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..
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.
Beginning on June 2, participants will learn how AR works while building game designs that incorporate corporeal and social elements with that of digital content. They will walk away with a base of several skeleton applications with which to be able to create and continue developing projects on their own after the workshop.
Curtis Johnson, student of game developer and theorist Celia Pearce, provides us with a few interesting thoughts on the popularly held diametric of Art and Entertainment.
His take on it is that Art itself is already a culturally rarefied form of entertainment and cannot be easily considered otherwise. As a result, this places games, as a self-confessed form of entertainment, well within the realm of art (or at least a little less conveniently separable). I've archived it here for posterity (all copyright belonging to Curtis).
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!
Rhizome writes to let us know of an upcoming deadline for their commissions program. Rhizome Commissions Program
Deadline for applications: midnight, March 31, 2008
We support: New Media Art, by which we mean projects that creatively engage new and networked technologies and also works that reflect on the impact of these tools and media in a variety of forms. Commissioned projects can take the final form of online works, performance, video, installation or sound art. Projects can be made for the context of the gallery, the public, or the web.
Amount: 7 commissions in the amount of $3000-5000
Guidelines and application forms can be found here.
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.
Looks like a good year for indie developers at this year's GDC.
First up is a "free to use graphics engine" from Sony going by the name of PhyreEngine. Apparently they are releasing complete documentation, "70+ samples" and "full source code and artwork" of sample game templates. Games known to have already used this engine include flOw, GripShift and DiRT. It's for use on desktop computers with build the PS3 as a build target (it seems). We have no idea of what license this will come under but wow.. a big step by Sony. Read more about it here.
Insomniac have announced they're opening up a whole heap of 'utility code' to developers: things that cover "common chores with benefits like memory management templates, debugging utilities, and other basic functions that every developer has a need for when making a game" to quote the article. The project goes under the name Nocturnal Initiative and seems to be just one of several big pushes toward indie-loving this GDC.
Finally it seems Microsoft (in an attempt to outlove the competition?) has released XNA from the shackles of the exclusive club as part of their - a tad misleadingly dubbed - "Youtube for games" initiative. This means that from this Autumn any XBOX360 owner can play XNA games without needing a gold-card. There's more to it than this of course. Best you go RTA.
SimCity source code released under the General Public License
As the title suggests, it's now possible to legally make, sell, redistribute, exhibit, archive your own games based on the andmark 80's classic, SimCity, under the terms of the GPL. As "SimCity" is trademarked, the project has been renamed MicroPolis and as such is available for download under that name.
From the announcement: There's been changes to the original system like a new splash screen, some UI feedback from QA, etc. The plane crash disaster has been removed as a result of 9/11. What is initially released under GPL is the Linux version based on TCL/Tk, adapted for the OLPC (but not yet natively ported to the Sugar user interface and Python), which will also run on any Linux/X11 platform. The OLPC has an officially sanctioned and QA'ed version of SimCity that is actually called SimCity. EA wanted to have the right to approve and QA anything that was shipped with the trademarked name SimCity. But the GPL version will have a different name than SimCity, so people will be allowed to modify and distribute that without having EA QA and approve it.
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.
Truth be told, I'm not normally into these 'top lists'. However, a list compiled recently by Next-Gen proves to be a fairly well thought out and comprehensive breakdown of the innovations that have defined this thing we call computer gaming over the years.
Because I think it may be useful for researchers, I'm archiving it in the theory section.
We Make Money Not Art has a great write up about Angelo Vermeulen's Biomodd game, which can be viewed from October 20 - December 1 2007 at the exhibition Multispeak in de Witte Zaal in Ghent (Belgium).
"Inspired by the case modding scene, a custom computer is built as a form of expanded sculpture. Inside the case, excess heat of over-clocked processors is recycled by an elaborate living ecosystem. The computer hardware is used as server for a new computer game. The objective of this game is to bring some of the main themes of Biomodd into an imaginative multiplayer game experience.
Both the computer structure and the game are developed with a group of biology, game and art enthusiasts. Exhibition visitors can also modify the piece: through playing they generate heat and hence influence the interior ecosystem."
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.
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:
The workshop "Evaluating User Experiences in Games" invites position papers on evaluation methods for user experience in games. Submissions are invited addressing one or more of the following questions:
What kind of evaluation concepts and methods are used in the industry, and what are their limitations? Do today's game evaluation concepts and methods address industry needs? What factors of game experience are measured and have to be measured? How can we evaluate new forms and developments of interaction techniques in gaming, for example emotion or eye-movement as input for games, ambient displays or virtual environments as output? Is there a common framework of methods that are appropriate to evaluate the user experience in games?
