"City In A Bottle" is an interactive project bordering between art, science and gaming, funded by the Flemish Audiovisual Fund.

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NodeBox for OpenGL

We have released our game development engine. It is available in the new "Download" section on the website. NodeBox for OpenGL is a free, cross-platform library for generating 2D animations with Python programming code. It is built on Pyglet and adopts the drawing API from NodeBox for Mac OS X ...

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August 20, 2010 | Comments

E-Culture Fair 2010, Dortmund

From August 23 to 25, the E-Culture Fair 2010 will be showcasing innovative projects in the fields of creative industry, research, education and media art at the Dortmunder U.ECF will take place during ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Arts) in Dortmund, Germany. We will exhibit interactive installations at ECF with ...

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August 18, 2010 | Comments

The moving forest

We held a workshop on saturday and one of the things that came out of there was "The moving forest": a first experiment with parallax scrolling. I simply used the grouped layers of a Photoshop mockup to scroll. The effect breaks down at the edges of the canvas but zoomed ...

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August 13, 2009 | Comments

Tim Langdell

Recently, blogs have been ablaze with the stories of Tim Langdell's gaming company (The Edge) sueing a small 2 man company (Mobigame) for releasing a game called "Edge" on the iPhone.  The story goes that, although not having released any new games for 15 years, they have been persecuting a ...

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August 7, 2009 | Comments

What if our insects were weapons?

Funny.  I've stumbled across a game that uses the same principles of emergent behaviour, but targeted at one single item of gameplay, namely weapons.Galactic Arms Race is a multiplayer spaceshooter.  Nothing special there, until you come to the weapons section.  The lasers have not been designed, but are generated by ...

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July 15, 2009 | Comments

A question for lazy developers.

How do you design an entire forest with the least amount of effort?  You lay down the principles and let the computer do the rest of the work for you.Keeping in line with the mechanics of the rest of the game, we are letting the game engine generate the trees ...

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July 8, 2009 | Comments

Game engine source code

Technical note. The game engine for City In A Bottle is now open source (GPL). The code is hosted at the NodeBox development site. For people that are already familiar with NodeBox, the engine has adopted the same API (i.e. drawing commands) as NodeBox so it's very easy to get ...

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June 26, 2009 | Comments

"City" goes to Denmark

Last week, we were invited to participate in an international arts expo in Denmark.  So we loaded up the car and drove whole the way up to the north.  It took us 12 hours!Turnout was better than expected and we sure generated a lot of interest.  We met some really ...

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June 17, 2009 | Comments

Results of the workshop

Our first creatures workshop was an opportunity to work with Tim to integrate Pure Data into our Python runtime, written in Pyglet.   This small movie gives an overview of the underlying creatures engine. What's important here is not how it looks, but how all the pieces fit together. We now ...

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June 16, 2009 | Comments

Workshop time!

For the next three days, we are "workshopping" in the Champ d'Action studios, our partner in crime for sound and music.Champ has introduced us to Tim Vets, a musician/composer/installation artist.  Check out his work at http://timvets.net/We'll be working on the interaction between sound and vision.  Give our plants and insects ...

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May 11, 2009 | Comments

Procedural architecture?

This project is all about letting the computer do the work for us, and creating background scenery can be handled in the same way as creatures and plants.The first step for the background setting is to standardise some of the processes behind itscreation, so that, like the insect generator, elements ...

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May 4, 2008 | Comments

Creating the game world

As we are approaching the first milestone of the project, Ludivine continues to create new artwork for insects and plants, Tom and Frederik are progressing on the OpenGL/Python framework that will host the game world, and I am getting down to the business of creating the backdrop for the whole story ...

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May 4, 2008 | Comments


The world of City In A Bottle is based on the principle of emergence. This means that there is no predefined storyline or environment. The gaming world evolves autonomously, it's doing its own thing. A game is then played once you (the player) design your own creatures and plants and ...

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December 29, 2007 | Comments

An editor for fragment shaders

As our system heavily relies on hardware acceleration and the OpenGL Shading Language, we wanted to test out our shaders as soon as possible. In addition to RenderMonkey, we also use a custom shader editor that provides NodeBox-like editing of fragment shaders.The setup is pretty basic: output on the left, ...

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November 7, 2007 | Comments

Creature extensions

It would be interesting to see what happens if you put technology in the evolutionary equation. What happens when creatures develop a cultural tendency to enhance their body (like humans do with clothing, cars, cellphones)? And what if these mods have side-effects such as depletion of resources?  Creatures can use ...

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October 2, 2007 | Comments