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tech: Camspace: Markerless Tracking that's Free (as-in-beer)
A small team in Tel Aviv, Israel has been working on what they describe as a paradigm shift in gaming: rather than using an input device like a WiiMote or mouse+keyboard (almost) any object in the room can be trained to be tracked by a standard webcam and their software.

Check out their impressive demo here. They just pick up a brightly coloured object, train and then track.

To be fair, this technology has been around for quite a while in computer vision, popularised most of all by Intel's OpenCV library which allows for defining and tracking many different Regions Of Interest (to unpack a geeky acronym).

Read on for more about this great technology (and why it won't displace the WiiMote any time soon)..

Posted by julian on Monday, June 16 @ 23:07:21 CEST ( )
permalink... read more

tech: Global DoD Sim puts you in the picture.
"The US Department of Defense (DOD) may already be creating a copy of you in an alternate reality. Putting supercomputers to an innovative use, the military is simulating our planet in an effort to predict the outcome of different scenarios. They might run tests to see how long 'you' can go without food or water, or how 'you' will respond to televised propaganda. Billions of nodes are created in the system, intended to reflect every man, woman, and child.

'Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), it will be a "synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information", according to a concept paper for the project. Simulex is the company developing these systems, and they list pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and defense contractor Lockheed Martin among their private sector clients.

The U.S. military is their biggest customer, apparently now running the most complex version of the system. JFCOM-9 is now capable of running real-time simulations for up to 62 nations, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and China. The simulations gobble up breaking news, census data, economic indicators, and climactic events in the real world, along with proprietary information such as military intelligence."

Via /.

Posted by julian on Sunday, July 01 @ 19:36:01 CEST ( )

tech: First Wii-Mote on PC homebrew surfaces
Recently I wrote about the console hacking talk at the 23C3 in Berlin. The article recounts Felix's fine suggestion that a Wii-Mote and a PC is all you need to explore developing interactive content along the lines of what you see on the console itself.

With typically good timing, Chris O'Shea writes with a fine link exposing the internals of the Wii-Mote, just to demystify the whole interface further.

Aside from the obvious cultural kudos granted by using a Wii-Mote in your art project, it's worth mentioning that the Wii-mote isn't new technology in itself. What it is however is perhaps the first economically sane intersection of several technologies many performance artists/musicians have been using for a while: Accelerometers and a couple of IR sensors used for positioning. The fact it's a bluetooth device also makes it far more accessible to those of us that don't want to D.I.Y an interface between the sensors and a machine, especially now that several tookits are now surfacing that do alot of the technical groundwork.

That said, if you're prone to a healthy bout of the N.I.H syndrome, and want to build your own super Wii-Mote, you could avoid bluetooth altogether and go wireless. That'll give you far more range than a bluetooth device ever will. Good luck with capturing positional info with IR over that range though; albeit not necessary if gesture is your primary control data..

Chris also points us to a super YouTube clip of a WiiPC interface aptly called WiiSticks that really exploits the accelerometers to a maximum as a function of play.

While we're at it, here's another YT clip showing how the Wii can be used to navigate a Linux desktop machine. Note the candles in the foreground which he seems to be using as InfraRed emitters so he can get that positional data. The API they're using for this demo is here.

Cheers Chris!

Posted by julian on Monday, January 08 @ 20:11:10 CET ( )

tech: Second Life open-sources their client software.
Art Games
A big thumbs-up to Linden Labs: today they announced the smart move of releasing their Second Life client under an open-source license.

From the SL blog post:

Stepping up the development of the Second Life Grid to everyone interested, I am proud to announce the availability of the Second Life client source code for you to download, inspect, compile, modify, and use within the guidelines of the GNU GPL version 2.

SL is high profile software in the marketplace. Let's hope this nudges some of the other big kids to get with the 2000's; letting those of us that know how improve the software we use.

Posted by julian on Monday, January 08 @ 19:28:27 CET ( )

tech: Boot any Linux Distro on your PS3

Admittedly this is a bit premature, given anyone outside of Japan won't be seeing PS3's for a few months, but..

As the geeks amongst you are probably aware, YellowDog Linux is the (reportedly) official homebrew OS of the PlayStation3. However, as this guide shows, it should be fairly trivial to boot (cough) more interesting OS's, like Ubuntu, or it's Zen parent Debian. The site has patches, a bootloader and documentation to get you on your merry way. When the PS3 is cheaper than a full-body transplant, I'll be buying one myself and will certainly be giving Ubuntu or Debian on the PS3 a crack, now that I know this is possible.

