It talks! DS Cooking Navi.

I’m excited about Nintendo’s new cooking tuition program recently released in Japan for DS. The official homepage (part of the Touch Generations website) has quite a lot of information. I’m not sure if it’s called “It talks! DS Cooking Navi.”, but I’ll refer to it as such because it is prominent on top of the homepage.

It seems that Saturo Iwata has really re-focussed Nintendo’s direction with the Touch Generations series of games and the emphasis on expanding the market (to non-gamers) and improving the user interface. The game uses the touch screen to browse available recipes, and to tick off ingredients as they are collected. Then the DS can be put down in the kitchen and spoken to (using a simple “okay” to proceed to the next instruction) since the cook’s hands will be busy!

The online advertising for the Touch Generations games has involved showing people playing the game. When I first saw this on the Brain Training homepage, I immediately thought it was a brilliant approach to communicate the concept and to show various people’s reactions. For “It talks! DS Cooking Navi.”, the video page highlights the many different people who may want to use the software. I found the top left video (the thumbnail image is an image of a man in a brown apron) is quite endearing. A man (who clearly hasn’t spent much time in the kitchen) cooks for his wife and two young daughters. The family sits down to pick out a recipe, and proceed to gently cheer him on as he cooks for them.

IGDA Perth inaugural meeting wrapup

A couple of days ago, Tone and I attended the inaugural meeting of the IGDA (International Game Developers’ Association) Perth Chapter. It was a combined meeting with PIGMI (Perth Independent Game Makers’ Initiative), and I wonder how long the two entities will remain separate.

Perth IGDA is listed as a “StartUp” group on the IGDA Chapters page, and the (very new) Perth Chapter page consists mostly of a list of people and a link to a Google Groups newsgroup which you can join here. Anyone in Perth interested in making games should sign up to keep on top of “what’s going on”.

The meeting had a good turnout (around 40 people) and a fairly relaxed atmosphere. The GO3 Electronic Entertainment Expo 2007 (being held in Perth!) sponsored and helped organise the event and ISG (Information Security Group) were also sponsors and provided an LCD monitor as a raffle prize. A number of restaurants also provided door prizes (gift certificates).

Meeting Rundown

The meeting was at the Velvet Lounge near the Flying Scotsman in Mt. Lawley. Upon entering the venue, Tone and I were greeted by David Kazim (GO3 organiser) and directed to a table to pick up our name tags. Arranging the name tags were the GO3 Girls, two models wearing GO3 t-shirts tied up as crop tops. Tone had not RSVP’d so he didn’t get a name tag, but it didn’t seem to matter.

After a half hour or so of mingling, Chris McCormick from Hypercube started formal proceedings by introducing IGDA and PIGMI, thanking the sponsors, and passing the microphone to Paul Turbett from Benevolent Interactive. After briefly introducing himself, Paul talked about his experience at this year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) and offered serious warnings about staying at a certain hotel in downtown L.A. (I can’t remember the name… I hope that doesn’t mean I’m doomed to repeat his mistake).

After question time, the rest of the evening was a “mixer” session dispersed by frequent door prize draws (none of which I won), and leading to a final raffle draw (which I also didn’t win), after which everyone slowly made their way home. My lack of winning had no real effect on my enjoyment of the evening.

Final Thoughts

It seemed that a lot of attendees weren’t buying (alcoholic) drinks, and hope that we bought enough to make the Velvet Lounge consider having us back. I know that Chris was doing his part! 😛

Will from walan was drinking Red Bull… I found that very slightly amusing. I guess there was no Jolt or (caffeinated) Mountain Dew. 🙂

I wonder if future events will also feature the GO3 Girls, and I’m concerned this might deter our female game developers from attending.

Update: The official meeting report is now online.

Someone stole my bike

Some fucker stole my bike.

I’m pretty pissed off because we used to chain them up in the car park in clear view, but we were told to move them to a storage room (where other people keep their bikes) and it was stolen shortly afterwards.

What is wrong with people?!

Update: On the off chance that someone may see it somewhere, my bike is an Apollo Trailcruiser, with an added drink holder, and LED front light.

Pool, Yum Cha

Hean-son, Phil, and I are planning on playing some pool and then having Yum Cha tomorrow.