I'm heartin' all this live-digital hybrid game stuff at the moment. Here's an upcoming performance from 5-8 of September at Sydney's Performance Space:
Wayfarer by Kate Richards and Martyn Coutts is a live game space, where teams of audience direct their player through a mysterious, hidden territory. The performer's body-mounted computers send streamed video, audio and locative data to the Wayfarer software, which is projected back to the audience.
Part exploration, part competition, part surreal thriller, Wayfarer is a truly hybrid event, where live and mediated performance, urban choreography, ubiquitous computing, gameplay and site specificity come together in a volatile mix.
Performance Space recommends booking a team of 4 or 5 people. If any readers in Syd get a chance to play we'd love to publish your thoughts on the work afterwards as sadly non of us Parkians will be in town for the event.
Also worth mentioning are the names of Mr Snow and Jon Drummond, tech brains involved in this and other interesting interactive projects.
theory: Ebert vs Barker: Videogames are not 'High Art'.
Says Ebert: Barker is right that we can debate art forever. I mentioned that a Campbell's soup could be art. I was imprecise. Actually, it is Andy Warhol's painting of the label that is art. Would Warhol have considered Clive Barker's video game "Undying" as art? Certainly. He would have kept it in its shrink-wrapped box, placed it inside a Plexiglas display case, mounted it on a pedestal, and labeled it "Video Game."
Wait.. I'm confused. Do you mean something like this?
archive: New art game added to archive: Pollen Sonata
Several weeks ago I was teaching at the ITU and had the pleasure of beta-testing a little game called Pollen Sonata. While it had a few rough spots it certainly showed a lot of promise back then.
Pollen Sonata is meditative, to say the least: the mix of navigating in wind currents (the work with force vectors is quite impressive) sound-design and soft colour-palette had me quite preoccupied with my my new life as a small cluster of pollen. Once finished playing I was left looking for a genre with which to describe it and arrived at Casual Ambient.
Pollen Sonata has come out of beta and a Wii-mote (not sure whether they're aiming for the console itself) adaptation/port is on the way.
See the video here. Thanks Joy and friends - keep up the good work.
"Torrent Raiders is a dynamic network visualization realized through the idioms and aesthetics of arcade-style video games. Driven in real-time by the activity of bit torrent swarms, Torrent Raiders takes place on the ad-hoc networks created by bit torrent users. Torrent Raiders was created by Aaron Meyers for his MFA thesis project at the USC Interactive Media Division."
"'Our goal is to foster a community of animators by providing them the power to generate animations without having to worry about supporting a toolset. Since we were already developing the rig for our core technology team, we decided to release it to the public under the GNU GPL,' said Shayne Herrera, Art Development Director for Cryptic Studios. 'We feel that the development and gaming communities will benefit greatly from a professional tool like the Cryptic AR.'"
Good to see yet another big player opening up their kit. Read about it and/or download it here. Article via /.
hello: 2ndPS2: Second Person Shooter for Two Players.
A few of you have written to ask about the Second Person Shooter project I kicked off a while ago, where it's going and when I'm going to release a mod. Here's a bit about all this.
Any time I had leading up to Gameworld was spent working on 2ndPS2 (read Second Person Shooter for 2-players). I'd been meaning to make this little mod for years and decided that Gameworld was as good an opportunity as any to put the idea to the test.
Unlike the previous incarnation (a simple prototype written in Blender and Python that fartoomany people got excited about) your view is switched with another player, not a bot. You are looking through their view and you through theirs. When they press the key for forward on the computer, the view you're looking through responds accordingly, and vice versa. As it's all networked it's possible to play over the internet just as you would a normal multiplayer Quake3 game.
Naturally this makes it very tricky to actually play the thing as you can only navigate yourself effectively when you can see yourself: ie. you are within your opponent's gaze. In the few tests I did of 2ndPS2 before putting it on show people with no experience playing first-person-shooter games struggled with this reversal of the control paradigm very much, and so at the advice of Marta I built a sort of visual radar system so you could see where the other player was and vice versa.
This worked really well as far as reducing the confusion people would've had otherwise: in an exhibition context of the scale of Laboral people have very short attention spans and so a bang-for-buck approach like this was perhaps necessary. In practice it actually stood up reasonably well to these ends.
Naturally the experience - of navigating in a 3D environment using a force-feedback-hat as your 'sight' while experiencing momentary blackout - is a tad difficult to convey in video form. Nonetheless, this does well to get the play model and mood across.