and Unity itself. screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-41-15-pm Not super pleased with my final result because of how unfinished it is but by and large I liked the art and the story. I’m gonna keep working to improve it as well and make it better. The code also could use some work but I’m glad I could get as much working as I did. The Project was nonlinear in its subversion of genre and ability to make the player episodically visit worlds and places. I got a lot of ideas from the Flash Fictions and movies like Toto The Hero. It was so nonsensical and wonderful and captured a certain child like glee that I wanted reflected in my game. My classmates also provided a valuable insight into the game. As they pointed out flaws I missed or hidden symbolisms I didn’t intend, I ran with a lot of what they mentioned to me. In addition, my boy friend helped me play test it quite a bit and he has a keen eye for the wacky and nonlinear and helped shape those aspects of the narrative. Honestly, play testing mostly resulted in changes to code and added a few fun ideas like the gates that blocked people out. Other than that it provided reference for code to fix. The project was adequately coded in the most bare essential type of way. I followed the GamesPlusJames tutorials almost exactly except in reference to super specific things for my game. With the tile maps I primarily aimed to create a 2D top down space with patterned designs rather than photorealistic worlds as I didn’t have the skill for that. The animations I spent the most time on, using long walk cycles, a death animation, and a few other cool tricks. Most of the enemies however used static jump type walk cycles. Collision also was used sparingly, mostly to keep the player in the map or kill them. I didn’t want an interact button really. All in all, a fun project that I aim to keep working on.   Chris Haehnel

Non-Linear Design Post Mortem: Into The Dark

66single-character The game I finally made is now called Into The Dark.  The goal of this game is to explore the world I created and to defeat the boss at the end of the game.  There are times were the player will die a lot but that is the only way to fully play this game, is by learning from your mistakes.  How to defeat the boss is to find the power ups in the game, without the power ups the boss will defeat you and you have to start over. This project changed constantly for me, I do not think I went longer then a few days without changing my mind on something even if it was the littlest fix.  With this being my first game I probably should have not fixed it as many times, but I could not help myself I wanted a good looking game, I wanted the little details and I wanted the game to look perfect, at the cost of time though. idle What I noticed went right with this game was the art.  I really enjoyed using Piskel and creating pixel art, it was very relaxing as well as fun!  I loved adding in the details, I worked in 64X64 which took a while to grasp how tiny it was but after a little practice I was able to get it.  What did not work for me as well was getting a story for the game.  I know I wanted something different, and I had an idea, but I just could not stick with it nor could I put it into a game on paper.  Another thing that went right was the paper prototypes that I created for not only this game but other games.  It really taught me out to put the story onto paper and really see what works and what does not.  What was surprisingly easy to achieve was first the pixel art, that came very easy for me which I was shocked because I have never worked in pixels before.  The second thing that came easy to achieve was after a long process of figuring out what I wanted to do, I knew exactly how I wanted to lay it out, where everything would be placed on my map and how I wanted it to look.  The most difficult thing for me was figuring out how to make my game non-linear, I have never done this before and anything that I have done similar to this in the past, was always very linear based.  So to go from a very strong background of being linear it was difficult for me to get the idea of how to be non-linear but I have a better understanding of it now. 1 When I look at how I worked and how others in the class worked, I very soon was quick to pick up that I was going to be a slow learner at first because I was really the only one to not know exactly what they were doing.  One thing that consumed most of my time was not being able to put the story all together.  Also, the tutorials I had to keep watching over and over again until I understood them, and they were not short videos so that took up a lot of time as well.  Now looking back at how I worked, next time I will defiantly start watching the tutorials as early as possible so that way I can watch the tutorials one at a time and then do the work with them.  Also, I have a better understanding of non-linear thinking so I think if I did something like this again I would be able to think of a story faster. I think my final work that I have to present looks good, it is not much, but what I did try to do was make it look as good as possible.  I spent a lot of time correcting details of objects until I got them exactly the way I wanted them, and then sometimes I would still go back and make edits.  Some alternatives I tried were for example taking one tile I created for the ground, and for a different scene change the color instead of making a new tile.  It saved time and it tied in the two tiles.  Another alternative that I tried was watching one tutorial and working with the tutorial as it plays in the background, this helped a lot so I can watch what the tutorial did and I could follow along. 2 In the beginning I would definitely say that my game was barely non-linear, but after hearing other peoples critiques, other peoples games and examples I started to understand the concept of how to make a game non-linear.  I would not say mine is the most non-linear but I think it is non-linear.  For example, with this wishing well you would think it should be put next to the house, but no its in the forest, and it is not your ordinary wishing well.  Another example is the trees in the forest are the shape of any other trees that you have seen, very different and weird but a good weird.  One of the readings that I got inspired by was Garden of the Forking Paths, I really enjoyed reading that and I felt very inspired after reading it.  Even though this was not a reading, the movie Toto also gave me some great ideas on how to have a non-linear game narrative.  I thought the movie itself was really good as well as giving me some ideas for my game which was very helpful. I can confidently say that have other sources of input and ideas really helped me a lot.  For example, when we had class critiques it was great to see how everyone played my game.  It was a great way to see how the player would grab the concept of your game, wether they got it or did not.  Also, the feedback was great and very helpful, it gave me different thoughts about my game instead of my own.  Reading other non-linear stories, watching non-linear movies, seeing different artist styles, other peers helping me with new ideas could not of helped me more, it was a huge part in my game being created and I think it is the only way to get a great game is if you have a lot of sources that go into it. 3   Some changes that I made after my playlets were starting with the terrain.  It had good potential at first, but it needed more, it needed to feel more like a world and less like objects got placed onto a map.  Another one was to fix some coloring in the world, having my main character lay on this very yellow tile, the character slipped away into the tile.  You could clearly see his clothes because they were very dark, but his skin disappeared so the main tile had to be darkened.  Another change was that the well was not only moved into the forest to be an unexpected surprise, I also turned it into a room.  It is very unexpected and exciting to see that you can go into the well and find what is inside. How my game was coded, starting with tile maps, what not an easy start, like I said before I could barely get a story together let alone the art together.  But the tile map was at first intimidating because there is a lot of pieces to a tile map, and I mean that in the individual tiles themselves.  After you get the hang of the tiles, it is so easy to use especially in Tiled.  Tiled made it easy to create a map and just bring it into Unity.  Next, the animation I did not get a chance to get to, but I got really inspired by other peers work, especially with fading in and out of entrances and exits.  When I say fading I mean adding a fade to black every time a door way was used.  Another animation technique I wanted to try was having an animated character appear out of nowhere, for example pop into the screen from the sky.  Next, collision was a lot of fun to use and after I understood Tiled, collision became easier.  It was hard to decide where to put collision and where to not have collision but collision itself is a great tool and really adds a lot to the game.  Lastly, dialogue was something I was unable to incorporate but I would like to think that I added dialogue in a visual aspect instead of actually writing out dialogue.  The emotion and feel of parts of the game can tell its own dialogue without me needing to write it in.  For example, the character is happy and walking around a colorful world, it is a happy environment.  Then you look at the boss, it is dark and creepy with an evil look on its face, it is an unhappy environment.    

