Friday, 23 February 2007

Networked Design -Deconstruct an object

Your task is to choose an object and research it. The research should be wide ranging, consider all the angles, however oblique. Aim to break the object down into parts and consider each of these in it's own right.

Some of my ideas for objects:

A Surfboard
A Key
A pen or writing implement
A shoe
A Camera

I decided to stick with my initial idea of the surfboard. I think the surfboard could be quite an interesting object to research. Its usage has been traced back to as early as the 1700s and is used by millions of people all over the world today. Its invention lead to an entirely new culture, lifestyle and fashion. It has spawned many of the other ‘extreme’ sports that we know today and is key element in a now multi-billion dollar industry. There are many angles to consider. So far I have found the following links, which I have organised in to categories.

The History of the surfboard and its design

Tracing the evolution of the surfboard and the effect of technology on its design.

Surfboard manufacturing and Environmental issues.

Modern Surfboards are made from very harmful materials. In 2005, Clark Foam, the company responsible for 90% of the worlds surf board blanks, had to close due to pressure from the government over their waste output. This called for new ‘environmentally friendly’ materials to be considered.


Surf culture, lifestyle and fashion.

In America in the 50’s and 60’s surfing really took off. The sports popularity created a new genre of music, film and fashion. The media latched on to the cultural boom and spread the surf lifestyle all over the world.

Other Extreme sports that have evolved from surfing.

Skateboarding, originally dubbed ‘Side-walk surfing’ began due to surfers not being able to surf when there weren’t any waves. So using planks of wood and shopping cart wheels they made the first skateboards.

I intend to find out more about :- proffesional surfing competitions, famous surf spots, differences in surfing around the world and the big surf brands.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Group Project

Myself , Roger and Kev have set ourselves the task of creating an interactive map of Bath. The map will illustrate the major attractions of the city in an engaging and informative way.


  1. Flash website containing interactive map.
  2. A prototype touch screen map for information booths around the city.
  3. A short film, showing how information could be sent to a portable device from the website or a city information booth.

Week 1. Aims and objectives. My personal tasks are in bold Italics.
  • Obtain a map that can be adapted for the project.
  • Gather information about the places we will use - pubs/restaurants/hotels/tourist attractions/services.
  • Begin work on interface.
  • Gain an idea of the coding needed to implement the project.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Networked Design - Trust me?

You are to consider how we learn to trust information. Reflect on real life experiences and map these onto your experiences in the virtual world. How do you know what to trust and what may be faked?

Summarise your experiences of three websites, pick ones that you trust and consider why you trust them.

Music equipment online retailer

A website I trust because.

The home page assures you that experts are behind the site.
It encourages phone enquiries, so users can question anything on the site, safe in the knowledge that they don’t have to rely on the digital domain.

The site includes some 'sleek' adverts, for big companies or national music events. I think that this portrays the retailers to be 'connected' to well known, big, trusted companies eg Apple.

The site states clearly that they will compete on price. Most of the time, people probably wont check, and with all prices being in bold red type, I think most users will probably believe them.

Internet movie database

A website I trust because.

Straight away, the home page hits you with lines like - ‘Visited by over 42 million movie lovers each month’, ‘earths biggest…’, ‘Award winning’. Statements like these give the site it's value. Whether or not the site is trustworthy, I think users will trust the judgement of other users. 42 million of them.

The homepage has small, rather pointless sections like, 'Born Today', detailing actors birthdays. Extras like this show that they know their stuff, or that they are ‘in touch’ with the movie world.
Each film/actor/director has a message board, for reviews/comments. This adds value because users can give their opinions. The site is clear and concise, with many, many links.
It is almost overwhelming, too much to click. But this adds to the overall feeling that there is much content on the site.

This is an example of a website I don't trust.

The site is supposed to, and used to be a valued daily surf report site.

The reason i don't trust it (anymore) is because the site started small and was the first in the area. As hits went up, the author realised that he could advertise products on the page. More and more products and adverts appeared, the actual report became less and less of a feature. The page is scattered with products, which makes it hard to find what you visited the site for, which de-values the information.

The actual report is the authors personal opinion and the photos are taken from a different place everyday, not live, taken at different times, and only once a day.

Interactive Narrative - Presentation of a Digital Narrative

The purpose of this assignment is to extend your awareness of the
plurality and diversity of digital narratives.


Official Description:

Façade is an artificial intelligence-based art/research experiment in electronic narrative – an attempt to move beyond traditional branching or hyper-linked narrative to create a fully-realized, one-act interactive drama.

Façade is like a game in that, using your mouse and keyboard you control your movements in an artificial space. However it is unlike a game, in that the narrative is dependent on your actions and interactions with the characters. Making it more realistic to everyday life than a standard computer game. You play the part of a long-time friend of a couple. They invite you for dinner one evening and you quickly become involved in their troubled marriage and they start arguing and attacking each other. Gradually different problems are revealed depending on the path of the conversation. You will often be asked difficult questions with only yes or no answers, or be provoked to take sides. The outcome will depend on what you say. They will either break up, stay together or throw you out.

My first impression of the game was that the graphics are very simple and quite crude.
However after a short while I forgot the simple graphics, as you move around the perspective changes and the characters follow you. They will turn to face you, ask you questions often and step in front of each over to gain your attention, demanding you to interact. I was lucky in that I could input my own name, so it was more personal and when I came to play the game properly, I actually felt a kind of connection with the characters. A strange feeling but I couldn't help trying to please and help them. Sometimes they will question your friendship or tell you that what your saying is helping them. This kind of feedback made me feel as if I was really taking part in a two-way interaction. Saying the right or wrong thing was affecting their feelings and they were telling me. Sometimes one of them would storm off if you sided with the other. This made me feel bad, as if I had done something wrong, so I immediately would try to correct my mistake.
On most occasions the characters understand and respond to what you type. When this happened I felt a strong connection with the game and its characters. After my second play I managed to save their marriage, they thanked me and said that what I had said really helped.
However, another play ended abruptly as I got thrown out. I’m not really sure what I said but they didn’t like it.

Tom, look around this apartment. It's got everything anyone would ever want. But, Grace, oh no, she's never satisfied.

Trip, ... ugh ... I'm so sick of this.

what are you sick of?

Alright, Tom, that's it, you've got to leave.

Overall I think that this game is more emotionally involving than most computer games I have played. The objective of the game is not to save their marriage. There isn’t a goal that you must reach in order to complete the game. You simply take part in the ‘one act drama’ and the outcome depends on your interaction. So perhaps this isn’t as fun or entertaining as a normal computer game. But in some ways, just as challenging and engaging.