A few students have recently been using the Cornell Scripting Group to ask questions about Grasshopper, the parametric modeling plugin for Rhino. The group was setup for students to be able to ask scripting questions and get answers from graduates, myself and 3 others, who have experience writing code. The problem here is that I don’t actually have any experience with grasshopper. To remedy this I’ve spent some time watching tutorials and reading The Grasshopper Primer. Grasshopper is pretty different than most of the scripting tools I use in that you don’t actually write code. Instead you use a visual programming language similar to vvvv and Generative Components.
Having used Generative Components before, one of the first things I did was attempt to recreate one of the models I made with it in Grasshopper. Everything went fine until I wanted to take the spiral that I had made and parametrically array it so I could adjust the number of spirals on the fly. Unfortunately there was no array command and none of my attempts to use the built in functions to do it failed. It seems the only way to duplicate objects is to have a separate function for each copy you want to make. This means hard coding the number of duplications in, which is pretty disappointing for a piece of parametric software. Of course grasshopper is still in beta so I guess there is still hope for a set of array functions in a future update.
Overall though it is a very polished piece of software that has had a lot of work put into it to make it very easy to generate lots of code very quickly. Oh and another nice feature? Slider animations!