• "We learned that being first is important, but should not be the only factor when determining the viability of a project. If you have an evolved approach to a preexisting concept, you are likely doing something original and the results have a good chance of being meaningful." So, in one sense, it's another physical mirror. But: I like this point, that sometimes, you have to do a thing for yourself to learn about it. And by learning about it, you might ultimately differentiate your own work. As long as you don't claim you were first, there is no shame in doing what other people do. How else do you learn things? Not by other people yelling "OLD!" at you, that's for sure.
  • "Gifsicle is a command-line tool for creating, editing, and getting information about GIF images and animations." Handy.
  • "These three frameworks — objects as portals, objects as subjects, and objects as oracles — propose distinct (yet related) structures for thinking about how connected objects might begin to contain their own narratives, seek their own history, develop their own perspectives, and become storytellers in a multitude of ways." Nice article about the various perspectives on Connected Objects (which namechecks Hello Lamp Post).
  • "I'm super happy with the resulting portrait of where the studio is now: 13 people, working in a garden in the middle of a vibrant city, a strong ethic, and maps and visualizations in active use by the public." A lovely description – it's a brilliant office to be in. Also, they totally have a piano. And: how lovely to see the maps laid out: seeing this issue, it reminds me just how beautiful many of them are, and how well they stand the test of time – Cabspotting, for instance, is increasingly iconic.
  • "What was quite nice is seeing the piles of paper at the end of the day. It’s very visible that Work Has Been Done Here. The sawdust, as Bridle points out, that’s missing from software development. You get to see the failed experiments and the changing versions printed throughout the day which would normally be hidden away in git." It was a fun day, and this is a nice thought from Dan. I kept all my sawdust, which I'll be writing about when I get a minute.
  • "Parametric models indicate how a change to one component of a structure causes ripples of changes through all the other connected elements, mapped across structural loads but also environmental characteristics, financial models and construction sequencing. FC Barcelona's activity is also clearly parametric in this sense. It cannot be understood through sensors tracking individuals but only through assembling the whole into one harmonious, interdependent system: the symphony and orchestra, rather than the midfield string section, or Lionel Messi as the first violinist." A brilliant article from Max; finally, he's written his long-promised article on 'realtime sports graphics' and it's really excellent: insightful about football and data visualisation alike. Top stuff.
  • "I thought this was a fascinating take on the need within companies for stories… Companies spend a lot of money looking for these stories. Traditional product companies had to ask people and users to tell their stories, normally through market research. Web companies are at a huge advantage: they have rivers of usage data flowing through their servers, and the problem inverses – how to make sense and tease out meaning and interest from such a torrent." This is very good; I'm looking forward to future installments.
  • "If Ferelden has room for priests, elves, mages and golems then why doesn’t it have room for sceptics and scientists too?" Lovely notion – roleplaying an aetheist in Dragon Age (as best possible within the game). In this case, the player character believes in magic, but not in the montheist religion that much of the world ascribes to; miracles are really just magic at work. Subsitute "magic" for "science" and you begin to see his point. It's a nicely thought-through piece.
  • "The closer has confounded hitters with mostly one pitch: his signature cutter." Lovely motion infographics – informative, and powerfully confirming the narration.
  • "The move during the past 10 years or so has been from cameras being precision mechanical devices to molded polycarbonate containers for electronic components. This has meant a lowering of overall physical quality. What one gets in terms of features, functions and image quality is higher than ever before, but the satisfaction of owning and using a high quality mechanical and optical device has for the most part evaporated. Only the top models within any brand produce a tactile satisfaction and please one's esthetic sense." The quotation is from Michael Reichmann; the discussion that follows is as thoughtful as usual from TOP's readers.
  • Another Flixel tutorial, this time updated for version 2.