Non-Linear Design Post-Mortem: Migration

For my conference project I created a side-scrolling exploration/adventure game. The player controls an anthropomorphic hummingbird with a broken wing. The player progresses through the game by bartering with other anthropomorphic animals, providing them with items they need to repair damage throughout their dwellings. Along the way, the animals reward the player with mysterious parts, and at the end of the game the animals reward the player by building a hot-air balloon that will allow the player character to continue his migration. screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-16-47-am The project did not change a great deal from conception to realization. The bartering mechanic was part of the game from the beginning, as was the general structure of the story and events. Decisions about what other animals to include in the game and what problems the player helps them with did change over time. I’d originally planned to include swallows in the game, but decided variety among the animals would be best. I opted for a bird, insects, amphibians, and mammals. Some animals in the game can fly, while others are terrestrial or amphibious. A lot went well during my work on this project. I’m quite pleased with most of the art and animations, although it’s imperfect. The player character was the first sprite I created for this project—before I had a clear sense of the aesthetics of the game—and the color palette doesn’t feel entirely at home with the rest of the art throughout the game. The tree interior and cave environments are most representative of the style I aimed for with this project, whereas the colors in the grass and pond environments are something I’d revisit. screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-15-53-am I had no prior experience creating pixel art—and very little experience with visual art in general—but I’m pleasantly surprised by the results of my efforts. The game looks quite good. I also had zero programming experience and anticipated that programming this game would cause me a great deal of frustration and confusion. However, I found myself able to write all of the code this game required by adapting the basic concepts behind the Player Controller script presented in the GamesPlusJames 2D RPG tutorials on YouTube. I spent nearly two days writing my State Controller and Inventory Controller scripts and getting those to work, but generally I encountered few frustrating obstacles while programming this game. The animations required for this game were without a doubt the most difficult aspect of the process. The walk cycles for the player character required over eight hours of work, and the animation cycle for the water wheel required four-to-five hours. screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-14-49-am I could have managed my time much better while working on this project. Finding sufficient time to work wasn’t the issue—I invested a great deal of time into this project—but the timeline of my work in no way correlated with the timeline laid out in the dev cycle. One major reason for this was the complexity of the art and animations. Early in the process of creating concept art and designing sprites, I decided to work in a resolution of 128×128 pixels. Rather than working with canvasses comprised of 1,024 or 4,096 pixels total, I worked with 16,384. In addition, the game includes some fairly complex animations. Both player walk cycles contain eight frames of animation (and because of shading and the broken wing creating the second walk cycle wasn’t as simple as x-axis reflection of images), and the water wheel animation is made up of eleven frames. concept-art Because of the level of detail made possible by the higher resolution, creating the art and animations for my game consumed the vast majority of the time I dedicated to this project. I’d estimate that I spent ten hours on art and animations for every hours I spent coding. I knew early on that I’d have to deviate from the dev cycle because of my dedication to the visual aspect of the game, but even then I began coding in earnest far later than I’d planned. As a result, there’s still uncertainty about the state of completion my game will be in by the end of the semester. The non-linearity of this project stems mostly from two techniques: defamiliarization and central trauma.  I present common animals in anthropomorphic forms, and these animals exist in constructed dwellings, wear clothing, and have a barter system. The hummingbird player character has a broken wing, and he provides assistance to various other animals by helping them to repair broken objects in their homes. I develop the motif of breaking, of damage, throughout the game, and this motif reaches its resolution at the end of the game once the player character has helped the various animals fix their broken things and the animals have rewarded these acts of kindness by building a hot-air balloon. screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-17-17-am   I took some inspiration from Adam Cadre’s “Photopia,” specifically from how Cadre incorporates the non-linear technique of central trauma into his story. “Photopia” revolves around its central trauma without addressing it directly; instead, it sort of prods and catches glimpses of the trauma through a variation-on-a-theme repetition. The player or reader grows to understand the trauma through association and pattern recognition. I attempted to approach central trauma in a similar way in my own game. I had numerous children’s books in the back of my mind while creating this game, and influences include the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel and the animated film “The Wind In the Willows,” directed by Dave Unwin and based on the books by Kenneth Grahame. Although I may not implement as many of these changes as I’d like before the end of the semester, I was encouraged by play-testing to include far more objects within the world that allow interaction. Play-testing also encouraged me to add reaction animations to the NPCs when the player interacts with them. To create my maps, I used Tiled in combination with larger images inserted into the game directly through Unity as game objects. I used collision and key binds in order to support proximity-based interaction without the interactions triggering automatically. For example, I wanted the player to be able to walk past doors and NPCs without interacting if the player wished, so my code requires to player to collide with an NPC/object and use a command in order to interact. I came up with one solution that I’m particularly proud of to the problem of the sky. Although I first considered simply adding one large blue field behind the trees in the forest level, I knew I wanted a subtle gradient in the background. However, I also knew that the gradient would shift as the player moved along the map, so I created a gradient field of blue about the size of the camera’s field of view and added it to the game as a child of the player so that the gradient would move with the player and remain constant. screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-8-12-23-pm Coding the State Controller and Inventory Controller proved to be challenging. I created string of boolean logic comprised of nests-within-nests, activating and deactivating eighteen different variables in different orders based on the player’s actions. This caused me a great deal of headache, because the first two or three versions of these scripts failed to work as I’d intended. I felt confident in my logic, my nesting of if/then statements, and my organization of the eighteen bools, but pinpointing the exact cause of my code’s dysfunction took hours of thought and experimentation. I eventually identified the problem: my code was structured around the location of scripts attached to game objects throughout the world, however, when Unity fails to locate an object in the current scene, it ends its search rather than attempted to locate other references game objects. My solution to this was to restructure my State Controller script by nesting all of my game object searches within a lines of code that checked the current scene’s numeric identifier. Therefore, when the player occupies scene one, the State Controller script only searches for the game objects present in scene one, and none of the game objects present in scenes zero, two, and three. Overall I found this project exciting, challenging, and highly educational. I may continue work on this project even if I don’t I plan to involve myself in game design projects in the future.

