Get Your Prox Off

Create a triangle. Find a point somewhere inside it. Choose a corner at random and move halfway towards it. Mark the new point. Repeat the procedure: choose, move, mark. Repeat again and again. In time, a fractal will appear:

siertri

However, if you try the same thing with a square – choose a corner at random, move halfway towards it, mark the new point, repeat – no fractal appears. Instead, the points fill the interior of the square:

sierquad

But what happens if you impose restrictions on the randomly chosen corner (or chorner)? Suppose you can’t choose the same corner twice in a row. If this rule is applied to the square, this fractal appears:

restrict4_T


restrict4_Tanim

Now apply the no-corner-twice-in-a-row rule to a square that contains a central chorner. This fractal appears:

restrict4_Tc

And if the rule is that you can choose a corner twice in a row but not thrice? This fractal appears:

restrict4FT


restrict4FTc


Here is the rule is that a corner can’t be chosen if it was chosen two moves ago:

restrict4_3F

But what if the restriction is based not on how often or when a corner is chosen, but on its proximity, i.e. how near it is to the marked point? If the nearest corner can’t be chosen, the result is the same as the no-corner-twice-in-a-row rule:

prox4_1

But if the second-nearest corner can’t be chosen, this fractal appears:

prox4_2

This is the fractal when the third-nearest corner can’t be chosen:

prox4_3

And this is the fractal when the fourth-nearest, or most distant, corner can’t be chosen:

prox4_4

Here are the same restrictions applied to a pentagon:

prox5_1

Nearest corner forbidden


prox5_2

Second-nearest corner forbidden


prox5_3

Third corner forbidden


prox5_4

Fourth corner forbidden


prox5_5

Fifth corner forbidden


prox5_5anim

Fifth corner forbidden (animated)

And a pentagon with a central chorner:

prox5_anim_c

Now try excluding more than one corner. Here are pentagons excluding the n-nearest and n+1-nearest corners (for example, the nearest and second-nearest corners; the second-nearest and third-nearest; and so on):

prox5n_n1_anim

But what if the moving point is set equal to the n-nearest corner before it moves again? If the corner is the second-nearest and the shape is a triangle with a central chorner, this is the fractal that appears:

prox3_set2c


prox3_set2c_anim

Animated version

And here is the same rule applied to various n-nearest corners in a pentagon:

prox5_set_anim

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