prog: (doggie)
My very first Mac App Store rec is Romain Piveteau's LiveQuartz, a simple and elegant image editor. It features all the basic image-manipulation verbs you'd expect, as well as support for layers and filters, and its UI is very polished and pleasant to work with. I used LiveQuartz to create most of the images used in my various Gameshelf essays and videos over the last couple of years.

Its brand-new App Store version costs 99 cents this week, after which it inflates to its usual $10 price. In either case, Piveteau says that all future updates will be free to paid users. If you, like me, are a Mac user with an occasional need to edit 2D images using only the most common 5 percent of Photoshop's (or GIMP's) enormous featureset, then this would be a wise investment of a dollar for you.
prog: (game industry)
Today's the final day of Zarf's Kickstarter drive. It hit 300% funding weeks ago, and we're vying to get him over $30,000 (and nearly 400%!) before midnight.

I wrote more about this over on The Gameshelf. Summary: supporting this work isn't just a pledge to help improve the state of modern interactive fiction. It also helps prove that passionate (read: obsessed) game creators really can turn their dreams into reality without starving to death, and in so doing enrich the world with more and better art. Art! That's right, I am dropping the A-bomb here.

Now's the time to help wrench videogames out of the mainstream doldrums of adolescent power fantasies, inspiring independent creators to redefine the medium while the world watches. Even a just couple of bucks will help. Play the (eminently safe-for-work!) teaser, and then check out the Kickstarter page (featuring a video directed and edited by yours truly).

prog: (norton)
• Final bizcard design. This is the actual image I sent to yesterday; I expect to have a bucketful of cards by PAX day. Thanks be to various Arbitrarium denizens for helping me fine-tune it.

I wrote another column on comics and video games. It's a bit wanky and therefore everyone seems to have ignored it, but I had fun with it anyway. (Because: wanky.)

• Spent the weekend in DC with Amy, visiting our friend Monica and eating things and looking at things. I'd been to the city before, but never for its own sake.

The high point was our tour of the monuments on Sunday. Walking through the (very) different war monuments put me into an unusually quiet and receptive state, and perhaps I should have paused before moving on to the Lincoln memorial. But I did not, and so suddenly finding myself standing in the presence proved such a crescendo that I nearly broke down. I had to exert real effort not to sob loudly as I scuttled, trembling, behind one of the big pillars. It took me long minutes before I could look directly at the statue, and even then I had to sidestep slowly from behind my hiding place, making its revelation gradual.

I have never before experienced such a reaction to a piece of static artwork.
prog: (rotwang)
Dig this crazy WWII propaganda poster gallery from Life magazine. I thought I was well versed in the genre - indeed, ol' Rosie is represented here, as is the famously gruesome "This is the Enemy" series - but I have never seen most of these before, including several from Axis powers.

I love the first page's poster where the artist - who signed the work with a Nazi SS sigil - caricatures the incoming Americans as being murderous lunatics headed by the Ku Klux Klan. Or this one, encouraging American soldiers to surrender now so they can score with the ladies later.

(Also: Life magazine still exists as a discrete entity? I did not know that. Good on them!)
prog: (Default)
I haven't written anything lately about what's actually going on in my life. I have been holding it out for myself as a treat. I can only remember so much, so lemme cash it in now.

Really, all I've been doing since the housewarming is work on one project or another, occasionally shoving myself out the damn door to go do something that is not work. I've been doing an OK job of that, so I will tell you about these things first.

At the end of August, [ profile] radiotelescope and I attended Boston GameLoop. I failed to blog about that in a timely manner, but I did at least burp my transcribed notes at one of the organizers, and you can find them spread around that wiki. I especially enjoyed the sessions on discussing non-marketing ARGs, and on baking viral aspects into digital games. I networked a lot, and left feeling, perhaps for the first time, that I really was part of the games industry now. I still have rather complicated feelings about this.

The weekend after that [ profile] cthulhia and I attended [ profile] shatterstripes' gallery opening of her beautiful tarot deck art. I know the artist as an acquaintance from MUDs many years ago, but hadn't actually met her in person before, so it was fun to chat for a while about all that stuff. I look forward to being able to buy a mass-printed copy of the deck someday!

Labor day weekend I sat inside and prototyped a new project, and then helped Joe with a SCAT shoot; it was nice seeing the Gameshelf crew again. Weekend after that, my parents spent Saturday with us. We took them to the Summer Shack.

Last weekend [ profile] classicaljunkie, [ profile] dictator555, Nate and I went apple & berry picking. I wasn't that into it, but I really needed to go far outside my bubble and walk around outside for a while. It was also interesting being in an organic orchard - really ugly apples, covered with bugs! I considered this a feature.

Some of you are aware that I've taken on yet another commercial project. This puts Project X on the back burner, while the Volity Network remains in the freezer. That feels like a joke at first - oh, look, jmac is unable to finish something again, so here he is, serially launching a new thing. Right?