I think I speak for alot of us in saying that Sony only needs to make the development and distribution of content for their platform freely available in order to compete against the Xbox360 and the Wii in the coming years. If the rumours are true, perhaps the PS3 will be as much of a cultural revolution as its predecessor; a console that admits the present-day gamer is often one that has his/her own ideas and is in search of tools to freely produce them. We saw this happen in the modding and mapping scene - let's see if the same can happen in the console universe..

Besos to the all-seeing LaPetiteClaudine for this story.

Posted by julian on Tuesday, November 14 @ 01:19:43 CET ( )

tech: Royalty-free tileable texture pack released
Making textures loop along a mesh without discernable points of repitition can be a painful experience. The kind folk at Spiral Graphics have released a pack of 150 quality seamless tiling textures for free download and distribution, bless their pixelated souls.

Looking at a few of them it appears they're well suited for converting to bump-maps too. Grab them here.

Posted by julian on Wednesday, September 20 @ 16:23:56 CEST ( )

tech: Game code available
Tools Anonymous writes "Thought I'd let you all know I've pulled out of game dev (I have been doing a research masters in comp-sci on real-time audio synthesis for computer games and have been acting head of a games reseach lab this last semester). Getting involved in commercial game dev means getting ripped off and burnt along with making truly crap games (oh what an industry!) and I find teaching it to be unethical in Australia at this point in time, primarily due to industry size and attitudes.

I've released some code from my studies recently, anyone working on multithreaded real-time software or game engine development may find it useful.


Lorien Dunn
acmipark Sound Programmer"

Posted by rebecca on Tuesday, August 08 @ 02:39:05 CEST ( )

tech: Ubuntu-6.06: OpenSource Game-dev platform of choice.

Ubuntu, the free OS used by millions of people the world over reached it's 6.06 milestone today. It's a stunner of a release and now has a try-before-you-buy 'LiveCD'; just boot up without installing anything and if you like what you see, click the 'Install' icon. Download it here (try the torrents for a snappy download).

Ubuntu comes with the Selectparks Special Nod for those interested in a solid, easy to use, low-maintenance platform for open-source game development. Like many Linux distributions Ubuntu is based on the all incumbent Debian, reknowned for it's excellent software management system and stability. There are 17000+ software free-software packages available in Ubuntu and are downloaded from a secure and geographically local repository on demand. There's no hunting around websites to find and install software and all software on your machine can be upgraded simultaneously, at any time, with just a few clicks.

This makes it fantastic as a stable development machine (and also as a desktop). If you want to install Python OpenGL bindings, SDL joystick support along with the sourcecode for an RPG you find in the package manager, they are just a click away..

Posted by julian on Thursday, June 01 @ 15:14:44 CEST ( )
permalink... read more

tech: Smart Retina And MossaLibra
Tools Anonymous writes "

SmartRetina is a lightfast gesture-tracking platform written in Macromedia Flash 8, utilizing its flash.geom. package, flash.display package, Video class, Camera
class and their motion-tracking capabilities.

SmartRetina is used to develop Retina Based Interfaces – Interfaces which:

1. Purely use visual interaction and can fully function without using text or audio.
2. Strictly serve as translators between human gestures and machine functions.
3. Can be self-explanatory at their introductory level, since representations of the supported gestures can serve as the actual visual interface (a reflexive interface)
4. Can act as self-organizing systems (see Mossalibra for example).


Posted by rebecca on Tuesday, May 30 @ 00:00:00 CEST ( )
permalink... read more

tech: plink-plonk.

Chris of Pixelsumo wrote to me about a collaborative project he worked on that uses a light-table and small sound-toys. Reverberations from the units are sensed by the table and are represented by ripples and other events, much as they would in a pool of water.

Something that immediately struck me when looking at photos was the possibilities an interface like this could offer gaming, perhaps even reinventing that most geeky of genres, the table-top game, in a completely new light (so to speak). More so I'd love to see a sound-space shooter like Sphere's of Chaos on this thing; a hands-on acoustic feedback game.

Cheers Chris.

