The Interactive Dance Club at Siggraph 98 in Orlando July 20-23 took a bold step in advancing live interactive entertainment. It put the control of the visuals and sound into the hands and bodies of people in the club, leading to a coherent and fun-to watch experience.

Both the 3D visuals and the audio were being created and mixed live. Nine "zones" containing input devices allowed people in the crowd to affect and guide the visuals and sound. While 6 simultaneous live 3D animations were being guided by 6 or more crowd members, 12 sound sources managed by PiOS were generated by synthesizers and sequencers.



The Interactive Dance Clubbers were also treated to a Raytheon infrared heat camera, which was pointed on the crowd. Its satellite-quality image was displayed on a large projection screen. In addition, two lounge areas had couches, large TVs and joysticks that let any "voyeur" have control over cameras located in the main dance area.

view from a joystick-controlled camera, driven by people in the voyeur zone lounge area.

crabmen kicking a fuss
in the stomp zone


The team of 15 IDC artists and technicians felt the potency of this combination of live elements. But being an experiment involving all volunteer time, the IDC was finally assembled and tested only two days before Siggraph 98 opened up.

Greg Hermanovic, in charge with Judith Crow of the live 3D visuals: "We all were shocked and levitated at the same time. The synergy of the live visuals, sounds and lights, with the strong syncronization of it all took us by surprise!"

Synesthesia, the creators of IDC, set out to create a new form of interactive entertainment. They chose Houdini as their computer graphics solution as it provided a realtime, fast, reliable tool for Live 3D Visuals.