conference


Gadget Show Live 2012 – Press day

Last week I popped along to Gadget Show Live Professional. Which is otherwise known as the press day. It seemed much more spaced out in layout this year compared to last year, yet it also seemed to not have quite so much in despite being across more halls. Being a pro day there is less barracking from people on the booths as really its a rehearsal warm up day. Also the flagship live show is doesn’t run as the team are still putting it together and doing dress rehearsals.
There was nothing that leapt out at me this year, but it may be that I spend so much time with new technology it takes something pretty amazon got get the attention.
What I was pleased to see was the team represented who do all the Gadget show builds and I got to talk to them. very jealous at the Gadget Show TV budget but equally seems the guys were always up against it. Can you just… by tomorrow πŸ™‚
Things like the electric “jet” bike and Jason’s robot martial arts training dummy were on show.
Electric bike
It was also great too see at least one 3d printing company there. Bits from Bytes. So we had a bit of chat about printers and building your own.
Bits from bytes repman
It used to be the case, probably before I started to get to go to such things, that freebies and interesting merchandising ruled the day but all I came back with from the show was a t-shirt for the new Spec Ops game
Spec ops t shirt #gsl2012
I got to play on a few games, the best was the new Dirt game. Which is a bit of a favourite at home. This new game which is called Dirt Showdown. Apparently not Dirt 4. This game is about demolition derby and trashing cars whilst Dirt 4 will be a more serious rally game. Anyway it looked and played great and it’s got cars in it πŸ™‚

The computer museum had a stand, as last year. It is great to see old tech. It is ironic that that was probably a bigger stand than most of the big players. Retro is still in
Retro kit
Of course I could have stayed at home for a touch of retro as I found opening a few old boxes.
A logic 5 and some Dreamcast controllers, and a copy of OS/2 Warp ! Still in its shrink-wrap.
Treasure trove geek style
Anyway at the show I managed to finally pull Scotty away from this uber gaming desk
Scotty falls for a desk
The screen rise out of the desk like Ozzy Osbourne’s TV used raise out of the foot of his bed. It was part of a massive gaming rig with more graphics cards than Dreamworks office!
We headed off our separate ways and I bumped into Jason Bradbury and got to say hi, just after we had been talking 3d printers and haptic tattoos on Twitter. I was in full g33k tshirt from Cool Stuff Collective but it was not a showbiz luvvie moment πŸ™‚
Anyway, it was a good show, but it was showing the recession was in effect I think. You might aswell look at the bustling film I made from last years. This year just didn’t really warrant the vid.

Back from the Hack To The Future which has now passed

After a lot of driving I have safely returned from Hack to the Future in Preston. It was certainly well worth the trip to experience the energy and excitement of over 300 kids and 130 volunteers, speakers, parents and teachers gathering together to enthuse and learn about the world of computer technology. As I have mentioned, more than once, everyone needs to understand the technical revolution they are in the middle off. The implications of not doing so for industry, commerce, entertainment and life in general is just too huge to explain. What this gathering showed was that the facets of technology to get involved in, to use and explore are many and varied. It is not a question of just becoming a programmer and sitting in front of a keyboard. There are many more opportunities out there to fit peoples individual creative talents as they grow and evolve.
I think I would have been there anyway, but with my Cool Stuff Collective super g33k hat (or rather tshirt) on and the subjects I covered in the 38 or so shows this diversity of interests and skills, plus some linking together of the arc of what I talked about on kids TV fitted rather will with aims of the gathering.
Teknoteacher (seen below) was the spark for Hack to the future and then a great rallying of many key organisers and doers piled into.
Packed hall at hack the future
Being an unconference the agenda formed on the day and a put my talk up twice on the board. Once in the main auditorium and once in a class room setting. The latter worked better for various reasons and ended up in a packed room. However it is always good to be able to share some of this stuff and I was pleased that at least half of each audience had seen the show.
I was also really pleased when I mentioned Forza4, Skylanders and Minecraft that the audience in general already knew the basics of what it was I was talking about, which meant I could explain the much further reaching impact of things like 3d printers when taking in the context of these sorts of gaming platforms.
I also cut a lot out of the talks as there is a more full hour+ version but we were working to 30-40 mins.
Meeting and talking to many people from all over the place was great too. I am sure out paths will cross at future events related to this subject too.
It was great it was a saturday with volunteers, but we all know that this sort of passion for the future and for science, with this sort of diverse options to fit with the interests and abilities of the community needs to be wired into education from the earliest days. There were a lot of very cool teachers at the event, passionate about making these changes. They were fellow evangelists but I am sure they also suffer the evangelist curse that the people in control over their time or budget have no idea why these people are doing what they are doing, until they have finished doing it when its so patently obvious they assume it was their idea in the first place. If it makes the changes happen its great but its a tough rough before, during and after.
Many of the talks had kids completely captivated, there were a lot of practical hands on things like soldering and coding going on too.
Freakyclown was doing a brilliant job of multiple talks on his pretty extreme ethical hacking and pointing out that they really should all get into tech in order to protect us all from the bad guys. Which he did by pointing out that he spent the first part of his career getting in trouble and using his powers for the dark side. As with many grey hats they have to have been there in order to have made the choices and gathered the skills to do what they do. If you get a chance to see him speak, or need to really understand whats going on out there persuade him to one of your events. Whatever you do for a living, whatever industry the things he talks about will affect your lives.

