Tag Archives: design

Video Game Design #5: Modern Art

Most of the time video game designers are trying to make 3 dimensional virtual worlds that are as realistic as possible, or focus upon a particular art style, and tell a story within that world.

What I would like to see is a lifelike 3-D world that has a main character that has special abilities, or levels, taken from modern art.  This means, for example, that a character with Cubist special abilities (or in the cubist level) can flatten parts of the world that they are looking at into a 2-D space, but in this space they have the ability to see around corners, rearrange objects and do all the other funky things that happen in cubist art.

On the flip-side, when using the Cubist skills, the character would lose depth perception, motion would be funky, and other sorts of strange phenomena would go on.

Moreover the character could get skills associated with other artists or artistic movements.  Say there was a Dali  gun: it could stretch the legs of elephants (or any other animal) such that they become unstable.  Or a Duchamp Readymade skill which combines random objects in the world into other objects depending upon the angle at which you are looking at them.  Frankly I think that there are too many different and good ways to go; it would take some effort to really take a few ideas and make them work well.

This would be a great way to combine the ‘new’ media form of interactive video gaming and more ‘traditional’ modern art.  It might even be considered educational.  But if executed well, it would definitely be fun, interesting and visually impressive.

Posted in fun, technology, Wii. Tagged with , , , .

Video Game Design 4: Matrix Bullet-time

Johnny Chung Lee pretty much shocked the entire video game world (and lots of others) with this video (5.8 million views, 5/5 star rating with 21,000 votes):

This is a pretty nifty bit of engineering, using the off the shelf Wii Remote and a relatively cheap extra (safety glasses with IR leds <15$) to provide a very high level virtual reality setup.

Secondly Nintendo has recently come out with the Wii Balance Board. This peripheral can accurately measure your weight distribution.

If we combine the potential of head tracking with weight distribution it would be possible to create a very accurate Matrix-style dodging bullets experience, simulating what is seen in this clip:

This would be a damn sweet feature if integrated into a full action game. It could likely be accomplished with head-tracking alone, but the combination of board, head-tracking, and Wii Motion Plus makes for near full body integration. The Matrix franchise is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the technology, seeing as everyone wears sunglasses in the movie anyway.

Posted in design, fun, products, Wii. Tagged with , , , , .

Video Game Design 3: Golf Practice

The Wii has a lot of potential as a golf simulator/ practice program. With the introduction of the Wii balance board the opportunity for using weight distribution has become a real factor, and, though I know nearly nothing about golf, balance and weight distribution during a club swing has to be critical.

Now using the balance board to monitor weight distribution is somewhat obvious. However, very accurate motion sensing from the controller would also be required to really pinpoint the motion of the swing. By some pretty basic reasoning about cost and manufacturing I heard once, it is fair to say that Nintendo is providing middle of the road accelerometers- they are good, but there is still a lot of noise (inaccurate random data) to be dealt with. Lots of noise means that a lot of processing of the data from the motion sensors is required to get a clear picture of what is going on, and if lots of processing occurs, then the nuances of the motion are also getting smoothed over. My solution is to connect the nunchuck controller to the main controller in a rigid way.

Connected Controllers
A mockup of the connected remote and nunchuck in the
shape of a traditional controller.

The nunchuck controller is incredibly light and would add almost no bulk to the main controller, while doubling the number of accelerometers. With double the accelerometers, a clearer picture of the motion would be provided.

Secondly, to get a more complete picture of the orientation of the Wii controllers, the sensor bar which is normally placed near the television should be placed on the floor where the golf ball ought to be. With the sensor bar on the floor where the golf ball should be the controllers would be able to pick up the location of the sensor bar and provide non-inertial data about its velocity. As the controllers swing past the sensor bar, the location of the infrared lights would act as fixed points with which to measure velocity.

A picture of someone on a Wii balance board with
the sensor bar on the floor.

All on-screen menu navigation can be done in the traditional way by using the directional keys; pointer-enabled functions are nice but unnecessary for this sort of game. Moving the sensor bar around the room would be a clever way to also have a swing trainer for baseball.

Posted in design, fun, technology, Wii. Tagged with , , , .

Video Game Design 2: Marionette Theater

Apropos my first post on video game design, I have thought up a new “game” for the Wii. It is a marionette theater simulator: you would get to create virtual marionettes, with customizable bodies and outfits (Mii integration if possible, lots of different clothing options), and levels would include performing different scenes from plays or entire plays. The accelerometers of the Wii controllers would function as the strings on the virtual marionettes. As you tilt the controllers different ‘strings’ would get pulled or slackened moving the different parts of the marionette’s body.

