• "The problem with ideas ís, the idea is often simply a way to focus your interest in making a work. The work isn't necessarily, I think-a function of the work is not to express the idea…. The idea focuses your attention in a certain way that helps you to do the work."
  • "This is just an image dump of marvel approved stills and screenshots of my work on the film. I'll do a proper post soon – this is a fraction of the work – But I had the distinct pleasure of working with Cantina Creative, leading the design of the glass screens for the Helicarier in the Avengers. I also led the design and animation of the all new and upgraded Mark VII Hud…

    Included are some partial explanations of how the HUD diagnostic functions
    Variations of it in 'all clear' mode, and a 'battle mode', after the suit has suffered damage and new windows have popped up to show depleted weapon stores and hazardous environmentals and general.

    The flight menu was designed with input from an A-10 Fighter Pilot. I like to keep my stuff accurate.

    I start all designs on paper so I included some ideas for the dock icons. In the final icons, the more detailed versions show system status based on the way they animate."

    Lots of lovely detail in the work on all the fictional UI in the Avengers – looking forward to it being unpacked.

  • "We made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication and did not contact Rockstar Games prior to publishing the story. We also did not question why a best selling and critically acclaimed fictional games series would choose to base one of their most popular games on this horrifying real crime event… It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member. " The combination of "no attempt to check the accuracy" and "soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member" is really quite astonishing. Idiots.
  • "I suspect a lot of people aren't sure what's the top idea in their mind at any given time. I'm often mistaken about it. I tend to think it's the idea I'd want to be the top one, rather than the one that is. But it's easy to figure this out: just take a shower. What topic do your thoughts keep returning to? If it's not what you want to be thinking about, you may want to change something."

Back from Develop

01 August 2008

So that was Develop.

To put it in a nutshell – or at least, what I remember that can be bounded by a nutshell:

strong ideas, building bands, Kirks and Picards, theatre, cultural studies, mise en scène, horror through constraint, good individuals versus great teams, cultural studies, importing the wrong ideas about movies, rather good chocolate cakes, putting many names to faces, impromptu One Life Left appearance, listening to children, being a good teacher, nuArgs, still needing to play Chain Factor, developers’ main hatred of Flash being its lack of IDE (and static typing), all games are alternate realities, feelies, importance of good user-testing, importance of realistic user-testing, input-behaviour-control, cybernetics as model for AI, de-emphasising behaviour in favour of farming out to concepts, fish and chips in a Hove park, sea air, 2K Boston’s virgin-hiring practices, Kotaku-headline meme, lists of fantasy movies, The Final Countdown on four-player Band Brothers DX, raspberry coffee.

As for my talk, it seemed to go pretty well and people were positive. I’ll try to get it up within the week. I’ve also got some notes from a few sessions I’d like to write up, because my web and design readers might enjoy them. Doing that might make sense of some of those notes.

Thanks to everybody who made it so memorable: it was a pleasure to meet you all.

Reboot 8 so far

01 June 2006

Day 1: I’m having a lot of fun at Reboot 8. That fun’s mainly taking the form of a lot of entertaining mental somersaults.

I’ve already met so many interesting people doing fantastic, tangibly brilliant things, and listened to many fantastic talks. And there’s a wonderful, wonderful balance of technology, art, media, design, all hinged around an axis of thought. It’s really good. I’m definitely coming again next year, I’ve already decided.

Michael Thomsen’s opening was a cracker; Matt’s Making Senses was thought-provoking, revealing, and no less enjoyable than ever. Adam Arvidsson’s General Intellect – or the Renaissance of Karl Marx was utterly captivating – a lecturer with no slides, no notes, and the audience in the palm of his hand for 45 minutes. It also complemented Ulla-Maaria Mutanen’s Crafter Economics very well indeed, and illuminated more of that talk for me.

Ben’sHow to be a Renaissance man” ended the day – and began the night. I have merely one sentence of notes from it, but it was pretty fantastic, and a pep talk that I really needed right now. A pep talk for doing, making, building, and being in the future. I hope I’ll return to the UK energised and excited – and with enough momentum that nothing else will get in my way.

I hope, anyhow. I turned down another beer for the sake of sleep and my talk tomorrow. I’m talking tomorrow, which is moderately nerve-wracking. Hope it goes well.

Show and tell

06 April 2006

Matt Webb’s talk at Goldsmiths on Scfi he likes. On the plane to ETech, Matt showed me these slides. It was really interesting to hear him narrating the whistle-stop tour of the slides; I’m very glad to now have the chance to go over it all again more slowly. Plus, to click on the links.

I got a nice email from MacDara today regarding my mention in the Guardian. I spoke to Aleks after Technology 2.0 (albeit briefly – would have loved to have chatted longer) and didn’t realise that things would go this far, but it’s flattering to see. Infovore, for those of you who might be coming here having googled the word, is just the name of this domain and blog. It’s a made-up word that roughly describes my attitude to data around me: gobble it up, spit it out later.

And I’ve been thinking about show-and-tell, about something coherent just on “stuff I like”. Something on gaming, perhaps. A lot of people I know are interested in games, want to engage, but you know, it’s a big medium, you’re playing a lot of catch-up.

I got asked at ETech a few times what my favourite game was. I can’t answer that question truthfully – I have many – but I always gave the same response, explaining it away as my favourite example of “what modern games can be“.

That game is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The original Prince of Persia was one of the first games I played, when I was seven. When I first played the seminal Tomb Raider, it reminded me of the joyous acrobatics and minimalist combat of PoP. POPSOT was the final piece in the puzzle – the Prince rendered truly, accurately, joyously in 3D. But it’s so much more – it combines remarkable play mechanics, a character that’s a delight to manoeuver, with a remarkable streak of storytelling that’s only really possible in games. It fills me with a glow when I think about it; it’s a truly sensuous game, a deliciously controlled aesthetic, and in its short, linear, seven-eight hours, it contains multitudes.

So, right now, I’m thinking about what titles you need to play – not for completism’s sake, but to get a hold on where games are now. Where they came from. What we mean when we say “games”. And what they mean for everything else.