A lot of progress in the past week. First of all Structure Synth is no longer hosted at Google Code Hosting, but instead at SourceForge.
A few of the new features:
New primitives: I’ve added box, line and dot as new drawing primitives. I’ve also added a new coloring model (based on the HSV color space). Notice the spherical structure above – it was kind of surprising (given the rules) that a spherical structure was produced.
Rule retirement: It is now possible to specify a maximum recursive depth for individual rules. Optionally, it is possible to specify an alternate rule to use as an substitution when the ‘maxdepth’ is reached. The is demonstrated for the Menger sponge above, where the recursion is terminated at the given level.
Ambiguous rules: This one is taken straight from Context Free: it is possible to specify multiple definitions of a rule, each with individual weights. When an ambiguous rule is executed, one of it definitions is chosen at random, taken the weights into account.
Well, I started worked on a spare time project, called Structure Synth: a small application for generative structure synthesis (in 3D). The app itself will be built around an embedded editor with a OpenGL visualization window next to it. Here is a mock-up shot:
Structure Synth GUI
The structures are designed in a simple language, EisenScript (named after the Great Russian director, Sergei Eistenstein, of course). It will be similar, but not identical, to the Context Free Design Grammer that Context Free uses.
An EisenScript defines a Rule Set, where each rule is defined as a number of Actions.
An Action would typically be to perform a Transformation and either call another rule, or one of the built-in drawing primitives. As in Context Free rules can be defined recursively in terms of themselves.
Rules are allowed to be ambiguous: more than one definition for a rule can exist, and when ambiguous rules are encountered the Builder will choose one at random. Again, as in Context Free, it will also be possible to specify a weighting for each of the rule definitions.
Here is an example of how an EisenScript rule set might look:
Structure Synth will be built in C++/Qt4.3/OpenGL and will be Open Source (GPL). It should be cross-platform (Windows, Linux, and Mac).
The Syntopia logo above was created by my first script in Context Free, a program I can highly recommend. It is a bit like Logo (does anyone remember this?) on steroids.
However, I’ve been thinking of ways of extending Context Free into 3D, and will start posting some of my design sketches for Structure Synth – an IDE/Language for creating generative art (like Context Free).
I plan to write it in C++/Qt4.3/OpenGL and it should be runnable on Windows/Mac/Linux.
Variation on the Syntopia Logo
For an example of a Context Free script, the syntax for the above picture can be downloaded here: circles.cfdg.
The syntax for Structure Synth will be quite similar to CFDG-script but with a few twists: like the ability to ‘retire’ rules after a certain number of either recursions or iterations, and the option to change (rendering) settings when a rule is executed. Naturally the ‘state’ operators (like rotations and deformations) also need to be adapted to a 3D world.
There will be an integrated OpenGL viewer, and I plan to add PovRay support for creating high-quality views of the 3D-models.