The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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dsheinem
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by dsheinem Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:21 am

I suppose I can answer my own questions :)

1. The origins of using something that I thought about as "multimedia" are a bit sketchy for me. I had a Sega CD by late 93 or early 94, but I don't know that I really thought of that device as "multimedia" in quite the same way I thought about the software that accompanied the first and second wave of pentium chips. Most of you will remember that Windows '95, which took advantage of these chips, shipped with a lot of software to support the technology. Perhaps it was the branding of things as "MMX" or the inclusion of lots of various kinds of software in the Windows '95 bundle I played with (e.g. the game POD, Encarta, an impressive Office suite, the "Buddy Holly" Weezer video, etc.) that I first truly felt like I was engaged in a "multimedia environment". This would have been late '95 or early '96, a time where I feel the word was really catching on and had become in practice what something like the Sega CD had suggested in theory. I am very curious to see how the Amiga would have stacked up since...

2. I am completely ignorant of the Amiga other than knowing A) it was the original home of a lot of great Genesis ports and B) Psygnosis titles for the system featured amazing box art. Like RSG, I associated it with a European market, similar to something like the ZX Spectrum. I think that I'll enjoy learning a lot about the system and playing-as-I-go. This will be a very different experience than "Racing the Beam" was for me because when reading that book I knew about the games that were being dscussed and had played them all previously. Here, everything is new - which is simultaneously daunting and exciting!

I'm interested in hearing what others have to say! Sometime in the next week I will pose another question or two on the first three chapters - but anyone/everyone should feel to do the same. i might be the "leader" for this book discussion, but by all means all of you should run with it in this thread!
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noiseredux
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by noiseredux Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:27 am

I found the section on creating the visuals for the Boing demo pretty tough to follow, personally. It was just very very technical, and I felt lost through a lot of it -- only sort of grasping bits and pieces of the overall point. Have you guys read that part yet? Did you follow better than I did?

But I'm moving on to the audio portion of the demo, which I feel a lot more confident in understanding.
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dsheinem
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by dsheinem Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:36 am

noiseredux wrote:I found the section on creating the visuals for the Boing demo pretty tough to follow, personally. It was just very very technical, and I felt lost through a lot of it -- only sort of grasping bits and pieces of the overall point. Have you guys read that part yet? Did you follow better than I did?

But I'm moving on to the audio portion of the demo, which I feel a lot more confident in understanding.


I'll weigh in on this in more detail after I finish the chapter (i'm right where you are) - but my initial reaction was that it was technical but well-explained. Did you use the glossary at all when you got mixed up?
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by noiseredux Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:38 am

dsheinem wrote:I'll weigh in on this in more detail after I finish the chapter (i'm right where you are) - but my initial reaction was that it was technical but well-explained. Did you use the glossary at all when you got mixed up?


no, I just sort of trudged through slowly hoping that context-clues would keep me afloat. And mostly I succeeded. I mean, I felt I got the overall gist of everything in that section, but I also felt like someone familiar with programming would have appreciated it far more.
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by J T Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:13 pm

The main thing I liked about reading about the Boing demo and then watching it online was that it was a nice reminder of how exciting these developments were back then. It was a big deal to have a spinning bouncing ball. I'm playing through Sleeping Dogs right now and I'm blown away by how great the graphics are and how immense the giant city is, but I think I felt subjectively more impressed when I first saw real time 3D like the Boing ball, or when Nintendo jumped from 8-bit to 16-bit. I lost sleep over that kind of stuff when I was a kid because I was so excited. It's nice to remember that degree of enthusiasm that I had, and many other people seemed to have about technology development back then. It makes me better appreciate what we have now, which really is mind bogglingly impressive.
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by noiseredux Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:21 pm

J T wrote:The main thing I liked about reading about the Boing demo and then watching it online was that it was a nice reminder of how exciting these developments were back then. It was a big deal to have a spinning bouncing ball. I'm playing through Sleeping Dogs right now and I'm blown away by how great the graphics are and how immense the giant city is, but I think I felt subjectively more impressed when I first saw real time 3D like the Boing ball, or when Nintendo jumped from 8-bit to 16-bit. I lost sleep over that kind of stuff when I was a kid because I was so excited. It's nice to remember that degree of enthusiasm that I had, and many other people seemed to have about technology development back then. It makes me better appreciate what we have now, which really is mind bogglingly impressive.


