Saturday, 21 June 2008

Gaming

Had a great time in WoW again - it really is a clever game for getting people together and allowing so many different play styles to intersect. Plus I may have spent some time getting to grips with more of the freebie SPORE creature creator. I am starting to get a feel for how to get some more interesting designs to come together - super fun.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

SPORE - Creature Creator

With SPORE crawling closer by the minute, we can now play with a version of the Creature Editor that will be a part of the full deal. Just download the Win or OSX version and off you go - creating all manner of weird and wonderous creatures, the interface is just gorgeous a real creative triumph. The malleable nature of the creatures (even with this limited set of options on the free version) brings butterflies to the stomach - it is that great.


[image of spore creatures from the SPORE site]

I was concerned that the pallet of parts and looks and styles might feel restrictive after a very short time, but so far I am pleasantly surprised. The creatures flow through the tool and are just so cute - it feels a bit like a pokemon creator - I think the girls (as well as us creative types) will just fall in love with this part of the game - I already have :-)

It is a real treat to have a game with such broad appeal bringing design and creativity to the forefront of gameplay. I only wish there was some more direct multiplayerness to the game - I think it would be just so cool to meet friends creations somehow.


[my first creature snapped from inside the app]

Here is my first creature (well I did play with a slug thing first - but the animation was a bit odd - have to come back to that). During creation you are dealing with creature complexity, cost, functionality and aesthetics which is great. Apart from image captures like this, you can create animated (gif) avatars and little movie clips.

Here are the three main screens in the creator, the editor, painter and tester:

[screengrabs of Gub's creation]

Here is my second one - this is just too fun:

[more spore fun]

Apple Store Opens here in Sydney

Yep, it's alive - should head into the city and check the George St Sydney Apple Store out on the weekend maybe. This store will have two big days really, one today as the doors first open and another in a little under a month when the long awaited mighty iPhone 3G hits peoples hands.


[image of the Sydney Apple store from the Apple site]

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

New RoboCup Bots (and Big Dog)


The RoboCup is changing this year from the long standing Sony Aibo doggies to the new Aldebaran NAO biped robots. We have marvelled at the RoboCup for years now, and UNSW's mighty Computer Science and Engineering students have always done us proud. There are plenty of vids on youtube of nice bits over the years like this one:

The UNSW guys were the first to create the crawling (rather than walking) Aibos, so it will be interesting to see what comes up in the biped version which kicks off this year. The UNSW guys have started to play with their new bots:

I will have to look more closely at both the older Aibo, and the new-comer. With CSE doing other interesting things with MindStorms (vid) they will be good partners. I would love to get into programming like this, great problem solving and lateral thinking.

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Robotics is just plain cool, to inspire further investigation check out these 2 vids of the all-terrain 4-legged Boston Dynamics Big Dog:


(to me they look kinda creepy, like two people with their heads welded together - esp the first vid. Those Boston Dynamics guys have a few more tricks up their sleeves as well.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The Musee Des Confluences

One piece of architecture that I came across doing my COFA Digital Arch course was Coop Himmelb(l)au's Musee Des Confluences. The architecture is dynamic, overflowing with digital interpretations of design ideas and bursting with complexity and contemporary aesthetics.


[Musee des Confluences from the World Architecture News (orig from Coop Himmelb(l)au site)]

The image above is from a short article from the World Architecture News site. The ARCspace article is a great read, showing the passion of the design plus a series of images and quotes. The images around the net are all from the Coop Himmelb(l)au site actually - check it out.


[Musee des Confluences imagery from Coop Himmelb(l)au site)]

Youtube has a CG video for us on the design as well:

Monday, 16 June 2008

Dam Theatre on UT3

Had a preview from the Group A of where their UT3 model is up to. The environment is looking great and the actual Dam Theatre has elements that are working, with more to come. Final presentations for all 6 groups are Wednesday, should be a blast.

UT3 in Architectural Practice

An example of real-time engines finding their way into current architectural practice - and at the small domestic end even can be found at Lara Caldera Architects. Andrew Wallace is a final year UNSW student and worked on the UT3-ifying of THE EMBRACE. Looking at the presentation on the site you can see a variety of sketchy work, real-time vis and rendering.
Anyhow, check out what they converted across from Archicad to 3ds Max then to UT3 below. It is quite simple in terms of atmosphere and feels rather too CGlooking, but is still a great way to explore and experience the design - even though we are just seeing video here.

house_explore from adwallace on Vimeo.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Night at the Museum

Saw Night at the Museum today on DVD, though I didnt really get into the film that much, there is plenty of effects work on display, either compositing of full CG as with the skeletal T-Rex. It is great to see studios not afraid to spend the money to create stories like this which bring a range of ideas together including the fantasy elements which hang off the computer CG work.

Wii Games

I have only had a few brief goes of the Wii, but it is a very clever advance in interface for gaming in general which Nintendo are great at. Have a look at this video for Alone in the Dark (I still remember first playing this revolutionary title on Windows all those moons ago).


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Wii Fit is the next clever extension for the Wii and there are great reports of people using it to actually exercise and lose weight etc. Adding the balance pad to the exiting controls and a host of 'games' and exercises for people - this is a significant improvement on the old exercise video. It is interactive, changes to suit your requirements and offers a great deal of variety with feedback.
This is one of the official trailers:

And there are plenty of other vids on youtube of people playing - interestingly some now net famous ones of girls. havent found any good data of whether it is actually helpful, any trials or studies with data. No doubt some will come in the near future...

Cayton Crain Comic Art

When recently looking at Ghost Rider after seeing the Movie on DVD I was intrigued by this image:

[Ghost Rider image by Clayton Crain]

Well it turns out it is one of many by Clayton Crain. Clayton has been around in comics for quite a few years now and did stints on titles like Spawn, the Darkness, Ghost Rider, Venom and amongst others is now taking his work to X-Force. The set of titles do match his gritty sketchy style - really great stuff. There is a little article on his work in the ImagineFX Comiczine and here are a few more inspirational pieces from the Marvel site, there are some sketchier ones on his site:



[Images of Clayton Crains work from the Marvel site]

To finish a timelapse of Clayton creating a Ghost Rider image - It still amazes me how fast and fluid these guys are: