Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Old idea

I've wanted to make something to the tune of Numa Numa, or dragon din Tis tae or whatever the real title is, everyone knows it from the Numa Numa kid you tube video. I really like the song and needed to think of a project to make around it...
So an 'anime' style animation sequence telling a really fast (4 min) story with a hero and teacher and boss and whatever else.
This was about 2 years ago. Here's my outline from then, I hope to pursue Flashing this out (heh heh, get it? Fleshing/Flashing...)

Numa 4 min story



big zoom down in, world clouds village trees (girl in garden?)

past baddies to hero outside last is face 'oh crap'

by second chorus establish strife burning village

'allo' guide? figthing alone

smaller 'allo' add hero trying to fight

(sound that beep boucy pet?)

chorus(des soon) both fight together

start with throwing sword replacing stick.

verse journey, 'allo' train

smaller more train, fight monsters

chours travle, fight in woods to castle

lose master?

maya hee.... success enter castle

sneaking around and black-jacking guards

oops caught

may hoo bigger.... boss, master\guide taken away

final chorus (raise the pressure) either beat boss or

really fast final moments of losing something dear and beating and then alone on road. hm.

AdventDorm day end

Ok, have the 'Picture frame' doors laid out and connected.

Now to fill in the rest of the content 'frames.' And figure out best way to navigate, it feels like the current way is a beta version. Also trouble shoot why it skips to frame 10 at the beginning, which kinda works but not quite for finished project ness.

Advent Dorm

My advent project, it feels like 2 weeks since I've touched this. I think it has been. Oops, 3d class taking the spotlight of my attention....

Door open
Door closed.

Sketches/concepts of each thing.

Choose style of real things
Create real things
Add some navigation options (just forward back or include a button for each 10 items on each page?)

Making content sounds more fun just now.

Where am I headed?

Well. I looked through CG society today a bit. Just two areas really; a artist's brief story of how he created this amazing picture that won some contest (jaw dropping tales of "then I did this and this and this" for little me). Then I browsed through the job listings to one about pipeline development; I barely knew what they were talking about and certainly hadn't seen or used any of the languages or general stuff listed...

I'd been wondering "am I on the right path, what path is it anyway" and now I see where the path might lead, and how frikken far it is to get there. And now to wonder if my land speed and 'car' will get me there or close, or if I need to look for a different one. How much momentum can I create on my own, forking out money for products while I'm a student then trying to lean from books? Would be cheaper than a different big city college but more expensive if it doesn't work.

This kinda path is maybe more life consuming than theatre, while it'd be cool to do would it seem worth it in the end or would making a home/family be better?

How to test? I know I can spend 14 hours a day working theatre for about 2 weeks before burning up and crashing, can I do the same with photoshop and Maya and/or coding? Can I make myself try on my own?

What about the ozone layer?

or is all that we know a dream that we will wake from any moment and barely remember?

Blarg (this means I've gone too far away from tangible things and am simply worrying about that which I cannot reasonably affect today)

Just keep drawing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nurnie reference

Behind the scenes is a heavy box.

[Tired sigh..] hoo-boy I am tired. I ask, leadingly, hoping someone will show a sign of at least pretending to listen by asking “why are you tired?” American conversation habits are not my favorite sometimes. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I was working on the traveling Broadway show ‘Annie’ yesterday from 7:45am till about 12:30 am the next morning, albeit with a fairly hefty break in a the middle during which I truly meant to go to class but made the mistake of sitting in my comfy chair for a moment, and falling asleep instead. Sorry Miles. Note to self: continue looking for Action script 3 tutorials for Miles and myself.

Anyway. Theatre is a fascinating place for interactivity to begin with, as in every aspect it is near direct human interaction and there is a limited, sometimes very limited, timeframe to accomplish your goals that fit in (hopefully) with everyone else’s goals to create this show for the audience. As a ‘local’ crew member my goals usually consist of ‘move heavy expensive fragile thing from point A to point B, when told to.’