However, the new thing has enough going for it that I decided to risk taking on this extra self-loathing in order to pursue it. It's a relatively small project, it primarily uses a web-based interface, and it re-uses various technologies I developed for Volity.

As such, it's now a project of Volity Games, the company, so I have my two partners there working with me on it. It will get done.

No no no, I'm not even gonna hint at a done-date. Don't worry, you wont miss it when it's ready. But, in the meantime, this is what's taking up all my work-time (besides the bread-n-butter stuff of Appleseed contracts).
prog: (Default)
I am amused, based on observation, that the outdoors temperature is exactly at the spot where one would consider it too cold to walk around without a shirt on, except for the Significantly Tattoo Covered, who are like ahhh, finally.
prog: (Default)
Other things I forgot in my description of last weekend:

Saturday attended that art salon in Union Square, which featured paintings and prints by [ profile] cthulhia (including her celebrated Surly Pink Bunny Tarot), poetry by Mary and recorder music performed by Carolyn. The funny thing was that I knew all of them were up to something but I didn't quite realize until the weekend itself that they were conspiring on the same event (and had been for months). It was altogether delightful, made moreso by the surprise of my boneheaded last-minute realization.

Here's Mary's Flickr set of it.

Friday entertained [ profile] lyricon and her dood as they passed through town en route to a friends' wedding in Vermont. We had yummy lunch at one of my favorite nearby restaurants, Porter Square's Passage to India, and had fun catching up and chatting through our respective grogginess, mine from cold medicine and theirs from Hawaii-to-Boston jet lag.

L's been a pen pal - there's really no better term for it - since we met online in 2000, over (what else) Looney Labs fan website administrivia. This was the first time we had actually ever met! Pretty good.

Had a very good Gameshelf shoot last night. I cross my fingers coz I haven't actually gone over the footage yet, but it went much more smoothly than April's shoot, and the crew already thinks it's the best work we've done. Some of the improvement was reacting to my list of criticisms from last time, but a lot also came from the fact that I scripted almost everything. We were able to film several takes of each bit and still wrap early.

The only completely unscripted bit was our do-over of the Joe-n-Jmac dialogue about the games, but I kept these to 5 minutes or less of raw footage each, mostly of Joe waxing on about the bits he liked. This was good because I'm worried that the episode is otherwise me talking and talking and talking so it's good to give Joe some time, and also in reviewing the March episode more recently I've decided that the weakest part of the show is the unscripted host dialogues. I still want them in there, but they shouldn't be longer than a minute or two, each. After that they're just dead boring, compared to the rest of the show.

I'm giving myself a deadline of, oh, October 15 to get this thing afloat. And in a beautiful world I'd like to have another whole ep done before the year's out, but let's talk about that when it's time.
prog: (doggie)
Some friends of mine are puttin on a multimedia art thingy Saturday evening in Union Square. Here is a FAQ assuring us that there will not be bad cheese. I'll be there! (Also [ profile] cthulhia needs easels apparently.)
prog: (PKD)
I discover that DEFCON - Everybody Dies has been ported to Mac; you can download a free demo at that link. For me personally, it is without a doubt the most powerfully and purely negative computer game I've played lately. I get very emotionally involved playing this, to the level where I feel real discomfort, almost to the point of literal nausea. I am not sure I'd want to play this game with another person... or maybe that would take the edge off. Who knows.

Objectively, this is all very interesting to me.

The game's worth experiencing for the way it mixes very clean, minimalist, even cold graphics with subtle sound effects and slow, dark ambient music that offers a continual dirge for the events that are unfolding (and which you are helping to cause). The overall effect is intensely disturbing even though it features no single element that would peg an MPAA-style content advisory.


May. 8th, 2007 04:29 pm
prog: (jmac's arcade)
This looks like it might be worth my while to come to and bring some Jmac's Arcades. Anyone wanna come with? I feel antsy that I haven't made any in three months, even though I have the inspiration for the next one; the other pillars just win out in the continual fight over motivation. So this might give it a little boost.

Speaking of the automated dorkiness implied by the subject line, [ profile] xach strikes again with another wigflip toy, this one letting you make your own "lolcats"-style images without Photoshop. I started to show my appreciation by taking pictures he's posted of himself and his little son and putting I CAN HAS JUICEBOX or something on it but it didn't feel right, so I'll just talk about it here instead la bla.

Oh, and since it came up in conversation today: you have probably already seen loltrek, which I was amused to discover was by Stephen Grenade and some of the other interactive-fiction people I vaguely know. Good job, guys.
prog: (Default)
This week is Blank Verse Blog Week, an invention of my dear friends, the Freaks. They've been at this for several years; I don't do it coz I'm lazy. We're already a couple of days into it, but it's not too late for you to start, if you're into that sort of thing.

My colleague Zarf has started a Sourceforge project about Boodler, his wonderful soundscape generator. Several years ago he developed it up to a point where it was useable if you wanted to monkey about with Python-based command-line interfaces and manually manage your own sound libraries. I found the program's output sufficiently nifty that I would go through the ordeal - much of Perl & XML was written with its ebbing and flowing rainstorm module as background sound - but of course most people can't hack that. He and some other folks are now working on making the thing more accessible. There is a mailing list.

