A Dark and Stormy Night

Realtime Sound Visualizer

"A Dark and Stormy Night" is a realtime sound visualizer built in Unity and using ChucK for audio processing. Inspired by the serenity of listening to music in solitude, the visualizer features a lonesome house on an island in the middle of nowhere- an island protected by a surrounding waveform and cloud cover that are all generated in real time.


This project began with the prompt to create a realtime sound visualizer that responded to user microphone input and visualized the wave form and a spectrum of the different frequencies.

My initial brainstorming included creating a water-like surface, where ripples would emanate outwards to capture the frequencies.

In my first prototype, I implemented the spectrum history, generating spheres that faded over time. I discovered that there was a consistently flat tail at the higher frequencies, giving my spectrum a flat bottom that made it look more like rumbling clouds than a peaceful pond.

I was pleasantly surprised by the effect, and decided to lean into it as I moved towards the final product.

To enhance the effect of the clouds, I decreased the number of frequency bins and normalized the size of each generated sphere under a parabola to give the cloud a curved effect, moving spheres slightly upwards over time to emulate evaporation as they faded.

To accompany the cloud, I also imported 3D models of a house and island, and changed my waveform display from a line into a ring that surrounded the house almost like a magic shield.

Finally, I added extra interactivity via the arrow keys to swivel the camera around the island and house to make the interaction more engaging and better allow users to connect with the scene in the visualizer.