interactive real time animation

Prix Ars Electronica
Linz, Austria
August 31- October 8, 2006
photos: one two three

Tartarus is a real time 3D simulation in which the viewer interacts with a virtual character. Traversing an infinite interior structure of dark rooms and dilapidated staircases, he is destined to carry his burden in the form of a wooden chair, guided by the viewer’s prompts.

As the viewer guides the character, the perpetual replication of his environment is discovered. Iterations of the chair begin to accumulate, eventually building to an impasse. At this critical point, the obstacles fade and the cycle repeats.

Tartarus incorporates real time 3D graphics and game engine technology. Facial expressions are procedurally driven and respond to the location and prompting of the viewer’s position in the scene. The virtual camera is in constant motion, programmed to follow the character and navigate within the confines of the architectural space. Over two dozen animation sequences are randomly accesses and blended to control the character in response to the viewer’s interaction and to the geometry of the environment. High Level Shading Language is utilized to render detailed surface features on the character’s skin and clothing. Open Dynamics Engine (ODE) is implemented for physical interaction with the chairs that accumulate in the scene. This project was developed over a three-month period in 2006.