The Halting Point

Friday, April 28, 2006

D'Fusion. D'Vision of what's to come with the Nintendo Wii (Revolution)?

A recent Digg story has just set the rumor-mill running full power again. For some background, the Nintendo Revolution, recently renamed to the "Wii" much to the dismay of most of the internet has had one big secret about it which nobody at or affiliated with Nintendo is even willing to hint at other than to say "prepare to see games in a way you never imagined". There has been much speculation as to what this could be but the consensus has typically been that it was some sort of additional virtual reality device to enhance the controller experience, perhaps a camera or something.

Now, the link in the Digg article just discusses some of the speculation going around, however the comments in that article as well as the Digg comments link to a video which you can watch below that demonstrates some technology from a company called Total Immersion called D'Fusion. Now, for some reason that video is not on their website.....I wonder why. Perhaps it was too much of a giveaway? In addition to the video below I HIGHLY recommend you check out the other demo videos on the company website to get a better feel for the technology as the video below is probably leaving you with about a million questions after you've picked your jaw up off the floor.



There has been a definitive answer from Nintendo that there will be no visor or helmet for the system, and this could very well be why. You see, this technology relies on cameras having a fixed viewpoint. It would be very difficult to make it render accurately through a visor from the infinite viewpoints that would be created by that. You would need SEVERAL cameras for that. But just imagine playing on your bigscreen in your living room with a table in front of you. You have some piles of books, a couple empty glasses, and you and your friend are sitting at the table watching slack-jawed as you see yourselves on the TV, like a mirror image, and on the table in front of you there are little armies marching around and fighting, and INTERACTING with the books and glasses on the table as if they were real world obstacles. Whats more, your controller interacts with them with force-feedback.

Now imagine another scenario...networked play. Your friend is at his house with his system, you're playing on yours. You see him on the screen in his living room and he sees you in yours. Suddenly a lightsaber ignites in his hand and you flip your switch in response and smile as you see the blade follow every precise flick of your wrist on the screen. Every Star Wars fan's wettest dream. Aside from Carrie Fischer in her Jabba outfit.

I honestly believe there are true geniuses over at Nintendo because if this video is any sign of the reality of this system...they will have truly and utterly pwned this round of the console wars.

Add to this the fact that the system is expected to be priced around $200 in comparison to the fortune the Xbox 360 goes for and the fortune the PS3 will go for and it is a slamdunk.

I've already made up my mind to get a Revolution...sorry...."Wii"...for my next console...unfortunately if this the reality of the system, it just means I will have to get a place in line that much earlier the night before launch. But anything that is cool and innovative enough to almost make me say "Fuck Spore" is well worth that wait in line.

Friday, April 21, 2006

4/20/2006

Apparently a large number of students were absent yesterday from high schools in the north suburbs of Chicago. What does the news think caused this mass truancy?

Columbine.

Of course! Why else would rich white high schoolers miss class on 4-20?

In completely unrelated news, medical marijuana was rejected by the FDA.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

5x increase expected for in-game advertising industry.

In a recent Slashdot story and it really made me wonder...

How in the hell are companies like Massive going to penetrate the fantasy game market? You can't just drop a billboard in the middle of IronForge.

No, if advertisers want to break into the fantasy games, they're going to have be much more creative about it, and much more humble. Advertisers have to EARN the respect of the gamers who's virtual worlds they are invading. They can do this by going with the grain of the setting rather than against it. How can this be possible?

Lets take a look at who currently sells things in these games. Not the gold-farmers or auction hounds...but the NPCs. I wonder if gamers would take much offense at seeing a food vendor named "Cournel" selling "K'ntuckee Fried Gryphon wings". It spoofs the real brand and product, is creative, yet also is done in a way that makes it easy for gamers to get the joke and make the connection to the real brand. I'm willing to bet quite a few players would respond positively to a brand parodying itself.

This is a very integrated method of bringing a brand into a fantasy world. And it works completely in-character. There are of course methods that are a bit more out of character that still affect the game world directly. What about an invasion that displayed a text message in the chat window along the lines of "This invasion sponsored by Teamspeak"? Yes, it is significantly more intrusive, but still adds value to the gameworld in the form of the invasion. Unfortunately, Teamspeak is unlikely to advertise their products in such a way due to budget, and a brand like coke would seem very out of place.

For this reason there exists a third option, however it is by far the most intrusive and as out of context as it gets. Advertising placed in the interface. Perhaps just a logo or a tiny text ad in a mostly out of the way space. Yes, this is probably going too far, but it could be worse...you could see a :15 spot on your loading screen when you switch zones.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Video of new female robot.

Those crazy Japanese are at it again. This time they created a female robot to go with all the male(?) robots. Apparently what makes it female is that it has hips and knows how to shake its ass from side to side. The big question though is whether it can go to the kitchen and make me a goddamned sammich like I told it to an hour ago!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Robo One....or.....why the Japanese rock.