I should back up and explain. The local crew is hired by the venue where the show is preformed, the roadies are the crew who travel with the show and know how to set up the technical aspects of the show. For Anne, there are 4 semi-trucks full of technical aspects, (back-drops, lights, sound stuff, lots of scenery and props). 7 or so roadies direct the 60 odd locals in doing this. Very few people know each other’s names, even among the local crew. Everyone’s fairly tired or sometimes (the roadies are) exhausted. Yet still a lot of equipment is moved and set up in a small, loud, chaotic space. It’s incredible watching so many people who don’t know each other working together and watching out for one another. And the pay is pretty good.

What makes it work? While specifics are new to everyone, the general order of events is known to all except the newbie locals. Roadies know they’ll have to explain simply and concisely, several times, how to do a given task, and the locals know they’ll be getting instructions that don’t make sense and are coming too fast. Everyone strives for a level of professionalism that allows personal reactions and concepts like ‘that was an insulting tone’ to be set aside. Mostly. Some Roadies are just too grumpy, but that’s a different story, or collection of stories.

So anyway, that’s why I’m tired today. Annie’s dog was very friendly and pet-able.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Curse you Human eye

And your ability to easily recognize patterns...
More working on the wall. Trying to have small bricks by tiling, in Photoshop, and removing seams... still leaves tiled look. Blah. But the stamp tool is mighty, I will prevail!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Woah- Crappy Sketching is still the greatest

Gotta keep it real, yo...

No really. I wanted to draw, and I've been frustrated with my sketchbook, both from lack of 'good' stuff to sketch and the results of my attempts. I'm addicted to photoshop's perfect eraser... and layers and moving stuff. oh yeah, it's bad. but here's a little guy that was fun to steat (ahem, I mean 'study') from the cover of a Maya reference book. Really fun discovering the pencil tool to work well with my style.

Cute little baby skin... erm...

Well, there it is, my first rendered skin. The bricks were originally huge, need to work on that and remove the lines. Also reduce the 'snowed on' effect, I wasn't going for a time of season in particular. Though some heaps of snow could be interesting....

Looking for textures, finding something else.

I was looking for textures for 3d wall skins, when I came across this blog of a couple PhD students in Australia. I lost a good 20 min of productivity scanning through their recent posts. The posts do some of the project keeping-track-of stuff Miles has been talking about with the 450 folks, but also they talk about keeping life and sanity amidst job family and PhD.
The content, the layout and design, the sheer well-written-ness of the posts drew me in.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A little movie of a sort.

A bit of AS3 conversion

So Action Script 3 is supposed to be really different, but we haven't learned either kind yet..

Here's a page that has how to do the invisible buttons and command with them in As3.

Alley way in progress

These are some scratched up, 20 min of work shots of my alleyway. The upper one didn't have a white background in Maya, made it much darker. I would like to flesh out the rest of the trash cans, then start on the bits that stick out and such.

Not sure how to:
add curved wires
edit the multiple trash cans effectively ( could I make one and place instances and change them all?)
make the stair way better.
Figure out what would close the end after the turn.
Navigate the user to the turn...
Street lamps for the light to come from.

Ok so yeah these projects grow a lot, and the to-do lists most of all.

How to see what I'm editing with all the clutter in so close. Seperate files and pasting in?

Now I'm making myself depressed. I'm going back to the safe harbor of Flash and 2d dimensions and coding, sweet coding...

Flash jubilee video

Click for movie, duh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For my future reference

They tell you how to organize and what to say when applying- Woo hoo!

These are my research for the alley way. It turns out, now that I look at something bigger than a thumbnail, that the fifth one down is actually a 3d rendering itself, which I consider a bonus steal for studying technique. I hope these post, right now they are a huge mess of HTML code...

Monday, January 19, 2009

The next scène

A cluttered back alleyway.
You see A brief entrance from the street, with a fire escape & dumpsters, further on a left turn to a back stage entrance to the local smut house. Password slot included. The buildings loom above nearly blotting out the sky. Trash would be everywhere, close lines obscuring whet little sky is left. Posters on the walls, dark corners for lurking.

