Cannot Be Fixed (ver. 001)

November 16, 2010

A mad genius repeatedly attempts to bring his lover back to life and to a state of perfection. And yet every time she comes back as something less than perfect. Realizing that she can’t be fixed, the madman then chooses to instead remake himself to match the imperfection of his undead lover.

This track includes snippets of “My Happy Ending” by Avril Lavigne and “Stripsearch” by Faith No More.

This track includes samples from the free sound project – http://www.freesound.org

Musings of a Rambler

September 28, 2010

And oh, what vistas of woe and decline, what fretful hauntings of threatening ghosts and phantoms. The central processor chip can fail. The operating system can fail. The language that supports the operating system may be discontinued and no longer supported. Unlike paper, which degrades rather gracefully, computers have sudden, catastrophic failures [1].

On September 2nd of this year, expectations were at a peak for the Playful Interface Cultures exhibition opening. I myself was uncommonly tranquil. After a few years of exhibiting during the Ars Electronica Festival one inevitably comes to realize that there is an inherent praxis to all this process of getting your work ready for being shown – and also to keep it running afterwards – and nervousness is an undeniable part of it. But Rambler had been ready, tested and running for some months then. Furthermore, it had been tested once again a mere two days before the opening. I was tranquil – as much as I can ever be, at least.

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Marrying a Virtual Character

November 23, 2009

I don’t know if there is a precedent on this one. Some real-life flesh-and-blood dude actually married a character from a Nintendo DS dating simulator, in a church in Guam. Left for the rest of us to imagine is how they will have t3h s3x and what the babies will look like…

By the way, here is the bride.

Additionaly, it is quite interesting to note the profound tone of some discussions that popped-up after the Kotaku article.

She argued, even if they don’t communicate, the digital coding, on the binary level, in each copy of the game for this girl, is exactly the same; essentially making this girl and every other player of the game who has chosen her an adulterer. -Dallas Peterson

[Edit] And here’s the video report by Lisa Katayama from Boing Boing.

(via Kotaku, more Kotaku and Gizmodo)

I’m tired from the early plane trip back from Athens, mentally exhausted for all the stuff I saw at ACE 2009 and I am also slightly sick to boot.

Given all the above, I am seriously unable to even comment on such shocking news…

“[Baby and Me] takes doll-playing to the next level by incorporating motion control (and balance board support!) into 18 game modes (…). Not only that, this hellspawn will actually cry through the Wiimote’s speaker. You quiet baby down by rocking, burping and teaching him/her/it to walk. There’s even a feeding exercise. I’m sensing a Wiimote breast pump attachment down the line.” – via Kotaku

Couldn’t have said it better.

Remember the intro to the first Resident Evil movie? We are introduced (to the sound of a stomping, gritty theme which I love) to this whole underground secret virus lab  where they are producing the T-virus, the ingredient to make zombies, let’s say. Or the Regenerate Commercial? Here it is directly from YouTube to freshen up your memory.

So after that, how would you feel about buying this… uh, Derma-Full X3 Facial Filling Serum, from Avon?

Avon Clinical Derma-Full X3 Facial Filling Serum

Avon Clinical Derma-Full X3 Facial Filling Serum

Or, as Joystiq puts it:

Via Joystiq

Via Joystiq (click on picture to link there)

But hey, that’s just a strange coincidence. I don’t assume that the folks who design the Avon product packaging ever saw the Resident Evil movie. And then again, I might be assuming too much, and that’s just where they got inspiration from :P On the other hand, I wonder if the asset designers for the movies inspired themselves on Avon products. Given that the Avon product was released this year that is seemingly impossible.

Here we have a toy made to the image of a Halo assault rifle. No mistake here folks, it’s quite clear where the inspiration came from.

Via Kotaku (click on picture to link)

Via Kotaku (click on picture to link)

The Halo Plasma Blaster (via IGN)

The Halo Assault Rifle (via IGN)

And last but not least, my own finding. Last month I was walking around the Urfahranermarkt (a seasonal fair in Linz) with my new flatmate Vesela. I couldn’t resist the calling of my inner child and check out the toy stands. And then I saw this.

The Sword of The Great King War Craft

The Sword of The Great King War Craft

I have my doubts as to whether there is a similar item in World of Warcraft. I honestly don’t believe so. But in such an expansive game world, there might surely be something similar. So it’s not really a game asset come to the physical world, it’s a cheesy trick from some cheap toy company. Nevertheless, interesting to note how videogame culture – here represented by something so recent as World of Warcraft – is pervading so many aspects of modern life.

