July 20, 2007

A Sustainable Business – Green Apple Books

I find myself buying more and more products online these days, and it’s not just because I spend the majority of my day in front of a computer. It really comes down to the better shopping experience I can have online. Web sites like Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, and others analyze my shopping habits, my likes and dislikes and then use that information to recommend products that I may have never found on my own. Smaller web sites like Threadless and product blogs (Product Dose & Apartment Therapy) can lead me to unique small quantity goods that are not available in my local area. Every now and then however, I encounter a truly great local business that picks up where the online shopping experience falls short. Green Apple books store in San Francisco’s Richmond district is one of these exceptional brick and motor stores. Without fail every time I’m in their store I overhear, the familiar sentiment, “I could spend all day in here”.

July 9, 2007

Design: An Iterative Process

I recently started reading Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge, one of the founders of the influential product design firm IDEO. The book is a fascinating compilation of interviews and analysis of the best designed and most innovative digital products. It covers everything from the industrial design theories behind the original laptop to the interface design for Google’s search page and all in between.

In particular, I was struck by Monggridge’s definition of essential design skills that he stated early on it the book:

The core skills of design are synthesis, understanding people, and iterative prototyping.
Bill Moggridge

July 6, 2007

sOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE (May & June 2007)

The latest edition of the soundtrack to my life has arrived. This edition spans two months and is headlined by the Ontario, Canada based band Bedouin Soundclash. I first heard their recent single “12:59 Lullaby ” while listening to one of my favorite podcasts produced by CBC3. Bedouin Soundclash is a mix of dub & roots reggae infused rocks sounds similar to the Clash. In less than a months time the three song EP I purchased has chalked up a double digit play count within my iTunes. A bit of a side tangent…I’m a huge fan of the “play count” stat within iTunes, I love to sort my music library by play count.

April 23, 2007

sOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE (March 2007)

Every month I put together a mix cd consisting of the music I had been listening to over the previous 30 days. As the years and months have gone by I’ve really enjoyed looking back at bands and the songs I was listening to.

Over the month of March 2007 I really enjoyed listening to Brett Dennen. A very chill singer/songwritter from California’s Central Valley. I loved almost every song on his 2006 release So Much More. The other band that really stuck in my head this month was Beirut. Back in December I had included a couple of songs in my cd mix which got substantial play counts on my iTunes. For this month I started listening to their new EP Lon Gisland which contains the amazing song Elephant Gun.

If you’re a good friend or just ask repeatedly you’ll get a copy of this month’s sOUNTRACK tO mY lIFE. For those of you who don’t get your hands on one of my homemade copies below is the track list so you can go out and buy each song yourself.

April 3, 2007

UI Design for The Godfather

When I was a teenager I had a beautiful Italian language movie poster of The Godfather in my room. It was jet black with a red silhouette of Marlin Brando and text that read “Il Padrino”. Little did I know that years later I would have the opportunity to design and develop for The Godfather the video game.

As The Godfather was brought to the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii we added a handful of new UI screens primarily to compliment new game play features. It was very exciting to work on one of the first open world video games to implement controller based mechanics to initiate action within the game world. Our user interface faced a whole new challenge as we attempted to design intuitive controller tutorials and other UI tips to help teach a player how to effectively fight by gesturing with the controller being held in his/her hand.

If you like adventure/open world Grand Theft Auto style games you’ll have fun with this game. Give it a try, if nothing else you can watch my name go buy in the credits.

February 27, 2007

Querque of the Alber

I spent a recent weekend in Albuquerque visiting my Mom. The weekend was spent visiting with the animals on the farm, going on short walks in the high desert and even getting up over 10,000 feet on the worlds longest aerial tramway. Check out the photos I took with my new lens.

February 18, 2007

Noticing the small things at OB

Being injured is a difficult thing, especially when your sport is nature dependent like surfing. Last weekend things warmed up in San Francisco and the surf look pretty good. Unfortunately, I’ve been nursing a bad back so I was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch. Luckily for me my highly anticipated new camera lens (Nikon 18-200VR) had arrived last week. This gave me a change to enjoy the beach and take some time to play with my new lens. I’m so used to rushing into the water, scrambling into my wetsuit and spiriting across the sand that it was nice to slow down and take in the nuances of the beach. I shot weird rips in the water, the texture on the sand, and of course perfect waves that I mind surfed as I snapped the shutter. Enjoy!

October 10, 2006

UI Design Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’07

For years Tiger Woods Golf has been the measuring stick to which all sports video games are compared. For 2007 we gave the user interface a new look and feel and enhanced a number of features. A highlight for me in working on Tiger Woods 2007 was the chance to design the gameface user interface which allows players to control facial and body features for their custom characters using the analog sticks on the game systems controllers. This enhancement adds a new level of efficiency within the user interface allowing players to quickly adjust the look of their player.

December 1, 2005

UI Design for 007: From Russia with Love

There are very few projects with the history and pedigree of James Bond – and this was Sean Connery’s James Bond. Artistically the User Interface From Russia with Love had to look like it was from the early 60’s but still have the high production values and modern look of a twenty first century video game. This hybrid look was achieved by integrating classic footage from the original movie along with a retro graphic design for the user interface. In a very short timeframe (11 months) Sean Connery was successfully brought to life in a modern video game.