Non-Linear Design: Post-Mortem ADAM

Despite this being the last paper test, what became clear to me is that I want to work over the narrative ideas this game still works by: particularly, and at this point, the game is still too linear. Here a much much more non-linear approach can actually really help me out … the elevator (Tree of Knowledge) does not need to take me somewhere, for instance – this is an idea I really love: instead of going somewhere, the elevator just brings me back, perhaps. But that can become more complex – As a side-note, I am getting more and more into designing my game on tablet. The artwork used for the paper prototype was actually painted using the app Procreate on iPad, with the Apple Pencil. img_0007 img_0018 img_0002 img_0001 I am putting most of my work into designing the Garden at this point, so what I am arriving at is a conception of the elevator as a device to actually initiate change in the Garden. The main character might step into it, there might be an interlude, perhaps something wildly unexpected as the “elevator scene,” and stepping out again, the Garden has changed a bit, or even dramatically. The non-linearity lies in the fact that the Game now becomes cyclical: in fact, perhaps scenes reoccur in the elevator, and “earlier” states of the Garden can be returned to. I think I am thus abandoning the whole office space I was envisioning, and contenting and enjoying myself just developing the Garden as an explorable space in and of itself. The goal I arrive at in this way for this class and this semester is then to complete a game that works by these shifts in emphasis. In the technical sense, I want to have the main Garden scene (initial Garden), an elevator scene, and then another Garden scene, showing the Garden in a new light. screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-2-41-02-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-22-at-2-34-38-pm What I have come up with so far is a daylight change to the Garden. What I initially developed is the Garden at dusk: and everything this symbolically suggests. There is a dark, gloomy city in the background, and somehow the earth the character moves in is barren and dark too. I am thinking of contrasting this view of the Garden with something much more cheerful: fresh, green colors for the palette, a rising sun in the background. Angela and I were talking in conference about how the Garden might thus come to take on a quality of being alive: a living, breathing organism in its own right. On the technical side again, this image has the color palette I am thinking of for the second view of the Garden. img_0060img_0059img_0060 This is a wall mosaice I found in the NYC subway system: I think it was a station on the F-line somewhere … (unknown artist). The colors a cheerful. Again on the subway (the subway as a repository of art, and the time to look at it too – waiting for my stop; price of admission $2.75) I saw this piece (again unknown artist) that develops a vision of technology (transit, the train) and the city much more optimistic, as indicated by a similar color palette to the when I am eying at the moment – img_0056img_0055 img_0054 Thinking about my landscape like this is fun to me: it’s a project that is carrying over into the rest of my life. I am curious as to where these things might be going, thinking beyond this semester as well. For now, it is a challenge to develop this alternative form for the Garden. What are the changes I want to make beyond those to the color palette? There is a whole other aspect to this, less expected: designing a slightly “fallen,” strange, barren Garden was more fun that creating a fresh, new, healthy one. How might this aspect influence my design approach? How might I consciously let it? I want to see if I can tie it all in to work nicely together and provide a continuos experience by Game Night!

