Page about the Natural User Interfaces added

I added a page describing the work on Natural User Interfaces.

“The SLSI NUI Interaction Scripts is a collection of Python addons to support the creation of sign language animations in Blender using Natural User Interfaces, such as the Microsoft Kinect and the Leap. It also support direct facial control of MakeHuman characters via FaceShift.”

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Demo Scene seminar at CIRMA, University of Turin, Italy

NEW: The slides of the presentation are available: ElectronicGraffiti-SeminariCIRMA-130422-fnunnari

NEW: Link to the video stream hosted by Labotatorio Multimediale Guido Quazza

— — —

I’m really proud to announce that I’ve been invited to conduct a seminar about the demoscene.

The seminar, entitled Graffiti Elettronici (Electronic Graffiti) will be held next Monday (22 April 2013 @ 17:00) at the CIRMA department (Center Interdipartimental for Research on Media and Audiovideo), University of Turin, Italy.

The official flyer can be found here. The seminar will be in italian, so a summarised translation follows.

Non-interactive multimedia applications made of special effects, electronic music, deadlines, last-minute fixes and a mission: squeeze the hardware to astonish the viewer. […]

Introductory journey to the world of the “scene” and its parties, kick-starters for the best multimedia software developers in the world. […]

The seminar will present a brief history of the demo scene, form its origins in the ’80 (on 8-bit systems) until today, where demos are made for PC, consoles as well as for the new web technologies. […]

The tools used in production and some programming techniques will be surveyed […]

There is also a FaceBook event.

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Revision Party 2013

Saturday 30 March 2013 I made a quick visit to the Revision Demo Party 2013, held in Saarbrücken, Germany.

A jump in the old good times of demoing and partying. I think it was more or less 20 years I was not attending a party! I was curious to see how the atmosphere was, smell of old burned cables, people sleeping on keyboards, extreme coding at work, and a lot of fun :-)
Nice to see that Amiga and C64 are still in the competition!

I’ve been shooting few pics and videos, just to give you the idea of the mood.

Game compo. A cool team developed, in 12 hours, a Wii game where – totally drunk – you use your… ehmm… WiiMote, to piss into a toilet. The more you advance in the levels, the more you get drunk, making it reeeeally difficult to score ;-)

The next video is an example of the introduction to demo competition sections. Really cool!


Direct Link: Revision Party 2013 – Old Skool Demo Intro

And here a short take during the DJ session:


Direct Link: Revision Party 2013 – DJ Session

However, I have a comment for the organisers. I’ve been asked to pay the full price (60 Euro) to attend a single evening. No reduced nor partial tickets were planned.

I agree that this is a fair price to attend the whole party: you get tables, chairs, power supply, Wi-Fi, toilets and showers. But this policy simply, completely, cut away the participation of non-sceners.

I would have loved to see “civilians” sitting on the first row to attend the demo compos. People that are normally spending an evening at the cinema or theatre, might love to see some digital art at work. There are many video artists around that would really enjoy the show. The day after I was not able to attend the party, but I would have never suggested friends to go to see the competition at that price.

I would love to see demo parties extended to “passive” attenders, at least during the show time, favouring an exchange of ideas between demo-addicted and art-lovers in general.

… and you might even have the chance to see more women around ;-)

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New job, new lab, new location

Long time is passed since my last post because I moved to a new job… and location.

Since 15 January 2013 I proudly work at the Sign Language Synthesis and Interaction lab at DFKI in Saarbrücken, Germany.

So new office, new Mac, new life, new language (Deutsch is tough), and new beer :-)

I’m currently conducting some research on the use of Natural User Interfaces for sign authoring.

More news to come …

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Emscripten: Running C++/LLVM Code in Browsers!

Some time ago I’ve been impressed by the Emscripten project [https://github.com/kripken/emscripten/wiki].

It is a LLVM compiler to JavaScript! It means that you can take a C/C++ project, compile it with CLang (or another LLVM code generator), use Emscripten to convert it into JavaScript, and voilà: it runs into your browser.

There are plenty of examples, among them also a full-featured 3D FPS: BananaBread.

I still have to investigate how it manages to convert C++ calls to OpenGL to “native” JavaScript calls to WebGL. I’ll investigate it sooner or later…

Can this be a real alternative to Javascript+HTML5?

C++, which was stuck to its 2003 standard, ran through an update in 2011 [ C++11]. It now presents a more simplified syntax to handle containers and plenty of new built-in features. Will it be able to keep the pace of high-level non-native interpreted languages?

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HTML 5 ready (?)

The news of the week is that HTML5 standard definition is finally complete:

http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/CR-html5-20121217/

At the same time many real-time 3D software developers (including me) are arguing it’s not enough to develop games. Is that true?

Personally, I don’t have (yet) experience with heavy development using Javascript. But I can already imagine the burden of developing a 100+ classes framework in a non-strongly-typed environment. Not to mention the performance issues that obviously afflict the yet-another level of abstraction over computer hardware.

However, HTML5 seems today the only way of writing only once an application that you might want to deploy on many different platforms.

I’m waiting to see honest comparisons between HTML5+Javascript versus other middlewares (like Unity) and versus native C++ development, both in terms of performance and development time (and stress).

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fraMESHift site updating

We are updating the web site of the fraMESHift project [http://projectframeshift.wordpress.com/]

Have a look there for impressive new videos and info.

FraMEShift – Interactive Dance Performance from VR&MM Park on Vimeo.

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Rigs of Rods: an open source vehicle simulator

I just discovered the existence of Rigs of Rods. It is a an open source physics engine specialized in vehicle simulation.

The web site is http://www.rigsofrods.com/

The simulation of car crashes is quite funny. Have a look:

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Interaxon crownfunding Muse: The Brain-Sensing Headband

Few days ago I received an E-mail inviting me to contribute and spread the word about the Muse project, crowfunding at Indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/interaxonmuse.

It reminded me when I had the chance to try one of these mind-reader headsets. It was a headset with an additional protuberance, much like a microphone, to stick on your front. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the company, and I even don’t know if they had some success. I’ll update the post once I find out the contact again.

But, what I clearly remember is how impressed, and let me say, a bit scared, I’ve been using the mind reader.

Let me tell you the story. The headset was presented as able to read the level of “concentration” and “relaxation” of the user. The operator was bringing my avatar around a in a virtual word, asking me to perform tasks like: “concentrate to lift up that box” and ”relax to put that car on fire”.

While trying to concentrate to make the box fly, I was distracted by a bottom bar showing the level of concentration. I mean, while telling me that I was succeeding in concentrating, it was in fact distracting me from the task! And the box kept on falling down several times.

Apart from the critics on the superficial GUI design, what heavily impressed me is that I could not “get away” from the game. By getting away I mean detaching from the immersion in order to reason on a strategy with some calm.  With traditions joypads you can raise up your body, relax your hands, exit form the screen and think how to perform next steps in the game. The game engine would not know that you lost your immersion.

With a head mounted brainwave readers you can’t afford it. In the moment you loose your immersion, hence you loose your concentration, the game engine would know it and can react accordingly. Isn’t it the best moment, dear AI, to slash the player with your sword?

Anyway, I’m dreaming of an RPG where wizards must “really” concentrate to cast spells ;-)

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Play the Physics page added

I added a page describing an old project called “Play the Physics“.
“Play the Physics is an educational videogame devoted to teach Physics concepts to children.”

“My role in the game was as developer. I took care of two features:

  • adding to the game the floating helmet (the one throwing the freezing/heating jet)
  • I programmed the camera movement together with its position recording system

All the code was written in C++ and based on the Ogre3D engine.”

Also a video of the full gameplay is available.

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