The presentation I talked through was pretty much the same as the vienna one last week (or most of the ones I do at the moment) in slides but the conversation and tone went to some different triggers. Mainly telling kids to keep playing games because experiencing them and using all the features of them start to turn you into a maker and builder. With Minecraft being a typical example.
Eyebeams was kind enough to post a quick interview we did capturing why the event was important.
Ian (@epredator) Hughes” interview at Hack to the Future (mp3)

ProactivePaul also posted a handy 5 minute montage of the entire day. It happens at 2:20 to have my screen as I sparked up Opensim and showed who we created and distribute objects and code directly in virtual environment. (I couldn’t do the live demo in the auditorium session but could in the classroom)

Les Pounder, who was leading the crew has posted a great set of photos on Flickr
Even one of yours truly at the start of my pitch πŸ™‚
Ian Hughes (@epredator)

There was a massive raffle at the end for everyone kids and helpers alike. My name got pulled out of the hat and so I now have another Arduino board which is fantastic πŸ™‚

The closing keynote was the very eloquent Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at CMU; Leader of @CompAtSch in Wales. He tied it all up by reminding everyone just ow important computers are, how they impact every aspect of your life and how the traditional geek image is not really that accurate anymore. (Something I try and play with as G33k on the TV, claiming geek back and showing its about sharing and showing the technology not just insular technobabble and lacking social skills).

It was also good to be travelling up with Andy Piper just after his big resignation from IBM after 10+ years. A fellow eightbar originator we share a lot of the same ideals, ideas and history in the expanding tech world. Andy was coopered into being crew at the event as well as organise and run the Nanode session which is a derivative of Arduino.
Here he is moving quickly to explain something on the charts before setting about making some very cool flashing lights
Andy piper talking nanode in workshop #h2df

My slides were a variant of this

We have been starting to make sure we collect the pieces from the talks on Lanyrd

Hacking up north to the future

This Saturday there is a large gathering of various technorati who are passionate about making sure the next generation gets to understand and see what a wonderful science filled world they have the ability to shape. We have been gathered mostly by social media and twitter in the first place by Alan Teknoteacher O’Donohoe

It is Hack To The Future, an unconference style event being held in Preston. Andy piper,recently liberated from the old firm and I are driving up today ready for an early start on Saturday.
You can tell that we are all keen as for us Preston is a 260 mile drive up into that north west of England. Quite a trek. There are people coming from equally far a field.
I will hopefully being inspiring the attendees and fellow presenters with tales from Cool Stuff Collective and my blurring of physical and virtual worlds. As we have all agreed to just go with the flow though this may, as with any unconference, turn into something completely different. There is a wiki explaining some of the sessions, but the on the day this gets finalised
I am sure we will all blog and report on proceedings too, assuming we don’t get snowed in!

