Monthly Archives: May 2014

Nature of Code :: Form Finding Particles

I have been exploring the ways in which physics simulations can be used to generate form and sculpt space. My final project attempts to use several steering behaviors and a simple physics engine to visualize a generative space.

This proof of concept experiment provides a framework for continued exploration. The sketch is initially seeded with 20 particles that are given random velocities. Each particle is aware of every other particle in the system and alters it’s behavior based on proximity to the other particles. There are also repeller objects in the sketch that repel all the particles in the system. I wanted to introduce elements that could be used to essentially sculpt the behavior of the particles in the system.

I also used this project to experiment with different graphical user interfaces. The final GUI element that has been implemented uses three nodes to dynamically control three variables in the system: separation, cohesion, and alignment. When a flocking system like this is visualized in three dimensions, it becomes challenging to visualize the positions of the particles. For this reason I added colored lines that trace the pathways of each particle. The colors of the line segments are determined by the proximity to the drawing’s origin.

GitHub repo here : https://github.com/davidptracy/FlockingVolumes

Project Proposal can be found here: http://davidptracy.com/files/NatureOfCode/09_ProjectProposal.pdf