Posted by julian on Wednesday, March 01 @ 23:51:27 CET ( )

tech: Magic-Eye Quake
Art Mods

Quake II AbSIRD mod, or how to get a migraine in 30 seconds flat.

Posted by christo on Monday, February 06 @ 05:53:39 CET ( )

tech: Games on Vinyl

Last night while taking a hiatus from the stomp at Club Transmediale, Derek Holzer handed out a flyer with an interesting offer: take any music of yours on file to a given location and they will burn you a single, one-off vinyl record all for yourself. Here's their project page.

While chatting with friends about this I suggested the possibility of writing code for a videogame onto the vinyl so that it could later be parsed, compiled and played. This was my waking thought of the morning. I prayed to The Knowledge Architect and design was delivered. While I was well aware of multiplexed radio transmissions being used to deliver game content in the mid 80's (like that for the Atari 2600), I had no idea that bands like the Thompson Twins were featuring bonus tracks that could be copied to cassette and run on the Zx Spectrum. Lovely!

Read all about it here. FYI yes, I'm working on one of my own now.

Posted by julian on Sunday, February 05 @ 18:04:02 CET ( )

tech: Interactive Fiction Engine Seeks Loving Parents.

From my sentimental perspective, 'Interactive Fiction' never did get better than Ian Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon; there was enough suspense between those two covers to hang a Neutral-Evil Ice-Basilisk by it's very sharp toenails. The 'Apotheosis Engine' however summons Interactive Fiction in a digital form, and was developed as part of comp-sci coursework on object-oriented programming. While they aren't shipping their demo/prototype, the team have posted a breakdown of their trials and tribulations developing the game, which makes for an interesting read in itself.

Of note is that they are looking for people to 'revive' the project. If interactive fiction is your game and you're handy with Java, then this little engine could form the basis of a fine project. The Apotheosis Engine already sports an API, scripting interface and game editor.

Posted by julian on Thursday, January 05 @ 23:31:59 CET ( )

tech: Edge
And on the topic of free game dev frameworks, Edge is an OSS "spawned from the Doom Engine, EDGE advances into the future with easy development and expansion as a cornerstone, making use of advancing technology and supporting a variety of platforms, this adds a new dimension to 3D gaming."

Runs on a variety of Win and Unixs.


Posted by rebecca on Thursday, December 29 @ 00:17:34 CET ( )

tech: Multiverse

Multiverse promises to be a 'free' kit for rapidly developing MMO[RPG]'s. At the outset it seems their heart is certainly in the right place, though I'm a little confused about the specifics of their licensing model and why they have chosen Axiom, the C# port of the far more popular Ogre3D as their renderer.

Their technology platform is also a little thin on details as they don't go into specifics on the client-server model; it's here that scalability and overall robustness will be tested the greatest in any MMO project.

Vapourware? I hope not! It is projects like Multiverse Realmforge and Yake that significantly lower the entry barrier for those with the real ideas...

We'll find out more when the beta of their demo Kothuria ships early 2006.

Posted by julian on Saturday, December 24 @ 05:16:11 CET ( )

tech: Unrealart
Art Games

Alison Mealy's Unrealart plots the movement of Unreal Tournament bots and translates the data into a finished artwork. Some works are based on random maps, others (like the one here) let the bots loose on a custom map built from a photograph.

Posted by christo on Wednesday, November 23 @ 02:29:55 CET ( )

tech: Thinking Machine 4
Browser Games

Built on Processing.org's open-source software development environment for the media arts communities, Thinking Machine 4 gives you a glimpse into chess AI by tracing real-time movement calculations over the board.

Posted by christo on Wednesday, November 23 @ 00:58:13 CET ( )

tech: NEtROBOt
Performance Instruments
The NEtROBOt project uses AIBO pets as an interface to virtual worlds. In this case AIBO avatars reflect the actual AIBO's movement via a real-time web3d world. Feedback is both ways, so a dancing actual AIBO syncs with its virtual friend and vis versa. I'm taking bets now on when the first remote-hacked AIBO starts messing with its master.

Posted by christo on Wednesday, November 02 @ 03:57:45 CET ( )

tech: An open spec game platform?

In the vein of 'open source hardware' like the open spec video card a new company by the name of Gamix continue the push with an open specification gaming platform.

From their site:

Gamix is a revolutionary concept who's time has come: An open videogame platform specification.