Marketing Natives – Vienna – Looking to 2020

Back in the olden days, well a few years ago, I helped talk to some MBA students from Warwick University about Second Life and its potential. In fact the entire UK crew at the time got involved in this as the Warwick business school is well respected and the team we talked to were very switched on.
So I was contacted a few months ago by Benjamin Ruschin who said “do you remember me from way back?” It turns out he is now heading up an out of hours association of young marketing professionals called Marketing Natives and they were having an event in Vienna and he asked me to come and speak about what the world would be like in 2020. Right up my street of course πŸ™‚
So I popped over to Vienna on Friday, spoke and then flew home Saturday (narrowly missing the massive snowfalls in the UK!)

We presented in a nightclub environment. Lots of stand up tables dotted around and a packed crowd.

We have a cool rear projection screen and a radio head mike for the stage. We had to fiddle around between one or two computers. I usually present from my machine as I have live demos of Opensim and Unity3d and Minecraft, but instead I presented from Benjamin’s machine which meant a little bit of resolution change and keynote to ppt required.
My fellow presenter Stefan Bielau went first as a mobile, apps and media consultant. He spoke in German, but we had chat before about what he was speaking about. Lots about the next generation of location awareness, about touch less technology too and how that fits into the landscape of the marketeer. Stefan is also well versed in startup land so we went and had dinner after the event and swap tales and worked out who we both knew of. He works out of Warsaw but is often over in London.
I got introduced as a TV Star in the UK (amongst other things). I am not sure star is quite the word but I though what the heck lets go with it πŸ™‚
I had a cut down version of my much longer presentation but the core feature was still the blurring of physical and digital and how maker culture spreads into lots of places from making cars in Forza4 to making reprap 3d printers that then print digital goods back to physical. It is still proving a rich and sup rising area for people as the feedback from the very large event crowd proved.
For once I was not actually wearing my striped leather jacket whilst presenting, but I did have some “costume” on with the original Cool Stuff Collective g33k tshirt.
I showed some clips form the show (which are the place holders in the slideshare version below). It is a real pity that my future tech pieces are not sitting on youtube or still available on the web as they make handy little story pieces that could be used in schools and colleges and also as a take away for conferences. As people could then listen and see about the tech at their own pace after the event. Oh well, digital rights is a complicated area.

There was some press coverage and I had a good long conversation with Dr. JΓΌrgen Molner who was covering the event. He asked some very good questions afterwards as we discussed and expanded on the ideas I had talked about. Making this clearer as we bounced between languages was enlightening for me too. Apparently there is not direct translation for Geek in German πŸ™‚
There is a picture and some coverage from Dr Molner here
It was a great trip and it was nice to see a bit of a city I have not visited even though when I walked around at 8:30 am in -13c it was like a film set with no extras around. I have never seen a city so empty. In part because large areas are pedestrianised too so there we no cars zooming past.
My little photo tour is here
I did see a very unusual looking electric bike amongst all the cartier, gucci and tiffany stores too.

I really enjoy sharing these ideas with people, and it is great that it does translate to any audience, from kids to adults from one country to another regardless of level or profession. Which gives me some encouragement that I am still on the right track working to help people invent their own future.

