Game On

I was at the EA Burnaby offices on Monday last for the relaunch of IGDA Vancouver. It was a great opportunity to get to actually chat with some of the game developers from around Vancouver. After hearing Kelly Zmak talking to everyone at Global Game Jam Vancouver in an inspirational way it was refreshing hearing the man talk about what’s closest to his heart, the games development community. Everyone that spoke was very passionate about what they had to say and all I can say is that it is looking very promising for games development in Vancouver, from AAA titles to Facebook games, everyone was represented and shared many of the same thoughts and ideas.

Whilst I’m on the topic, the EA campus in Burnaby is HUGE and COOL. I was in such awe at how cool the place was that I totally forgot to take any photos (hence the stock photo of the campus from above). It’s amazing what games can pay for. :)

 

As I was in at the re-launch of IGDA Vancouver I got word that IGDA Scotland are trying to restart again. It’s looking like that with the game development environment changing in such radical ways the community does really want to help everyone out and help everyone grow together. So if you’re in Scotland, check them out and help out as much as you can.

 

Sounds Good To Me

This post is mostly just for me but I’d thought it’d be best to share it with everyone. Here’s a collection of sounds that I love. There’s a vibe of Speak and Spell and 2-XL. Robot talking FTW in my books.

Bezerk

I kind of knew of this sound, “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!”, before but thanks to it being featured in my favorite episode of Futurama it has become implanted in my head.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

Is there much else to say about this? I just love the way the evil guy (Cats) says it:

Transformers

The two films, and the soon to be released third film, have a place in my heart. Namely due to the sound design. I just pure love the films up really loud with LOADS of bass.

The Matrix

The part when Neo is being a bold boy and playing with the mirror, the sound when the mirror goes down this throat. I love that.

Grum – Cybernetic

This whole song is just pure orgasmic on my ears. This one NEEDS to be loud with huge bass to fully appreciate it.

A lot of these samples all have speech synthesis in common and I am, albeit slowly, trying to write a small application relating to speech synthesis mainly for myself. I’ll be sure to post about it when there’s something more tangible done as for at the moment it’s just me reading a few papers on the subject and trying to play around with public libraries. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these sounds as much as I do and if you have any suggestions of your own, please just post them below or message me.

Game On

I was at the EA Burnaby offices on Monday last for the relaunch of IGDA Vancouver. It was a great opportunity to get to actually chat with some of the game developers from around Vancouver. After hearing Kelly Zmak talking to everyone at Global Game Jam Vancouver in an inspirational way it was refreshing hearing the man talk about what’s closest to his heart, the games development community. Everyone that spoke was very passionate about what they had to say and all I can say is that it is looking very promising for games development in Vancouver, from AAA titles to Facebook games, everyone was represented and shared many of the same thoughts and ideas.

Whilst I’m on the topic, the EA campus in Burnaby is HUGE and COOL. I was in such awe at how cool the place was that I totally forgot to take any photos (hence the stock photo of the campus from above). It’s amazing what games can pay for. :)

As I was in at the re-launch of IGDA Vancouver I got word that IGDA Scotland are trying to restart again. It’s looking like that with the game development environment changing in such radical ways the community does really want to help everyone out and help everyone grow together. So if you’re in Scotland, check them out and help out as much as you can.

 

Here’s Looking At You Kid

A while ago I had tried to start a new version of my website, JohnGeoffrey.com, but got stumped by a problem I couldn’t figure out. It came down to my “1337” coding skills being from too far in the future for my server. Anyways, let’s go back to the concept: I was wanting to make my website more “me” and what’s more me than me. This thought along with my liking of video background (also love the loading screen) websites had me making a new version along the same idea. The problem I’ve really had with most of the website that inspired me was that they are all Flash orientated. I am all about the standards and like having a much content available for others to either copy (bad!) or to experiment with and enhance (good). HTML5 video tag has been around for a fair while but not until recently did ALL the major browsers support it so the time has come for me to try and actually use it in a proper public space.

This Is what I have come up with so far. Essentially it’s just a video of me staring right into the screen and watching everything you’re doing on my website. (I joke of course, about the watching, but you know there are some people out there that would probably believe that.) It’s a rather simple way of having the background on as a video, just have the video element on a lower z-index plain than the rest and all positions are absolute. I rarely like making positions absolute but it was the best way I thought for doing this so far.

