2004 – the year in review

This was a long year that went really fast. Highlights include

Polymonkey v2.0.
thanks to the insane amount of work by freakdesign and a minimal amount of input from me, The Polymonkey site was given a new lease on life in May. She’s beautiful and no longer a horrible bitch to update.

Matt the monkey gets a show.
In June I had my first solo show at Gallery 482 in Brisbane. Everybody loved it. Except me. I guess no matter how much you try you still see the mistakes. And photography just doesn’t sell in this town. But if you paint, you’ve got a licence to print money.

TY2 is in shops.
The main reason why I can’t remember middle half of the year. TY the Tasmanian Tiger 2 is now in stores and out of my life. The big thing that I did was the overworld. I model worlds for a living and this was one hell of a mesh. 350,000 polys, 280 textures and 2.5 by 1.5 kilometers in size. It was huge and it hurt for the last half of the year. It was all hand modeled after I muttered the phrase.

“terrain generation always looks like arse”

Now I’m playing World of Warcraft and I am eating those words for about 4 hours a day.

Games made me travel.
Went to E3AGDC and AEAF this year. Without a doubt the highlight was E3 and the Japan stopover. The entire thing was updated live on polymonkey. You can still see the fallout in the photo section.

So you may ask, what now?

TY3 is full steam ahead.
This time I’m not building much. (I just couldn’t handle another overworld) I’m just trying to make people not break. Which is a little harder than it sounds.

Japan is calling me.
We’ve already started to save. So if the bank balance goes well. I should be there for the Tokyo Game Show. and then a week of looking around and trying to photograph the place till it can take no more.

More photos.
Well it’s photo competition city coming up. There’s four due at the end of February. So that means more polish and finially finishing of some of those lingering projects. I’m still waiting to hear back about this commission that I might be getting. And I’m putting together some stuff for a grant. And I want to get another show together. This time one that is a little more themed, rather than be a collection.

And more Polymonkey.
I got the question this year of what is this site for. Funny cause I’ve never really thought of that before. I couldn’t answer and I still can’t. Except that it’s mine. And I need to get some things out there. For the moment that’s enough….

Matt the monkey

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Minecraft vs Starcraft. Some research.

I’m giving a talk in a couple of months on the very weird state of the games industry. So I’ll be posting some info as I collect it. To begin, 2 giants of 2010 both with Craft in the name. Presenting the last 6 months of popular interest in Minecraft vs Starcraft. (The large peek in July is the Starcraft launch date)
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This is where we are. And it’s a really weird.

The games industry has had a see saw year. Studios closures. The rise of indie development. Failure on big titles. Success on small titles. All the classical rules of “how it works” in this business are in flux. The GFC has done wonders for throwing consumers into chaos. And it’s really hitting the way the industry makes product.

For me nothing sums this up more than what appeared in my twitter feed this morning. On the same day as LA Noir drops a very impressive trailer, a never heard of bunch of students drop Octodad.

Click through for both.

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This was your office. We moved it into the carpark.

Old Pando building 1

I used to work here. In fact that hole in the wall on the second floor. Well thats where I sat. A lot of the people who worked there have moved on. A number overseas, some in other states. There are only a handful of us who’s work has kept them in the same area and I’m still loitering at the same coffee shops.

I’ve watched that building stay vacant for the last two years. EA had a 5 year lease and they were happy to keep it empty.

So last Monday was a shock. Shawn, Kieran, Morgan and I just stood there. It was hard to put into words really. We’d all had good and bad times at that job. But the space is gone. There’s a lot of mixed feelings. But I thought the least I could do was post a few photos from the place.

I’ve known that chapter was over. Now I know it’s buried.

More photos in the full post. Details »

Vector Image Fields

The video explains most of the process. And it’s a couple of months old now but I keep forgetting to add it here. So here it is.
Also there are images in the details post.

