As a fan of indie video games, I always enjoy seeing obscure titles getting mainstream attention. Earlier this week, The New York Times ran a lengthy story about Tarn and Zach Adams, developers of Dwarf Fortress – a non-graphical (if you don’t count text as graphics) dwarven civilisation simulator – not exactly the most saturated of gaming sub-genres, to be sure.
In development since 2002 and available for free since 2006, Dwarf Fortress tasks the player with managing a group of dwarves as they set up and maintain a settlement, digging out caves, building fortifications, developing farming and industry. This is just the early-game, mind you. Later you’ll be building an army, developing an economy and dealing with the demands of nobles and possible a king – if you last that long.
So who has the best interactive walls? Here’s some of our picks below. As we move into a world which is transitioning to devices using the NUI (Natural User Interface) there’s a lot to keep an eye on. If you know any more please post them in the comments.
1.University of Groningen: Pros: Looks awesome, very responsive. Multi-user capable. Cons: You can’t go out and buy one off the shelf. Touch based only?
2. Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect AND Windows Phone 7, working together! Pros: Kinect SDK on the way for PC (fingers crossed) so a very affordable way to develop. Multi user. Facial recognition. Supports second screen in this video. Cons: None. Seriously! SDK pending, this will be the easiest entry point to start building your first video wall.
3. Toyota Vision Multi Touch Wall: Pros: Massive 82 inch screens at high res. Very responsive. Cons: Expensive setup.
4. HD 18 Screen 20 ft Paint Wall with iPad integration. Pros: Very cool. Huge. HD. Responsive. Works with a second screen (iPad) Cons: Looks a bit like a one off application for now. Can’t go out and buy one.
5.Yahoo’s Gesture based Video Wall. http://vimeo.com/19177169 Pros: Looks good, hi-resolution and seems responsive. Cons: Tiled screens. Looks like only one user at a time?
6. Microsoft LightSpace Pros: It’s a true 3D interface for an entire toom. It projects working interfaces onto your arm/ hand. Cons: Early days. Long way to go here (but still very cool).
7. Hard Rock Cafe Vegas: Pros: Multi user. Smooth and responsive. Great content. Cons: Looks expensive?
8. Ring Wall http://vimeo.com/6648869 Pros: It’s a massive 425 square metres in size. Enough room for everyone to play. Cons: With 15 HD projectors we’re betting the ongoing running costs might stack up?
9. The Schematic TouchWall with RFID Pros: It recognises RFID cards allowing you access to personal info. Social integration. Cons: Nothing obvious. This wall is pretty cool.
10. The BendDesk. Pros: It’s horizontal AND vertical. Cons: Not quite wall sized! It’s a prototype so a little rough round the edges.
11. Canon’s big wall – Expo 2010 Pros: It’s looks big and multi user. Cons: We can’t quite tell if this is a ‘smoke and mirrors’ job. This video is more about the camera than the wall itself.
12. HP’s video wall of touch (link): Pros: Nice tight looking tiled screens. Cons Already looking a bit dated compered to the others. Touch only. Touch looks a little laggy.
13. The Giant iPhone – Table Connect Pros: Pretty simple concept. Just plug in your iphone and mount it on a wall! Cons: Do they make a wall sized one yet?
We’re pretty sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of these soon. Please send us any good ones we might have missed! 🙂
Attempting to clear some of my Christmas shopping on Amazon, I noticed a rather curious new section under my personal recommendations – English Cuisine Bestsellers.
Currently sitting at number one is a family size consignment of Scampi Fries. It’s great that an artificially flavoured wheat-based snack has been recognised as a leader in the world of English cuisine. Other top sellers include Cheese Moments, catering packs of PG Tips and Buxton Still Water. Who’s buying this stuff?
We love unboxing gadgets! …and the AR Drone from Parrot is GREAT fun. The Drone is controlled via an iPhone app which works by tilting your phone to steer whilst viewing a live video feed through a camera mounted in the Drone. It’s a truly usable Augmented Reality device.
How to buy in Australia: We ordered it from Amazon.com. It took 3 days to be delivered to Sydney from the US and cost just under $350.00 AUD including delivery.
So here it is the unboxing through to a test flight…
Amazon delivers it in a HUGE box…
Slightly smaller, but still big box inside…
The Drone is neatly packed surrounded by protective cardboard.
No unwrapping necessary. It pops straight out. Nothing to assamble.
Battery, battery pack and stickers for the external shell.
It comes with the outdoor shell, and adaptors for Au, UK, US, EU.
Below: Unboxed looking at home in the studio…
Below: @bradyohalloran takes an instagram photo of the AR Drone:
Below: Flight Test: This a video taken from the Drone’s camera in the studio.
Below: We do like the idea of attaching a GoPro camera to the Drone to attain HD video – here’s a nice clip of someone flying the drone pretty high… (you can unlock the altitude sensor in the iphone app allowing you to go up as hi as the wifi lets you).
Below: The Promo Vid for the AR Drone.
Things you should know before you buy:
You get one battery that lasts for about 15 mins flying time. Charger comes with four adaptors incl AUS, UK, US, EU. You need an iphone or ipod touch to control it. You don’t need a wifi network (the Drone creates one). It takes about 5-10 mins to get to grips with the controls. You need a seperate app to record video. Onboard Video is 15fps There is a secondary camera on the bottom of the Drone. You need 2 of them to have a virtual dogfight. It’s much bigger than it looks. It’s a lot of fun.
The amusing nerds over at Geekosystem, and the more serious nerds over at Slashdot are reporting in that someone has created an algorithm capable of picking sarcasm in written statements. Great, just great. That immediately ruins the chance of ever messing with some straight-laced, sensible robot slave in the future.
