October 14, 2012 in Games

Analysis of Temple Run for iPad

I want to start playing as many games as possible and doing brief-ish analyses of them, so here's a start: Basics Name: Temple Run Platform: iPad Time played: 25 mins Overview Temple run is a free (and ad free) 3D platform game. You are a man running from a herd of what appear to be gorillas and have to collect coins for bonuses along the way, all the while turning, leaping over, ducking under obstacles, and collecting coins. You can then spend your coins on powerups and new characters at a store and can, of course, buy more coins with real money if you don't have enough. There is also a comprehensive list of objectives to work through as you play.

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October 10, 2012 in Ideas

The Online Class Club [Idea]

Every semester since I’ve graduated (which I guess is only 3), I’ve said I was going to unofficially take a course at CMU or Pitt. Which basically means sitting in on a class and hoping no one would care that I’m not actually a student. I never did this, […]

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October 8, 2012 in Games, Projects

From the vaults [lnfnmo][NODOI]

Since the relatively recent renewal of my artistic/conceptual energy, I’ve been looking through some old projects and writing a bunch (won’t be posting that though). I am at last reintroducing NODOI and lnfnmo. It’s been about a 1.5 year break. I totally forgot how far I […]

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October 7, 2012 in Inspiration, Pittsburgh

The Saxifrage School

From their website: The Saxifrage School is redesigning higher education by lowering costs, re-thinking the campus, and reconciling theory and practice. We teach students to make what is valuable and to question the value of what is made. Watch this: One of the most inspiring projects […]

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October 4, 2012 in Games, Research

Some definitions of games & Game

There are many many definitions of a game, most of which differ only subtly. Some are dependent on the definition of play, but that's a whole other discussion. Maybe I should have written about that first, oh well. Anyways, here are a few ways to define a game, accompanied by thoughts: Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman define a game as a "system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome". Conflict, rules, and a goal are the driving factors in about all definitions I've read. I think the unique part of this one is "quantifiable outcome" which would mean a goal. But saying "outcome" instead of goal, seems like you could get there without necessarily meaning to. I guess technically, there are games (like the card game War) you could win by just following the rules with no ambition.

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October 1, 2012 in Design, Projects

made myself a logo

The font is Geometric Slab 712 BT. Nabbed that from the school computers. There is a free alternative called Arvo that I’m using for some of the heading styles on here.

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September 27, 2012 in Miscellaneous

to dos over the next year

That's USC. Grad school is on the horizon. Well, I'll apply next December, but it's time to start preparing and pick up where I left off after school. Which is where? My ultimate goal (in life I think) is to design games for college curricula, ergo I will go to grad school for game design. In undergrad, my focus was on a bizarre, insufficiently articulated project called NODOI and its compliment, lnfnmo. These projects led me to realize the potential in videogames to incite realizations and to teach in a way more linear media can't. So, I diligently researched Game Studies/Ludology and even attended the Art History of Games conference in Atlanta. My final year/semester in school I focused more on gaining technical skills, specifically web design/dev (i.e. money makin skills). After school and up until now (1 year later), I have stepped away from the game world and delved into the design/dev/startup arena through my work with Scenable and a few freelance projects. Of course I will continue that, but it's time to start gradually shifting my focus back to games to prepare for school. How to do that? I have a few things in mind for the next year -

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September 24, 2012 in Projects

Site Redesign Preview

Only the blog so far. The header still needs work, but I’ve got some baller post formats in there. I’d like to post about them in more detail because until this point I’ve thought post formats were a little useless, but with some work they can be great.

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September 21, 2012 in WordPress

Bones has made me like WordPress again

That’s right, I didn’t like it for a while. Had a pretty scarring experience with a WordPress/BuddyPress site running on 20+ heavy duty plugins, and I fully realized why people say it’s messy on the backend. I had been doing a lot of custom coding, and dealing with WP hooks […]

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July 5, 2012 in Projects

Freelance project: Cast Partner

Recently launched a portfolio site for Castpartner, a Hollywood casting company. The site design is by Nate Harrison and hand coded by yours truly. I have to say it was a relief to not be responsible for the design – it’s nice to just be told […]

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June 19, 2012 in Projects

Digital Placemaking logo

Here is a logo draft for Digital Placemaking, a spin-off philosophy/blog about using digital tools in (guess what) placemaking for local communities. Read more about Digital Placemaking here.

