March 31, 2004

Digital Paper E-Book

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:02 pm

Next month Sony, Philips and E-Ink will be releasing the first digital paper electronic book in Japan, called “Librié” (see big pic). Its resolution is 170 dpi (newspaper quality), can download up to 500 book-length texts from a PC, has a little keyboard, and costs $375. The display only draws on battery power when text is refreshed. (via join-the-dots)

Can it run hypertexts, and if so, will e-lit finally pass the bathtub test?


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:11 pm

A new issue of IJIGS is out, with articles by Jesper Juul, Magy Seif El Nasr and others. To read the articles, you need to click “register for free access to the papers”.

March 30, 2004

GDC 2004 Impressions

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:07 pm

andrewGDC41.jpgOnce again GDC didn’t let me down. Here are some highlights; pictures will be added over time as they filter in.

First I’ll talk about our presentations, get that out the way, and then talk about the rest of the conference itself.

March 29, 2004

IGF Awards Controversy

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:21 pm

Here’s an impassioned article on GameTunnel about this year’s Independent Games Festival at GDC. The article is titled, “A Dark Day in Indie Gaming”.

Several of us have thoughts to share on this — will write some later tonight, in the comments…

Update: read more thoughts on it at WCG, antimodal, USC, GameZone… And a discussion on Slashdot Games, including a response from a developer of the IGF grand prize winner, Savage.

March 28, 2004

Game Writing Whitepaper

I went to a meeting of the IGDA Game Writers’ Special Interest Group at GDC. The organizers began to talk about the white paper published by the group late last year. And they were met with blank stares. Finally, the question was asked — who there had read the white paper? Only a few hands. Who there had heard of the white paper? The same few hands. Then the meeting’s moderator told us — these were hands of the people who wrote the white paper.

March 27, 2004


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:07 pm

andrewGDC41.jpgA proper post with substantial information about the goings-on at this year’s Game Developers Conference will have to wait until I’m back home on Monday (or maybe Noah or Michael will get a chance to post something first). Until then, just a few quick comments, and then some pictures.

GDC is consistently satisfying, my favorite conference. It’s the sheer volume of talented and creative and intelligent people sharing their work and ideas and good will that makes it so pleasurable.

Facade didn’t win any prizes at the IGF. Disappointing for sure, but made up for by the smiling and laughing crowds that surrounded the Facade kiosk the whole 3 days. Facade also caught the eye of a few uber-designers, who gave us some invaluable feedback.

Here’s some pictures, mostly of people (little of the conference events themselves, sorry). We’ll post more pictures here in a few days.

March 23, 2004

Turbulence Deadline Nears

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:46 am

The deadline for the Turbulence juried international competition is March 31st. They’ll be giving 5 commissions of $5k each, and they’re looking for:

Projects that experiment with new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration and creativity and engage the user as an active participant. Collaborations may be between visual artists, sound artists, programmers, scientists, and others. Proposed works may include the use of wireless devices such as cell phones and palm pilots to access and add to the experience of the work.

March 22, 2004


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:57 am

The Flash game Grow has been sweeping through the blogosphere for a couple of months now – it recently hit the IDT program at Tech, distracting people for a week of addictive play. When you first start playing, the placement of objects on the sphere and their transformations seem random – there’s no reason to prefer placing one object before another. Discovering the internal logic that governs the transformations of the initially abstract elements is the primary addictive pull of the game.

March 21, 2004

Digital Storytelling Festival 2004

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:27 pm

Excerpts from the announcement of this year’s Digital Storytelling Festival (mentioned previously 1 2, book):

The 7th annual Digital Storytelling Festival will be held June 10-12, 2004 in the majestic and storied surroundings of Sedona Arizona. The Festival will convene once again to inspire, educate, invigorate and galvanize the Digital Storytelling Community.

Digital Storytelling, the use of digital technology to create media-rich stories that impart meaning appeals and has become a much recognized solution in the areas of education and training, entertainment and creative design, personal and legacy storytelling, community building and corporate identity through branding and marketing. The Digital Storytelling Festival is considered the premiere arena for showcasing and discussing these solutions and applications.

I built a spaceport for the grid-snapped city

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:21 am

world_one.jpgEr, I just spent way too much time playing gameLab’s puzzler WorldBuilder, available on the Lego site. I did stop doing the bonus goals after a while, at least, and managed to forego playing past world one…

I guess my excuse is that, since I don’t have my Atari Lynx handy, I can’t play Crystal Mines II or Chip’s Challenge. WorldBuilder isn’t too shabby, though.

March 18, 2004

Cognizing Tabbi’s Cognitive Fictions

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:02 pm

cognitive fictions cover Joe Tabbi spoke here at the Institute for Cognitive Science on Wednesday and did a great deal to help me (and, I think, the cognitive science researchers in attendance) understand what a cogntivie approach to literary criticism is, and, more broadly, how different disciplines can learn from each other. The talk was part of the IRCS/Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Brain and Language series.

Newly Available Platform for Interactive Story Research

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:40 pm

Marc Cavazza writes to us with an announcement about the Interactive Storytelling system (see paper) he and others built at the University of Teesside:

We have received several requests by colleagues to make our (character-based) Interactive Storytelling architecture available as a research tool.

We are now ready to release an “alpha” version, which should include an authoring interface for the development of characters’ roles in an HTN format (the development of complete applications still requires elementary knowledge of the Unreal Tournament 2003 game engine).

