Just saw some guy shooting a gun on the street in front of my window. Can’t I blog in peace in the middle of the night, just once?
You can check out their projects in the IML400 website for now. I have heard the Storm server gets wiped every once in a while like other academic servers (something similar happened to us at the Media Lab PLW), but I am hoping the class work will be online for a while and you will be able to check it out.
I am proud of most of my students’ achievements, but I’m going to point a spotlight on Alexander Swenson’s project: the SOOTHSLAYER ELECTRIC TAROT, a playful interpretation of a fortune-telling experience through the reading of a Tarot-like card deck. In his own words, he didn’t want to deliver a useful product like everyone else, where a practical approach dominated the scene. Most of the students chose to develop projects that could have some degree of professional value. Online portfolios, company websites, product websites, etc.
Instead, Swenson focused on play, and used his newly acquired interaction design skills to craft a user interface where mystery and chance are experienced one Tarot card at a time. The website becomes the cards, the shuffle and the fortune teller. The reason for this? To make something cool.
On the technical side, he combined RaphaelJS with jQuery in an interesting way, where interactions with his SVG based animation trigger a series of events that request and load the right card from the deck into sliding iframes, very smooth!
Next is a sequence of snapshots from the final project defense session.
Ah, we finally finished this monster, an iPad game called Superfugu by WemoLab, the digital studio formerly known as WemoMedia. I can’t really say we finished it, since it seems the very nature of digital games these days is to be in a perpetual state of flux. This makes sense, since the current state of digital media gives producers access to monitor their audiences’ behaviors, permitting for almost immediate reactions to compensate for negative outcomes. This means “I’ll change what you don’t like before you realize you don’t like it”, and it is after all, what cybernetics are about: an uninterrupted correction feedback loop.
I could spend hours comparing my recent experience of making a game with my long term experience of making movies, drawing analogies and postulating conclusions about what makes things work one way or the other, but I will only do this at a personal level next to a bottle of wine with those who are prepared to indulge me. I have never been a big fan of games the way I am a lover of movies or books, but I find the production of them fascinating from the perspective of management science. I’ve learned more lessons than ever on management —and team hierarchy/dynamics— working on a game than ever before, and this includes the time I spent in the crazy social education, innovation and production experiment called the MIT Media Lab.
I first got involved with Superfugu back around September 2012, and I have been working on it full time until today. I am responsible for the User Interface design and implementation (Unity and Ngui, eek), some character designs (especially the urchins, and all the 2D character versions), aspects of the story (and I got to make the intro comic!), the design/implementation of some features like Parent Mode, and supervising the production of important marketing assets like the Superfugu App Icon (by Oscar Award winner Andy Jones and yours truly, based on Anthony Batt‘s idea).
To me this chapter is done, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Download Superfugu in the App Store if you have an iPad (available May 1st). Then you can tell me what you think.
Marvin Minsky once told me Triangles are smarter than Squares (and they are). It made total sense to me. Do you need an explanation?
Today is my father’s birthday. Feliz cumpleaños! (Dedicado a mi papá).
I’m teaching IML400 at USC again this Spring. So fun. I am extremely grateful that my employers at Wemo Media are letting me do this. I am sure they are aware that letting me keep a teaching front will only benefit my involvement in the company.
The semester kicked off in an interesting way with an event featuring the recent work of two thirds of my thesis advisors from the Media Lab. Reas and NickM presented their book 10 PRINT [babble] GOTO 10 and sustained a long and interesting discussion with a bunch of other digital humanists about the digital text and other [digital] things.
Going back to the subject of my class, I have to say I was very happy with the results I got from the Fall 2012 edition. In this page you can find links to the class websites and their final projects. Some of them are fairly interesting in terms of concept and execution —like this one and this one— and over all I believe we reached my goal of helping them learn how to learn. I feel they got to a point where we could have continued with a next semester of serious design and interactive storytelling work. Perhaps in the future I will be able to teach a season two of creative web production, but I am actually not sure I am ready to push the boat into deeper waters yet, so I will remain teaching at an intro level for a while.
I don’t like to be forced to grant a permanent all purpose license over my content, so I decided to stop posting photos on Instagram after the recent update to their terms of service.
I will not delete my account, and I might change my mind about this, but I don’t plan to take any more photos on Instagram. This makes me a bit sad, because there is definitely no substitute for me to post casual descriptions of my life to share with many of my close friends.
From now on, I’ll probably limit myself to use Instagram the same way I use facebook, to keep in touch with friends, leave occasional comments, and “like” some of their stuff.
Two years and 3023 photos. I was two pictures short from having 55×55=3025 Instagram photos. Who cares, perfection is always elusive. On the other hand, 3023 is a pretty sweet prime number.
We are generally familiar with the idea of programming as writing code, but there are many other ways to program, like making circuit boards for example.Using examples like this as metaphors and having alternative ways to represent and visualize the structure of a computer program can be of great help to understand how it works. This alone has been a good reason to inspire developers and educators in a number of efforts to develop computer programming interfaces that provide a visual aid to writing code. Some examples are MaxMSP, Quartz Composer, vvvv, Morphic, Scratch, and the more recent Light Table of Kickstarter fame.
The programmer’s interaction with the program, however, has remained limited to the traditional inputs available to a computer: the mouse and the keyboard. The keyboard might be one day replaced by voice recognition as the best available input device for writing, and the mouse offers a very limited single point input to the graphical user interface. This limitation is likely to have greatly influenced the design of the visual programming systems I mentioned before, and it is interesting to think in which ways new systems might take advantage of new input interfaces. Since it’s inception, the computer input/output loop remained immutable until very recently. Today the emerging trends of miniaturization, mobility and multiple touch screens have completely rewritten the role computers play in society. In the near future, we can definitely expect computers to exhibit a large variety of form factors and input/output solutions.
ScriptKit is a touchable programming environment for building simple mobile prototypes on iPad using native iOS UI components and social media APIs, available via an intuitive drag and drop interface.
This means ScriptKit not just proposes a new way to design programing interfaces in multiple touch devices. It also incorporates native support for experimentation with available web services through their APIS, making this environment stand out as a practical tool to prototype and test viable networked/mobile touch based software designs.
And by the way, the nice logo with the building blocks was conceived and designed in Los Angeles by me ^_^