yeah I totally agree, Jungle-T. I must say that watching the reconstruction videos on the website is a total must here. It took my limited understanding of the text and not only simplified it enough by seeing it in steps, but like you said, just blows your mind like when you're a little geeky kid. I went and got my wife and was like "THIS is the same year as Super Mario Bros!" ...there's something just totally humbling about that. When I see the ball bounce off the wall behind it I'm just sitting there in awe.
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by CFFJR Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:31 am

I was fascinated by the tricks they used to make the demo work. Shifting the color palette to create the rotation, brilliant.

About the questions:

1. My answer is the same as others really, Windows. Though I admit I took it for granted at the time. I didn't really understand why what I was doing was special, though I probably should have. I think the truth of the matter is that, at 25, I'm a couple of years too young to have experienced multimedia as something new rather than as something that was already part of the world I was growing up in. On that note, I don't remember thinking anything special of Windows 3.1 (other than the graphics of it) or 95, I simply sat and learned to use them.

2. I actually do have prior experience with the Amiga! Though it was in Europe, which solidifies the perception I guess.

When I was about 9 or 10, my Dad took me to Italy. We stayed with family, and my cousin, a couple of months younger than me, had an Amiga (sorry, I have no idea which model). At the time, I had never even heard of it and I was confused by this machine that was not my Sega Genesis. :lol: It wasn't until years later that I learned about the Amiga and finally realized just what it was he had.

Of course I spent a great deal of time playing games on it with him. That was the first time I played Superfrog, Micro Machines, Brutal Sports Football, and the Lotus games, among others that I'm afraid have escaped my memory.

Question, anyone else have an overwhelming desire to play with deluxe paint?
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by Ivo Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:49 am

Sadly I've been really lacking in time - I haven't read the sample chapters or ordered the book.

But: I had an Amiga 500 and I think it is fair to say that was my first multimedia experience. It was pretty interesting as a kid and I'm really thankful to my dad for getting us the machine.

I can go into more details about my experiences if people are interested, it seems that I'm one of a few people here that actually had one back then.

I also have played a bit around with UAE (I contributed the WinUAE guide here in Racketboy).

Also I played around with DeluxePaint back in the day :)
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by noiseredux Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:04 am

As I had assumed, the remainder of Ch2 was much easier for me to follow. The online examples of Boing helped me grasp the visual side of things a lot more; and yeah the whole pallet-swap thing was brilliant. Indeed, I did actually have a moment of "hey! They tricked us!" as the author noted, but much like the best programming details in Racing The Beam, a lot of what makes this kind of stuff so interesting is how programmers are able to do so much within the limitations of the machine.

CFFJR wrote:Question, anyone else have an overwhelming desire to play with deluxe paint?


Now I do! I started this chapter last night, and it's very very interesting. I loved the analogy of the Mac program being for "drawing" and this being for "painting." And the whole Andy Warhol, etc thing about the original work being the screen is so interesting. On one hand you'd think that the ability to print the work would create lots of physical copies to sell... but then again printers at the time probably couldn't keep up with the quality of work seen on the monitor.
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by Menegrothx Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:08 am

CFFJR wrote:I was fascinated by the tricks they used to make the demo work. Shifting the color palette to create the rotation, brilliant.

noiseredux wrote:the whole pallet-swap thing was brilliant. Indeed, I did actually have a moment of "hey! They tricked us!" as the author noted.

If you're intrigued by programming tricks, I can recommend watching more demoscene stuff. It's all about using clever tricks like that to fool the viewer and produce effects that normally would be impossible to do because of the limitations of the system. While it's hard for many people to grasp the limitations of old school computers like ZX48, Vic-20, C64 and Amiga 500, it's easier to understand why a rotating 3D cube on Atari 2600 is impressive when you have a more clear picture of the limitations of that system after playing various 2600 games. Too bad there's a lot less console demos than there are for retro computers.
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