A Stroke of Genius
Inspiration came to me in a flash for this assignment. As Evan was describing his excellent web project to me, an idea came like a thief in the night, spiriting away my fancy – A simulated environment where the user becomes a Rain God.
Let There Be Life
The concept was lofty, but straightforward. One hand would control the flow of a rainstorm, while another would serve as a platform for verdant plant growth. If the rain stopped or the hand serving as soil was taken away, the plants would wither, or at the very least, fall to pieces.
It would also be gorgeous. I would use bleak, grayscale aesthetics inspired by the video game Limbo, incorporating its fog and mystery and fragile interpretation of what it means to be alive. It would be art.
Godhood is Complicated…
Unfortunately… issues arose. I quickly found an excellent rain algorithm for processing and energetically proceeded with code. However, even the help of Legitimate Programmer Kaushul hacking away for two hours could not load the OpenNI library on my machine, and the functionality of Shiffman’s Kinect library left something to be desired. Additionally, I discovered (too late?) that the chosen rain algorithm didn’t play well with any other sort of visualization.
All Work and No Play…
As I slaved away in an attempt to salvage my masterpiece, yet another serendipitous inspiration struck. Shiffman’s Kinect program couldn’t do much, but there seemed to be a unique interaction opportunity posed by the constraint of only being able to track one hand at a time. Just as quickly as the first, this concept seized my fevered, sleep-deprived imagination. Time was running short, and the only choice was total commitment.
• Never base a project around a single element, especially one you’re appropriating from others.
• Don’t assume usability or compatibility from crowdsourced libraries.
• Plan interactions with limitations of the tools in mind.
• Don’t jump into coding too hastily.
• If fortune gifts you with inspiration, it’s never a bad thing to follow it.