Groboto 2.0 in the works

http://www.groboto.com

We’re not quite ready to announce release dates for the beta or final versions, but we though we’d update you on our progress.

* Mac OS X & Windows Versions
* True 3D
* Real Time Editing with Full Rendering
* Real Time Bot Editing
* New Interactive Animation Tools
* Shadow Casting & Local Lights
* Fully Editable Primitives.
* Fantastic Proprietary Texture Mapping
* And much more…

Groboto has been defined by its authors either as “an intuitive 3D art tool”, or, more modestly, as “an amazing 3D program where kids can create cool images through the exploration of math, science, and art”. However, this is a piece of sotware which defies categorizing since it touches many different fields. Its key point is that of growing both organic and inorganic- like shapes, (hence the Gro-), that emerge from the trail left by a Bot (hence the -boto). In this sense, Groboto reveals an inheritance from the Logo language as much as from the principles of Evolutionary Art. In version 1.6 (the one I bought), it was possible to tweak the organic shapes, crossbreed them, evaluate the offspring from several points of view and use the selected individuals as parents for the next generation, among many other things. Actually, it was even possible to create games based on the bots´ behaviours (I didn´t go that far, though). Although the main view Continue reading Groboto 2.0 in the works

We are kid robots

http://www.kidrobot.com/index.html

Kidrobot is planet Earth’s premier creator and retailer of limited-edition art toys, mini-figures, posters, clothing, action figures and more!

Back in September I bought one of these Ultramini mini figures (I got the black one) in a comic book shop as a present for my brother. He very much liked both the packaging and the figure, and so did I (I think I´ll get another one for myself). The design is clearly inspired by the japanese Ultraman (should be pronounced Ul-to-ra-man), and ultramini looks to me like a sort of freestyle-super deformed figure -with lots of style :). Moreover, I was surprised to find that the company behind the ultraminis is specialized in making various high quality limited series of vinyl figures, which are becoming very popular nowadays. I was particularly delighted by the tengu figures, but you will surely find something you like among the many galleries featured in the site.

Ps: The title of this post is made after a known song of a very influential techno group 😉

The incredible Robopet

,or When aliens mate with aibo

a robot by Mark Tilden

http://www.robopetonline.com/

Robopet is the perfect fusion of technology and personality. He “comes alive” with a combination of user-controlled movements and autonomous, free-roaming behaviors, some of them naughty and some of them nice. And, at seven inches, he’s the perfect interactive pet to take anywhere!

A few days ago I found Robopet while walking down the toy section in a nearby mall (don´t raise your eyebrows. Since we are approaching Christmas the toy section has taken over the entire place. Anyway, I was searching for toys for my little nephew. For when I have one, that is). That first contact was kinda tepid: flanked by a bunch of huge Roboraptors, the much smaller robopets didn´t really stand out very well on the shelves. However, I decided long ago that Roboraptor is too expensive for my budget nephew, so I took a box with one robopet and looked at it carefully. Now, after some time, several reviews read and a few videos watched, I still look at it with the same “what the …?” expression. I like robots very much, and robopet seems to feature some of the things that made aibo so interesting for a fraction of the price: it moves smoothly, has several well thought interactions, runs on batteries (I wonder how long they last), and can either be autonomous (to impress oneself) or remote controlled (to impress oneself´s friends). However, it seems that for some reason I can´t get accustomed to the way it looks. Quoting a PC Magazine Article describing the robot, “Robopet is, more accurately, a skeletal representation of a small Chihuahua’s physical anatomy, especially in the legs, which have been engineered to realistically interpret the bones and tendons of a dog”. Well, I don´t know if I´ll buy the robot, but of one thing I´m sure: chihuahuas will never look the same to me. 😛

Confucius of the day

All virtuous actions, all duties, can be considered accomplished by the sole fact of having taken the decission of practising them; if no previous determination is taken, they will never be accomplished. If before starting to talk we previously determine and choose the words, our conversation won´t be unsteady, nor ambiguous. If in all our businesses and enterprises we previously plan the stages of our acting, we´ll easily attain success. If we determine with enough anticipation our rule of behaviour in life, never will our spirit be assaulted by worry. If we previously know our duties, accomplishing them will be easy.

