Monday, December 14, 2015


Nyumblies is a piece we presented at the 3D Web Fest festival in May 2015 at the Foundry in San Francisco. The festival showcased websites showing the best mixture of music, art and technology, and exhibited what’s possible with the advent of 3D Web.

The piece was produced in WebGL using three.js. Each Nymubly is a Catmull-Rom surface (a higher-order surface named forPixar founder Ed Catmull) implemented in a vertex shader. Its shape over time is defined by a 3D grid of control points, interpolating over time gives the 2D set of control points that define its shape for the current frame. An authoring page, Nyumbilator, allows users to design a species of Nymubly by editing this grid of control points.

The movement of the Nyumblies is based on a flocking algorithm similar to the early AI system developed by Paul Reynolds. The system is based on separation, alignment, and cohesion. Nyumblies of the same species will flock together, and away from other species.


Nyumblies are an experiment in artificial ecosystems. By nature ecosystems are a combination of different lifeforms with unique designs, who interact over time to form a dynamic system of life and movement. The Nyumbly ecosystem, Norgamatos, is formed by artistic intervention rather than the gradual process of evolution.  Norgamatos, and the Nyumblies within it, can be viewed at anytime online at are created with the Nyumbilator: an open online design tool where artists can craft their own Nyumbly lifeforms, define their behavior, and introduce them into Norgamatos.


The music used in the piece is Into The Fourth Dimension by The Orb.