Friday, January 12, 2007

Not a dead end

Oooh, I was kind of at a dead end for most of the day, then after sifting through a thousand and one sweep picking (its a guitar technique) videos on youtube, I stumbled into two interesting things in one day! Joy!

First thing, well, actually two things, are from introversions blog.

I like these guys. I really have no reason to, other than they are brits and are indies and seem kind of cool, but hey, I'm an old softie.

Anyhoo, the guys seem to be doing well, actually, they seem to be doing well enough that thier lead programmer (if I can call him that, basically theyre all owners as far as I can tell) is actually going fulltime!

Thats so funny really. They've been successful on and off for years now (with the off being the disappointing sales of the excellent darwinia) and ONLY NOW he's going fulltime. That's pretty fun, considering I've seen plenty of people trying to go fulltime with only a match 3 behind them.

So the other interesting Introversion blog thingy that was interesting is thier new game Subversion (check the blog for screenshots). Anyway, whats interesting about subversion for me, is that it is actually exploring techniques I had a great discussion about with Professor Richard Gabriel a good few months back while I was giving a seminar at the "Recent Object Oriented Trends" conference in Norway.

The discussion basically turned to ideas I was having for generating a set of cities from simplistic AI agents using "human population" rules. Essentially, my theory was that europe turned out the way it is, because of the spread of population and subsequent farming methods. I figured that if I could reproduce the spread of human population (i.e. small village, reproduce, spread out, start another small village, iterate, build civilisation a bit more etc) then I could reproduce the landscape procedurally. The whole point of this, was my need for a european looking landscape for Air Ace.

Anyway, I didnt take it any further, but I can definitely see how it would work. Plus I think Chris's work on subversion shows similar signs and definitely seems to point towards my own theories being valid. Interestingly enough, linking to Chris's work on procedural cities. I actually have a book chapter submission in for hardware rendering of procedurally generated 3D cityscapes using the new DX10 hardware geometry shader techniques (this is for the book GPU Gems 3). Lets hope they accept so I have to get off my ass and do the work! :)

Incidentally, on another little side note and link with Mark's stuff and ROOTS. I am quite intrigued by the methods Chris is using and the similarities to the techniques Chaim Gingold demonstrated for his work on SPORE, which was again, presented at the ROOTS conference in Norway last October-ish. I have to tell you Chaim's little opengl hack-together-demo's written using GLUT where FANTASTIC. I mean, he had about a dozen silly little demo's of organisms that ate themselves (i.e. mouth eathing its own stomach), through to procedurally generating curved roads (which is what made me link it with Chris's road generation).

Anyway, wrapping up, the last thing of mucho interest is an analysis of my friend Thomas Buscaglia (the game attourney) and some other attourneys, of a recently available contract between Activision and Spark for Call of Duty (I think its a console version, not the fantastic infinity ward variant). This analysis was posted in an article on Gamasutra and I have to say, its a fantastic insight into the AAA retail sector contracts. It also shows you (if you read the comments), how you can easily get screwed by your publisher if you dont go over your contracts with a microscope. Believe me, I've seen the results of bum contracts and its never pretty.

And now ULTRA finally, I just registered, I figured it'd make a lovely little name for a casual-indie development company. Kind of overtones of games + godzuki (godzilla's little baby I believe).

So, all in all, its been a very interesting night! Hopefully tommorows open day at the Uni will provide similar interest!