Shadow of the Colossus

Last Updated 18.02.06

a PS2 game by Fumito Ueda

http://www.us.playstation.com/Content/OGS/SCUS-97472/Site/

a majestic journey through ancient lands to seek out and destroy gigantic mythical beasts.

Shadow of the Colossus is a game which succeeds in conveying an atmosphere of purity and refinement, partially by means of its sense of aesthetics and gameplay, partially because of its technical achievements, and mainly because it avoids or even twists most of the common places in videogames in such a way that it is unique without being pretentious. There´s no hurry to reveal the story too quickly, nor unveil it completely, and no interest in adding elements alien to the core of the design to lenghthen the game. These decissions are certainly risky, but they pay off by making the whole look coherent, special and more than just a game (less is more, they say). Sometimes finding the beasts can be tedious, the camera angles unreliable and certain fight patterns frustrating. However, those are small shadows out of a truly brilliant whole, from which two highlights overexcel: the beasts, which are the most incredible creatures I have ever seen in a video game, and the music, great in both how it is made and what it adds to the overall experience. Together with ICO, which shares most of its values and quality, Shadow of the Colossus stands as an all time masterpiece of digital art.

Update 18.02.06 Link to a recent interview with Fumito Ueda and Kenji Kaido.

It´s raining tags, alleluia!

Last Updated 28.02.06

I have been interested in tag clouds since I first knew of them, as they are a very effective way to highlight relevant elements among a cluster. As you may see in the cloud I added to the Archives section, there´s a number of words which correspond to topics I have written about. At a glance, you should be able to know which ones are more relevant, the more frequent ones the bigger and brighter, and clicking on any of the words will get to the list of related articles. Continue reading It´s raining tags, alleluia!

Dogma05: Experimental Gameplay

http://www.experimentalgameplay.com/

Our philosophy that complexity is not necessary for fun, and that it is possible to have fun even with basic primitives given a compelling interaction and goal.

Born by the initiative of four students at the Carnegie Melon University, Experimental Gameplay is as much a project as a manifesto by which the participants commit themselves to make games under three constraints: one person, one week, one topic, an attitude which parallels that of the Dogma 95 filmmaker movement.

In a situation where mainstream videogame developing is quickly moving towards the same practices of film industry, with evergrowing companies and games which aspire to comprise as many different experiences as possible, it seems a paradox that some young creators want to refine their skills by putting boundaries to their work. However, there are in fact many benefits in doing so: a seven day deadline underlines the need for accuracy and self criticism, both in analyzing the problem and giving solutions to it; that the work must be all done by oneself forces to face all the elements of game creation, which will result in a better understanding of the teammates in bigger productions; and limiting the subject focuses the problem, thus stimulating creativity and putting the technical and craftmanship skills to a test. Moreover, an emphasys is made in that the main goal is not to show off those skills, to output “tech toys”, but to make playable games: wise words! Continue reading Dogma05: Experimental Gameplay

Let´s make a mini-me! now, in 3-D

http://www.haptek.com/products/peopleputty/tour/

People Putty is a tool (and also, a toy!) that allows you to make your very own interactive 3-D character, then use it to play dress up or act as a tour guide for your own web page.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, in fact it´s true and, even more, it´s fairly easy to accomplish. Right after you start People Putty (try to read the funny descriptions while loading), you face… no, well, actually a 3D character faces you, a nice girl who quietly stares at you while behaving in a very realistic manner. (actually only the face is represented, though it is possible to get full bodied characters from the company) . This is already quite impressive, but it´s only the tip of the iceberg. The interface to the program is self explanatory, intuitive and very well documented, comprising all the stages which take part in the creation of a character in a single row, from top to bottom: skin, shapes, emotions, accesories and theatre. Continue reading Let´s make a mini-me! now, in 3-D