Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PhotoCity Spring Cleaning

Purpose of this post: part brain dump, part information for PhotoCity fans/users, part a chance to get feedback.

The thing I dislike most about PhotoCity is the unruly amount of space it takes up and all the data it generates. I also very much LIKE that I get to work with terabytes of data (much of it collected by users) but keeping it organized and fitting it into the little places I am allowed to keep data at school and having it live where the website can get at it is difficult as hell.

The other thing I dislike is disappointing people when they ask "Ohh, can I play PhotoCity??" and I start mumbling about how awkward it is and how it's technically possible but it's also a lot of trouble and there might not be room for new data at the moment and on and on... I usually tell them it IS possible to start seeds (use PhotoCity as Photosynth, basically) but to actually play there are extra awkward steps of setting up additional zones... As you can see, it devolves into mumbling and whining and ellipses and run-on sentences...

SO MY PLAN after chatting up some folks (which is all of five minutes old) is something like this:
  1. Package up and archive ALL of the PhotoCity data
  2. Make the live version of PhotoCity ONLY relevant zones
Part 1 involves taking all the half-finished models, and their photos, and giving them to my dear friend, Google Storage. Through GS, I can even host the data so people can browse it and actually get access to the models in a way that the current website doesn't do. All of this data will be totally dead and inactive in terms of the game, though.

Part 2 is so when I give a 5 minute talk about PhotoCity on thursday at school, AND when PhotoCity is mentioned at GDC on tuesday, I can say YES, TARGETED TALK AUDIENCE, you can go outside and play PhotoCity at UW! And in San Francisco around the convention center! (But, mumble mumble, I can't guarantee it will work to play it on an iPhone/Android... It is a game (accidentally) designed for POWER USERS who upload hundreds of photos through the website, not through their puny phones.)

HOLY CRAP THAT MEANS I NEED TO PUT THIS PLAN INTO ACTION IN LIKE 2 DAYS...
And take pictures around SF on Monday to seed the game for Tuesday! :D

I'm going to work on my *other work* for the rest of today, sleep on this brilliant plan, and then drink a bunch of coffee and do it on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Global Game Jam 2011

The Global Game Jam took place on January 28-31st this year. Even though it's "global" and actually happening all over the place, I flew down to California to hang out at the UC Santa Cruz site.

Global Game Jam!

Nostalgia aside (hanging out in the older engineering building! eating food at the dining hall! walking around in the trees by all these places I used to live or go to class!) it was a pretty awesome place to be for GGJ. First of all, there's a swanky games lab for the undergrads in a particular year-long game development course. Second of all, UCSC has programs and people who sincerely believe in an event like GGJ, including some of the organizers of the global event itself. Thirdly, many of the people, grads and undergrads and profs who are part of the various game development/research labs at UCSC were there, and made it this highly motivated, creative, competent, productive atmosphere.

Comparatively, I was a GGJ slacker, due to looming deadlines and other in-progress games to work on. But it was a nice environment to be in and I got a lot of things done. Here are photos of people making games!

prototyping and designing and making games

making games

making games

I did actually take a few hours somewhere to make a "game". The theme of the year was Extinction, and after discussing it with Adam (also preoccupied with deadlines) a bunch, this game out: http://superfiretruck.com/spacething/ It's basically a "choose your own adventure" with very limited options and where you will probably die at the end. Grim... yeah.

Many/all of the other games there were much better, such as:
Anyway, the main point is that Wow! People were awesome made such fantastic games! I am so glad I went!

Check out all the photos here!! http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaflurbaleen/sets/72157626076005256/