Reading online about how to develop for smartphones or tablets, there are about a dozen recommended mobile games development tools. While Unity 3D seems to get the most press, and GameMaker Studio gets mentioned often for ease-of-use, there are many new entries including Monogame - an open source implementation of the XNA 4 API. Cocos2d is also often mentioned. You can also find large lists of game engines on Wikipedia here and at MobileGameEngines.
Microsoft’s C# XNA developer tool – which no longer is being worked on at Microsoft – had many indie Xbox developer fans. Will this tool lead to an increase in the number of games on Windows 8 phones? Time will tell as some developers port their games from XNA (as in the video below).
An MIT Technology Review blog comments on “Race Against the Machine”, a book about robots and how they might change our thinking about employment (or unemployment) in the future. This might seem like an old topic, since many classic movies, tv episodes, and science fiction novels have already examined the subject, but the recent reality that robots are competing for middle class jobs requires new analysis. While I haven’t read “Race Against the Machine”, I have commented recently on Robot Careers.
You may have seen “Who Do You Think You Are?”, a TV series that examines the family tree of public figures and celebrities. Now, PBS introduces “Genealogy Roadshow”, a new TV series scheduled for Fall 2013 that will examine the family trees of ordinary Americans. I would love to have help like this with some of my most difficult and interesting genealogy roadblocks, such as this circa 1900 photo my grandmother kept. No one has been able to identify anyone in the picture, though I now suspect it was possibly taken on or near my great-grandfather’s farm in Anoka, MN.
Here’s a video from late last year introducing the version of ‘Genealogy Roadshow” that originated in Ireland.
Kate Crawford of Microsoft Research wrote a Foreign Policy Magazine piece called “Think Again: Big Data” (Why the rise of machines isn’t all it’s cracked up to be). She states some cautions regarding the idea that Big Data is the “future of science.”
Here’s Kate Crawford giving a recent talk about “Algorithmic Illusions”.
I love writing short stories. I think one reason is because it reminds me of designing video games. You have limited words and imagery – like bytes and textures — to develop the characters and plot. The challenge is sometimes difficult, often exciting. A few other short story writers express their opinion on the subject in the video below.
Have you ever discovered a street name somewhere, anywhere, that matches the surname of one of your ancestors or friends? I enjoy genealogy research, and recently I found a street name that matches a relative with an uncommon surname. I wondered where I could go to find out the name of a particular street. Here are a few ideas that I hope may help you in your quest for the history of a street name.
If the street is in a big city, there may be a book on the subject. Here’s a website that lists several such books for big cities in the U.S.Zillow.com discusses street naming in more general terms. Wikipedia also has a general description of the subject. You could also try your favorite genealogy database to search city directories. If you can go back far enough, you might find that the people living on that street had the same name as the road.
For small towns, you might try sending an email to the local city hall, genealogical society, or main library. If they don’t have the answer to your question, they might know someone who does. Same goes for how a city got its name. By the way, don’t be surprised if the city experts don’t know how their city was named. This has happened to me a couple of times!
If you search using “how streets got their names” you will get back many other useful results.
In my youth I watched many of Ray Harryhausen’s movies, including one of my favorites, “Jason and the Argonauts.” His imaginative and amazing special effects were, at least in part, my inspiration to work in video games design and development (1970′s and later).
As an engineer, I think that IBM Researcher’s “very small” movie, “A Boy and His Atom,” is an amazing accomplishment. Would scientists in the early 1900′s have believed that in 2013 researchers could control and position carbon atoms such that an animated movie could be created?
As a science fiction writer, I try to imagine what new inventions will show up in the future and what consequences might occur. Seeing the IBM movie, I started thinking, “What’s going on?” After all, we’re made up of atoms, just like that movie was made with cameras that are made up of atoms. What does it mean for an atom to be placed in a set position? Though we have proven we can control some atoms — at least for a time — I suspect there is much more to learn about them before my question can be answered.
We think we are learning how to control the tiny things in the world around us, generating energy, storage, and computing power with their coerced assistance. But as a science fiction writer, I have to wonder if in the future we’ll find out that the tiny things have been controlling us.
As a UC Irvine computer science alumnus, I congratulate the university’s Team Micromouse. This group from the UC Irvine’s Bren School of ICS is the school’s first-time entry in the 2013 California Micromouse competition. Below is a video from the 2012 contest.
Microsoft Research’s proof-of-concept Illumiroom, which uses Kinect, was shown in 2013. With so much wonderful capability — actually pretty cool — to involve the user’s senses in the virtual experience, you have to wonder how you might react if you were playing such a game and then someone came into the room and flicked on the lights. Could be quite jarring.
