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  links for 2007-09-11  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Shadow Puppet Game Worlds  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-27 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Shadow puppetry involves projecting a silhouette onto a thin screen to produce the illusion of reality. It's an ancient form of storytelling that has re-surfaced in some modern animated shorts, and lately in at least two video games. Forget three dimensions. Forget photorealism. This is flat black at its best.

Check out Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, a scrolling shooter game (seemingly in the concept stages) by illustrator/animator Michel Gagné:


And then there's Limbo, an amazing-looking platform game (also apparently in the concept stages) by Arnt Jensen.


I'd love to see these games get published, and hope that someone has the sense to bring Jasper Morello to life in game form.
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  A Few Cross-Media Pies I’ve Had A Finger In  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I'm not always able to talk about projects I've been involved with, so when I get approval from clients (which, thankfully, is most of the time), I'm not shy about highlighting some of the outstanding initiatives I've worked on:

1) The Fallen Alternate Reality Game (a.k.a. "Ocular Effect"), to which I contributed story writing and game design (for Xenophile Media with Double Twenty Productions), was nominated for an Interactive TV Emmy Award earlier this month. Earlier this year, the project won a SXSW Web Award.

2) Thursday's Fictions In Second Life launched last month, a project by The Physical TV Company I was briefly involved with earlier this year in Tasmania. Gary Hayes of the Project Factory worked with the team after Tas and co-developed quite a wild-looking environment for the virtual world, involving elements of the Thursday's Fictions book and film. Some really creative effects were used for this, and Gary's posted a meditative YouTube walkthrough for your viewing pleasure.

3) Metaversatility has launched its cross-media game for upcoming movie The Nines. The game touches the web, Second Life and will bleed over into physical space as well. I'm happy to have been involved (even if very briefly) during the conception stages as a design consultant. The game has already made a few headlines, most notably at Variety online.

Hopefully I'll get clearance in the next month or so to discuss a few other fun cross-media projects recently-concluded and ongoing.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Child Protection In ‘Second Life’ Isn’t A Software Issue  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Sparked by a moral panic earlier this year, two German firms have launched a contest for the creation of software intended to block minors from accessing adult content in Second Life.

Child protection in Second Life isn't a problem software can solve effectively. Second Life, like booze and porn, is meant for adults, not kids. Prior experience tells us kids can't be prevented from getting their hands on booze and porn. All parents can do is raise their children "virtual-street smart," establish and enforce sensible rules, keep their Second Life passwords to themselves, and hope for the best. And, like any purveyor of adult material, Linden Lab has little choice but to make Second Life more difficult for minors to access, even if it makes access by adults more cumbersome.
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-08-18  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-18 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  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.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Microsoft Kills Fan-Fiction Based on Xbox 360 Games  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-15 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The good news is that Microsoft has spelled out how gamers are permitted and prohibited from using Xbox 360 games in machinima and other derivative works. The bad news is that "You can't add to the game universe or expand on the story told in the game with 'lost chapters' or back story or anything like that."

Historically, universe-expanding fan fiction related to TV shows and movies has in some cases extended fan interest in a given property, or has even been incorporated into the property's official canon. Killing fan-fiction (which almost always adds to a property's universe or storyline) pretty much invalidates any of the activities Microsoft has permitted, in my view.
 
     
 
   
 
  3 comments  
  ‘CSI’ Creator Plots Virtual World Extension  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
CSI creator and series executive producer Anthony Zuiker will deliver the opening keynote speech at the upcoming Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo, according to the event's organizers, who say that Zuiker "will provide insight into how the top rated CSI: NY will be utilizing virtual worlds to extend the broadcast television property and making it interactive in the virtual world."

I won't be able to attend the conference, scheduled for October 10-11 in San Jose, but I look forward to hearing the details of CSI's virtual world plot. What I'd most like to see happen with the series is one or more CSI-themed events, or a semi-permanent "crime lab" installation staged in There or vSide. What I'd least like to see is an entire virtual world revolving around CSI.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  ‘LivePlanet’ Bumbles Into ‘Second Life,’ ‘Warcraft’  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
"Are virtual worlds ready for a CNN to call their own?" The Hollywood Reporter asks, pointing to mainstream media venture LivePlanet which intends to embed reporters in virtual worlds Second Life and World of Warcraft.

Yes, virtual worlds are ready for "a CNN" to call their own--in fact, there has been a thriving "native" media scene inside Second Life for years. Wagner James Au was the first embedded writer in Second Life, followed soon after by myself (less embedded than external) and dishy tabloid The Second Life Herald--we were the first wave of writers alluded to in a recent Columbia Journalism Review article on journalism in Second Life. Since then, a legion of in- and out-world publications and broadcasters have been covering Second Life. It also bears mentioning that nearly every attempt to broadcast regular video reports from Second Life has failed, including the corporate-backed Grid Review. Why LivePlanet thinks it has a chance of success here is beyond me.

Continue reading: ‘LivePlanet’ Bumbles Into ‘Second Life,’ ‘Warcraft’
 
     
 
   
 
  5 comments  
  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  
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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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