Tag Archives: design

Play Auditorium – An Exercise in Play and Creativity

Play Auditorium is a spectacular puzzle game created in Flash by CipherPrime.

It combines excellent graphic design with an intuitive and simple interface and a fascinating puzzle concept.

The concept centers around redirecting a stream of sound particles to VU meters using directional objects.  When all of the VU meters on the level are maxxed out you progress to the next level.

Initially you have only white sound particles and your directional objects are limited to relative directions (up, down, left, right) but as you progress through the levels additional colors are added to match alternate VU meters and gravity objects become available.  It seems in the full game many more options and challenges will be included.

I could describe it more but seeing is believing – this clip is of one of the last levels in the demo.

What’s most fascinating is the simplicity of the interface and the interplay of visual objects with sound objects.  These three elements along with the immediate affect your control has over those objects draws you in.

I’ve found myself going back and playing it again and again as I attempt to work out different solutions to the puzzles.  While not necessarily a productivity tool it evokes playful behavior which can be all too lacking in our everyday.

The TED Talk by Tim Brown points out the effectiveness play can have in the creative workplace and PlayAuditorium brings excellent design and playfulness together.

It’s currently in beta awaiting a full release but definitely give it a play.

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Get a plan?

When someone asks you if you have a plan, a “long-term plan” for what you want to do with your life, do you have an answer?

I stumbled through something like an explanation but really I don’t have one.

I have this goal to live my life the way I want to – without the limitations of what is expected – but it seems to mean I am always questioning what it is that I do.  I want to do so many things but I never feel that what I do defines me, no less what I do for money; so when I’m asked if I have a plan I don’t really have a good answer.  My answer should perhaps be – “yes, as of yet, always mutable and changing” – easy and straightforward right?

Perhaps I should go with a list of things I will do – they are all planned in some stage or another.

Things I do and will do in the future:

  • Dance – whether this is teaching, performing or competing, this is my passion, my art and my life blood.  I will always dance.
  • Learn – I always want to learn new things, whether it is SEO, direct marketing, grammar and syntax, Adobe Illustrator, PHP, tap dance, wines, cooking… I will always be thrilled to add another skill to my repertoire.
  • Technology – as a techonology hobbyist I am intrigued by all things related to new technologies, whether mobile phones (my iphone), laptops, new iterations of the latest Open Source Software, and more.
  • Information – I want to work with information – I want to work with the flow of information, how it can be structured, shaped and inverted, how it can be a catalyst for change.
  • Design – I want to work with design, whether it is with information architecture , the design of physical objects, the design of digital visualizations, etc., the design mentality appeals to me in its form and function.  It facilitates a creative yet technical production.  A joining of two halves of my interest.
  • Green – I am fascinated by the green movement and I feel deeply motivated to leave a better future for those around me, for those who will come after me, and for my own future.  This can easily be wedded to green technology, green information systems, and much more.  This is easily tied into my consistent mind of social responsibility, green is much more than just an environmental practice but an entire restructuring of the social, economic and political system which place at their core the bettering of humanity for both a short term and long term vitality.
  • Live Well – I am not frugal, I do not plan to be.  I want to live my life to the fullest of its potential.  This includes enjoying good wine, good food, good people and good experiences.  I don’t need the 150$ bottle of wine, but I’d rather have a glass of wine with dinner than go without it to save 10-20$.  I won’t compromise my quality of life now for some unknown better life in the future.

My goals in life aren’t necessarily connected to what I will do for money nor are they separate.  Perhaps my goal is to integrate what I will do with a fiscally sustainable plan that facilitates the pursuit, without the excessive waste of time, of my interests, whether they will earn me money or they will provide me with the excitement, fullfillment and life I desire.

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Tim Brown on Creativity and Play

This is a great presentation by Tim Brown, the CEO of Ideo, on the role creativity and play should have in the design process and the work environment.  It is fascinating to explore how we often leave the openness of play behind as we become adults.  That it is that willingness to make believe which enables the birth of great ideas.

All too often apologies are issued for mistakes which are really no more than experimentation, that pushes the boundaries, those same mistakes which enable us to grow.  Is it really the mistake that we are apologizing for or our embarrassment?

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design and pretend

Somewhere along the line I became a graphic designer.  It was somewhere between sleeping in till noon and being woken up by a text message and a shower only an hour or so later that I went from a regular technology hobbyist who apparently worked IT to a freelance graphic designer.

At first I was horrified.  I wasn’t a graphic designer.  I’d done very little design work even unofficially.  I could easily manage basic functions in Illustrator and Photoshop but I hadn’t done Powerpoint work and that is what I was supposed to be an expert in.  With a fury of research and study on limited battery power, I learned as much as I could about presentation design in a weekend.

I studied the presentations and advice of Garr Reynolds, Lawrence Lessig, Seth Godin, Masayoshi Takahashi and Guy Kawasaki.  I had followed Seth Godin’s blog on-and-off for a while and his advice on marketing and the issues of tribes has always been fascinating.  Lessig I have followed for his immense breadth of work in copyright law and more – his presentations are simple, direct, and effective.

I watched videos on YouTube and read a number of articles on working in Powerpoint.  Then, I went to work.

It went simply. Easily. I realized one prime thing from this experience. The corporate world is as much an act as univeristy, high school. It’s a game of pretend – often with a short learning curve.

Get good at pretending and filling in the blanks when you get to them. It works.

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