Non-Linear Design: Proposal ADAM

img_0080 In A Day on the Grand Canal with The Emperor of China David Hockney brings all his expertise as a contemporary painter to bear on an analysis he does of a 17th century Chinese scroll painting. The most striking aspect about this scroll is the way it engages space – I called this Spatial Elaboration in the title of this post. Hockney illustrates an example of this when he arrives at an interesting junction along the river. Coming down a street in a village, our view works from bottom left to top right. But if you pay attention as the street goes around the corner, the viewpoint shifts: the lines of the roofs of the shop stalls, and the store fronts indicate as much. We see sides we would not see if the viewpoint stayed the same. It is a shifting perspective we are talking about now. At the same junction there is gorgeous wooden bridge with a rounded top line that is seen from the bottom right, the same place the second order of store fronts is seen from: when you go to the top of the bridge then, with your mind’s eye, the wall of a house becomes visible that would only be visible from the bottom left, the perspective we had in the first place. The perspective shifts organically, according to the needs of the art in the painting. So you see what you need to see when you need to see it, but it still all makes sense to the logical mind too: it is not paradox in the end, actually, because it works. As Hockney remarks about the experience of seeing, and analyzing, the painting, these devices “make it far more spatial than our old friend Canaletto.” There is also another scroll, from slightly later, painted 75 years after the first one. Hockney is keen to trace a difference in style back to Western missionaries arriving in China with examples of Western works, deploying fixed perspective systems, in the time since the painting of the first scroll. The scroll again depicts a journey by the emperor, but this time “everything is beginning to recede: even the landscape is receding, the [emperor’s]  boat going into the space, as it were, and not along it.” It is true, the parallel lines and fixed focal points draw our gaze very much into the picture, and at that, into one particular point at a time, instead of gently over the surface of the whole thing. Difference in spatial qualities extend beyond the vista of the whole, to the depiction of the particular: the characters are, Hockney notes about the first scroll now, less suspended in space. They tie in more organically with the land and the village and the river because they themselves have the organic features of animation and engagement with the other figures in the scene. There is linkage, and overlap: there is the unexpected effect of depth now that the more two-dimensional space (in the absence of the one vanishing point to help create spatial depth in a more three dimensional sense) is broken up like this, or rather, played with actually. There are interesting relationships between elaborating space, and elaborating time: Devices relating to “telling time,” even the story of time on one level, include such creative tricks as subtly shrouding the scenery in mist to convey a jump, as it were, in space, and therefore time, at times: the mist goes on to get so thick that only individual aspects of the landscape remain visible, and coming out the other end, the space we were in has changed. This particular device was a way to dissolve an edge too: there is no saying where or when boundaries were crossed, or to what extent; instead it is a continuous flow through the physical scroll (through a device like this made even even more capable to “hold” vast amounts of space that the 72-foot-length of the scroll already does). These strategies, for this is what they really are, to handle space and time and the narrative they can construct into a work of art relate very practically to where I was with my game at the time of the Unity play test and where I am now still: in fact, these questions will go with me until the game is fully developed. If I boil the aspects I talk about above down to the shifting perspective and the mist-device in particular, I can definitely find junctions and spaces within the overall space of my game to deploy these, or similar ones, in the vocabulary of the game language I have already established. For instance, a version of the mist for me might be a cloud shaped and colored to parallel the clouds already present out on the horizon line. This very trick would also be a way for me to address a criticism that emerged in the play test: the question of the relationship between the landscape in the “back,” as it were, and the main Garden. Can characters cross over? What is the significance of the city? Bringing things like the clouds out from the back into the front, playable space, represents away to tie it all together aesthetically, if not thematically, perhaps. Perhaps I really don’t want the character to go to the city in the end, in the game and where I am headed with it now that is – I simply don’t have plans for that (yet). But a device like this can give me a bit of breathing room: by creating a bit more of a unified field of sorts for the whole game to organically come together, this question suddenly does not seem as important anymore. An overarching design idea is to actually shape the landscape of the Garden in the shape of a fish, the ichthys, or the Jesus Fish in Christianity: that was an idea I had to begin with actually, something I subsequently went away from, and now would like to come back to. img_0099 The relationship of the Garden to the city can be something like the river, river bank landscape and villages on the one hand, to the city behind the walls at the end of the scroll in A Day on the Grand Canal on the other. The river landscape exists in contrast to the city, the city does not need to fully explored either. The scroll’s artists were also not very concerned with their city: in fact, they made heavy use of the very mist device I was talking about, not so much to jump in space this time (that happens too, though) – but to pass over the city, to choose not to elaborate on it. It is the outside form of the thing, rather than the inside detail, that comes to fulfill some function for the rest of the space, and that is fine. I just need to put my finger, in not directly on, then at least a little closer to, what that function might be. img_0098 In these ways, I have found my work to develop very organically, and in pushes and rushes and inspirations rather than continuously. We talked about this in class: the ideal conditions to get artistic, creative work done. They seem really different to more intellectual and academic work. For me it remains environmental, and has a lot to do with my schedule: I do not think I can do this kind of work as easily or to a better quality if rushed and to a deadline. I really notice it when I have things from my other classes on my plate … when I compare those days to a weekend with a little or nothing to do, it’s the latter I can get a lot of doodling, drawing and writing done in. The ideal for me is a lazy, rainy Saturday morning, with a bowl of cereal and a book – but this stands opposed to more realistic and practical requirements life makes generally. Right now I want to push what I can do with animation and collision to bring the world I am creating to life. I want to use collision more than just on the edges to create unexpected obstacles and thus add complexity to the surfaces. I am working on the river right now, one more strategy to tie in the background to the foreground. I had already established the body of water coming and going into the cityscape: I want to extend that into the Garden directly and exploit it as a great creative opportunity for some atmospheric animation. With perhaps only two frames, or more, I would love to add mirror reflections and the light bouncing off the surface of the water as movement. I would love to add falling leaves too, to the trees. image Lastly, one more thing I want to change a bit is Adam’s walk cycle, which as it is now does not have very pronounced leg movement: adam-main-walkcycle