You can check out the website by just clicking the image above to see it in a live format and if you have any thoughts or problems with it please let me know: me@johngeoffrey.com . Also to help anyone else that may want to try this on a Windows Server 2003 machine, don’t forget to add the MIME Types for video files:

  • video/webm
  • video/mpeg

#WPIEBCVan

Yesterday I was at the Microsoft bootcamp for HTML5 showcasing IE9 and Windows Phone 7 app development at BCIT. I hadn’t done anything that had me filled with such nerd love in a while. If IE9 and Windows Phone 7 were a person, I would totally lust after them from afar. The day was split into two sections with the first dealing with HTML5 and IE9, and the second dealing with Windows Phone 7 app development.

Morten Rand-Hendriksen (@mor10) – HTML5 and IE9

I had felt like I knew most of the ins and outs of HTML5 but obviously after listening to Morten, I most definitely do not. There are parts that I’ve played around with, others that I haven’t and he really did open my eyes on how to use them, namely SVG. Mention graphics and I tend to run the other way but I think I may dabble in it’s pool of vectors and see what I come up with.

Next he talked about IE9 and this is where I very impressed. Having been using OSX for the last few months I have completely left IE9 alone. Even when I was using my PC I still used Opera or Chrome so this was my first taster of all the new features. I want to first mention just how fast IE9 seems to be. During the presentation Morten was switching back and forth between his slide show to live examples of what ever he was talking about and on most occasions he just started up a new instance of IE9 and bam, it was just there. At one point he had clicked Firefox by mistake and in the time it took for that load a page he had started IE9, showed what he was talking about and back to slideshow. Somebody said it was Firefox 4, which was very bad.

Now onto PINNED SITES!! This feature in itself I just want to have a Windows environment at hand again. Essentially with some meta tags a web developer can make their website a “native” Windows application using IE9’s engine. To install the application the user just has to drag the currently opened tab to the task bar and bam, applicationed.

<meta name=“application-name” content=“JohnGeoffrey.com” />
<meta name=“msapplication-tooltip” content=“Visit JohnGeoffrey.com” />
<meta name=“msapplication-starturl” content=“http://www.johngeoffrey.com” />
<meta name=“msapplication-window” content=“width=600;height=600″ />
<meta name=“msapplication-navbutton-color” content=“#fffaf0″ />

That’s really just the basics to it but it’s so easy to do and cool to boot. It can be further extended to allow for notifications for RSS feeds to Twitter/Facebook. Not only that, if there’s a media player on the page you can add more tags to gain Windows Media Player functionality for the task bar, i.e. pause, play, next.

 

Atley Hunter (@atleyhunter) – Windows Phone 7.

In the past I have dabbled in some iOS and Symbian development but nothing serious, just trying to get  a feel for it. One thing that has slowed me down is the initial, what goes where and what does it do. Even for the simplest app of Hello World on iOS has a stupid amount of code to do it. So that’s why I was a little blown back by seeing Windows Phone 7 development for the first time, it’s essential XML and C#. Both of which I have worked with and I am happy to look at. Hello World is essentially changing an XML tag from the automatically generated code when you start project. Bam. Done.

 

Overall it was a very good day out in BCIT, even if I did miss most of the lovely sunny day that was happening outside. If you’re interested in either of these topics there are actually other events and competitions happening soon to dive into:

  • Make Web Not War – One of Canada’s first cross-platform conference showcasing the latest techniques and technologies available to the ever-evolving web community, jointly sponsored by Microsoft and Open Source communities across Canada.
  • The Great Canadian Apportunity – Windows Phone 7 competition – “What if you had the chance to create an innovative app or game for a visually-stunning, developer-friendly mobile platform, and win some incredible prizes in the process?”

Also, got a well cool t-shirt. It made me lol. Here’s a photo of it, also note my professional pose. :p

Introducing Locate Me ( & Friends )

I’ve been busy working away on the next version of my locational Facebook app, now titled Locate Me ( & Friends ). The first version really was just a proof of concept and so now I really have just added some more functionality and made the whole thing actually user friendly.

