Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Wilderness on My Browser

Yesterday, Amanda posted a cool link to Acart's Facebook page. It's about a new experiment by Google to integrate some of the company's online assets to create a personalized user experience while watching an HTML5-generated (and Chris Milk directed) video of Montreal band Arcade Fire's "We used to wait" using Google Chrome.

Basically, once you click the link, you are prompted to enter the address of the place where you grew up. The experience then takes over your browser (assuming you're using Chrome, that is!) and:

• HTML5 Canvas 3D engine renders a flocking bird simulation that reacts to the music and mouse.

• HTML5 audio plays music and keeps track of timecode.

• Sequence system controls and synchronises effects and windows to the timecode.

• HTML5 video plays film clips in custom sizes.

• Choreographed windows are triggered by the music and placed relative to screen size.

• Map tiles are rendered, zoomed, and rotated in a scripted 3D environment.

• Animated sprites are composited directly over maps and Street View.

• 3D sky dome is used to render Street View with scripted camera control.

• Procedural drawing tool allows the user to create velocity influenced tree branches.

• Generative typeface triggered by keypress, uses an SVG path reader and individual canvas compositing for each letter.

• Google Maps API for fetching dynamic routes to destination and checking Street View content at points along the route.

• Street detection for animated trees composited dynamically in place over Street View.

• Color correction by combining canvas blending modes to enhance contrast and tint.

Or, in layman's terms: the song plays, birds fly to the beat, some dude runs around on the street and pretty soon you realize he's running towards your childhood home. (Or, in this case, Acart.)

It also asks you to interact:

Pretty cool stuff. For today. But I'll bet a year from now, this will look as lame as pre-Star Wars special effects. Such is the digital age.

Anyway, enjoy.

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