17 October 2013

_playGnd by Nick Briz

Nick Briz launched few weeks ago an excellent and fun platform to learn and play with webGL, it is called  _playGnd, a perfect introduction to webGL and its possibilities working through animated threedimensional objects on the web. I find this project very interesting, specially for those ones who are not into programming and could think that webGL it's too complex.  
The _playGnd has three simple sections which Nick has explained very well through a video tutorial series that introduce you to be in touch and generate threedimensional environments easily using pre-programmed functions and by copying and pasting and modifying codes from different libraries. These are the 3 sections, explained into the post; the [1] graphix[toCode] interface, the [2] realtime editor, && the [3] sketches archive. See more;

[1] graphix[toCode] interface

"Software is the medium that is not a medium. [...] Code is never viewed as it is. Instead code must be compiled, interpreted, parsed, and otherwise driven into hiding by still larger globs of code. Hence the principle of obfuscation." - Alexander Galloway, The Interface Effect (2012)

"In this first section you generate code for basic three.js geometry using a GUI (graphical user interface). Traditionally GUI’s ‘obfuscate’ code. In the interest of making things more accessible they hide the code, and as a consequence compromise digital literacy. In the _playGnd the GUI is still concerned with accessibility, but in a way that augments the code rather than obfuscating it." - Nick Briz

"An iPhone is not technology, it's packaging and conventions. [...] Your software choices are like any addiction or religion, they want your loyalty and they want your money and they want you to think like them. [...] it's culture politics masquerading as technology." - Ted Nelson, The Myth of Technology/Computers for Cynics(2012)

Traditionally we don’t tend to think of our tools as being ‘political’, but software isn’t neutral. It reflects and imposes the politix of the folks who create it (some, like Galloway, argue it is itself ideology). The _playGnd is no less political and no less bias than any other digital tool, but it stems from a different ethic (an experimental new-media art ethic). For this reason you’ll notice that the editor is a little bit different from the conventional. First, it’s built into the browser + shares the same space as your sketch, which allows for immediate feedback >> you can experiment, tinker, play in ‘realtime.’ Second, the editor includes a ‘snippets’ menu to encourage copying + pasting + modifying + collaging code. - Nick Briz

after you finish working on a sketch in the editor you can ‘archive_it’, which adds your sketch to the xanalogically inspired archive. You can view all the other sketches saved from the _playGnd in the archives as well as remix (fork + edit your own variation of) any sketch in the archive. - Nick Briz

Credits: _playGnd has been buit on the shoulders of these open source projects: three.js (most importantly), HTML Editor (heavily modified version), CodeMirror, and dat.GUI. Also makes use of AsciiEffect.js ( by zz85 ), CSS3DRenderer.js (by mr doob ), Detector.js (by alteredq + mr doob ), ShaderToon.js (by alteredqmr doob ), proxy.php (by Abdul Qabiz ), and tween.js (by sole ). Some great help from Branger_Briz. Inspired by the ideas/worx of Katie SalenMary FlanaganAlexander GallowayMartin HeideggerMarshall McLuhan, and most importantly Ted Nelson && mr doob.

More info about all the credits and inspiration that Nick took to build this platform is on the bottom of this page.

The following still images are some tests made by different artists for the launching of  _playGnd , click on the images to see them. To check out all the (big already) archive go here.

firstStudy without plane by Emilie Gervais

Moody Vibes by Claudia Maté

Rock/through/2planez by Jenifer Chan