poptechsculley_thumb.jpg
John Sculley on stage introducing the panel.
POP2_header_2002_circle.gifFinally made it to Poptech. I'm here at the conference in the opera house in Camden. Of course there is 802.11. It's really great so far... I'll post stuff here.

Right now Paul (He wrote "PopPuff the Magic Dragon") of Peter, Paul and Mary is on stage and he is playing a midi guitar connected to his computer using error messages on PC to make music. He calls it "Itza Jungle I/O There." It's really funny. There is a sample of Bill Gates talking about how how he hasn't wavered from his vision and how when there is a problem on your computer, a human being will pop up on the screen, and then Paul plays the "jang!" sound of the PC when it is rebooting. ;-)

Now we're doing a sing-a-long... About a parallel universe...

Of course there are a lot of other bloggers here. ;-)

PopTech The Blog by J.D. Lasica and Buzz Bruggeman
Poptech 2002 by Ernie Svenson
Dan Gillmor's running notes on Poptech

Now Alvy Ray Smith is now on stage. He is saying that he doesn't think that there will be a computer graphics actor in our lifetime, but that there WILL be a full live action movie done by computers, but that the characters will be controlled by human actors.

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He's now talking about a book about how how consciousness is based on emotion and doesn't require language. This feels right intuitively.

Do you need to be conscious to act? Maybe not... but you have to be emotional. So Megan whispers to me about how an actress told her that she doesn't "think too much" when she acts, but focuses on emotions. So being conscious is being emotional and "thinking" is different from being "conscious". Being emotional is about being conscious. So maybe... "I think there for I am, but I am not necessarily conscious."

"Reality begins at 80 million polygons"... It's a lie, but it's works. "That's 80 million per frame, not per second."

Toy Story had 5-6 million per frame. Toy Story 2 had twice that. Maybe in the next year or so we should get close to 80 million polygons per frame. But... That's only a small part of the problem. How you create what gets rendered is the difficult part. The subtle parts...

"Animators are actors and actors are animators..."

I think that should be "Puff the Magic Dragon." I've always found it creepily poignant.

This stuff about polygons and emotions has me wondering about games - the cross-over from the compelling series of Final Fantasy video games did not make it to Final Fantasy the movie. It was computer rendered, but friends said it was too mish-mash and not compelling. Maybe there was not enough emotional content behind the computer graphics?

Sounds provocative Joi - I saw Peter Paul and Mary perform once and I remember them having fun up on stage.

Anita, you're right. That's "puff"... ;-) I love that song too.

Justin and I were talking about games the other day. The session now is about games.

Dan Gillmor is the moderator. Warren Spector is speaking now. Warren makes a good point that novels and movies were both treated similarly when they first game out. "People should go out and LIVE life, not read books (or watch movies.)" He makes a good case about why games are good.

His conclusions about the future. "Players in control games... Grand Theft Auto, The Sims..."

Shared Authorship... Player self-expression... The negotiated narrative... Games are "participative mass medium" for the first time. Not just preaching thoughts, but providing tools and allow players to grow the experience.

"It's not an artist preaching, it is players creating..."

Justin, yes. Warren says that it's not the number of polygons...

Now Amy Jo Kim is on stage...

Amy Jo is taling about the game fan sites and the networks she creates. Sorry to keep blogging about blogs, but blogs are so perfect for gaming comunities...

"Self-Organizing fan eco-system"

Bottom up systems are... Distributed Control, Statistical Spotlights, Player-driven raiting/filtering, Earned Status/Priviledges...

Dan starts the discussion about his favorite topic these days... What about those mean people in Hollywood who shut down fan sites...

Warren thinks that as the money gets bigger even game companies will be crack down on copyright...

Warren thinks that as the money gets bigger even game companies will be crack down on copyright...


Just had lunch with Megan, Howard and Dan...

Howard said that he got a question about whether live blogging will having a chilling effect on speakers at conference. Howard said, it will have a chilling effect on "bullshit at conferences." What a GREAT quote.

Hah! That is a great quote from Howard. Let's hope he's right.

I'm glad you got to hear from Warren - he is one of the wisest men in gaming. He once said that the chairman of a major gaming publisher told him "Warren, I can count on you to make me 110% of the money I give you with your games. I'd rather give it to someone who could lose it, or make 300%." I suppose that's typical investment-banking type risk-analysis, but if you look at the computer games he has helped make, he's one of gaming's best minds. Both in terms of having his own ideas, and finding other good people to nurture.

The closest thing to a blockbuster might be the last game he helped make, Deus Ex - a conspiracy-theory rich first-person adventure game set in a distopian New York/Hong Kong/Paris. Very fun, one of my recent favourites: seedy settings, cool gadgets, lots of player choice. But it's not necessarily a game for everyone - it's kind of a thinking-game-players-game, a game you would appreciate if you've played a lot of more stupid games. His team is now working on the sequel. I'm looking forward, though I'll have to buy a new computer to be able to play it.

Besides Deus Ex, he's worked on many games that have helped games evolve and become more sophisticated (including perhaps "Toon" a game where you role-play as a cartoon character ;-> ). Now he's leading teams, based in Austin, and some of the smartest people in the industry work with him.

It sounds like a great mix of some favourite people and people I'd like to meet! Congrats Joi - glad you made the trip. And still managed to post Admiral Perry to Chanpon!

http://www.tsimon.com/puff.htm

I believe Lenny Lipton (of Stereographics)wrote the lyrics to Puff the Magic Dragon. Just thought it was a neat interconnection to point out.

And all this time I thought you were in New Jersey!
Now that I know your real location, will you be staying on for the 12th Annual National Toboggan Championships?
Keep the notes coming.
It must be lovely there in Maine right now. Actually almost any time on the coast is lovely there.

Maine was wonderful. I ate lobster every meal and the leaves were just starting to fall...

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