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  Imminent Toronto Gaming Action  
Posted 2008-04-08 by Tony Walsh
Indie warlord Jim Munroe informed his mailing list today that his Artsy Games Incubator is holding an open house in Toronto at the Mobile Experience Lab on Wed. April 23rd at 7pm. Writes Jim, "there'll be short presentations of the games we made using accessible tools... we're also inviting people in the indie games community at large to bring their games-in-progress to demo -- and no, you don't have to identify as an artist." Yes, but how do we define "indie?" And what if I'm not indie but I'm making an artsy game?

The third installment of the Toronto Game Jam was announced to mailing list members today. Registration is now open for the frantic game-making event, which runs May 9 - 11, 2008. From the call-out: "It's FREE and open to anyone in the world with a modicum of game making ability. Coders! Artists! Designers! Musicians! All are welcome." Sounds like fun, if you can stay up for 72 hours straight.

Lastly, the Second Skin virtual world documentary will make its Toronto debut on April 21 and 23. I make a 15-second appearance in the film, so I'm totally biased when I insist that you go see it--more importantly, help the filmmakers get the word out to local media so that the uninitiated flock to the film in droves.
  Bitmappy Events In NYC And Montreal  
Posted 2007-11-19 by Tony Walsh
A pair of pixelated events, unrelated in all ways but aesthetically, rasterize in Brooklyn and Montreal this month.

"B I T M A P: as good as new" runs as part of the 4-day Blip Festival. Matteo Bittanti reports for Videoludica that the group exhibition celebrates "the history of the digital image, the, aesthetics of early computing and early video-game consoles. Expect pixels, old monitors and 8 bit sounds!" A reception for the group show, which runs until February, 2008, will reportedly be held Saturday, November 24th 2007 from 7pm - 10pm at vertexList.

Meanwhile, in frosty Canada, the Kokoromi Collective launches its "Gamma 256" show, a game design event where submitting creators were constrained to game space comprised of 256 pixels square or smaller. Should be some really innovative stuff on display given the constraints (more info on the official site). The show launches Wednesday, November 28, 2007, at Société des arts technologiques. The event coincides with the 4th annual Montreal International Game Summit, so if you're in town for the conference, there's really no excuse not to go!
  ‘Tale of Tales’ Interviews CMP’s Simon Carless  
Posted 2007-11-12 by Tony Walsh
Simon Carless, editor and publisher with the CMP Game Group (Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra, GameSetWatch and more) was cornered by independent art-game maker Tale of Tales earlier this year. Tale of Tales published the interview over this past weekend, touching on Carless' background, his shift towards business/product management of CMP's many game-related initiatives, and discussing today's independent game scene.

As Chairman of the Independent Games Festival, Carless helps to shape the future of indie gaming. He told Tale of Tales that the rise of independent developers is due both to game-industry veterans forming their own teams, and "bedroom programmers" publishing on the web and making money by running ads. Although not business-focused, Tale of Tales is a very strong artistic contender in the indie arena, having launched the acclaimed Endless Forest microworld in 2005 and The Path, its entry into the 2008 Independent Games Festival.
  links for 2007-10-14  
Posted 2007-10-14 by Tony Walsh
  Inflate Your Own 3D ‘Second Life’ Objects in Minutes  
Posted 2007-10-04 by Tony Walsh
Inflate Your Own 3D ‘Second Life’ Objects in Minutes
German software developer impara has released an amazing little application for easily creating organic 3D objects for use with Second Life. PloppSL allows users to paint something on-screen, "inflate" it, tweak it a bit, then export it to the virtual world as a "sculptie." The Plopp interface is gorgeous in its simplicity, and appears to be completely idiot-proof, in contrast to Second Life's clunky built-in building blocks.

Certainly PloppSL is a very limited tool, but it's free, and for people like me who haven't added proper 3D modeling to their skill-set, it's got plenty of potential for rapidly creating interesting organic shapes. I have no use for its primitive painting system, but you can bet I'll be tinkering with Photoshop and replacing PloppSL's simplistic exported textures with more sophisticated ones.
  ‘Endless Forest’ Gets Bigger, Smaller  
Posted 2007-09-26 by Tony Walsh
‘Endless Forest’ Gets Bigger, Smaller
The Endless Forest, a unique, open-ended virtual world where users become Stags has doubled the size of its lush woodland environment while reducing the file size of its client software. A new landscape has been added, featuring birch and sycamore trees, a playground, and a rock quarry. New users of The Endless Forest now begin the game as Fawns, added last year, and level up to take on the eerie Stag appearance the virtual world is best known for.

According to an emailed news bulletin, The Endless Forest has been downloaded 130,000 times and attracted 18,000 registrations since its first release two years ago, with up to 1,800 unique users monthly. Admirable stats for a virtual world constrained by nonverbal communication and devoid of explicit goals. Users make their own fun--something that appeals to a limited audience.
  links for 2007-08-29  
Posted 2007-08-29 by Tony Walsh
  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.
  links for 2007-08-12  
Posted 2007-08-12 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-07-31  
Posted 2007-07-31 by Tony Walsh
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