CandyBallism started as a vague notion of discomfort with the way I play visuals.

As a professional VJ, too often I find myself just pressing play at the right time. This is great for commercial shows, where it’s all about the mix and the lights. But for my own shows I want a more immersive experience, both for me as the performer and for you as the audience.

At the very core, there’s three things I wanted to achieve:
1. I should be able to act directly to changes in the music. The visual should be able to become more hectic or more sedate as the music progresses, without causing a major visual break.
2. It should be fun for me. By introducing a game like hit-or-miss element, doing something at just the right time will achieve the desired result and give a feeling of reward.
3. It should be fun for the viewer. It shouldn’t be a jerk off session of ‘look what I did’. At the very least, it should be visually appealing for a viewer, without the need for them to know what’s going on.

I started developing these ideas in to separate bits of code. During this time, three close friends all found out they were about to become fathers. This ‘vibe’ of fertility and the cycle of life greatly influenced the work. Visually, it translated to the game ‘progressing’ as the player manages to create a third element out of two other elements (incidentally this also led to one of the first viewers calling me ‘perverted’).

When the AntiLounge project came along, I got the opportunity to put it all together in an iPad application, both in order to play it live as well as have a new avenue of distribution besides youtube. The code started in Processing, for the project I ported it to openFrameworks. With the great ofxiPhone library, testing and creating the app was surprisingly straightforward.

(As a side note: this was my first attempt at creating an iOS app, and my first serious venture into OF. Somewhere on the App Store submission guidelines it reads: “If you’re trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection.” Well, brace this, Appleā€¦).

Looking back, there are of course points that could be improved.
– As a video it could use more progression. Even with the different ‘stages’, I don’t feel there’s enough there to keep a casual viewer entertained.
– As a game, it’s not as straightforward as I would like it to be. Even with the tutorial, a lot of people don’t ‘get it’.
– All the motion and interaction is programmed using vectors, logic gates and magic numbers. Using a physics library would greatly improve the look and feel, but it was beyond my skills at the time.

Although because of these points I feel a pang of disappointment every time I watch the video, or see someone play it, what would be the point of anything if it was perfect from the start, right?

Is your interest piqued? Please head over to the App Store to download the free app for your iOS device. Don’t have an iPhone? Download the Mac app instead.

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