Category Archives: Creative Practice

Kinnectimals

While at BAF game this year, the Frontier game development team was represented by two of its head animators, who helped create some of the animation for one of the Kinnect’s most famous titles to date, “Kinnectimals”.
There were over 200 separate animations that each cub could perform and each animation had to blend seamlessly into each other.
The characters themselves are adorable and are very true to the playful nature of cats, but the animators at frontier also looked to dogs for a source of reference and even themselves.

The demonstration above may be a bit sickly sweet, (like the tiger’s namesake) but it really does demonstrate a complex range of commands and sensitivity to interaction on the part of the Kinnect.

“Advergaming” and interactivity as promotional tools…

The advent of Through the line” advertising or “Viral” marketing has quickly shifted the way that the public receive information about the latest products and also the way that we as creative practitioners are expected to work.

http://emerging-advertising-media.wikispaces.com/Advergaming

The ways in which advergaming can be implemented can range from more solid and conventional methods like puzzles and CDs free with magazines and newspapers that relate to promotional content and freebies to the newer QR code readers that will take you to a website and possibly some flash games or an app that is free to download and is fun to play.

A personal example of this was when my mum purchased an iPod touch and was looking for apps to download. She found a promotional version of “Angry Birds” which was in partnership with the animated film “Rio”. Although she wasn’t inclined to see the film, the advergame worked in the sense that after completing the free version of Angry Birds my mum then went on to download the full Version of Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and the “Eagle” app for an additional 69p.

Tippex bear

Although not strictly a game, the Tippex “Hunter… A bear” campaign really intrigued me. It consists of giving the viewer a choice: Will the bear live or die?
Despite what you pick, the hunter won’t kill the bear, but then it directs you to a site that resembles youtube and you can choose what you can do with the bear, including hugging, dancing, playing rock-paper-scissors, brushing his teeth, playing the harp… you get the idea.
What I really like is that they probably turned one of the blandest products in history into something that now represents boundless possibility. It also uses the “Not Safe For Work” video tag to rope viewers in and believe that it is a true viral video, like Chris Crocker or Star Wars guy.

Have a go and enjoy it… you’ll lose the rest of your afternoon though.

Weetakid

Speaking of bland products with exciting campaigns, here is the clever little character of Weetakid. While in class, Annabeth brought in a stack of iPads… and a box Weetabix.

If you scanned the QR code through your iPad or iPhone, a little 3D representation of Weetakid would pop up and inhabit our world through the camera, standing against the scene on the box. I think this is a fantastic idea because from personal experience in recent times, I can’t find a child who can’t work their parent’s iPhone. One gripe I do have is that it doesn’t work for Android.

PETA

Some of the games that the PETA website (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) are shameless re-skins of classic games (Super Mario, dress up dolls, super meat boy and cooking mama to name a few) but they have been cleverly made to inform players about the cruelty of animals by way of unlocking achievements and high scores. They also occasionally link to shock videos so I won’t be having any turkey for a while…

http://www.peta.org/interactive/games/default.aspx

“FaceWare” and the image metrics innovation…

The seminar at BAF Game a fairly astounding one, demonstrating the newly released (and freely available) 3D software plugin, “Faceware”.

Faceware is a plugin that detects the movements of a piece of video footage without the use of mo-cap software or even a special set up. It boasts the ability to be able to create a performance file from any kind of captured video (of a face) and then be able to transfer most of the minute twitches, movements and individual facial quirks to a pre- existing rig in many 3D packages, such as Maya or 3D max.

The important point about this clever software is that it is very efficient and even though it costs money to create bespoke performance files, it is still very cost and time efficient, Animators have to spend less time dealing with major key poses and can instead focus on the clean up process and the nuances which help to accent the animated performance and make it much more convincing to the viewer, plus it also allows the actor’s individual speaking patterns to be recorded. It also saves money because of the absence of a specialist motion capture studio, additional hardware etc.

It has been used in many different well known works such as “The mysterious case of Benjamin Button”, “Splice” and the cute little nonsensical Panda Don from the Fox Biscuit campaign.