Truss(t) Us, We’re Experts

The time for exploration has ended and Music in Motion is currently finalizing the design of our experience. It has been our core focus this week, but we have also been very busy with faculty walk-arounds and visitors stepping in and out. It has begun to feel like we spend most of our core hours sharing our project instead of building it.

We did receive some very helpful feedback from faculty. We spoke with Brenda this week about the experience and she presented us with the analogy of a fireworks show. She encouraged us to focus on the interest curve those shows use and how they present guests with a memorable  finale. Chris Klug also came to visit and reminded us to think about the purpose of the project itself. For example, what were we achieving by using VR that we couldn’t have otherwise?

One other important visit was from Jaehee’s wife. She is a ballet dancer by profession and we were interested in hearing her perspective on the performative aspect of the project. After having played several of our prototypes she talked about the different kinds of movement we might be able to encourage in VR space. Besides that, she felt our project and VR as a tool, could be used to inspire choreographers to think of new types of movement or gesture. This was encouraging because we had just decided to prioritize the focus of our final project on movement first, then spatialized sound, and finally music creation.

We settled on two of our favorite mechanics, and one new mechanic for our final experience. We found that particle  hands-trails were the number-one effect that encouraged graceful movement in VR. It is such an obvious and simple choice but it does its job well. We also liked the idea of boids, or “flocking” as seen in groups of birds or fish. We decided to mix this behavior into our handtrails so that it feels like you are guiding  a cluster of creatures with the controller.

The new mechanic we added was the idea of tracing. The guest traces lines within the space which teaches them to explore the synths they control and potentially guides them through designed, graceful movements. We are moving forward with the se concepts and currently tweaking the boid’s behavior and are constructing a new synth.

Another important development this week was the installation of our trusses for our ambisonic set-up. Dave Purta has been an incredible help throughout the process of designing our system. This week we had a “Truss” party. Dave helped us assemble the trusses and hardware set-ups for our for our 12 speaker arrangement.