Slime / Spawn
Guy Caradog Morgan, MFA 2017-2019
Slime moulds are fascinating creatures that develop networks and act sometimes as single-cell organisms and sometimes as cooperative colonies. They have been used to solve the travelling salesman problem as they follow chemotaxic gradients towards food sources in the most efficient possible way.
I wanted to make something that mimicked the movement of slime moulds, mimicked the lifecycle to an extent, and interacted with the environment. This is a first assay towards that – as I didn't really get towards what I wanted. However, the result is a sort of half spawn half slime mould creature with its own personality.
I used an object, a class which draws multiple 'cells' at the same time. Then I created an array list for these objects and moved it around. The result was a pullulating blob of cells that moved. The big disappointment was not applying sufficient environmental influence to the movement, which was simple Brownian motion (plus a randomised step-based 'brush' to dynamically change the draw location of the cells in the 'slime' object).
There is so much more that could be done here – the one thing that does stand out is the design, this is pretty consistent with the idea of a 'digital slime' – and the slightly imperfect execution means that this self-drawing animal is also suggestive of maps, both in game worlds and in public transport maps. The occasional burst of hot pink chemotaxic marker lines is suggestive of aeroplane routes.
In this way this piece is 'spawning' as much as it slimes, which creates a pleasing category-queering effect – it's not entirely clear what this is – a pixel-based creature or something more organic. Future variants will have a little more direction, and perhaps more complex reproductive behaviours.