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  Donkey Kone  
 
 
Posted 2008-05-20 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 

Apparently Donkey Kone is an ape who will punch you in the face with a fistful of ice cream. Something tells me Nintendo had nothing to do with this.

[Update: I'm not the only one to have spotted the elusive Donkey Kone truck.]
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Next-Generation Haunted Portraits  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
One of the main advantages of 3D characters (as opposed to 2D) is the ability to view the character from any angle. MotionPortrait technology and (as far as I know) unrelated service Gizmoz both map photos of human faces onto 3D models of human heads. Sure, heads can be made to turn slightly, eyes to blink and mouths to smile, but the technology can't be expected to invent features that weren't shown in the original photograph (such as the side of someone's head).

There are plenty of practical uses in games and chat software for two-and-a-half dimensional photos, but I find the constricted range of motion shown in MotionPortrait and Gizmoz characters goes beyond beyond the obvious "Uncanny Valley" effect to something even ghastlier--like a portrait in a haunted house that follows you with its eyes.

The trick with awkward technologies is to flip the constraint around into a feature. I can see 2.5D characters fitting into a haunted house game, or on digital trading cards, or maybe as part of an in-game communication system, but not as characters I can easily relate to.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  ‘Ethan Haas Was Right’ vs. ‘Ocular Effect’  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
It's a battle of the mysterious, rune-encrusted orbs! In this corner, the "Oculus", part of an alternate reality game for the Fallen TV movie, launched last year. In this corner, Ethan Haas Was Right, an alleged ARG component, launched this month. Having been a core design team member on the Fallen ARG, I can't help but notice the similarities between the original Oculus, and this latest spherical artifact, both in presentation and interactivity. I'm not against borrowing from prior art, but this all seems a bit soon and a bit... I can't think of the right word... derivative, maybe? Weird.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Country Style Says “LOL”  
 
 
Posted 2006-11-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Country Style Says “LOL”
lol?
"lol" says the Country Style coffee cup. But why? Is it part of a marketing campaign targeting people who are conversant in chatspeak, 1337, or gamerspeak? From what I gather, there's some sort of contest involved. If you don't win, a Country Style coffee cup apparently mocks your misfortune with a terse "lol." How about a hot cup of STFU, Country Style?
 
     
 
   
 
  7 comments  
  ‘Ultimate Game Table’ Up For Auction  
 
 
Posted 2006-11-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Ultimate Game Table is finally up for auction after being born in Daniel Davis' lair five years ago. Last I heard, it had eaten three D&D players, four Champions newbies and one Vampire Storyteller, but that could all be just rumour. The heavy-duty construct seats six gamers and comes equipped with enough features to make the mightiest Dungeon Master kneel in awe. Integrated subwoofers and lighting, steel message-orbs, secret compartments... even reading this post about the Ultimate Game Table will cause you to lose 1d6 Sanity Points.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Will the Real Superheroes Please Stand Up?  
 
 
Posted 2006-07-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Like something out of the movie Mystery Men, aspiring amateur superheroes are strutting their stuff in the hopes of joining a super-group. Wired News reports that Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man and the Hulk, will be judging the costumed hopefuls, who have such awe-inspiring powers as climbing and balloon-shooting. Ten applicants will reportedly be selected for the show, and will live together for 2 weeks, during which time they will be challenged to demonstrate their superheroic qualities (integrity, courage, self-sacrifice, and honesty). The only thing that could make this show better is to audition supervillains for a competing league of 10 anti-heroes. The two groups would then compete head-to-head in a series of classic comic-style scenarios. I'd be rooting for the villains, naturally.

