How to make a warp-drive / hyperdrive effect in Processing

You’re watching a science fiction TV show or movie, and the hero needs to make a quick escape. Luckily, they can travel faster than light with “Warp drive” or “Hyperdrive”. Stars blaze past the viewport and turn blue as the space ship goes faster and faster. [raw] [/raw] How can we make this effect? Well, variables can be used to store the position, speed, brightness, and size of each of the moving ‘warp stars’. Specifically, this sketch uses arrays of size 500, and position is actually stored in two arrays: an “angle”, which represents the angle rotating around the center, and the “dist” or distance from the center. This is similar to the concept of polar coordinates in mathematics. A restartStar function sets the stars position to a random location on the screen, and it is re-run when stars move off the screen. Each frame, we draw the warp stars, move them, and increase the speed a little (to give a sense of parallax acceleration as they move closer to the edge of our canvas). Finally, some map functions are used to set the color to blue as they move faster, and another map function uses sin() sets the warp speed to a number between 0 and 10. Just to give further realism, a fixed set of ‘static’ non-moving stars is drawn by setting randomSeed(0) so that their positions are random but unchanging from frame to frame. The full code is as follows: It is designed to also work even if you change the numbers in the size() function to fit your screen:
int n = 500; //number of warp stars
float[] angle = new float[n];  //their angle versus the center of the screen
float[] dist = new float[n];   //distance from center of the screen  
float[] speed = new float[n];  //speed leaving the center
float[] bright = new float[n]; //brightness (start black, fade to white)
float[] thick = new float[n];  //diameter of the warp star 
void setup() {
  for(int i = 0; i < n; i++) { //create warp stars
    dist[i] = random(0,width+height);
int randSeed = 0;
void draw() {
  randSeed += frameCount;
  randomSeed(randSeed % 120); //Make a predictable pattern (useful for making the effect consistent)
  //Fade the tails drawn by the stars to black:
  //Draw the warp stars:
  for(int i = 0; i < n; i++) {
    line(0,0,speed[i],0); //draw line from previous to next position
    dist[i] += speed[i]; //Move the warp stars
    speed[i] += .1*warp(); //accelerate as they leave center
    if(dist[i] > width + height) restartStar(i); //restart stars out of screen
    bright[i] += 5;
  //Draw 'static' non-moving stars (when stationary)
  for(int i = 0; i < 400; i++) {
    fill(map(warp(),0,2,200,0)); //make visible only when warp is between 0 and 2
    if(warp() > 2) fill(0);
    float diameter = random(1,5); //draw random size static stars
  //Draw the text of warp speed at top left
  text("WARP "+round(warp()*10)/10.0,40,40);

void restartStar(int i) {
  //Restart code for when star leaves screen and comes back
  angle[i] = random(0,2*PI*100);
  dist[i] = random(width/50,width);
  speed[i] = random(0*warp(),.1*warp());
  thick[i] = random(1,5);
  bright[i] = 0;

//Makes stars blue when faster
color starcolor(float bright) {
  float sat = map(warp(),1,10,0,100);
  return color(150,sat,bright);

float warp() { //returns a number from 0 to 10, increasing and decreasing over time
  return map(cos(PI + frameCount / 60.0 / 5),-1,1,0,10);

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