For their 75th anniversary, Esquire printed 100,000 special editions of their October 2008 issue with ‘e-ink.’ Basically, the added a video screen into the cover of the magazine. When I first heard about this, I was immediately intrigue. I searched NYC for a copy, and didn’t find one until a friend told me he saw some in Grand Central. The quality of the screen was better than I expected, however, the term e-ink is a little misleading. I thought from the sound of it that it would be very thin and flexible with a small circuit board. The cover is rather thick, not very bendable, and the circuit board is pretty evident. The screen is also only black and white, with a color transparency overlay. So this isn’t like e-paper or any of the concepts of inexpensive paper-thin and flexible screens, but it’s a step in that direction. It’ll be interesting to see what develops next, if anything at all.
I want to start posting some of the little experiments I’ve been working on at work. I did an experiment trying to optimize depth of field rendering in FIVe3D. The way you can have 500 objects in 3D space with depth of field blur on all of them and still have decent performance is to use smoke and mirrors. Basically, the objects are not being blurred. Instead, before the program runs, it takes the Sprite or Bitmap that is to display, and draws it and saves it as a bitmap. Then, it applies a blur to it and redraws it, and saves it as another bitmap and stores it away, then blurs a little more and so on. So, at the end, there’s an array with say 20 or so images with different states of blur on them. Then, based on the perspective of the objects, I find out their distance from the camera, and generated a value of how much to blur the object. But instead of blurring it, I just swap out the current bitmap with the applicable pre-blurred image. If you want to see some really cool depth of field stuff, check out some of the experiments by Mr. Doob.
click and drag to rotate, mouse wheel zooms in/out
So I just finished my first project at Firstborn Multimedia – XM Wild Ride and is more of a game than a traditional site. The user is driving along in their new XM radio enabled car and you’ll drive though four cities based off of the many different genres XM satellite radio offers. During open road areas in between cities you can take exits to two minigames and a theater section, which unfortuanly only has one video as of now. The site uses the same engine that was used for the Zune Journey that Firstborn did last year.
My role on the project was development. I programed the ‘Help the Hippo’ game which is basically Frogger with a hippo. I also did the main drive experience, which involved taking the preexisting Zune scroller engine Mathieu created and repurposing and almost completely overhauling it. This was the first thing I was assigned to pretty much from day one. I started by doing the game, but after finishing up the alpha pretty quickly I was switched to doing the drive. All the enviroment illustrations were provided to us but I arranged them for the enviroments. Mathieu Badimon was the lead developer and oversaw the entire development, as well as programmed the site shell and structure. Izaias Cavalcanti did the ‘Flip the Animals’ game and Max Holdaway did the theater section. Joon Park modeled the characters and fellow RIT New Media Designers Mike Kuzmich and Eric Eng did the animations. Will Russell and Wes Adams were the producers for the project. We also had some help with the animations and touch up work by some of our interns.
By the way, we hid a bunch of Easter eggs, which are invisible targets on select buildings. Here’s an example freebie – if you click mouth of the guy on the first bus stop, you’ll get a mini-map showing the position of the other cars that I used for debugging. (Also, while developing the project I discovered the site syncs well with the new album from The Dandy Warhols, specifically Love Song and Mis Amigos.)