Relive my fire

Yes ok a terrible Take That pun. Never thought I would type that. However I am recovering from the excellent Relive 11 conference we just had at the OU in Milton Keynes. It was a really good gathering of fellow metaverse evangelists mostly from Academia. As it was academic there was a humbling number of detailed well researched papers being presented in the sessions. Every one I heard I was impressed by the way that virtual environments were being pushed forward.
What was equally good was the degree of discussion, all based on a large body of experience and perspectives that all the delegates brought with them.
There was clearly a lot of disappointment at Second Life’s failings in education and customer service and huge respect for Opensim in particular as the natural place to move to as SL user. There was though a fondness for SL.
There was a great deal of effort put into the organizing with things like these
#Relive11 question cards
We had discussion cards, a subset of at least 50 different questions about avatar identity, future direction, best experience etc. These were great to have an I would love the full physical set of them, but my personal set I will remember and treasure.
Robin Wight from Engine (a Marketing guru) kicked off the event with lots of examples of virtual worlds but not as you might consider them from this industry. The virtual worlds of brands and imagination and aspiration. Some of the examples, for a converted audience were a little off but I was impressed by the discussion around the genetic brain and the task brain and the science and thought that goes into appealing to the right bits, in this case to get you to buy into an advert.
This is of course what I do when I am helping people come to terms with games and virtual worlds. Though I had not considered the brain chemistry past a little NLP.
Robin Wight keynote relive11
I was at Relive to both absorb and join in the conversations but to run a few sessions. The end of day 1 was the live link up to Vpearl the IEEE VW conference/game happening in Hollywood. As I wrote before this link up was itself part of the game really for Vpearl and to Relive. How smoothly could we do it with consumer tech.
Well as expected when you are at a site that you do not control the tech, not using your own machine etc its bound to not work.
We had trouble with the task PC having enough bandwidth to run Second Life (as we planned to do a metaverse linkup). At the other end there were problems trying to patch into voice without causing massive feedback. We tried skype and the local network barred us. Yet between us we found a path through. What we ended up doing was using Andy Piper’s machine that could get on the local wireless and was just about able to IM in SL to text talk to Sandy Kearney in Hollywood, who relayed the questions to their room. At the other end they had a roving camera and microphone and an excellent and enthusiast presenter. The video was delivered on the public Ustream channel. This all felt pretty exciting as I was keen to see the activity at Vpearl. The tweets the day before had been very informative too and it was so cool to see so many people getting on with big ideas live in the Rita Hayworth ballroom at the Sony Centre ! Just as vpearl was about documenting the results the live link up and what happens, whats missing with tech and process will all get fed into the public resources to I thank Relive11 and my audience in the room for their patience.
After day 1 we headed to the hotel and that was an amazing gathering of minds riffing ideas too.
Day 2 began with our panel. Paul Hollins was chairing me, Bill Thompson (BBC Digital planet/Click) and Rebecca Mileham author of Powering Up: Are Computer Games Changing Our Lives. We had a stack of questions that had been sent in and hopefully I can patch in a link to the recording of the webcast too soon. The beats line though in our discussion about getting people creating was Bill saying “If you are not programming you are being programmed”.
I did manage to get in my real virtual to real augmentation loop at some point.
Also Paul introduced me as being scared of Milton Keynes. This was becuase I told him the last time I was here I had to film my first on the road piece to camera and get thrown into a skydiving tube for The Cool Stuff Collective
Relive theatre calm before the storm
We had another interesting discussion on a session run by my fellow BCS animation and Games Dev committee member Jane Chandler. It was a goldfish bowl session around the subject of the when and where will the integration of virtual worlds into the web happen.
This session placed 5 chairs in the centre of the room. 4 of us had to sit on them and 1 was empty. The rest of the chairs were in a circle around us. You can only speak if you are in the middle. So you have to move to the empty chair and one of the others have to leave. This worked brilliantly well. The ebb and flow of ideas was one of the best I have experienced. Well worth doing.
The final session was Andy Piper’s keynote. It was good to hear Andy talk as we were seldom at the same events way back. He did a bit of a retrospective where things had been the last few years but also put his finger on the nub the problem. The lack of expectation that people should create things, or the empty room problem as he called it. He was very passionate, and many of us were nodding in agreement, people should expect to create, they should build and contribute because it is much more rewarding to be part of something than just consume.
I was happy to lend him my Mac too for his pitch as at this point below….
Andy piper #relive11
there were some video issues getting a feed to the screens. However, as with the IEEE linkup we all just get on and sort it out.
So huge thanks to everyone who organized this and thanks for Anna Peachey for inviting me it was a great honour and I heard and learned things which is always brilliant, plus met some fantastic people.
Hopefully see you all next time.

Massive virtual world event(s) – LA & MK

In a few hours over in LA at the Sony Centre the inaugural vPEARL Summit will kick off, the first event from vecolab.org.

