02 May 2006

beta version

Here is the game, finally. It is not 100% finished, because now it's time for people to play and for me to record their reactions and improve the gameplay.
If you play it, no matters if you will like it or not, please leave a comment: it will be extremely appreciated.
Have fun.

26 April 2006

why a videogame?

"Man is the plaything of the gods, and that is the best of him; so we should play the noblest games."
"Human kind cannot bear very much reality."
Lara Croft

(from Trigger Happy, by Steven Poole)

Videogames are:
.immersive (as opposed to the one way communication of tv, the player is required to put his/her concentration on the gameplay)
.explorative (the player learns intensively by playing)
.pleasant (no one can be forced to play a game)
.a huge business (already in 1998 the british videogame market grossed 40% more than total cinema box-office receipts, and 80% more than video rentals)

...they have a great (largely unexpressed) potential, yet they remain a simulation.

22 March 2006

chips characters

fancy some chips?
move around with arrow-keys and press spacebar to swap character.

25 February 2006

basic life forms

An experiment of simple digital creatures, responding to just two basic needs: hungriness (following the mouse with a changing appetite) and aggressiveness (repelling each other in the "struggle for the mouse"). You can set different values for hungriness and aggressiveness: funny results if you put numbers over the scale indicated...try with 99 for example.

Just move the mouse and set hungriness/aggressiveness.

20 February 2006

why a reality show?

Reality tv protagonists are average people, put into everyday situations (at least in the "purest" reality tv show: Big Brother), who try to avoid periodic publicly-voted evictions and hence win a cash prize.
Despite derision and critics, Big Brother series (and its later clones and variations) have been a commercial success in many countries (11 finished seasons in UK for example, with an average share of 21% over 6 years)
The audience is given a chance to participate in creating the shows they watch, so that they seem more accessible...anyone could be a potential celebrity with a little effort.

Studies have been made to discover why people watch reality show, and here is a rigorous psycho-motivational research by Steven Reiss and James Wiltz.
The results showed that status is the main motivational force that drives interest in reality television. People who are motivated by status have an above-average need to feel self-important. Reality television gratifies this psychological need in two ways:
1. viewers feel they are more important (have higher status) than the ordinary people portrayed on reality television shows: the idea that these are “real” people gives psychological significance to the viewers’perceptions of superiority.
2. the message of reality television, that millions of people are interested in watching real life experiences of ordinary people, implies that ordinary people are important: ordinary people can watch the shows, see people like themselves, and fantasize that they could gain celebrity status by being on television.

Reality shows are fascinating because they drive TV fiction closer to reality, but are they really unscripted? Are they real? And if yes, what is reality then?

07 February 2006

visual inspirations

A short presentation with visual and technical inspirations for the project, plus two experiments.

Links to the cited inspirations:
"Understanding comics" is a comic book about comics, by Scott McLoud.
vectorpark (flash interactive animations)
playDo cam (webcam games)
sitePal (speaking web characters, customizable by the user)

29 January 2006

human intelligence and computers

Can computers become intelligent in human terms?
They have enormous calculating skills and lots of memorizyng capacity, but basically lack the human emotional and decision potential (they execute orders, and stand-by), but is it possible to apply human scales to computers?
How do we measure human intelligence? Here an interesting (well, long and academic but interesting somehow) article about IQ tests (intellingence quotient...human intelligence compressed into a 2-digit number, 3-digit for the smarter guys). They have been so powerful in the past, that during the 1920s IQ tests were used to identify “feeble-minded” persons. These persons were then subject to forced sterilization.

26 January 2006

starting idea

This mind map visualises how term 1 short-projects influence further research for Unit 2 project, which I'm going to document on this blog. It will be based on philosopher Plato's cave allegory, as an attempt to reinterpret this old-fashioned yet fascinating myth within a contemporary context, through a contemporary medium.

Here is a visual summary of the allegory in its key-events.

The mind map can be navigated moving the mouse. After clicking on the map one can zoom in and out with keyboard UP and DOWN buttons.