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May 4, 2012 in Projects

What I’ve been doing the past 6 months

It’s been a crazy few months. Working 60hrs a week at times, but I guess that comes with the territory when you’re talking about startups. The startup in question here is Scenable, the app for local communities. There is an active startup and co-working scene here in Pittsburgh, […]

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February 3, 2012 in Design

Book recommendation: Designing for Emotion

Image from A Book Apart I’ve been reading Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter, the lead designer for MailChimp. It’s a quick read, very engaging, and infinitely useful. I’d been in a bit of a creative slump, focusing on navigation patterns, getting inspiration from great work […]

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January 21, 2012 in Projects

Scenable Intro video: about animating to narration

Introducing Scenable: A New Platform for Bringing Communities Online. Over the past week, I made an animation introducing Scenable: a new platform for local communities online (i.e. my job). This was my first experience animating to narration, so I thought I'd post some tips as well as the video. Brainstorming the script and initial storyboarding First of all, it's almost essential to have a whiteboard around. Start by mapping out your introduction, main points, and conclusion. Then add a transition sentence between each section. This sounds pretty basic, but it's very helpful to decide on a structure and stick to it. For what it's worth, here's a partial shot of our whiteboard: Next, start to storyboard. Take each element you've mapped out and illustrate it. Spend very little time on your drawings, focus on content. Write the script word for word, including pauses You might be tempted to keep working on the visuals, but I recommend diving into the script first. Finalize the wording, but also add any cues for pauses or emphasis - these are very important in the animation process. After you have the script finalized, start on a more detailed storyboard. Here's mine: Record the script and record it well. A teacher once told me that in animation, sound is 75% of the viewer's experience. In other words, when you record your script, don't skimp on quality. Don't use your computer's built in mic; borrow or buy a real one and learn how to use it. Or hire someone. And spend some time on the editing. Take out obvious breathing sounds, add or remove pauses as needed, and adjust the volume wherever words are to heavily or lightly accented.

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January 12, 2012 in Miscellaneous

If localhost/PhpMyAdmin is 404

Then most likely you’ve been sloppyily setting up configurations – this was my case at least :/. First make sure phpmyadmin is installed, then include its configuration file (httpd-phpmyadmin.conf) in your apache’s httpd.conf. On a Mac, httpd-conf will probably be in /opt/local/apache2/conf, and httpd-phpmyadmin.conf in conf/extra. If that’s the […]

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October 15, 2011 in Miscellaneous

Productivity Scene in Pgh

I went to a great talk at Assemble (art/tech gallery on Penn) the other night by author of SharePgh.com Connor Sites-Bowen. The event is was called Manifestto:DO: getting Sh*t done in Pittsburgh. Not your standard/redundant life hacks information, great, real info from real people. During the […]

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October 2, 2011 in WordPress

WordPress Maintenance Mode

Why haven’t I encountered/thought of this before?! If you noticed earlier, this site and the WPF2 demo site where giving off some 404s…embarrassing but oh well. Planning to write a post about all of that later. Anyways, maintenance mode is a setting you can turn on to let viewers know […]

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September 25, 2011 in Tutorials+Tips, WordPress

Thumbnails in WPFolio Two

I recently added 270x270px gallery and post thumbnails to WPFolio Two. They look damn nice in columns of three in the portfolio categories. While working on this, I found that WP's thumbnail/image attachment functions are not so well documented, so I wanted to be sure to share what I figured out. Here I'll go over the code to change the thumbnail size with add_image_size, then grab a post's first attachment and turn that into the thumbnail, and finally filter the gallery shortcode to change gallery thumbnail sizes. NOTE : this is a relatively verbose tutorial, so you can just download the code here if you like. First download the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin. Run it whenever you want to see your changes, mainly when you are wondering why the thumbnails are not being cropped. Everything goes in functions.php. First, you'll need to add theme support for thumbnails, set the thumbnail size, and add a custom image size for the generated thumbnails. That happens like this: WP generates a special URL for resized post thumbnail images, for example, the URL of a 150 x 150 thumbnail of myimage.jpg would be ../wp-content/uploads/2011/09/myimage-150x150.jpg. This can be changes in Settings/Media. The function add_image_size('wpf-thumb', 270, 270, true), essentially does the same thing, but is adding a new image size called 'wpf-thumb' rather than changing the 'Thumbnail' size. The 'true' sets cropping mode to true. If false, your images will retain their original proportions i.e. will not be even squares. Later, we will apply 'wpf-thumb' to an image url for the post thumbnails created from attachments.

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September 1, 2011 in Findings

pgh art/tech/hacker community

I’ve officially relocated from Boston to Pittsburgh and have researched the active artist/tech/hacker community here. OMG!PGH and Pittsburgh Art + Technology are excellent resources for local art & tech happenings, and below are a few great IRL things I hope to be involved in/investigate further: […]

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