This is IEEE backed and aims immerse many people from around the world, all with the goal, to make human connections and to advance the medium of virtual environments. Together creating an UBER source for practices in virtual environments that can be analyzed and used by all of us in the future. The 2 days will also be being filmed to create a documentary of the journey.
The experience is based around taking teams of people to different virtual environments and setting big challenges, in an unconference and game format. Each team will be exploring and doing, whilst trying to share whilst they go along.
Each team in each environment has a team twitter ID to share live so feel free to listen in http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=vpearl.
There will also be a live link up (I am crossing my fingers for this) that I will be initiating from the uk Relive 11 conference at the Open University.
relive2011
We will dive from our conference across to the start of day 2 of vPearl and see how the exploration is progressing. Which means we are also part of the best practice exploration. With all the people online and present at each location this is one major gathering of virtual world experts and evangelists!
What there is to share and how we get on with it we really wont know until 4pm tomorrow but I wish the teams luck in creating cool content to talk about.
Very exciting times. I wish I was in LA but I also want to be at Relive 11, which sort of proves the point about needing to explore the ways we can be at so many places at ones doesn’t it? What better groups of people to try it with!

Talking careers, games, TV, BCS and Virtual worlds in 5 mins

At the Develop conference this year I was asked if I minded doing a quick interview for http://www.gamecareers.biz/ so I popped along and this is the result.

We had a very quick chat before and then we just blasted through in 1 take πŸ™‚
I am in good company if you look at the actual site here
Between Colin Anderson of Denki and Mick Hocking of Sony.
The BCS and its role in careers may be of interest or resonate with some games industry people looking for some structure.
I am pleased with the points I got across too. Thanks to @davidsmithuk for putting this together and asking such good questions in the interview.

Inclusive gaming – An inspirational project

At Develop last month I got talking to the guys on the stand for the SpecialEffect loan library project 2011-2013. @SpecialEffect is a charity which aim to make all games accessible to everyone. The library aspect is to provide specialist controllers, emrging technology solution and software patches for young people with vary degrees of accessibility issues with games in particular.

SpecialEffect Loan Library Project from William Donegan on Vimeo.

The charity points out that many games can be too quick or difficult to play for many young people with disabilities. They aim to either provide new interfaces or changes to the games, or actually tell people which games already are playable with suitable settings for specific needs of a specific audience.
If you think about it this can be as easy as providing subtitling on dialogue to hearing impaired, or enough changes in speed and skill level to allow the game to still be enjoyable and a challenge.
On the stand there where examples of console games adjusted to take single oversize reactive button input, or shoot em ups that had context sensitive directions. It was very inspiring and thought provoking.
We have often talked about the affordances virtual worlds give us, a digital environment, haptic feedback etc all providing ways that anyone could interact. The reality though is that accessibility is not a focus of mainstream gaming, but Specialeffect are pushing the right direction.
There is also a games database called gamebase that indicates what features existing games already support to help people understand what can be done with them.
It is well worth checking out, and considering.

The future of Virtual Worlds in your hands : vPEARL summit

Septmber 2011 sees an even in L.A. It is sponsored by the IEEE but it is not about the usual technical interchange standard. Instead it is about getting people from diverse fields and setting then some social challenges in a rich creative settings and seeing who comes up with what to harness both existing Virtual Environments and spotting the gaps missing for the future.

The event is titled vPEARL (Virtual Play Exchange Advise Renew Learn), it’s going to be on 20-21 September 2011, Los Angeles, California. In the US of A. Registration is $150 and spaces are limited to 100.

The official event page and registration is here: http://standards.ieee.org/news/vpearl/index.html

There is an upcoming page too here

Just so you know the context of this a large number of people from around the virtual world business, academia, film, the arts and many others have come together already to start this movement. As an example you can see Ren Reynolds post on the same event over at Terra Nova. You can also see some of the names of people gathering together to make this happen (as we all have good intentions to push the metaverse to its next level) here on the VeColab.org site.

