Lately I was having the “fun” of customizing a website for showing up nicely on the browser, but also on the iPhone / iPod Touch as well. I wanted to do this job without supporting completely new views or html for the mobile device. The solution was, to do some tight customizing of the css-files, in order to show custom portions of content on regular browsers or on the mobile phone. One thing that helps is thinking css-class-definitions just like objects you know from OOP (object orientated programming). Each class got it’s properties, and you can select to show them or not, depending on the device, that is browsing the site. A little bit like adding informed behavior to your plain old html, depending on the browser, that visits the site.

Ok, let’s start! We first need to find out, if the site loads on a mobile like iPhone or not and load custom css, that contains css-data only for the mobile. Follow this tutorial to get a healthy start. It provides a standard-technique to do this task. It’s really simple, it loads a css-file only if the browser-width is smaller than 480 pixels in our case.

Type in

<link media="only screen and (max-device-width: 480px)" 
href="iphone.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" />

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Blog, Download, Research and Theory - Date published: February 7, 2010 | 6 Comments


The Global Game Jam 2010 also started in Cologne. I attended the kick-off, which was more like a gentle breeze of air. The project-brainstorming and the forming of groups was absolutely accurate and on time. The games that are going to be created as part of the Global Game Jam 2010 have to stand under a certain topic: “deception”. I personally did not liked the topic that much, but nevertheless it lead to more or less robust project-results. There were also another constraint: the game had to include minimum one of the following: key, monkey or donkey. I had the impression, that monkeys clearly dominated the show. Anyway… first thumbs up for the organisation-team from the Cologne Game Lab and all participants. Let’s hope, that also the game-submissions will be in between light air and stromy winds.

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Blog, Research and Theory - Date published: January 30, 2010 | 0 Comments

The “Graffiti Research Lab” progresses with their self-set goal: to explore new possibilities with graffiti. Technology also plays an important role for them. Their latest work is the so called “EyeWriter“. It is an open source eye-tracking system, that allows to “draw graffiti with your eyes”. In order to so so, they use a webcam and some LEDs, to light the pupil and track it. The technology is low-cost. The idea of starting that project came from a real-life event. They teamed up with Tony Quan, aka TEMPTONE, who was diagnosed ALS in 2003. Since then, he got problems moving his body – except for his eyes. The EyeWriter now brings back the joy of doing graffiti again to him.

The research lab is progressing also in other fields as well. They established the “Graffiti Markup Language (GML)“, an XML-based language, to “exchange motion data of graffiti-tags”. They also opened up the “000000book (read: blackbook)”, a social platform for exchanging works, based upon GML.

Blog, Research and Theory - Date published: January 24, 2010 | 0 Comments

Devil’s Tuning Fork: Not only beautiful, but also innovative.

The student winners of the IGF 2010 student competition were announced. As you can imagine, there are high quality works among them, some have really innvative things to show.

My interest went to the game “Devils Tuning Fork“. It’s basically a game in the style of a “first person shooter”, but the interesting detail is provided by the texturing. The game is inspired by works of M.C. Escher and the echo-sounder / echo-location communication (like dolphings and bats do). You strife through blackness, until an “sound-event” is taking place. From there a lightwave is illuminating the scene. One of your tools is a “tuning fork”, that dispatches sound waves. The goal of this game was to “explore a new mode of perception through sound visualization.” Like if you were playing with your ears.

The game was made in about six months by a bigger team. The result looks cool, polished and that new visual perception really scores! They also had some kind of storyline, not too original, but also something “above the line”:

As a mysterious epidemic causes children everywhere to fall into comas, one child wakes up in an alternate reality. It is up to this child, the player, to determine the cause of the epidemic and save the other children trapped here. By way of the devil’s tuning fork, a magical instrument that allows the player to perceive sound waves, the player must find all the children and successfully escape this alternate reality, thereby waking up from the coma.

I found just another cool making-of:

Blog, Games, Research and Theory - Date published: January 19, 2010 | 0 Comments


I’m totally not sure yet what to think of the new (and still beta) release of NodeBox 2 (located at this beta-site at the moment). It is once again GPL and build upon NodeBox. You can use Python-Scripts to generate “generative art”. Like the original NodeBox, that was Macintosh-only, NodeBox2 has the emphasis clearly on simplicity and quick and direct results. In this release they have two new main features. The first one is not really a feature in the deeper sense of meaning: It is available for Windows. The second: It’s got a graphical-editor, where you can combine modules in some sort of “maxMSP-style”. I just played with it a little bit, and can confirm, that this approach really leads to once again much quicker results, than tinkering with code only. Purist will also come to their right, because tinkering with code only is also an option. Well, let’s see how this new (kind of) user-interface will react with the output. I am totally in love with this plain simplicity of NodeBox1. Having too much of everything, and getting results too quickly is not always for the best. Let’s just wait and see what will happen.



Blog, Download, Research and Theory - Date published: December 17, 2009 | 5 Comments


Safari messes things up a little bit

I think it’s about font-width

Unexpected ways to use Twitter are always cool. And it seems, that a small group of people are doing graffiti-styled Twitter-explorations. Just check 140ARTIST at Twitter, look that the site Things are bottom up, that’s why everyone can contribute to this form of textart, by using the searchterm #140art or #twitterart at Twitter.

Update: Twingdings can come in handy…

Blog, Research and Theory - Date published: December 11, 2009 | 2 Comments

The AppStore is bringing math back again to game developers. Lately there we had Jeff Atwood thinking out loud, why setting the price to the lowest possible, 0.99 cent, is the best way to go for iPhone-developers. Adam Saltsman now takes the turn and doing math the other way round: If you sell a certain amount of games, a higher price might be better, just because revenues grow as sales grow. He writes the whole turn at Gamasutra:

The best case scenario here is that we’re all working from home and have cheap mortgages, and only need maybe $5,000 per month for living expenses (before taxes). We’re going to ignore health insurance and stuff like that for now too – very rosey best-case scenario! So, quick mental math, we need to recoup about $30,000 in net revenue just to break even, much less earn a little extra to put toward the next project.

So, let’s check out the bottom three pricing tiers (in USD only for sake of simplicity):

50,000 copies x $0.99 = $49,999 – 30% = $35,000

50,000 copies x $1.99 = $99,500 – 30% = $70,000

50,000 copies x $2.99 = $149,500 – 30% = $105,000

Which brings me somewhat circuitously to my main point: selling your game for $0.99 means you have to get in the top 10 to make it worth your while. Selling your game for $1.99 or more means you can get by and maybe even fund your next project even if you’re only in the top 100.

Simple math, isn’t it? What do you think?


Blog, Research and Theory - Date published: December 9, 2009 | 0 Comments

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