Interactive audio effects would be crucial: recorded voice acting for characters, dynamic background music and sound effects (e.g. when a marionette hits a wall, a thud could be made), with karaoke-style text of the characters’ lines scrolling across the screen, as an option (voice recognition, if possible). A scene/play creation mode would allow players access to creating their own sets, characters, and lines, giving the game infinite replay value (online sharing of new sets, characters, etc., and entire plays, if possible). Buttons could trigger effects on stage, change the motion control to different characters, have the marionettes pick objects up, change camera angle, etc.

If saving a marionette performance and text-to-voice is included (with user-defined manipulations – angry, soft, loud, etc.) a playwright could produce his or her play on the Wii and immediately distribute its virtual staging. This could be done by recording the output of the Wii, but if the Wii could upload and download complete performances, it would become an artistic platform.

A good puppet show is something amazing. Check out these scenes from Being John Malkovich done by Phil Huber:

Posted in design, fun, products, Wii. Tagged with , , , , , , .

More links, again….

More ID. Industrial Design and Interaction Design, that is. Some random links.

A Chat with the Designer of the Google Logo | WebProNews

Advice posters 2007 – a photoset on Flickr

Clarence Larkin Dispensational Charts Really well made charts for explaining heaven and the like.

Shaker’s sweet success – Los Angeles Times: CONSIDER this humble sugar shaker, a staple of kitchens and coffee shops across the land. About 35 million have been sold — maybe double that if you include all the knockoffs — and not one of them labeled a work of art.

Interaction Design:

“Guitar + Vox + OhMiBod” on NOTCOT

Clever interaction design in this DJ equipment to go

Core77 – Interaction Design and ID: You’re alreay doing it…don’t you want to knowwhat it’s all about?: Interaction Design and ID: You’re already doing it…don’t you want to know what it’s all about


Frozen Grand Central at Improv Everywhere We Cause Scenes (Improv Design?)

BBC NEWS | Education | McDonald’s ‘A-level’ is launched

“Fast-food giant McDonald’s becomes one of the first firms to offer its own nationally recognised qualifications.” Whereas Thoughts Arguments and Rants seems to think this is a bad thing, I think this is great. Besides offering lots of people opportunity to get a recognized degree, this will relieve some financial burden on the university system. And McD’s gets good press. Win-Win-Win.

The world’s rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan – Environment – Independent.co.uk

Happiness is a state of mind :A quick cartoon.

fig crumbs: One each Watch the video below after reading this (only 4 lines long) to counteract the effects.

Posted in design, fun. Tagged with , , , .

Why Intelligent Design Is Correct

Darwinian Evolution is a theory of Intelligent Design. Darwin argues for Natural Selection by starting with ‘Artificial Selection’, a theory of Intelligent Design. When Artificial Selection is generalized to Natural Selection Darwin is entirely cognizant of and makes no attempt to remove the elements of intelligent design embedded in the theory. In fact, he recognizes that these elements of intelligent design are what make evolution by natural selection so compelling and he specifically exploits them in his argument.

The Theory of Artificial Selection, also known as ‘Selective Breeding’, begins with domestication and husbandry of animals. Many species have changed over the course of history as a result of humans choosing animals to mate. Humans did this to produce offspring with desired traits, e.g. cows that produce more milk or sheep with a fuller fleece. This practice eventually was expanded to include plants such as corn, wheat and rice. Artificial Selection refers to all breeding practices (both plant and animal) in which humans mate certain (select) organisms to obtain individuals with specific desired traits.

Artificial Selection represents a theory of Intelligent Design because the human intelligence designs and creates new organisms.

Darwin then turns to Natural Selection:

As man can produce and certainly has produced a great result by his methodical and unconscious means of selection, what may not nature effect? Man can act only on external and visible characters: nature cares nothing for appearances, except in so far as they may be useful to any being. She can act on every internal organ, on every shade of constitutional difference, on the whole machinery of life. Man selects only for his own good; Nature only for that of the being which she tends… How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man ! and consequently how poor will his products be, compared with those accumulated by nature during whole geological periods.

Notice the heavy personification of Nature in this passage. Nature selects as a breeder selects: intelligently for the continued life of the species. Darwin compares nature to a breeder to exploit our understanding and acceptance of domestication and breeding practices as an underpinning Natural Selection. Hence Darwinian Natural Selection is derived from, and inherently is, a theory of Intelligent Design.

However, Darwin also says evolution works through a random process, apparently contradicting intelligent design. This is only an apparent contradiction though: if nature is intelligent it is more intelligent than we are. And if something is more intelligent than ourselves, we will not understand how it acts, i.e. its actions will appear random to us. Since we have to work very hard to understand the natural world, nature is smarter than we are and hence it follows that we view nature as random.

