Visuals Software: Lines

I wrote this from an idea I had, a while back, when I had not much else to do in my time of illness. It was an obsession of mine for a while. It has gone through a few iterations but the idea was to create a complex system using very few simple rules which could be used for contemplative relaxation, as a soothing aid, and an artwork. Perhaps it’s because I was ASD all this time without knowing it (diagnosed at the age of 48) but I love staring at it, especially knowing the seemingly deliberate rainbow patterns are actually an emergent feature of the random generator I created, which is based on the formula for the Mandelbrot fractal set.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having once studied C++ programming, I wrote it in the Microsoft .NET framework using their version of C++ called C# which I taught myself to use with the help of more experienced programmers on dedicated forums. I’ve let it fall into disuse, and I’d have to learn it over again I’m sure.

I’ve been running this for years now, with no unforeseen bugs causing any havoc to any Windows system it’s been run on. I’m not paying for a certificate as this is not a commercial endeavour, and I can only guarantee that if you download it from the links provided, there are no added nasties or surprises. You will need to have a current Microsoft Visual C++ package installed, and anything else needed to make it run will be downloaded automatically from the Microsoft servers during installation.

The program itself is small but uses a lot of resources due to how many lines are involved. It only really runs properly on later Windows systems with adequate graphics cards. For all OSes, there is a cut-down version which runs in HTML5 compatible web browsers. The same surprise-free guarantee applies here. It can also be downloaded from the free Google website I set up originally.

 

Lines 2.1 for Windows

Lines is a real-time virtual dynamic sculpture by Dominic Pukallus. The visual output of the program is an illustration of the emergent complex behaviour of a “flock” or “swarm” of thousands of coloured lines flying through 3D space, each obeying very simple rules. The values given which govern the lines’ behaviour are derived using the iterative formula which is used in the computation of the Mandelbrot set. Watch for the “Rainbow Serpent” effect.

Lines 2.1 Screencapture 2 dynamic mode from Dominic Pukallus on Vimeo.

A cut-down version of Lines running in your browser created using Three.js can be run by clicking here. The code is available here.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD LINES FREE

You will need first to have the latest Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable installed.

To install Lines, simply unzip the dowloaded file and follow the instructions in the “Readme” file. THE INSTALLER IS NOT DIGITALLY SIGNED and you will get an ‘unknown publisher’ alert. This is because I’m not purchasing a publishing certificate for what is just a hobby at the moment, but if you downloaded it from here it will be free of nasties. Lines also uses the Microsoft XNA framework 3.2 for 3D graphics and depending on your Windows system configuration there may need to be additional files automatically downloaded from the Microsoft servers and installed for the application to run.