Augmented Reality

Here is a cool augmented reality demo I created.  It was designed as a sphere and will display on a blank piece of paper held at the right angle.  I think this will begin to be utilized more and more in the future…for better or worse so get your iPhones ready.

A Typical Clue Party

For our third assignment in Flash, we had to create an interactive video.  This meant we had to shoot a movie and build it into a flash project.  We decided to make a murder mystery movie where you had to navigate through the story.  After the characters (excellently acted) discover their friend had been murdered, they had to decide what to do.  The user also was able to act as detective and investigate the crime and choose to interrogate each suspect.  Finally, the user had to accuse one of the suspects.  The code involved used the cuepoint function in flash.  This enables you to setup specific points during a video in flash and jump to specific time points in the counter.  We broke the movie into several clips to make it easier to jump between decisions.  The project turned out well and surprisingly long.  We did have a couple of shortcomings; however, they were mainly related to storyline and less about flash.  If we would have had more time, we would’ve been able to flesh the story out and have a few more decisions available to the user.  I do think the video composition was some of our better work as the audio and lighting elements turned out excellent.

H A N G M A…You lost!

For our second project in Flash, we were assigned to create a game.  I had previously created a Frogger type game involving a fly and a windshield.  It used code to move the fly with the direction keys and a couple hit tests, but this project  needed to be more in depth.  After dabbling around a racing game and trying to make some AS2 work, I had to change my game.  I decided to create a game that would be very playable and nicely designed.  I settled on hangman.  The majority of the game was based upon .visible code.  I setup the hangman as a separate movie clip that would advance one frame for every incorrect guess.  I also setup the letters as individual buttons that disappeared after clicking.  The tricky part of the code was the separate scenarios that would result in a loss of a game.  Because no two people clicked the same letters, I had to use code I hadn’t before.  Here is the code:

addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME,myFunction);

function myFunction(event:Event) {

if (answerr.visible==true && answerh.visible==true &&             answery.visible==true && answert.visible==true && answerm.visible==true)

mc_structure.gotoAndStop(9);

The only things I wished I did differently were that I used multiple frames, instead of loading each level as an independent .swf because it resulted in slightly off positioning.  I also wished I used an array with a random number generator to grab any given word.  Overall, I was very pleased with how it turned out, especially the design.

 

Infographics

For our first project, we were assigned an infographic, which since then I have come to really appreciate.  Infographics range from everything from a nicely design static image to an interactive piece filled with tons of info.  The key to an infographic is to present information, hence the “info” in a graphically appealing way, hence the “graphic.”  With technological advancements, infographics can now present information in ways previously unavailable in years past.  This offers a new opportunity to present information, and lots of it, in an interactive way.  I decided to attack the ever-present and growing national debt.  Because of the breadth and depth of information, I designed it to show the not so gradual rise of our debt by year, compared to it as a percentage of gross domestic produce (GDP).  I incorporated a rollover feature on each year, so you could see the actual debt that year in the defined space.  To utilize the opportunity of interactivity, I incorporated four overlays to compare with the yearly debts.  The first one is who was serving as president during each period of debt.  Next, you can juxtapose the wars in our history.  Lastly, you can overlay who controlled both the Senate and House during each period.  A happy accident occurred when you overlay both the Senate and House, resulting in purple areas where it was a split session.  The flash involved wasn’t necessarily difficult but the sheer quantity of information proved to be extremely time consuming.  Overall, I was very happy with the project.  The one thing I would like to add is the deficit, because that would be a fascinating thing to compare to each period of debt.

Virtual Environments

The hot topic for this week was virtual worlds.   In this post, I’ll elaborate on our class discussions as well as the article Staging the New Retail Drama (Papagiannidis and Bourlakis).  I’ll start with the article.  Over the last decade, we have seen a tremendous rise in virtual environments.  One important distinction to make is that virtual worlds aren’t limited to 3D simulators and Second Life avatars.  Some of the most popular virtual worlds are found in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) and other gaming networks.  They have become significantly more popular than one might think.  This has presented a new opportunity to reach consumers, thus creating the new retail drama.  You have examples of companies like Coca-Cola and American Apparel advertising real-life products in Second Life.  This hasn’t stopped in the video gaming industry, and has only been gaining momentum.  Although most of these campaigns in Second Life have stopped, virtual environments still have a significant economy of their own.

The other element of the virtual environment is the accessibility of people around the world.  For example, in the video we watched this week, you have employees of IBM working with co-workers over Second Life.  This doesn’t sound too outside of the box; however, they have never met the people in real-life.  You have a similar situation with gamers of World of Warcraft, who flock to Blizzardcon, the gaming conference.  You have gamers who spend up to 20 hours a week working with their guild (an official group formed inside the game) to accomplish in-game challenges.  What makes this a new phenomenon is that these people, who are only just meeting for the first time in real-life, feel they have a very deep relationship with their guild members.    These virtual environments are creating previously unavailable relationships around the world, but it isn’t perfect.  There are very real concerns in the virtual arenas, like: who will police these online arenas, health concerns, etc.  Even with these concerns, I think virtual environments provide a huge opportunity in globalization and collaboration.  It brings up the similar idea of Jane McGonigal, if we can channel this passion and energy, we can make better the world.   Time will tell.