damascus it is

On 26 February 2013 TV2 of Denmark needed a backdrop for a report on the current conflict in Syria. As it seems someone at the station searched the web for a suitable picture and hit upon a beautiful vista of the old city of Damascus. But the picture shows Damascus as it most probably has looked during the time of the ↑third crusade (1189-1192). Above that the picture doesn’t depict anything from the empirical world, but is a still from the computer game ‘↵Assassin’s Creed‘ (Ubisoft Montreal 2007). Quite tell-tale is the wooden beam attached to the minarett at the … Continue reading

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slowing down light

↑A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased … Continue reading

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moving the map

Here is yet another example from the ↵games with defects: ↑PlaygroundPong. From ↑the documentation: PlaygroundPong is a proof of concept for inverting Avatar & Playground. The player cannot move the paddles at all like in a regular Pong game. The ball seems to move from side to side but clearly it does not! The player cannot identify with the avatar (playing object), he or she has to get to terms with moving the background (from left to right, right to left, top to bottom and bottom to top) in order to bring the paddles in a position where they manage … Continue reading

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games with defects

While attending the ↑Third Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung (↑GFF), at the University of Zurich I got to know ↑René Bauer, a game designer who teaches at the Hochschule der Künste in Zürich (↑ZHdK). He showed us quite some of the projects done by his students—see yourself at ↑and-or—wonderful, fantastic, up to absolutely hilarious. I especially like the idea of creating computer games with built-in gameplay defects which are making you think. Take for example ‘↑laichenberg‘, a first-person shooter which was advertised as being ‘more realistic than doom3, unreal etc.’  With the graphics craze of the last decade … Continue reading

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wolfenstein 3d online

At ↑Tom Hall’s weblog I ↑read that Bethesda has celebrated the 20th birthday of ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ (id Software 1992) by putting it online as a free browser game. But when I clicked ↑the link I got a 404—it ain’t here anymore. Either Bethesda has taken it offline again, or the fabulous German banning mechanisms kicked in. I am too lazy to go via proxy, especially because there’s another solution. At Virtual Apple you can ↑play that milestone of computer game history via an Apple ][ emulation. ID SOFTWARE. 1992. Wolfenstein 3-D [computer game]. Mesquite et al.: id Software et al. … Continue reading

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environmental malfunction

After our conversation in the elevator unfortunately is interrupted by ↑Francis Pritchard entering, ↑Megan Reed has to go and meet ↑Athene Margoulis, ↑David Sarif‘s executive assistant. The latter is my boss, the founder and CEO of ↑Sarif Industries, whom I now have to meet up in his office. And quite an office it is [see above], although not as impressive as the one of ↑Dr. Eldon Tyrell—but then again Sarif Industries is characterized as ‘a moderately-sized biotechnology company.’ For that the building housing his company is quite impressive.     While talking with the old man [strange to say that, … Continue reading

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interview with a doomed marine

Again those little mosaic-tiles keep falling in place—and the timing is perfect. Just some days ago ↑John Postill confirmed via email that a paper I proposed for the ↑11th biennial conference of the ↑European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) has been accepted for the media anthropology network’s workshop ↑The Rewards of Media. Just one day before gamescares published an ↑interview with Peter Papadopoulos, Remedy’s community manager. Pete is an old friend of mine from the glorious days of Max-Payne modding. Within the online-scene he is better known as ADM, short for “a doomed marine,” of course an allusion to the … Continue reading

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vulcano by hP

  Just a minute ago I received the latest e-mail newsletter from the ↑CGSociety. The top news in it is, that the CGSociety adopted ‘↑Game-Artist.net, the game artist’s web portal. Now there will be even more game-art eye-candy for the industry, under the CGSociety mantle. Drop by and check out Game-Artist today. For those already there, welcome!’ Immediately I went to the forums, headed down to the work-in-progress (WIP) section—within all forums of that kind the most interesting department to me—and clicked on the top thread, ↑Crysis Map ~ Operation Codename: Vulcano. Droolingly staring on the gorgeous screenshots I thought, … Continue reading

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shooter saves life

  The computer game “↑Max Payne“ (MP, 2001) was ↑banned in Germany, due to “socioethical disorienting effects,” it supposedly causes. In July of 2002 “↑America’s Army“ (AA) was released—since then I am wondering why nobody over here has the idea to ban that game. AA, which is distributed for free over the Internet and on free DVDs, is  a tactical multiplayer first-person shooter owned by the United States Government and released as a global public relations initiative to help with U.S. Army recruitment. […]  Professor Michael Zyda, the director and founder of the MOVES Institute, acknowledged “↑Counter-Strike“ (CS) as the … Continue reading

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postigo on mods and modders

After his brilliant “From Pong to Planet Quake: Post-industrial transitions from leisure to work” (↵2003) ↑Hector Postigo has published an already promised piece plus has yet another one on the topic in the pipeline:  POSTIGO, HECTOR. 2007. Of mods and modders: Chasing down the value of fan-based digital game modifications. Games and Culture 2(4): 300-313.  This article is concerned with the role that fan-programmers (generally known as “modders”) play in the success of the PC digital game industry. The fan culture for digital games is deeply embedded in shared practices and experiences among fan communities, and their active consumption contributes … Continue reading

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