Two Spoons

Artistic Statement

For this assignment I wanted to do something whimsical. The two spoon designs I did are Absinthe spoons. Absinthe spoons are generally delicate, and shallow. They are recreational drug use spoons, which means they also hold with them an aspect of ritual. An object only to be used at specific times, for specific reasons, vs an everyday item of use. This gave me some freedom to explore using the bowl as a vehicle for the actual expression of shape. Absinthe spoons are usually based in natural design patterns, but are wonderfully varied. For these particular ones, I wanted them to be a bit more modern, so the leaf shapes still call back to old designs, but keeping it smooth, and formed makes it more current. In terms of manufacturing, I designed this to be wax printed, and then cast in either silver, or gold. Other options could be in the form of stainless steel or a gold plated output. Absinthe spoons are usually silver, but at its base it needs to be metal to stand up to water, corrosion, and fire. The casting quote came to $150 to print and cast one spoon in silver.


Process and Development
In terms of process and development, I started by digitally and play with shapes. Using some basic forms and references, I started drawing different shapes, and modelling them in Rhino to see what worked. I really enjoyed discovering and using commands like cage edit and bend. Rhino has a lot of really interesting options for making natural shapes,and I wanted to do some explorations with that.

Overall I wanted to keep my design pretty simple. Since my focus was on the leaf being the bowl, I felt that whatever was attached to it, should support your focus going back to the bowl. I formed the handles to reflect the basic shape of the bowl, but not take away from it. I also wanted both spoons to be similar, but not quite the same, so they felt like a set.

A Quick Note On Packaging
I think in this case packaging is a personal thing. Because these are not common everyday use spoons, they don’t always come in a branded box. They will sometimes come as part of a set, or in special cases like one you keep eye glasses. I experimented a bit with making a basic pillow box, and some basic folded boxes, but in the end I settled on the idea that if these were my spoons, I would just wrap them in felt and tie them with a leather tie.


Y’know Galloway, I really wish you would untangle your arguments into something more accessible. But anyways. This interface discussion always makes me think of a panel I was on a few years ago in which I was talking about an SMS choose your own adventure game. And like, someone brought up interface. And we chatted about how interface can just be a room, or a glass, or the chair you are sitting on. It doesn’t have to be a specific thing. Interfaces can be a lot of things.

In other news. Stanford is making a controller that can read your emotions and adjust the game at hand:

Kieran Nolan meanwhile makes delightful games where the game is a using a controller to use an in game controller. Its very meta.

Micro Oracles

So for the start of my game project I wasn’t really thinking about personal experiences. I spent a lot of time when I was younger doing zines, and music, and a lot of it was autobiographical. Lately tho, I’ve been interested in the idea of digital oracles. Weird little systems that crunch their own data to be insightful. Examples: The Matrix’s oracle is probably the most famous, but fortune by Zach Gage, is a delightful oracle that remixes twitter.

I was also drawing upon a very long time ago visit to Las Vegas. I dislike Vegas, a lot. BUT the smash up in the environment is kind of amazing. Each hotel has its own ecosystem. You can stand on a street corner with a “performing” fountain, and a scale model of New York. But if you look around the back, there’s still an open door w/ a garbage dumpster.

Anyways. I thought about trying to combine these two things.

I started by just playing around with Unity and exploring what I could do with point lighting and assets. I knew I wanted to do something FPS-ish, because I hadn’t done that before, and in this course I’d like to get a handle on scripting a whole game. Eventually I came up w/ something I liked. I’d like to do something where I just run with this idea, and have each micro climate react to some kind of external force. Like twitter feeds, or news feeds, or weather.

Elephants for the elephant gods!
Deer for the deer gods!

I’d also like to explore basic rigging.

You can download the demo level here.

movement is: W(forward) S(back) A(left) D(right). And you can look around with the mouse. Currently you can collect the little floating neon elements. I’m debating if I want this to be a walking sim or a large fetch quest.

Protocol, Control, and Networks

I dunno really where to start with this. I mean, it was 25 pages of heavy network theory crossed with some serious nihilism, and calling in of some 70s philosophers. By all accounts this should be my thing.

Except I was far more interested in the Nihilism than the network theory. I mean, I just learned about Eugene Thacker’s In The Dust of This Planet, and now I’m far more into reading about how humans approach these theories in pop culture. Especially since the world seems to be eating itself into a ditch right now.

