For my project inspiration, I found a widely-popular phone app developed by Hit-Point Co., Ltd three years ago (2014), which is named “Neko Atsume”, meaning literally cat garden in Japanese. In this kitten-collecting simulation game, you could buy different types of toys to place in your backyard, and it would attract random cats showing up at your house and play with your collection of toys, and then as gratitude they would leave you collection momentos, or silver/gold fish as a “currency” in this game. I think one of the critiques I have for the app is that it has a rather slow-paced, low-commitment kind of game to play, but I think it creates a sense of calmness and happiness that corresponds with the game developer’s initial idea. I think this model could be helpful to incorporate within my final project; the layout and illustration is quite simple yet effective, as many users become fans for these cuteness-overload cats.
An expanded (3-screen) view of the backyard!
Another source of inspiration is also a mobile-platform game called Inks, developed by State of Play starting in 2008. It is a creative application that intermixes the art of splash painting with the classic pinball machine. I think the graphics are especially aesthetically beautiful in terms of the colors and motions, and I’d hope to somehow reference this method into my interactive mini-game. The only concern / improvement I can think of is the repetitiveness may not seem too appealing for the wider audience, but I personally have enjoyed this game a lot, both functionally and aesthetically.
[Caption: Three different stages of the pinball game. The idea is that you need to splatter all the shapes (point the balls to all possible directions) to pass through the level. ]
For my final project I want to take one of my past studio projects and make an interactive, axonometric diagram. I wanted to add environmental analysis diagrams as well that would take the informative aspect of the diagrams a step further.
Monument Valley is a mobile game that was created by digital design studio Ustwo. The puzzle game is an exploration through fantastical architecture and “impossible” geometry. Besides it overly-stunning visuals, it is praised for its use of optical illusions to create a stimulating gaming experience. It was created using Unity. I feel that it is a good reference and organizational method for how I would like users to navigate through my studio project.
The PLUS1 Poly-nuclear Program is an interactive APP created by Sub-Labs for the 10th Shanghai Biennale mobile unit. The app is used to transform photos into 3D scenes using algorithms. These scenes that are created become interactive fantasy worlds. Users can create an infinite number of these worlds. The app collects data such as time, weather, and location to further transform these worlds. I want to apply the same process they applied for creating the 3D scenes to recreate my environmental analysis diagrams.
My proposal for my final project would be a map that tracks where my siblings, parents and I have visited, all over the world. I would have a world map that’s has different colored dots(at least 3 colors), correlating to which family member it is, with lines connecting to where we each individually lived(home) at the time. I love tracking data especially when it has to do with maps/geography. I definitely want to add an element of interaction, not quite sure what yet. Perhaps when a certain button or the mouse is pressed, it will highlight one of the subject’s path. Overall, the point of this project would be data display that tracks where the members of my family have been/visited.
For my final project, I am interested in creating something generative, and perhaps includes some elements of user interaction. With that in mind I looked at the work “Black or White or More or Less” by Lia, and the project “Messa Di Voce” by Zachary Lieberman, and others. The first project I looked at, is one in which cascades of sliding line segments alternately hide and reveal black and white surfaces, opening and closing apertures into spaces that expand through and behind the virtual canvas in a mesmerizing, infinitely varying interplay of dark and light. Lia’s project is generative in nature but allows for the immersion of the user into the space beyond the canvas. Lieberman’s project is very much interactive because it requires the sound generated by the user; transforming every vocal nuance into a subtly differentiated highly expressive graphic. The audiovisual performance is one that creates a cycle of interaction that fully integrates the performers into an ambiance consisting of sound, virtual objects, and real-time processing.
I admire both projects for the way they created an immersive environment, but in two completely different ways. While Lieberman’s project takes a more direct approach by utilizing the user, Lia’s work indirectly accomplishes this by allowing the viewer to get lost in the work due to the shifting spatial perception caused by the play between dark and light.
“On Feeling Melancholy” by the YouTube channel, the School of Life, is a video and animation (done in collaboration by animators Hannah Jacobs and Lara Lee) that I absolutely love and appreciate. This video struck me when I first saw it, and though I can go into a longer discussion about its contents and themes, I’ll focus on the music, sound, and art for this post.
“THE ARROW” by Emilio Yebra, an animator from Valencia based in Edinburgh, is also a great example of something I would love to implement into my final project. I love the rhythm of the music and sound effects and how it is quick, smooth, and matches the visuals.
I find that both of these projects are great examples of rich feeling and substance, particularly because of the way sound and visuals combine to strike the viewer or listener with feeling. I would love to create something along these lines in my final project, in that I give someone a unique feeling by stirring their senses.
