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  links for 2007-10-20  
Posted 2007-10-20 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-10-03  
Posted 2007-10-03 by Tony Walsh
  WiiCade Opens Up Flash Control  
Posted 2007-08-28 by Tony Walsh
I had the pleasure of meeting David Stubbs, part of the WiiCade team, yesterday. The WiiCade project allows 90% of the Wiimote's functions to be used with Flash content piped through the Wii's Internet Channel. Although it was previously mandatory to run the WiiCade API through the team's servers, the code was opened up for host-your-own solutions just over a week ago. Indie game developers rejoice!

David demonstrated a couple of simple multi-player Flash games, both of which performed pretty well (a bit of control-lag noticeable), considering how severely the Wii's processing power is tapped--the little white console is not only running the Opera browser, but that browser is running Flash, and some sort of Java-enabled layer through which Wiimote signals are accepted and passed back into Flash. Probably I'm butchering the explanation--all I really care about is that Wiimote-controlled Flash games are now easier for anyone to create, thanks to the WiiCade team.
  Mobile Phone: More Mouse Than Desktop  
Posted 2007-08-18 by Tony Walsh
Hollywood Reporter columnist Paul Hyman interviews Andy Nulman, CMO of Airborne Entertainment, maker of branded mobile phone games. Nulman plans a shift in gears for Airborne based on his realization that mobile devices offer more game-play options than small screens typically allow. This quote says it all:
"We believe in inside-out gaming, where the phone becomes a tool to interact with things that are happening all around you. In that way, your phone becomes more of a mouse than, say, a desktop."
Location-based gaming isn't exactly new thinking, but I haven't heard too many mainstream mobile game developers talking seriously about it before. Having a handful of next-gen mobile games ready to go, Airborne's main challenge now is figuring out how to communicate its new strategy to carriers that still barely understand the first wave of mobile gaming.
  Your Phone Is Your Controller  
Posted 2007-08-16 by Tony Walsh
MegaPhone facilitates real-time interaction on big screens in public spaces using basic mobile phone technology--just place a standard phone call to the system, and your voice or keypad input is ready to control the action. The system seems to be in the development stages, and although no big-screen owners have signed on to participate, it's easy to imagine a multi-player game displayed on a local Jumbotron.

As far as game-play goes, I can't see the MegaPhone system working well with twitch-based games such as shooters, but it does seem ideal for turn-based games where players "vote" on certain actions. SiSSYFiGHT 2000, for example, would work well with MegaPhone, while Asteroids would not.

What I like most about MegaPhone is that it was designed to technology people are already accustomed to rather than layering additional functionality or processes on top of a familiar interface.
  Digital Cameras Reveal Hidden Messages?  
Posted 2007-08-13 by Tony Walsh
David Fono introduced me to Kameraflage, a display technology that takes advantage of the fact that digital cameras can "see" infrared light. Content rendered in infrared light--normally invisible to the naked eye--can be viewed and photographed digitally.

The Kameraflage web site indicates the technology will be used in cinemas, facilitating per-person subtitling (viewers watch the movie through their camera-enabled device), but I don't think much of this application. Why watch a movie while sitting in a theater through a cameraphone? In my view, the killer app for Kameraflage is in stamping cinema screens with a geo-temporal watermark so that pirated copies of movies can be tracked more effectively (or obscuring the screens completely to digital cameras). I'm not sure why Kameraflage technology would be needed for this--if there's such a thing as infrared lasers, it'd be trivial to use existing technology to paint over the screen.

Continue reading: Digital Cameras Reveal Hidden Messages?
  Flat Is Where It’s At  
Posted 2007-08-06 by Tony Walsh
Development team Metanet discusses level-building issues for N+, an upgrade of its original Flash-based platform game N, revealing that over 1,000 N+ levels have been designed for the Xbox Live / Nintendo DS / Sony PSP versions. The team says:
"’s amazing how much room for creativity and invention there is in the level design for a simple tile-based 2D game. After 4 years we’re still finding new tricks and concepts to play with. Crazy! Why anyone would jump to 3D when there’s still so much to figure out in 2D is beyond us ;)"
Even though this last sentiment wasn't entirely serious, the Metanet team is barking up the right tree, in my opinion. Platform games (such as Lode Runner or Super Mario World) are particularly suited to 2D, and not necessarily improved by adding another D.

I suppose I have to mention some exceptions to my own little rule here, such as 2.5D (which can offer improved platform-game play), and specific platform-style games that break the dimensional mold, such as the optically-insane Echochrome and 2D/3D hybrid Super Paper Mario. Feel free to add your own exceptions in the comments section.
  links for 2007-07-26  
Posted 2007-07-26 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-07-23  
Posted 2007-07-23 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-07-11  
Posted 2007-07-11 by Tony Walsh
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