But here’s a stab at writing some things about this paper:

1) They give a good break down on how a protocol stack actually works. Which is nice, considering a lot of digital theory just appropriates technical terms rather badly.

2) The mapping of protocol to body stuff is always kind of a stretch for me. I mean I get it, they’re talking about the basics of biochemistry and what not as applied to biological systems and communication, as a parallel to TCP/IP stack. But its not quite the same.

3) Its nice to acknowledge that the various layers of the TCP/IP protocol stack don’t really care what the other layers are moving. As programmers and content makers, we operate mostly in the Application and sometimes Transport layer. The underside tho, doesn’t care. It could be moving around viruses, images, words…doesn’t matter, its just a bulk of bits that needs to get shuffled around. There’s something weirdly comforting about that. Or maybe its just me.

4) Biocomputing is kind of not a shot in the dark. For starters its limited in its algorithmic ability, and on top of it, its slow as hell. Its got a sexy name that inspires futuristic thinking, but I sort of just skipped over it.

5) I did enjoy when they started talking about topologies of networks. And how various networks and their various protocols can operate in the same space at the same time. It falls in line with various thoughts about The Internet, but also old internet, which is basically a multi-headed hydra that’s never really sure what all its bits are doing. You can see this socially reflected in groups like Anonymous, who feel schizophrenic due to their headless operation. But that leads into ideas about control…

You can not escape protocol

Protocol is control,and it is the underlying pin for networks to exist. It doesn’t matter if its centralized, decentralized, or distributed. Without the control wielded by protocol, you have no operation, without operation you have no network. In some ways, without it, you don’t have life in general. Control in a network is about the shaping of where things go, not necessarily disciplining what those things do.

6) So. If you want to rail on a protocol based system, you need to overflow it, or reshape it. Because you can’t break it down, and you can’t escape it.

Now apply that to life, and that’s sorta where the Nihilism comes in.

Gone Home – Find All The Things

So. I’m not going to post a video. Instead I’m just going to blog about Gone Home, and how I played it when it first came out.

Gone Home is an explorative story game from The Fullbright Company. You get home after a year away, and notice the house is super empty. Something isn’t right, so you spend time investigating what happened by going through things in the house. Eventually you find out that your sister is a lesbian and has run away w/ their high school partner. That’s a blunt description, but its done so well through finding notes, and zines, and tapes, and all sorts of things. Kotaku does a better waaaaay write up of it than me.

I played the game to find out the story, which didn’t take long. Then I found the secondary story and it was HELLA DEPRESSING.

omg what is happening?

I then spent about 9 more hours just going back, and poking around the house. I collected toilet paper rolls, and books, and toys. I tried placing things in the weird satanic circle to see if anything would happen. I stacked things in the hallway. I moved things randomly around to different rooms and sorted them.

Eventually just messing around w/ the environment and putting tapes in the tape player became WHY I played the game. ”


Apparently I was not the only who did this. And it become sort of an online thing.

all the things

I made up weird “hide the things” short games. Where I would take an object, and put it somewhere, and then had the controller to a friend and see if they could find it.

Basically I just started playing Gone Home as a weird series of collection side quests.

Sadly though, I never did get anything to happen with that satanic circle.

Oh and btw, yes, you can buy a button pack of all the buttons.


I have no idea what either of these papers was about. I’m still amazed that someone can take Cybernetics and write something so damn dry. I don’t think I actually understood any of that. :-/

Vectorpark – A Short Profile

Vectorpark is the monkier of Patrick Smith, whose been building neat little experiences that ride the line between interactive toy, and interactive game for the past 15 years. You can read an in depth interview with them over on Montionographer.

Smith’s background is in painting, but after graduating in 1999 with a BFA, they found themselves getting into commercial design work. Despite building up a digital practice, they cite the most important tool for them is still drawing. Smith’s work has a consistent style of solid colours, clean lines, and smooth animation.

I had a chance to play Metamorphabet at a previous TCAF, and its delightful. You get a real sense of surprise and exploration when interacting with it. The debate around whether or not is a game, is one that Smith doesn’t take too seriously.

Smith’s other games explore little systems and whimsical outcomes. With Levers you try and balance a host of objects that have fallen out of the sky into the water on hooks. The catch being: you can’t touch the water. Its surprisingly difficult after a point, and I personally never made it past the snowman. Windosill is full of little puzzles you need to solve as you try and move your little toy car forward.

All in all, Vectorpark provides little vignettes framed through puzzles systems for online, iOS and mobile that are inviting and challenging.