Archive for 'Experiments'

Street Editor

Written by on 6th November 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

Pano View

Editing Interface

Quickly prototyping an interface for dynamically editing a panorama, based on Media Design Bingo technology! Basically just made a Google Drawing for each of the 3 tiles that create the panorama, and then embedded them into a page together, except this time clicking on one of the tile opens up the editor window, making it more of a continuous interaction. (One of the comments I got from the bingo game was that people wished the main page with all the boards let them access the individual boards.)

HIT me up.


I also wanted to see what type of things people would do with it so I created a HIT on Amazon Mechanical Turk to get it going. I’m offering up $0.25 for up to 20 people to edit the panorama in some way. I know people like Aaron Koblin  have explored the potential within Mechanical Turk in the past, but I still think there’s some potential for other interesting things to emerge from there. Plus it’s just kind of fun to play with. We’ll see how it goes, hopefully by the end of the day it’ll be full off stuff…

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Playing with time

Written by on 6th November 2011 in Experiments, References, Thoughts with 0 Comments

MDP Wind Tunnel Scrub (live demo)

MDP Wind Tunnel Pan (live demo)

Playing with the animation within the pano makes me think about other ways to show time passing within the constraints of the navigation tools. The pan example is certainly not a new idea within the world of film. I’ve been thinking about Michel Gondry a lot lately and remembering some of my old favorite videos which I realize are almost 10 years old at this point! But they’ve certainly been burned into my brain.. and watching them again now, I still love them even though I now notice the seams of the compositing & CG. There is just something lovely about life on loop and manufactured landscapes.

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Rolling in the street

Written by on 5th November 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 1 Comment

A few weeks ago I was talking to Andrew about the street view stuff I’ve been playing with, and how I was trying to figure out how to get animated GIFs in there. He had played around with making custom panoramas in the past so he dug up the old file and swapped out the panoramic image for an animated gif, and it worked! I had initially been thinking about it in terms of having the regular image with some sort of animated marker on top. I hadn’t thought about having an entire tile actually be an animation.

He shared the code, but with the bingo game + science fair + writing the lit review I didn’t get around to looking into it until today. All I did was put in my own animated pano, but it works, you can zoom & pan!

Check out the interactive gif here. 

The kitty gif is not mine. I just found it from the internets, although as a side note this is my trail for coming across it this morning. (Sometimes I just like thinking about the chain of events and people involved that lead me to a particular thing):

  1. Dustin posted a PBS video about video games on my Facebook wall
  2. I watch & enjoy said video
  3. Click on another related video about F.A.T. Lab
  4. They mention so I check it out
  5. End up on Jeanette’s page where I found the kitty gif.
  6. I repost kitty gif on my tumblr.

I was really intending to be doing more of the physical making stuff. I really want to be making more sausages and things with my hands right now.

But for some reason I can’t stop playing with this street view stuff. And I can just watch that kitty rolling in the street for several minutes at a time. What I need to figure out is how to actually tile things together, as this is just one very large gif. I can imagine that if it were to gett really big it would be very sluggish. The fact that each tile could be a potential animated gif is super exciting to me… because what if you could edit each of those tiles individually, in a crowd sourced kind of way? I’m imagining being able to create your own animated tile, save it, and have that dynamically load into the street view viewer again…

The frustrating thing is that I know conceptually it would be super easy to do it if I had the code chops. I can think about the flow of how it would work and what sort of things I could need to do. But when I start getting into the details of the code for creating the whole thing it’s a little overwhelming. Maybe it’s cause at this point I’m still ironing out the big picture stuff, that dealing with the details is too much to worry about at once…


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Low Resolution Soft 3-D Printing & Interacting

Written by on 4th November 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

I spent the afternoon making a 2 yard long plush sausage. I was hoping to make quite a few but the one took me quite some time to make and stuff, so I’m just playing with this small length for now.

What does a low resolution large scale 3D print look like? What if the material varies? Left side are the raw “prints” of a sphere and a cylinder, while the ones on the right have textures mapped to them to suggest a kickball and an armwarmer.

And what does a low resolution large-scale3 3D print look like in a space? What if you could print out the sketch so you have 3D graffiti?

And sort of tangentially while playing with the plush sausage I sort of started to feel like it could be an interesting interface device. Perhaps with sensors inside or perhaps just through the computer vision pattern recognition or something… initially I thought about it as a way to do some 3D modeling.. but maybe its more of a way to augment your communication with another person?


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Bingo Results

Written by on 1st November 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

2011 MDB game came to an end on Friday. Afterwards I tallied up the results: how many dots on each person’s board, how many times each person appeared on another person’s board, number of badges created, number of badges collaborated on, and total badges overall. Salvador & Jessica both tied for 1st place most helpful overall and Brooklyn & John tied for second. Matt M. created the most badges. And Mike had the most orange dots. I also made little award certificates (and certificates of participation) where the end badge was generated (by me, not code) using the badges and dots they had on their board. So everyone’s end medal was personal to their experience.

