Invisible Arcade

invisible arcade

On 4th of July, I attended Invisible Arcade 6. Invisible Arcade is an event that was started in Seattle by Samantha Kalman as a punk rock video game show.



This was the first time Invisible Arcade took place outside of Seattle, so it was really awesome to have RELATIVITY in the line up.

The show consisted of performers on stage playing through three games and discussing them. Each game had a different set of performers.

RELATIVITY was on first, and was performed by Kate Welch, with Jenn and Trin on stage offering commentary throughout (mostly about Kate’s hair and Hogwarts).

It turned out really well, and Kate actually completed the demo while on stage! She had only played the first few tutorial puzzles before the show to get a feel of the game, so a lot of these puzzles she approached blind. There are some difficult puzzles in the demo, and playing a puzzle game in front of a whole crowd of people is pretty intense, so major props to Kate!


Programming Lessons

On Monday, I did a code review with Chris, who has been helping me with refactoring gameplay systems in RELATIVITY.

Mostly it’s about making better abstractions, having things be extensions of classes instead of all bunched together in one script, using delegates instead of multiple checks between scripts, etc.

I talked about it in Part 1 of yesterday’s stream:

I’ve also realized I still need to be pretty closely tied in with the programming. I thought I could just pass it off to Chris and focus on design alone, but I think the design of the mechanics in RELATIVITY is so closely tied together with the programming that it’s not really possible to separate the two.

Transparent Shadow

When using the Unity standard shader in “Transparent” rendering mode, I get this really nice crosshatch pattern in the shadow (right), but in my custom shader, even though I can get the material itself to have alpha, I still have a solid shadow (left):


In the end, I actually did decided to keep this as a feature, since it helps with the box, but I had to come up with a workaround for the double gravity leaf material (since that uses a custom shader).


Basically, there’s a duplicate leaf mesh that’s using the standard shader, but I have it set on “shadow only” for the shadow option. And then the leaf material with the actual double gravity leaf material just doesn’t cast a shadow at all.

New Level – Pillar and Grid


INTERPLAY Arcade/Conference Reception Post-Mortem

After I got back to Chicago from Toronto, I had another event I was showing Relativity at (last one for now, promise :) )

INTERPLAY is a graduate student conference on game studies jointly organized by the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

The conference took place over two days, October 24th and 25th. On the first day, it was held at the University of Chicago campus, and the second day, it was held at Northwestern.

I didn’t go to the actual conference itself as I had just gotten back from Gamercamp and was quite exhausted.

At the end of the second day, there was a reception held at Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The reception was an arcade style event, and a number of different games by Chicago-based developers were being shown there.

The other games included: Pop Methodology OneWe Are Chicago, Tango in Paradise Simulator, and A Fitting.

I arrived at 6 PM to set up. A table was provided, along with a large-screen TV, and an HDMI cable. This is what my set up looked like:


As I still had a few days left in the loan period for the laptops from Alienware, which were originally requested for Gamercamp, I was able to use them for the show at Interplay (Thanks Alienware! :) )

Here are some photos from the event:


IMG_7804 IMG_7809 IMG_7810 IMG_7813

Beck’s Art Bottles

I am very happy to announce that I’ve been chosen as one of six artists in the first series of limited edition Art Bottles from Beck’s Beer in the U.S.

For those of you not familiar with the Art Bottle series, Beck’s has been featuring the work of contemporary artists on their bottles in the UK for the last 25 years. Some of the artists whose work have graced the green bottle include Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and Tracey Emin.

This is the first year the Art Bottles will be appearing in the U.S., and the other artists featured are: M.I.A., Geoff McFetridge, Bert Rodriguez, Freegums, and Aerosyn-Lex. Needless to say, I’m extremely excited to be a part of this project and very proud to be representing Chicago.

The bottles will be in stores from May 7th through July 2012.

Coalition Gallery, TELUS Spark, and Northern Lights

Just returned after a short but exhausting trip to Calgary and Chicago. With all the connections between Calgary and Chicago and back, I ended up taking 6 flights in 6 days. However, it was good to be moving, and the trip turned out to be quite productive.

Midwestern Voices and Visions Exhibit at the Chicago Artists’ Coalition Gallery

On Friday, I attended the artist reception for the Midwestern Voices and Visions Exhibition, which was running as part of the Alliance of Artists Communities’ 2011 Annual Conference in Chicago. It was great to finally meet some of the other MVV artists in person, as well as to catch up with the wonderful people behind the Alliance and the staff from the Bemis Center.

If you didn’t get a chance to check out the exhibit at the Coalition Gallery, I’ve added the piece I presented, Roller Coaster, to my portfolio. Below is the actual video:

I had taken this series of photos during my residency at the Bemis, and if you look past the balloons, you can see what the rest of the studio looked like. I had been accepted on the basis of my balloon work, but for quite some time had been interested in exploring animation. During my time, I began to play around with both hand-drawn animation as well as stop-motion. The idea of turning one of my sculptures into a roller coaster ride just popped into my head one evening, and with the help of a fellow resident artist and a ladder we found on the floor, we made this short film. I didn’t get around to mixing and editing it until about a year and a half afterwards though.

While in Chicago, I also had the chance to catch up with an old friend, Annie Peacenik, a tap dancer and historian. Two years ago, Annie and I had gone on a small tour to New Orleans, combining tap dancing with balloon twisting.

TELUS Spark VIP Opening & Shadow Rock ‘Behind the Scenes’

The next day, I took a 7 AM flight back to Calgary to attend the opening of Calgary’s new science center, now named TELUS Spark, along with the Aesthetec crew. While there, I also got to capture footage of Shadow Rock being installed and people interacting with the exhibit during opening night.

Northern Lights

During the flight back to Toronto from Calgary, the captain announced that the northern lights were actually visible from the windows. Thus began a game of musical chairs between myself and seat mates in the same row, standing in the hallway and climbing over each other to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon. It was definitely worth the havoc, and we saw shades of green as well as red. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take any photographs, but I doubt that they would have properly captured the moment.