For this week, I took a break from the Udacity NanoDegree and built a small lighthouse island in Unity.  This is the world I made (spoiler alert follows, I guess, if you’d rather explore it yourself):

You’re on an Island. On the island are a lighthouse and a piano. You can activate the lighthouse if you wish.

The day/night cycle of the island matches the real world (Seattle time, because.)

If you visit the island at night, the piano plays you a nocturne. Anytime between 9pm and 6am should work.

I haven’t played around with unity since the Songscapes that I did for my musical project QVALIA, so it was an exciting and familiar ground to revisit. Building with Unity’s delightfully forgiving and illuminating GUI was like a breath of fresh air after the dark vacuum of three.js. I’m exaggerating, but not by much – I still can’t find a way to import Collada files with their textures intact without drifting off into worlds of pain.

 

Which is not to say that all the work here was simple or easy. Unity offers you a choice between programming languages – UnityScript, which is a close cousin of Javascript, or C#, which is unfortunately just C# (there’s also Boo but I’ve never heard of anyone who knows what it is, let alone worked in it).
The big kids use C#, and that means every asset that comes with scripts is also typically built with C# – so I decided that, in order to minimize potential headaches, I will also work in C#.

Building this place up was extremely gratifying and fun – mostly my workflow was Maya into Unity3d, except when I had to use an asset (spiral staircases, piano, weather system). The building and and environment were made by yours truly.

 

Composing the nocturne was extremely fun, and the place isn’t itself without it. If you visit at all, I suggest doing so at nighttime.

 

 

I like to think of this place as an eternal island, that exists out of the reaches of space and time, in the bits and bytes of the internet. I find that idea incredibly invigorating, consoling, inspiring. (As long as my Godaddy hosting plan is up, so is this place. It might outlive me. It might outlive all its visitors. The piano will still play its welcome melody long after all its past listeners are dust.)

 

Visit Lighthouse Island at lighthouse.michaelhazani.net

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