Robot Talent

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 7:26 am

A Call for Works:

The third annual ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show, an international art exhibition for robotic art and art-making robots, will take place in New York City in early fall 2004. Creators of talented robots are invited to submit their work for possible inclusion in the show. Proposals and works-in-progress are welcome, provided a detailed production timeline and samples of previous work are included in the application. The deadline for entries is May 1st, 2004.

No firm rules exist on the types of work that can participate; if you think it’s a robot and you think it’s art, we encourage you to submit.

March 17, 2004

In The Car

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:28 pm

One of my students, Dave McColgin, made In the Car for the first three week project cycle in my Interactive Narrative class this semester. As he says:

It was an exercise in evoking emotion with digital tools, carrying the thread of a compelling narrative through a process partially controlled by the “player” (you). Elements from literary theory, video game traditions, and filmic methods were incorporated. The only instructions are to, when possible, use your cursor to interact. You should be able to figure the rest out from video, audio, and timing cues.

March 16, 2004

First Person

Let’s face it. We’ve pretty much exhausted the story/game discussion, at least as formulated in the question, “What does Tetris have to do with Hamlet (or Half-Life)?” First Person exists to replace this with a more interesting question.

The contributors to First Person certainly consider games like Tetris. But they also discuss the “not games” and playable art I wrote about last month. They consider the politics of playable simulations, and the ways they may be employed for more explicitly political ends. They examine the ways that time functions in games, as well as the lack of dramatic compression in The Sims. They present concepts for game analysis and approaches to game design. They discuss the necessity of a field of ludology, and debate how it might be defined.

Utopian MPPW

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 2:22 am

Jill mentioned agoraXchange, a project to create an explicitly utopian massively multiplayer persistent world “challenging the violence and inequality of our present political system.”

Will it be fun?

March 14, 2004

Newsgaming’s Madrid

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:35 pm

Via Watercoolergames, Gonzalo Frasca’s has a small new piece, Madrid, a simple homage to the victims of the recent bombings in Spain.

HyperText at the Hammer

Talan Memmott and I will be reading this coming Friday evening (7pm) at the UCLA Hammer Museum as part of the HyperText series co-sponsored by the Electronic Literature Organization. At the Hammer I’ll be previewing Regime Change — a collaboration with Brion Moss, David Durand, and Elaine Froehlich commissioned by Turbulence. (The 19th is the anniversary of the start of the bombing of Baghdad.)

Then, just two days later (Sunday the 21st), there will be another HyperText reading featuring Natalie Bookchin and Ingrid Ankerson at 7pm. This will be preceded at the Hammer by another reading, at 5pm, this one featuring John D’Agata and Ben Marcus.

ACM Queue on Game Development

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:30 am

ACM Queue, a technology magazine, has a really meaty new issue online about Game Development, including an article about AI in games, “Can Computer Games Employ AI Artfully?” (via Slashdot Games)

March 12, 2004

Dead Art

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:12 pm

This came through my mailbox today, and the first few sentences sounded interesting:

E3 Expo to Feature Video Game Art Exhibit

Los Angeles — Organizers of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the video game industry’s annual convention in Los Angeles, on Thursday announced a call for entries for its first exhibit of video and computer game art, dubbed “Into the Pixel.”

March 11, 2004

The Coding and Execution of the Author

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:57 am

I’d promised to post this article back when Grand Text Auto ran the recent news about Gnoetry. This essay was published in the most recent Cybertext Yearbook; in it I discuss the Gnoetry-generated book Static Void, the composition of 2002: A Palindrome Story, and various taxonomies and literary procedures – all in an attempt to develop a more useful perspective on how humans and computers work together to create literary texts.

I’m going to be speaking about this issue in a panel discussion, “Public Override Void: On Poetry Engines,” on April 29, here in Phildadelphia at the Slought Foundation. The panel discussion will be accompanied by a demo and exhibit of Jim Carpenter’s poetry-generation work.

March 10, 2004

Vectors Fellowship Deadline Approaches

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:59 am

If you’re in the early or middle stages of a scholarly new media project related to “evidence” or “mobility” then you can’t go wrong by applying (hopefully by March 12th) for one of the Vectors Fellowships this summer. If you’re selected they’ll fly you out to the Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML) at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Communication for the week of June 21-25, give you a $2k honorarium for showing up, and give you continuing support from designers and programmers through the completion of your project.

Crawford Down Under

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:27 am

Follow the adventures of Chris Crawford as he journeys through Australia, where he keynoted under constraint, meditated with the local fauna, endured the spray of obfuscatory terminology all over his face, and steadfastly refused to be Emotioneered.

March 9, 2004

On the Game of Game Studies

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 5:29 pm

A brief dip into agonology with this comment on game studies, inspired by the discussion of Joust in Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman’s Rules of Play:


It’s possible to imagine game studies as being similar to Combat: whoever destroys their opponent most frequently is the winner.


I prefer to think of game studies as being more similar to Air-Sea Battle: everyone is shooting at the same targets. Some people may play antagonistically by picking off targets that you were about to shoot, but the firepower is always concentrated on understanding computer games.

March 8, 2004

On the ‘Beauty of Emergent Gameplay’

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:07 pm

Via Slashdot Games, a new Gamespy article reporting on a recent talk given by Peter Molyneux, whose company’s upcoming release Fable looks to be very interesting. Some snippets from the article on the topics of AI, and interactive story:

… “we [the games industry] have to take on challenges that the academic world has been trying to tackle for years.”

… The central problem that developers have been wrestling with for years is “how do you tell a linear story in a simulated world?” He didn’t propose a solution other than to say that you need to have the world — and the story — react to the character as a gamer plays. Simulation and AI and the other technologies he described would have to be developed to that level.

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