January 4, 2010 - Comments Off on Magnetosphere, part 1

Magnetosphere, part 1

Such simple beginnings for a project that has kept me fascinated for 4+ years. It all starts with magnetism. I wanted to learn how to code a magnetic force. I didn't know what I wanted to do with it aside from push objects apart or pull objects together.

The thinking was that I could charge a bunch of particles and let them dance about in a scene. Some would be small and fast, others would be massive and slow. They could play off each other, dance with each other, and ultimately create an endless display of randomness.

The magic spark occurred when I decided that the small particles should have a variable charge. I tried random numbers, sine wave curves, even Perlin noise. None of those felt quite right. Then I tried audio analysis.

Each particle's charge would be dependent on the amplitude of a frequency to which it was assigned. Spark!

Below are some images from the early days of Magnetosphere. At this point, my understanding of OpenGL was extremely limited. I knew how to draw points and lines and not much else. So these early iterations have a simple aesthetic.

Here are a couple fairly low-res videos of Magnetosphere being projected in my living room. I am filming the projection so you can better see how it performs in realtime. The beat detection effects are done programmatically so I apologize in advance for the hyperactivity.

Audio by Cornelius (Tone Twilight Zone).

Audio by Deee-Lite (Groove is in the Heart).

Published by: Robert Hodgin

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