No, not The Star Onions, though they do have some great work. I’m talking about other things today…
Onions have layers. That’s important to Ogres, apparently. People have layers, too, though in a world of Idols and Royals, one might be forgiven for thinking that people are entirely superficial and acting accordingly.
Photoshop has layers, as does Painter (though they took a few more years than Photoshop to see the light). Layers and the Undo command have made working digitally a joy for many artists, giving us a lot more control over our art. (Of course, working traditionally also allows a different sort of control that computers can never hope to match, but there are pros and cons of each medium.)
Games have layers, too. Zomblobs! will have a strategic layer and a tactical layer, similar to how X-Com and Master of Orion have different layers of play. In another tangent, there is something rewarding about having a game that functions on a simple layer for new players, and on a deeper layer for experienced players (though it can be tricky finding a good way to integrate those layers). Tangentially, Dave Sirlin’s article on “Yomi” layers is a great read for game designers and players.
And then there’s music. BlueKae tipped me off to this curious little tool, and I’ve been thinking about ways to use it:
It’s a curious little tool, almost more “proof of concept” than a full-on music generator, but there’s a lot of potential there. It uses cellular automaton algorithms similar to the seminal Conrad’s Game of Life to make procedural music. (Procedural content generation and gameplay is one of those quirky things that game devs are especially interested in, for good reason as budgets balloon and player locusts churn through games.) I imagine a version of Otomata that has different “instruments” with different timing tools running in different modules, allowing for a symphonic effect; layer upon layer of sound building to a greater whole. Something like that could be an awesome addition to Zomblobs!, what with its undercurrent of cellular biology and weird science.
…or maybe we’ll just see a 733t hacker use it to recreate this little gem:
Either way, Otomata is a fun little tool to play with, and it has a lot of room to grow into something awesome. Now, if only there were a hex-based version of it…