This is pretty nifty: You can generate, explore and edit mysterious and beautiful landscapes using the webcam on your computer. Make sure you're in a well-lit area, let your browser access the webcam, and then try pointing it around the room as you use standard controls to "walk around in" the unique spaces that blossom before your eyes.
The tool, called Reflection, is by Ian MacLarty, and it's both awesome and unsettling. Reminds me of being a kid, face pressed up close to peeling paint or aging carpet, imagining entire worlds inside the negative space. Of course, when I turned the webcam on at first, it was pointing at me, and I found myself wandering into a swollen-cheeked land where some cloud formation of my own face, eyes slowly blinking, constituted the sky.
Try it for yourself. It's free, simple and provokes the imagination.
There's something striking and lawless about the bodies of moths, isn't there? Their patterns of howling eyes, bark-like patterns, haloes of bright, thin hair seem almost accidental, like fractals gone all wrong. Now, a new procedural generation bot pays tribute to the morbid maths of moths, and it's compelling.
Poet and artist Katie Rose Pipkin and multi-talented game maker Loren Schmidt (their stark, demanding 'retro'-style work Star Guard was an Independent Games Festival design finalist) have collaborated on Moth Generator (lepidoptera automata, of course). It makes moths, tweets and names them.
A dark sort of beauty wings out of such a simple idea: Sometimes there is one tiny pearlite body pinned to a slate-gray scientific sheet, and at other times, it manifests a whole board with a array of spectacular forms pinned side by side. You feel lots like you're wandering the collection of some mad biologist, skirting the line between artifice and nature. Follow @mothgenerator on Twitter to watch the dusty, incandescent life forms unfold.
If you like the project, you can buy Katie Rose Pipkin's work on itch.io, or support Loren Schmidt's ongoing work via Patreon.
The Indie Games Weblog
offers 5 tips for using procedurally-generated content
--think fractals and L-systems--in game development.