We are a strange loop

Having arrived in SF for a few months, I split my first weekend between O'Reillys esteemed Irish Bar and the FlashCamp over at Adobe Town Hall. In possession of a fresh promo copy of Flash CS4, myself and Pi Bot decided to get acquainted with the Pixel Bender Toolkit.

Pi Bot plays with Pixel Bender at FlashCamp

Rubbish editor aside, the general flow of writing Pixel Bender kernels comes easily.  At heart, you're writing a blob of C code that gets fired once for every pixel in your destination image.  Having fathomed that my code would be evaluating every pixel in turn, it occurred to me a nice introductory exercise might be to build a cellular automaton. This in mind, I decided to tip my hat to Wright and Eno have a crack at the good old Game of Life.

Aside from learning how to plumb in kernels to AS3 projects using an directive, this challenge was over very quickly. An internet search revealed that someone else had got there first. Hump.


Inspiration came a little later whilst catching up with Paul and the gang over corned beef quesadillas at O'Reilly's.  What if the simulation ran backwards so that the cells converged in a fixed pattern? Sunday never provided enough time to find out, but subsequent twiddling with pre-generation to a bitmap cache produced a masked image rotator type thing, complete with elliptical Hofstadter references. Not everyone's pint of Guinness, but kept me amused all the same.