Block town back story

This was a cute little town with a city hall on Main Street, until the baron arrived. His changes begin with the factory - a bright hope of jobs despite its placement in the center of town. Hopes begin bodies with the clouding of the sun from the smoke, then the migrant workers living towers bail f across the street. The baron tried to placate the masses by rising up their old town hall on a scaffold, a gesture which seemed to him grand, but was pointless and wasteful to them. The strange water tower was added when the sprigs and wells ran murky and poisonous with the factories pollutants. No one really throws when the tower was built-it seemed to have appeared one day, glimpsed through the fog & haze. Without a doubt, this was the baron’s lair. Looking down on the town he now controlled.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Old Place New place

For this weekend’s ‘go somewhere you’ve never been’ trip I took my usual route to and around campus while it was deserted, and looked at everything with new eyes.
I hadn’t planned for this to be my someplace new trip, but as I was walking along, in a bit of an emotional downer from other stuff, I realized I had never, in the years I had walked by it, really looked at the strange artwork outside the Main Computer lab, the chaos to order progression thingy nailed to the bricks. That was a lot of commas.
But really, this got me to thinking about how we stop seeing the world and focus our attention on selected things, on new stuff or the dog poop on the sidewalk, or the general notion of fall leaves; while not noticing any of the details a kid or newcomer would.

Miles, this is your cue to pat yourself on the back for opening my eyes.

So interactivity connection. I was thinking about what, in computer interaction, becomes taken for granted. Buttons came to mind. I’ve used programs with shiny Mac buttons where clicking on them results in a pleasing visual and auditory response, and I’ve slummed it with squares that don’t change a bit when clicked, except the program stops responding for a bit. Either one is as effective for the computer, but for the user it is very different. Flashy fluff, the snotty programmer in my wants to say, and not worth the hours required to create. But it does matter, and the end users will care.

Hind sight: duh…

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Starting out city

Going in Reverse time, these are the spiffy camera shots at teh end of the day. I make no excuses for the spiral. :)
Here's the first effort, I need to take a break and come back to this.

For my own good

This is selfisly for my own reference.

3d mesh findings

Ruthlessly copied and pasted from the internet. Arranged from worst to best, though the last one is simply a liquid splash type thing in Z brush, it shows how representing curves still means a lot of polygons...

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Real movie

Ben's itty bitty movie

trial film strip


Rockin Cooperative interactivity

I go to play some rock band last week.
It Sierously Rocked.


We’d planned to look at some other Wii games for the evening, but made the mistake of starting Rock band and 5 hours disappeared. Then another 5 the next night.

Rock Band excelled above Guitar hero thanks to cooperative play and the different instruments adding variety. Also the interface to choose a song has many more options than the scrolling menu; there are cities with venues where you choose to play a given song, make your own set list, or play a mystery setlist. Other ‘challenges’ like ‘battle for the Merch Girl’ unlock, duh, a merch girl, with a funny paragraph and your band makes more money for the rest of the tour. Unlocking a van, a bus, and then a plane allow for more cities, more venues and more songs. And they have GOOD songs! Not the boring old rocker things of heroic guitar and otherwise boring lyrics and tune.

But enough gushing, what about the interactivity? First working ‘together’ to play the song just makes it more fun. You time your ‘super charge’s’ (just like star power) to go at the same time as others the bonus combines, so instead of just 2x points, it’s 4, 6, or 8x (if you have all for instruments supercharging at the same time). This multiplier applies to everyone’s point earning, so even if the singer is just humming along during the guitar solo, the singer can ‘super charge’ and let the guitar get extra points. This is far more fun than the points themselves, which are just numbers and don’t have much point of reference, other than the ‘stars’ earned for the song, enough points gets you 5 stars. When the last note is a long guitar and the counter is nearly at 5 stars and everyone’s cheering on the guitar player to use the wammy bar and get those extra few, it is a sight to be hold.
Lastly, if someone fails, screws up too much, another player can supercharge and get the failer back in… but only 3 times. If the failed one is in failure state too long the song fails.

Individual instruments are very standard to Guitar hero (they had to have cloned the code). Drums you just hit the ‘drum’ head, which are color coded. Singing is a little different, and personally I wish they just had real notes sometimes instead of this graph thing, but it works. Text is way too small, even if the words don’t matter.

So yeah, it rocks.

Oh balls. I thought class was at noon again, why do I do that? Well, an extra hour in the lab, time to rough in that advent calendar…

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Futzing with Maya

This is me, stubbornly pursuing my indented cube with a question mark (kinda). I thought of a better way to do it and Start Over... like ya do... and it turned out ok. I know there were some oopses and bad things but they didn't ruin it quite.

