Going Postal – There’s a (Lame) App For That

October 27, 2009 at 9:30 pm (technology, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

You ever thought about going postal, but didn’t because of the whole moral, ethical, and legal ramifications of it? Apparently there’s an app for that, and congratulations, you’re fairly sane. The Firepower iphone app, created by Magnificent Library (makers of Shotgun Infinity and iVomit), lets you shoot anyone, or anything for that matter, with a gatling gun – Dr Richard Gatling has never been prouder, I’m sure.

The gun barrel, cross hairs, and firing mechanism all appear on screen and as you fire blood sprays from your target. They’re toting the app as a form of augmented reality, but since it does not really interact with anything I think it’s stretching the term. I do, however, like Wired Magazine’s definition: Augmented Stupidity. I think this app would engage me for 5 minutes – tops. The best, or worst …yeah lets go with lamest; part of this whole application is the YouTube video put up by the developer. One would think that if you invested the time to develop the graphics and code for said app that you would at least make an attempt at an interesting video to market such genius. No? Wrong again! As you can see from the video above the promotional material is a little rough. If you need more intellectual stimulus, check out this video of the developer’s 3-year-old learning to count his ammo while playing Shotgun Infinity.

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Your Future in All 3 Dimensions

October 6, 2009 at 11:39 pm (Design, technology, Uncategorized, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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A brave new frontier is making its way from science fiction to science fact – 3-D TV, interactive holograms, and even altering reality as we see it.

Wired magazine produced a piece today about 3-D technology that explores the pros and cons of past, present, and future 3-D viewers. The article divides the technologies down by viewing mechanism – Color Filter Glasses, Shutter Glasses, Polarized Glasses, and No Glasses. No glasses?!? That’s right, the article mentions that LG, Sharp, and Phillips are all looking, or have looked, at creating a 3-D viewing experience in your home. This concept is by no means new to the television viewing audience. Home Improvement had an episode back in May of 1997 with portions of Tool Time, the show within the show, in 3-D. Most recently During SB 43 a trailer ran for Dreamworks Monsters vs Aliens and an ad for Sobe Lifewater. The week of the big game NBC’s show, Chuck, became the first TV show episode to be entirely done in 3-D. While we praise them for trying the effect was less three dimensional and more nauseating due to the color filter glasses, among other things.

There are some other technologies out that can give a more holographic effect rather than 3-D.  Adaptations of the pepper’s ghost effect are being seen more frequently like Musion Eyeliner 3D, which has been used at the Grammy Awards. Holographic effects have even entered the realm of a truer three-dimensional walk around display, think of Darth Sidious’ hologram in Star Wars, or Tony Stark trying on parts of the Iron Man suit in 3-D real-time space. Two technologies making this kind of action happen are Cheoptics360 by viZoo and an “Interactive 360˚ Light Field Display” developed by The Graphics Lab at USC back in 2007. This last technology has been developed further since 2007 and can now provide real-time teleconference capabilities, though the result reminds me of the  home videos Chief Anderton watches in Minority Report.

Yes, kids, the world around us is becoming more interactive. Before you know it television won’t just be High Definition, it will be Three Dimension High Definition. Designers will be able to show their designs as actual 3-D objects, and through augmented reality we will be able to bring our new found 3-Dimensionalisation into the real world. Who knows, all we need is an omni-directional treadmill and maybe one day holodecks will be a reality.

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The Emperor Workstation – How Geeks with Money Get Things Done

October 2, 2009 at 11:51 pm (Design, technology, Uncategorized, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This video is of the Emperor Workstation being exhibited at the International Consumer Electoronics Show earlier in the year. I must say it is an impressive display, and somewhat familiar. I, like many of those who commented on the video, thought of doing a similar set up. I had the whole thing sketched out to be built in the closet of my room in college, but laziness took over and it never made it to fruition …Not that it would have been nearly as cool or finished looking as this beast of a workstation.

The Emperor Workstation has 3 monitors, but can be upgraded to include 5. You can get it in different colors and with different features, and it can be run through a desktop or notebook; it has built in speakers and a sub woofer, a power seat, and even rotates! The only unattractive part of this workstation is the price; weighing in at $40K I think I would want more that just a cool looking apparatus to sit in. It is an interesting concept with a nice execution; I really like the scorpion’s tail mechanism along back, but I don’t think I’ll be running out to purchase one anytime soon.

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Don’t Quit – Have Mario do it For You!

July 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm (Design, economy, News, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I-Quit2So you want to quit your job? Do it in style! Back in April Jarrad Farbs decided it was time for a company switch, but instead of typing a boring letter of resignation he decided to make a game out of it, literally.

