It’s pretty stunning to watch Brian Eno, one the major pioneers of our time in terms of thinking about musical form, onstage with Will Wright, one of the major pioneers of our time in terms of thinking about game design. Here’s Brian Eno in conversation with Will Wright, chatting about the kind of generative systems that drive their collaboration in Wright’s upcoming game Spore. There’s plenty of Web coverage of the game itself: here, they go the classic generative model, cellular automata, and talk about how an unbelievably simple set of rules can yield immense complexity. CA was developed decades ago, but as we learn more about the power of DNA, that message seems even more powerful today. As Eno succinctly puts it, making art this way is about “seeds, not forests.”
Generative music is, of course, of great interest to game composition, because it makes the musical score as dynamic and unpredictable as the game itself, rather than simply a background of looping music. Whereas some composers are actually looking to more complex recorded scores, others are coming full circle to music more tightly tied to the game.
It’s great to see Eno and Wright return to the simplest of models as a conversation. I’m eager to learn more about the music specifically being composed — or engineered, depending on how you look at it — for Spore, and hope we can bring you more details closer to the release.
Thanks to Synthtopia for pointing this out; they’ve got additional videos with more coverage of Spore itself:
Will Wright and Brian Eno On Spore [Synthtopia]
Lots of other great stuff has been hitting Synthtopia of late, as well, so do check it out!
In other Eno-mania news, Apple has a profile of Eno as visualist, and his new digital painting project 77 Million Paintings. The model in visualism as in music is generative, working with seeds.
Profiles – Brian Eno [Apple.com]
77 Million Paintings [Official Project Page]
77 Million Paintings Interview [YouTube]
Eno’s background was in art, so it’s nice seeing the fusion of music and visuals — something we’re all about.
Anyone else with some good Eno stuff, Spore or otherwise, send them our way!