Ambient Wildlife and Bouldered Paths

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about sound, color, and abstract artificial life. No doubt that this most recent bout is directly tied to my recent purchase of Electroplankton (the best, albeit only, $60 I've spent on Ebay), but all three are recurring themes that have been agitating my brain for years.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to play with colorful creatures that scamper around and make musical sounds as they jump and chase each other? It sounds like the love child of Brian Eno and Will Wright, to be sure.

I imagine such a thing going on in the background; an unstructured chorus of chimes and crystalline bells floating on the wind from a far-off place as I work. The sound wouldn't be constant, but rather it would come about as the creatures went about their lives. When the creatures slept, the sound would be very faint and relaxing. When they woke and played with each other, it would sound like a little girl had been left unattended in a music shop, tapping and strumming things. Of course, if the young creatures got too noisy and bothersome, the parent would come with big buhrooms and scold them to be quiet.

Yet like so many of my visions and dreams, this one will likely never make it out of my head. Either I will become preoccupied with some other task that comes up, or I will become fixated on some tiny detail that is tangential to my actual purpose.

Already, I have overloaded this idea with the thought that it must be done in OpenGL and OpenAL; thus I have managed to create a path and block it with a boulder in the same stroke. I'll more than likely convince myself that simply climbing over the boulder is not enough — I'll spend countless hours trying to figure out the most perfectly ideal way to climb over it. Better still, this technique will have to be so robust and elegant that I could use it to climb over entire mountains without lifting a finger, if it just so happened that the need should come up in the future.

Eventually, I'll decide that boulder-climbing is too hard, and I didn't really want to climb it that much, besides.

Next post: Cubic Bézier Curves