Lecture 15

Lecture 15:
Dodsworth Chapter 13: Applying Game Design to Virtual Environments. Stephen Clarke-Willson.

Query 15.9: Cite one instance from an actual video game of each of the key game design principles that Clarke-Willson lists:
- third person presentation
- discovery and exploration
- movement versus animation
- player control
- the use of maps
- the use of 'weenies'
- closed environments
- constant positive and sporadic negative feedback
- complexity management and slow bullets

Query 15.10: How does the author propose to solve the three problems he poses:
- lack of depth perception
- management of player viewpoint
- navigation and targeting support

I love it when something I've written is used in a university course. It's only happened a few times, so the novelty hasn't worn off. Woot.

Disneyland Test Wall Slideshow

The amazing Disneyland Test Wall... Many years ago, the test wall had a lot more brick types in it. According to lore, this wall was used so Disneyland designers could point at the kind of brick work they wanted and then that kind of brick would be used for a specific building. The test wall shrunk to its current size when the lockers were moved to this location and portions of the test wall were (sadly) destroyed. I think it was was 15+ years ago when the lockers were moved.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

The Design of Virtual Environments

For some reason, Google sent me an alert about an article I wrote way back in the day (1994)for ACM's Computer Graphics magazine. The article, The Design of Virtual Environments: Value Added Entertainment, was part of a special edition put together by Clark Dodsworth. That was a lot of fun. I'd just spent a year at Virgin visiting a lot of theme parks as part of an idea they had for little mini-Virgin themed area-things. It's hard to describe what the project idea was exactly but doing the research for the project was a lot of fun since it involved visiting a lot of theme parks and themed restaurants and such like.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


On e-toll roads, beware 'orphan exit' fee - The Red Tape Chronicles - MSNBC.com

On e-toll roads, beware 'orphan exit' fee - The Red Tape Chronicles - MSNBC.com

The way I read this is that if you don't have the E-ZPass doodad at all in your car, and you drive through the E-ZPass lane, then you won't be registered either getting onto the toll road or getting off.

We were recently in CA and just for fun we took the big fancy CA-73 toll road. It was great - no traffic and only $4.25 extra. We paid at the exit and I truly had no idea what it was going to cost but I figured I could probably afford it once.

E-ZPass is coming (or is here now at the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge?) to Washington as they start to rebuild our old roads. I personally like "Pay as you go" type taxes, so fire away.



Jeremy Soule - Composer & Symphonist:
“One of my favorite things to do is to spend time with the wonderful people at Amaze. The environment there is very lively and creative. In particular, Dr. Stephen Clarke-Willson is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever worked with. I’ve learned much from his experience in the games business.” --Jeremy Soule

Too funny.

Bush accused of twisting Asia history to defend terror war - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

I tried to shrink this article and just quote a little bit from it ... but it's a great article! I love how Bush just makes shit up. Karl Rove taught him to do that.

Bush accused of twisting Asia history to defend terror war - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

WASHINGTON -- Experts say that US President George W. Bush may be misrepresenting history when he drew a parallel between the bloody wars Americans fought in East Asia to the current US "war on terror" to back his case for maintaining US troops in Iraq.

The US leader on Wednesday likened the "terrorists" who wage war in Iraq to the communist forces in Korea and Vietnam and imperial Japanese army, and warned that a hasty Iraq withdrawal would trigger a bloodbath like the one in Southeast Asia after the US defeat and retreat from Vietnam.


"Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields,'" said Bush.

More than half a million US troops fought for South Vietnam against the communist North during the peak of the war, which left more than 58,000 of them dead before Washington's humiliating pullout.

"My understanding of the history of the Vietnam war and the lessons of that differs rather dramatically from Mr. Bush's," Robert Hathaway, an Asian expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, told Agence France-Presse.

Hathaway said that despite the eight-year US military involvement and its heavy casualties in Vietnam, Washington was still unable to create popular support in the south for a government that was widely considered to be corrupt and unpopular.

South Vietnam collapsed in 1975 not because American forces had withdrawn, but because the South Vietnamese and their army simply did not care enough about their government to fight in its defense, he said. The North Vietnamese simply walked almost unopposed into Saigon.

"So one of the lessons, at least for me, is the American tragedy in Vietnam is that military force by an outside power -- a power that many people in Vietnam viewed as an occupying force -- was not sufficient to create the political conditions for genuinely popular government in South Vietnam nor the political will to fight for that government," Hathaway said.

"Another lesson of Vietnam is that combination of great power and good intentions is not necessarily sufficient for America to impose its will on others," he added.

Retired US Brigadier General John Johns, an expert on counter-insurgency who served in Vietnam, said Bush was "cherry-picking" history to support his case for staying the course in Iraq.

"What I learned in Vietnam is that US forces could not conduct a counterinsurgency operation. The longer we stay there, the worse it's going to get," he said.

Steven Simon of the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, echoed the comments.

