Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Contour following" !!

"Contour following" is fashionable these days !!
ScoreLight is a musical device using a "tactile" laser trying to follow the contours of the shapes it lightens.
This video speaks for itself:


"There is no camera nor projector: a laser spot explores the shape as a pick-up head would search for sound over the surface of a vinyl record - with the significant difference that the groove is generated by the contours of the drawing itself", says the ScoreLight project page.

StickyLight, a previous version, also explored some possibilities of "contour following":
http://www.todayandtomorrow.net/2009/08/03/sticky-light-scorelight/
I like the way these tiny luminous globules move on the surface of purely graphic shapes... so sensual ... Although deterministic, they seem almost alive. It also conduce interesting reflections about perception: quoting StickLight project page, "By moving on the drawing, the light spot attracts the attention of the viewer. It actually forces our sight to follow the dynamic path taken by the light".

Another "contour following" behavior recently appeared in "Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor", an iPhone game. As a regular spider, you stick to walls and objects (and thus "follow contours"), but the game seems to focus more on jumping, capturing insects, and web weaving.


There is no official page about this game, but Tiger Style studio gave interviews for PocketGamer and TouchArcade.

"Contour following" will also occur in my Microbe game , currently in production (more info on "Microbe" project" soon !!).
Some years ago, I made a Flash prototype for testing a contour following algorithm on boolean shapes:

(click near a shape to stick the robot. Blue and White shapes can be drag&dropped)

Although "Microbe" game will not necessarily use the same algorithm (aah.. these good ol' 2002 actionscript 1 ), "sticking" will be a core mechanic of the gameplay!

If you know other "contour following" (2D) applications, don't hesitate to add a comment !

(Thx to Lolo and Magicfred for sending ScoreLight and Spider URLS)

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