“vPEARL Highlights

Keynote and Catalyst presentations
A set of real-world challenges developed by the VECoLab, a community of virtual world experts sponsored by IEEE and supported by e426.org
Summit focus on β€œBreakouts for Solution” teams with onsite and virtual participants facilitated by the VECoLab
A variety of virtual world platforms from sponsoring vendors for use by participants
A planned one-hour virtual world link to another conference in the UK to share key findings
Awards for the best solutions developed by the teams, based on creativity and applicability”

The UK conference will be a live link to ReLive 2011 I will be at that conference ready to do my Terry Wogan bit and say “Hello Los Angeles”.

Pass it on, check it out, lets make things happen.

Develop conference Day 2 and 3. A wind of change?

In all the google+ messing around I had not got around to writing up my remaining thoughts and experiences at the Developer 2011 conference in Brighton. Day 1 for me was the Evolve conference a sort of future thinking bolt on that is gaining some traction with the industry. The Evolve strand then blends into the next 2 days which are the official Develop conference when everyone else turns up.
Develop 2011
Breakfast Serendipity
The day started heading down in the lift from the 6th floor. I was already wearing my badge and a fellow delegate asked me at the lift where the registration desk was. we got chatting and then sat and had breakfast. The usual sort of conference chat, who are you what do you do. The bizzarre thing was that my fellow delegate was called Iain, (I am Ian of course). It also turned out we were both doing a presentation at 3pm that afternoon. This was Iain McCaig who was going to be doing the Art Keynote as an artist and conceptual designer. For those of you who don’t know he has worked on some the biggest movies and characters including creating Darth Maul! of all time. Clearly I was going to lose a “who does the coolest things” competition but we were actually talking about our shared interest in inspiring kids to create. For him it was drawing for me it was tech. We talked about 3d printing a bit too. As he is from the movie biz it was the first time anyone has said in a matter of fact way “yes we use those all the time”. I left breakfast completely inspired and to be speaking some of the same language and ideas as someone so successful gave me a real buzz.
More Media Molecule
In a reprise of last year the opening keynote was the guys from Media Molecule talking about their journey with Little Big Planet. It was done as an interview style with Phil Harrison. For anyone at previous Develops they will have heard many of these stories before. However it is interesting stuff. There was, of course a little more about Phil and Sony’s side of things. The key people who green lit LBP.
TV to Games and Back Again
The next session I popped into was part of the Evolve track, it was also in the room I would pitch in later so it all fitted nicely. Simon Harris of BBC worldwide explained the different approaches BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC) is approaching tight integration of TV and games and the various other offline media. In many ways it was similar to the Moshi Monsters direction from the day before. It is not about bolt ons or after thoughts to cash in but about enriched branded experiences. There was a lot about Torchwood and how the growth of this to a US based series was also joined with specific threads being written for episodic games that track and augment the TV show. Top Gear also was very prominent with the deal to weave Top Gear into the Forza 4 experience. Though they did have to get Clarkson to re-record he dialogue as when it went to the certification boards it was not longer a 3+ game but had moved up to teen ranking. The future of the BBC in games and related interesting content seems assured with a lot of focus and investment and this very rich integration. A great session.
Mickey Mouse gaming
The post lunch keynote was the gaming legend David ‘elite’ Braben talking about of all things a virtual world πŸ™‚ There were some amusing moments with the projector, that decided to clip the presentation (which did get sorted. Not a great picture but ‘king Disneyland’ made me laugh anyway.
Slight projector problem :)
This virtual world is Frontier’s new game in conjunction with Microsoft and Disney. It is Disneyland adventures. They have completely and perfectly modelled the California disneyland and players are able to wander around the park using where they then join in in rides, quests, minigames etc. This did look very cool though we did see the same attract loop a good few times. David talked about the language of the Kinect and how we are all forming the vocabulary of interaction. In his game you navigate by pointing, but not with a tiring arm out point, but an elbow at your side at 90 degrees movement, using a turn of the shoulders to go left and right. The attention to graphic detail had to be obsessive as this is disney, and being a real place that millions have visited and will visit it had to be a mirror world location.
Me
So you think virtual worlds aren’t important
This was me and my first foray into persuading people in the game industry of the changes brought about by virtual worlds and 3d printing. I gave a live demo of Opensim too. Of course The Cool Stuff Collective features as well as this is validation that if you don’t get this tech and its uses then next generation already are because we are telling them about it. I also dropped in unifier and kitely as examples of services that are evolving to support the demands for virtual worlds. This was very handy as I had an audience question that it was too much messing about to get into a virtual world to have a meeting. My answer was that people are trying to simplify it, but it is also based on demand. if the games industry applied its approaches to running and hosting, and to usability they would have a whole new market to reuse and expand into. They wont do that until they are made aware there is a need.
I also did a straw poll in the room of how many people had heard of the BCS. There was only 1 hand went up which is indicative of the work we have to do to help people in their careers in the games industry.
Raspberry Pi
It was back to David Braben again, this time at the other strand of the conference Games:edu. I already explained a little about this over here. Create a computing device so simple and cheap that allows kids to explore and program. As opposed to just being able to play and consume. This fills the chasm between the creativity of little big planet and other creative tools to the world of computer science. I am very hopeful as whilst we harped back to the 80’s back then we only had the computer to write code on. we did not have the feeder of the creative platforms, the virtual worlds and UGC were not a thing we experienced.
Day 3 – More 3d
Day 3 began rather like day 2 with a reboot of a previous years presentation. This was Mick Hocking of Sony talking about a year of PS3 3D. Last year it was a lot of slides and a quick demo we all had to crowd around. This year we were all in the Odeon with passive 3d specs on. It was a good pitch when we saw examples of design considerations actually played out in 3d. breaking planes, reversing images, forcing convergence and divergence past comfort levels. However a lot of it was 3d powerpoint which was really very annoying. It was a waste of the tech and the time to float bullet points IMHO.

