Earlier this year I traveled to Tasmania to co-mentor teams of film and TV producers as part of the ongoing LAMP initiative driven by AFTRS. I had a rewarding experience working as the "guardian mentor" for a project known as Thursday's Fictions, which began life as a book, migrated to a DVD film (to be aired on ABC TV), blossomed into an interactive concept at LAMP, and will now be extended into Second Life.
The creative artists behind Thursday's Fictions, Dr. Richard James Allen and Dr. Karen Pearlman of The Physical TV Company, are brimming with imagination and talent, so I'll be interested to see how their original concept has evolved in collaboration with Second Life-savvy Gary Hayes, Director of LAMP at AFTRS and The Project Factory.
Following the ABC TV broadcast of the film on July 29, you'll be able to teleport to ABC Island in Second Life, where Drs. Allen and Pearlman will host a meet-and-greet in avatar form. A virtual Thursday's Fictions environment is now under construction, with new sections planned for launch this week, and some surprises to follow the broadcast. More info available on the ABC TV microsite for Thursday's Fictions.
Barbie Girls growing at 50k users daily, which is about 15k fewer per day than the 'Zombie' game on Facebook. Just putting it into perspective for you: Zombies are more popular than Barbie. Stuff it, Mattel.
Kzero says "as of May 2007, there were 85," graphing overall brand entry from Aug 2006 onwards. Kzero calls itself "The" metaverse consulting and implementation company, which undermines the data's credibility in my view.
I don't like to tinker much with my gadgets, but I just might have to get my hands dirty with some hot Nintendo DS homebrew action. Auriea Harvey pointed out, two third-party applications which captured my interest: DSOrganize (PDA-like) and Colors! DS (turns your DS into a paint canvas). The more productivity I can squeeze out of my DS, the better. Lately it's been weeping in a corner next to my bed, relegated to alarm-clock duty.
The only reason I'd even consider mucking about with DS homebrew applications is that there's apparently very little mucking involved. Just pop in an M3DS Simply cartridge, pop an SD card into that, and whip through the handy Idiot's Guide. I've got an SD-reader built into my PC, so shuttling files between the DS and PC should be a snap (failing a WiFi link). I'm particularly interested in applications for the DS video camera... so much potential...
Tale of Tales, maker of The Endless Forest, has revealed some examples of emergent play in its multi-user art-world. I wouldn't go so far as to call this emergent game play, specifically, but some of it is close. This development is particularly remarkable because The Endless Forest has no means for explicit communication (such as text or voice) and few explicit rules. Despite this, users seem to have willed structured play out of thin air.
My favorite example (quoted from the Tale of Tales blog) is:
"Follow the Leader Copy someone else's appearance. Gets better the more deers you have [...]
The challenge of copying somebody else's appearance is increased by the fact that you cannot change your own but need somebody else to cast a spell on you. And which spell gets cast is random."
Theater-savvy Torontonians will be treated to the launch of Static this week, basking in a "multi-media, interdisciplinary experience" that brings a combination of audio drama, theatrical vignettes, dance performance and interactive installations to York Quay Centre. Via MP3 players, Static's audience tunes into the thoughts of a central character for a tour around the venue, absorbing the event's sights and sounds.
I hope to be able to attend a performance, as I suspect Static may synergize well with alternate reality gaming, pervasive electronic gaming, and live-action gaming. Even knowing as little as I do about what Static has in store of me, I can imagine how an experience like this could easily be made more game-like. Not that I think theater is necessarily improved by game-play, just that I can't help but look at a cross-media experience like Static and think of gaming.
According to an official press release, the ILL Clan's first project will be to bring its talk show Tra5hTa1k to the virtual world Second Life for performance in front of a live audience of avatars. This is a great union in my view, bringing together some of the best players from different facets of the virtual world--I'm certain that advances in the field of virtual-world content-creation and the art of machinima will result.
Given the Sheep's new division, I'm interested to see what changes (if any) will be made to The Grid Review, an uninteresting machinima-based news site published by Edelman and The Electric Sheep Company. Without intending to disparage the contributors of The Grid Review, my impression is that it hasn't been successful in connecting with the Second Life community at large, which as far as I understood was the entire reason for the project in the first place. At this point, I can either see ILL Clan injecting some zazz into the Review, or the project being scrapped in favour of gigs that actually pay.
I'm utterly impressed with designer Masayuki Kido's Pictaps, a web toy where you draw your own dancing avatar in the style of a paper cutout. After specifying the location of the avatar's joints, it performs a dance routine reminiscent of PaRappa The Rapper's 2D character animations. This a great example of how easy it can be to create a functional custom avatar from scratch in under 5 minutes. I drew "Birdo," featured in the Flash movie below...
Having met Marc through his earlier gig at Bioware (Neverwinter Nights), I can personally vouch for his scintillating personality, art-fu (the Crane variety, I'd say), and his all-around savvy. If you've got what it takes to work with his team at Ensemble, drop him a line via marctaro at hotmail dot com.
Microsoft Live Labs has issued the first public release of Photosynth, software that makes a 3D model out of a collection of photographs of a scene. The technology preview supposedly requires high-end computing power (although it runs okay on my 3 year-old PC), and is activated exclusively through the ActiveX controls of Internet Explorer 6 or 7.
The tech preview offers the ability to navigate a mashup of flat photos and pixel-clusters depicting artist Gary Faigin's Studio, the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Canada's Grassi Lakes, or the Piazza San Pietro in Rome. It's not currently possible to "photosynthesize" your own works yet. When it is, I'll be sure to dump a bunch of completely unrelated images into it and see what happens. Hopefully something koo-koo bonkers.
Sidenote: I'd like to see how it handles collections of screenshots from 3D video games.