Category Archives: General Posts

Interactive Fiction Month :)

Found out about this fantastic 1-month event trough the Grand Text Auto Blog,Check this out:

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The following BLOG and FORUM provides the starter kit you might need to participate. Take the chance to get a proper introduction to interactive fiction; I know that I will :)

Other than that my paper about “Minimalism in Games” got cleared except for some minor spelling mistakes. But I was satisfied with the feedback.

Have to get going now, but I hope everyone checks out the above links.

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My Blog writing will become a bit more sporadic for the next couple of days, I’m in hard focus mode right now regarding Game Maker learning and I’m also going to delve into some books that I have not had time to read yet. Will not be writing about recommendations or other neat things today, got a awesome book about creativity on the mail today though, but more on that another time.

Had a really nice gaming night yesterday at my place with Jesper and Starck, thanks guys! 8 hours of fine gaming, really needed. Would be nice to have such events more often, at least once a month, will see what I can do about that. 

Other than this year continues to rock, lots to figure out, lots of challenges, mistakes to learn from, and following my values and trying to keep everyday balanced.

A Ordinary Day

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Just a short chronicle over my day, for my own purposes, and a recommendation as usual :)

Tried to draw concept art – Worked trough a Game Maker tutorial – Exercised – Bought food – Listened toStuff you should now – Random small stuff

Notes:

  • Stop buying so many products wrapped in plastic (why does plastic seem to be used for everything!)
  • Don’t throw eggs into the boiling water (doh!)
  • Where did the snow come from suddenly? 
  • Prepare schedule for some Street Fighter 4 (will be the first new game I’ve played for a while)

Recommendation:

Mac Software: Skim

Best PDF reader and note maker I have tried so far, no complaints. Comes really handy in marking up and making notes in long documents or e-books.

Everyday Slicing of the Grand Tomatoes

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Been a day with a pretty fair amount of different types of work and tasks needing attention. Tried and succeeded removing some bad routines and getting my paper stacks in order, also coming up with some new great routines in the process.

Made a new iteration of my project plan for the spring regarding game design, as expected it is a never ending iteration of where to go and what to do with my studies.

Whilst chopping up the moderately ginormous tomato captured on the picture above (transformed into a Emo-tomato picture just for looks sake), I suddenly thought of a childhood movie favorite. Namely ‘The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’, so I had to Youtube this old classic from the 1970-ies and found two nice pieces of video :D

Never did see the sequels but I have many fond memories of tomatoes sounding funny and killing people.

Thought that I might have a recommendations header beneath which I collect daily recommendations, hope that does not give the Blog a to static feel. Also I promise to start posting some more game related posts later on this week to mix things up.

Recommendations

I haven’t had any software recommendations yet so here comes one. The software is for Mac and is called Freedom. What it basically does is to block your access to the Internet a specified time. Why would someone want to do that you ask? Maybe to overcome procrastination surfing and get some quality focus time. I began using it today and it works perfect so far (:)) and gets patched for bugs regularly. Next time I might give a tip of something that does not cripple your computer ;)

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Twisty Little Passages is the name of a book describing the interactive fiction genre of games. I quote a section from the books summary:

Interactive fiction  the best-known form of which is the text game or text adventure — has not received as much critical attention as have such other forms of electronic literature as hypertext fiction and the conversational programs known as chatterbots. Twisty Little Passages (the title refers to a maze in Adventure, the first interactive fiction) is the first book-length consideration of this form, examining it from gaming and literary perspectives. Nick Montfort, and interactive fiction author himself, offers both aficionados and first-time users a way to approach interactive fiction that will lead to a more pleasurable and meaningful experience of it.”

I have been reading this book a couple of night now before going to sleep, thus not quiet finished it yet, it is well researched and has opened up my eyes more for the intricacies of interactive fiction. There seems to be really interesting work done still in the genre, year after year. Check it out for an eye opener and friendly introduction.

The Human Ego at Play (and the usual daily recommendations)

Today I created a weekly game folder  where I will put all games I find every week to be played on the weekend. I will write about the most interesting ones now and then, but already a little game observation of the day further down this post.

Also signed up for Brainy Gamers – Vintage Game Club forum, where classic games are being played and discussed one at a time. I really enjoyed Brainy Gamers Podcast so I thought I would invest some of my time on the forum, I was a real forum junkie a couple of year ago, not going to go back to being that hardcore, but  it’s a good way to evolve my communication skills in English, getting to know people and get into dissecting games. My nick on the forum is: LeFisk.

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One game I had time to play today is ‘Make My Head Grow!‘ it won five categories in the 2009 Nordic Game Jam, which is basically a 49-hour game development contest. This game is truly disturbing and is meant to be played by 2 players on the same computer keyboard. What is interesting is that it works really well to get the whole games concept by playing it by yourself. When you have defeated the other avatar an ending song begins playing that gives the whole game more context and some depth. But in the end the lasting appeal comes form being two-players. I’m glad that flash games are being more and more used to create these quality experiences that etches in to the mind.

