Last week’s event at LA Flash was a lot of fun; thanks to all who attended. I promised while I was there that I would make Swing 2.0 available for download—at the moment this is proving more difficult than I hoped, mainly because as soon as I take the project files out of their Flex project folder, they stop working. It’s not a matter of files being missing or anything, and I’ve seen this with other projects, where the project files must be in the folder FlexBuilder has blessed as the official project folder to work. I’m sure there must be something really simple I’m missing here, but I’m stumped at the moment. Any suggestions would be welcomed!
SoCal folk: come on out to 2009’s first meeting of LA Flash, this coming Wednesday, January 21st, from 7 - 10 pm—I’ll be giving a talk called “Music, Lyrics & the Wii Remote: Creating ‘Swing,’" followed by Amir Fischer covering “The Emerging market of 3D in Casual Gaming,” a raffle, and networking. I’m going to cover some background relating to the creation of “Swing,” and provide a brief introduction to WiiFlash, the ActionScript library that allows Flash to talk to the Wiimote, nunchuk, classic controller, and balance board. Would love to see you there!
LAFlashapaloozastock III was another well put-together event—I enjoyed Ralph Hauwert’s talk on Flash effects and 3D as it was one of the best at bringing some perspective outside of the immediate world of Flash. Hauwert wove Escher, Pink Floyd, and the Amiga demoscene into the mix in a talk that otherwise would have just been a sequence of “ooh, cool!” demos (though they were quite cool… fluid dynamic bump maps on 3D objects, for instance...).
It was a challenge getting people comfortable enough with “Swing” to try it out—I had only one song request ("This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan) and that came early in the day, before a lot of folks started showing up. Over the course of the day I started calling the piece “karaoke for introverts” since no singing was required, but all the same people seemed reticent to pick a song and give it a go, just as if I had brought a real karaoke machine to the proceedings.
A student asked if I had considered adding greater variety to the visuals (color, etc.)—a valid question, given the apparent simplicity of the display. I explored this both during the original development of the piece and for this new version, but in both cases found that adding additional visual elements or processing made the experience too complex cognitively. While the YouTube video makes it look easy, trying to synchronize motions, syllables and pre-recorded music is actually a pretty challenging task for a novice, and glitz just makes it harder.
All in all, I came away with three keys to a successful “Swing” experience:
All of these things are easier to realize at home than in an installation space, so I’m planning to post the new version of Swing (which will now run in a browser for both Mac and PC users) soon, probably after Ruben & Lullaby is released.
Speaking of which, I met a lot of great folks during the event and got a lot of interest in Ruben & Lullaby (my upcoming iPhone/iPod touch game). I’ll be putting the finishing touches on over the next week or so, so stay tuned…
For those in the Los Angeles area, stop on by LAFlashapaloozastock III in Venice this weekend for a full day of Flash goodness, including the debut of a new version of Swing. Swing has evolved into a typographic karaoke experience—we’ll use online services to stream your choice of song, download the lyrics, and get you waggling your way to Wii happiness. I’ll also have a number of “tuned” song/lyric combinations for you to play (yes, your dream of finally seeing a type animation of every single “ee-oh-oh” in Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic is about to be realized).
I’ll also be handing out postcards and generally talking up my upcoming iPhone game “Ruben & Lullaby,” which should be released in the next few weeks and has already garnered notice in TouchGaming. For more information visit opertoon.com.
Hope to see you there at LAFLashapaloozastock!
Los Angeles-area Flash aficionados were lured out under Wednesday night’s lunar eclipse to attend the monthly gathering of LA Flash, a great local user group. Sam Rivello (whose blitting seminar I attended at last year’s LA Flashapaloozastock) gave a solid overview of various techniques for maintaining state in Flash and Flex applications, including one technique (custom namespaces) I’d never heard of before. I’d be curious to hear if anyone else out there is using custom namespaces to manage state, or for any other purpose. Afterwards I got to thank Sam for his seminar last year, as it inspired me to build a blitting engine as part of the forthcoming Precision Targets project I’m working on with Caren Kaplan.
Next up was Patrick Matte of BLITZ, the interactive director behind the amazing “Creativity Conducted” multiplayer Wii remote interactive installation. Gasps of “wow” and “cool” were heard from the crowd as Patrick deconstructed the development process, which utilized WiiFlash. The biggest revelation for me (although it’s really kind of a no-brainer) was the fact that the Wiimote won’t generate mouse events; Patrick ended up using the VirtualMouse class from Senocular to connect each remote to its own virtual cursor that sent the appropriate events in response to button presses. I saw this piece on plasma screens at FITC last fall, but wish I could have seen the more immersive “holographic” version when it debuted at MAX (a new iteration is reportedly in the works for this year’s MAX). Great presentation, and great to hear from another WiiFlash user putting the server through its paces. Now if we can just get a Mac version...
Here’s a list of links to works cited in my recent talk “Storytelling in the Age of Divided Screens” at Gallaudet University.
I’m very happy to announce the launch of “Timeframing: The Art of Comics on Screens,” a new website that explores what comics have to teach us about creative communication in the age of screen media.
To celebrate the launch of Upgrade Soul, here’s a screen shot of an eleven year old prototype I made that sets artwork from Will Eisner’s “The Treasure of Avenue ‘C’” (a story from New York: The Big City) in two dynamically resizable panels.
The last couple of months have seen an uptick in published commentary on Strange Rain, much of it owing to notice the app received at this year’s Modern Language Association conference in Seattle.
Dialogue bubbles huddle together in the Unity authoring environment like backstage theatre performers awaiting their chance to shine in the forthcoming iOS and Android release Upgrade Soul, from Opertoon.