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One of my fondest memories of the early days of bOING bOING (the print zine) was handing a bOING bOING Kata Sutra T-Shirt (no longer available but you can see it here) to board game designer Steve Jackson at ArmadilloCon in Austin, TX. I think it was 1991 or 1992. He took it and put it on while we were standing in the hallway.

Today I found out that Steve is making a re-issue of Ogre, the first board game he ever designed in 1977. It's on Kickstarter and he has received $388,130 so far (on an original goal of $20,000). The new edition looks amazing. Go, Steve!

Ogre Designer's Edition

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Electronic music making has had several major epochs. There was the rise of the hardware synth, first with modular patch cords and later streamlined into encapsulated controls, in the form of knobs and switches. There was the digital synth, in code and graphical patches. And there was the two-dimensional user interface.

We may be on the cusp of a new age: the three-dimensional paradigm for music making.

AudioGL, a spectacularly-ambitious project by Toronto-based engineer and musician Jonathan Heppner, is one step closer to reality. Three years in the making, the tool is already surprisingly mature. And a crowd-sourced funding campaign promises to bring beta releases as soon as this summer. In the demo video above, you can see an overview of some of its broad capabilities:

  • Synthesis, via modular connections
  • Sample loading
  • The ability to zoom into more conventional 2D sequences, piano roll views, and envelopes/automation
  • Grouping of related nodes
  • Patch sharing
  • Graphical feedback for envelopes and automation, tracked across z-axis wireframes, like circuitry

All of this is presented in a mind-boggling visual display, resembling nothing more than constellations of stars.

Is it just me, or does this make anyone else want to somehow combine modular synthesis with a space strategy sim like Galactic Civilizations? Then again, that might cause some sort of nerd singularity that would tear apart the fabric of the space-time continuum – or at least ensure we never have any normal human relationships again.

Anyway, the vitals:

  • It runs on a lowly Lenovo tablet right now, with integrated graphics.
  • The goal is to make it run on your PC by the end of the year. (Mac users hardly need a better reason to dual boot. Why are you booting into Windows? Because I run a single application that makes it the future.)
  • MIDI and ReWire are onboard, with OSC and VST coming.
  • With crowd funding, you’ll get a Win32/64 release planned by the end of the year, and betas by summer (Windows) or fall/winter (Mac).

I like this quote:

Some things which have influenced the design of AudioGL:
Catia – Dassault Systèmes
AutoCAD – Autodesk
Cubase – Steinberg
Nord Modular – Clavia
The Demoscene

Indeed. And with computer software now reaching a high degree of maturity, such mash-ups could open new worlds.

Learn about the project, and contribute by the 23rd of March via the (excellent) IndieGogo:


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Hanging on in there.

It's a true testament to the game that 15 years after release, the original Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is still rated as one of the best titles in its genre. In fact it was such a triumph it's featured in Famitsu's Top 20 Games list for 14 years running.

The premise is simple – you are a humble boy on a quest to bring freedom to the nation of Valeria. To achieve this, you control a group of up to 12 warriors and wage battles on 3D isometric playing fields.

Once you've individually manoeuvred your fighters into place you can attack, defend, cast spells or healing buffs... Whatever your soldier is trained to do. It's these intelligent turn-based battles, combined with razor-sharp AI and an emotive plotline, which have helped the game to stand the test of time.


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Cross Platform Gaming - Past, Present, & Future

Google Tech Talk September 17, 2010 Presented by Gavriel State CTO of Transgaming. ABSTRACT When considering what platforms their work should target, game developers have more options than ever before: consoles, PCs, the web, a plethora of mobile platforms, and the emerging connected TV space. Game developers are no strangers to these choices: even 10 years ago developers had to contend with three primary consoles, PCs, plus handheld systems - more platforms than in any other major portion of the software market. In this presentation, we will explore how cross platform development considerations influence game developers, and how platform providers can succeed by giving developers the tools to make their choices easy ones. On the technology side, we will discuss some of the main impediments to cross platform development. Some of these, such as basic hardware differences between platforms, seem obvious, but lead to profound differences in how developers approach the problem, from using cross-platform engines to requiring a complete rewrite of source code and regeneration of art assets. TransGaming's Founder and CTO, Gavriel State, will share some of the experience gained from over 10 years of work in supporting games on multiple platforms, including work bringing games from Windows to Linux, MacOS X, mobile devices, Consoles, and new connected TV platforms. TransGaming has also been heavily involved in industry standards such as OpenGL, including developing Google's ANGLE <b>...</b>

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Science & Technology

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Well I finally got Ogre to compile. Bugger knows how I’m going to graft Openframeworks libraries into it. I only really need sound and the VideoGrabber, but those are still tall orders.

If you want to play with Ogre on a PC you’ll need the following:

Visual Studio 9. Trying to get it to work with Code Blocks is more trouble than it’s worth, especially as it breaks Openframeworks when you get the bare minimum working. Plus VS9 is pretty damn good. I’m amazed that Microsoft made it.
The Ogre SDK
DirectX Runtime

Then you’ll want to read the following:

Installing the Ogre SDK
Setting up an application. No the Ogre Application Wizard doesn’t work on VS9. This means we have to do some twiddling with project settings to get it to work. But despite this being a pain, it teaches you how to set up projects properly and will help you in the long run.
My thread in the Ogre Forum about trying to get VC9 to compile Ogre. I didn’t quite read the instructions in the previous link thoroughly, but those instructions also assumed some knowledge I didn’t have. Most of the difficulty of getting Ogre to compile is down to correct project settings and correct file placement. So you have to use your initiative a little to figure it out. Now I’m at the following stage:

Ogre Tutorials

I’m going to settle in to this stuff now to put off the nightmare that combining Ogre and Openframeworks will be.

Bruce Sterling on the future of interaction design
Magic Pen
Artificial Stupidity
Fruit Mystery game
Cat with Bow Golf game
Floating Head
The Control Master (a Run Wrake film)
Metal Gear Solid 4 game play demo

C++ optimisation strategies
Processing for Javascript

As a side note I got a new phone recently. So I downloaded the latest Mobile Processing and spent one Sunday writing a new and more clever game of Snake vs the Computer for it. It uses the new A* algorithm I built and shows the Snake’s thoughts about which path to take ahead of it.

Snake AI 2

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