Conference Project Proposal: Interactive Generative Art

pic-0452 Philip Galantner defines Generative Art as being “set into motion with some degree of autonomy,” resulting in the completion of the art. If autonomy is key in defining generative art, the presence of interactions raises the question of whether the two can exist. To allow a piecer to interact with a piece of art is to give them a certain degree of dominion over it, and thus theoretically undermines the system’s ability to be autonomous. How exactly can a system be autonomous and also interactive? Using digital systems, specifically processing, is what I aim to use in order to remedy this opposition of ideals. For me increasing the variables and “moving” parts of a processing sketch to such a degree that system autonomy is greater even when an interactor is brought into the picture. And on the subject of variables I believe the interactor presents an interesting variable in the already convoluted relationship between autonomous program and artist. Just as the artist want so create a piece without controlling it in a way that removes autonomy, the interactor must control the artwork without removing the autonomy. To figure out exactly how I wanted to explore this relationship I looked towards some interactive artworks I had read about and seen in the past. One such piece is Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei, wherein a room(pictured below) was filled with porcelain sunflower seeds and interactors were brought in to explore the space. Interactors were allowed to touch the seeds and walk on them, experiencing the touch and being to live in the space and artwork. dzn_sunflower-seeds-2010-by-ai-weiwei-5 sunflower_seeds_by_ai_weiwei_tate_modern_turbine_hall   What really speaks to me about this work is how people can enter the art and consider themself a part of it. Looking back to projector night and specifically the room me and my colleagues were in, I thoroughly regret how the viewer made sure not to enter the projections. I appreciate the respect to our work but believe a huge opportunity was being lost. Paintings are beautiful forms of art that typical viewers cannot touch, which is where I see waste as far as projections are concerned. Viewers can literally stick their hands in projections and meld with the artwork in a way that is not available with other forms of art. However, as mentioned before for the viewer to really enjoy entering the projection there might need to be a degree of non-randomness that fits immersion, which would counteract and perhaps remove autonomy. I then look towards Swings by Ann Hamilton(pictured below), which is a huge interactive art piece with enormous swings that viewers were encouraged to ride on. Ann Hamilton/Armory show 1_paa_ann_hamilton_photo-jamesewin-685x1024   This work despite being interactive is something I ironically did not interact with despite my interest in it. Being a piece set in the Armory of New York City it was fairly crowded and finding an open swing was hard, but inserting myself into the artwork that I had been marveling at was a daunting wall that I was not able to overcome. There was a beauty to seeing these anonymous bodies floating in beams of light, and viewing myself as one of them was scary. Keeping this in mind, I hope to be able to draw people into interactions with my programs in ways that I hope will push the boundaries of what generative art can be what systems generation can stem from. Perhaps the most obvious choice for a computer centered system like processing is using the keyboard, which I have elected to do. How exactly the keyboard is used however is something I believe can be pivotal in making the piece interactive without losing generativity. For the first created piece for this conference, I have attempted to group keys into logical groupings but not in such a way that the viewer will immediately be able to fully understand and perfectly control all the associated variables. Neptune, pictured below, is a sketch involving a loop of spheres “folded” into each other using scale. I alter the baseline(below top left), in four ways. The first is rotation, controlled by the ‘w’, ‘e’, ‘r’, ‘t’, and ‘y’ keys to reset, initiate, increase, direct clockwise, and direct counterclockwise rotation respectively. Second is boundaries, which refers to the upwards limits of the three loops that control the x, y, and z amounts of the spheres. For this I use the ‘j’, ‘k’, and ‘l’ keys which increase the “boundary” of the x, z, and y loops respectively. For example “l” key is pressed to increase the y loop(pictured below top center). Third are the keys that alter dimension, increasing the amount that the circles are scaled by. The ‘b’, ‘n’, and ‘m’ keys are used, altering the x, z, and y amounts of scale respectively(The x dimension being altered is pictured below top right). Of course to give the system autonomy and allow for interaction between differing variables, all of these dimensions and boundaries can be altered at once(resulting in a shape similar to that picture below bottom left). The spacebar also lowers all the dimension and boundary values, moving the sketch towards a reset of the interactive changes. Fourth and finally are six colors keys, split into two sections. The first section, ‘a’, ‘s’, and ‘d’ are used to set the sketch to color sets. These color sets are ruby, emerald(the default for the sketch), amethyst, and diamond respective to the previously mentioned keys, with the colors being reds, greens, purples, and all colors(below bottom right is the amethyst color scheme, the rest are emerald). The final set are the ‘z’, ‘x’, and ‘c’ keys that increase the red, green, and blue amounts are factored into the fill of the shape. pic-0768 pic-2374 pic-1627 pic-3354 pic-3614   Neptune is a solid base I intend to both base my other works off of and also deviate. As far as continuations are concerned, the 3D shapes I use allow for three dimensions of change and alteration, which would not be apparent in 2D. Additionally the naming scheme of my artworks will likely follow a space theme to reflect this use of 3D and expansive nature of how my sketches work. I will likely continue to use keypresses, but might reverse or alter how the keys affect the sketch. In Neptune the keys expanded on various parts, whereas a different and opposite route could be have an expanded sketch where the key presses instead limit the sketch (again this is dangerous in terms of autonomy but I would like to attempt it).  There also is the question of how the sketches transform aesthetically, for me the color changes are vastly different than the dimension and shape changes. Color change for me is a minor and slow aesthetic change whereas the dimension shifting is a dynamic shape change. I intend to consider these facets in producing the rest of my conference, and hope to create an array of art pieces that fully explore the relationship between interactivity and autonomous systems in generative art.

