Developing the real-time version of TechnoSphere gave us the opportunity to show the creatures in their context. Providing a graphic window onto the TechnoSphere virtual world is a first step towards highlighting the importance of environment in shaping the life forms that inhabit it.
In April 1999 we installed the first of our real-time 3D systems at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television at Bradford, UK. Wired Worlds is a new gallery at the recently refurbished Museum and showcases a number of interactive digital art works, with the aim of using them to highlight recent technological developments. The installation at Bradford enables the visitor to see in real-time that which has been hidden behind closed doors.
Our remit for re-working TechnoSphere for the Museum was to make it highly visual, fast, fun and easily accessible. In this version the users create a creature, from an extended palette of textured body components, which they can then see in real-time, interacting with other creatures and the environment.
The system uses networked PCs to enable users to design creatures using a touchscreen interface and to view the Alife populated world simultaneously on large projection screens. The touchscreens are used to design creatures and to select which creature to view and subsequently to control the virtual camera (to pan, tilt and zoom in on the selected creature or to navigate a free flight through the world).