Open to anyone and everyone, Gamix offers a superior gaming platform without restrictive licensing costs. It is our passionate belief that by giving developers and hardware manufacturers a completely open market, creativity and innovation will thrive. The business model of large companies with proprietary systems controlling the profitability of independent game developers will not be able to compete.

An ambitious yet worthwhile quest, if only to hack at the borders of a heavily patrolled hardware market.

Posted by julian on Sunday, October 16 @ 15:51:55 CEST ( )

tech: PS2 modchips now legal in Australia
Hardware Hacks
A couple of years ago Sony tried to pull a "Games are just like digital music, because they're digital" citing the DMCA in an Australian Lower Court case against PS2 modchips salesman, 'Stevens' . These modchips allowed folk to use the hardware they'd bought to play games legally aquired in another region (like the US or Japan).

Eventually the matter was escalated to the High Court that promptly ruled in his favour on the grounds that technology native to PS2's used to stop people playing games , are not "technological prevention measures" in the same way that copy-protection can be considered so. In short, because copyright is not at stake here, the case against modifying this hardware had no merit on grounds of copyright breach. In the end, Stevens is spared from a lynching and the sale of mod-chips is apparently no longer considered an evil.

Sony is a contradictory and multiheaded creature,at one point they are trying to stopping you run games bought in other countries on DMCA like grounds, at another turn they are helping you circumvent their own digital music protection..

Posted by julian on Thursday, October 06 @ 17:50:09 CEST ( )

tech: Custom code on your PSP.
From the forges of SXT comes a much anticipated firmware downgrade that will enable you to run custom code on newer models of the handheld, or just PSP's that have had their firmware upgraded to v2.0.

Announcement and HOWTO here.

This one's for you Frasca!

Posted by julian on Wednesday, September 28 @ 13:22:51 CEST ( )

tech: Bring out your dead
Ars has an interesting article about a digital "plague" that is spreading through the cities of world of warcraft.

Virtual plague spreading like wildfire in World of Warcraft

Posted by admin on Saturday, September 24 @ 08:56:27 CEST ( )

tech: Viva 1984!!
Open Source Games

Possibly one of the coolest games from my childhood was Elite, I played that game so much I could see the display burnt into my eyes when I slept.
It was always a reason to keep my ancient BBC model B computer, until now...


OoLite is an open source version (OSX,linux,windoze) with classic, and extended gameplay. A great community of developers are also releasing game and spacecraft mods.

10 tons of food to planet Diso.....blindness ahoy!!

Posted by admin on Thursday, September 15 @ 01:44:31 CEST ( )

tech: MidiBox SID
Hardware Hacks

The commodore 64 holds a special place in most gamers hearts. The combination of cool looking, and cooler sounding games, was a winner.
The heart of that distinctive synth sound was the SID chip, and now with a bit(?) of work you can transform your aging C64 into a midi trigged monster.

MidiBox SID


Posted by admin on Sunday, September 11 @ 09:00:00 CEST ( )

tech: Let the time wasting ensue
Sick of using using a scientific calculator for a real purpose. Now the greatest port to come to the Texas Instruments 83/84+ is Wolfenstein83.

The guards may look like lego figures, but it comes with its own on-calc map editor.
The best 130kb you will download all week


Posted by admin on Friday, September 09 @ 14:09:37 CEST ( )

tech: Sauerbraten - 6 Directional In-game Heightfield Modelling
Free Engine Database

This looks promising. An experimental evolution of the Cube engine code base, Sauerbraten takes the unusual bi-directional extrusion-based in-game modelling paradigm several steps further; here the entire worldmesh is a 6 direction heightmap (a cube has 6 faces so you can imagine the possibilities). Looking at some of these screenshots it's no wonder Escher's universes come to mind.

I found Sauerbraten compiles easily under Linux with gcc-4.0, a simple 'make && make install' in the src directory. I just had to ensure I had the SDL 1,2 image and mixer headers in my path. Once done 'cd ../sauerbraten' and '../src/sauer_client'.

It's a brilliant project, and ideal for teaching, rapid prototyping situations; within seconds I was in an FPS map. I hit the EKEY and I'm editing it realtime. Great work and congrats to the developers.

Update 06.09.05

I forgot to add you need to ./configure && make in the enet/ directory (they provide the libs). Tak pix and Nils!

