@tjwhale: that is what I meant by my prism approach, but the fact that we both came up with it means it's a good idea. The problem with doing this, though, is that it doesn't work for S-shaped cells. As we move the top part closer to the center it stops being directly above the previous layer and creates a really weird shape (if that's hard to visualize just take me word for it)
Edit: After thinking for the past two hours how I could make the second layer directly above the previous I realized that I have a "Distance" variable that does exactly this .
I guess I will try to use bezier surfaces and see what happens. If I can't get a good result in the next couple of days I will just do what you described.
Also, about you own prototype, it creates a very cell-like behavior and I would really implement the way it moves into the final membrane version. However, there are a couple of comments I have about it:
First, would it be possible to remove the triangles and have it work with only a single outline? Or would that completely mess up the algorithm? I was thinking that maybe we could input my vertex buffer into your program to create realistic movement pseudopodial movement. Second, sometimes when the cell stops moving there are very artificial artifacts on the membrane—the points keep moving in closer toward the organelles and when they get too close they "jump" backward. Is there any way to remove this? Maybe you could try adding an additional constraint that stops the points when they get to a specific point.
I don't want to force you to do anything, but if you have any free time could you perhaps try this? If you don't want to do this or what I ask is not possible, it's really not a problem.
Edit2: I just got an excellent idea. What if I created a prism out of my flat surface (like I originally wanted) and then did a subdivision surface (Catmull-Clark style)? Anybody know how to do that?