Well, to a point. Namely I made it easier for the user to search for their friends locations (check ins) and show them on the map. It’s actually just a simple jQuery autocomplete() function with the data generated from Facebook graph API call, me/friends.

 

 

I have also started the basics work for display the checkin data, at the moment just the place name. I do intend it to have more of a Facebook look and feel for the pop up box at a later stage but I’m happy with just this right now.

Right now I deem the app at Version 0.2 and actually just writing it very organically. This is due to the whole thing being organic as it stemmed off a Facebook game that I am attempting to build, Empires. This means that from version to version I do feature test just take note of what I like, what I don’t like and what I want to do. Also means that I get my friends to test it and see if I have any trouble from a user interface problem to technical ones. Suggestions for Version 0.3 are welcome as I writing up the feature document for that at the moment.

Introducing Locate Me ( & Friends )

I’ve been busy working away on the next version of my locational Facebook app, now titled Locate Me ( & Friends ). The first version really was just a proof of concept and so now I really have just added some more functionality and made the whole thing actually user friendly.

Well, to a point. Namely I made it easier for the user to search for their friends locations (check ins) and show them on the map. It’s actually just a simple jQuery autocomplete() function with the data generated from Facebook graph API call, me/friends.

I have also started the basics work for display the checkin data, at the moment just the place name. I do intend it to have more of a Facebook look and feel for the pop up box at a later stage but I’m happy with just this right now.

Right now I deem the app at Version 0.2 and actually just writing it very organically. This is due to the whole thing being organic as it stemmed off a Facebook game that I am attempting to build, Empires. This means that from version to version I do feature test just take note of what I like, what I don’t like and what I want to do. Also means that I get my friends to test it and see if I have any trouble from a user interface problem to technical ones. Suggestions for Version 0.3 are welcome as I writing up the feature document for that at the moment.

Suck or Er, Punch?

First off, what the hell is a sucker punch anyways? Any time I hear of one I think of a Shoryuken from the Street Fighter series or the game development studio, Sucker Punch Productions, the studio behind the inFamous and Sly Cooper series’. Actually the latter was the reason I didn’t really know about this film until only a few months ago but to not deviate from the question, what is a sucker punch? It’s something that leaves you with a smile but also feeling a little used.

Just look at the promotional poster at the top there. Anybody with even a hint of nerd gets tingles in all the right places. There are smidges of steam punk, anime, extremely beautiful women,  guns AND swords, and to top it all off big mech robot things. If there was one thing in question it is most definitely not that Zack Snyder is not a nerd.  This film is most definitely a visual treat for all kinds of nerds, gay or straight. Where to start is a conundrum, suppose I’ll talk a little bit about some of the settings. There are 6 distinct settings from the insane asylum to the Saturn like moon settlement. The visual standouts being the samurai act and steam punk world war.

The samurai setting with a delight to behold and I had hugely looked forward to seeing it from the snippets in the trailers. The entire piece reminded me a little of the end of Kill Bill Vol 1 with the fight in the snow, just with added surrealism and Baby Doll. The steam punk world war visually looked like the start of Saving Private Ryan with a comic book vibe. Very cool in my books even if there were hints of influence from the likes of Killzone and Half Life 2.

There were more acts that you may be able to determine from the trailer below but I felt that I’ve either seen pretty the same elsewhere or they didn’t excite me as much as these two.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

From the basic concept of the film it’s easy to see that Zack had an idea he loved and wanted to make a film. The problem arises is that he had 3 of these ideas and put them all into the same film with a few more ideas to make them all fit together. This makes the film not feel very coherent and in my opinion could have done with more fleshing out. I would have preferred to see the story within a 5 part(?) mini-series format, on the big screen, and have each world fleshed out and as they are a delight to behold but the screen time for each is not enough.

One thing that did get enough screen time and has me just loving this film is, of course, Baby Doll (Emily Browning). Absolutely stunning. Every moment with her on camera has me grinning like a school girl, which she just so happened to be dressed as for much of the film.

So to sum it all up:

  • Story – Sucked
  • Baby Doll and visuals – Punched

I’d happily go see it again, if only for more “jaw on the ground” shots such as:

Pho Tay Toe

Yesterday seemed to be a bit of a photo blogging day for me and my lovely friends on Facebook. As to not leave anyone one out I’m just going to upload the few photos here so everyone can enjoy how I spent my Wednesday 23rd March, 2011.