The upcoming show capitalizes not only on Hollywood's raging interest in superheroes, but also on what seems to be a growing trend of average people donning costumes and taking to the streets in the hopes of righting wrongs. Luke Pie Rocker, a Minnesota pizza-deliverer dressed as a superhero, foiled a purse-snatching last month. At the beginning of the year, writer Warren Ellis was contacted by Doktor DiscorD, representative of the Indianapolis-based crimefighting group Justice Society of Justice. Outside the U.S., there's a UK-based hero called Angle-Grinder Man, Mexico City's political agitator Superbarrio, and northern Canada's Polarman. I've previously blogged about where to find superhero tights and boots, but have yet to commit myself to costumed supervillainy. Lucky for you.
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  UK Invisibility-Ray Is So Last Year  
 
 
Posted 2006-07-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
British scientists have demonstrated a prototype invisibility-ray, according to the Telegraph Group. The quantum beam stops light absorption, effectively making something invisible "albeit just a fraction of a millimetre square of a special material and only for a one ten thousandth of a millionth of a second." Sounds dreadfully limited.

I'd much rather be armed with Canadian inventor Troy Hurtubise's Angel Light, which reportedly renders surfaces invisible with few apparent limitations, as well as stops machines from working, kills goldfish, and numbs human flesh. No word yet if it also opens portals to other dimensions, but I've got my fingers crossed.
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  Is This Virtually Hot, Too?  
 
 
Posted 2006-06-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
There was once a sex game called Virtual Hottie that was so sextacular that they made a sequel called... brace yourself... Virtual Hottie 2. I gather that Solark, makers of the game, put a lot of effort into giving their Virtual Hottie hyper-realistic skin-pores and bleach-blonde hair. But I guess someone forgot to show their art department what a real woman looks like. In a promotional picture for the game, a skinny white woman is shown clutching her bosom whilst thrusting her ass backwards in a painful-looking manner. Behold, the artwork below...

Continue reading: Is This Virtually Hot, Too?
 
     
 
   
 
  5 comments  
  Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’  
 
 
Posted 2006-05-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’
A modified 'PCD Lounge' bears horrific fruit.
I've turned the virtual Pussy Cat Dolls Lounge into Silent Hill. The online nightclub, intended to market music and other products to teens, can easily be altered on the client (user) side. Currently in beta testing, the PCD Lounge runs on the Torque game engine, licensed from Garage Games to San Francisco-based new media company Doppleganger (formerly Evil Twin Studios).

The small virtual environment created for the PCD Lounge has limited appeal. Only 300 users can fit into the area at once, and I haven't spotted more than 61 members logged in at any given time (over 400 users are registered on Doppleganger's PCD Forums). Faced with a stale, virtual space laden with billboard ads and zombie-like teens, I decided to poke around the source files for the client software.

In a nutshell, the client-side files are extremely simple to modify. Modders can easily access and completely alter the graphic images that comprise the material surfaces in the world, including the sky, walls, billboards, and even the skin of user-created avatars. Additionally, sound effects can be re-written in Ogg Vorbis format. Other aspects, such as environment parameters and NPC names can be changed by putting some files through a text editor. Given this level of freedom, I decided to mod the PCD Lounge into the sort of environment seen in the Silent Hill series of games, turning the Lounge's attendees--even the Pussy Cat Dolls themselves--into disfigured monsters. And, just for fun, I replaced all the billboards with images from Frank Fairey's Obey Giant campaign.

Continue reading: Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’
 
     
 
   
 
  4 comments  
  Mr. Rogers and Dr. Phil Invade Xbox Live  
 
 
Posted 2006-05-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
If your next Xbox Live session involves talking to Dr. Phil McGraw or the ghost of Mr. Fred Rogers, you may be experiencing the audio agitation of SoundSpoof.com's "Brad." Armed with an Xbox Live headset modified to transmit pre-recorded soundbites from his computer, Brad goads his fellow Xboxers into mad fits of confusion, profanity and intolerance.

SoundSpoof.com scrapes the bottom of the Xbox Live cultural barrel, offering a not-safe-for-work audio assault that must be heard to be believed. My favourite clips among the sometimes-hilarious results include "rogers gets discovered" and "dope and god."
 
     
 
   
 
  0 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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