One day I was wondering what would happen if a person’s apparent popularity was the only variable influencing how attracted people are to them. So I sat down for a while with Processing and thought a particle system could play that scenario.

What you’ll see in the following vids are a bunch of particles placed on random positions across the screen. Once they are placed they can get to see everyone else. What the program does, is to tell each of the particles how many neighbors they have. The more neighbors a particle has, the more “popular”  it seems to the rest. After that, a force is applied to the observing particle and that moves it towards the “attractive” particle.

As you will see, all particles are observers and neighbors and that’s why they’ll tend to go to the corners (where the highest density is). It’s fun to see groups stealing particles as they grow more and more popular. Think of it as a virtual Hollywood where popularity leads them to a sad ending that looks like a black hole.


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