The Perfect Color

Many months ago, I did a review of the game Smilie by Mory Buckman. That review lead me to being asked to help with Mory's next game, the Perfect Color.

I find it's creation to be particularly intriguing because it was accomplished entirely by email. It's been an interesting collaborating across the world, myself in Montreal, Canada; and Mory in Beit Shemesh, Israel. I suspect this design process is not well suited for everyone, but for two people who enjoy blogging and communication through text, it allows for very clear and thoughtful dialogue.

I have been involved with the game since roughly September and have been working on the character designs and animations, though I have also been able to help work through some of the game design choices and play test the game.

To give a little setup for the game, try to consider video games from a new perspective. It is not about getting a high score or winning, in the same way that film, music and painting aren't about those things. Enjoy it. Absorb it. Look carefully, there is no rush. Play it once. Leave it. Play it again later. Try playing it differently. Analyze it, interpret it.

The Perfect Color

It only runs on Windows.



Work Flow

Some days at school I feel that the only way to gain knowledge from particular classes is to analyze what is wrong with them and from that gain a better understanding of the situation.

The problem class recently has been Technical Aspect of Animated Film Making. As it sounds, it is a class where we learn about the tools and methods that are used to put an animated movie together. For most arts there are technical aspects, but I think animated film making nears the highest level of technical complexity in art, with video games being the only art form that is more complicated.

The advent of computers only made things worse for film makers. There are hundreds of new steps with thousands of new options, all of which will result in some wildly different, or absolutely similar results. In addition to that the information about everything is either spread out, not existent or wrong. Thus there is a lot to teach.

But now we come to the problem I see in the class. The objective of our class is to teach us how to work through the animation work flow of our specific school. You use such and such a camera, the film goes then through this process, use this audio program, edit your video here, use these things for that, and so on.

What really needs to be taught is how to make your own work flow for a specific project. To learn that you need to know what tools you have at your disposal, what they are good for, how to use them and how to decided between different options and most importantly, how your decisions will impact your final film. Our class gets about half way to such an experience because we do learn about some underlying principals that could help make a work flow, but simply following a work flow is dramatically different than creating and following your own.

In any case, at least I know what the problem is and can get my own better experience out of the class by thinking about the fundamentals.



I always hear about Twitter, and decided to just check out the website to see what it was.

What I found: Epic Meme Machine.

From the very outset it is obviously perfectly designed to be spread. Every step of the process maximizes how much it can spread. Things like automatically checking your Gmail address book, suggesting random people to connect with, suggesting famous people to connect with, asking you to invite people from your email address book. You can't even see any content on the website without signing up.

And beyond that, the whole idea is based around messages of less than 140 characters. You can barely even make a meme that takes up less data then that.

No wonder it seems to be taking over the internet.

But I'm staying away, no need to distract me with that junk. I'll just continue using my blog to write nice long posts that not many people read all the way through and have little ability to spread wildly around the world.

At least I will still have my integrity.


Memetics of Truth - Obama

(Caution, I think this is a fairly low quality post in which a yabber on about something I have already discussed. You have been warned)

This afternoon, after Obama had been inaugurated, I had drawing class. My drawing teacher is a really smart guy, and in a similar method to myself, leaps to completely different perspectives on topics.

The topic was Obama as President. Now the main point he suggested was that the media control politics because they control what the general public see. Now to a certain extent that is true. That is probably true in terms of getting Bush elected. You pay media, they give you coverage, you can get elected. Through this logic, those with the money control the world. Not a bad theory.

But I disagree in the case of Obama. Obama didn't win by paying the media and getting more coverage. Money can only get you so far. Obama used an idea to get elected. I will tentatively say that he latched on to a "meme" to win the election. (I use it tentatively because I find its meaning often misused which maybe someday I will be able to explain).

The idea he latched on to was fairly simple. Change. Desire for something different. It was an extremely simply message, which while easy to describe as "change" actually is harder to pin down. I would almost describe the "meme" as simply a guttural feeling that change should be coming, or is coming, or you want it to come. It was a feeling/idea that seemed to infect people, that could spread. Its a feeling that gets into you and makes you want to vote for Obama even if your a Canadian.

It's a feeling that makes you want to tell the world about it. And thus the feeling will spread. It spread through the internet. Through Obama's campaign design. Through his speeches. Through the music videos. It spread through people simply talking about Obama.

The feeling had so much power it got Obama elected. Now supposed the worst. Suppose it is all a sham that has been engineered from the ground, by the most evil corporations on the planet. Suppose some how the US government is going to start acting even more irrationally and do even more stupid things. What would happen?

The whole thing would shatter. In an instant the truth would be known. There would be revolution. This feeling that has spread across the world simply wouldn't allow the wrong thing to remain. The people who had been feeling change would force it. I don't know exactly how, but I'm fairly certain it would matter what the government did, the ball of change is already rolling and there is simply no stopping it. Obama simply was able to take advantage of this meme and become President.



Imagine this progression.

Your eating a meal in a cafeteria. Your holding a fork. It is not square at all.

There are plates and cups on your meal tray. They are circles.

Your meal tray is square.

It is on a square table.

That square table is on a floor made of squares, which is in a square room, which is alongside a series of square rooms to make up the floor of the building.

The square floors of the building are stacked up to form a square building which is adjacent to square buildings which make up the square block they are on in the city.

The city is a series of square blocks that form the grid that make up the city.

So the big question is: Why all the squares?

