DIVA 300 – Final Report

December 8, 2009

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Here are the details on the two internships this semester for my DIVA 300 class – the first being the Motion Capture Studio at Emily Carr University and the second being CODElab, a look into surveillance during the Olympics taking place here in Vancouver in 2010. Click final_report_john_deveaux for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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Did you have a transformative experience over the internship? How you may have changed since starting the internship?
MoCap – “John has grasped the principles of motion capture quite well. He has already exhibited thoughts of how to use the technology in areas outside the norm.” The paradigm shift for me in working with Rick in the school’s motion capture lab was seeing the ways in which the technology can be applied to multiple products, company and individual requirements. From biofeedback, to ergonomics, the applications for MoCap are endless.
CODElab – I and the CODELab artists mutually admitting errors were made and working to rebuild our collective relationship together.

How you may use the skills that you’ve learned in the future?
MoCap – I am presently building my own company to provide ongoing project management consultation with some key friends of mine; Paul Cordick who was a Producer/Project Manager at both Mainframe Entertainment and Electronic Arts along with Kirk Hutton, who just completed his MBA. Both of them will be assisting me in developing our business plan, scope/vision of the company and identify key clients and competition – having my own company will allow me the freedom to create and develop the projects that I truly want to work on.
CODElab – Learning how to setup and edit a Wiki page will greatly help me in the near future as one of my company’s first clients requires a wiki page to be setup and content input and maintained.

Do you have goals for continuing with the internship? Was there an on-going relationship that was developed or a network of contacts that will benefit your practice?
MoCap – Not directly with Rick in the MoCap lab, but he asked that I keep him in the loop as to the progress that the company makes moving forward.
CODElab – I will be doing some additional research for the CODELab artists later on this week for the project Wiki page and will be meeting with Simon later on in order to finalize what he needs me to look up. On a long term basis, I am not sure if I will be working with them down the road, but if our paths cross in the future, I would be open to talking with them to see if there are areas in which we can join forces.

Comment on the working relationship with the organization, working in a collaborative environment, the organization’s flexibility and communication about the projects.
MoCap – Not really applicable here as Rick and I were 1 on 1 all of the time and did not have a major project that needed to be worked on or completed by the end of the internship. That being said, I had a very good working relationship with him and would definitely work with him again in the future.
CODElab – There were a few bumps along the road in my internship with CODELab but at the end of the day, we were able to move forward based on mutual respect for one another and a common interest in putting forward a kick-ass art piece.

How your expectations of the internship changed over time? (what you ended up actually doing vs. what was initially proposed.)
MoCap – The complexities of the software itself are so immense that constant trouble shooting and tech support was required. In those instances where Rick was madly working away to try and solve the problem, rather than pester him with questions, in some instances it was better to just stand back, shut up and let him work the problem.
CODElab – Do to some miscommunications, the only concrete item that I have produced so far for CODELab was the Wiki page that I briefly showed during the mid-term assessment: http://codelab.blprnt.com/wiki/index.php/Information_on_the_Olympic_Games

Mention the tasks and accomplishments that occurred after the midterm presentation
MoCap – Working with Rick this week to ascertain whether data could be captured without the black rubber mats being laid out in the studio. By moving the mats off of the floor and dialing up the threshold of the cameras, we were able to prove that while possible, the square footage of area that is seen by the cameras is greatly diminished which would result in limiting the movement of the actors within the space.
Since the infrared cameras are very light sensitive, a potential project coming down the pipeline was looking to see if they could do mocap without the mats, as they are cumbersome to move and stack and also emit a fairly potent smell each time they are moved. The studio needs to be aired out as a result which means more time is lost
CODElab – still to be determined…


DIVA 300 – Critical Review

November 25, 2009

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Here are the details from one of the performances that I saw over this past weekend’s Interactive Futures conference here at Emily Carr. Click critical_review_john_deveaux for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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t2:Echo – by Henry Daniel

Due to the fact that my schedule was quite full this past weekend along with the fact that I get quite severe motion sickness from watching 3D movies, ride films and IMAX movies, I was not able to see most of the presentations that were shown at this year’s Interactive Futures conference at Emily Carr. That being said, the one performance that I was able to see in at least some form was t2:Echo by Henry Daniel.

While I was not able to see the entire performance, due to the fact that the concourse gallery walls that were blocking my seeing most of the actual dancers’ performances. On top of this, I was also helping direct the audience members to their respective locations, facilitating their viewpoints and actively going to get benches for more vertically challenged people to stand on.

By positioning the dancers in two separate yet interlinked locations, the director was able to create a bridge between the performances. This was further articulated by the video coding and processing for telepresence technology that was used to create the concurrent ghosting effect that was seen on the wall of the ECUAD concourse gallery and the main display screen in the IDS Motion Capture studio.

The ghosting effect that was projected onto the concourse gallery wall showed the dual performances and interlaid them onto one another and provided a somewhat random video playback quality as each dancer took centre stage in front of the crowd. They also entered the stage from multiple entry points and once their rotation in each location was complete, they then ran either to or from the concourse gallery and IDS MoCap studio in order to continue their respective performances there.

