Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hepburn under the Hammer

Hepburn under the Hammer

Newsflash from Christie's about the late Dutch actress.

Click to enlarge: Audrey Hepburn (courtesy Reuters)

[source: De Telegraaf)]

AMSTERDAM - Het beroemdste zwarte jurkje ter wereld wordt geveild. Het gaat om de Givenchy-jurk die actrice Audrey Hepburn draagt in de openingsscène van de film Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).

Volgens de overlevering verwachtte de Franse couturier Givenchy jaren eerder ene Miss Hepburn voor een pasbeurt. Hij dacht aan de grote, Amerikaanse actrice Katharine Hepburn, maar het bleek te gaan om haar minder bekende collega Audrey.

Het beviel echter zo goed dat ze Givenchy's muze en ambassadrice werd. Op dinsdag 5 december gaat de japon in het Londense veilinghuis Christie's onder de hamer.

De verwachte opbrengst ligt, omgerekend, tussen de 68.000 en 96.000 euro en gaat naar India. Audrey, die een Nederlandse moeder en Engelse vader had, overleed in 1993 op 63-jarige leeftijd aan kanker.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Scottish Games

Scottish Games

Hooray, our game is featured in the online publication of Scottish Games.

Read it below:


DARE - Competition Entry - Phaigo Interactive

Click to enlarge: Steamroom with Engineer (left) and Customer Service Manager (right) onboard of SPACEPORT

Phaigo Interactive, one of the teams from this year's Dare to be Digital competition have sent a quick summary of their entry in this year's competition.

The game is called Spaceport. The team claim it is "an interactive entertainment simulation, experienced from a first-person perspective, where the drama is driven by people as much as profit." Sounds a little like a cross between an adventure game and a sim city experience, but here's a description in the team's own words:

It’s the not-so-distant future. You have just begun a new job running your very own, very unique, space station orbiting the Earth, servicing the modern day space traveller.

Success relies on co-operating with your crew to meet the needs of your customers. Problem is, your crew don’t always agree on things, so when it comes to the crunch, it’s your call.

You may laugh, you may cry. Witness the suspense, swoon to the romance, get where the action is and live the adventure as you strive to maintain the delicate balance between social, emotional and financial stability. Trade parts online, customise and extend your spaceport as your community grows!

Just to recap for those of you who haven't run into Dare before. It's a competition open to teams of students from universities. They submit a concept which is judged by a panel of industry types. Teams with successful concepts are shipped to Dundee, where they have ten weeks to take their concept through to a working prototype.

This means they're all now on Week 7.  Oh my!

It's like ten weeks of crunch time. Over the summer holidays. In Dundee.  Hardcore. Luckily the teams have some experts help from the local Scottish games companies, as well as some fairly major publishers and manufacturers...

We're running all of the diary updates from the teams in this year's Dare. Check anything tagged Dare to be Digital tag for more info on the teams, games and progress so far.


So far, so good ...

Thursday, July 20, 2006



It's Summer...

Time for relaxation, white beaches, blue oceans, fresh drinks (Hoowla-hoop music in the background playing).

What an excellent opportunity to... recharge ;o)


Work, you lazy Student. Work and build the Recharger for our SPACEPORT Power Room !

Alright, so that is what you meant by; recharge.

So, here we go (again)...

Starting with a (very quick) sketch.

Click to enlarge: Battery recharger - sketch

Next, the 3D model of the battery charger and 3 cradles.

Battery recharger - 3D model

Whoopy... now we start texturing the batteries !

For a general 'feel' of what our Power Room should look like, I was assisted by my team member Jason (to be more precise Su Yin, from Peking University), an Art student. He showed me underneath computer painted environment, which we both liked very much.

Click to enlarge: Concept image, suitable for our Power Room

Right... we put the bar high up for me... a beginning Photoshop Painter ;o)

Aim high... shoot low

For the rechargeable battery I painted this texture in Photoshop, with the digital brush... never running out of paint, whoopy!

Texture for rechargeable battery

And this is what it looks like when applied to the 3D model of the battery.