I started off my day on a voyage to find a Starbucks to work away in as working from home is oh so rather depressing and I needed to see people. I felt like such a poser with a MacBook, sitting in the window, with black rimmed glasses. Wasn’t all too bad except the Starbucks that I ended up in had broken WiFi and some guy was hogging all the power sockets (for his laptop and his phone) so I really just ended up doing a bit of design document and some coding without testing. Really brought to light how I should set up a local server again.

POUTINE!!! Nom nom nom is all that I can say. Though it appears I’m one of the few people that can’t get enough of this stuff. The phrase “heart attack” seems to get mentioned a lot when I talk about poutine. But what is so wrong about chips, chees curds and gravy?? Also this one has sexy sexy beef. The food only lasted a short while but the memories will last forever.

I got a great wee package bundle from my friends Paul and Deb from back in Ireland and it included some of the best stuff ever, namely Lyons Tea!!! For those that don’t know there are only a few things the Irish lust for when they live away from home; Club Orange, Tayto Crisps (or King for me), good brown bread and GOOOOD TEA!! This is even more evident that my Mammy sent me on my way to Canada with tea bags. No moose-be-gone spray, no Canadian-English dictionary, no idiots guide to cooking everything with maple syrup, just tea bags. It really does cure all ailments in Ireland  and very much the same in Canada.

One of the other items included with the package my friends sent was this awesome t-shirt. Not going to talk much about it because if you don’t know the joke then you just need to watch The Republic of Telly on RTÉ.

That was kind of my day, well besides lot of coding, tweeting and general hair pulling (due to the aforementioned  coding) so I will just leave you all now with the naming of this blog:

30 Days Too Much

I started the wee 30 Day Song Challenge this month. I thought it wasn’t much of a challenge and was great fun trying to explore my musical tastes. I had on numerous occasions had to go back to Last.fm to find out songs that I loved as I just plain old forgot what I listen to.

As I mentioned it was fun to try and find and remember all these song but it appeared many of my friends were getting sick of me updating daily with new songs. It didn’t really help but even for me, my news feed was getting full with some of my friends updating loads as well. To try and work around musical fatigue I have just complied the last of my songs into one simple, easy to read blog post. Do note that due to Sony Music Entertainment and EMI not allow some songs to be streamed from WordPress.com you will have go to YouTube to listen. Oh big music companies, I hate thee.

20 :: song that you listen to when you’re angry
Don’t really listen when I’m angry but the song title generally gets my sentiment across of when I’m angry. Note: My first scrobble on last.fm.
Fuck The Fuckin Fuckers – BlackSmoke

21 :: a song that you listen to when you’re happy
As with the same as my “angry” song, this song really just is happy and so I’ll assume I associate it with when I’m happy.
Fascination – Alphabeat

22 :: a song that you listen to when you’re sad
I really am thinking this list was done by a teenage that plays their music loudly to let out their emotions as again, nope I don’t listen to this when I’m sad, it just has sad tone to it.
Hurt – Johnny Cash

23 :: a song that you want to play at your wedding
Let’s be honest, I’m a man, at my wedding I’ll be the groom, my only job will be to turn up. That’s all I’ll be allowed do.
Cum On Feel The Noize – Slade

24 :: a song that you want to play at your funeral
I’m not some egotistical fuck to want to rule peoples listenin habits from the grave. So here’s just a song, that I cannot dance to.
Something Good ’08 – Utah Saints

25 :: a song that makes you laugh
Ha, I’m laughing just thinking of this song. Great music is in as well. (All in the name)
Cock Mobster – MC Paul Barman

26 :: a song that you can play on an instrument
none.

27 :: a song that you wish you could play
None. Many I would like to play but well, don’t have any instruments to learn on and will probably someday learn.

28 :: a song that makes you feel guilty
Guilty in the eyes of the law. THE LAW!
I Fought The Law – The Clash

29 :: a song from your childhood
I remember this video from when I was a wee lad. Scared the jaysus out of me.
Stay – Shakespeare’s Sisters

30 :: your favorite song at this time last year
This song has good few scrobbles on Last.fm from around this time last year. All due to it being used in LittleBIGPlanet 2 teaser.
Sleepyhead – Passion Pit