I have never seen a live dance performance like this before and it was quite the sight to see, as the dancers themselves were able to glide through the space with the greatest of ease and truly encompass it. From what I could see, it was a beautiful and creative bridging of technology and human performance into a multi-faceted co-locative art piece and would enjoy seeing more performances by Henry Daniel and his accompanying dance troupe.


Internship Mid-Term Report

October 28, 2009

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Here are the details on the two internships that I am working on this semester for my DIVA 300 class – the first being the Motion Capture Studio at Emily Carr University and the second being CODElab, a look into surveillance during the Olympics taking place here in Vancouver in 2010. Click mid_term_report_john_deveaux for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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IDS Motion Capture Studio Internship
http://crossfitmocap.wordpress.com/
– blog setup to provide project info to participants and show progress
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=177700972600&ref=mf
– Facebook user group setup as well with video links on group wall

LEARNING OUTCOMES
– Rick’s philosophy on learning is to be fluid and allow for creative freedom
– he did not want me helping with mundane tasks such as answering email
– seeing as how he has no set schedule, he wanted to have as much fun in the process
– on his own, he would calibrate the cameras by running back and forth = boring
– having me working with him, gives him a greater chance to explore new outcomes
– “If I have to do one more damn US Marine with a machine gun walk cycle again…”
– CrossFit coaches and athletes were brought together with artists for group meeting
– much easier to learn by bringing in and suiting up actors to have them perform
– ability to work with the performers and fine tune walk cycles or isolated movements
– unfortunately, we had a major software glitch which nixed our live MoCap filming

– Rick pulled up some pre-recorded footage to show multiple data captures instead
CFmeeting2a
CFmeeting3a
CFmeeting4a
CFmeeting5a
CFmeeting6a

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 1

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 2

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 3

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 4

CrossFit – Motion Capture – group meeting 5

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CODElab Internship
UPDATE
http://codelab.blprnt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
– Wiki page setup as a collective of project information and outcomes
http://codelab.blprnt.com/wiki/index.php/Information_on_the_Olympic_Games#Olympics:_
Secured_.E2.80.94_Past_and_Present

– researched previous and future Olympic cities’ security and surveillance activities
LEARNING OUTCOMES
– overall project is still open-ended as far as final outcomes
– I foresee my continued responsibilities as becomming a researcher
– our first task was to get a video camera and go around Granville Island and record
– criteria asked for unique and creative locations in order to record people and events
– possible location of setting up a “Ministry of Mis-Information” at Granville Island info board
surveillance1a
surveillance2a
surveillance3a


DIVA 300 – Internship Scope of Work Report

September 29, 2009

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Here are the details on the two internships that I will be working on this semester for my DIVA 300 class – the first being the Motion Capture Studio at Emily Carr University and the second being CODElab, a look into surveillance during the Olympics taking place here in Vancouver in 2010. Click John DeVeaux – Scope of Work Report for a PDF download.
– FlashAddict

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IDS Motion Capture Studio Internship

OVERVIEW
– Motion Capture Studio located here at the ECUAD Intersections Digital Studio
– Rick Overington is the studio tech who runs the operation
– major motion picture and local computer games companies use the studio space
– 20 Infared Passive Optical System to cover most of the floor space in the studio
– Motion Buider is the software application and is also good for pre-visualization
– full body suits which have 30-50 sensors sewn in are used to capture the data
– the system is unable to capture both bodies and facial features at the same time
– computers, cameras and the studio space need to be calibrated for each shot

– wand wave / L-Frame / Floor Calibration are the steps used to calibrate

Mocap

INTERNSHIP OUTCOMES
I want to incorporate CrossFit athletes and coaches into the Motion Capture Studio to serve both as a diagnostic tool to help provide real-time live data to athletes and coaches on their body dynamics as they do individual exercises, but to also merge this data into an artistic format as well.

I would like to work with some of the animation students at Emily Carr and create 3D character avatars which could then be animated with the motion capture data recorded from the original athletes to either match their actual likenesses or go really crazy and make the avatars look completely different (ie: men becoming women, humanoid looking animals, aliens…you name it).

I ran my idea by Rick on Monday and he said it would be great to work together on a collaborative project so that I could have an actual self-directed portfolio piece at the end of my internship, rather than just work on other peoples/companies’ projects. In addition, the owner and coaches at CrossFit are also very interested in what the Motion Capture Studio could provide to help enable their athletes propel themselves even further.

http://www.crossfit.ca
– CrossFit Vancouver homepage

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=crossfit+vancouver&search_type=&aq=f
– YouTube page listing of the CrossFit Vancouver workout videos

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CODElab Internship

OVERVIEW
CODElab will be a large-scale participatory new media artwork that will coincide with the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games from February 5th to 22nd, 2010 and be part of the larger CODELive event going on throughout the Vancouver area. Live capture nodes will be installed throughout Granville Island where visitors will be able to interact with artist and student facilitators via custom-designed balloon cams, umbrella cams, shoe cams and the like will record, transmit and present video with nontraditional perspectives and cutting-edge visuality.

