Instrument development

At the moment I have just configured one instrument for my played experience, I thought it would be best to develop one well in this time span and move onto others in the future. The instrument I have been working on has taken on the form of a planet with orbiting controls, which modulate looping samples. The primary interaction is movement, as you navigate around it the ambisonics audio simulates the pan/position and volume level of the object in your soundscape. With a collection of these planets you can compose them in virtual space, creating a void filled with spatial sound to move through and explore. To encourage moving them around I designed an interactive shader. It resembled land mass and terrain covering the planet, but as you move it around its configuration of continents change and blend as it is pushed through space and time.  

One of the planets

Another way to interact with these objects is to change the orbits of their moons, each representing a modulation of the sound. At the moment I have just built in pitch, reverb and distortion as the orbiting controls, as it could get quite crowded and unbearable if we added to many at once, visually, functionally and audibly. The moons or controllers have been made to look interactive and tactile, using a set of stylized forms with partially metalic and emissive shaders, which attract the eye. I really wanted these interactions to be expected but still surprising, using the tactile forms to draw in the player with expectations and the result of the interactions interesting and reactive enough to drive them on and explore further. Whilst being very tangible and made to fade fluidly, so that the results aren’t unexpected after first interaction, it has to be difficult to reach a point of obliterating noise, whilst also allowing creative freedom.  

At the moment I have got the planets being procedurally formed, each with its own music sample and set of effects, from none to all three and any combination in between. The effects parameters are randomly set to form any modulation possible from its effect, creating a huge variety of planets producing interesting sounds and interactions when they are actuated. The ideal point would be to work on max msp through osc to form some hugely diveres instruments, maybe even procedurally generated with many points to modulate it with the data from the moons.  

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