Overall I feel like it was a good experiment in creating a large scale, asynchronous game. From what I’ve heard it seemed to inspire some increased helpfulness and socialization. I know that I at least felt more social within the studio than I had been in the past few weeks. Level of engagement ranged from feeling competitive to sort of passively playing. Some people proactively went out of their way to talk to people they wouldn’t usually talk to, while others just used it to log the interaction just as it happened. I think creating the cumulative award badges at the end was also really interesting to me. In the end I felt like the game actually simulated the benefits of online networked culture in an interesting way, since it was really only possible to do well by helping other and having help from others.

So overall it seemed like a relatively good exercise in creating a game system to encourage social collaboration within a real social network. But now I think I need to leave it for a while and let it sit, maybe returning to parts of it later on.

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Card display techniques

Written by on 25th October 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

At the beginning of the day yesterday I also gave out cards so people could moderate or promote their level of involvement with the bingo game. I also sent out this email about the cards:

On a corner of your desk you should find a playing card.

Turn it face up to indicate you’re open for helping or being helped.

Turn it face down to indicate you’re busy.

You can put it anywhere people can see it.

I left it pretty open so I’m happy to see the range of ways people chose to display their cards. A lot of people left them on the corner of their desk, mostly people who haven’t been in studio yet. Some have turned it over. And some have made an effort to display it more prominently. I like that Jeremy’s has both an orange flag and a blinking LED.

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Media Design Bingo

Written by on 25th October 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

I’ve been reading Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken.I don’t totally agree with some of her ideas but I felt sort of inspired to actually make a real world game because I’ve been talking about doing things that bridge the virtual and physical, but haven’t really done much with the physical side of things. And for all the reading I’ve been doing about collaborative play, I hadn’t really made anything collaborative. I was reading about some of the alternate reality games she’s put together and I remember at some point I jotted down:

“Can I make thesis a game?”

And so I thought about different parts of the process. And the studio environment. And how a large part of the “work” is actually done through the interaction with people who sort of help you push your ideas in whatever direction they need to go in. And then I thought about how I actually still didn’t know most of the new kids’ names’ in the studio… and at some point this turned into bingo.

I’ve been spending the past few days working on making this large scale asynchronous studio bingo game.

I started by sending out a general email to the mdp-students list proposing my idea & preliminary rules for the game. At the first pass on Wednesday I got about 9 takers. Someone emailed to ask a few questions to clarify the game so I sent out a second with more details (and some revised rules) and got about 10 more takers on Thursday. On Friday I set out to ask people who hadn’t responded and got another  10 or so. Some I just didn’t run into or hear from but generally I felt like I had enough people on board to make it something that would be relatively interesting.

A lot of the past few days has been spent tweaking the design of the game and figuring out the actual logistics technically. A big part of it was thinking about what sort of behaviors and values were important. I’m really interested in a game that involves collaboration and sort of rewarding groups as opposed to just focusing on the individual. Plus there’s the theory that expressing gratitude regularly increases happiness. So could I then make the game about gratitude and helping others? And could I do this using something as boring as a shared google doc?

I like these quotes from Reality is Broken:

“Many of us do work that feels more surreal than real. Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible results from your efforts. What exactly have you accomplished at the of of any given day? Where there chain of cause and effect is opaque and responsibility diffuse, the experience of individual agency can be elusive.. is there a more “real” alternative?” (60)

For the most part, we live in a culture of individual achievement, or what Martin Seligman calls “the waxing of the self” and “the waning of the commons” He explains “the society we live in takes the pleasures and pains, the successes and failures of the individual with unprecedented seriousness” And when we see success or failure as an entirely individual affair, we don’t bother to invest time or resources in someone else’s achievements. (88)

After some fairly tedious production work of getting 44 boards together but some fairly satisfying work of creating badges the game started on Monday at 9am. (Although at 10am I had to go through and update all the boards cause I forgot one square.) I emailed everyone’s individual board in addition to this pdf.


Between my first email and the final rule book I changed the mechanic a little. At first you would mark a square if you helped someone, but after thinking about it more I changed it to marking a square if someone helped you. And then the awarded badge gets given to you and the people who were part of the competed pattern. So there was a little bit of confusion this morning I think, but people seemed to get it after I explained it again. At first it seems the motivation is to put more dots down on your board (get help from others) but as the game goes on you’ll notice it’s actually more beneficial to have your dot marked on more boards cause that earns you more badges in the end.  Several people have badges that haven’t placed any dots, which is particularly interesting to me. I like that even if people aren’t really actively playing as much as others they still get rewarded for their help. The game goes until Friday @ 3 in order to give everyone a chance since schedules are all different, so we’ll see where it goes. But there’s already quite a bit of activity going on…

You can begin to see patterns emerging on the live board

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messing with streetview

Written by on 18th October 2011 in Experiments, Thoughts with 0 Comments

I’ve been playing around with the technical side of Streetview stuff this weekend, thanks to lots of help from Angelo. First is basically just taking “Streetview Zombie Apocalypse” game and re-skinning it to be”Streetview Super Happy Friendship Game.” I mainly just wanted to get in there to see how it all works. There’s a lot  going on in there, and I certainly don’t really know what the hell I’m doing. But I was at least able to get in and change styles and sizes and insert my own artwork into the game, although I still have to figure out why the sprites are so small. I would also really like to be able to get some animated gif action up in there. But.. that’ll be coming soon.

