Kars' "hypertext remix" of his marvellous dConstruct talk. It was sensitive and well thought-through, and appealed to me as both a designer and game maker. Very much worth your time.
"With the full avatar spritesheets available in the API, we dream of Glitch characters overflowing the bounds of the browser —and even the game itself— to find new adventures, anywhere people can take them. To this end, our new developer site is chock-full of resources to enable web/HTML5, iOS, and Android developers to build interesting applications leveraging Glitch APIs." Full spritesheets! Gorgeous. But really: this has the potential to be super-brilliant, and it's nicely designed. Hopefully more conventional developers will get on this sort of thing at some point. Bungie? Valve? Blizzard? Watch out.
"In recent releases, Safari has been re-architected, with some of the work farmed out to a thing called “WebProcess”. This doesn’t seem to be working out that well." Much as I was excited about Safari 5's re-architecting, I must admit: I've seen everything Tim says, and it's driving me nuts.
26 July 2011
I’m going to be talking at Story Warp on Thursday evening (the 28th) – an event about storytelling hosted by Made by Many. It’s a great panel, and I think – given my own perspectives and beliefs on the S-word – there’s going to be some healthy and vigorous debate.
Slightly late notice – and the event’s full now, I believe. But: if you’re there, do say hello. It should be a good evening.
19 June 2011
Kevin‘s talk from Momo Amsterdam a few weeks back. I know it’s been linked elsewhere, but really, it’s marvellous, and if you’ve ever used “AR” in a meeting or room – or even been in a meeting or room where it’s been mentioned – you need to sit down and watch this. It is a good 26 minutes of your time.
I, personally, am very bored of screens as magic windows, especially when they have to be held between the eye and the world; the Wii U video with the controller held up between eye and TV made me very sad.
Using screens liks this turns them into a kind of “reality gobo“. So much optical AR suggests it’s overlaying information on reality, and thus augmenting it – but really it sits between our senses and reality, getting in the way.
Optical AR, viewed through screens, derived from markers, or marker-less technologies, or through QR or barcodes or god knows what else, I think – I hope – will feel like a distraction, a false turn, in the years to come. And yet right now, it’s cropping up in more and more places in increasingly irrelevant implementations. And if I don’t care, why will a consumer? There are many wonderful ways to augment reality, many wonderful learnings to gain from new sensory input (be it seeing through satellites or feeling, at a distance, when a bridge opens). But this whole cameras, screens, and gobos thing? Tiring. Not to mention: computationally expensive for under-rewarding output.
And so: that talk felt like a solid distillation of a bunch of truths, backed with excellent examples and a lovely thread. Also, I always enjoy watching Kevin talk; he’s a coherent and thoughtful speaker.
As a footnote: I also liked Greg Smith’s astute take on the talk:
…the initial buzz was slightly misleading as it suggested that the presentation was an outright dismissal of AR. I don’t really think this was the case… My reading of the talk is that Slavin is extremely curious about augmenting reality—as praxis—and suggesting we (startups, developers and consumers) need to be considerably more thoughtful in our application/exploration of the emerging medium and consider how it might activate other senses – AR should not distill down to “an overlay for all seasons”.
I think the key takeaway point is in Slavin’s suggestion that “reality is augmented when it feels different, not looks different” – which basically echoes Marcel Duchamp’s (almost) century-old contempt for the ‘retinal bias’ of the art market. If AR development (thus far) is lacking imagination, perhaps the problem is that we’re very much tethering the medium to our antiquated VR pipe dreams and the web browser metaphor.
04 April 2011
A night devoted to the architecture of knowledge and the future of book-borrowing. Much more than just bricks and mortar, the public lending library has long been considered the cornerstone of an educated and literate population, but what lies ahead for the future?
Borrowing its title from Sidney Smith’s description of books, No Furniture So Charming gathers artists, writers, creatives, technologists and architects to present their vision for the library of the future. Be it a personal utopia, a visionary work of science fiction, a digital or practical re-imagining of user centred design or a call to action.
I think – think – I’m going to talk briefly about books as social objects, and, specifically, the fact that books are friends with other books. And what libraries might do to emphasise that. That may all change, of course.
Interesting lineup, and a nice topic to sink one’s teeth into. I might see you there.
05 February 2011
My lightning talk from Culture Hack Day is now online as a video.
The lightning talks were meant to offer a provocation to the audience. I chose to point at the value of technology in creating art and cultural artefacts. Hack days are so often focused on repurposing and remixing; I think that hacking on culture should, in part, be about creating it as well.