The Japanese have been world leaders in robot fighting technology from day one. What was conceived as a work of fiction in the roots of anime history has materialized into a real live competition that is seeking to live up to the fantasties created by the likes of Gundam, Robotech, Neon Genesis Evangelion and the countless other giant robot anime titles that exist.

The Robo One competition, which started off with simple robots fighting on a table is now bringing the conflict into space. As shown in the video below, the robots are launched into space and when the round starts, they are "ejected" on tether's from the central fighting satellite. Each tether has a sensor embedded in it that can detect when a robot has been pushed to the end of its ether, like when one robot punches the ever-loving shit out of another.

I embedded the video below, but that doesn't really do it justice.....you need to watch this full screen because thats how cool giant robots fighting in space are. So please click on the link below to go to the video's page and then select the full screen option for the true viewing "experience". Or something.



  • Permalink To Video (click to access the fullscreen view)
  • Thursday, April 13, 2006

    This Passover brought to you by Maxwell House.

    Last night was indeed different from all other nights. What started out as a Passover seder dinner at the home of a family my parents knew but that I had never met ended up with me coming up with a new avenue for marketers to hawk their wares. Passover!

    My inspiration came from the Maxwell House haggadah (Passover prayer book) that we used for dinner that night. Now, many of my Jewish readers might recognize this book pictured to the left, however this was news to me as my family has our own haggadahs. Apparently though there is some serious history behind this and the campaign is quite famous!. According to this press release from Maxwell House, they began distributing these things in 1934, and at 72 years and counting...this is the longest running promotion by a major brand in the US with 40 million copies distributed so far.

    I thought that was fantastic, but why stop there?! Passover is an expensive event for any family, and in these tough times we need all the financial help we can get. So without further adieu I present to you my sponsored Passover promotion ideas for other brands!

    Seder Plate: Typically these are decorated, very expensive plates that the symbolic food items are placed on. These items range from parsley to horseradish. So why not take that god awful tasting horseradish flavor away with a nice, refreshing Pepsi! The plate would of course feature the Pepsi logo and instead of a dish of salt water, lets bring back Crystal Pepsi for people to dip their bitter herbs in.

    Yamukahs: Otherwise known as the funny little hats that us Jews wear. Aside from the expensive custom-made ones, these tend to be either solid white or solid black. Perfect for sporting one or more brand logos! Why should athletes get all the benefits of wearing sponsored uniforms? Plus, you can charge extra for space on the yamukah of whoever is leading the seder!

    Matzah: I often refer to this as the cracker of the Jews! It is unleavened bread that is flat, crunchy and has lots of holes in it. We hold it up frequently during the course of the night, and one piece of it is hidden for little children to find for a prize. So what can we do to spice this plain bread up and bring in some dough (pardon the pun)? Well, lets steal an idea from Face Cake! Those are the cool cakes where you can have an edible photograph literally printed onto the cake! Well...why stop ata cake, lets have sponsored matzah! Logos and copy could be printed onto the matzah and everybody would marvel at the unusual and interesting ads you could please on there. Instant eyeballs.

    So next year, consider saving some money on Passover dinner (and what Jew doesn't want to do that!) and consider bringing corporations to your seder table because they are interested in the same thing us Jews are. Money.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Make 3D plastic models of your WoW characters!

    A new piece of free open-source software called OGLE, which stands for OpenGL Extractor, allows you to grab 3d modelling data from online games and other pieces of software where you may not have access to the actual models.

    How does it work this magic? The software (which is Windows Only) acts as kind of a middleman between the data flow of the program and the computer's OpenGL library. Then it puts all of this in standard 3d modeling format.

    So how do you get your little likeness of your virtual "you" in plastic form? Well...thats the more expensive part. The plastic model seen in the picture above was printed on an $18,900 (base price) Dimension BST 3D printer with ABS plastic as the printing compound.

    The upside is that if you have any friends at art and design schools (like my almamater MCAD, they most likely have access to these printers and would be able to print them out for you for most likely just the cost of the raw materials. And while I'm not familiar with any companies that do this...there may be some companies out there that will fill small prototyping orders and ship the models out to you.

    (Click the above image for a larger version)

    *edit
    Thought I'd add some download links as well...but please also check out the creator's site for all the cool goodness they have on there.
    First you need a DLL called GLIntercept and then you need the OGLE software.
  • GLIntercept Download Page
  • OGLE Direct Download Link
  • Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Scientists find equation for perfect ass!

    Scientists have done it again. In an article from the Sunday Times we learn that the scientific formula for the perfect ass is:

    (S+C) x (B+F)/T = V



    S = Overall shape
    C = Curvature
    B = How much it moves when she shakes it
    F = How firm it is
    V = Hip to Waist Ratio
    T = Smoothness and cellulite

    According to the horribly unscientific survey the scientists conducted in the UK...Kylie Minogue has a great ass...as shown in the image above, whereas J-Lo's is huge. Wow, Latina women have statistically larger than normal asses...film at 11!