What other projects should I know about?
prog: (Default)
Blip wants a big and little picture of certain dimensions for each show, so I made some. I like how they came out. I haven't made a big image for The Gameshelf yet; I think that will require a posed still of me in front of a green screen with some props. Something for later.

Yes, these are LJ icons now, too.

Blip likes wide images. I have a variant of this one that conforms dimensionally to an old arcade game's screen, and I may use it elsewhere. I like it either way.
prog: (khan)
Heh heh, Mr. Burgund used a piece of the recording I made at his ICA sound booth for an audio pull-quote on a blog entry about the event.

I'll make you try to guess which one it is. (If you don't know my voice, it's the one where the speaker is describing a piece of functional sculpture that he owns.)
prog: (Default)
From Boing Boing, BSG characters drawn Groening-style. Contains a spoiler for me, since I'm just now starting to watch the show from the beginning - I finished the miniseries last night - but since I have also been watching the third season, it's nothing I hadn't already guessed.

This is my favorite TV show. I said this about Venture Brothers a few months ago but that's not airing new episodes right now so I can utter this with fidelity.
prog: (Default)
Nice comments from the BGG crowd about [ profile] cthulhia's Carcacookies. (Scroll to bottom.) And I actually just noticed the tags people have given it: Girls! Food! Wow! Indeed.

Stupid comment about Jmac's Arcade (which I can't see how to link to without linking to the video player, too). Also he gave me one star. Oh well, at least he liked the game...

(Actually I think the comment is pretty funny.)
prog: (Default)
An interesting morning outing to the new (f)art museum with [ profile] cthulhia, as I predicted would happen in an earlier post. It was mobbed to such a degree that we didn't actually manage to get in, and we missed the animation show that was our goal - we woulda hadta practically camp by the doors in order to have a chance, it turned out. But we still had a fine time.

First of all, I got to ride the Silver Line for the first time, whee, and saw the Government Center station, which is actually very pretty now. Then we hung out in a giant woo-woo party-tent thing that Target had set up to house people waiting to get into the museum; they were admitting people in packs of 100 via a numbered-ticket system that was clearly going too slowly to give us much hope for timely admittance. However, it was kinda fun to mill around there anyway. Free snacks, and we ran into one of Cth's old neighbors and I got to talk about Jmac's Arcade and feel stupid that I didn't have any of my personal bizcards on me. (I wrote my URL on the back of a Volity card.)

We also participated in Halsey Burgund's project, where he's collecting sound samples of people answering questions from a sheet of printed questions while standing in a little wooden sound booth. Apparently he's going to mix it into music or something. He was wearing a Creative Commons T-shirt and looked like the sort of person who wears a Creative Commons T-shirt. Good time. Cth said that it was something you'd find at Burning Man, and talked to him about Todd Rundgren.

When it became clear that we wouldn't get into the museum unless we waited another hour or two, Cth got a case of the wackies and started making faces at people in the restaurant and bludgeoning passers-by with her Santa hat, so I guided her into the calming safety of Boston's financial district. I discovered that it is creepily quiet at noon on a Sunday, all looming skyscrapers and (almost) no people or noise. Her context shifted, she showed me a really neat brick alleyway where there's hidden surprise art embedded into the ground. If you're ever downtown with me, ask me about it, and I shall endeavor to take you there. But I will get lost and we'll end up wandering around until we give up and then we'll have ice cream or something, OK?

I note that we did get to see the fart mural through the lobby's plate-glass windows, so: mission accomplished.

Now it's sunset and I haven't really done any code today, and I doubt I will, as my motivation fueler dips under the horizon for the evening. As fun as this was, I think I am going to have to set a policy of declining morning events in the future, at least during the shorter days.

Grunt, I really do have a lot of work to do, too. Let's see what I can manage.
prog: (zendo)
Several photos from the debut of [ profile] cthulhia's crazy art project last week: an entire Carcassonne set made out of gingerbread!

As the photo descriptions note, we played with the set twice, once at [ profile] dougo's house and again at the House of Roses, and then it got et.

If any of the folks depicted in the photographs want me to take those ones down, just say the word. I think the shot of the artist herself is great but the other people-shots didn't turn out as good. I kept them because I wanted to show that people actually were playing the game!

I plan on sharing a couple of these on Board Game Geek, as well as the next Gameshelf.
prog: (Bizarro Kirk)
Here is a QTVR of the new mural that greets visitors to Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. (If you can load the image, you can then drag it around to rotate your view. Whee!) As the corresponding article notes, it's titled "The Divine Gas", but that's the artist's second choice after "The Divine Fart". I kind of wonder why it isn't called "The Divine Wind" which would be about 10 times funnier than either of those, but whatever.

I should really plan a trip to this museum with certain member or members of my flist who I strongly associate with both museum trips and fart jokes. who could that be

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