Archive for the ‘conference’ Category

Software: Live at TED
April 5, 2008

When I think about how the Internet has changed my life, the first thing that comes to my mind is to thank this revolution for the incredible access to knowledge that has provided me (and millions around the planet).

And one of the reasons I’m so thankful has to do with TEDTalks. An incredible conference that happens in California every year were great minds get together, not to sell anything, but to share some of their ideas and investigations. And the organization behind TED has made sure these ideas get out there to the general public thanks to their online videos. Each week, I get on my feed a new conference, a new idea, that sparks something inside me.

Today, I saw an incredible performance that has a lot to do with this blog. MIT researcher, Golan Levin, has created an amazing piece of software that transforms his computer into an instrument and a canvas at the same time. And it’s a triumph of the blend between art and science.

I found his performance fascinating. It reminded me of a concert I’ve assisted a month ago about contemporary music. The avant garde musicians of our time are trying to discover new ways of shaping sound by breaking all the established rules we know about rythm, melody and harmony. To many of us, used to the pop sounds replicated in all media, it’s hard to understand how such noise could be considered music.

Yet, this software provides a synesthetic experience that helps us to understand better modern art and it certainly demonstrates how simple and profound creativity can be (and how all things in nature are related).

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World Intellectual Property Day
April 27, 2007

Probably you may not know that April 26th is the day we celebrate Intellectual Property. The date was chosen due to the foundation of the WIPO. And due to the lack of a “Game Developers Day” this was the first time that someone congratulated me on a profession’s date. Not only that: I’ve been kindly invited by the Legal Software entity in Argentina to participate on a panel about IP.

Intellectual Property Panel Debate

That panel was integrated also by creative colleagues such as Juan Jose Campanella, the most prestigious filmmaker in my country (Oscar nominee The Son of the Bride being his most famous film); Oscar Mediavilla, a musician producer that was jury of a show like American Idol in Argentina and script writer Graciela Maglie who worked on important local TV shows.

Without surprise, I found myself to be the youngest member of the panel. And, being a person from the universe of software, the most profoundly affected by the issue of piracy. Graciela and Oscar represent the syndicates that defend the rights of artists like them. Think of them as RIAA-managers kind of people. And just like you would expect, Graciela claimed on her rant that “There’s a dangerous discourse of an apparently ultra progressive, hyper democratizing ideology that blinds creators from their proper rights imposed by entities such as Creative Commons”.

It was the first time I hear the words “progressive” and “democratizing” used in a negative way, and after that reactionary comment from someone who’s just protecting her interests, I became a spokesman of the digital revolution. I’ve tried to explain Graciela how the internet’s revolution permits taking culture onto new unknown layers of expression through the remixing of digital creations; or how information networks permit services of exchange between creators and consumers that it’s better for both parties because we no longer need publishers, distributors and retailers pumping up the value chain.

Still, I wanted to comment to Graciela that 500 years ago, when the Movable Type revolution was beginning, the first persons to claim reactionary thoughts against that where the drama wirters like her, wanting to avoid the distribution of their plays by using big theatre corporations fighting hard against independent authors and printers.

Isn’t it fascinating how history repeats itself ?

GDC 2007: Intense!
March 11, 2007

My session on drama game tools turned out pretty good and there seems to be a lot of interest in how to effectively put stories into games. As I’ve announced this Monday, I’ll be uploading the prototypes and source code in hope that it becomes the start of a new powerful drama game tool: Playdreamer. By wikifying ideas and opening these technologies to developers, gamers and writers, we can find a new path that evolves games beyond the “eat/kill/run” metaphors.

With Augusto Petrone (Three Melons) and Sebastian Enrique (EA). Two great talents of Argentine Game Development.
Here I’m with Augusto Petrone (Three Melons) and Sebastian Enrique (EA). Two great talents of Argentine Game Development.

A nice surprise is that I got to meet the One Laptop Per Child computer that’s being created by the MIT with support from the United Nations and aims to be in the hands of 10 million kids from the third world in the next years. I was marveled with the approach given to this machine where everything is open source, including the versions of Tetris and SimCity that will be included with it. It just got me wondering if I could put a version of Playdreamer there for kids and teachers create their own Drama Games to learn history, literature or anything the can think of!

Finally, I will make an honest confession of how I’ve been feeling about the games industry lately: 95% of the AAA games out there are just crap and very disappointing with meaningless experiences that can’t transcend their artificial bits onto something that makes the industry evolve. But every once in a while, something appears that inspires me so much that I get back in love with the game development world… In 2004 it was Katamari Damacy. In 2005 Spore (which I’m still waiting for). 2006 gave us the Wii.. And this 2007, the beautiful and brilliant Little Big Planet got to my heart. It’s the clever idea of using community knowledge to create and remix levels of a game, but with the excelence of a magnificent concept and visual design (such lovable characters, and that theatre-like scenarios for you to play with) and terrific technology with a strong physics engine to create emergent gameplay. It got me wondering if I should get a PS3 after all….

GDC’07 Here I Come
March 2, 2007

I’ll be flying tomorrow to San Francisco where the Game Developers Conference is awaiting every passionate designer, coder and artist involved in the craftsmanship of games.

My session will be at the Serious Games Summit this Monday where I’ll share some thoughts about my experience on researching and coding prototypes for the creation of an interactive storytelling tool. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, come and say hi! 

I’m looking forwards to meet up with the good friends and be inspired by the surrounding talent. It’s a very special year considering that the E3 is history and the great Shigeru Miyamoto will be giving a keynote.

gdc04.jpg

I just hope not to drink as much as I did in the last year…