Posted by julian on Monday, September 05 @ 14:37:38 CEST ( )

tech: Real-world games with portable, motion-sensor consoles
Mobile Games
Staying on-topic, Wired are covering a new mobile gaming technology from University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. Runs on a tablet PC with motion detection and WiFi. You know how people with BlueTooth headsets look like they're conversing with ghosts? Wait until they start seeing giant killer spiders through direct-retina, mobile gaming units.

Posted by christo on Tuesday, August 23 @ 00:56:34 CEST ( )

tech: Real-world effects game character
Art Mods

G-Link is a student project by Ross O'Shea. His device records real-world data and applies it to your Morrowind game character. I'd like to think we're going to see more cross-over functionality between 1st and 2nd worlds. Maybe we could track emotional state and blood pressure along side movement? I still get spooked when my SecondLife avatar types when I do.

Posted by christo on Monday, August 22 @ 09:34:32 CEST ( )

tech: GPX2

Ever wanted to ssh -X into your console?

Lately I've been grepping for three things: an ultra portable ARM or PPC Linux box to hack on, a console to develop for and a portable video/ogg vorbis player.

A while ago I wrote about the Gamepark32, that little handheld with a gigantic emulator/user/developer community and while hovering over the buy-me button I came across it's younger fitter brother, the GPX2. What a scorcher, the only thing really lacking is wifi, but it does have TV out. Perhaps I'll post a review with some real information once it's actually in my hands.

Posted by julian on Thursday, August 18 @ 13:12:20 CEST ( )

tech: Oh Happy Day
Word on the street is (after aeons of anticipation) that iD is soon to release the Quake3 sourcecode. Apparently Carmack announced this at QuakeCon moments ago.

This is big news for game developers and artists looking to develop unique standalone projects in a BSP friendly engine with a solid networking layer. Let's hope the license the src is released under is GPL, or GPL friendly.

Quake3 has a fairly robust toolchain and is a well proven engine. I don't need to tell you that though do I!

Posted by julian on Saturday, August 13 @ 14:00:02 CEST ( )

find stuff

old articles
Tuesday, August 09
· Doom ported to iPod
Monday, July 11
· Blender Workshop at COPYFIGHT, Barcelona.
Thursday, June 23
· Sorry, you busy?
Friday, June 10
· PS3Linux
Thursday, June 02
· Questions?
· Tenebrae2
· The Cube Engine
· NeL
· Crystal Space
· Nebula
· Ogre 3D
Tuesday, May 31
· Sock Master's Game Console Controller Family Tree
Sunday, May 22
· Solipsis - P2P Virtual World
Sunday, May 15
· Hype(R)Threading Nintendo
Friday, March 25
· Game development on Linux: A Primer.
Monday, March 21
· Powerbook as Human Input Device.
Thursday, March 10
· Mutable Interfaces
Tuesday, March 08
· More Hardware Hacking.
Thursday, February 24
· Fluxus, 0.6b1 release
Tuesday, February 15
· Koders
Sunday, February 13
· The Future of Video Games (apparently)..
Tuesday, February 01
· OT: The Browser Wars
Wednesday, January 26
· Books: Artificial Intelligence for Computer Games
Thursday, January 20
· Wired Frames
Tuesday, January 18
· New ATI proprietary Linux driver released
Saturday, December 18
· The Cult of Gamepad
Saturday, December 11
· Forbidden Anatomies
Thursday, November 25
· GameCube grows up, leaves home
Tuesday, October 26
· Ogre3D gets massive upgrade
Saturday, October 23
· Portable Holes: Izumi Kawanishi on the PSP
Friday, October 22
· Les Seules: Chicks On Game
Monday, October 18
· Make Human
Tuesday, September 21
· Books - Gaming Hacks
Tuesday, September 07
· Interview with Radwan Kasmiya of AFKARMedia
Wednesday, September 01
· OSnews on Open Source Game Dev
Tuesday, August 31
· 2 New Tools
Thursday, August 26
· Agreeable Worlds
Sunday, August 22
· XGameStation
Friday, August 20
· Nebula 3D Engine Tutorial PT 3: Editing and Animation
Thursday, August 19
· Console Us
Thursday, August 12
· OpenGL2.0 Announced
Monday, August 09
· Talk-fest in Team Fortress
Friday, July 30
· Don't take the Weather(TM) with you
Wednesday, July 07
· Nintendo vs Fun: EFF in the Boss Level

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