It’s called SASI (semi-supervised sarcasm identification algorithm), and apparently “SASI achieved a precision of 77% and recall of 83.1% “on an evaluation set containing newly discovered sarcastic sentences, where each sentence was annotated by three human readers.”” More info and a couple of thoughts after the jump.
In my line of work (and because I love it) I come across a lot of cool gadgets and usually (at least if you ask my wife) I spend too much money on them.
So this year I will follow my moms advice and make myself a list.
Usually I start these lists with the least and work my way up to the best, but I want to start with the device I really really want this year.
1. Samsung Galaxy S
I have been using my 8310 blackberry for too long and for a while there I was carrying around 3 devices to do my phonecalls, emails and browsing and gaming, but the Samsung will be able to do all that.
So why do I want it?
for a start I don’t like the iPhone (don’t get me wrong I think it is a good phone for “normal” users), but it just doesn’t do what i want from a phone.
apart from that here is my shortlist on why I want it:
* 4 inch WVGA Super Amoled screen (finally a device i can use outside) * big (as in big capacity) battery – 1500mAh * 16GB internal memory + extendable with micro sd * wireless n * camera capable of 720p video @ 30fps * support of MPeg4, H.263, H.264, WMV, RV, DivX, Xvid and MKV – no more converting movies * Samsung Social Hub – no more opening up app after app after app – I just have it all in one inbox – sweet
I had a chance to play with the iPad for a few weeks now and I have to say I am not impressed – especially since Apple announced the AU pricing for it today and again, Australia gets screwed – all you really get is a big iPod
Blizzard announced in a press release overnight that StarCraft 2 will be released world-wide on July 27.
Why is this a big deal? Because even 12 years after the release of the original StarCraft, it’s still one of the most played online games in the world. In fact, in Korea it’s pretty much their national sport with multiple national leagues with matches broadcast on cable TV.
Watch for a severe dip in the Korean economy when the “StarCraft 2 Flu” hits the workforce in July.
Hey StarCraft fans… 12 years. Yep. Been waiting TWELVE YEARS for StarCraft 2 and it’s nearly here. Blizzard kicked off the closed beta for this in February and since then, access keys have been highly sought after.
This week a bunch of online retailers made things a whole lot easier and started offering beta keys for preorders. Sure, you need to put deposit down on a game that still has no official release date, but you get instant access to the multiplayer beta.
Aussies can get it locally at EB Games or GAME , but you’re looking at paying crazy Australian prices. You can always order it from Amazon, but you’re looking at about 40 bucks postage.
I’m tempted, but do I really want a beta key enough to pay that much when I can get it from CDWow for $50 delivered? I’ll be honest, I’m still considering it.
It’s been a crazy week for fans of the Portal that have been following the gaming press. After last patching the game with minor fixes in June 2009, Valve have pushed two cryptic updates live for the game this week, both of which made changes to the game itself.
The first added several radios to the game’s levels in addition to the ones already present in the game. Usually these just play some fairly crazy, mexican sounding musak, but several forum-posters on various sites have found that placing these radios on the various red buttons scattered throughout the game as part of the game mechanics, causes them to broadcast a new series of signals.
Things only get crazier from there. Portal fans from a bunch of fan forums, bless ’em, have examined the transmissions and managed to decode them into morse code and images of security camera footage from Aperture Labs – the installation the game takes place in. The rabbit hole went further, though, as an MD5 hashed phone number for an old-school Bulletin Board Service was found in the images which itself had MORE cryptic images.
I love that Valve put this stuff out there knowing that their fans are crazy enough to do the work. I guess that’s what happens when you have to wait so long for sequel announcements! <cough>Episode 3</cough>
The second update to the game, which JUST went live actually changed the game’s ending – albeit very slightly.
Great article and helpful insight about Big Spaceship’s experience working with Silverlight.
“I had the pleasure of diving headfirst into Silverlight in building the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I walked in with the same sort of attitude that I believe is prevelant across the industry at the moment — Silverlight is an inferior platform, that we were working with a Flash wananbe and that this would be to the project’s detriment. Why use Silverlight when I can already know Flash so well? It does the same things as Flash anyway, right?…”
There has been another update to the ‘Did you know?’ series. As always the information is fascinating and provides an inspirational look at convergence and the pace at which the digital shift is accelerating. I would recommend taking some of the individual stats with a grain of salt but it is a great presentation for communicating the bigger picture to clients and colleagues.
As Saturday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, the Amnesiafishians took it upon ourselves to bring it forward a day in order to add just that little extra crazy to the mix. Check out the results:
The inhabitants of what might be Earth’s nearest ‘waterworld’ may well be scratching their heads in twenty years time, as a barrage of 160-character messages from enthusiastic Earthlings bombard their airwaves. Twenty years is just about how long it will take the messages to reach the enormous Gliese 581d, travelling at light speed from the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex with the cooperation of NASA, and it’ll be another twenty years before we can get a reply. That is, of course, if the aliens of Gliese (Gliesians?) exist, have the technology to receive the messages, and speak English.
Hellofromearth.net is the brainchild of Cosmos Magazine’s Wilson da Silva, and was set up as part of Australia’s National Science Week. You can read others’ messages, or add your own (English only, please, and nothing inappropriate!) at the site. The short missives (well into their thousands) so far include the serious, the witty, quotes from Monty Python and Oscar Wilde, and my favourite so far:
“MY AIM OF CONTACTING YOU IS TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN TRANSFERRING THE SUM OF THIRTY FIVE MILLION U.S.DOLLARS OUT OF NIGERIA AND INTO YOUR TRUSTED BANK ABROAD.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.