  • Time/Date: 10am – 1:30pm, Sunday 23 July
  • Location: Meet at Pot Black in Northbridge. If you are late, call to find where we are.
  • Cost: $12.50 per table per hour or $7 each for free play between 10am and 1pm, around $10 for lunch

Please let me know if you can make it.

Update: There are also rumours that a “Dance Dance Revolution Showdown” may occur between Hean-son and a new challenger! These videos are almost 5 years old… does he still have the moves?

Pub Trivia (cancelled)

Update: Actually, I’m still too sick for this. My cold/flu has turned into a nasty sore throat/cough. On top of that, Heidi’s sick as well now! 🙁

I’ll reschedule for another time.

I hope that some of you will join me to make up a team for Pub Trivia!

I’ve been going stir-crazy kooked up at home sick for the last few days, so I decided to head out tomorrow night (at which point I will hopefully be even less sick than today; I’m feeling better than yesterday, but still a bit crook).


  • Time/Date: 7:30pm, tomorrow (Thursday 20 July, 2006)
  • Location: The Moon and Six Pence, 300 Murray Street, Perth
  • Cost: Free entry! (You may want to buy dinner or a drink though)

The trivia night is operated by Fame Trivia (the same mob that used to run the trivia nights at Clancy’s Fish Pub). It should be pretty good. 🙂

OpenGL ARB and Khronos to merge

There have been a number of interesting news stories on the OpenGL homepage. I think with SIGGRAPH 2006 approaching, everything is coming to a head. The most interesting news is that Khronos Group and the OpenGL ARB are merging. This seems like a fairly natural progression and it will bring related technologies (such as OpenVG, EGL, and COLLADA) under the same banner as OpenGL.

The other interesting bit of news is the first issue of Pipeline, the OpenGL ARB newsletter. The ARB has been fairly quiet for the last… year or so… (their last public meeting notes are from December 2004). It’s good that they are making an effort to inform the wider development community about their… developments; The newsletter point to a GameDev article with a general overview of OpenGL 2.1. This first issue also mentions that it is most likely the last issue (due to the aforementioned merger).

Portal game from Valve

Some of you may know that I’m a bit of an advocate for the use of portals in creating dynamic virtual environments. I’ve published a few papers, and generally think that they are pretty cool. I’ve also recently written a few new algorithms for portal rendering (not yet published). Unfortunately, the use of dynamic, place-anywhere portals has been fairly limited in commercial products.

Static portals are fairly common in game engines. They are usually manually placed in a level to optimise rendering (just making the game run faster), but they have also been used for reflective surfaces and transportation devices (sometimes you can see through them and sometimes you can’t). Prey (a game in development for a very long time) is the most recent game to include portals as a key gameplay feature (to create interesting, physically impossible spaces).

Joystiq reports that Game Videos has a new video demonstrating the more flexible use of portals in Valve’s upcoming game (aptly) named “Portal”.

Here are a few screengrabs:

It’s nice to see a game actually using dynamic portals in an interesting way. The promise has been there for a while, but this seems to be one of the only games to use it. From a technical perspective, there have been barriers to adoption of dynamic portals. Chiefly, it can make rendering much more difficult if using a conventional engine. I read on the 3D Realms forums that Prey’s portals “black out” with distance to limit draw requirements.

From the demonstration video, it seems that Valve is getting around potential technical problems by ensuring that their portals are still somewhat restricted (there’s only two, they only appear on walls, and are always planar and elliptical). I’m still looking forward to the appearance of even less constrained (say, 3D animated) portals in commercial games. Something like those demonstrated in these old videos I made.

Update: IGN has a downloadable version of the video and a bit more information in a brief preview.

Update: The wikipedia page for the game reveals that it is a semi-sequal to the freeware game Narbacular Drop.

Update: AusGamers have the video for download in a zip file. Recommended

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Last Friday, I went to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Minh and Justin.

It was freaking awesome. Karen O’s stage presence is phenomenal and the concert rocked more than anything I’ve been to in the last few years. At one point she was yelling into two microphones at the same time! It’s like they rock so hard that one microphone could not hope to carry the total volume of their rockingedness. Oh Yeah!

They opened with “Cheated Hearts”. It was little shorter than other concerts, but they’re so high energy it would be harsh to expect a longer set. They put in a three song encore during which we pushed further into the crowd to get a better look.

Now I’m looking online for somewhere to buy their DVD.