    Personally I think they need to release the simple measuring device they used for this on the open market. Seriously...every woman wants something to make her guilty over eating that last pint, and what better way to do it than having a simple scale they can hold up to their ass to realize how fat they are! Patent pending...

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Crabs Killing Unicorns...WTF?!

    I ran across this great viral ad created by Y&R Southern California on Adrants. Appears to be for the Newport Beach Film Festival. All I have to say is...WTF?!

    Honestly...with the complete saturation of viral content these days, there has been steadily decreasing signal to noise ratio, so it takes a lot to catch my attention now...but this honestly made me burst out laughing. Definitely nails the recent "random humor" trend that makes shows like Family Guy and Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021 so great. Way to "get it" Y&R!

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    New Star Wars comic from the creator of "Troops"!

    Many of you might remember a fan-made Star Wars spoof filmed in 1997 called "Troops" (link goes to YouTube version of film), which could be considered one of the first true viral videos on the internet.

    Well, looks like the writer of "Troops" is back at it after having been brought on by Dark Horse Comics as a writer. Check out this preview of his hilarious Star Wars spoof comic on the Dark Horse website. Make sure to click the "next page" link at the top of the current page to read a few pages.

    The premise of the comic, called "Star Wars: The Return of Tag and Bink" follows Tag and Bink, two Imperial troopers who, through their mishaps and adventures unknowingly have a lasting impression on the Star Wars universe as we know it through the films, much in the style of "Troops".

    Latest MIT hack...stealing Cal Tech's cannon.

    According to the Cal Tech Cannon, MIT students posing as a moving company called Howe & Ser (get it? howitzer?) socially engineered their way past security and moved it to their campus with the addition of a giant machine-tooled version of their class ring, the Brass Rat, slid over the barrel. Absolutely brilliant. See their site for more images. See the Slashdot comments on this here.

    Thanks to redhotwheels on Digg for pointing out that I can't spell for shit and had Cannon spelled wrong. It has since been corrected.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Amazing robot sculpture

    This guy machined this little robot and my jaw is on the ground. I want one, badly. A post on Digg claimed they saw a story on this and it supposedly has over 700 moving parts. I wish I could find some more details on this but the pictures alone are just absolutely stunning.

    See more pictures | Digg coverage

    I shaved my Wookie.


    I took some camera phone pics from a magazine yesterday that had some funny stencil graffiti of Star Wars material. Found some of them online. A print of the Wookie one can be found at Eelus.com, while the R2D2 one was created by a guy named Dolk and was spray painted on the 1st floor of Leicester Street in London according to the Flickr page I found it on..

    Chuck Norris: The Cartoon

    My wonderful friend Jina just informed me that last night instead of Inu Yasha (piece of crap), Adult Swim aired an old 80's Chuck Norris cartoon. Found a lovely clip of the intro on YouTube to watch. Bloody brilliant, these people were truly ahead of their time. It honestly just gets better and better as you watch. I couldn't make it out clearly, but was one of his sidekicks called TiVo?!

    Nissan Terranaut...The Homer?!


    Apparently someone at Nissan is a Simpsons fan because I swear, this thing looks like The Homer from the outside. But I want one...bad....and I want a chauffeur to drive me in it so I can sit in the command turret. And I want weapons mounted on it, big freakin weapons.

    Suicide Girls Killer

    So on an odd internet journey which began at Digg.com...went through a site that listed news gathering sites similar to Digg...and ended up at a collaborative porn site (funny how that works). Well, one of the links was for a site called http://www.godsgirls.com (site isn't live yet, temp site with samples is on their MySpace page) which the poster claimed was a Suicidegirls.com killer.

    Hmm....he might have been right if this sample picture is anything to go by.

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    Google Maps for Zombies?

    First off, this is an April Fools story. I get sick and tired of trying to trick people through text on a website...its too damn easy. But this was funny, and I kinda wish it was actually real. Found this Google Maps for Zombies link over at Lifehacker.

    Splice your own chimera.

    A company called GeneDupe is creating software that will allow you to take an image of a mythological creature and dump in the genomes of the two or more animals that the mythological creature (often referred to as a chimera) is composed of. Once this is done it will go through several generations and several rounds of simulated evolution to output what the most likely successful genome combination of the two would be.

    Thats cool enough as it is, but their REAL goal is to take this new mashed-up gene sequence and create a real animal from scratch with it. In otherwords, they want to make REAL mythological creatures. Now, whether or not they would end up being horribly deformed animals that constantly try to kill themselves from agony is another story altogether.

    Now, this being April 1st and all, I wouldn't be surprised if this is completely fake, seeing as how I grabbed it off of Digg, but who knows. At our current level of genetic understanding, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this had half a chance in hell of working.

    *EDIT
    So yes, this actually was an April Fools joke. What is sad is that Slashdot actually picked this story up from Digg. They can't even make their own April Fools stories?