archive: levelHead v1.0 first footage (speedrun/spoiler!)
This, the first footage of the first stable version of levelHead, was documented yesterday with a speed-run of 227 seconds through the first 3 cubes. This is a spoiler! Don't watch this clip if you want to solve those levels yourself..
Aside from the above Vimeo documentation, you can download the 65M OGG/Theora file here. It will play in VLC.
This video was made thanks to Blender 2.46's great new video sequence editor (finally a fast and stable Free video editor for Linux) and captured using the strangely performant 3d desktop video capture solution Bugle.
For those of you keen to get your hands on the code: it's coming soon! I still need to tidy up the literature before it ships..
Andrew Burrell and Trish Adams are winners of the Australia Council's latest virtual worlds arts initiative – MMUVE IT! Their Mellifera project is "an inter-disciplinary artwork exploring cognitive processes and bodily interaction and its relationship to virtual environments". Burrell and Adams will co-develop a neuro-interface to enable inter-world interactions through sensor-based inputs such as gesture, breath, heartbeats, electrical brain and nervous system activity.
This Sunday's game has 100x16 pixels and an aspect ratio of 25:4. It's called Passage. Give it 5 minutes of playtime and you'll get the hang of what's happening. Great work Jason and thanks for supporting Linux and OS X.
Because I have a piece in Homo Ludens Ludens it's little difficult for me to play journalist. For this reason I'm posting here a bunch of links by others that will give you good coverage of what there. I will take the license to say it's a super show, if not a little gigantic (in typical LABoral fashion). Congrats to Laura, Erich and Daphne on the curatorial front. Given the breadth of the topic it can't have been easy..
There were several works there that I will put into the archives in the coming couple of weeks. In the meantime HLL will be on show until September, so.. why not spend some of your summer holidays in Gijon, swim in the Cantabrian Ocean and catch a killer show of game art while you're at it..
LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial presents HOMO LUDENS LUDENS, an international exhibition and symposium exploring games as a critical element in our daily lives and a speculation on the emergence of the “Homo Ludens Ludens”: the contemporary playing man. What does it mean “to play” and to be “a player”?
The goal of this Symposium, organised jointly with The Planetary Collegium, is to provide the framework for contemporary play, to highlight its interdisciplinary nature, and to show the multifaceted reality of our present-day entertainment society.
ARTISTS PARTICIPATING IN THE EXHIBITION: John Paul Bichard, France Cadet, Derivart, Devart, Hannah Perner-Wilson & Mika Satomi, Ge Jin, Vladan Joler, Radwan Kasmiya, John Klima, La Fiambrera Obrera & Mar de Niebla, Danny Ledonne, Valeriano López, Ludic Society, Marcin Ramocki & Justin Strawhand, Martin Pichlmair & Fares Kayali, Brian Mackern, Larry Miller, MIT Lab - Drew Harry & Dietmar Offenhuber & Orkan Telhan, Molleindustria, Julian Oliver, Orna Portugaly & Daphna Talithman & Sharon Younger, Personal Cinema & the Erasers, Rolando Sánchez, Alex Sanjurjo, Gordan Savicic, Axel Stockburger, Silver & True, Román Torre, David Valentine/MediaShed (ft. Methods of Movement), Volker Morawe & Tilman Reiff, William Wegman.
I'll be exhibiting my own levelHead there (it's first public appearance, gulp). It'll be on show with other work by artists above for 5 months.
Read on for more about the accompaning symposium. Looking forward to seeing some of you there next week!
I had to nick the title from the parent article, it was simply too good. Here's the background story the game Fuel of War is set:
Sometime in the near future, gas will cost about $20 a gallon. It gets worse: China and Russia will form a military alliance that threatens the security of the United States and Europe.
Amid hunger, water scarcity and power outages, the two sides will go to war. Soldiers will descend upon bombed-out cities and abandoned villages, where rusting appliances and old car engines litter the streets.
Games like this are disturbing yet somehow honest. They recycle existing fears instead of inventing new sources for them. The terrible awareness that the apetite of the modern world is out-of-control - the fear that the once infinite sphere we live on is drying up - points to a kind of panic that only needs a uniform and a sub machine-gun to feel right at home within a nationalist geo-strategic, island-mentality..