Project #2 :: Proposal

IMG_3434For project #2, I will create an interactive analog experience for the user. In class, we discussed the ability to catch, trap, or preserve things that normally could not be contained. My project, Emotion Catcher, will consist of 3 jars, each one filled with a different emotion. When the user approaches the jar and touches the metal lid, that jar will light up. As a result, that person will then be connected to that emotion, making it more prominent within them. My project is meant to create a sort or “refueling” station for those who need a little extra boost of a certain emotion. I think that this project will create a very exciting experience. Being able to create a direct interface between the user and the emotion catcher will allow the interactivity to be meaningful as well as fun.  
IMG_3435

Birds eye view

There will be three closed jars mounted on to a podium. Each jar will be filled with different colored marbles, that way when the lid is touched, they will light up with different colors. The color is meant to represent the different emotions. The emotions will be: Relaxation, Happiness, and Creativity. Relaxation will have blue marbles, happiness will have yellow marbles, and creativity will have green marbles.

Project 2:: Stagnation:: Post Mortem

A picture of the first of the three codes.

A picture of default stage of the first of the three codes.

A picture of the second of the three codes.

A picture of the default stage of the second of the three codes.

A picture of the third of three codes.

A picture of the default stage of the third of the three codes.

For my second project I really wanted to explore the possibility and result of creating an entirely useless interaction. I was inspired by the popular GIFs of Useless Machines from the internet that portrayed a box which was programed to turn itself off once a switch was flipped. However, the code for my project does not explicitly recreate the material box and switch. What the several codes I created do is utilize a single button which triggers a reaction from the code that quickly returns the button to its original state. All three iterations of the code create a futile interaction in some way or another. The first code relies on the position of the button. The button is centered in the center of the screen and moves slightly to the left when pressed. The code’s reaction is to send forth a small gray box which pushes the button back into its original location and then returns off screen. The second code relies on the color of the button. By pressing the button, the user causes it to change colors, but almost immediately the code repaints the button its original color. The third iteration of this theme relies on the size of the button. Pressing the button reduces the size of the button, causing two pieces to come from either side of the screen attaching themselves to the smaller button returning it to its original size. To create several futile actions that did not stray too far from each other, I worked with the location, color, and size of a single button.   My initial coloring of my Stagnation code was in black and white. This produced a very minimalist effect to the already minimal composition, but while experimenting with further drafts of the code I found that certain color pallets also proved effective.
The black and white copy of the first code.

The black and white copy of the first code.

The black and white copy of the second code.

The black and white copy of the second code.

The black and white copy of the third code.

The black and white copy of the third code.

The color pallet from which I sampled to create the colored copies.

The color pallet from which I sampled to create the colored copies.