One of the last things I would expect to find at an Urfahranermarkt stand would be The Sword of The Great King War Craft.

Thanks to Ricardo Nascimento I came to know of The Fun Theory, an initiative by Volkswagen that aims to show that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better”.

My crystal ball tells me that if you have an idea for such a fun and beneficial behaviour-changing project, there might be a 2500€ prize in you future.

Anyone want in with me?

This then leads back to the notion of Persuasive Games. Ian Bogost wrote a whole book on the subject (a book I have yet to read) and became founding partner of the Persuasive Games studio.

Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames

And quite recently Prof. Luca Chittaro posted once again about one of my works. Headbang Hero is attracting a lot of attention and everyone has his/her own view on what this beast really is, it’s intentions towards the player. In Prof. Chittaro’s view,  it’s a persuasive application with two faces: initially it seems to try and make headbanging more fun by awarding points for it and allowing several players to compare their scores; then it seems to try and tame down the players by pointing out the risks they incurred.

Facebook Facepalm

October 16, 2009

Guess who also has a profile on Facebook now?

Tiago Martins | Create Your Badge

I had to eventually end up there, like everyone else.

Now let’s see how to integrate both Facebook and WordPress without destroying something in the process.

If computer assisted pervasive gaming were to become much more commonplace now, and by comparison to current state-of-the-art videogames, it would still be in the 8-bit era, or even worse.

It seems to me that the major problem in what concerns input/output in what could be a commercial, widely-adopted mobile pervasive game, would be – still comparing with current-gen videogames – realistic output.

I could imagine players walking around with head-mounted displays to provide a (more or less) mobile output channel for mixed reality graphics, or even portable projectors (which don’t work very well in broad daylight). But in a situation where real objects are used in-game and the developers want the game to autonomously affect these objects’ position in space (and other physical properties such as size, color, shape and whatnot) there is still a major problem as far as I can see.

Let’s imagine that I am playing a wizard or telekinetic character of some kind. How would I go about moving real objects with my mind? Maybe my powers can only affect objects from that other dimension or plane – the virtual.

I might not be completely serious about this. But what it tells me is to expect the current design of pervasive games to be much more about metaphors – just like in the times of the Atari 2600 when everything graphics-wise was blocky and you really had to fire up your imagination there for a bit until you could understand what was going on in the screen in front of you.

As a more extreme example, consider the Magnavox Odyssey, which had no sound output whatsoever and came with these transparent overlays which you would stick to the TV screen to define the game-world. Most games didn’t even enforce the rules by themselves so, for instance, you were free to cross a wall with your “avatar” as long as other players didn’t mind.

I think that if you watch the Angry Video Game Nerd’s review of the Odyssey (NSFW) you’ll pretty much get the point. The Odyssey even came with chips, dice and cards, something that would be unthinkable nowadays because computers handle all the logic and representation in videogames.

Oh no, wait, I forgot Eye of Judgment, a PS3 game released only last year. That one uses cards :P

Anyway, would something like what happens with the Magnavox Odyssey make sense for a pervasive game? To further ponder about this, please do take a look at this article from Wired, which is accompanied as always by witty comments.

Pocket Players: 13 Great Portable Games

Ars Electronica 2009

September 29, 2009

Another Summer that ended with me rushing off from somewhere to be present at the Ars Electronica festival – but maybe more importantly, at the Interface Culture exhibition.

This year students pushed hard to organize the Royal Interface Culture Masquerade Ball, which took place at the twin building from Kunstuniversitat – also commonly referred to as the Hitler buildings (1). :P

Anyway, here’s a video of the opening and of a few projects.

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Quote of the day?

September 26, 2009

While searching for something totally unrelated, I found this quote from Claude Vorilhon:

Obviously, our children, who have been playing with their computers since the age of five or six, don’t have quite the same brain as those who were brought up on wooden or metal toys, whose brains are certainly atrophied by comparison.

Claude Vorilhon (aka Raël) [via BrainyQuote]

The founder of the UFO Religion of Raëlism, a man of both great fame and great notoriety, is a manifest supporter of technology and science (namely cloning) for a better way of life. As he is of sensual meditation. Still, it’s quite surprising to find reference to videogames (a positive reference if I’m understanding it right) in his words.

Although I’m bound to disagree… I’d say that playing with wooden toys will propitiate the development of a set of skills that may not be quite the same as (although it may overlap) the set of skills developed by playing videogames. I don’t really believe that wooden toys or videogames have the power to atrophy the brain. Unless it’s a videogame about Raëlism… :P

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