Sunday, December 04, 2011

Borut Pfeifer on accessibility of game AI by design


Borut Pfeifer came to UC Santa Cruz last Wednesday (30th of November) and gave a talk about how to make sure that all the cool AI made for a game is made accessible to the players.

Borut

The key factors that Borut identified for making the AI accessible to players are
- the complexity of the input that players can make to the game
- the feedback from the game to the player
- the pacing of the difficulty to play and of the dramatic tension in the game.

Borut used the Sims 3 as an example of  good AI accessibility by design: The interface  is simple and intuitive, but still results in complex interesting things in the game, and also allows for more complexity to unfold during continued play. He continued to, in the talk, illustrate the three key factors by showing example from his own development work, mainly from creating the AI for the companion NPC Eve in the development of LMNO, (such a pity the project was cancelled), and from the game he is currently working on, Skulls of the Shogun. I can't wait to play Skulls of the Shogun, Borut's plan for how to pace the dramatic buildup by careful design of the core game mechanics made me swoon a little! It's in development, due in the spring sometime.

Dramatic Systems Design Slide from Borut's talk

Links:


Description of Borut's talk:
http://games.soe.ucsc.edu/events/event/97

About LMNO:
http://www.1up.com/features/story-steven-spielberg-lmno

About Skulls of the Shogun:
 http://skullsoftheshogun.com/

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Clint Hocking on dynamics and meaning in games

Clint Hocking: Dynamics: The state of the art
Clint Hocking, Creative Director at LucasArts, gave a talk at UCSC last week about meaning, dynamics and games. He took a stance in asking HOW games mean (following Chris Hecker) rather than WHAT they mean. "When we know how they mean, maybe then we can speculate on what a specific game might mean."

Clint explained the Kuleshov effect to us, showing how the exact same image takes on different meanings depending on what context it is shown in.

He then went on to talk about Brathwaite's game Train, in the Mechanic is the Message series, where the train cars are destined to the camps of the Second World War. He asked us to close our eyes and play Tetris in our heads pretending that the boxes are train cars. He hummed the tetris music for us.

This was extremely powerful.

Different strategies are possible to obstruct the cars going to their destinations: leave one free spot in each Tetris-row would save as many as possible for example.

By this example he wanted to illustrate how the expression "only a skin" is a reduction when we talk about fictional themes for a game. Changing the fictional theme but not the mechanics of a game is more than a skin because it can change the dynamics of a game, that is, how it is played. (When saying 'dynamics' and 'mechanics' Clint used the terms as used in Hunicke's MDA model.)

Clint's next example was the novel "The Masters of Go" by Kawabata Yasunari that describes a Go match where the game play express the tension between modern and traditional Japan. We looked at the end-state of the game, which was extremely interesting. I think this is one of the best examples one can point at when arguing that not only creating a game can be art - playing games is also a form of art. In this case the art is created by two players together. I remember an anime series I watched when I spent a guest research period in Tokyo - Hikaru No Go - that anime series expressed a similar view on go-playing as art. The perfect game.

Go game illustration L1070235.JPG
Clint argued that it can be difficult to say what the games Tetris or Go mean, but that it is possible to tell what a certain instance of playing the game can mean. Like in our combination of Tetris with train, and in the Go-game described in the Masters of go.

This was one of the best talks I've heard this year, it's up there at the top together with Brian Moriarity's talk at GDC this year. Thank you Clint :)

Lemarchand gave a talk at EIS about the beaty of systems and of risk-taking

Richard Lemarchand
Richard Lemarchand, lead game designer at NaughtyDog, just gave a wonderfully inspiring talk at UCSC. (Talk-description here.) Richard spoke about the beauty of systems and about creative risk-taking, illustrating with evokative pictures and music from games. He referred to two talks that I'll want to check up on, Jonathan Blows talk from GDCE this year about truth and game design (available for free in the GDC vault), and Kent Hudson's talk from GDC'11 on "Player-Driven Stories: How do we get there?" (available at Hudsons website). Richard said so many beautiful things about games, and showed many good examples. I don't think I was alone in the audience in wanting to rush home and make a game once we had stopped applauding him.