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New Project – DVA

working

I’m starting a new project. It’ll be going for a while. I’ve got to have it finished by 2018. I’m not going to take that long, at least I don’t plan to. I’m starting a DVA (here’s a link)

So there might be some weird posts over the next few years, while I work on this thing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

M

Freeplay is in 10 days

If you haven’t heard, Freeplay is going to happen in Melbourne in about a week and half. It’s turning into a pretty significant event. Not only because of the stellar lineup of people. Not just because most major game conventions in Australia are slowly dying. But for me it’s the way the talks have been put together. Grab a bunch of people and take them out of their comfort zone. Then put an audience in front of them. What could go wrong.

Why am I mentioning this? Well I’m on a panel called “101 things I learnt in Game Design School”. The idea comes from this book, which is a personal favourite of mine (buy it, it’s really good). The way it’s working is that all the Freeplay speakers (there are about 600,000 of them) offer a thing they learnt. And then we panel about them. The last bit is a little hazy but Helen assures me that it’s under control.

Before my friends get out the pitchforks, it wasn’t my idea. I’m not a game designer. And I never went to a Game Design School. But I do run one (which might be the only reason I’m on the panel) and I hang around a lot of Design people so I’ve leached a lot of ideas though the years.

As prep I sat down to see if I could write out 101 things that I actually do know. I present them below as a way of throwing myself at the mercy of the court. If I’ve learnt anything it’s because people much smarter than I already figured it out and shared it with me. This talk is for them.

Click Details to get the list.

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I love it when a plan comes together.

This was day 1 for the Alternator Brisbane Dev team. The amazing thing is nothing exploded.

So myself and 3 other people are looking after the Brisbane side of the Alternator Game project for the ABC. The project is going to run for about 6 months. I’m going to endeavour to document the whole thing and drop out updates. I want to make the whole stressful and insane process a little more stressful and insane by being as open as possible.

And so the video above. This is our first clean, build, break, fix, network, install day. And the funk music makes it sound a lot more awesome. We’ve moved into K Tower in the Valley with Defiant Development. A brand new studio started by Morgan Jaffit.

More info to come, as we wind down from all the red cordial of yesterday.

Music by Kutiman “The Mother Of All Funk Cords”
You can buy his stuff here And you should because he’s awesome.

Been busy. But there’s always time for PONG.

I finally had a weekend off so I put together this face tracking PONG demo using openCV. It’s just like the original PONG. But. With. Your. Face. There should be a nice HD version at Vimeo. I try to explain what’s happening in the video so watch it to hear what’s going on. Strangely enough keeping composed while trying to smack cubes with your face is a little tricky.

March was insane. I got back home and the next day was the first class of the year. And I haven’t stopped. Every project I was working on came to a grinding halt. Which was a little annoying. But there is great stuff coming down the line that I’m looking forward to getting out there. GFSGames has their first lot of 3rd years and they are awesome.

But next week is the mid term break so it’s scramble to get ahead time. No rest for the wicked or the convenor.

MattD

Nearly over. Nearly home.

a Pollock via iPhone and Pollock via Pollock

Tomorrow is Saturday and it’s really my last day of holiday. Sunday I’m getting a tour of the TOKYO GEIJUTSU DAIGAKU new media department from my old processing buddy Saito. I get the plane home on Monday, touchdown Tuesday and stand up in fronts of the first class of the year on Wednesday. I’m already damn tired and I’ve got a backlog of 40GB and growing of photos and video to get through. I’m leaving the photos for the plane.

Just one thing though. Visually this country is exhausting, Tokyo specifically. I’m good with iconography and body language so I’ve had no problems getting places or talking to people, just no existential topics. But I can’t read the language so I’m constantly searching for english in any signage. And the sheer number of fonts is driving me insane. How do people stand it here? After a day walking around I’m happy for any small part of familiar grounding. It did make me smile when I thought I saw comic sans at DisneyLand.

Did I mention it’s cold in Tokyo!

Guess what they sell ?

We’ve been here a day and it’s raining. Which is better than the snow that was falling when we first got here. If you follow the link above, I’ve started a flicker set with all the photos. Off to get some lunch and avoid the cold.