Well first imagine you starting to build a row of buildings. What shape should you make them? The quick answer is square because that is the shape that allows for the least amount of wasted space. Try putting any other shape in a row, your simply can't beat the square.

Now you have square buildings, what are you going to put in those buildings? Triangles, circles, lozenges? Of course not, squares fit inside squares. You will make square beds and tables. The floor tiles will be squares and the doors will be squares and you simply won't break the trend.

That is until a threshold is met. The moment that the objects in the house become more about how they physically interact with humans, the less square they become. Think of chairs, and stoles. They are designed with your body in mind, yet also to fit into the square shape of the building. Consider the fork. It is designed for your hand. It is small and does not require extreme efficiency in how it is integrated into your house. I think the most extreme example of design that is not square is that of clothing. It is simply designed to fit your body, with no intention of ever trying to fit into the square context of a building.

So considering my belief in the very two dimensional manner that the brain can think, this square theory makes a lot of sense. Squares shouldn't be considered boring and uncreative, they should simply be accepted as the standard. If you want to make a statement and express another idea, sure use a different shape, but squares in our society fit in for a reason.

In terms of evolution. Once you have one square, all square objects will have an advantage afterwards, as they will all fit together better, and simply yield more square design


Lego Sorting

My friend Stuart brought some of his Lego to residence. He got some boxes to store it in. Obviously, it needed to be sorted into said boxes. The process of sorting consisted of starting with a large pile, and separating them into the categories of regular block, flat block, mechanical piece, or appearance enhancing piece.

Now the process of sorting made a natural phenomena exceedingly clear. Imagine that the pieces were some sort of animal, and the sorting process was the hunt. What became apparent was that there were strong evolutionary forces at work. First the large bright pieces got sorted. There were only small pieces left, and then there was a majority of black pieces. And pieces that were difficult to classify became numerous.

By the end we had found the most difficult to sort Lego piece. It was a small brown Lego Man gun that was the same color as the floor.

Now we all know about evolution. But rarely do we see it so clearly.

Over the next few blog posts I am going to continue to discuss evolution, and how I am beginning to understand that Universal Evolution is the fundamental force that is driving everything in the universe. From human evolution, to design, to physics, I think evolution is the fundamental algorithm in understand everything.


Life Drawing

This is my drawing, not bad. But my teacher often sits down in my spot and uses my drawing paper and pencils to show the class how to do things right, so his drawing is from exactly the same spot, and I end up with his drawings. This is how he drew the same knees.

I love what he always says.

"There is no way that you can go wrong."



I've been thinking too much about computers and their implication and their design, and how they relate with memetics, and life in general. I am thoroughly confusing myself.

I've asked myself the question of what my computer does for me, in hopes of thinking of how it should be designed. Or at least hoping that answer will lead me in a direction.

The obvious answer is that that I do work on my computer. I put together animations. Write blog posts. Do photography stuff. Communicate. Obvious task related answers.

But I know that answer is hollow. That is the obvious answer. I can tell there is something else that draws me to my computer.

I think we need to accept that computers aren't tools anymore.

Computers are almost like a building to me now. Sure you can do work in them. And have stuff in them, but there is something more to them. You can just be in them.

I'm currently living in my half of a residence room. It isn't really very much space to call a home, but I get the sense that if I didn't have my computer, I would be losing a gigantic space that I live in.

What does this mean?

Programs that are designed for working should really be designed with that in mind. I don't want to work and mess up the room that I live in. I want a new room that doesn't have any distractions in it and has everything I need in it.

It means I have to think about what it means to be able to live in the space of a computer. How can this be made to be better in line with my actual life. Is it healthy, can it be more healthy. So many questions.

All sorts of questions, no answer.



In our family, Christmas is a pretty big deal and we follow all sorts of traditions which end up making the occasion feel pretty special. And while there are a lot of traditions that make up the season, I think the most notable one that our family pratices is a home made gift exchange.

Every Christmas many gifts will be exchanged, but the most meaningful to me will always be the homemade gifts. The tradition goes like this.

Your given a name of someone in about mid September or October who you will be making you gift for.

You think long and hard about what to make for that person.

You make the gift.

On Christmas Day or Boxing Day, whenever the whole family can get together, the gifts are exchanged, one at a time, in a fairly drawn out gift exchange that allows for a lot of time for discussion.

I find it is such a great tradition for many reason. You really need to think about what you are going to make. You really can focus on the person who is receiving the gift because you are only responsible for making a gift for one person. You get to learn new skills and try out new things making whatever you choose to make.

Its a tradition that is designed to make great memories and get a family come together. What else could you ask for?

Here are some pictures from this years exchange. I made my Uncle Michael a compilation of audio recordings that had been recorded at our family cabin. It was a fairly new direction for the homemade presents. I received a great silk screened shirt from my cousin, it was her first time trying out silk screening and it turned out great.



I always like to figure out what the truth is behind things.

And I used my exceptional analysis skills on vacuuming. And here are my findings.

The primary purpose of vacuuming is not the removal of dust from the carpet.

The act of vacuuming forces you to visit every corner of your house, pick up the majority of things off of the floor and generally tidy up.

It does get some particularly dirty parts of the carpet cleaner, but from what I've observed, it is usually the tidying up that accompanies the vacuuming that makes the greatest difference.

What does this mean?

It means that vacuuming robots like the Roomba are generally useless because they don't tidy up.

It also means that maybe by refocusing your energy to simply tidying, you might end up a more satisfactory result.