  The idea of a futile interaction is very reminiscent of the products and art installations described in Anthony Dunne’s Hertzian Tales. Specifically, I find a great resemblance to the chapter on psychosocial narratives, which talks about the experience of the user. In this chapter Dunne describes the relationship between humans and machines with the quote “The machine does what the human wants it to do, but by the same token the human puts into execution only what the machine has been programmed to do” (71). This describes a complementary relationship between machine and user, which leads to the question of what to expect when the machine has been programmed to antithesize the human’s input. By the logic of the quote we must expect nothing from both the human and the machine, which is the stagnant quality of the interaction. What went right with this project was how I captured the essence of a useless interaction. In the beginning of the planning for this project, I was not sure if was going to try and recreate the box setting or attempt to create my own useless interaction that brought the user nowhere. In the end, I had a combination of the two in creating a button that was represented in an artistic way. While researching the invention and history of Marvin Minsky’s Useless Machine, I came across an app for the iPhone which was allowed users to play with a virtual Useless Machine. However, after installing this app I found that while the creator had recreated the Useless Machine, they had not successfully recreated the futile interaction. The creator had implicated a counter which counted the number of times one went through the cycle of pressing the switch and had it pushed back. This gave the interaction a form of progression, which I felt entirely destroyed the purpose of the Useless Machine, and only motivated me to fabricate a truly fruitless interaction. Nothing really went wrong with this project. The only problem I had with this project and the codes was a technical one. Everything else went above and beyond the expectations I had when first starting. The small problem occurred during the third iteration in the series. I had assumed that both fixing pieces, which attach to the button to make it whole again, moved at the same speed and would arrive at their destinations at the same time. However, the left piece moved faster than the right causing a complication in the conditionals. This small glitch was easily fixed, and other than that there were no problems at all.   Works Cited: Dunne, Anthony. Hertzian Tales: Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2005. Print.

Project #2 :: Post-Mortem :: Restroom Museum of Art

IMG_0610 IMG_0609 My second project is an analogue interactive display installed in Heimbold Bathroom. The project involves transformation of the bathroom into an art museum with famous minimalist paintings displayed in it. The users of the bathroom would look at the art as they use the facility and leave signature on visitor’s page, just like any other museums. This project was created to communicate sense of irony in art. Public bathroom is a setting void of any beauty nor luxury. What would it be like to display famous art of high price and beauty in the bathroom? It seems very odd, weird, and out of place. I wanted to communicate the sense of irony in space through the installation. My project was inspired when the class was discussing idea of irony in media in Herteizan Tale. When I came up with the idea of having fancy art in the bathroom to convey irony, I wanted to make it come alive. I chose abstract art as my choice of display because the art form is very direct in its message and style, easy to be recognized by general viewer. The paintings I replicated were: Mondrian’s “Red Yellow Blue”, Rene Magritte’s “Son of Man”, Jackson Pollock’s drip painting, Kelly Ellsworth’s “Yellow over Black”, Kazmir Malevich’s “Airplane Flying”, and Keith Haring’s “Heart Raised”. I also replicated the style of each individual artist’s signature on the painting to make the painting seem more realistic. IMG_0601 IMG_0602 IMG_0604 IMG_0605 IMG_0606 IMG_0608 The most difficult part of the project was defiantly painting replica of art. I had to be as precise as possible so that the art communicated the original creator’s messages clearly. In order to do so, I had to copy the art as exactly as possible. Even though the art was simple in design, I had to be careful with small details which made it really difficult. What I found really surprising is that my first draft of the project has not changed much from my final form. The only difference is the number of art planned to be displayed and creation art. I was hoping to display at least 5 arts in each bathroom but that was too much. Also instead of purchasing a replica poster of art, I painted all art to give more realism. One issue that brought up during the project was that the display could be limited in interaction. Sure, the usage of bathroom creates sense of irony and that is what it was planned to do. However, it is a very passive interaction between the environment and the user. In order to make the display more interactive, I added a guest log book. This was perfect because not only did it add more interaction to the display, it added realism and fulfilled the basic idea of interactive media: the give and take relationship between the media and the audience. IMG_0611 IMG_0615 I believe that the project creates a magic circle because the display leaves a permanent connection between audience through visitor’s log. The guest log informs the audience who came and how they felt about the display. In addition, the display creates unified emotion among the audience, creating connection of thoughts, increasing interactive senses between strangers. The viewer can break into conversation in such a private space to talk about the art and their feeling, which effectively creates magic circle. Overall, I am very happy with how the project turned out. Using new medium of art besides coding was very fun. I was able to explore different forms of art and go over some of the ideologies the class discussed about.

