Adventures in Processing

Finally, Chelsea's and my game is done! It's called Universe, and you can read more about it and download it from the Universe website. Once the source code is cleaner, I'll tell you more about the game itself. I did however, want to mention a few surprising things about Processing 1.0 that I learned.

I'd say the most annoying part of this project was the camera. It made much more sense from a game implementation perspective to rotate the camera instead of rotating each individual celestial body. But in order to rotate and translate the camera, Processing has to be in 3D opengl mode... which means the resulting shapes/images can't be antialiased (at least this is what Chelsea tells me). Huh.

Also to my surprise (though in retrospective it makes perfect sense), Processing is NOT meant for audio. Here I thought Processing was very geared towards audio/visual combinations and it is, as long as the combination is mostly visual. While I adore the audio library minim, and it's come a long way, I still couldn't find simple things...like a pitch shifter.

Some of my complaints stem from the fact that processing is still Java, and Java is far from ideal for game making. Lesson learned. Another things I don't like about processing is its IDE, which is fairly limited when compared with my Java IDE of choice, Eclipse. The good folks at Create Digital Music pointed out that there is an eclipse plugin, but I haven't checked it out yet, so maybe that's easier to use.

Now that I better understand what processing is capable of, I'd probably use again for either a) very simple/visual java applets (just for fun) or b) for the visual end of an audio project built in another program. Specifically I'm thinking a Max/MSP or PD patch with communication to processing via Open Sound Control could work wonders.

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