Games and Interaction design

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Magic pengel research

Just come across the work of japanese associate professor Takeo Igarashi. Igarashi is the inventor of numerous methods to facilitate creativity via simple intuitive interfaces, including 3D modelling, animation, and curve manipulation. Some of is work is really lovely, reminiscent of moovl by Soda, Mario Paint and Mario Artist, a some of the work thats come out of MIT media lab.It turns out that his modelling interface was used by garakuta studio to create magic pengel and graffiti kingdom. Theres also a bunch of demos to download and play with. Its interesting to see work created in academic circles being picked up by game studios.

(found via Christian's blog)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

First lyricography done

Well, I've finished the first edition lyricography, with Roni Size and method man. Its an attempt to visually represent, though layout and animation, the lyrics and tone of music. Still not 100% sure bout the choice of music for this one but its a good test for something with really rapid lyrics. The next one will definitely be more chilled! Planning for something with procedurally generated vegetation I hope. Probly gonna hook up with Mr Bone for one soon.

Anyway, download or watch videos of the Lyricography here.

Khronos Projector

This is one of the finest and most original ideas for an installation I've seen. Check out the Khronos Projector created for siggraph by some Japanese academics. Its an installation that turns a sequence of video frames into a three-dimensional space-time volume, and allows the user to create ripples through the space by interacting with their hands. I can't say I've ever seen anything like it... its such a natural idea and so beautifully executed, and provides a great parallel to the way that 3 dimensional space and time co-exist in a way that is far easier for the human mind to understand..... genius. Theres even a little processing demo applet here (oh and thanks to nick c for the link)

Monday, November 14, 2005


Bit more tweaking and getting the code up to date, I really want to get this released over the next week or so, its just another one of those things thats been hanging around too long..... really can't be bothered to sync up all the rest of the lyrics tho.... so tedious! Plus trying to think of some interesting ways of hooking user-interaction into the visuals rather than leaving it as a self-running thing.


For those unable to get their hands on the unbelievably desirable limited edition shadow of the colossus box, theres hope for you. Some kind internet users have shared the majority of the videos from the pre-order DVD covering early footage and trailers for ICO and Shadow of the Colossus for those unable to get hold of it. This forum post has links to them all.

For a few good splines

Since first playing around with curveTo in Flash 6 and doing the first few Maya NURBS tutorials, I've wanted to have a better understanding of Splines and all things curvy. Heres a horribly complicated explanation that I've not bothered reading, but hey it was one of the first google links when i was looking for a nice spline picture.

Theres a project I'm having a play with in my spare time for which I'm trying to create some bezier terrain surfaces, and the only resources I could find were a few years old. Digging deeper has turned up some interesting bits and pieces tho, and heres a few links for that I found pretty useful. OpenGLs own functions seem pretty useless as you cant get access to the vertex data.

Dynamic Level of Detail Terrrain Rendering with Bezier Patches by Mike Rayner, one of the programmers from the SSX series (currently having a play on PSP right now btw, not a bad title). With most 3d packages being able to edit and create NURBS surfaces. This is very applicable. I'm hoping using beziers might be a good way to procedurally generate interesting shapes and things with a complexity without a lot of work for each creation. but only playing will tell :)

Bezier Curved surfaces. Student work, but includes source for generation of bezier surfaces.

Graphics Gems Repository. Download all the source code for the graphics gems series examples. Gems V, example 4-8 has exactly what I was looking for.... a routine for generating a 3d bezier curve from an unlimted number of control points.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Just read though a fascinating section of Deep Simplicity by John Gribbin, where he talks of the work of Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute, and his theories of networks and connections in terms of assembling complex systems. Using the example of a large number of unconnected buttons on the floor, Gribbin explains what happens when you start to connect the buttons randomly to each other. Whereas you start off with a number of single items or simple pairs, the more connections you make, the more complex the system becomes, and large chains start to join together forming a superstructure that eventually brings all the elements together. This got me thinking about some of the AI examples from "Programming Game AI by Example", where a number of simple inputs connected to a number of simple agents with basic rules can produce some amazingly interesting behaviour. Flocking and predator/prey behaviours can seem enormously complex compared to the actual algorithms in place. (Braitenberg vehicles are a great example of complex behaviour from incredibly simple rules). Sometimes it feels like the art of creating an interesting piece of interaction is careful selection and combination of simple elements to create something that is considerably more than its parts, masking the simplicity. Its also exactly the same phenomenon that appears when looking at emergent gameplay built on a number of simple systems or rules, such as the incredible range and variety of chess strategies. This makes me think perhaps that its almost impossible to sit down and design anything of any complexity from scratch... prototyping is essential and change is inevitible as things will happen along the way that you can never predict that arise from the various systems interacting and connecting with each other. But that said "happy accidents" are something you should expect more than be surprised by!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

city crawlers

Been having a bit of a play with abstract graphics over the last week or so, and having a think about complex systems built from simplicity, and this is one of the things that came out as a result, a little interactive piece called city crawlers. Download for your PC, or watch a video here.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

"That cloud game"

Damnit, looks like I'm not the only one when it comes to games called Cloud. Take a look at this if you get the chance, a student project from the guys at the USC Interactive Media division, this is a rather polished and original game, seeing you set as a poorly child in a hospital bed collecting up clouds and reorganising them to make things like lollipops etc. Feels a bit inspired by Katamari, especially the cloud level in the sequel. A bit hammy but definitely impressive for student work. Download the 30mb game here.