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  links for 2007-10-01  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-09-11  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  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.
 
     
 
   
 
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  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.
 
     
 
   
 
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  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.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Thursdays Fictions’: Book, Film, and ‘Second Life’ Presence  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-23 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
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.
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-07-11  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Second Skin’ Documentarians Explore Chinese Gold Farm  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-10 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Victor Piñeiro, writer/producer of Second Skin, a documentary about virtual worlds, wrote to tell me he'll be spending July 13-21 exploring a gold farm in China, run by a Chinese-American 20-something. Victor says he'll be blogging about it as often as possible, so I'll be keeping an eye peeled for interesting developments.

Gold farms are modern sweatshops which owe their existence to the popularity of online games such as World of Warcraft. People who hire out gold farmers are essentially outsourcing their game-play, paying relatively little real money to buy in-game money in order to speed up the progression of their fictional characters. Most game makers forbid this sort of thing, but it's impossible to get rid of. There's an entire documentary on gold farmers due out this year, not to be confused with Second Skin.

 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-07-10  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-10 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Catch Me in San Francisco  
 
 
Posted 2007-05-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
On Friday I'll be trekking out to San Francisco for a week to lend my mentoring skills to the BAVC Producers Institute for New Media Technologies. In addition to guiding documentary filmmakers towards digital, non-linear and/or cross-media platforms and formats, I'll be part of a panel on June 2, and will be also be presenting on June 4.

New Media/New Meaning: Multi-Platform Technology, New Media Innovation and Documentary Storytelling
10am - 11:30am, Saturday, June 2 at KQED, 2601 Mariposa Street at Bryant, San Francisco
Panelists include: Ted Cohen, TAG Strategic (moderator); Chris O'Dea, MobiTV; Tim Olson, KQED Interactive; Rahdi Taylor, Sundance Documentary Institute; Josh Felser, Sony/Grouper; Anthony Marshall, Current TV; Scott Kirsner, Cinema Tech; Tony Walsh, Clickable Culture; Meghan Cunningham, Magnet Media, zoom-in online; Ben Batstone Cunningham, alt-zoom studios.

Game Development and Marketing Tools for Producers
10:30am - 12pm, Monday, June 4, location unknown.
I'll be presenting on selected video games and game forms, virtual worlds, and alternate reality games, showing how each has been used as an outlet for non-linear storytelling and (in certain cases) for marketing a specific property. Most likely I'll be covering serious games, newsgames, Second Life, and Ocular Effect, at least.
 
     
 
   
 
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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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