We might ask why the play isn't built around sustainably solving the problem of a lack of oil, looking at other fuel sources and/or coming up with infrastructural changes that privilege other modes of transport. Perhaps that'd be too abstract, it just wouldn't speak to the fear.
Thanks go out to pix for the link. Click here for reccommended reading on this topic.
We've written before about Wafaa Bilal's piece Domestic Tension. His new work, Night of Bush Hunting, has come under significant antagonism.
Tom Sherman, of Syracuse University writes:
Iraqi-born Chicago-based artist Wafaa Bilal interviewed after his show called Virtual Jihadi at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was "suspended" and he was shut out of the arts building. The art piece consists of a hacked video Al Qaeda video game called Night of Bush Hunting. The artist inserted himself as a virtual suicide bomber as a way of referencing his own anger and despair over his brother and father's death during the American occupation as well as the anger and despair of Iraqis who have lost control of their lives.
It seems however that things have recently turned even worse for Wafaa. To cite an article at GamePolitics. "Following his RPI expulsion, Bilal's Virtual Jihadi exhibit was moved to the nearby Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy. On Monday night, a local Republican political figure, Robert Mirch, led a protest against Bilal's work outside the Sanctuary. Mirch, by the way, also happens to be the Public Works Commissioner for the city of Troy. In that capacity, he is responsible for enforcing building codes."
Many thanks to Tom and Christian McCrea for the updates, found on the Empyre list.
By using the scripting interface, math functions and text input fields, a clever person of questionable sanity repurposes MS Excel as a fairly capable 3D graphics engine. Read the full - and very detailed - article on Gamasutra.
archive: Gamerz 02 opens in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Gamerz 02, an exhibition of game and game-related art, opens today in Aix-en-Provence, Southern France, and will be on show until the 27th.
The show has a lot of new names and some interesting work, from traditional sculpture through to fully fledged art-games.
Artist's featured include: Dardex Mort2faim, Quentin Destieu, Romain Senatore, Sylvain Huguet, Paul Destieu, Benjamin Cadon, Sylvie Reno, Servovalve, Guillaume Stagnaro, Antonin Fourneau, Manuel Braun, Sidabitball, Confipop, Jankenpopp, Damien Aspe, Pierrick Thébault, Pierre Andrieux, Philippe Coudert, Pascal Silondi and Stephane Kyles.
Disclaimer: sadly my French is far too hairy to brave translating the announcement text. My present Spanish company currently feels similarly reluctant. Head over to the site and have a crack at it yourself.
The first talk was actually a 'lightning talk' called "The State of the Wii" and needs little description other than this is the first time the world has seen homebrew code running on the Nintendo Wii itself, with full input from the WiiMote. In other words, this is the beginning of fully fledged Wii games made for the Wii, running on the Wii with full access to the console's hardware.
See the above video of Ben Byer ('Bushing?') and co giving an early demonstration of this landmark feat. Here's an interview with the exploiter himself.
His talk takes the premise that populated MMO's like WoW make useful environments for investigating the outbreak of plagues. His thesis is this:
Disease modelling is essentially a virtualisation of reality that tries to gain insights into hitherto unknown inderdependencies and to simulate intervention scenarios. In 2005, courtesy of its creators at Blizzard Entertainment, the ancient Blood God "Hakkar the Soulflayer" unleashed a devastating plague, "corrupted blood", upon a totally unprepared population of avatars. Unintentionally, the digital "black death" spread to cities and depopulated whole areas. The epidemic could only be controlled by shutting down and restarting the game world, a measure unfortunately not available in the "real" world. However, other measures such as quarantine or improved treatment are available in the real world and can be simulated by disease modelling.
While that all might sound a bit serious the talk has some hilarious moments and great in-game footage of the famous Corrupted Blood plague being unwillingly (and willingly) spread by players.
I've archived the 24C3 footage of the event here for posterity. It'll play in VLC.
archive: WiiMote Wizardry: Johnny Chung Lee (multi)strikes again.
Here Johnny Chung Lee genially describes his most recent magick: an interactive multi-touch-surface built from a projector, light-pen and of course, WiiMote. The kind chap also provides us with a software download..
Keep up the good work Johnny: we can only hope you won't be 'disappeared' by Microsoft Research. We've posted Johnny's WiiMote Fu here before.
