Exhibition: Tale of Tales and Entropy8Zuper! at Museo Tamayo, Mexico City


Michael and I, in a previous incarnation, were known as Entropy8Zuper!. Together we made many, many works of interactive art, mostly online. We will be in Mexico City on August 8th giving a performance of some of this older work, in the format of a cinematic “walkthrough” of our largest net artwork, the five chapter saga known as The Godlove Museum. After that, in all its darkness, we will be giving an ABIOGENESIS performance in The Endless Forest for the assembled live audience. So the evening will contain a little bit of heaven and a little bit of hell… and that, in many ways, sums up what we’ve been making for the last 8 years of our lives. Can’t wait to be there in Mexico!

here’s the info:
inmerso [ foro lounge ]
El Cyberlounge del Museo Tamayo arte Contemporáneo
exhibition runs from August 8 to November 11, 2007


Chaos in The Forest!


This screenshot pretty much tells it all. There were a record number of deer in attendance for The Endless Forest ABIOGENESIS: Summer Solstice! It was almost more than our server, or we ourselves, could handle but it was a great time and we hope it was good for you too. :) Thanks to all who logged in, for the patience and participation. Till next time in Phase 3, you bet! 😉

see more images in the Gallery.

And our favorite Endless Forest videographer, Anduin, video captured the experience perfectly!

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/PrDUPk8ztmk” height=”300″ width=”375″ /]

ABIOGENESIS: Summer Solstice

Dear deer,

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year. To celebrate this occasion,
the Twin Gods will leave their trusty base on Twin Gods Hill and
swoop through the endless forest that we all know and love, leaving
a trail of fauna and flowers in possible and impossible
configurations. Let there be day and let there be night!

Please join us for the last Abiogenesis of Phase Two: tomorrow, June
21st at 6 pm GMT/UTC.

Download The Endless Forest.
San Francisco: 11:00
Houston: 13:00
Indianapolis: 14:00
New York: 14:00
Casablanca: 18:00
London: 19:00
Amsterdam: 20:00
Prague: 20:00
Addis Ababa: 21:00
Athens: 21:00
Moscow: 22:00
Baghdad: 22:00
New Delhi: 23:30
Singapore: Friday 02:00
Tokyo: Friday 03:00
Find the time in other locations here.

Independent Games Festival open for submissions

The 10th Independent Games Festival is open for submissions. Deadline for the main competition is October 1st. Finalists will be announced on December 3rd.

Hm… should we enter The Path? We’ll only have a demo by then. And it’s not exactly a game-game, as they tend to like at the IGF. We failed gloriously last year with The Endless Forest. Perhaps we’re too indy for the indies…

Via Indygamer and Gamesetwatch.

Presentation in Brussels

We will be talking about our work at TANI in Brussels on Monday, April 16, as part of the x-med-k 3D/Animation/Gaming series of workshops (organized by Foam, Okno and Nadine). We start at 8 PM.

from their website:

“.x-med-k. is a series of workshops and seminars dealing with the many faces of ‘experimental media arts’. Since 2004, three Brussels based art and technology organisations (nadine, okno and FoAM) have joined forces to design and implement this heterogeneous series, for artists and designers interested in experimental use of digital media, new materials and technologies.

.x-med-k. is about sharing the understanding of the diversity and multiplicity of tools and media that can be used creatively, as well as teaching the basics of ‘making-your-own’ techno-artistic materials and instruments. We cover collaborative issues in the production of art, specifically computer implemented and media related art. We discuss wider economic, environmental, social and political implications of our works. We forge new projects, perform and socialise together, gathering a critical mass of people around topics close to our hearts.”

More information here.

“In recent years, Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn have shifted their attention away from internet art and web design with Entropy8Zuper! to real time 3D technologies with Tale of Tales. They run a social screensaver/virtual performance stage called The Endless Forest, a multiplayer game in which everyone plays a deer. And they are currently developing The Path, a short horror game inspired by Little Red Ridinghood, featuring Drama Princess technology, an alternative to artificial intelligence.

Auriea and Michaël will present some recent work and talk about their design philosophy, as expressed in the Realtime Art Manifesto. Expect romantic delusions in virtual spaces, sensual user interfaces, non-linear narratives without plots, nostalgia for salon painting, religious pondering and fairy tales told around a digital campfire.”

