Scripting Salon #5

In attendance: Mark, Caleb, Frank, and yours truly. Also a lot of left-over baklava, ginger cookies, and a stained tea cozy.
Topics:

  • Mathematica. Frank has been exporting meshes from Mathematica to Rhino, turning them into point clouds, and going from there. Another link worth checking out: Wolfram’s bestiary. Personally I find this connection from the world of pure math to the world of geometric massage to be a very exciting one. The provocation of Mathematica is the disturbing compactness of the code — a single function generates so much form as it plays out along its axes. I am only just realizing the degree to which geometry, like drawing, is one of those beautiful thought-bridges which connect almost all human disciplines.
  • Matrix transformations in Processing — Frank has written and published a library. This is intended to help people who are interested in using matrix transformations but who don’t want/need to use OpenGL and who don’t want to bother with the Processing camera and 3D viewing in general. I.e. if you are just planning on generating geometry in Processing and then exporting it, this seems like a great library to use.
  • Projecting stuff onto Google Earth — Mark and Toru have developed a nice, one-step process for this for the ‘Slumlab’ students at Columbia (also see this), once again showing that they are among the most web-savvy of the coding architects.
  • The lack of really investigative design thinking in current ‘virtual worlds’ (in quotes because they’re not). Mark or Caleb mentioned the Half-life mod Portal, a fascinating example of somebody starting to hack the spatial assumptions of such worlds (irrelevantly, I had this exact idea myself several years ago). This whole discussion about games and virtual worlds also reminded me what interesting reading there is to be had on Gamasutra. Mark seemed particularly keen on the value of current independent game development. I would like to find more examples like Portal.

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