What’s coming to the office next? Computerworld has an interesting article about the “Consumerization of IT.” Unisys has done three annual reports on this topic, the most recent one (Nov. 2012 video below) conducted by Forrester Consulting. When I see these kinds of articles and reports, I sometimes wonder if there is an agenda — such as getting more tablets and smartphones and other new devices into the workplace, but I’m sure you’ll use your own judgment.
I am a long time amateur juggler, able to perform a few basics with 3 or 4 balls, 3 or 4 rings, or 3 clubs. 5 ball juggling has always escaped me, as well as many of the more complicated 3 and 4 ball patterns. That’s why it’s great to see more capable jugglers creating videos that teach others how to perform some of these difficult tricks.
The International Juggler’s Association (IJA) has an annual contest for submissions of video tutorials, and they have chosen their top 10 for 2013. Below is just one of the videos I enjoyed watching, especially since the 5 ball juggling skill is so elusive to many amateurs. If you are interested in the science of juggling, Discover Magazine (2004) featured an article on the “Mathematics of … Juggling.”
Wondering what Big Data is? This blog by Tim Powell is a pretty good summary of the challenges. I particularly like this statement by Powell regarding what’s missing in many Big Data projections of return on investment: ”the human attention and processing needed to convert the analyzed information into decisions and actions.”
That said, here are a couple of recent articles on the subject of Big Data related to financial markets, where human trading is often considered too slow.
Attend the 2013 @GamesForHealth Conf! Boston 6/26-6/28. Explore how videogames help with health/healthcare http://bit.ly/gfh2013
I attended this conference in 2009 and gave a talk with Ben Sawyer about my game “Microsurgeon” being one of the first video games related to health. Dave Graveline of “Into Tomorrow” interviewed me, and he’s got some nice pictures from the 2009 show (click on the link below). My interview is near the beginning of the third hour of the broadcast. ReachMD also attended and interviewed me.
Dvice.com calls this a peak at the first real holodeck, but I think that’s a bit much. I have not tried it, but I wonder how it feels to walk upstairs in the video, while you are actually walking level. Also, as an exercise tool, I wonder how effective it would be since there is a lot of stopping and starting. It’s not the holodeck that I want, and I wish they would have come up with a non-shoot-em-up game for an example.
According to Wikipedia, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once said “Creativity is seeing what everyone else sees, but then thinking a new thought that has never been thought before and expressing it somehow. It could be with art, a sculpture, music or even in science. The difference, however, between scientific creativity and any other kind of creativity, is that no matter how long you wait, no one else will ever compose “Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony” except for Beethoven. No matter what you do, no one else will paint Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Only Van Gogh could do that because it came from his creativity.”
That’s fascinating, and it’s one of the reasons that inspired me to write “Light Echo,” a science fiction story featuring Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”. It won best-in-issue in “The Fifth Di…” and is featured in my ebook, “Science Fiction: The Arts.”
In the video below, Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about some of his favorite things in his office, including his Van Gogh treasures (see 1:33 into the video).
MIT Technology Review blogger Tom Simonite asks, “will robots create new jobs when they take over existing ones?“ Makes me wonder if in the future we’ll all have jobs managing robots (as in “The Jetsons”), or will the robots be managing us? Or maybe laws will be created to prevent robots from certain kinds of jobs.
Those of us who watch ”Futurama” learned that robots aren’t allowed to compete in Blernsball (a future jazzed up version of baseball).
It was announced today that “as of July 2013, Game Developer magazine will stop printing its print and digital editions, and transition to become a section on Gamasutra.com.“ I will miss the magazine that started in the 1990′s.
The National Records of Scotland reports that Jack, Lewis and Riley are the most popular male baby names in Scotland for 2012. Sophie, Emily, and Lily are the top three baby names for girls in Scotland for 2012.
I’ve been reading about telerobotics for a few years, wondering how well the technology works, especially internationally. So I contacted a few of the companies that manufacture them. The technology is so new that there don’t seem to be solutions yet for renting, repairing, and insuring telerobots for international use. One company suggested that if it breaks down, you’d have to pay for the shipping costs back to the manufacturer in the U.S.
While there are probably plenty of customers interested in using telerobotics from a U.S. state-to-another-state, I wonder how many users there are internationally (such as U.S. to Europe). I think it could make a significant dent in international air travel costs for businesses, but I don’t think the technology is there yet.