Friday, June 30, 2006

Muscle and bone bring animated characters to life

"A system that automatically generates a biologically accurate skeleton and muscles could help movie and games animators create characters who move more realistically.

Computer animators working on video games or films such as The Incredibles usually start with a virtual wireframe model of a character's outer appearance. The wireframe moves using preprogrammed limb movements, which in turn allows the animator to work out how the character's outer layer should bend before overlaying skin and hair." (more) New Scientist Breaking News - Muscle and bone bring animated characters to life

How to draw a pixel head - Flip Flop Flying

Neat. Tutorial at link.

Flip Flop Flying

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stumbling on Happiness - NPR : Sharing One Secret to Happiness

Psychology professor Daniel Gilbert has spent a lot of time thinking about what makes people happy. He shares one of the secrets he has uncovered. Gilbert is the author of the new book Stumbling on Happiness. (Link to audio at NPR) NPR : Sharing One Secret to Happiness

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dog neurons in a dish control video game (Quake 3). Skynet unavailable for comment.

The video links are spooky yet cool. Robot military, no draft.

"When the brain is first hooked up to the game, it doesn't know what it is doing so it randomly moves around," Thompson said. "After enough data flows to the brain it begins to change the neural network, it starts to control the character in a progressively more intelligent way."

Though the brain can successfully compete with a bot, the goal is to gain better understanding of how brains function, Thompson said.


Videos of the brain controlling the game are available:

Video 1: early stages of learning about 4 hours of learning

Video 2: slightly advanced, about 13 hour of learning

Video 3: more advanced, notice the collision detection and change of direction, about 42 hours of learning

Video 4: most advanced with combat, over 9 days of learning


Hoffman to be 200th ‘Actor’s Studio’ guest - TELEVISION -

68? Wow, I didn't realize he was that old.

"James Lipton interviews Dustin Hoffman in an episode 'Inside the Actors Studio,' which airs on June 25. The 68-year-old Hoffman, who won best actor Oscars for 1982's 'Tootsie' and 1979's 'Kramer Vs. Kramer,' is the 200th guest on the program." (more) Hoffman to be 200th ‘Actor’s Studio’ guest - TELEVISION -

Throwback Throwdown - The Austin Chronicle

"Retro gaming is adjunct to everything that's going on right now," says Billy Cain, vice-president of Critical Mass Interactive in Austin. Cain has been designing games for 14 years; his company recently finished some of the graphics for Jaws Revenge. "The retro games are cultural memory," Cain says. "Other countries that we work with never had those games. Countries like India started with Lara Croft from Tomb Raider; they have no reason to buy a retro game."

On the other side of the card is David Kaelin, owner of Game Over Videogames in North Austin. His business is in the sales of vintage used games and their respective systems, knocking on the door of gamer nostalgia. "Statistics say the average player is 30 years old. They don't want the newest and greatest game. They want something that's easy to learn, something their kid can play that's not too violent – like a cartoon."(full article at link) The Austin Chronicle: Screens: Throwback Throwdown

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Digging For Worms: Why Doug Tennapel Doesn't Care What His Fans Think"

"Occasional game developer and character designer Doug Tennapel is probably most often remembered for his work creating the Earthworm Jim franchise. In addition to EWJ, The Neverhood, and other fan favorites of the 16-bit era, Tennapel is an accomplished comic book artist, and is currently working for Nickelodeon on the show Catscratch.

Gamasutra took some time out of Doug’s day to catch up on Earthworm Jim, get some thoughts on character design, and wax philosophical about the state of game creation today." (full interview) Gamasutra - Feature - "Digging For Worms: Why Doug Tennapel Doesn't Care What His Fans Think"