GDC07: A few things come to mind yet

I’ve put this off for days, guess I’ll never be a real “blogger”, timely updates and all that :p
A few things I remember about GDC before they fade forever…

I’ve been dying to get a Cintiq for years but unfortunately for me the price is out of my range. At the Corel booth they actually had one. I tried it out, but alas found that it would be pretty annoying to use. My hand always seemed to be in my way as i tried to draw or pick things from the menus. Probably one could get used to it. But the person they had demoing the new version of Painter at their booth eschewed the Cintiq for one hell of a large Intuos tablet. He told me his weapons of choice are the hugest wacom in the world and his MacBook Pro (Althea ;)). I approve! And have adjusted my desires accordingly. About then it hit me… I just met Andrew “Andriod” Jones!… and I went slightly fangirl on him (sorry about that -_-) but the guy is a legend on the conceptart.org boards for his 1000 portrait project. It took a good look at him and then at the fantastic things he was drawing on the big LCD screen for me to recognize.

We spent various evenings dining with the lovely Cameo Wood and she introduced us to Adrian Hon who is lead game designer at Mind Candy who run an Alternate Reality Game (ARG for short) called Perplex City. They both proved to be excellent dinner companions. We also met up with Alex Mouton who has helped us out with graphics programming on 8 a few years back but is now working at Doublefine. It’s always a pleasure meeting people face to face for the first time that you’ve known only virtually. But these are fascinating folks that I would love to have around on a daily basis. I hope we all meet up again someday!
Over burritos at the Cancun taqueria together we witnessed a gang war shooting (o.0) San Francisco has got problems.

gdc07_20070308_0054.jpg As for the conference itself. hmm… I missed the Phil Harrison keynote and the awards ceremony but I did make it to the Miyamoto keynote. It was like getting a lecture from your old uncle. I really appreciated hearing his point of view on things but lets face it… getting speeches through a translator would make anyone sound like your old uncle.

gdc07_20070309_0088.jpg I loved our booth. We weren’t there enough… standing around the booth somehow didn’t seem like the best use of our time. So sorry if you came by and we weren’t there. Whoever left the SKOTOS comic book, Please contact us because we’d like to know who you are! thank you.

I saw flOw in its big fat hi-def format PS3 verison and found it, in atmosphere and motion, impressive in the extreme. Kris Force (who is working with us on The Path) came to me similarly breathelss about the sound design in that game.
Little Big Planet – hey, I like it ! Good on them.
Both of these games are made by small teams, look like quality products and they offer open gameplay experiences. I really think that The Endless Forest (no goals other than the ones you make, no game rules as such) is looking less and less like an oddity! The more games like this the better!

And speaking of quality… Aquaria, winner of the Independent Games Festival looks fairly spectacular. I only got to play it for a minute or two but I thought it was very charming. Derek Yu did a fantastic job on the graphics for this one.

But this whole meme Sony (and others) had going about user created content, “a Youtube for games, an iTunes store for games, a myspace for games.” uuugh.

gdc07_ms-2 gdc2007_Page88_darkside I like to draw during speeches, it kind of started years ago as I realized I was good at remembering faces but not names. So now I draw the two together, and it seems Michael doodles like a madman =) I put up our notes in the Gallery section of the site here because there are (still) too many thoughts about the sessions for us to translate them into prose. Much will filter into our practice in the months to come, I’m sure. Particularly memorable was the micropayments round-table hosted by Daniel James of Three Rings makers of Puzzle Pirates. What a guy, he came in costume… I like to imagine he always dresses like that though. rock on!
You wouldn’t believe how sucessful something like Habbo Hotel is financially! And even games with much less of a reputation are incredibly sucessful. These developers running sucessful online micropayment games gave up some numbers and strategies in this discussion. Can’t thank them enough. It was fascinating, inspiring, gave us more than a few ideas… Mwuahahahahahaaaa!

Random people I went up to, spoke with, and gave a card include: Hiroshi Minagawa of Square Enix: after I walked in late to the FFXII postmortem talk (>.<). I told him, through a translator, how much I was awestruck and inspired by his work and tried to convince him to download The Endless Forest, I hope he understood, I hope he did, but yeah. The 1up show presenters Kathleen and Luke… told Luke that I deeply disagreed with his opinions on flOw. Hey, I shook Justin Hall’s hand and heard all about his Passively Multiplayer Online Game, I look forward to further developments there.

gdc2007_Page88darkside.jpg I couldn’t help being slightly disappointed by Suda51’s talk “Punks not dead”. He has an idea of punk that I do not agree with. Seems he’s got down the form but not the content. In my opinion punk is not about pleasing your corporate masters and getting to put in more blood. Punk is about daring to be (very) different from the status quo… now if he would make a game with no guns and no rules maybe i’d have more respect. 😉 I _am looking forward to the remake of The Silver Case on Nintendo DS though.

I swore to myself I’d make it to Cliffy B.’s Gears of War postmortem (I am morbidly fascinated by his game design philosophies.) But it was at 9am… it …didn’t work out. And by the time I got there the hall was full to capacity and couldn’t get in anyway. Guess I will have to pick that one up on GDCRadio.

