A Software Simulation Of A Pet Cat
You see a circle as a static figure. What if it moves in a recognizable way? Living Shapes only shows geometric forms in pastel colours on a plain unicoloured background. At the same time the content consists of not just animation but interaction with the simulated creature. The Behaviour is based on house cats or just single body parts of it. The reaction comes digitally through a mechanical mouse click or mouse movement of the user. Living Shapes refers to the questions: How reduced can the creature be to be still recognized as a living being? If moving an objects intensifies the feeling of familiarity, how much more does an interaction?
Inspirational for this study was the theory of Uncanny Valley. Staying far ahead the Uncanny Valley, in the area where the human likeness is slightly existent, there is still a feeling of familiarity which can double if the object is moving. The work of Karl Sims "Evolved Virtual Creatures" was also crucial for the development of the project. He used 3D animations to display aliveness in stereometric forms. They were shown in a minimalistic environment, a reduced 3D room.
The project was made with Processing. The minimalistic goal forced design and complexity to be very reduced and simple. This was the reason for me to go from a complete system of behaviours and needs to rather disconnected games. In the end there was a small amount of game states left to focus on. Moreover there are no descriptions displayed. The users task is to find out the solution without help as you have to with a real animal.
Themes: movement of a pet in a blank room, playing with a cat, poke a paw, touch the ears, remove its poop, reacting to an object at an edge.