What followed is an eight-minute whistle-stop tour through some art that interests and excites me, and a consideration of how technology might be used within that sort of work. I rather enjoyed this: nice to think outside some of my usual boxes, and focus on some more personal interests.
15 October 2010
I’m going to be speaking at Interesting North in Sheffield in November. My talk – which is only about fifteen minutes long, if I recall right – is going to be called something like Five Things Rules Do, and, at the moment, is summarised thus:
The thing that make games Games isn’t joypads, or scores, or 3D graphics, or little bits of cardboard, or many-sided dice. It’s the rules and mechanics beating in their little clockwork hearts. That may be a somewhat dry reduction of thousands of years of fun, but my aim is to celebrate and explore the many things that games (and other systemic media) do with the rules at their foundation. And, on the way, perhaps change your mind at exactly what rules are for.
Contents subject to change, but I think it’ll be a fun one – and a great event. Perhaps see you there!
The talk I gave at the Media Festival Arts is now online. It's about making data human-scale, and why Twitter bots are a kind of synecdoche.
"Flogr shows your pictures from flickr in a customizable photo portfolio interface which includes a main photo page with EXIF details and flickr user comments, a customizable thumbnails page of your recent work, a slideshow component to browse through thumbnails, a tag cloud page, and an about page that shows your flickr user profile. With flogr you can control which photos are shown by specifying the flickr tag(s) to include so you can show only your best photographs if you choose." Which is something I've been looking for for a while. Glad I didn't have to write it, now.
"NameChanger is designed for the sole purpose of renaming a list of files."
"Fortunately, modern displays can display characters that look exactly like this without special circuitry used in the original DEC terminals and there is free software that can be used to create a usable outline font out of a PNG image." Recreating VT220 terminal fonts in software, and from thence into Truetype.
"LimeChat is an IRC client for Mac OS X written on RubyCocoa." I did not know about this. It looks nice.
"Easily show multiple, overlapping events across calendar days and rows." Which is hard, and it is nice to know someone else has done the work.
"Do you like cities? Do you like architecture? Do you like speaking at conferences?" I think this has sewn up the 2010-11 circuit.
""Who amongst us will write the Building as Contacts and Related Goodness blog post?" It's worth remembering, I think, that he [Dan Catt] already has."
06 July 2009
Next week is Develop in Brighton, the UK’s premiere games industry conference, and I’m going to be involved in two sessions there.
The first session is part of “Evolve“, a single day before the conference proper combining their old online and mobile tracks into something more focused on the edges of the games industry – so now including social and casual gaming as well.
With a panel of industry experts, I’ll be asking the question “What Do Social Networking Sites Have To Offer The Games Industry“:
Facebook and Myspace each have over 100m unique users. The users of these sites are not only coordinating their leisure time through them, but spending their leisure time on them, and even playing games on them. What does that mean for the games industry? How can traditional games and game companies engage with the social networks – their users, their platforms, and the core gamers already using them? Are Facebookers casual-gamers-in-waiting? This panel invites representatives from top social networks to explain what gaming means for their products, and how they can support your efforts as games developers.
Hopefully, given the panel’s strengths and expertise, we can come up with some wide-ranging – and interesting – answers.
In addition to that, as part of the conference proper, I’m going to be talking about Games As A Service: what service design is, what it means for games and products of the future, and how some of the territory Schulze & Webb has been exploring when it comes to unproduct might apply to games. It’s called Never Mind The Box: Games As A Service:
The effort and finances needed to build full retail games is growing unsustainable. But what if you weren’t making a product? What would Games As A Service look like? Services encourage loyalty; they turn products into platforms; they empower users; they play well with others and connect to existing services; and at the large scale, they wrap other products and become super-products. Using examples from inside and outside the games industry – from tiny, open-source Davids to console-licensed Goliaths – Tom Armitage examines already successful notions of service design and explores what it will mean for your games, big or small.
So that’s next week, then. Better start writing them. And if you’re going to be at Develop next week – do come say hello!
"I don’t blame The Cure. That was your call. The Cure is just out there, like car horns or people who make noise when they cry. The Cure is a choice. When we hear Michael, it is not a choice to feel the beat. It is not a choice to cock your head and straighten all the fingers on your right hand." And, in a sea of media nonsense, still the best eulogy was written by an illustrated cat in a thong.
"Design, culture, scale, space, superpowers. Key concepts: design and contributing to culture; ourselves as individuals and the big picture; taking action. …other topics covered include million mile tomatoes, President John F Kennedy as a yogic master, superpowers and the tools of production." I am very lucky to work with smart people. I do not know what to do with my 100 hours.