Project #2 :: Post-Mortem :: Draw Your Moves

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.57.43 PM    Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.56.17 PM My second project is basically digital finger painting, so I decided to title it “Finger Painting.” Using motion code, you can move your hand in front of the camera. By clicking with the mouse you can change colors and by clicking a key you can clear the screen to start over. The lines on the side also change color so it’s more clear what color you’re using and they add some extra fun and color to the project. When you move you draw with two circles. One smaller circle sits inside the bigger one. They are set to random transparency to make the drawing look a little more interesting. My inspiration came from one of our in class assignments with motion track code. My project evolved from the class assignment, I changed a lot but some ideas stayed the same. I kept the same background color the same and the idea of the two circles.   Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 7.32.29 PM     Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 7.32.51 PM I think this project will create a magic circle because other people will want to gather around and see what someone paints. I also think people may want to try multiple movements and ee how they work together. I used a lot of coding skills that I learned from my conference project. I used the random number code to pick whether the paint color would be in the red, green or blue family. I also used a lot of variables again to inspire more creativity. Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.53.04 PM Overall, I am very happy with this project. I have a lot of fun using it and I hope other people will too. Kadie Roberts

Conference Project :: Post-Mortem :: Find Your Mood

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.09.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.08.40 PMScreenshot of just the background, no emotion displayed.  My final project is a mood guesser, entitled Find Your Mood. When you click on the screen it will guess your mood by asking if you feel a certain way. It will also display a color that’s usually associated with the mood and a font that has a similar feeling to the mood. There are ten different moods programed into the interactive. For the background I used a sparkle picture that I found and edited in photoshop. It also has green and purple blobs floating around, which I created in photoshop. I wanted this to be similar to a lava lamp. The circle in the center also slowly fluctuates between blue and purple. I did these things to the background to give a sort of magical feeling to the project.  FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRenderScreenshot with an emotion displayed. My inspiration for this project was pretty random, it just kind of popped into my head. I really enjoy playing with mood rings and seeing what it thinks my mood is, so that’s why I thought this project would be fun. I also wanted something that was playful and that excitement came from visiting the Sony Museum. Since the interactions that I liked the most there were simple and playful. This will create a magic circle because people want to share their experience and what the program guesses as their mood. Usually because it’s super accurate or way off. If something is funny or surprising people usually look for someone to share that moment with and I think that will draw people in and make groups of people try it and watch together. In Homo Ludens by Huizinga it’s said that magic circles are, “all are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.” I wanted to create this magical and mysterious other world that exists for maybe, just a minute, in someone’s ordinary world.   The code for my project was difficult at first but I eventually got the hang of it. I didn’t really understand the concept of variables but now I use them for everything! They’re so useful. I also found that by use variables I was more likely to experiment and be creative. Without variables it was such a hassle to go through and change every individual thing so I wouldn’t mess around as much. After just using variables for everything I found it so much easier to get exactly what I wanted from the code. Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.33.18 PM  Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.33.41 PMScreenshot of some of the code and variables being used.  I’m very happy with my project, it is pretty much what I had envisioned. I also feel that I learned a lot of code and really got to understand it. I know that I’ll be able to use what I learned from this project in the future. The main thing that went wrong was that I originally had wanted the whole screen to change and have a scene showing things that made you feel like the emotion it was displaying, like a sunset and dolphins jumping for happy, but that ended up being too complicated.  By Kadie Roberts

Project #2 Update: Stagnation

For this project, I have been working on a growing concern I first had when working on this project. The major difference between the machines I am drawing influence from and the code I am working on now is that they are physical and three dimensional objects while my code is a virtual simulator. In fewer words, I am trying to translate a very physical interaction into a virtual one. Technically, I can recreate the interaction, however there is a certain quality that is lost. It is not as special if a machine has the capability to turn itself off. Part of the appeal of the useless box is it performs a task that is not expected. On the other hand, machines are expected to have the type of power to control itself. To me, the solution for this problem is to exaggerate and really draw out the physical aspects of this code. I have been working on putting together an interface that appears to be more material than electronic.
Several options for the types of input that can have a binary toggle.

Several options for the types of input that can have a binary toggle.

On a side note, this project has also taught me that there is a difference between a worthless task, and an impossible one. An impossible task only installs and perpetuates a sense of failure with the user. However, a worthless task, such as this, opens up a whole existential curiosity that draws users in.

Project #2 Update :: Draw Your Moves

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.05.23 PM   Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.00.21 PM I decided to change my project to a digital interaction instead of an analog one, since my project #1 was an analog interaction. So my idea for project #2 is to use motion code to move colored shapes following the user’s movement but not clear the background, so it’s kind of like they’re drawing with their movements. I think this would be fun because it’s seeing your movements displayed and creating art. It’s kind of like the colored circles on the floor at the Sony museum, you and your movement was represented but you didn’t actually see yourself. This way I think it distances the user a little bit so they can feel free to have fun and enjoy the interaction. I think this creates magic circle because multiple people can contribute at a time. People can interact together and others can watch or add to it. The audience can observe what happens when someone else tries it and then maybe try it themselves. The photos are a rough prototype, I think I will change the colors, shapes and sizes to make it more appealing. I also want to make it more clear when you move a certain way there’s a specific outcome.  Kadie Roberts

Conference Project Proposal : Sculptural Map

conference This clip of sculptural map we watched in class inspired me the most. I want to create my own sculptural map since it is a good  way of showing interesting images and self-animating borders.  I really enjoy doing projection mapping on 3D objects, and this project seems achievable based on the skills that I’ve learned. Sketch I want to create a good connection between the model and animation. This is the model that I want to build. It’s basically a stack of three hollowed-out cubes. Therefore, I will be allowed to map both the inside and outside by building this kind of model. 2 01 It is an example of the self-animating border I created by using processing. I am still trying to create more borders and to add some effects to them.