GDC 2007, Monday & Tuesday

It was the first time that we attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. But we had attended the London version before (in 2002, 2003 and 2004). In fact, I had a personal ban on visiting the USA. For obvious reasons. But BGIn offered us an opportunity that we couldn’t pass on. We could have some space in their booth to show our work for almost no money (thanks to governmental subsidies), including access to the conference. It would also be a good opportunity to meet up with some friends.

countrycottage_b&b_sf So I had my privacy violated by the American customs in ways that would be illegal in my own country, while telling myself “this is for business, stay calm, don’t think, it’ll be over in no time”. A good thing we ended up in San Francisco, the most pleasant of American cities I have visited so far. A spring breeze and very un-Belgian sun shine eased the pain together with the marvelous American breakfasts Eva prepared for us every morning at the Country Cottage bed & breakfast -a very inspiring Grandmother’s House.

During the week we stayed, we divided our time between “standing on carpet” in our booth, meeting with friends and attending sessions. The schedule, as we knew from the London conferences (only even more so), was designed in such a way to make sure that session times inevitably conflicted with each other, making the conference feel extra hectic and busy. But in reality, while there were moments when there were at least five simultaneous sessions we wanted to attend, there was also ample time when nothing interesting was going on.

Oh, and we bought a cell phone for the occasion!!! We usually pride ourselves not needing such a thing as we’re always at home and very happy with our Internet communications. But since these days nobody seems to be able to make appointments any more, we decided to be assimilated. We got a cheap Virgin phone that did the trick. Though I never got used to it, really (I apologize to all the people who had awkward phone calls with me).

Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern -notes by Auriea On Monday, 5 March, the conference was trying hard to fill up the oversized Moscone center with huge banners and flags in preparation of the crowds on Wednesday. We attended only one session: Andrew Stern‘s and Michael Mateas‘s talk about conversational characters in serious games. We were familiar with their excellent work on interactive drama, so it was surprising to hear them promote their technology for use in training similations and the like. But Michael made some good points and was very honest about the limitations of the application in casu. It was interesting to hear how modular the Façade concept seems to be. Obviously I was shocked to hear that Andrew had used the system in a serious game for the American military: to teach American soldiers to shoot communicate with Iraqi terrorists militants fundamentalists evil demons citizens. Shame on you!
During Thai lunch the next day, he begged for forgiveness and promised to never do it again.

On Tuesday we saw Jonathan Blow talk about prototyping. We wanted to attend this talk to learn why his almost released game Braid was getting such extremely positive response. (“Braid has the potential to change the way you think about reality.“)
Jonathan’s playful experimentation with prototyping seems like a lot of fun. But his focus is very much on gameplay. And I for one find it hard to get excited about gameplay. Whether a little guy jumps over a platform in one direction or in another direction, doesn’t make much difference to me. Braid looks like an excellent game, very well made, with good artwork. But it’s just a game. And I guess I don’t believe a game can be art. I don’t believe gameplay is sufficiently expressive. Interactivity wants to be free!

Next we heard Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago talk about the making of Cloud. I wish they had expanded a bit more on their pr and marketing than on the game itself, which, while interesting as a student project, I don’t see as such a major break with old play styles. I’m sure their heart is in the right place, though, so if they can focus on the emotional Direction they kept speaking of and not get distracted by game mechanics, I can envision a great future for them.

It’s good to know that people like Jenova and Kellee and Jonathan exist. And that they are getting some recognition. Even if their work hasn’t convinced me yet, I’m very excited about what all of this might lead to.

In general, the GDC seemed like a conference for independent games developers. The big publishers and developers seemed to just hang around a bit, if they were even there, with nothing much to say. But the indies displayed the vitality of their scene throughout the conference. And even though the famous speakers still attracted big crowds, nobody had much to say about their talks afterwards. Aquaria winning the Independent Games Festival was on everybody’s lips. And the interest of distributors in indie games contributed to the general excitement. Now all we need to do is make some games that are truly different…

More about the conference tomorrow…

ABIOGENESIS on Sunday/Monday!

ABIOGENESIS march18-19 2007On Monday 19 March it will have been 8 years since Michael and I launched our first mutual website (entropy8zuper.org, which was the merger of entropy8.com and zuper.com). To celebrate, we are inviting all deer to join us in The Endless Forest for another edition of ABIOGENESIS – Twin Gods Festival!

San Francisco: Sunday, 18 March, 5 PM
New York: Sunday, 18 March, 8 PM
London: Sunday 18 March, midnight
Brussels: Monday, 19 March, 1 AM
Moscow: Monday, 19 March, 3 AM
Tokyo: Monday, 19 March, 9 AM
Sydney: Monday, 19 March, 11 AM
Other time zones

Discuss… 😉