Richard ended with a list of practical advice to anyone who is about to make an indie game:
- Don’t listen to people saying it can't or shouldn't be made - Do what you can with the skills you have
- Collaborate, and be persistent
- Say when you don’t know something - people will teach you stuff
- If something needs changing - change it
- Be respectful but direct.
- Be honest, and dare to be vulnerable. (Helps create an atmosphere where it is ok to fail - necessary for risk taking)
- Fail early, fail often.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An evening with Brenda and John

Yesterday evening Brenda Garno Brathwaite and John Romero were speaking at the IGDA Silicon Valley chapter. I got a ride with Chris Lewis from the EIS lab over the hill to Mountainview to listen.

Brenda Garno Brathwaite and John Romero

These are my main take-aways:
Brenda: “The rule-set is what separates games from all other art.” Although I have read Brenda’s great book and heard her speak several times i don’t tire of hearing her say this because it is so true. This is the reason why focus on the game mechanics is so necessary.

Brenda and John in a kind of unison: “There *must* be a design lead in a group with several designers. It is great to collaborate in design, but never ever design by committee”. Again, I couldn’t agree more, and in case someone forgets.... just don’t do it, it is so painful.

John: “Fix the second to second game play before you fix the minute to minute.” //boring down to the smallest units of mechanics - I think he means a kind of unit-testing or unit based refinement of game mechanics.

There was a question on how to deal with designers-block, and both John and Brenda were of the opinion that (their) the real challenge is rather to rein themselves in. And that there is always some aspect to work on on a game if another is blocked. Brenda suggested that a block might mean something else: “Games have this way of mercy-killing themselves.”
John: “Don’t name the game in the beginning...don’t force the the name on the game, it will come.

Brenda: Core games will come to Facebook. We can’t ignore that the audience has come to expect certain formats, and games of other types will need to be eased in. //I’m was curious what she’d think about G+ as a platform, but too shy to ask.

About prototyping:
John: I don’t do paper prototyping, I see it so clearly in my head. When the fist version is done I watch players play. It is important to be very quiet, to watch, not interrupt, and write down what the players do. When watching players play Doom and Quake I could see how they would go in certain directions, and I’d redesign and then watch again to see what effects my changes had.
Brenda: I do paper prototyping - I work it in as a milestone. When doing RPGs.


I might have not gotten everything exactly right when I listened - the notes that are not within quotation marks above are not verbatim what was said, it was more what I thought was said as i was jotting down notes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Digra 2011 Diary Day 1

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Eric Zimmerman was the first key-note.
My jotted words: We are not just researchers, we are also educators.
We are still justifying game research. Danger of becoming irrelevant. Gamification, instrumentalization. Entering the ludic century: The necessity of understanding complex systems (gaming literacy).


Jon Manker and I were matched, so we presented in the same session. Jon has interviewed 27 game designers about their prototyping process, and matched different stages and activities to terms used in rhetoric. Parthes, for example, is negotiation, topops is subject, and pistis is trust. Synecdoc is the understanding of the whole.
When I presented we could map some of the terms to the examples that I showed.

We presented on the first session, so we were not really sure about the new presentation format the Digra conference was trying out. I found it really nice with the matching - that was a good thing. But I wasn’t too fond of the “match cards”. I was at the end of my short talk, and just about to deliver the actual research results when one member in the audience interrupted me. She requested that Jon should start discussing. I became so flustered and confused that I only presented the parts of the results that were specific to the game-design I had presented. I never told the audience about what general conclusions that were possible to draw from the play-tests done. Instead i tried to bend over adhering to the “match game” given by that card. As the conference went on the match cards weren’t used, and people tended to just do present their research. I liked that since that’s why i went to the conference in the first place. I’m not sure what to make of that, since I don’t know what motivations others’ had when going to certain presentations. *I* would be interested to hear about the research results, but others might prefer discussions and games loosely related to the research subjects instead. That’s OK too. Anyone who went to the session and is curios about the research I have done can find the paper in the Digra digital library (look for the 2011-paper in the list).

Jonas Linderoth DIGRA2011

Next, I went to Jonas Linderoth’s presentation. He talked about the importance of gaming psychologies that fits reality, and about affordances. (Norman’s and Gibson’s notions, and how they differ from Jonas’ view on affordances - ie the empty spaces between the puzzle-pieces.)

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I had my lunch sandwich in the cabin where the Feminist game panel was. Susanne de Castel and her co-workers are launching a project calling for initiatives where interventions can change local conditions.


