That’s quite cool — sand dunes in front of a clock — and it made me remember that years and years ago you used to get these programs where you could click and it would create sand which accumulated at the bottom of the window. The very first one I saw was on the Archimedes. But what came along a little later was one where you could click to produce various different substances — sand, oil, water, fire — and oil floated on water, fire set the oil alight, and so on. It was all rather amazing back when the phrase “particle system” hadn’t been invented. Anyway, I thought: hey, what’d be cool is if the clock in that picture was obscured by actual moving sand, rather than just a static picture of sand dunes. A tiny bit of poking around brought me to Dust, an implementation of precisely the sand/oil/water thing with WebGL in the browser. So I completely forgot about the clock thing and just played with Dust. Which is rather fun.
After some faffing around I discovered that it had two things I liked: “lava”, which is like a static piece of fire in that it ignites things that touch it but is not itself consumed, and “Life Itself” which is stuff that grows, like bacteria in a petri dish. But the life stuff is ignited by lava. so if you drop a couple of tiny bits of lava into the world, and then some green fungus life stuff, the fungus grows and takes over the whole window until it touches the lava, and then it gets burned up and vanishes… but, critically for this, it isn’t entirely consumed. A few specks remain, and those specks start growing again. Very cool. I spent ages just watching it!
Then I thought, well, this is nice and all, but this Dust thing uses WebGL, which is hassle, and it can’t actually cope with filling its whole window up with particles because it runs out of memory or space or shaders or something. So I figured I’d lash together a quick version myself.
innerHTMLs it into the page at every clock tick, and it’s completely character-based, like some sort of BBC Micro program. (At least it’s using
requestAnimationFrame so it doesn’t hammer the CPU in a background tab!) But I could still sit there and watch it for ages. I really like it; the sense of watching the green take over and then get burned back.
Anyway, none of this is what Joey wanted. Sorry, Joey. I hope the thing you wanted still works, even if it is waaaay complex to set up. Someone should step up and make that easier for you, because I like it when we have pretty things, and there aren’t enough of them on our desktop.