Texture & model united

We strive for the look of a lot of power glowing from the inside of the battery, like lava in a vulcano...


... more to follow, Picasso

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Power from the Past

Power from the Past

Power has since the start of our history been associated with the lion. The ancient Egyptians pictured the Sphinx-like lion (of Judea) in their pyramide carvings.

Akhenaton (aton = 10)

Several flags and logo's feature the lion as to appear strong and powerful.

"Cult of Aton" Red Lion on the flag of Scotland - A symbol of the sign of Leo, it refers to the royal dynasties of Egypt. The French fleur du li are incorporated probably to commemorate the arrival of the Knights Templar from France. They may also connote visitations much earlier in history.

MGM film studios

Philip Morris cigarettes

Moreover, the symbol for the Tribe of Judah is the lion, a symbol used by the royal families of Britain and found on British heraldry, incorporated into the architecture of state buildings, and emblazoned on so many corporate logos. The Lion is the symbol for the sign of Leo which, as any competent astrology buff knows, has long been connected to royalty, especially that of Egypt.

The Pharaoh's costume included a ritually worn lion's tail, and the throne of Pharaoh was styled with lion motifs. Many images show the Pharaoh's hunting lions from their royal chariots.

The cheetah and the panther were associated with the priests, but the lion was always reserved for the Pharaoh.

The lion of Africa is used as a seminal symbol by the royal houses, because of their descent from the House of David, or more correctly, from the House of Aton. [source: Cult of Aton]

And the message is past on to the young children via Tiger Power!

Kellogg's cereals

In conclusion, I knew I had to include a lion/sphinx in our SPACEPORT Power Room if it would run low on energy.

Remember the sketch of the Power Room, here it is again:


Today I have modelled the energy-dial on the Power Room's private Lion.

3D model of the Power cat ;o)

Next, I flattened its dial / face, like a piece of cloth on the table...

Flattened polygons, for so-called UV mapping

In Photoshop I then painted the colors and the pointing hand that should indicate the power-level.

Powered-down texture

Powered-up texture

After this these textures where attached to the 3D model in Maya.

Powered-down 3D model

Powered-up 3D model

And ultimately, this model was loaded into the Game engine.

SPACEPORT....Power included !

NOTE: The black & white ball is generating 'power-sounds', thanks to our team Sound-Designer Nic.

So.... yet another long day in our Game Development Competition; time to go home and re-charge ;o)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Need a Lift

Need a Lift?

Where would we be without a lift that transports the people of the Space station from the lounge room to the engineering deck, or to the accommodation area?

You have guessed it right, the SPACEPORT game needs a 'lift'. Eeeeuuuh, three lifts actually.

Whilst conducting my research I came across the following 'famous' lift-related resources.


THE LIFT, a film by the Dutch Director Dick Maas (1983)

The Lift

Four visitors become stuck in the lift of a big office building [Willem: of my previous employer - LogicaCMG, Amstelveen NL] where they are almost
sufficated because of the failing airconditioning.

Liftmechanic Felix Adelaar, however, cannot find a malfunction.
Shortly thereafter a blind man has a fatal fall down the liftshaft te pletter and a porter is decaptivated by the doors of the lift. The police perceive both events as accidents. Other victims are soon to follow...


LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR, a song by rock band Aerosmith

Love in the elevator

Workin' like a dog for the boss man
Workin' for the company
I'm bettin' on the dice I'm tossin'
I'm gonna have a fantasy
But where am I gonna look
They tell me that love is blind
I really need a girl like an open book
To read between the lines

Love In An Elevator
Livin' it up when I'm goin' down
Love In An Elevator
Lovin' it up till I hit the ground

Jackie's in the elevator
Lingerie second floor
She said 'can I see you later
And love you just a little more'
I kinda hope we get stuck
Nobody gets out alive
She said 'I'll show you how to fax
In the mailroom, honey
And have you home by five'

In the air, in the air, honey one more time
Now it ain't fair
Love in an elevator
Lovin' it up when I'm goin' down
Love in an elevator
Goin' down

Gonna be a penthouse pauper
Gonna be a millionare
I'm gonna be a real fast talker
And have me a love affair
Gotta get my timin' right
It's a test that I gotta pass
I'll chase you all the way to stairway, honey
Kiss your sassafrass


LIFT, a film by Hugues Dalton

Otis (Dominique Pinon - Delicatessen - Amelie - City of Lost Children) is a live-in lift operator who has never set foot outside his elevator. He is secretly in love with K, a junior typist who is afraid of elevators and has never set foot in one.

