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Ah, yes. This is why sane people don't do this. - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
January 1st, 2003
11:30 pm


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Ah, yes. This is why sane people don't do this.
New Year's Eve was good.

Today was mostly sleeping and kicking a headache. I'm officially rejecting the notion that what one does the first day of the year determines what you do the rest of the year, because I probably slept around 12 hours today, watched a couple hours of the Twilight Zone marathon (the blessing and curse of TiVo) and got halfway through "A Year at the Movies". I mentioned this book before. This book reads like a weekly journal Kevin Murphy's life - finding random things about human nature through film.

Then I putzed around with rewriting a lego sculpture program gizmo that I had written before. For one thing, I needed to repair this guy, and I've been noodling over building something new. I took the time to rewrite in Python the lego-rasterizer that I had originally written in C. The thing that might actually make this worthwhile is that now I've got a class hierarchy that allows primitives like spheres (and someday cubes, donuts, whathaveyou) and boolean operations (union, intersection) with the same interface.

So, that sculpture that I linked to above could now be described in one line of Python, looking something like

... as easy as that. Oh, and I added supersampling, which I had meant to do. One thing that I dig about this is that things like rotation, translation, and scaling can be applied to primitives just as easily as any other operator.

So, that done, I started on the 'knobby sphere' sculpture that has been haunting my imagination for a while now. Imagine a hollow sphere (36 Lego brick widths diameter outside, 28 inside) with 20 colorful lumps submerged in it, like fruitcake. Most of the interesting shapes are inside, so we've got to have windows to look inside, so bore out 12 holes through the hollow sphere. You platonic geometers can figure out the shapes I'm using to evenly distribute 12 holes and 20 colorful spheres.

I got started on this while letting the Twilight Zone occupy some non-spatial part of my brain, and then I let "Heist" take that slot (might I have enjoyed that movie more if I had paid attention? The world will never know). That's got to amount to several hours of work, and I'm only two and a half layers finished. Take a look at the work in progress here. You can begin to see some of the colorful nodules and some of the holes bored through the white hollow sphere.

Maybe my next sculpture will be made out of flats. I'm getting sick and tired of 1x1 Lego bricks.

Current Mood: Constructionist Dorky

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:January 2nd, 2003 10:03 am (UTC)
you had me at "...now I've got a class hierarchy that allows primitives like spheres"
[User Picture]
Date:January 2nd, 2003 10:42 am (UTC)
I'm tempted to put big flashing lights labeled geek on this, but by now that goes without saying...

The really cool bit is that I can take a sphere and work with it, or I can glom a sphere and a cone together, and the glommage still behaves like a 3d shape like the sphere did; I can rotate, scale, translate the combination to my heart's delight.

I can imagine this being really handy if I were to do some sort of weird Escher-ish sculpture with lots of copies of a thing in some weird fractallish recursive arrangement.

But even now, I was able to design the knobbySphere sculpture as a combination of spheres (mostly), and once I had the shape, I wanted to break some of the symmetries, cause the more symmetric a sculpture is, the less interesting it is. So I rotated it a bit around the X and Y axes, and even though the shape is still super symmetric, the actual Lego bricks that make up the sculpture don't end up repeating.

If that makes any sense.
[User Picture]
Date:January 2nd, 2003 01:15 pm (UTC)
oh yes, it does make sense. just remember to always use your powers for good and not evil, give you a good slice of evil and a white persian cat, you could be the next Bond villian. (although I hear Sarah Michelle Gellar wants to take over the 007 role after Pierce so that may not be a bad thing, being the villian)

hrmmm, I cannot recall ever seeing an Escher-esque Lego sculpture, oh sure *any*one can do the Sphynx and London Bridge - but abstract, even Dali-esque Lego. open a gallery
[User Picture]
Date:January 2nd, 2003 10:57 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm. Supervillain you say?

Evil Genius? Eeeevil Geeeeeenius?

And I love the idea of a surrealist Lego sculpture gallery. It would give some legitimacy to this hobby.
[User Picture]
Date:January 2nd, 2003 11:27 pm (UTC)
And I've added more than 200% since the original post: Check it out here.
[User Picture]
Date:January 3rd, 2003 05:49 am (UTC)
keep posting updates, I'm curious to see how it comes out

recently while playing Cranium, I had to sculpt Legos out of clay (which my partner had to guess what I was sculpting). not so easy, that task. easier than what you're doing but that's my story

I don't tell good stories
[User Picture]
Date:January 3rd, 2003 09:19 am (UTC)
> I'm curious to see how it comes out

Me too.

And there's a metaphor for something in there. Perhaps it's a stretch to go from playing with Lego to lessons on life, but I'm appreciating right now the fact that I can describe with precision (in fact, already have) what I'm building, but I don't know subjectively what it'll look like. I've got a guess that it'll look like a soccer ball made by Willy Wonka, but that's an awfully loose description.

Which is true about so much in life. Without widening the scope too much, this same pattern applies to professional computer game development. There's so much work to be done before the game can be played, and hopefully you give the designer(s) time to change their minds if they decide the game isn't fun at that point.

It's good to have a plan, but I've found that the best results support frequent and early modifications of the plan. Designing a game that won't be playable for a year resembles building a sculpture that won't really take shape until most of the work is done.

I think that Tom Robbins made a point about delayed gratification in one of his books with a parable about a woodpecker and an alarm clock. Same thing.
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