Espen and bart

When Espen Aarseth and Bart Simon was matched for a session the cabin was full. Bart toyed with the concept of games as a platform for social imagination. Espen tried to “steal back the term Ludus from Caillois misuse”. He showed Mark Twains paint-the-fence as an early example of the idea of gamification. ...Caillois and Huizinga as romanticists, seeing games as something other, something better... Magic Circle backlash. Then, Espen pointed at Eric and stated that the concept of the magic circle wasn’t very central to Huizinga anyway, that it became so because Eric and Katie pointed it out as such in their rules of play book. Espen said that Huizinga only mentioned the magic circle twice, but then Jaakko had to interrupt and say that he indeed mentions it *three* times. Espen then moved on to saying that we should stop being an apologetic club and start doing critical work, after which he indudec a bashing of how Goffmans theories are used. Somehow the discussion came into gambling, and Frans said that it has been considered too simplistic and random by researchers to be interesting as a research subject. Then, Gordon stuck in his head through the window and said a few words to Huizinga’s defence:

Gordon in the window

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

IRSGD day 1

Yesterday we had our first symposion of the International Research School of Game Design (IRSGD). In the morning we met in the mocap studio. Steven Bachelder, (he is our über-chair) had made sure that Richard Bartle, Mike Sellers, Ernest Adams, Pär Ågerfalk and Masayuki Nakajima and myself were all in place. Our first task is to work out how we see the subject of game design and game design research. The goal is not consensus, rather to establish a workable agenda.

In the afternoon Richard, Mike and Ernest gave talks that were open to students. Again, our students make me proud. They always toss themselves into game development like there was no tomorrow. The big hall in the library was packed, and relevant questions were asked. When we had to make a small break just to make sure that people could get some air.

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We will continue our discussions today, and for that I am making a notes of yesterday to keep in mind as we continue:
- Mike: A unique aspect of games is that they produce goals relevent internally in the system. Research agenda very close to my own; social agents, emotions in games, meaningful narratives. (We are so on the same page)
- Richard: Games with soul. The importance of talking to designers. Importance of formally describing game design elements. (We are too on the same page. Operational logics etc.)
- Ernest: gave a great list of what game design is, and what it isn’t. Very useful. Then, after mapping several optional approaches for games research he zeroed in on focusing on game design problems. (erm... We are SO on the same page.)

Today Else Nygren, Mikael Wiberg, and Patrick Prax (all three from Uppsala) are joining us and we will all give mini-talks in the same spirit as yesterday. I’ll take the opportunity to talk about AI based game design.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

GDCE’11 highlights

I saw tons of talks at this GDC, and scribbled piles of notes. But ignoring notes, to-do exclamations and note-to-selfs these talks stand out in my memory:

- Dean Tate’s talk on Dance Central
- Carl Callewaert’s hands on demonstrations of Unity
- Richard Garriotts keynote on the three eras of gaming


Dance central

Break it Down! How Harmonix and Kinect Taught the World to Dance; The Design Process and Philosophy of Dance Central
Dean Tate (Harmonix Music)

The red thread in Tate’s talk was how the team had focused on making the learning of how to dance - the tutorial of breaking down the dance moves - into something fun, into a game in itself. Tate described clearly, and with a good balance of detail vs abstraction, the different iterations of development and testing was done in close tandem. Everyone who played Dance Central know that they really succeeded too - the result was awesome, and Tate did a great job describing what they did and how.



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The Three Eras of Gaming and Why This One is a Game Changer
Richard Garriott (Portalarium)
Richard Garriott make one of these speeches that left me feeling inspired: Seeing small things in their right perspective - small, and that which sometimes seem unimportant - such as exploring ad hoc ideas that might not lead anywhere - as important. As for what he actually said: here is a link to the gamasutra summary.

What i found most intriguing was that he wants to reinvent role-playing for this new era of social gaming, starting with understanding the new players and help them along. (whereupon i made mental jazz-hands piping “me tooo! me tooo!”)



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Carl Callewaert’s hands on demonstrations of Unity
Callewaert’s talks were my highlights because I’ll start using Unity this autumn, and Carl gave an excellent introduction. It wasn’t this tiresome “mumble-clicktety-click-mumblemumbleclick” but rather a clear and concise walk-trough. Thank you for that Carl!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

GAME-blob goes to GDCE'11

We travelled from Gotland to GDCE and Gamescom in Cologne like a big (pretty cosy) blob. We joked about how we’d need vests that would blink or make sounds whenever any of us 19 people got too far away from a dynamically updated centre-point of our blob.