Each morning, as K climbs the 20 flights of stairs to her typing pool, Otis does his best to parallel her ascent. He subtly influences the demands of his many passengers to catch glimpses of his beloved. K’s only pleasure is typing her dreams on her lunch breaks. Everyday they each go about their routines with quiet dedication. But this routine is about to change.


So, now the SPACEPORT edition of a lift (USA) / elevator (UK), after resolving the distinction between both:

There was an American who, at least for this joke, 
was staying at a posh hotel in London. He was a self-made man,
wealthy and proud of his heritage. Having checked in,
he decided to sample the cuisine but was somewhat disoriented
by the different method used for counting floors.
After asking, the concierge directed him to the "elevator".

Possibly because of the earlier confusion, the somewhat
disgruntled guest decided to correct the hotel employee:
"You mean lift, don't you?".

"No", responded the concierge, who was not prepared to
be corrected by a mere American, regardless of wealth,
"I meant elevator!".

The guest frowned and growled in reply: "We invented
the darn things and we can call them whatever we like!"

"Certainly sir!", came the quick reply, "but don't forget
WE invented the language"....

Here is a quick sketch of what the elevator for SPACEPORT is meant to look like.

Click to enlarge: SPACEPORT Elevator - sketch

The roof will have a bright light shining downwards, whereas on the wall of the elevator there is room for advertisements. You as a SPACEPORT manager have the power to earn money through advertising goods and services. This way you can invest in expanding the space station, to accommodate more visitors.

Next, I will model this 'box' in our 3D computer program.

Click to enlarge: Elevator model x-rayed

And after texturizing the ceiling, this is a sneak preview within the Game engine (called OGRE).

Elevator with our Customer Service Manager

Going up... ?

Where Dreams are born

Where Dreams are born

James Matthew Barrie, the son of a weaver, was born near Dundee (in Kirriemuir), Scotland, in 1860. He is considered one of 20 Great Scots.


For the first six years of his life, he lived in the shadow of his elder brother David. Just before his fourteenth birthday, David was killed in a skating accident. Barrie soon realised that, by dying so young, David would remain a boy forever in the minds of all those who had known him.

Following images are taken from the Peter Pan film fan site Butterflies.

Peter Pan (JEREMY SUMPTER) & Film Director P.J. Hogan

One of his visits was to a four-year-old girl called Margaret who called Barrie "my friendy". Because she couldn't pronounce her r's, the word "friendy" often sounded like "fwendy" or "wendy". She died when she was six but Barrie immortalised her in Peter Pan by calling his heroine Wendy, a name that he created.

(Left to right) The Darling children: John (HARRY NEWELL), Michael (FREDDIE POPPLEWELL), and Wendy (RACHEL HURD-WOOD) in their London home.

J.M. Barrie

He was a journalist and novelist and began writing for the stage in 1892. "Peter Pan," first produced in London on December 27, 1904, was an immediate success.

So come with me, where dreams are born, 
and time is never planned.

"Just think of happy things,
and your heart will fly on wings, forever,
in Never Never Land!"
- Peter Pan

The story of Peter Pan first appeared in book form (titled Peter and Wendy, and later Peter Pan and Wendy) in 1911. Barrie died in 1937, bequeathing the copyright of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, a hospital for children.

"All children, except one, grow up."

And so begins the story of one of the most beloved characters in children's literature, Peter Pan. J. M. Barrie's classic tale, completely unabridged, features a boy who refuses to grow up, Tinker Bell the fairy, and the Darling children — Wendy, John, and Michael.


