HIVE is a website that houses a virtual beehive. It consists of two views: the inside of the hive, with workers and drones hovering around a queen, and the outside of the hive, pictured above, where workers explore the small world in search of flowers to gather pollen from. Visitors to the webpage can explore the inside of the hive, getting information about specific bees, and watching them buzz around the honeycomb tending to larvae. On the outside of the hive, the users have a bit more agency. They can alter the air temperature within a range, add flowers to the environment, and apply pesticides to the flowers, which lengthens their lifespans, but can hurt the bees. With these controls, the user can affect the health of the beehive, but not directly. They can only affect some aspects of the hive’s environment, similar to real life. The bees have lifespans, and new bees will spawn only if the older generation collected enough pollen keep the hive healthy.
Another central feature of the webpage is that its design, as well as the behavior of the hive, change with the time of day. The colors of the background are brighter and the bees are much more active during the day. This feature gives the hive a feeling of prior existence - like something that the user is checking in on each time they visit the webpage - rather than something which is temporary.
I collaborated on this project with Aishwarya Janwadkar, Rachel Rose Waterhouse, and Alana Zhang. My role for the project was desiging and animating the behavior of the bees and their environment in the outer view of the hive. This furthered a current body of my work which explores the automated systems and the natural ecosystems they affect. This project focuses more on simulating the natural behavior of a behive, and explores how users might interact with it, or maintain it. This issue of maintentance is one that I feel is very important, and hope to further highlight in future projects. Interacting and maintaining a complicated system can be difficult. Input does not always have an immediate effect, and users must understand the dynamics of the system, and plan for the future to successfully maintain it.
Code for the project can be found here.
You can try out a version of the project here.
Instructor: Maxim Safioulline