Here is the blob negotiating a ticket-machine as we are arriving to Cologne.

Arrived to Köln, negotiating ticket machines

The Blob by our booth:
by our booth at GDCE'11


Blob got lost in the parking lot (trying to find the crytech party)

Blob is lost

Blob decides that even if the sign is promising, this is not the right party.
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Blob is stuck! (but we made it in the end, and our blob merged with the mega-GDCE-blob )
Blob faces a challenge

One of the great things with travelling in a blob was that we could spread out over the whole conference program - and occasionally the hive mind would gather to compare. Now I know which talks I need to listen to when they come online in the GDC Vault. One is John Blows talk on “Truth in Game Design”. The blob didn’t agree at all about that talk, so it seems to be really interesting. Another talk I’ll access is Peter Holzapfels talk “Team Jazz and Production Kung Fu - How Different Art Forms Can Help Us to Create Better Games”. Several in the blob loved this talk. The same goes for Thomas Grips’ talk “Evoking Emotions and Achieving Success by Breaking All the Rules”. The part of the blob that listened to this one says it was the best talk of the whole conference.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Violet

I just played/read/interacted with the interactive fiction piece "Violet" by Jeremy Freese. The protagonist is a PhD student who needs to write a thousand words for his thesis on his birthday otherwise his fiance will leave him. Oh, how I can relate to the procastrination for writing, to what desperate means can be necessary for concentration. How there can be no distractions, and how he threaten himself in order to get the job done. And its funny too!


As a reader you get put in the main characters shoes by needing to type in what he does (like "put gum in ears" or "pee in flowerpot") while interacting with his fictional version of his girlfriend. The roles of the main character, the story teller and the reader works magnificently in this piece of interactive fiction.


Another thing that worked exceptionally well was the chunking of the text blocks, and how the information was revealed: just right in order to be dramatic, and to pace the progress. I found it difficult sometimes to know what to type - it had to be exactly what the system expected, not any alternative formulations. Since it is impossible for the reader know exactly what to type it is necessary to type "hint". Then, the system tells you what to type.


URL for Violet:

http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=4glrrfh7wrp9zz7b

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Lost Garden: Game Design Logs

Dan Cook has written a post on how to document game design work. No wiki, no GDD design-bible,  no blogs, but instead using logs. A high level concept description holding the vision and short daily progress notes documenting design decisions. To each his/her own, but i really like the format Danc uses for the log-notes. Good stuff!

Lost Garden: Game Design Logs

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Player Character with Maslovian needs 1999

At work we are moving to another building. I found this diagram in my office while putting stuff in moving-boxes. The diagram shows the architecture for the player character with maslovian(-ish) needs. I built this in 1999 when Patricia, Fia, me and a couple of others where doing a game called IO city. We built a simple java server and used Flash as a client, talking to the server via whatever script flash used back then. It was a small multiplayer game where players needed manage their needs (sleep, culture etc) while at the same time doing a career (or just manage to hold down a day job without going insane ;)
For this diagram I used the software Together a few years ago (perhaps in 2003?) to see if it could take already existing code and show relationships.
How time flies. Strange too, to see something that we worked on so intensely then, it was at the center of our lives and consciousness for months, and now...a dusty digram far down in a box. Good times though, I remember we had great fun. Patricia and I used to take short breaks when we ran into walls coding, and then suddenly look into each others eyes and see the solution.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Adam and Gillian at DANM exhebition

Gillian, Adam and I had great fun as we explored the different knobs of this art piece. Different knobs controlled graphics projected on fabric hanging from the roof, and sound.

Via Flickr:
Gillian, Adam and I had great fun as we explored the different knobs of this art piece. Different knobs controlled graphics projected on fabric hanging from the roof, and sound.

Monday, April 18, 2011

IFOG 2011

Last Friday a group of people got together in Milpitas, Silicon Valley for the symposion Inventing the Future of Games (#IFOG2011), the official launch of UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media.

Michael Mateas started off the day by describing the game design space, and mapping out how to work on creating better games within the frame of academia.

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The line-up of speakers was amazing, and lots of interesting discussions happened. Here is a picture of Chris Crawford showing his new prototype to Will Wright. Later the same day Chris Crawford gave a recount of the 20 year journey of Storytron, and said he is moving on to this new prototype.

