DECO2606 – Introduction

July 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

SUBJECT: DECO2606 Real Time Multimedia, at the University of Sydney, as taught by Rob Saunders. Semester 2, 2011.

THEME: Dynamic Systems.

This theme consists of:

  • physical simulation
  • complex systems
  • artificial life
  • artificial intelligence
  • physical interaction

An exploration and analysis of games with dynamic systems produced the following examples:

Worms, Angry Birds, and Tiny Wings (Mobile Games), Line Rider, are all based on simple physics simulation. (Popular mobile games with dynamic systems seem to be grounded on simple physics simulations).

Games like Flow and Flower have the simplest of user game mechanics, but their aesthetics, through simple physical simulation and complex systems. Artificial Life; flocking, environmental animation, contributes to general aesthetics.

Artificial life can help create more immersive experiences as evidenced in areas such as interactive music videos (see Mr Doob’s 3 Dreams of Black (linked image above), The Wilderness Downtown).

Many competitive games rely on effective artificial intelligence to balance the flow of the game (especially racing games, and games like Super Smash Brothers).

Novel technologies such as the Kinect, Wii, brainwave-reading technology, are encouraging players to interact physically, and potentially interact with their environment. This has been augmented by the growing presence of computing devices, sensors, etc.

Other extensions to gameplay through objects such as peripherals, and other artefacts. (Such as ‘Receipt Racer’, which prints the landscape of a game onto paper).

I also see the collation of human interactions over a specific area or artefact as another form of dynamic system. This can be seen in games with communities (e.g. Minecraft), the Tweetland game (which uses real world tweets to create game objects), mobile applications that facilitate virtual graffiti-ing.

General Observations:

  • The appeal and popularity of many games are from their presentation, especially visual and audio, even through artificial life. The systems can be very simple.
  • Artificial intelligence works well in keeping games ‘fun’. Maintaining flow.
  • Technologies facilitating physical interaction helps expand games from their traditional domains.

Personally, I am interested in exploring Artificial Intelligence and Life, and the notion of Tangibility. Potentially to promote creativity in individuals, a shedding of our social shells, revealing our significance (or insignificance) within local and global dynamic systems.

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