Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Inspiration of the day

So... haven't posted in about 8 months, but I have been alive and working. Did an awesome 6mo stint at B/E Aerospace designing commercial aircraft seats. I have one design coming out in about 3 weeks that I'm really pumped for. Been sketching and hanging out since, trying to find the next challenge. A few leads, so hopefully something cool works out soon.

Thought I'd start with something I saw today that I really liked- the Tata Megapixel. Sweet textures, nice shapes, good execution. There's a good gallery on Autoblog too (can I just thank everyone for including sketches? It makes every design so much cooler)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why I'll miss Detroit

It started about two years ago, when I was on vacation for a few weeks over summer break. I didn't expect it and brushed it off as just missing my freedom or my own private place. But it was more than that. I missed Detroit. And it's happening again, as I pack up to move out of state. I will miss Detroit.

The famous Chrysler Super Bowl ad comes to mind- it said it well, and portrayed the city not as a third world dump, but as the industrial heartland, a place that knows what it's like to have everything- and lose it all. It made everyone that lives here proud, and while I was merely a passerby in the history of this city, it brought a tear to my eye.

It was in the hottest fires and the coldest chills that brought innovation and progress to our world in the 20th century, and Detroit experienced it all, physically and metaphorically. The frigid, neverending wintes, and the searing hot welding torches. The cold greed that brought the ultimate downfall of the city, and the fires that raged when the people tried to stand up for themselves.

Detroit is always lauded as the birthplace of the middle class, but in my opinion, it has become a symbol of our true system- the rich versus the poor. On one side of the street, a freshly painted tudor mansion with well-groomed lawn and gardens. On the other side, a dillapitated 60's cookie-cutter house with a burned-out roof and weeds invading every nook and cranny. "It's honest", I told the cab driver this morning- nobody thinks of this as New York, or LA. Nobody wants to come live a quiet, suburban life in Detroit. You can't, and not just because of the lifestyle (crime, depreciation, destruction), but because everywhere you look is either an opportunity or complete failure.

That's not to say that it can't come back- in fact, one of my favorite things about it is the unbridled optimism and public dreaming that has gone on lately. Yes, Detroit failed- but now is an opportunity to make it better than it was even supposed to be. I hope to return, and someday, I hope it does become better than it was supposed to be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Video games, interaction

Where to begin? It's been a long time, but I've been so preoccupied with graduating, moving, and everything I haven't had much opportunity to be creative. But as it so often does when repressed, it came flowing out today.

Saw a post on about the future of videogames as related to interaction (and therefore interaction design). This is especially interesting considering the demise of the original Wii and recent release of the Wii U as well as the success of the Microsoft Kinect (not sure what it's commercial success is, but I understand what it's appeal is, however limited in capacity).

To start- the most interesting aspect of the article is the fact that it quotes major game designers and the perception from device makers as not really understanding the best way to experience and provide games. This has even boiled down to the most fundamental question of "What IS a game?", which the author does a very nice job of breaking down into three categories-

1. dollar-app time wasters on portable devices (Angry Birds)
2. simple multiplayer interaction environments on home consoles (Halo)
3. long-arc story driven, problem solving entertainment (L.A. Noir)

The complaint of the author was that manufacturers have not figured out which type is best overall, resulting in an ugly mass of evolution and failed experimentation. And I agree about the failures of the current offerings- you can tell that nobody knows what will be successful (though, that's really part of any business).
The issue I have however, is that they shouldn't be trying to stick in a niche market and hope that it works. This is the (very) rare circumstance where having a hand in each existing market could be wildly successful.

IMAGINE: You own a Windows Mobile phone, Xbox, and PC (having all three devices makes Microsoft the best prepared for this scenario, though Nintendo isn't far off with the DS and Wii). You buy a game, "Call of Duty 20", and portions of it are supported on each of the three devices. How? Take the dollar-app, low graphic content time wasters (training, target practice, intelligence gathering, whatever) and play them on the phone. The results are transmitted to the Xbox, computer, (or a central account) where you perform the multiplayer and/or long-arc storyline. It's simple really(famous last words)- instead of fighting the different formats, why not make them work together, extending the interaction with not only the game, but the devices and the company overall? This could be extended to the point where the phone is the controller, reducing the cost of the console, and again- creating a connection to the device ("everytime I hold my phone, I feel like killing zombies!").

The best thing about it? You wouldn't have to own everything. If developed correctly, each would be able to stand on its own, for the part of the population that doesn't want to sit down for 5hrs a weekend playing videogames, or the part of the population that doesn't like little time wasters (does this exist in my generation?).

Who knows? Maybe this is the direction things are going, and the tech is just being developed to quality levels. We'll see!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011