In conclusion, Darwin’s Evolution is a kind of Intelligent Design. Unlike other theories of ID, however, evolution is intelligent design based upon nature and not a supernatural agent. This reveals that both the supporters and opponents of Intelligent Design are arguing erroneously. ID’s supporters argue that the supernatural is needed to explain design found in nature whereas ID’s opponents argue that evolution is not intelligent design, and neither is correct. Personally, I prefer my evolution sans design, sidestepping these and other serious issues entirely.

Darwin likely knew all this when he placed this quote at the beginning of the second and subsequent editions of On the Origin of Species:

The only distinct meaning of the word ‘natural’ is stated, fixed or settled; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once.

–Butler: Analogy of Revealed Religion


As always, comments are highly appreciated (login no longer required!) . I apologize to my readers outside the USA for the recent US centric posts. I’m going to start posting some ontology soon (I will explain that Xmas post) and I doubt I could make ontology provincial even if I tried.

Posted in biology, design, evolution, philosophy, science. Tagged with , , , , .

Design junkie

Perhaps two people know this about me but I am a design junkie. Notcot.org is my favorite blog of all time. Recently I’ve even contributed a few posts (#7106, #6974). I’m not sure what it is about design that I like so much. There is always that form/function distinction but I don’t think that is exactly what attracts me. It is more along the lines of personal engineering: with the right stuff you can do different things. You have the right tools and you can build a house (or a website); you have a spiffy outfit and you can get into an exclusive club; you have the right ideas and you can change the course of humanity.

Anyway, here’s some links (or slingks as Apartment Therapy calls them) to people with good ideas:

Check out the art galleries here in NYC with this handy printable list of the best galleries.

Running from Camera: Exactly what the title says and yet surprisingly entertaining. (via It’s Nice That)
Hi, My name is Joseph. I work in a cupcake.: Again self-explanatory. (swissmiss)

Wordcount: a visual representation of how often English words are used. ‘Pope’ is one behind ‘Logic’ and four ahead of ‘Discourse’. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. (via DamnIWishI’dThoughtofThat via Spoonbuzz) Surprisingly I found this site through my lesser infatuation with marketing (as compared to design) since it is more a work of art/design. However if you consider Search Engine Optimization choosing words lower on the list will inherently make your site more unique and hence searchable. I think I got lucky by tagging ‘relativity’ (#15559) before ‘biology’ (#6746) or ‘physics’ (#4543) and definitely before ‘philosophy’ (#2821).

Brevity is possibly wit: Overheard in NYOne Sentence

Witty and thankfully not brief comic/graphic novel (the only one I have ever liked, so this is high praise): Platinum Grit – and by the same people of wit (though not a comic): Poke the Bunny. You really should.
Who Killed Bambi? Art blog finding all those out there pushing the bounds of death and life.

Japan is good for so many things: Trends in Japan is full of products and ideas. Currently #1 on my wishlist for ridiculous things (which is my normal wishlist btw) is a Homestar Pro (no not that homestar) PERSONAL PLANETARIUM. I’m from NY. I have to drive like 4 hours to see stars otherwise.

On the topic of Japan Ping Mag is worth a look. It’s a Tokyo based design magazine.

And because you should always end with a bang, the Superest is my new favorite fun blog. It’s superhero competition with ‘The overprotective parent’ being vanquished by ‘Doug the Slacker Next Door’ who was vanquished by ‘The Charismatic Recruiter’, etc.

Posted in art, design, fun, internet, marketing, motivation, SEO. Tagged with , , , , , , , , .

Video Game design

I’ve bought meself a Wii and I quite like it. But there needs to be some more killer games.. freaking mercury meltdown got delayed. So for some reason – this is a first for me – I thought of a video game design. Simply put it is a spy game. The interesting thing is that each level is composed of 2 parts: the first part is a ‘training’ program put on by the spy agency to train the spy in what needs to be done. This ‘training program’ will not make use of the Wii motion sensors but will feature classic style gameplay only. Then the spy is sent on the mission but now to do everything will require using the motion controls. This game design will specific highlight the immersion that the motion controls bring to the game by contrasting them with the classic controls for doing the exact same operation. Also, the game design is efficient by reusing aspects of the same level design twice, though with different art direction, and differences in the ‘training’ and ‘mission’ – due to ‘incomplete intelligence’ – will make for good surprises. Ok game makers, hop to.

Posted in design, products, technology, Wii. Tagged with , , , , .