Their great adventure begins on the night that Peter flies into the Darling home looking for his shadow and teaches Wendy, John, and Michael how to fly with him back to the Neverland, where adventures happen every day.

Caldecott winner Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations are as mischievous, ethereal, and playful as Peter Pan himself.

“. . . for me it has always been easier to draw a picture of what I’ve seen rather than to try to explain it with words. I drew a lot—I think I was born drawing. I drew because I needed to as well as for the sheer joy of it.”
- Trina Schart Hyman

Self-Portrait: Trina Schart Hyman, Addison Wesley, 1981.

Barrie, J. M., Peter Pan, New York, Charles Scribner, 1980.

“I feel like an actor preparing for a role when I’m working on a book. I need to get inside my characters and begin to think and feel their thoughts and feelings before I can succeed in my illustrations.

In order to do that, I have to become them. I often get up from my drawing board and act out scenes. . . . Illustration is theatre. You have to pick a setting, create characters, costumes, lighting. You even have to think about weather and how the weather creates mood.

I often think I should have been a film director, because I see the imagery of a story in my mind as a film first, from which I pick out particular frames that I want to illustrate.”
- Trina Schart Hyman


I plan to visit James Barrie's home in Kirriemuir over the weekend now that I am so closeby in Dundee.

Thursday, July 13, 2006



Quote of today:

"If TODAY is all we see,
then TOMORROW seems to me
is just an ILLUSION we believe."
- Zero 7

A delight to be listening to this English pop band (see for their album 'The Garden'.

Speaking of gardens, today I have been designing the SPARES ROOM of our Space station. Below you see a quick sketch of what it will look like in the game.

Click to enlarge: Spares Room - sketch

And to model it in our 3D environment I created a 'pattern' much like chicken wire... the ones you find in your garden ;o)

Chicken wire pattern

For instructions on how to do this, see this tutorial.

Which I then gave a little edge by adding shadows on it (hardly noticable, I know).

Chicken wire 3D

Next is for me to model this room in our Space station SPACEPORT, where it is used to store spare parts... and food, hopefully.

Because I have become very hungry after yet another long day in our Game room.


... returned!

Here you will see the Spares Room I modelled in our 3D program (called Maya):

Click to enlarge: Spares Room in 3D modelling program

And after import into our Game engine (called Ogre), this is the result:

Click to enlarge: Backend view of Spares room in the Game

Click to enlarge: Frontend view of the Spares room in the Game.


No worries, this is going to look much nicer still when we have painted the interior ;o)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Image, image ... on the Wall

Image, image ... on the Wall

This day the Space station of our Game SPACEPORT is about to be dressed up.

First let me explain how the station is compiled to host people and goods living in space (in ca. 2094).

This is an external picture of the model which we built using 3D software (called Maya).

Space station - exterior

Space station - exterior (x-rayed)

The entrance to new members is from the docking corridor, the funny looking tube on the side of the upper deck.

Inside the upper deck is the so-called lounge area

Docking corridor and lounge area on the space deck

The lift shaft in the center of the lounge area will bring you down to the engineering area.

Engineering area

I have been working on the interior design of one of the rooms in this area; the power supply room, indicated with the yellow battery.

After a windy brainstorm session, I opted for a lemon being the main source of (power) supply.

This is based in the fact that lemons actually do give energy, should you so want them to. (For an experiment look at Lemon Power).

Lemon Power

Proof of the lemon being the fruit with the highest voltage can be found here.

Click to enlarge: Fruit voltages taken from the science paper "The Electric Fruits" by Erica Lindstrom

Also included are energy indicators (a big dial with a Sphinx like appearance and an

ET-phone-home like pointing finger), old (maya-carvings) & new technology circuitry on the central wall, and battery chargers.

So, after the drawing of this area...

Concept drawing for Power Supply room

The adjecent Power Battery Chargers

..inspired by Maya-like cave carvings

Maya-indian cave carvings

... I continued with texturizing the central circuitry wall.

Central circuitry wall (left half is powered-ON, right half is powered-DOWN)

And after placement in the Space station, the following image showcases your first impression of the power room.

Welcome aboard!