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  Ring Around The Rosey  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
A good friend of mine has had two Xbox 360s die in the classic "red ring of death" fashion. The second one was refurbished (not refurbished enough, apparently). Hope the third one's a charm.

Anecdotally, about half of my friends who own a 360 have gotten a dud. Even one of the colleges at which I teach got a red-ringed Xbox. Every time my own console grumbles during DVD playback a shiver crawls up my spine.

Certainly there are far more important things in life to complain about, but Holy Helen of the Hand Grenade, what a wobbly piece of crap the Xbox 360 hardware is. I swear the only reason I bought one was for professional reasons.
 
     
 
   
 
  3 comments  
  I Adored My 64 (My ‘Commodore 64’)  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I Adored My 64 (My ‘Commodore 64’)
Gamasutra digs deep into A History of Gaming Platforms: The Commodore 64 in the online magazine's latest feature. Ah, Commodore 64, how I loved you and each one of your 16 on-screen colors, your simple operating system, and your advanced sound chip.

Of course what really made the C64 shine for me was its games. Favorites included Archon and its sequel Adept, Paradroid, Impossible Mission, M.U.L.E. and Pool of Radiance. Most of these had great game-play that still stands up today, graphics be damned.

I'm not wallowing in nostalgia, but when I was a kid, we had "floppy" disks the size of ham-sandwiches...
 
     
 
   
 
  6 comments  
  links for 2007-10-20  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-20 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Can Game Controllers ‘Make Awesome Music’?  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-18 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
A plastic guitar or drum set might be an obvious choice for a music-game controller, but not everyone's ready to shell out for one-shot items ultimately destined for landfill. A smarter play might be to design music games for standard controllers instead--the challenge for users here is to squeeze great music out of an unfamiliar instrument.

My brother Joel has started doing some practical R&D towards the goal of "allowing anyone to pick up a game controller and make awesome music with it." A newcomer to game development but an experienced musician and audio engineer, Joel's got a great sense play, a brain for making things work, and a passion for sound. He's posted his first YouTube video. In it, he's using a PS2 controller as a MIDI device (musical instrument), triggering sounds and breakbeats through a combination of audio programs. Wild stuff. Can't wait to follow Joel's adventures in game development, but of course I'm biased :)

 
     
 
   
 
  5 comments  
  A Brain-Computer Interface For ‘Second Life’  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-16 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Throw away your keyboards and mice: Second Life avatars may now be controlled directly by the brain, thanks researchers at Keio University Biomedical Engineering Laboratory. According to blog Pink Tentacle, which translated a news release from Nikkei Net, a user wearing an electrode-studded headpiece can control an avatar in 3D space simply by thinking about moving. Based on a YouTube video of the process (below), control over the avatar is very precise--not what I pictured based on early brain-computer interface experiments.

Continue reading: A Brain-Computer Interface For ‘Second Life’
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  links for 2007-10-11  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  links for 2007-09-17  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-17 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  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.
 
     
 
   
 
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  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?
 
     
 
   
 
  3 comments  
  Why Medical Devices Don’t Work  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Having spent the majority of last week in a hospital with my wife and new baby, I had lots of time to observe a few different types of medical devices in use. In most cases, I noted a gap between operation of a device as planned by its designer and the practical application of the device as executed by hospital--various minor failings transpired within that gap. I thought I'd file a couple here for future reference (these seem to be pretty typical issues--I look at these as interactive design issues, personally).

Continue reading: Why Medical Devices Don’t Work
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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