After 3½ years at 2K Australia the game developer has, for various reasons, decided to move on. In order to inform the company of his resignation he developed a game by combining one of his own creations with the Nintendo game Super Mario Bros. The game involves four levels, finally ending with: “Thank you 2K Australia! You gave me a paycheck, an incredible project and a world-class team to learn from. But my princess is in another castle. My last day is June 5, so I can still probably sign-off with … ”

When that time comes and you’re ready to make your next career move, I hope you remember this and try to do something just as fun. The game is available on his website

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Augmented Reality – The Birth of a New Age

July 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm (Branding, Design, marketing, News, package design, print media, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today we can augment ourselves, use augmentation ideals in math, and augment pharmaceuticals – but augment reality? Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research that combines the real-world and a computer-generated world into one. We’ve seen the technology through Hollywood’s eyes for years – think of the holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the display in Ironman’s helmet, or the singing and dancing graphics on the cereal box in Minority Report.

AR has been around for years and in the past was mostly used by techies for fun and entertainment, but now augmented reality is becoming a tangible, fiscal reality for the consumer-based market. At the forefront of this new frontier is a company named Total Immersion, who has been developing the field since 1999, and publicly showing the technology since at least 2004. Total Immersion has adapted the concept of AR into several markets including: amusement parks, digital marketing, event and exhibits, and retail environments.

The yellow “first down” lines seen in recent televised NFL seasons are the result of AR. Companies like Doritos are cashing in on the idea, too. They recently launched a campaign by placing AR symbols on the back of Doritos Late Night bags. By visiting their website you unlock video concerts by Blink 182 and Big Boi.

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Even the everyday designer is getting in on the action. James Alliban created a business card with an augmented reality symbol on the back. When you visit his website you can hold the symbol up to your web cam and watch a short video – the symbol can also be printed out from your computer.

The possibilities are endless, and exciting, with this technology. Virtual onsite walk-throughs for architectural projects, self-guided walking tours with customizable points of interest, information and visitor tracking at exhibitions – could it even save print newspapers and magazines? I can’t wait to see what this technology holds in the future! I know I plan on using it, if I can find the right project.

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Futuretro and Vintage 2.0

July 6, 2009 at 7:34 am (Art, Branding, commercials, Design, marketing, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Left to Right: the Pyro, the Engineer, the Spy, the Heavy, the Sniper, the Scout, the Soldier, the Demoman, and the Medic

Inspired Magazine recently had a post entitled “Vintage 2.0 – Glossy Retro Takes Over Web Design.” The post explained that the ultra shiny rounded corner buttons and look of Web 2.0 is going the way of the lines, circles, and techno music infused websites that hurt our online souls in the not so distant past. Replacing this is the “new futuretro style that combines the web 2.0 (clean) look with a vintage touch.”

The article gives 25 examples of this new and improved 2.0. My favorite was the website for Team Fortress 2, a class-based team warfare game developed by Valve and distributed by Electronic Arts and Steam. The website has it’s aesthetic roots in the mid-century styling that the game embodies, while bringing in that new twist. The character development for the game is amazing. Each mercenary has an introductory video on the “Meet the Team” section of the site. This video really defines the character’s back-story in a comical way almost reminiscent of The Incredibles.

Here’s a list of each mercenary with their video release date and a short quote:

The Heavy (May ’07, updated August ‘08):
“Some people think they can out smart me. Maybe, maybe. I have yet to meet one that can outsmart bullet.”

The Soldier: (August ’07)
“If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight. Sun Tzu said that, I’d say he knows a little more about fighting then you do pal, cuz he invented it!”

The Engineer: (September ’07)
“How am I gonna stop some big, mean mother-hubbard from tearing me a structurally superfluous new behind. The answer, use a gun. If that don’t work, us more gun.”

The Demoman: (October 2007)
“What makes me a good demo man? If I was a bad demo man, I wouldn’t be sittin’ here dicussin’ it wit’cha, would I?”

The Scout: (April ’08)
“Grass grows, birds fly, sunshines, and brother, I hurt people.”

The Sniper: (June ’08)
“Not a crazed gunman dad, I’m an assassin. Well the difference being, one is a job, the other’s a mental sickness.”

The Spy: (May ’09)
“He is a puzzle, wrapped in an enigma, shrouded in riddles, lovingly sprinkled with intrigue…”

The Pyro: (not released)

The Medic: (not released)

With the level of character development and applied aesthetic language this game, and complimenting website, captured my attention. That says a lot coming from someone whose last gaming system was the original Game Boy™, and who hasn’t been proficient at a video game since Tetris.

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