This sounds exciting; Tommy Stockel has a new exhibition opening in Second Life of Land Art works that would be otherwise too difficult to recreate in real life. One of the defining characteristics of Land Art is that it is constrained by the physical characteristics of the geological materials from which it is made, and is vulnerable to change under the influence of natural weather and time, but free from these qualities in VR Stockel is able to output more imaginative sculptures in what is effectively the same medium; in this case Second Life's free-found prims rather than rocks and dirt.
Where land art was also seen originally as a rejection of the gross superficiality and commercialisation of mid twentieth century artistic culture, Stockel has re-imbued his superplastic virtual Primitive Collections Field with textural qualities of real world processed natural fibres like paper and cardboard, drawing in and reappraising the meta-physical, philosophical aspects of Land Art as much as he does the physical. Land Art may claim to be natural, but like paper and cardboard it is still a processing of nature.
The exhibition opens tomorrow on the 20th of December and runs until the 24th of February 2008.
Boom Pearls is a series of art works curated in the populated 3D world Second Life. The invited artists get free access to work within the given frame of the project. This means a world where the users can build, write, script and experience themselves through a 3D universe build by the users.
archive: Wardive: Wireless Gamescapes on the Nintendo DS.
A new experimental game for the Nintendo DS made by Swiss researchers uses wireless activity to drive the adaptation of game-levels: as your network context changes, the way you play will change. I especially like the menu options for choosing the game-type: sitting on a bus, walking around, taking the train (see above image).
From the site:
"Each time you play, metro wardive captures different data and creates a new level for you. Metro wardiveis an adaptive game with locative levels. It changes according to its real life location as much as to its virtual data world."
Wardive is ready to play on a DS right away. Go to the project page for downloads and more about the project.
Wardive has something of a precedent in the game-art world: be sure to see Jonas Hielscher's excellent piece Collectic for the PlayStation portable: a fine example of using the rich landscape of urban wireless data to drive gameplay on a handheld console.
This has been archived in the Mobile Games section. Wardive came to us via /.
With a little Python to interface ARToolkit with the Python API of the Blender Game Engine, Slovakian Ashid is creating a plugin allowing Blender to be an editor and engine for Augmented Reality content. Check it out here. It's not realtime yet: he's working with pre-recorded video for the time being. Nonetheless, the future is bright for this tool it seems.
Fine work Ashid! Cheers to Olme for letting us know about this development. Archived in the Tools section for posterity.
The workshop concept was simple: take an existing Breakout-like game (made by Steph in Processing), give it to the students and encourage them to simply change numbers and alter code statements until it either breaks or does something interesting.
The result is surprising: as though Breakout has been freed from a need to make sense and is dreaming of its own pure potential.. A warm homage to the game if ever there was one.
Game Mod was a six hour long workshop with the objective of showing the participants that it is not required to understand code to experiment and play with it.
Although they had no experience in coding, the task of each participant was to make a mod (modified version) of a game built in Processing.
Great stuff, testimony that creative programming can result from an open-minded, truly intuitive manipulation of code.
Grab the original game source-code here, and have a hack at it yourself. The source for the mods you see in the video can be downloaded here. If you come up with something you think's interesting, let us know.
Check in on Steph's site for updates on his new project, Cascade on Wheels, made during the Visualizar workshop. If you're in the Madrid area, come and see it at the exhibition at Medialab Prado itself (28.11.07 - 28.12.07)
Fine work Steph and students. This is going into the archives.
Little Big Planet has clearly narrowed the gap between gameplay and content creation, so much that level-editing becomes a function of play. Recently however advances in computer vision, multitouch surfaces and tablets extend this reach even further bringing deeper immediacy.
Chad Chatterton sends us through a link that expresses this very well, in the form of a new game called Crayon Physics by KlooniGames made for the Microsoft Surface and normal mouse-input on a Windows PC.
While not using a tablet, PS3 researchers are exploring interaction along a similar vein. Using the new Playstation Eye camera and some computer vision software they provide a means for the gamer to work directly with pen and paper (thanks Chris).
Worth mentioning is that this kind of interaction model already has a precedent in the art world. Recently I saw Zachary Lieberman perform Manual Input Sessions, using similar techniques. Using his own software, OpenFrameWorks, Zach uses a brush and ink, paper cut-outs or the silhouettes of his hands to build live interaction with a computer.
