Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Eyes, My Eyes AAAAGH

I have been assessing everyone's Experiment 2 submissions - feedback to come soon.
One thing I would like everyone to do for me is to change the blog style to something without white text (or red even) on a black background. One of these I can almost deal with, but bunches is just toooo much :-)

Gaming and Brain Research

This is a copy of my quick entry on the oinkfrog blog - it is nice and relevant to the work in this course, in terms of the relevance of real-time environments and analysis:


I liked the research done recently by Dr Spiers and Professor Maguire as reported in a press release via The coverage in the ABC Radio National Science Show detailed how the study was showing the relationship of navigational thought to specific regions of the brain.
Steven Novella (from The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast fame) blogs on the study over on Neurologica as well which is cool.

Anyhow, one of the interesting pieces in this research was the use of "The Getaway" PS2 game which models the London streets. This allowed the taxi drivers to mimic their usual work function including the navigation while strapped into an fMRI scanner.

A quote from the press release:
In a follow-up study, Dr Spiers and Professor Maguire used the Playstation2 video game "The Getaway" to examine how taxi drivers use their hippocampus and other brain areas when they navigate. Taxi drivers used the virtual reality simulation to navigate the streets of London whilst lying in an fMRI brain scanner. The researchers found that the hippocampus is most active when the drivers first think about their route and plan ahead. By contrast, activity in a diverse network of other brain areas increases as they encounter road blocks, spot expected landmarks, look at the view and worry about the thoughts of their customers and other drivers.

[Screenshots from The Getaway via the Gamespot site]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Marks, Exp2, Tidying and Inspiration

Most of you have seen me for some feedback on Experiment 1 and I have sent out the full marking sheets for you as well. Those who haven't seen me or didn't get the email - just as during the tutorial.

Experiment 2
You should be well underway with experiment 2, working with SolidWorks. Check the main Blog page for details of the submission date change. This weeks tutorial will see us begin the transition to 3ds Max as well.

I have edited the student list at the side here shifting people who have moved groups, left the course etc. For reference these are the changes: Eva Phranso, Dan Layden.

The Digital Urban guys are always an interesting source of experimentation in the use of real-time environments and architecture, planning and space.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Experiment 1 Showcase

I enjoyed working through the submissions for Experiment 1, there were some interesting ideas being explored and then great use of the tools to develop and present them through the videos.

Here are some of the more interesting pieces - choosing 2 found and 2 custom:

Wirada created two videos that feed off each other and explore the ideas of the experiment in water, ground, air and person.
The Found Machinima
The Custom Machimima

Tommy used an interesting video style to explain his experimentation with linear explosion and its impact on porosity. Check his Custom version:
Custom Machinima Composite

Adley uses some artistry in pulling together an array of clips to explore his ideas relating to different scales of explosion and impacts which vary from partial to total which he then explored in the real-time environment.
The Found Machinima

Monday, August 25, 2008

Submission Review

While we are busy marking the first Experiment, everyone should take a look around at other peoples work in this and the other groups. There is lots of great work and it is a fun and thought provoking ride through explosions, real-time engines and porosity.


On a personal side note, I saw The Dark Knight at IMAX on the weekend, and it is pretty oppressive in there and we get to see a dark vision of porosity, both in the use of porous space and the impact of explosion as well. Highly, ney HIGHLY recommended!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Experiment 1 Handin

Everyone should check the extra notes now on the course blog regarding your submissions. So everything needs to be uploaded to your blog and it would be wise to re-check the specific assessment criteria for this experiment.


GMod Mod
If you need the special GMod variant with the frame, you can copy the whole folder which is under c:\program files\steam\steamapps\sourcemods. This same location has your save files as well in a SAVE folder.

Grabbing Youtube Vids
To grab video from youtube you will need to make use of sites like: Convert Direct &

Again, refer to the course blog for links to converters to make your life easier and look around for others.

File Sizes
One thing you will notice is that it is easy to get HUGE files, which take a small eternity to upload to youtube. Several people have found nice ways to get these files a little more manageable, including the use of things like Windows Movie Maker - just as a single step to compress the video down. Keep an eye out for output settings in your video edit suite of choice and indeed your capture settings in FRAPS.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fraps, Premiere & Vegas Vids

With a significant portion of the course output requiring you to get a handle on capturing and composing video, everyone will have to get friendly with a few tools in this area.

Fraps is the first one, this allows you to capture the live real-time environments (like GMod and UT3) into video that you can manipulate later. As Nikolina briefly demoed to you in class last week, you can download the app straight off the net at It doesnt cost anything, if you dont mind having the watermark.

After you have some inspired clips of captured video, you will want to edit, cut, compose and manipulate them into something that delivers the messages, ideas and concepts you are after. For this you will want to use software like Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas, though the lighter weight apps such as Windows Movie Maker and Apple's iMovie will do some things for you.

Here are a few vids from Youtube showing you how to get started with Premiere:

Premiere Pro CS3 - Editing Basics Tutorial (shown above)
Creating Video Series *Tutorial 3 Editing in Premiere
TUTORIAL - Rendering for Youtube in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3
Premiere Pro CS3 Tutorial - SlowMotion
Jon Barry also has his titles tute and others as well.
There are heaps more of course, many for Premiere Pro which are still very useful.

There are plenty for Vegas as well like:
Sony Vegas for beginners part 1 (for Runescape)