Author - Frank

Kid Icarus Line Test

It’s been quite a while since I did a Nerdlog post. Around this time last year, I came up with an idea for a ROM short that would be about Pit from Kid Icarus. This was before the 3DS was announced I think. Kid Icarus Uprising was announced when I was doing the roughs for this line test, and I thought to myself, “nice! I’ll have this done by the time the new game comes out!”. Well, Uprising was delayed quite a bit, and I never got beyond this point. I have a dollar bill, the same dollar bill that inspired me in the first place for reasons I won’t go into without spoiling the short, sitting on my desk that is a constant reminder to work on this. Alas, I’m working a full time job, freelance at night, the baby is about to pop out of wife any day now, and I’m neck deep in house hunting. Time is precious these days. That said, enjoy the clip and hopefully some day we’ll see the rest of it!

Superman Classic

Just wanted to follow up Steve’s post about DC characters with this little gem that was sent to me today. Its short and sweet, and features some really great character animation. Stick it out after the credits to see a quick interview with animator Robb Pratt about some of the art and ideas behind it. Personally, I’d love to see more of these. Awesome work!

Multi-touch woes.

multi-touch-woes

Most of us have some sort of device, be it a phone or gaming system, in our pockets that relies on a touch based system of input instead of traditional, hard wired buttons. We are experiening a shift in how we interact with the technology around us. Now, clearly none of this is new. The Nintendo DS has had a touch screen since its release in 2004, and I remember seeing a demo for a product that looked very similar to Microsoft’s Surface several years ago where the concepts that we know today as “pinch to zoom” were first seen. A touch screen has opened up new user interface possibilities, however I have began to notice a slight draw back to them.

The thing is, most touch sensative devices today require some kind of “unlocking” gesture. Sliding your finger in a predetermined gesture will unlock the screen and allow you to actually use it. Sounds familiar? This keeps your phone from turning on and dialing people while you hold it against your cheek on a call. While this safeguard is essential to keeping your phone from doing its own thing by accident, it also adds a layer between you and your device. I’ll give you a real world example.

I’m one of the five people in the world who own a Zune. As I mentioned on the last podcast, my old one kicked the bucket and in a moment of weakness I broke down and bought a new 64GB Zune HD. This one sports a touch screen and a far more slick interface from the previous version. I am not a member of the Church of Apple, so let’s just get past this part of the conversation shall we? Thank you!

The old 80GB Zune had a touch sensetive surface that also served as a clickable directional button. It was built to work with the vertical nature of the Zune’s UI, and it did a pretty good job at it. To fast forward a song, even while the Zune was playing and the screen was sleeping, all I had to do was click the “squircle”. I could do this with my eyes closed. Considering the fact that I got the most use out of my Zune was while driving I did indeed do this alot without actually looking at the Zune. Again, as with most touchable devices, the Zune HD has an unlock screen that I have to drag my finger from top to bottom. Then, I have to touch the album cover displayed to pull up the volume and fast forward/rewind controls. In the past, all I had to do was reach down and click a physical button. With the new one, I have to go through two steps in order to do the same thing and I have to actually focus on the device itself. The tactile feedback from a physical button has been erased, and with it a certain degree of simplicity. The baby has been thrown out with the bath water.

Now as an important side note, the Zune HD does indeed have a physical button on the side one can press to pull up this same screen. However, it is recessed and it not easy to find without looking at it. Thus bringing us back to the problem at hand.

So that’s my current random thoughts on modern user interface design utilizing touch screens and the direction it is taking. Perhaps alot of my current problems with the Zune HD has to do with my unfamiliarity with it. Maybe over time, sheer use will teach my fingers where to touch the screen in order to pull the volume select or fast forward/rewind options.

LIVE! Shamoozal Radio Podcast #35 (Dec 11th, 2010)

UPDATE: Going live any minute now!

What’s that? You miss hearing a room full of dudes just talking about stuff that only dudes can understand? Well, you’re in luck! Tonight at 8:30PM EST come on out and join us as we record our 35th podcast. You can even go into a chat room and say hi us, and potentially be on the show itself. It’s kind of magical when you think about it. I mean, where else can you go and hear some dudes just dude it up as they get progressively drunker and more drunker as the night goes on? No where! So that’s why you should come out and listen to tonight. Bring your friends. Bring your enemies. And if you miss it tonight don’t worry, because we’ll have it ready for your downloading pleasures before you know it. It’s going to be a heck of a time, dude.

“Thought of You”

This beautiful piece was done by Ryan Woodward. Mr. Woodward has been working in the animation and film industry for fifteen years now. This is his latest work combining his love of 2D animation and the study of the human figure. It relies on rotoscoping of live action dancers, but pushes the meduim into expressive holds and flourishes of limbs of its two main characters. Head over to his blog to read up a bit more, and please check out the HD version of it on Youtube. It’s well worth it!

The Model Sheets That Flap In The Night

Darkwing Duck model sheet

I found Toby Shelton’s personal blog the other day and was floored by a bunch of great model sheets done for some famous Disney series from the late ’80-early 90’s. Toby served as a character designer for Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck, and he was gracious enough to post his original designs for all to admire. You might recognize a lot of the above poses as most were used directly in the show in some reguard. However, in most cases Toby’s craft and appeal have some how been zapped out of them from an overseas production house. As such, its a pleasure to be able to see these original drawings of some of your childhood’s favorite characters.

Head on over to Toby’s blog to check out more of his work which includes a few more model sheets as well as a few storyboard panels from “How To Train Your Dragon”. It’s great stuff.

Amazon To Open Android App Store

It came out yesterday that Amazon is opening what would appear to be its own app store for the Android platform. I wont get into all the nitty gritty of it now, but you can do so here at Engadget. Bottom line is in the coming months, anyone on an Android device will have the option to buy their apps not only from the Android Marketplace, but from an official Amazon Marketplace as well.

What does this mean and why do I care? Well, for starts it is competetion. Think of it this way, if you were in the market to buy a new camera, you would most likely go to all the tech and gadget stores near you. Maybe Best Buy has it at a low price, but maybe you can get it at a local camera shop with a better warrenty. The choice is yours. Until now (or rather the near future), if you wanted to get the latest, greatest fart app for your phone, you would sign into Google’s Android Marketplace and there you. You get what they give you. Hopefully, this move by Amazon will open up the online market place more and create competition.

Notice I only mentioned that Amazon is opening a store up on Android. There are no plans as of now to open one up for iOS simply because it is not in Apple’s best interest to do so. You get what Apple serves you, and it is exactly why I do not like them as a company and choose not to buy their products. I applaud Google for even allowing this in the first place, but again Android is an open source product. Will this open the gates to more outlets to where and how you buy your online, portible content? Hopefully. I don’t view it as market fragmentation as Engadget suggests it could be. Instead, I see it as a means of leveling the playing field and giving consumers the power of choice in where and with whome they spend their dollars.