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SpaceBoxes v1.2 21 January, 2009 at 7:19 am

Processing sample: SpaceBoxes_by_spxl_1_2


View sketch page for source code.

Splitting this sketch into separate files proved a little troublesome. At some point the compiler told me that there was a duplicate of something (a static final int), when I’m certain there was only one of it… Remove the “offending” lines and the next thing is then flagged as a duplicate. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was, so tried cut’n’pasting the files back into a single file again. Seems to be okay (well, there were other problems, like a null pointer exception, but it didn’t fail on the compilation at least!). Closing the sketch (I’m not sure if exiting Processing altogether) and opening it again laster made the problem mysteriously disappear… A gremlin in the system somewhere no doubt.

Well… I managed to pull the monolith into smaller many-liths, and added a bunch of new features. I think I spent most of the time staring at the screen and twiddling the knobs to see how it looked and worked. There was some great music playing on some net radio station found in an iTunes playlist – maybe getting a bit carried away with that, but a good sign for playing out later.

I now have a system (of sorts) where I can add a new “effect” and have it fired by the random effect button… I made a couple of samples and they don’t necessarily look that nice. One of them started as something basic, led to another step and another step, until it was helicoptor blades spinning above the central box. Looks kind of okay at first, but when you have a lot of objects on screen (especially if there are a lot of ‘coptors!), it just looks bad. Too vicious. Too much fast movement. Well, the framework is there, now time to do something more interesting with it.

There is another (major?) part to be started yet, and that is the beat synchronisation stuff. I haven’t written/drawn anything about it, and should probably do that before putting finger to button to code it. I might have a look inside the MIDI library for ideas on how to build a sequencer, and also have a look at the Mother library for combining multiple Processing sketches using OSC (Open Sound Control).

That reminds me, I wrote a sketch last week or something that allowed me to control Neon V2 via MIDI. I used an X-Y rectangular region to send two signals to one of my custom pixel shader effects, and by that was able to control the positioning of a graphic effect on-screen using my Wacom tablet. Neat! Well, there was one problem, and that was that the reaction time was somewhat delayed. I don’t know if my PC is up to the task of running a Processing sketch whilst generating visuals with Neon. Maybe if I reduce the screen updates from Processing the load will be lighter, but it seems at the moment that it isn’t really viable. Setting up the MIDI listening in Neon is especially problematic, since when you select MIDI control it latches on to any and all MIDI messages coming in on a certain channel (not sure if that is the correct terminology), so if there are two signals you have to chance it to get lucky that it picked the right one at that split second.

In case you’re wondering, the screenshot for SpaceBoxes v1.2 above isn’t doctored, but it does include a nice graphic from another adventure in the background! Instead of just the partly coloured (and colour-inverted) colour wheel image, there are now a small group to choose from (well, cycle through by pressing SHIFT-B).

I’ve been trying to work out how to make transparent images, and have now seen an answer but am yet to try it – PImage.mask() – which allows you to apply a greyscale mask as an alpha channel on another image. It kind of sucks that ARGB PNGs don’t work just like you think they should

Meanwhile, the out-of-disk-space problem is getting to be a real hassle now. I can’t even open my image editor to create some test images! I have some blank DVDs here, so might find some “space” with their help. I don’t tend to trust optical media much. It is slow, and appears to be unreliable. Maybe I’m letting the debacle with the unfinalisable DVD video I made at Christmas for a gig at Matter (but since I couldn’t finalise the disc, it couldn’t be played) poison my attitude towards it. One thing I do know is that the burner in my laptop is slooowwwwww…


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