  • "Just for fun, I shoot one of [the hostages] in the pillow case. The head area immediately becomes a blur of pixels, just like you'd see if you were watching some graphic amateur camerawork on the news.<br />
    <br />
    The effect is unnerving. It's somehow more realistic and more disturbing than the cartoon splatter of bright red blood and bits of brain you see in most games. It taps into that part of the psyche which knows that if something's too horrible to be shown, it must be really horrible. Or is this just IO's attempt to get the game awarded a lower age rating?<br />
    <br />
    "No, not at all," says Lund. "This was an idea the team came up with – wouldn't it be fun to mimic that thing about something being too graphic, that documentary style? It's a good way of showing you got that headshot in a new way."<br />
    <br />
    That's marvellous (as is, from the sound of it, K&L2's take on "realism" – namely, that Police Camera Action is a more realistic aesthetic that 24).
  • "There is a rhythm to hiking, as there is in walking. And once you find the cadence — after a day or two — your mind empties. All your social obligations related to work and friends and life are muted. They aren’t gone: they just no longer require your direct attention. There is a shocking beauty to this silence. It’s as if every day of our lives is filled with a white noise. And suddenly, in the presence of these unbelievable peaks, the noise is gone." Lovely pictures, but, more to the point, strong truth, from Craig Mod.
  • "DOOM doesn’t belong in a museum, not because it’s not worthy, but because it’s rock and roll. It’s too fast, too loud, too hard, and too fucked up to be in a museum. There are some games that will work in a museum and some that won’t ever and that, by itself, doesn’t say anything about their value. We need both." Frank Lantz is right.
  • "In this digitally distant world full of information that appears to only be moving faster and faster, you get to choose: how much will I consume and how much will I create?"
  • Fascinating article on pseudo-3D graphics, and raster-based road graphics in particular; coders and gamers alike might enjoy this, although it's quite technical. (And: Racin' Force is just beautiful; I forgot how gorgeous voxels could be).
  • "Die Hard asks naive but powerful questions: If you have to get from A to B—that is, from the 31st floor to the lobby, or from the 26th floor to the roof—why not blast, carve, shoot, lockpick, and climb your way there, hitchhiking rides atop elevator cars and meandering through the labyrinthine, previously unexposed back-corridors of the built environment?" Marvellous, marvellous article, citing that Weizman piece I always end up citing, and looking how John McClane traverses the Nakatomi Plaza tower not through its corridors and elevators, but by literally infesting it.
  • "As computer technology has evolved to make artificial images look ever more real – so that the latest generation of shooter and war games will look as realistic as possible – ajpeg is intended to go the opposite way: Instead of creating an image artificially with the intent of making it look as photo-realistic as possible, it takes an image captured from life and transforms it into something that looks real and not real at the same time." Beautiful.
  • "But I think to succeed eReaders need to meet the needs, not just of the direct user, but of those around them, the friends and family who may not welcome their loved one’s absorption in this exciting new media. They are the “next largest context” within which the new device must win acceptance… The first question [with a digital device] is no longer “what are you reading?” It’s “what are you doing?” – a question that somehow already carries a hint of reproach."
  • Beautiful: capturing graffiti with an ultra-basic setup (torch sellotaped to pen and webcam), and then translating that into vector geometry that can be stored as an XML dialect. I like how simple and open it is, and the fact that Graffiti Markup Language is designed to be used in the field (even if it can't be yet).
  • "In one sense, Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker! is a truly exotic bit of esoterica — a game on the Columbia riots, printed back in 1969 in the pages of the Columbia Daily Spectator, and designed by James F. Dunnigan, one of the finest and most prolific designers of board wargames… In Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker! you play either as Columbia University's administration, or as the radicals who have seized control of Fayerweather Hall. You are attempting to influence the opinions of various stakeholders in the university — students of different sorts, the alumni, and so on. Random event cards influence play. Ultimately, the side that gains the greatest sympathy on the part of university stakeholders wins."
  • "Zoom in on that spot there." Blade Runner has a lot to answer for; notably, this.