Monday, August 27, 2012

Fireworks (1996)

For some reason, I have always loved fireworks.  I enjoy them tremendously, and as a kid I often wished I could somehow be involved in putting together a show.  (This was before I realized how accident-prone I was and how likely that idea was to result in missing fingers.)  The next-best thing for me was to write a firework simulator, which I did in the summer of my quasi-sweet 15.

There are four versions of the simulator in the video below, supporting various levels of detail, simulation fidelity, pyrotechnic bomb types, and performance.  Most feature a simple palette trick that "lights up" the smoke trails when bombs go off.  The simulator follows a script of bomb launches and timings, demonstrated by the bombs which display text.  The last cut shows an assembler-only version of the simulator.

I wasn't so well-versed in dynamics back then and did not model drag, an important aspect of the look of airborne pyrotechnics.  As a result, the trajectories look a bit off, but this did not hamper my enjoyment.



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