"Sleep is important. And being on call can lead to interrupted sleep. Even worse, after being woken up, the amount of time it takes to return to sleep varies by person and situation. So, we thought, “why not graph the effect of being on call against our sleep data?”" Human factors are important; communicating them in the most effective internal language seems sensible.
"Trust me, Christopher Robin is probably relieved I did it. He’s probably sitting in his apartment right now in a pair of ripped sweatpants, eating ice cream out of a tub and re-watching The Wire and thanking his stars he doesn’t have to actually still be friends with his old, mopey pal Eeyore.” And yet still I managed to get something in my eye at the end of this.
11 million player deaths in Just Cause 2 – a big open world game – plotted in 3D; a map of the world made only out of player-deaths.
What happens is: the map becomes visible, but not it’s quite the “real” map. Unstead, you see obvious things like the really tall buildings – skyscrapers – and the really tall sites – mountains – becoming very evident.
Strange things happen underneath tall stuff – under the biggest skyscrapers, and the casino that hangs in the air like an airship – the shape of the object is very clear at the top, but then disappears into fountains and fluid shapes underneath it, as everybody falls off, hits things on the way down, corpses collecting on the ground underneath the airship – see 00:58 for a really obvious example.
So it visualises both the objects in the world, and the physics of the world. Yes, there are surfaces where people have been shot or run out of health for other reasons, but then there are all the points that extruded from those surfaces according to curves defined by velocity and world-gravity. The world and the system all at once. You could, I suppose, reverse-engineer one from the other. And, of course, what you’re seeing here isn’t geography – it’s just the visualisation of a systemic layer in the game (player-death).
And in that sense, the visualisation shows just how closely the world and its systems are linked. Pretty.
"Clipstart complements your photo application to give you a place that is designed for home movies. Import your movies, tag, search, and upload with one click to Flickr and Vimeo. You can even quickly upload a trimmed portion of a movie without needing to save a new copy." Looks like an interesting alternative to iMovie for most of the uses I make of video.
"Size has been one of the most popular themes in monster movies, especially those from my favorite era, the 1950s. The premise is invariably to take something out of its usual context–make people small or something else (gorillas, grasshoppers, amoebae, etc.) large–and then play with the consequences. However, Hollywood's approach to the concept has been, from a biologist's perspective, hopelessly naïve." Fantastic: transcripts of a series of lectures about the biology of B-Movie monsters; funny, accurate, informative.
"I find the watchclock fascinating not simply because it’s a kind of steampunk GPS, a wind-up mechanical location-awareness technology. I’m further fascinated at how this holistic system of watchclocks, keys, guards, and supervisors succeeded so completely in creating a method of behavioral control such that a human being’s movements can be precisely planned and executed, hour after hour and night after night, with such a high degree of reliability that almost a century goes by before anyone thinks of ways of improving the system as originally conceived." Fantastic.
"As the population of the system grows, everyone's personal horizons begin to shrink. With enough people, eventually you're talking to the people right in your neighborhood. To get a message to someone across the country, you might lie about your location, or ask that it be passed on, Milgram-style." Filtering by proximity in a restrictive – but potentially more useful – manner. Interesting.
"This is the challenge, it seems to me: it's to do with the tools of design– rules and states– what other media do with images and sound: reveal the world as seen through different eyes, with lapidary clarity and moral courage. And this means moving beyond merely empowering and entertaining the player."
"Everything breaks, so what happens when we wire the world on the sort of massive scale being proposed and every day is more irritating than the next? Probably what will happen is that people will just walk away from the entire project damning it first with market insignificance and if that doesn't work then rendering it meaningless with government regulation. It's worth at least talking about." Aaron is awesome.
"Maybe it's the tusks, and the horns. Running with a dangerous crowd. You have to admit, dark elf boys are kind of wuss. And let's not even talk about gnomes. Or maybe it's part of the separation process. Getting away from your parents. For sure I can't ever visit her in the Undercity."
"Trying to over-explain the cause of a disaster often detracts from its more tangible impact. … Instead, Faliszek says, it is more effective to create resonant gameplay experiences that players will remember, particularly if the setting in question, such as a zombie invasion (or a tornado outbreak, for that matter) is already familiar." Why games don't always need tangible villains.
A nice approach to doing some of the typical monitoring you'd want to do with Google Analytics, eg monitoring PDF downloads. I'm not totally convinced by some of his syntax, but the functionality is good, and the regex trick is nice.
"Why did Weight Watchers work so well? For a really fascinating reason: because it isn't a normal diet. It's something more. Something fun. It's an RPG." Of course. Fantastic deconstruction from Clive Thompson.