Full project title: Arbor-Reality
Duration: June 2000-June 2001
Project lead: Nada Bates-Brkljac
The project aim was to create an organic environment integrating interactive 3D technologies with computer-generated music. The project sought to investigate the integration of the complimentary skills of the researchers whilst exploring the limits of the technology's' capabilities and the shortfall between expectation and reality when working with new media.
The team has created a Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) forest which includes virtual sculpture and a non-linear narrative to engage users and suggest pathways through the forest. Objects such as trees, sculpture and representations of books react to the users' presence and actions and then trigger autonomously created computer music scripted in jMax. The user is able to use their movements around the forest as a 'conductor' for the autonomously generated music.
The project has been a valuable experience for the researchers in several ways. Firstly they have developed skills for communicating with researchers from other disciplines. Neither of the researchers had any experience of the other's field of expertise nor experience of their discipline-specific ways of working and use of terminology. Through working together they have developed their own methodology through which their experience, knowledge and the two technologies can be successfully integrated.
Both have benefited from this experience and created an innovative user environment. Whilst both were convinced of the possibility of combining jMax and VRML, in practice this had not been achieved before. It has created an environment in which the user can use the forest as a control surface for the autonomously created and continuously changing music rather than triggering the single, static events that can be scripted directly into VRML.