Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Project S.O.N.A.R

Project S.O.N.A.R
Self-Organizing Nebulous Architectural Response

It looks like the swarm prototype mentioned in my earlier blog post "Emergent Forms - self organizing structures" is nearly complete. I will spend the next two weeks touching up version 1.2 and we can begin to conduct time trials soon thereafter. I have created a new website dedicated soley to the project and its evolution over the coming months. This site will provide detailed information about the experiment along with a group signup to recruit people for participation in the initial demonstration. Thanks for checking in and more info to come soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Virtual Studio Tour - Reactive/Reflexive Elements

Virtual Studio Tour (test machinima)

Video can be seen at the following link..

This is my first machinima so I apologize for the low res quality. This video demonstrates two kinetic/reactive elements incorporated into the latest version of my online studio. These scripts were pulled from the grouping published by keystone Bouchard for his Reflexive Architecture Gallery.

I am in the process of including additional kinetic elements that will respond to both avatar behavior and presence. These kinetic elements have an aesthetic value and must work with the form as to retain their logic within the overall architectural system. This particular virtual studio examines the use of kinetic elements as an extension to the base (fixed) architectural structure. The translucent texture and character of the block suggest a primitive curtain wall or glazed entryway of some type. Its kinetic properties further push this distinction.

In this case the wall pulls apart to form 'flex columns' which frame the entryway to the studio. When the avatars stands in the middle of this liquid curtain wall, the frame splits upward echoing a classic Gothic arch. This is due to the spacing of the kinetic elements as well as the sphere of influence (located around the avatar) which activates the scripts within the translucent blocks. These same columns produce inverted Gothic arches as the avatar inhabits the platform above the entryway (utilizing the same properties of placement and sphere of influence.

I will post more machinima as the design progresses.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Object to Field

Over the past few months I have suggested in various discussion groups the need for a more qualitative and quantitative investigation of reactive/reflexive scripts within SL. Avatar Keystone Bouchard (John Brouchoud) has accomplished this and has managed to package it beautifully in his Gallery of Reflexive Architecture.
The gallery explores the flexibility and variability of one or two simple scripts integrated into various forms and formations. This is most accurately a study on the ability for a single script to show vastly different expression through only minor variations in its behavior and in the form encompassed by it. The gallery goes on to identify multiple conditions of the proximity script including..

Carvable Architecture - each time an avatar approaches, these units move out slightly. Over time, the movement of avatars essentially 'carves' the architecture and high traffic areas become larger over time.

Prim Decay - prims decay as avatars pass by, leaving a visual trace of avatar paths during the course of 3 hours

Architecture On Demand – As titled

Architectural Jazz – Covered in earlier post

Traffic Graph - prims move down slightly every time an avatar approaches, creating a visual representation of traffic density

Elevated Plane – As titled

Sudden Space – More on this later

Door Wall – More on this later

This is a great example of visual complexity generated through the accumulation of basic responsive elements. The scripts themselves are fairly simple and, in most cases, are repeated among each of the individual elements. For example, the Architecture On Demand build utilizes a single block programmed to grow and diminish in scale as an avatar approaches. As a single unit, this block remains an object and is not very successful as an architectural element - but place many together in close proximity and the collection becomes a field condition. The individual blocks act in unison to create a field effect which gives the impression of a single membrane reacting as a singular surface. The resultant undulating surface is both elegant and visually complex and contains many more architectural applications as wall surface, floor surface, or spatial element.

This particular example further underscores the ability for virtual space to act as a test bed for RL interactive/responsive works. I spent some time developing a project along similar lines looking at deployable floor elements that would rise to furniture and table heights in response to user behavior and movement.

This project was never developed due to time and monetary constraints, but in virtual space we are able to study the visual and behavioral effects of such works. The falling price of processors, video processing technologies, and tracking devices such as RFID will enable us to integrate intelligent environments into standard architectures on a broad scale in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, we must find the most efficient, flexible, and robust means to test and develop the relationship between individual/group behaviors and environments. Currently virtual worlds such as Second Life are the perfect platform to experiment and develop such scenario-based thought processes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Example: Reflexive/Reactive Build

This build on Architecture Island (by avatar Theory Shaw) has utilized both scale and color shifting reactions to reflect avatar presence and proximity. This is more than simply a virtual structural reflex as he has managed to identify a functional purpose for this script as well.

The colored leaf panels become dynamic elements as they signal their function through both color and scalar differentiation. The leaf panels utilize two scripts which allow them to change in both scale and color based upon avatar proximity. As an avatar approaches a panel, the panel expands slightly and subtly shifts its color. These panels hang suspended in space more as screening devices than wall elements; another visual signal of their departure from traditional static architectures.

The dynamic nature of this structure becomes an active reflection of inhabited virtual space. These leaf panels also relate to the aesthetic concept of concealing and revealing. They are opaque to the degree that they offer 'privacy' to avatars in conversation but their reflexive/reactive nature also reveals both the presence and location of avatars within the structure.

While not necessarily falling into the category of interactivity, Theory has successfully integrated this reflexive/reactive element into an overall architectural device, that becomes functional as well as aesthetic.