Project 2 & Looking Outwards

by aburridg @ 7:33 am 17 February 2010

Project 2: “Queen, version Valentine” applet.

Woo-hoo! Got my applet to work. Here’s my poor quality video anyway (the cursor isn’t visible though):


There are three modes to choose from–Breeder, Hunter, and Prey. In each mode, the user assumes the named role.

Breeder Role:
Click to spawn a heart organism. Organisms follow wander and flock behavior.

Hunter Role:
Click to destroy nearby organisms. Organisms follow flee behavior from cursor location (no flocking, they just scatter).

Prey Role:
Click to place food for the organisms at a location. The organisms will follow seek and flock behavior to each set piece of food. The food will grow smaller as they devour it, and organisms will grow the more food they eat (organisms have a maximum growth size).


Mostly I wanted to experiment with Craig Reynold’s behavior models, shown here. I also wanted to create a piece that the user could interact with, rather than a piece that just ran and simulated something organic.

The hardest part of this project was determining how I wanted the organisms to interact during the different modes. I borrowed a lot of code from Daniel Shiffman, but, in order to manipulate his code, I also had to relearn a lot of calculus and vector arithmetic. I also learned about a very useful Processing class called PVector…very, very useful and awesome and made this project a whole lot easier.

Originally, I was going to use pigeons for the organisms, bread crumbs for the food, and a hawk for the hunter, but decided to change it to a Valentine’s Day theme (got the idea during the critique on Monday, hehe). I sent it to my family members and friends and they all really, really enjoyed it! Especially if they were up too late and thus easily amused.

Overall, I’m happy with the way it turned out. There are a few glitches, but I think it’s charming (although a little cheesy). And, it gives a very interesting perspective on how organisms flock, swarm, and scatter. I did learn a lot about something I otherwise wouldn’t have known until a boss or something asked me to simulate a heard or a large amount of organisms. And, again, I feel better prepared for simulating another organic aspect of the world.

Hooray for being cheesy, again (although it’s true, and I did have a lot of fun with this! :D).

Looking Outwards–Manipulating Simulated Organic Life with Music:

Some Examples…

Magnetosphere revisited (audio by Tosca) from flight404 on Vimeo.

Nova (audio by Helios) from flight404 on Vimeo.

I’m very interested in this…and wondering if I could combine these behaviors with the flocking, seek, and wandering behavior I worked with during Project 2. I’m seriously considering creating a final project around this idea instead–and maybe getting my own audio from a music major friend who would be interested in this (so that I could make a video that looks aesthetically pleasing since I would be able to control the aspects of the audio with my friend).


  1. These videos were really interesting to me as well, and were the inspiration for my simulation project (project 2). I also originally wanted music to modify flocking/seeking/wandering behaviors, but I didn’t reach this level of interaction. I still haven’t posted a demo of my project, but you might want to check out what I have posted so far. I can show you some libraries and source code that might help you out.

    Comment by uribe,gabi — 17 February 2010 @ 10:25 am
  2. Remarks from the Critique from the PiratePad:

    This is a cute valentine and a nice use of flocking. One suggestion is to have the hearts flap their wings like butterflies. The hunter mode seems underdeveloped. Poor use of space on the right hand side with the buttons.

    Cute! Maybe you can let the Hunter self controlled (random), or chasing the hearts.

    The flocking behavior is well-done.

    The hunter should have predatory AI behavior.

    Kind of want the Hunter to move on its own like Pac-man to try to eat the hearts…it could open and close it’s “mouth” like Pac-man… Also would like to see some meaning in the colors of the hearts. Nice idea for a valentine!

    I feel like this could be a nice screensaver if there were a mode where it just automatically spawns new hearts and adds food and stuff and you could just sit and watch it go.

    I agree that I’d have liked to see a mode with a bit more autonomy in this demo (“screensaver”-esque). Maybe if you don’t touch anything it just loops after 30 seconds or so through each mode? It seems like there’s interesting things that you’d see at the transition between modes (because you don’t restart the simulation when the mode changes – a huge plus of your work.) -SB

    Comment by golan — 18 February 2010 @ 2:44 pm

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