See a video of Zach's Manual Input Sessions in action here
Using a little reflective tape, an array of LEDs and a WiiMote the author of this neat hack has managed to acheive relatively robust finger-end tracking. With a glove made of this reflective tape/surface and some clever coding I'm sure things could become even more interesting..
Great work. Thanks to Chris for pointing us to it.
Zero Gamer looks at games played, unplayed and unplayable, the spectator and the spectacle. Sometimes we just like to watch, and machinima, gameplay videos and spectator gaming events take the activity out of interactivity. Zero Gamer presents games that play themselves, video documents of in-game performance, game engine experiments and challenging documentaries on gameplay.
Zero Gamer will run from the 2nd until the 18th November at the HTTP Gallery.
Virgil de Voldère is proud to present its second solo exhibition with Brody Condon. In the three works on view, the artist digitally reconstructs a trio of well-known late-medieval paintings from northern Europe by Hans Memling, Dieric Bouts, and Gerard David. By re-imagining the religious content of the original works, the artist presents calm scenes of transcendence that slowly give way to anxiety and spiritual trauma.
For 3 Modifications, Condon modifies current computer games with strategies and tools taken directly from online participatory subcultures to create slowly animated, transfigured works that function as moving paintings. The subversive tactics of hacking and the intervention into commercial computer games that characterize the artist's previous work, however, have given way to a critical examination of the politics of representation.
I've just finished the first beta (really an alpha) of my little AR/tangible-interface game levelHead. Admittedly there's not much up on the project page yet, but here's a YouTube video that conveys the general idea pretty well.
Here's a better quality video in the OGG/Theora format (plays in VLC). Enjoy.
Blender isn't the sort of software you can just dive in and teach yourself so easily. It has an unusual interface but one that pays off greatly once learned. For instance, in my experience, Blender is much faster to work with - and more performant - for rapid mesh modeling than 3DSMax or Maya.
Following this manual and doing the tutorials should get you well up to speed with Blender. Later on I'll post a section on the Realtime Game Engine part of Blender toward the ends of rapidly prototyping your game/3D interface ideas.
About FLOSSManuals: FM, initiated by Adam Hyde, seeks to provide high-quality user-contributed and maintained technical manuals for open-source software, some of which will be published as paper books on-demand.
Playware is the second installment in the GameWorld exhibition series at Laboral in Asturias, Spain and is up and running until March 21, 2008.
Contrary to the first GameWorld exhibition - which focussed on strictly artistic explorations of computer games and gaming culture - this "expansion pack" is focussed on games that challenge traditional computer-aided play logics and interfaces
Says the site:
Playware presents the work of artists, designers, and engineers who are probing the limits and expanding the possibilities of digitally-mediated play. The exhibition establishes a continuum between two types of works:
1) ‘multiplayer’ interactive art installations that explore, often in the form of a game, new methods of playful interaction with digital information
2) ‘art game’ software made for everyday computers and gaming systems that differ from their more commercial siblings in their use of abstract, whimsical, or surreal animated environments.
Sydney Symphony Orchestra paid tribute earlier this year to the creative force behind early video game soundtracks.
Play! was a video game symphony that brought to life the award-winning music of 20 of the biggest and best computer games around. Music from the games was performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Arnie Roth and backed by choral sensation Cantillation) while massive screens, suspended over the orchestra, captured stunning game play sequences. Play! ran from 19-23 June and was exclusive to the Sydney Opera House. Music was performed from games including:
archive: Eddo Stern Solo Show at Postmasters, New York.
Those of you in New York should check out Eddo's new show at Postmasters Gallery, running until October 13.
His new works - kinetic shadow sculptures and 3D computer animation videos - use a mash-up of documentary material from online forums, clip art, YouTube videos, midi music, electronics, and hand made puppets. They mine the online gaming world at its paradoxical extremes: on one hand, an untenable perversity of life spent slaying an endless stream of virtual monsters, on the other, an ultimate mirroring of the most familiar social dynamics. The struggles with masculinity, honor, aggression, faith, love and self worth are embroiled with the gameworld's vernacular aesthetics.
Argh, summer-stoned. I was a bit late on the money with this one. Thnx Eddo for sending it through (and see you soon)!
Not Possible IRL is "Dedicated to identifying and sharing well conceived and realized visual arts n' things in second life which would not be possible in real life: architecture, landscaping, art, animations, fashion, particle effects, building tools and scripts."