Follow-up to Eno, Wright, Generative Systems: Eno later described the session as “Two strangers becoming friends in front of 900 people.” Two guys in completely different fields working on exactly the same thing — building generative systems from cellular automata. Numberless:
[Each of them] use the idea of cellular automata as a basis for their creations. Cellular automata … refers to a simple initial rule-set that is capable of generating very complex and disparate results.
Shortly after the session, Wright announced that Eno would be creating the soundtrack to the upcoming game Spore. I’m not a gamer, but I’ve been looking forward to this game (due in 2007) for a long time now.
Wikipedia: Spore is, at first glance, a “teleological evolution” game: the player molds and guides a species across many generations, growing it from a single-celled organism into a more complex animal, until the species becomes intelligent. At this point the player begins molding and guiding this species’ society, progressing towards a spacefaring civilization.
Some of the screenshots and video floating around the internet are amazing, but apparently don’t do the actual gameplay justice. The generative link between Eno and Wright could result in some great audio. Most game music is set on endless repeat, but Eno’s audio will be sui generis, and will never repeat. Wright:
“Science is all about compressing reality to minimal rule sets, but generative creation goes the opposite direction. You look for a combination of the fewest rules that can generate a whole complex world which will always surprise you, yet within a framework that stays recognizable…..It’s not engineering and design, so much as it is gardening. You plant seeds.”