Technology

Tuesday, 06. 28. 2011

This blog is essentially about my interest in technology, design and the processes and systems that bind them together… with a bit of guitar thrown in for good measure. It’s my intention as I write this to add pages which relate, in this section at least, to the rapidly evolving technological landscape both in terms of hardware, software and associated output. The three elements are obviously linked, and I remember being amazed while working at Virtuality in 1996 by hardware which could process 30,000 flat shaded polygons per second at 20 frames per second. The XBOX360 processes 500,000,000. My phone isn’t far behind. Good grief, I think I still wear some football strips I had in 1996.. maybe a bit tight now.

Equally, the processes applied to digital development have matured beyond recognition. In the early days of the games industry, planning was practically non existent. There was a deadline, a graphics guy and a development guy. That was it. Meetings generally followed the ‘how are we gonnae dae this?’ debate, with the answer being; ‘by working till 10pm the entire year and developing a lifelong caffeine habit’. The upside was the creative control held by these small teams who often had to be inventive in order to squeeze results out of the little memory available.

At part of an MSc in Computer Aided at Strathclyde University I wrote a thesis on how computers, and specifically neural networks, could be used for aesthetic recognition. I built a program in a language called POP2, developed by Edinburgh University, which could discern between the visual appeal of car wheels using a data set made of opinions provided by random people. On the whole it worked, and the system was able to associate a ‘visual appeal score’ to original ‘wheels’ presented to the system. Potentially very groovy stuff, suggesting that technology could in some way support, enhance or even inform creative development. Long may the adventure continue.

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