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Here is what the schedule looked like:
https://games.soe.ucsc.edu/future2011/schedule

Here are all my pictures from the day:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/reality/sets/72157626526370908/

Here is other coverage of the day:
https://games.soe.ucsc.edu/press

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hello Kitty Suitcase goes to rest

The time has come for my companion and friend, my Hello Kitty Suitcase to go to rest in a cellar in Stockholm. She holds linens.

I got her in 2005 when I was at guest research period at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. It wasn't possible to get items shipped from the Sanrio store in Japan to Europe, but they *would* ship to the US, so I took the opportunity.

Here is how she looked when she came to me.
Hello Kitty Suitcase - and it's MINE :)

She has been travelling a lot since then, and never gotten lost. Always there on the band when I land, and has always kept my things safe.

This is how she looks now.
Hello Kitty suitcase to rest

There is crack in her side, and it makes her limp. It is strange how heartbreaking it can be to do such a simple thing as to carry a suitcase to a cellar. Out of proportion. If I could have gotten a similar new suitcase I would have, but they are not made anymore. I don't know what's up with Sanrio these days. Before, one could get really high-quality items, like this suitcase.
I knew I couldn't just exchange my HK suitcase to just anything. It would be preposterous. I can almost hear her from the cellar, "You replaced me...with THAT?". It had to bee good. If it can't be perfect, then at least, make it as good as it gets. I did some muppety-surfing (nerdy obsessed comparison-surfing) and finally settled for Samsonite's latest line, the Cosmolite.

my new suitcase front

As you can see in the picture, I applied a few Hello Kitty Stickers on it. Favorite thick gum-stickers that I have saved for something special. I am perfectly aware that they look pathetic, but they also fall off. So I let them. I just came to Stockholm after a trip to California, and not many of the stickers are left. The new suitcase performed well. There is a pleased sigh from the cellar.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NeuroSky Mindwave find no wave (yet)

Oh well, there goes half an afternoon.

I got this consumer variety of the NeuroSky EEG headset at the GDC expo. I thought I should try it out along with working with the Emotiv headset. Tought to look at pro's and cons which may give clues on what to use in what context.

When trying to install i got a reminiscence of installing things on a mac-classic. You know it's wrong, but you don't know why. No matter what I did with it, or in what order, it wasn't possible to pair the headset to the PC.

Now I have forced myself to stop trying, my whole evening is at risk. I shall wait for support to get back to me. I shall not obsess. not obsess not obsess not obsess.

Monday, March 14, 2011

GDC Day 1 Picture Diary AI Summit

I spent my first day at GDC 2011 in the AI summit, but first I had breakfast with Susan Gold.
OBS, in this post the text may very well be incomprehensible. I'll try to write something understandable in a post where I summarise GDC. Here I am still processing impressions.

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Creating Your Building Blocks: Modular Component AI Systems
Alex Champandard (AiGameDev.com), Brett Laming (Rockstar Leeds) and Joel McGinnis (CCP Games North America)

My favorite part of the talk was the table with different entities. I also appreciated the tips and tricks.
//Note to self: consider if approach applicable as blocks in OL




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AI Pr0n: Maximum Exposure of Your Debug Info!
Brian Schwab (Blizzard Entertainment), Michael Dawe (Big Huge Games/38 Studios) and Rez Graham (Electronic Arts (Sims Division))

The strenght of this talk was the various examples shown – for each arugement we were shown how it would be applied, and how. And Brian said a good thing: don't ask what is wrong – ask why. Helps to better solve the problem.

Hm, I'm not sure if I should comment on the title of this talk, it has been a matter of debate on Twitter. What they meant with the title was pr0n like in food, or handbag or headphone pr0n so... no disappointement here oh no, definitely not!

Random notes:
Rez:
- meta autonomy
local autonomy (utility)
dev-tools in C#
Brian:
human brain is wired to see the change, the delta, not the full state. We want to see the delta. Deterministic simulations.

***

Lunch with Ian Horswill

I had lunch with Ian Horsewill. He is, just as I am, interested in psychological simulations for interactive drama. (and fellow “have-to-take-photo-of-plate-before-i-eat”) We talked about eeg and noisiness, and he mentioned the P300 wave, which is surprise, and 300 comes from the time delay. Note to self: Check the emotiv sdk, and what about the neurosky? It would be great to add to the MM, since it is hard to manufacture potential situations of surprise. If detect P300 could be interesting. Hm, how measure. I can hardly surprise myself. Hmnh. Use friend, give strange gift?