Remind me to talk about Rock Band and interactivity.

Brainstorm aftermath

Yesterday during class whilst we all waited patiently for Miles to run around trying to upload the little GiF's and JPEGs, I did some brainstorming for the Advent calendar.
I'm thinking of using the 11 week term as the timeline, with one 'door' opened a week. The theme is funny college survival things, like advil for the hangover, booze for the week after midterms, coffee for studying for midterms, ect. Each door would reveal an *Awesome* drawing of the item plus a witty blurb explaining what the *Awesome* drawing actually is and how it's funny. Well, funny to me at least.
For layout I'd like to somehow have a tunnel, with the door 11 being a shining light at the end, but I'm not sure how well that will work. Having 11 objects is difficult for my brain to set up due to non-even-ness.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mystery in the dark

The vicious robo man stalks the night, looking for his other limbs...

Long blabing on interactivity


Following the discussion on Monday about games and interactivity, I get to speak up now what I wish I’d said earlier. The two big things that came to mind are gratification (in the instant and delayed sense), and scaled challenges.

Gratification is discussed in psychology classes, which I took about a decade ago. There is the baser, animalistic, ID powered instant gratification. Also there is the ‘human’ ‘rational,’ SUPER EGO powered delayed gratification. They did tests with kids, offering them 2 treats now or 4 treats later.

No, that’s a mis-remember on my part; looking up on good ole Wikipedia I find:

They gave the kids 1 marshmallow, and told them they would get another if they could hold and not eat the first one for 20 min. Some did, some didn’t. The study was done in the 60s, and the researches apparently followed the children’s development through to SAT testing. The patient kids, unsurprisingly, did better on average of about 210 points and “were better adjusted and more dependable” according to parents and teachers.

I’m going to shy away from the question of where this is learned and if the ape that could use tools and fish for termites got more protein and a better upper build than the lazy fruit snatcher. Establish that delayed gratification is difficult and learned and that on an ID level we want the instant and are happy when we get it.

Another class discussion was about internet load times also, how it used to be a long 30 or 60 seconds was ok, now anything over 3 seconds makes us grumble. There’s no reward for delayed gratification other than not stressing that the clicked hyperlink isn’t and instant reward of the loaded page, but we still really fundamentally like the instant response from the computer.

Oh wait, interactivity is the title? I should talk about that.

I still like the phrase “Action Reaction” to represent the distilled essence of interactivity. I click the button, the screen changes. I move to the side, the painting looks different. I lift the shovel, the snow moves from the driveway to the yard. Most of these are pleasing, instant reactions to my existence and actions.

The gaming interactivity… thing… works well or better because it works on several senses (at least sight and sound, also feel if you enable vibrate in you wii-mote), and from the suspension of disbelief or telling yourself ‘this is real’ as your armless Mii hits a smoking t ace in tennis. The instant gratification of the interaction is the changes on the screen and the sound of the crowd going ‘ooh.’ But I think there is delayed gratification too, or something similar to it, in making the 1000 point pro rating.

The challenge inherit in the game doesn’t extend well to all aspects of interactivity; typing this document is interaction but not challengingly so, the challenge is composing the words. In the tennis game there is reward for winning multiple games; the points and pro rating, that is a longer term task or effort than simply hitting the ball successfully a few times. This is the draw of RPGs, working for a day or a month to reach that next level, and get the cool sound effect and lights and skill points and armor graphics. Sure your night elf does a sexy dance instantly when you type in a command, but that little reward is just something to keep you going, and to make you wonder what the dance looks like in the new purple armor.

I’m not sure this should be called delayed gratification, but it is a long term effort with a ‘bigger’ reward because of the time and effort involved

Wow long post.

Quick touch into the scaled challenges idea. We like it when the challenge of something isn’t really easy but possible. We’re ok with it when we don’t get the timing of a wii-tennis ace serve every time because that makes the successes the sweeter. That’s similar to the AI mii opponents becoming harder to beat as one’s score increases.

OK I’m done.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Back on the blogger again...ic.Tteftbsi

For interactivity class. The text editor for this blog's posting process is still ... if-y