January 2006

Less Work, More Play – presentation at Neue-Digitale

by Andy Polaine on January 28, 2006

in General

I’ve just had a very enjoyable afternoon at Neue-Digitale in Frankfurt interviewing co-founder, Olaf Czeschner, for Desktop but also giving a presentation called Less Work, More Play. My friend Tim Buesing also works there and we did a Podcast, which I hope to link to at some point when it has been edited (yes, I ranted on a bit…)

Here’s the abstract to the presentation and I’ll post the podcast when it arrives. Thanks to everyone at ND who made me welcome and the chats over beers afterwards.

Everyone likes to play. Even adults who pretend to be serious like to play. Play and playfulness are essential attributes of the creative process, yet there is an inherent tension in design process between playful discovery and careful planning and production. How can we balance these two processes and how do they interfere with each other? Similar tensions exist for the users of interactive media.

The more interfaces we encounter day-to-day the more it becomes important that we can work out how to use them by playing and experimenting with them. Who wants (or has the time) to read the manual after all? As mobile media becomes more bite-sized, small, playful interactive ‘toys’ may well be the most engaging interactive media. In this talk I try to explore some of the underlying elements of play and how they relate not only to the design process, but also to the end results.


Ninja-Man hits the one million mark

by Andy Polaine on January 24, 2006

ninjaman image

Three of my ex-students, Adam Searle, Johnny Jei Le, and Jason Chow spent the last year re-building a Flash platform game called Ninja-Man that they originally started in my Multimedia Authoring class. With brilliant artwork, an exceptional Flash game engine (with full map editor) and general sorcery, I’m very proud to say that since putting it live 15 days ago they’ve already hit a million downloads. Pretty impressive.

Go check it out and play. I, despite being a reasonable gamer, still haven’t had a chance to get past the damn first level! The maps are big enough to satisfy you for some hours….


Time Smear Demo

January 23, 2006

Along with the Flow paper I just posted I also showed a demo of my Time Smear piece, which uses a slitscan method that is rather popular in interactive circle right now (as I discovered after I began working on it). The full demo paper is available at the ACM website or again, contact me […]

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The Flow Principle in Interactivity

January 23, 2006

The Proceedings of the second Australasian conference on Interactive entertainment 2005, Sydney, Australia November 23 – 25, 2005 have been released online. The abstract of my paper The Flow Principle in Interactivity is here: This paper argues that true interactivity is a feedback loop of action-reaction-interaction and involves collaboration or exchange (with real or computer […]

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‘Birds’ – the new clip from Pleix

January 20, 2006

Paris-based collective, Pleix have just finished their new clip called Birds for Vitalic. The clip features extreme slow-motion footage of dogs jumping and barking, beautifully shot with some 80s retro neon-style lighting (actually projections). I recently interviewed them for the upcoming February issue of Desktop if you want to read more. Their style is, it […]

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Google Earth now for Mac

January 17, 2006

If you are a (the) regular reader of Playpen you’ll know of my fascination for Google Maps and Google Earth. Google Earth is a downloadable application that basically satellite maps the globe down to a pretty high resolution. Up until now it has only been available for PC, but the Google Blog just posted that […]

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Hours wasted improving productivity

January 17, 2006

If, like me, you are one of those people who is forever wasting inordinate amounts of (enjoyable) time searching for tools, tips and techniques with which to improve productivity, then you’ll love Tim Gaden’s Hawk Wings website. He has listed therein almost every plugin to Apple’s mail app and Address book that you could possibly […]

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WP 2.0 broken permalinks and 404 error

January 4, 2006

Ironically, the recent post I wrote about upgrading painlessly to [Wordpress 2.0](http://wordpress.org] had a broken permalink. This resulted in my trackback to Lorelle’s tips on upgrading not working correctly (as the trackback link led to a 404 error), so thanks to her for letting me know. The link works now. The odd thing is that […]

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Coldplay leave Mac users out in the cold

January 3, 2006

Arif over at Itch.in just posted the details of the DRM from Coldplay’s new album. Basically it looks like it won’t play in the following: MP3 players (you supposedly can’t rip it) Some Windows PCs (and it writes a registration file when it first runs) Mac computers CD players that have CD-R/RW capabilities Some portable […]

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Subscribe to Playpen with e-mail

January 2, 2006

If you’re fed up with visiting my site (boo hoo!) but still enjoy the content (yay!) then you can now subscribe via e-mail. Click on this link here or that link down there in the sidebar. I think it works, and will test it, but by all means give it a go. I promise I […]

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