Friday, April 1, 2011

TV collaboration / Smart Grid monitors your life / Facial recognition

   The AT & T merger with T-Mobile might bring higher prices and better coverage. I recently received a pamphlet in the mail from AT & T about the iPhone 4 and how AT & T scientists are developing these technologies:

-Attaching a projector to the phone to view X-Rays
-Remote monitoring, such as sensing when a pill bottle is opened or closed. 
-Location specific ads pushing to the phone.
 -Your house appliances will be connected to the net so someone can watch exactly how long you use each tool. There are privacy issues popping up as every aspect of our lives are monitored using the smart grid.

   Follow how AT & T is taking over with new technologies here.
   This is right after the announcement that Google made an app that can give you information about a person simply by taking a picture of them. Using facial recognition software, the app searches the web for Facebook and website info related to the person. With just one snap, we can learn what a total stranger reads, watches, listens to, etc. Engadget says you will love it or hate it. What do you think?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

MEANWHILE - A comic book game for the thinkin' man.

   It's a book. It's a game. It's a geniusly crafted comic adventure comedy by Jason Shiga.

   You begin by choosing chocolate or vanilla ice cream. What follows is a journey of hilariously epic proportions that includes a time machine, Killitron and a memory switching device. Jimmy is a cartoon character that you lead through the story by following tubes from one panel to another. This system brings you all over the book in a mind-boggling level of complication. Try to get to the end without killing everyone in the world.

   There appears to me a method to the madness. The clues on how to find an access code or progress in the right steps begin to show themselves after starting over a few times. I had to think long and hard about where I've gone before. Some of the pages look exactly the same with just a few words of difference, so memorizing your way through is difficult.

   I still haven't gotten to the end of the book, but once I gather all my wits about me I'll take another crack!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Game design inspiration - The Secret Teachings of All Ages

     Digging deep into mythology is a great way to create characters and events that we recognize. Games constantly feed off of urban legends, ancient occult themes and historic stories of gods and monsters. Oddly, there is so much fresh material left out there, believe it or not! After giving a book a read-through, I was more knowledgeable about the origins of belief systems, occults symbols and ancient stories than all my years of fantasy gameplay. That book is aptly called The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall.

     Volumes of global esoteric knowledge has been collected within one book. It contains many different cultures and their creations of religion, symbols and beliefs. It covers topics such as Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies, Pyramids, animals and insects, Qabbalah, Tarot, Rosicrucianism, alchemy, Freemasonry, Christianity, gods, stones, metals, gems, atrology, etc. Hundreds of illustrations show ancient art reflecting philosphies and symbols of the day.

     Reading it through, I became aware of how much of our daily speech and today's symbols had their origins back in ancient times. This is the book that tells us where we've been mentally. I encourage you to read it when creating a fantasy that will have deeper ties to the meanings we've created in the past as humans. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Personal Effects Dark Art - novel review

   The novel begins innocently enough with Zach, an employee of the Brinkvale mental hospital. Zach is a successful new art therapist assigned to a new patient named Martin Grace. Grace is blind and insists that a “Dark Man” is telling him how and when people will die. Then they do. Now he's awaiting a multiple murder trial.

   But the reader interaction goes much further than reading words on pages. When a character is given a number to check a phone message, I picked up my phone, dialed away and heard that message. Zach's girlfriend has a gaming blog I went online and read. And then there's the 26 documents that are kept in a folder in the front cover of the book.

   When I read about a document in the book, I found it in the envelope and examined it. This transmedia experience led me to “follow the clues” in real time which I found to enrich the story greatly. The depth of the story given from the documents (which range from photograph and drivers licenses to braille notes and death certificates) brought me closer to what Zach was discovering and gave me a sense of agency towards the events unfolding. The illustrations throughout the novel show us renditions of the characters involved.

   Transmedia storyteller J.C. Hutchins penned the book along with Jordan Weisman, a game designer who founded 42 Entertainment. Together they weave a mind bending web of fear and passion that utilizes transmedia elements in a seamless, brilliant way.