handcircus

Games and Interaction design

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Braitenberg Vehicles

Something I meant to post ages ago, this is something I came across for the first time in the Interactive Storytelling book by Glassner. Its an excellent example of life-like behaviour being exhibited by simple systems, describing a setup of a car fitted with light sensors and motors and how they can demonstrate definable characteristics with almost no complexity. Definitely want to build a little simulator for this sometime.
Its made be want to get Programming Game AI by Example, which is meant to be a fantastic book on the subject.

mmm... mental ray

starting to get to grips with mental ray a bit better thanks to a bunch of tutorials. finally properly understand final gather, global illumination, and image based lighting through HDRI. been having a bit of a play with the emily and randolph setup (theres a new thumbnail there). also just picked up on the feature in Maya that lets you convert a paint effect tree/shrub into a set of polygons if it has "mesh" in the name. hey presto, easy trees, flowers etc. generates about a billion polygons tho.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Housekeeping

Been doing a bit of tidying up of the site. finally added the ability to go back to old news posts, so you can go back about a year. mainly did this cos i couldnt be arsed going through phpmyadmin to find old posts i made ages ago.
ive uploaded a couple of "lost" projects that seem to have been taken down, roadies and the ratchet and clank viral, just so they are still online somewhere, and ive added a new page for tunnel tap, so ive got somewhere to put progress.
there is a comments system thats kinda built but its a load of hassle to get finished off, so i dont have time tonight but will definitely add it soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

ideas coming together

voodoo ray has finally got some decent level designed for it and is starting to feel fun. seems like that first level design is the hardest bit of creating a new game, to create that first experience that captures the challenges, the interaction model and the essence of the game. still looks like crap but i think its solid ground to build on :) tunnel tap is the latest thing im looking at, inspired by a bit of toshio iwai, trying to stick bits of otocky, reason, rez, tempest and jeff minter inspiration into a sandwich, hope it tastes ok. even if it doesnt, its interesting learning. came across the wonderful zynaddsubfx as part of research, its a great open source software synthesizer, bit more than i need but all learning is good eh?

PSP as a covert intelligence test

Watercooler games uncovers this sinister plot. I hear the scores are beamed directly to a US military base in a mountain.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Even more katamari

More coverage on gamasutra (might require registration) and gamewatch (weird/amusing translation warning)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Abstract 3d wire images

Have a look here.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

"Everything is possible"

Q&A Session with some of the game designers that are top in their field in terms of integrating storytelling with game design. read all about it on gamespot. on a sidenote, i finally finished interactive storytelling by glassner at the weekend, after my reading type approached nuclear half life, taking me the same amount of time to read half as much as it had previously. i thought i would never finish it, but im glad i did. a very thorough explanation of some of the key ingredients of traditional storytelling as well as a well thought-out and argued series of theories as to where the future of interactive storytelling lies. glassners personal view is that we will approach a future of interactive, multiplayer, participatory plays, occasionally with hired human "guides", in a very similar manner to the holodeck made famous by star trek.

Will Wright shows of his latest

And the word "sim" is nowhere to be found. His latest title, called "Spore", looks like an astonishingly ambitious and unique title, allowing you to control life from microscopic cellular level right up to galactic scale. Check out Gamespot's writeup.

Katamari Damacy creator shows you his brain

A very open, humble and interesting talk from GDC by Keita Takahashi is up on gamespot. Theres a bit of background on how katamari damacy came about, including the wonderful quote "Takahashi decided to "proactively ignore" the voices of dissent" in reference to those doubting his title. He also talks a little of his questionning of the value of the contribution of video games to society.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Books for game design

Theres a great selection of book suggestions from Ernest Adams on gamasutra this month. Got quite a few of them already but theres a couple that id like to pick up. ive heard very mixed reviews about The Rules of Play but some of the books on the periphery of relevance definitely sound like they are worth picking up.

Rediscovering Toshio Iwai

Isnt it great when one small link leads to massive amounts of inspiring content? A long while ago (several years), I came across Toshio Iwai, a media artist who specialises in creating works combining interactivity, sound and light. His work is simply stunning, so fresh and original and since then I've greatly admired him. A couple of things have brought me back to the same path. One is this lecture posted at video fenky in which miyamoto talks about his interest in iwai's work and how he would like to work with him. Most recently though, it was electroplankton, a new ds title conceived by iwai featuring a number of different sound toys, continuing his exploration from previous work such as music insects and simtunes. make sure you check out the 4th section of the site, item 3 which has a lot of videos of his previous work.
this let me to the discovery of otocky, a game iwai made for the famicom disk system in 1987 with an enormously fun and tactile sound creating interaction model. been playing for a couple of hours now. WELL worth tracking down :)
that led to this guys thesis
that led to the discovery of this amazing selection of links and resources.
and all of that has inspired me beyond belief. next project... a sound toy!