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  • Writer's picture1/4" Jack Of All Trades

Computational Environments Week 8: Expanding the OUO 12C Universe

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

Trapped in the cargo hold.

This week, as I had already sonified my piece, I decided to add a world to contain the alien artefact that I made in the previous week. Inspired by sci-fi horror games/films (e.g Dead Space & Prey / Event Horizon & Alien) I decided to set it on a seemingly abandoned space station. Not being a particularly accomplished 3D modeller I turned to the Unity asset store and found a great free sci-fi corridor asset. After I had imported a demonstration model into my scene and added mesh colliders to it, I went through and changed the materials on the lights to emissive materials (this played very nicely with the camera bloom) and tweaked the settings and post processing to my liking.

Minimal approach to lighting and post pro on the ship to add sense of contrast.

After exploring the demo asset for a bit, and getting a feel for navigating it, I decided to limit the play area for the purposes of this demo, and made the door on the right of arrival appear broken by tilting it slightly - I feel it is quite effective combined with the light flicker and ambient sound. I then started adding the alien looking foliage that I had used in the previous week, wanting to give the impression of something in growing throughout the ship.

Switching between post pro volumes while maintaining believability was difficult (even with built in smoothing)

Coding wise I mostly recycled scripts from previous projects, for example the FPS controller from my shooter and an old footstep script I had updated for the outdoor assignment. The only new script that I needed was for the light flicker - in time I would like to extend it to the emissive material as well as the spot light.

I had some difficulties smoothing between post-processing volumes, and the change always seemed quite abrupt. However I got around this jumpiness by leaning into and adding an audio cue and light activation to the collider that was controlling the post pro volume.

A glimpse of the future, or a lapse of sanity?

Since working on Simulacra I have been considering how to make an interactive music release, as opposed to performance system. Containing music tracks within static psychedelic/alien Cornell boxes could be the perfect way to approach this; compartmentalising each track in its own cosmic prison. This more limited approach also addresses a need to find a compromise between fidelity to my musical intentions, and making the user feel as if they are influencing the sonic and visual outcome, but without giving the total freedom that I allowed myself in world of Simulacra. These smaller interactive pieces could then be wrapped within the context of a space station overrun with otherworldly lifeforms, providing a suitably dark context for my music. Further considerations are using the sci-fi asset to make a procedural maze and adding in some puzzle mechanics.

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