I’ve also been looking into multiuser apps using Union Platform. It seems to be super powerful but I also don’t entirely understand what’s going on in the back end. The collaborative drawing app above is basically just two of their tutorials on one page (multi-user whiteboard + chat). The background image is also grabbed from streetview. I can change the things like zoom and postion etc within the streetview url in the code, but it would be nice to be able to create some interface for dynamically updating that.  I would also really like to be able to stamp things (people, buildings, trees) onto the canvas collaboratively. I found a tutorial  for creating an html 5 paint app with stamps, but I don’t even know where to begin to integrate those things together.

I also just started playing with Google Docs’ shared drawing. The image above is embedded from a shared drawing. Which should update as the image gets updated. Kind of ridiculous how easy it is to do this collaborative drag&drop drawing version using Google Docs… The only downside is no animation. :( but as a multiplayer 2D virtual world it does actually kind of work, oddly enough. It certainly wasn’t meant to be used that way but I guess it’s actually  kind of nice because of that…

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Multiplayer mode

Written by on 16th October 2011 in Experiments, Sketches, Thoughts with 0 Comments

A quick first stab at it what it could possibly be. I imagine that in the top down map mode you would be able to see where other people were in streetview land (not their actual, physical location). That way you wouldn’t have the problem of trying to show up in a place that was empty if you wanted to see other people too.

I also imagine the would be some vast inventory of objects you can add to the world. (not necessarily just couches)

And also by adding these things other people can build upon them. There would be some form of communication too, but I’m not sure if chat is the right one. I sort of don’t want it to look like Second Life or degrade to Chatroulette-like chat. Maybe it’s audio only but maybe it synthesizes your voice. Or maybe the webcam can read your expressions and translate it into a different pose or something.

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Dancing in the streetview

Written by on 16th October 2011 in Experiments, References, Thoughts with 0 Comments

More streetview stuff! Played around with a “working” interactive game salad demo, first with a little clay man and then with some footage of me dancing awkwardly, because I just happen to have that already keyed. (The video is a little wonky at the start. The black shouldn’t be there..) Got me thinking about what you can do in this space. I initially thought of it more as a prototyping tool for building objects. But maybe it’s more interesting as a prototyping tool for imagining how people can potentially use the space?

I also went for a comped version in AE because I felt like it would better convey what I was talking about. I like the idea of this dynamic people adding tool. Like, what if it was a tool for simulating/prototyping flash mobs? I sort of relate it to how people simulate massive armies. I would just prefer my armies to be full of people dancing in the street. I’ve had this deep desire to have a dance troupe for quite some time…

I’ve been trying to think about what it would be like as a multi-player experience, partially inspired by the ideas from conversations @ thatgamecompany the other day. I just think it would be amazing to be able to see other (non-static) people who happen to be in the same streetview space as you. When I was playing Journey the most pleasant surprise was when I was suddenly joined by a second person and we got to run around the space together. The question then, is what can the two of you do together once you’re there in street view land? Another thing I really like about Journey’s multi-player aspect was that you just sort of sing/shout at your friend, which keeps it all part of the same world.

Streetview space is really just as virtual as something like second life but at the same time because it’s backdrop is the real world (in all it’s blurry low-res glory) it’s so much more appealing to me. Plus there’s the fact that the avatars don’t have to be CG people, but in fact real people though perhaps animated in a sort of stop motion way. Stop motion is actually pretty fitting for that world since it’s all just photographic stills. I think it would also be sort of funny if the avatars also all have blurred out faces so there’s still some level of anonymity and it fits into the world.  That doesn’t mean it would be limited to “real” things though. I can imagine the fact that you’re using photographic models as opposed to CG models it would open the world to a wider range of interesting creations.

One thing I really want to avoid though is thinking about this as an “augmented reality” thing, because I’m really not that interested in AR. Or at least not in the ways I’ve seen it implemented. It’s also not quite “virtual reality.” Perhaps it’s something closer to “real augmented virtuality”. Does that even make sense?

I feel like a lot of the technology  to make this happen is already there. I started looking into the Google Maps API and it seems like there’s a lot of potential in there (see Streetview Zombie Apocalypse).  I’m not sure how the multi-player aspect would work though. And I wonder if there is a way to make it include collaboration within the same physical space. Like can two people use it at once?

Anyways, things like this make me think it’s not too far off….

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