It's been too long...

...since my last blog entry. 2 months! What have I been doing? Well... Mostly not stuff that's really blogable. I took a long vacation because my wife started a new job, and she wanted to go have some fun before starting. At work, life has been a good form of madness: working on the JavaFX plan, helping to make sure that all the pieces fit together and that everyone is building the right thing. The tragedy of my life these days is that it doesn't really work for me to do any coding for a real piece of the system: I'm always getting dragged into some diversion or other, which messes up my ability to deliver code. So I write irrelevant stuff on the side, mostly doing little coding experiments.

This week is fun. I'm at Siggraph. It's the one conference I year that I go to to listen and learn (I've been attending pretty regularly for about 25 years - what a horrible thought!). I don't know what it is, but this is turning out to be one of the best Siggraph's in years. Glenn Entis, the CTO of Electronic Arts, did the keynote. My favorite line from it was roughly "The Tool is the Game": lots of games these days (like The Sims) have two major modes: gameplay and a senario/space/prop/avatar/... design tool. They've been finding that folks spend very large amounts of time in the tool - outside of the game. Players get a huge amount of pleasure out of building the world. Gameplay is sometimes almost at afterthought. Creativity is fun!

One of my favorite parts of Siggraph is the Emerging Technologies area. It's filled with stuff that is usually research prototypes. Some of them are pretty far along. One kind of technology that has shown up over and over again through the years is electronic paper. It's generally "cool idea, lots of work to do". But this year, the folks from showed the most advanced stuff I've ever seen. They're getting really close. The screens are becoming gorgeous. Beautifully readable text in bright sunlight.

As for papers, my favorite yesterday was the whole session on non-photorealistic rendering. Every paper was interesting. Geeks and artists in the same room. Wonderful!

August 7, 2007