Another would be to use objects and incorporate sound so that whenever the user clicked them they would have their own unique sound. This could be in the form of animals on a farm, the forest or ocean, and so on. I would like the user to be involved somehow, though I am not quite sure how that will be integrated.
Regardless of which route I take, I would love to hit the user with feeling through the use of music, sound, visuals, color, etc. as mentioned in my LookingOutwards-12 post.
For my final project I would like to create a musical interaction application that also creates visuals when each note is played. I have thought about creating a visualization similar to a piano keyboard that users could click on with their mouse (or preferably touch screen/touch pads/tablet devices) and each click would produce a musical note audio corresponding to which notes the user had clicked. Each of the keyboards would then produce a little “randomized” visual when it is pressed and it would either display above the keyboard on the canvas or wherever the user clicks.
I think I can also develop this program further by programming a song that the user can follow along the keyboard and play. I think that could be a little too difficult to store inside a written script however.
Since my project is a sound-based DJ-type game, I searched for other games that are similar in terms of building and creating music. I’ve already talked about Patatap in a previous Looking Outwards (my very first one – almost like I’ve come full circle!), but it isn’t as close to my idea as I’d like it to be. So, I searched for other things that were more music-based and had more of a DJ feel rather than something freeform. In doing so, I found Incredibox and Beatmaker.
A video showing one of the most popular songs created with Incredibox.
Incredibox is a music app and site where the player can create a song by managing a band of people. You can drag icons – various types of clothing or symbols – from the bottom bar and place them on each person, which each icon producing a unique sound. Each sound can either be percussion, instruments, voices, or sound effects, and combining these various sounds can create really cool and unique mixes. The project was initially released in 2009 by French company So Far So Good, a company composed of a trio of friends named Romain, Paul, and Allan. What I really admire about this project, and what really inspired me was the actual sounds the player can work with. It’s a good range of sounds that includes both music-related (like instruments and percussion) as well as some sound effects, and they all work really well together. Even though you can combine any of these in any order, they are still cohesive and maintain the same rhythm. The one thing about this game is that you can only play a limited number of sounds at a time, and each sound is limited to a select number of options. As amazing as the game is, it is limited in what is available to use (but that hasn’t stopped people from creating really awesome music!).
A video showing an example of what you can do with Beatmaker. (Sorry about the title of the video, videos were few and far between!!)
Beatmaker, on the other hand, is exactly what’s named: a beat maker. It is less of a game and more like a DJ-oriented music production site. There are 8+ channels for various types of instruments, and the user can click on each row to fill in space to indicate beats and play the instruments. The user can edit the track, and utilize the full library of samples Splice has available, resulting in an enormous range of possible beats and sounds. I really admire the versatility and functionality of this project. It is easy to use and figure out, and there are tons of different tones and types of sounds you can use to create something really cool. Although it does have this wide range of sounds, it is mostly focused on the EDM/electronic pop genre of music, and I think there’s untapped potential to utilize sounds and instruments from other genres as well! The website was created by company Splice, which was founded by Matt Aimonetti and Steve Martocci.
Due to the way that my partner and I are planning to split up the workload, I’m more focused on the generation of the quotes. I looked for random quote generators online to see what other people have done. The first one I found, http://www.manythings.org/rs/svoc.html, is a random sentence generator. It was created in 1998 by Charles Kelly for a collection called “Interesting Things for ESL Students”. I like this project because it’s very good at breaking down the parts of speech and being consistent in the generation of words so that the final sentences actually make sense. Unfortunately, the sentences themselves are not very fun.
Random Sentence Generator
The second project I found is http://inspirobot.me/. It is described as an “artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes.” I like this project because it creates funny and unique quotes that still have the special “inspirational quote” flavor. It tends to be more engaging than the first generator, partly because of the random photos the quotes are displayed on. My one complaint would be that pressing the “generate” button over and over is not particularly fun.
I will be collaborating with Thomas Wrabetz for the final project. We want to make a “Maze of Inspiration” game-like program. The person running the program will use the arrow keys to move a small circle through randomly generated pathways in a maze-like formation. During their travels, they will come across other dots, which they can collide with to generate “inspirational quotes”. In order to create the quotes, we will first collect a lot of inspirational quotes and then break them down into separate parts of speech and sentence format. The sentence format will be randomized, and then filled with various random parts of speech.
If we have extra time, we could try to make the program more visually pleasing. We might hang inspirational posters on the walls of the pathways or use representations other than dots. We could also make it more game-like by having a start screen or allowing the player to escape the maze after a certain amount of time has passed or they have generated a certain number of quotes. See illustrations below for early-stage visualizations.