December 10, 2010

Week 11: web links

Web links for the lecture: “DIY! — mass customisation, hacking, and micro manufacture of physical ‘things’.”

“We Make Things” — excellent 16 minute mini-documentary on the ‘maker revolution’….

Lesson links:

* Maker kit:



Objet 3D printers

* Workshops for hire:

Fab Lab Manchester

* Instructions and open source modules:


Le Van Bo

Open Structures

MAKE magazine

DIY Drones

Bug Labs



Hacking the Brother knitting machine

Hacked gadgets


Ikea Hacker

Kinect Hacks

* Product customisation:

Nike iD

Zazzle sneakers

Unofficial Lego guns and helmets

* Hand-made marketplaces:


* Print-on-demand:

Lulu (print-on-demand books)

Blurb (quality photobooks)

* Funding:



* Small-scale outsourcing:


* Birmingham maker contacts:


December 6, 2010

Week 10: the face and the interface

Web links for ‘The Face and the Interface’ lectures:—

History book: Living Dolls: : A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life

History book: The Dream of the Moving Statue

The game Eve Online‘s new character-creation module demo:

Second Life

Laura Mulvey and the theory of ‘the gaze’

CG Emily demo video, demonstrating markerless facial motion capture.

Microsoft’s Milo demo video.

Microsoft’s Kinectimals live demo.

Actroid-F robotic face demo video.

MIT’s Nexi – official video

The Turing Test

The ‘Uncanny Valley’

December 3, 2010

Hand-in location for essay

Teachers are not allowed to accept essays from students in the classroom, so we have a special unified hand-in place for the Electives essays. This will be:— Room 102 in the Emma Jessie Phipps building (formerly THS). This room is on the ground floor next door to the big lecture theatre, just down the corridor/stairs from the main canteen.

Those who need to hand in their essay early (before Friday 17th December) can hand in to the Faculty office.

November 30, 2010

Week 9: web links

Lecture 1. History of Web design. I didn’t touch much on Jakob Nielsen vs. the designers — it’s important but it was such a vast and sprawling topic that no-one has made a succinct timeline / infographic of it. But key basic search terms are “usability debate” and “Jakob Nielsen”. This debate from the 1990s is, in changed form, still going on today.

Lecture 2. S-3D. BBC Radio 4 have a programme coming up soon on the history of stereo 3D.

November 19, 2010

Week 8: web links

Some web links to a few of the items mentioned in the Games as Art / Girl Games lesson…

The critically acclaimed girl-game / art-game, The Path (2009).

The book Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market.

The study of spatial awareness and attention in games, re: gender

Yesterday’s UK government Parliamentary statement from a Minister… “There is no sense in which the government are in any way anti-video games or think it is an antisocial issue or anything like that”. Which is an about-face from the policy of the previous government.

“Women missing from videogame development workforce” – press report from the Chicago Tribune.

Serious Games Institute, Coventry.

Childhood’s Domain: Play and Place in Child Development. Sample PDF here.

November 12, 2010

Week 7: web links

Web links for the Game Studies lesson:—

Over 100 hand-picked quality websites for academic studies of videogames, at Intute. I wrote 98% of these Intute entries.

I’ve made sure my JURN search-engine covers all the useful sources of free academic studies on videogames (including the Digital Games Research Association conference proceedings, but not PhD theses in academic repositories).

Especially useful ‘open access’ (in other words, free) academic journals are: Game Studies; the International Journal of Role-Playing; the Narrative Design Exploratorium; Loading…; and the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. The open ejournal Transformative Works and Cultures also has a lot of articles on fan-made works in the area of games.

My machinima and indie 3D animation blog

My overlay ejournal Journal of the Imaginary and Fantastic has a special issue on machinima (all linked articles are free and open access).

November 11, 2010

Essay titles

Here are some of the proposed / draft essay questions formulated so far…

“In what ways might certain types of combinations of graphical realism and storyline in Action and Adventure videogames make playing a videogame less fun for the casual video gamer?”

“Critically examine the extent to which social networking has had an impact, within the UK, on the successful creative marketing of product type X?” (substitute your chosen product type).

“Sabine Seymour said (2008) ‘Today, fashionable wearables are mediators of information and amplifiers of fantasy.’ In what ways since 2008 have designers and artists successfully explored the communicative and fantastical potentials of fashionable wearables?”

“To what extent have architects successfully used new technologies to introduce a genuinely creative interactive user experience in their buildings?”

“What are the creative concepts that i) inform and ii) are successfully realised in the best light-based art using architectural facades, and what are the most striking commonalities and differences between these concepts?”

“To what extent have graphics tablets improved productivity and workflow within the visual communications professions, and in which sectors has the hardware had the most important impact?”

“To what extent have digital forms of mapping been successful in recording ordinary people’s perceptions of place?”

“To what extent are new media technologies really allowing amateur users, with little or no design background, to undertake work that is of the same quality as that traditionally produced by professional graphic designers?”

“Critically discuss the extent to which augmented reality on mobile devices has changed the ways in which its users interact with urban spaces”.

November 5, 2010

Week 6: web links

Lecture one: ‘archaeology of video games’:

These are some of the key books on the archaeology of new media in general…

New Media, 1740-1915 (free chapter).

Multimedia : From Wagner to Virtual Reality

Virtual Art : From Illusion to Immersion

Deep Time of the Media : Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means

Devices of Wonder : From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen

Multimedia Histories: From the Magic Lantern to the Internet

And forthcoming in April 2011 is another one, from the prestigious Oxford University Press: Multiplying Worlds : Romanticism, Modernity, and the Emergence of Virtual Reality

Lecture two:

Handbook of Computer Game Studies is one of the key textbooks on game studies.

October 29, 2010

Week 5: web links and video

Some links from the second lecture today, on generative art…

Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings and Eno talking about this work and the idea of generative art…

The Generative Art Wiki

Proce55ing, one of the key tools for making generative art works.

Noatikl (the successor to Koan), for making generative music.

October 22, 2010

Essay template, and advice on writing a ‘proper’ academic essay.

You said today that a basic ‘starter’ essay template would be useful, as none of you have written a ‘proper’ university academic essay before and have only done seminar presentations. Here’s a Word (MS Office) document that lays out the basic structure along with some guidance, and shows you how to do the bibliography. It’s ready double-spaced too. ths-essay-template.doc. It was done for a L5 Textual Studies module a year or so ago, but can also be used by you. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, you can also open and edit it with the free ‘open source’ Open Office suite.