I missed the next session as I was having a few meetings and conversations about beta’s and new tech with people.

Finally the next 2 sessions were the best of the entire conference.

Happily ever after: The Story of one girl’s refusal to delegate
Nat Marco from Honeyslug told a brilliant story of how she was persuaded into learning to code a game in LUA and XML by Ricky. I knew this would be good as I was enthralled at the Kahoots story last year from Honeyslug
How this led to a whole host of remote working relationships with artists around the world producing content for her. She also talked about the relationship with a script writer and how Nat made sure she imposed her own direction and creative will to keep her project how she wanted it to be. It was lighthearted, yet covered some very important points. The team that worked around Nat was global, it was not about co-location. The programming she had to learn was a start, and she saaid it was not as bad as she thought. She was also completely immersed (and supported in that immersion by a publisher) in the project in order to maintain its quality at every stage.
Another year down the gaming toilet
I met Ricky back at the first independent keynote I did at the ACE conference in 2009 and I know we share a lot of the same ideas and humour. Last year he told me I must go to this one particular session. I didn’t get to it but this year I made sure I did as it was running again.
Develop 2011
Jerry Carpenter is an artists and developer, he has spent years, each day on a bus on the way to work, writing down short crazy, eccentric and bizarre games ideas. He has a completely different presentation style to anyone else as it kind of rambles, bumbles then hits you square in the eyes with a flash of genius or comedy or both. His inspiration for describing mad/bad games was someone commented one of his games was like watching paint dry. So he made a watching paint dry game that you could only win by sitting watching the paint dry for 24 hours πŸ™‚ So his entire site is now dedicated and full of these brilliant cartoons and succinct ideas for a game. Much of it is NSFW BTW :). I loved 1080 qwerty extreme – a game where you turn you keyboard upside down and stand on it to snowboard, and Ultimate feline optimal area tester (a cat swinging game in a room). The ideas do stand up on their own buy the way he tells about the train of thought had us all in stitches and was brilliant. He should have his own show πŸ™‚ Much of what he shows hits at the heart of some of the terrible grind that is part of social gaming at the moment and is combined with film and political references too. if you get a chance to see him speak please go!
I decided I needed to get back home after that. I could not see anything topping those two sessions for inspiration so I headed on back, collecting all my 3ds spot pass new connections one the way. I look forward to another great conference next year.