01 February 2014

Dragon Curves

"I like to have the show running from day one," said Mac Kanashimi when I accepted his invitation to see his new build, Dragon Curves, now open at LEA26 (and open on the same day he received the sim). It's a colossal structure, and the project has taken Mac the better part of six months to develop. Many people will recall his Mandelbrot build from early 2013 (see here), and Dragon Curves might be seen as a logical extension. If you're the mathematically inclined, Wikipedia's description of dragon curves might lend some context: "A dragon curve is any member of a family of self-similar fractal curves, which can be approximated by recursive methods such as Lindenmayer systems." You'll recognize the shape immediately if you head to the article, and, as you weave your way through the structure, you'll see that dragon curve shape everywhere.

The landscape changes slowly but continuously, as large chunks of the fractals move up and down, and it's actually possible, setting out on foot, to make your way down—way down—from the initial level to the two lower ones. Among the "features" of the build that Mac cites are:
  • 3 levels with dragon curves
  • each level tiles the plane {1} using 10 dragon curves
  • dragon curve shaped as stairway
  • stairway slope varies
  • 1024 m high, 8 km long dragon curve connects upper and lower level
  • 88 km of walkable dragon curves
  • 6 safe junctions, including the landing point
  • landscape changes continuously
  • objects move vertically, resize and change color
  • color derived from height
  • HSL to RGB conversion {2}
  • link limit {3} check while building
  • 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 or 48 prims in an object

Mac also dryly notes that there's an "emergency button to derez the dragon curves in case of crises"—I'm not sure I want to know what that means. ;) Visitors should probably set their draw distance to at least 384—even higher might be best, as then you can zoom out to see the entire build. Dragon Curves, the first of the sixth-round LEA Artist-in-Residence sims to open, will remain on display through June 30.

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