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Lay of the Land: Smarter AI Through Influence Maps
Damian Isla (Moonshot Games), Alex Champandard (AiGameDev.com) and Kevin Dill (Lockheed Martin)
I love talks that somehow include spreading activation networks, so yes, this was a good one.

Note to self: Noah's comment on the otherness of the unseen process. Paul S's comment on the game == inteface. This a good example of a SAN that usually is an unseen process, applied so that it is represented. (memory ref: 2nd layer of OL is representation of the low level process). AlexC using it as authorial thing, saying “distance decay” coupling the decay with a spacial property, yeah, representation.

Kevin Dill: mobs with awareness of influence of other mobs. Enities working together, or against each other. //another take on what the SAN represents – loyalty levels between entities governing enity behavior.

Damian Isla: Spacial functions.
line of sight
distance
distance in path.
Showing a very nice illustrative series of visuals to demonstrate.



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Staffing the Extras: Creating Convincing Background Character AI
Paul Kruszewski (Grip Entertainment) and Ben Sunshine-Hill (University of Pennsylvania)
Here's an AI LOD for charcter simulations. Very impressive.




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Turing Tantrums: AI Developers Rant!
Dave Mark (Intrinsic Algorithm), Brian Schwab (Blizzard Entertainment), Richard Evans (Little Text People), Kevin Dill (Lockheed Martin)

This was a hilarious talk! Loved it. Anyone who has access to the GDC vault should save this for a rainy day and then use it to feel better.

After the talks several dinner-groups where formed, which then merged, and we all went together to eat mexican food.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A week in the EIS lab, picture diary

I'm spending a few weeks at the EIS Lab at UCSC, getting started on a research project.
on my way out
I found cosy Victorian guesthouse where one can rent by the week.

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I got a run-down from James S on how to get ABL (A behavior language) up and running, with example code that hooks it up to another virtual world. Perfect for me and Christoph at Pixeltamer too look at if we hook up ABL to the Pataphysic Institute Prototype. (ABL is a system which would allow the use of reactive planning.)
I've also finally gotten around to start exploring the Emotiv SDK. It would be so interesting to see how I might use EEG and data from movements of facial muscles as input data to the Mind Module.

desk!
Here is the desk i borrow, it used to be Mark Nelson's (he is at ITU now) desk , so it is imbued with genous and clarity. Perhaps that's why I was able to make a final version of a paper on game research methods that Elina Ollila and I are writing, it is to be in a special issue in the Gaming & Simulations Journal.

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Ted Nelson, who coined the term Hypertext way back when, and founded project Xanadu in 1960, came to visit and give a talk. He talked about that we don't use the full potential of who information can be displayed: we are stuck copying paper and we think in squares. Fantastic speaker. He especially stressed how useful side-notes can be. I went of on a trail thinking of how many different solutions I've had for taking notes. For a while I used a slate/tablet computer which screen was a wakom (x) board, and right now i instead tend to write in ordinary books, but sometimes, if i want to keep the note, I take a photo of it and upload it to a private folder on Flickr. Evernote could be useful.

Josh working at Pergolesi
Thursday Josh and I worked at a cafe down-town instead of in the lab. We talked about the importance of AI based game design, about operational logics, and laid down some plans for fun stuff to do.


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Jane Pinckard joined the lab this week, she is now the Associate Director for Center for Games and Playable Media at UCSC. We went for dinner at the Red Room, but first for a drink at Rose's. This picture is accidentally shot in the ­transition of two situations.

Emily Short came to give a gueslecture, which was awsome. What I found especially interesting is that she, in Galatea used a 2-axis matrix of moods for characters, but not for their own internal mood, but rather the mood towards each other. For example, to a certain player, and object in the world (like the statue) can be creepy – whiny, pathetic – dangerous. At lunch afterwards I asked her how that was like, to make it so in inform 7.

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Here is Jane, Michael and Noah, listening to Emily.

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In the end of the week everyone got busy with GDC preparations. Here's Josh, Mike and Ben making a demonstration video for Prom Week, and I'm taking the picture so Michael gets more to choose from when he makes a picture-medley to show in a GDC talk about building research studios.

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Here Anne, Gillian and I are confirming when we will get together to talk about a panel that could be done at the Grace Hopper.

It is so nice to back.I didn't realize just quite how much I've missed everyone here.
(I was in the lab for a whole year 2007/2008, and we do get to meet frequently ant conferences, but thats not the same thing.)