For me the message of the whole game was about communication, and the way we go about inflating our egos, diminishing other people’s ways of thought and life. Basically isolating ourselves and pushing others aside, even if we are more alike than we think,  the childish presentation just reinforces the message. But the game also works just as well from a strict game mechanical point if two persons want to have some absurd 1-minute fun now and then. 

Today’s Ted Talk is about how security makes us unsecure, a very interesting topic. People who have some problems with edgy feminism may find some things said a bit weird, and the word vagina is overly used, but I hope everybody can see the main point of the talk. Mainly being that the more we protect ourselves the more our ego becomes the center of all we do, thinking we have all these  answers to life that we must protect, creating enemies near and far, keeping us afraid and offensive, and thus the more vulnerable and insecure we become.

As you probably noticed both the game and the Ted Talk describes overly egoistic mind states that can seem as a natural part of everyday life, but there is alternatives as with all things, and the age of communication and shared resources requires new standards of empathy, a important skill set to be worked on.

Another thing to observe is how these messages can be delivered in such extremely different ways depending on medium.  Hope you played and watched both, and I would love some input on these topics, if you see any connections at all or had some other thoughts around the material.

And now switching the topic entirely.

Today I also took an hour to gather information on how to transfer my food habits to a vegetarian model. This vegetarian site has a good lineup of information for anyone who eats, and I hope that’s most of us do.

If all goes as planned I will be on a vegetarian diet by the end of this month if not sooner. 

Ted Talks x3

Seen four or five Ted Talks today and three of them truly caught my attention, because they give a picture of what kinds of actions need to be taken for a better tomorrow and also where really well presented.

Bill Gates – How I’m trying to change the world now (2009)

Bill has been actively fighting for a better future for quite some time now, would like to hear those who still would call him Anti-Christ :)

Mark Bittman – What’s wrong with what we eat (2007)

What effects do our eating habits have on our health and the environment, how did we get here, and what can we do to improve? A Ted Talks favorite, and one of the most important lectures so far.

Dennis van Engelsdorp – Where have the bees gone?   (2008)

Beekeepers seem like an interesting bunch, also some worrying news on the state of the bee populations.

That’s all for today, hope you got something of value by watching :)  All I know is that I’m going to adapt to a more sustainable way of living step by step for the rest of my life, be it short or long, and I hope others at least give it serious consideration.

Popular Culture, Learning and Games

 

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Today I spent most of the day reading through ‘Everything Bad is Good for You’ by Steve Johnson. It tries to answer what effect today’s media has on us, if it’s making us dumber as most reports presume, and comes up with some interesting theories. The main one being that the Internet, games and TV-series now days demand a much higher degree of interaction and sophisticated information analysis and deciphering, and that the demand continues to rise because the brain essentially seeks challenges. Even the Reality Shows on TV with their often dubious subject matters activates our brains more than previous generations of programs by containing more material to analyze and find social patterns in, demanding more activity of the viewer in different ways. It’s definitely an interesting read but the book has the problem of to little scientific proof according to academics and scientists, but the theories are well presented. These were the valuable thoughts and concepts the book reinforced in me:

We benefit strongly from exploring new media, technologies & linguistics instead of alienating ourselves and thinking we had all the answers when we grew up and media was better in our generation.

A diverse intake of books, games, internet, music, theater etc. is a good core for challenging our minds and keeping them open, strongly referring to the above point. All cultural expressions have their own strengths in what they can convey and how. So just as with food a balanced intake should logically be a good thing.

Interactivity is the future of learning, better not to be pushing ideas and concepts on to people but instead creating exploring environments with choices. As argued in the book and in other observations the scientific method is built into games naturally, when diversifying the subject matters this becomes a really powerful tool filled with entertaining value that keeps us alert. Give people questions to answer and boundaries to explore instead of premade opinions.

Create entertainment that can be experienced many times instead of conveying all information at one run trough; the concept is talked about especially within the frames of TV-series in the book. If that is done with good craftsmanship the value of the work is prolonged. Seinfeld, The Sopranos and The Simpsons are given as great examples of this “Most Repeatable Programming model” (MRP). I have now gotten an even better understanding of these TV-series and why they have been so successful. “MRP shows are designed on the scale of years, not seconds” referring to the content value, as viewers willingly return to old episodes because there’s new things and previously hidden layers to discover which have been thoughtfully crafted.

 Other than reading and taking notes on the book I’ve spent some time reading about how scientists are seen as a lobby groups not willing to communicate to any greater extent with the public. On that I found an interesting speech written and given by Michael Crichton (may know him as the writer of ‘Jurassic Park’ among other works) about how scientist are described in media, the most interesting part comes near the end where he critiques how scientists view appearing in public and that they should help common citizens instead of working in secluded domains.

Lastly a Ted Talk about how children adapt to learning without teachers. Begins a bit slow but the interesting observational parts start to appear after a while.

Oh, almost forgot to recommend a game, it’s a puzzle game about sustainability called City Rain. It’s highly addictive and calming at the same time.