Bush "emphasized the violence in the wake of American withdrawal from Vietnam. But this happened because the United States left too late, not too early," he said.

"It was the expansion of the war that opened the door to Pol Pot and the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. The longer you stay the worse it gets," he said.

About 1.7 million Cambodians died during the Pol Pot-led Khmer Rouge's reign of terror from 1975 to 1979.

Historian Robert Dallek, who had compared the wars in Iraq and Vietnam, accused Bush of twisting history.

"We were in Vietnam for 10 years. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we did in all of World War II in every theater. We lost 58,700 American lives, the second-greatest loss of lives in a foreign conflict. And we couldn't work our will," he told the Los Angeles Times.

"What is Bush suggesting? That we didn't fight hard enough, stay long enough? That's nonsense. It's a distortion," he continued.

"We've been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II," he said. The disaster in Iraq "is the consequence of going in, not getting out," he added.

VZ Navigator

VZ Navigator is an application you can download to most Verizon cell phones.

It's a very complete GPS solution. It doesn't use GPS satellites, so you can't use it anywhere. It uses cell towers to triangulate where you are and Verizon enhanced service must be available. On a recent drive to California, VZ Navigator failed to work in southern Oregon.

It's $10.00 a month or $3.00 a day. Which is cool because you can leave it inactive most of the time and just use it when, say, driving to California, or if you get lost. It's a mere $3.00 to get un-lost.

The $10.00 option kind of sucks. It's tied to your billing cycle, which, of course, they failed to explain to me. My usage cross over a billing cycle boundary, so even though I only used it for a couple of weeks, it cost me $20.00. The customer service lady, who was nice and apologetic but didn't fix anything, agreed that if I had bought the monthly package one day before my billing cycle completed, I would get one day of service for $10.00.

Still, compared to a $600.00 or $800.00 portable GPS sytem, even $20.00 is awesome.

There was a problem down in California.

I wanted to drive from Fallbrook, CA to Sea World in San Diego. VZ Navigator sent me on a 371 mile drive instead of the 33 miles it should have been. Luckily I ignored the route it chose.

Here's a picture of the deranged route:

Deranged VZ Navigator Route

It's a little hard to see, but basically the route to San Diego goes all the way up north past LA and then back down San Diego.

© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


Disney Park Pics from Around the World (RSS)

Check out the RSS feed to my photo gallery.

There are lots of Disney pics from around the world. I managed to hit all of the Disney parks around the world within a twelve month period. (Hong Kong hadn't opened yet ... but I did see the big model at WDI! Lucky me!)


Guild Wars rage for 4 million - PC News at GameSpot

Guild Wars rage for 4 million - PC News at GameSpot:
Guild Wars rage for 4 million NCsoft's free-to-play MMOG hits sales milestone through combined tally of original game and first two expansions.


Paramount picks HD DVD over Blu-ray - Tech News & Reviews - MSNBC.com

Paramount picks HD DVD over Blu-ray - Tech News & Reviews - MSNBC.com:
LOS ANGELES - Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will offer next-generation DVDs in the HD DVD format and drop support for Blu-ray, further complicating the race between the competing technologies.

Monday's announcement affects the upcoming DVD release of the blockbuster "Shrek the Third" and all movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films, as well as movies from DreamWorks Animation, which are distributed exclusively by Paramount Home Entertainment.

Yay! A win for HD-DVD.

Now we have Universal and the Paramount Studios that are HD-DVD only. (Thanks Spielberg and Katzenberg.) Warner Bros. is still trying to do both.

It's all about the pricing.

If only Disney would switch sides. I bet they will after this Christmas.


(Apparently Paramount is getting $150M in marketing guarantees ... but I believe the Blu-Ray side has been doing the same for quite some time, so I don't see that as big news. Also there was an article in Variety about Michael Bay getting upset because he thought Blu-Ray was better and he wanted Transformers to come out on Blu-Ray ... but then he saw a demo of HD-DVD and learned that players would cost $200.00 and decided HD-DVD didn't suck after all.)




This looks pretty cool. I can hook this up to my network of security webcams and produce seamless imagery. They have a free download for eval purposes.


DailyTech - "300" Outlines HD DVD, Blu-ray Disc Differences

DailyTech - "300" Outlines HD DVD, Blu-ray Disc Differences
HD DVD outshines Blu-ray Disc with a better version of "300"

This week’s home video movie releases will bring with it a disc that will clearly outline the differences in feature sets of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. “300,” released on Tuesday, hits the market on high-definition with unequal releases.

The rights to “300” belong to Warner Home Video – a studio that backs both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc – but the studio has graced the HD DVD version with several exclusive features that currently can be found nowhere else.

Blu-Ray has been in the news recently because Blockbuster has started renting Blu-Ray disks. But HD-DVD players are outselling Blu-Ray by a considerable margin. There are HD-DVD players now for $249 and that will be even lower this Christmas.

Read the article for details on how the HD-DVD spec is actually implemented in current hardware while the Blu-Ray interactivity spec is still in development and not widely used.