Jamie Thomas – The Karman Cube

Future Development

This section is concerned with design and marketing concepts for future implementation and exploration within the project.

This video demonstrates a visual sketch for future exploration.

With regards to the design of the interface, the audio-visual relationships must be furthermore explored and advanced. Currently the only relationship that exists between the two is that a cube face flashes upon triggering the sample that is assigned to it. Whilst this has enhanced the interaction, future development should focus on these relationships and attempt to build a greater synergy between the two. This could be explored through character design in a game like fashion. These characters would each have their own visual and audible personalities that could be manipulated by turning them round. Many technological implications could arise in attempting to implement this within the project timeframe. This however, would push the project towards a marketable music gaming product similar to that of Toshio Iwai’s Electroplankton.

A menu system must still be implemented in order to switch the software between different modes of operation such as granular, trigger, sequencer etc.. Experimentation with one menu system proved to be unsuccessful and planing and design for a new side menu bar is currently being made. This will need to be implemented as soon as possible in order to test it thoroughly. This menu will take the form of a dock like sound selection bar whereby the user can select the sound for each cube.

This video demonstrates an early menu system that consists of a sound selection cube that is performed using a trigger cube.

In order to make the interaction more stable the implementation of a ‘snap to grid’ feature will further more reduce the problems that occur with accidental movement of the cubes. This was inspired by a flash based web logo that featured a physics engine that enabled each axis to be snapped to a specific fixed point. This implementation would improve the overall feel of the work.

A setup page must be designed in order to assign certain sounds to specific cubes. This would allow for full customization of any parameter within the software interface. This page will utilize the mouse and keyboard for ease of use, so that samples can be dragged and dropped onto a simple representation of the interface itself. This will allow for quick setup times as not to frustrate the user. A save function must also be implemented so that once the setup process has been competed the user can recall that session or load up another pre-configured template.

A number of packaging ideas could be applicable to the project dependent on the final direction and target audience. As an experimental audio tool for use by musicians, an online download of the product would suitable, this could also add to the growing community of online developments from the Max/MSP downloads section. This download could also work in conjunction with a record label who specialize in new distribution models.

As a games product, the software could be bundled with a web camera and sold in suitable packaging as to attract the gaming market. This would ensure compatibility between the hardware and software while also allowing for a suitably designed camera for the interaction. Further research is needed if this direction is too be taken.

Although maximum effort has been made to ensure that the interface is as self explanatory as possible, the inclusion of a help file may prove to be of use to some users. This could either take the form of a video demonstration or walkthrough, or a text file that the user can call up at any point. However, every effort will be made to keep the interface uncluttered and clear in a hope that a help file will not be necessary.

The possibility of creating a ‘Light‘ and a ‘Premium‘ package could prove to be very helpful in marketing the product to different consumer groups. The light version would contain a stripped down and simplistic version with a locked back end, meaning that it would come with prepackaged samples and non configurable midi operations. This would provide for light entertainment purposes, and could be released free of charge in order to promote and advertise the premium package. The premium option would contain the full application and access to the setup screen in order to customize the application to specific performance needs. It would be marketed towards electronic musicians looking for new and novel ways to control live audio production workstations.

One of the main areas of focus for future development lies in creating a stronger sense of virtual tangibility within the system. This could require the use of a third party physics algorithm. Due to the increase in the popularity of physics based gaming these algorithms should be readily available.

The audio engine within the project is reasonably undeveloped due to holdbacks with the geometry configuration. This must be dealt with as soon as these geometry problems are rectified. A decision must be made as to wether the the piece uses computer synthesis technology or file/sample based audio for interaction. Whilst the system could utilize both of these formats it feels a decision must be made in order to concentrate on one due to the timeframe of the project. It is likely that the audio engine will be built around file/sample based audio due to having more experience in the field.

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