CODElab

WHAT THIS ALL MEANS
– evolving process – the project guidelines will be set by the group
– roving, moving capture nodes for CODELab between the observer and the observed
– bodystorming vs. brainstorming – quickly create a conceptual idea and take it into the public sphere and test it out to see if it will actually work
– who will be our audience – project workers, ECUAD, Granville Island, Vancouver residents, 2010 Olympic visitors, the interwebz…
– orange and white colour scheme was decided upon for CODELab
– orange is significant of colour coded terrorist alert / being on alarm (CODE ORANGE)
– orange is the rabbit hole to engage the audience and bring them in further once they more and more CODELab orange coloured objects

PROJECT DELIVERABLES
http://delicious.com/search?p=codelab+ecu&chk=&context=main|&fr=del_icio_us&lc=
– setup a delicious site to bookmark important corresponding information
– a project Wiki site is being developed as a base for final outcomes and data captures

INTERNSHIP OUTCOMES
I had the opportunity to see the artists’ previous project, GLOCAL, at the Surrey Art Gallery last year and was absolutely blown away at what they had achieved. I hope to get hands-on experience and knowledge on building an immense data capture project and to further visualize it with Processing so that I can create and expand my own projects to their full potential.

http://www.glocal.ca/


John DeVeaux – Portfolio

May 17, 2009

To download a high-res PDF version of my portfolio, please click the link below (17 MB in size):

http://www.ecuad.ca/~jdeveaux/john_deveaux_portfolio.pdf

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John DeVeaux - Portfolio

About the Artist

John DeVeaux is a third year Film, Video and Integrated Media student at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Classifying himself as a Digital Artist with future aspirations to be an accomplished professional in either the film or video game industry, his work focuses on combining a wide range of media including crowd sourcing, data capture, film/video, installation, storytelling and internet blogging.

Artist Statement

clean   [kleen] -er, -est, adverb,  -er, -est, verb –adjective
1. characterized by a fresh, wholesome quality: the clean smell of pine.
2. free from all writing or marking: a clean sheet of paper.
3. complete; unqualified: a clean break with tradition.
+
sim·ple   [sim-puhl] -pler, -plest, noun –adjective
1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.: a simple matter; simple tools.
2. not elaborate or artificial: a simple style.
3. not ornate or luxurious: a simple gown.
+
ef·fec·tive   [i-fek-tiv] –adjective
1. producing the intended or expected result: effective steps toward peace.
2. creating a deep or vivid impression; striking: an effective photograph.
3. able to accomplish a purpose: an efficient secretary.
=
de·sign   [di-zahyn] –verb (used with object)
1. to plan the form and structure of: to design a new bridge.
2. the combination of details or features of a picture, building, etc.: the design on a bracelet.
3. to intend for a definite purpose: a scholarship designed for foreign students.

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World of Warcraft: The Burning Addiction
Research Project – ECUAD Creative Process 2007

World of Warcraft: The Burning Addiction

For this project, I wanted to focus on what extent people would spend time from their real lives on their virtual ones. I then went to the Alcoholics Anonymous website and took their manifesto of questions that they ask potential addicts (ie: Have you ever missed school or work due to alcohol?) and then remixed the questions to ask my fellow Warcraft players (ie: Have you ever missed school or work due to Warcraft?) and was amazed at how honest their responses were.

Click the link below to download the full project PDF and explore the addictive qualities of video games in greater detail (1 MB in size):

http://www.ecuad.ca/~jdeveaux/addiction/addiction_print.pdf

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World of Warcraft: Haikus
Video Editing and Production – ECUAD Video Art 2009

This Video Art project required us to use found footage and splice it together within the theme of a haiku and I chose to focus again on World of Warcraft. Several different scenes from official game play trailers were used along with my own poem sequences in order to create its own unique storyline set to a haunting yet beautiful soundtrack.

I also received some additional publicity from a major World of Warcraft fan blog and as a result, have now had over 6,000 views on YouTube:

http://www.wowinsider.com/2009/05/12/wow-moviewatch-world-of-warcraft-haikus/

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Medal of Honor: European Assault
Poster Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

Medal of Honor: European Assualt

With creative control to choose our own subject matter, I decided to create this poster for the soon to be released add-on of the popular Medal of Honor video game using World War II imagery and incorporating pertinent graphics and typeface layouts, with the centerpiece being this iconic image of the D-Day landing.

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Emily Carr Foundation Exhibition
Poster Design – ECUAD Digital Basics 2008

Emily Carr University Foundation Exhibition

In my Digital Basics course, our instructor challenged us to create our own poster design that would be submitted for that year’s Foundation Exhibition. The design that I chose focused on a clean and precise grid layout, with the typeface echoing this overall theme as well.

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Read Between the Lies
Poster Design – ECUAD Visual Communication 2008

Read Between the Lies

With an overall political theme required for this project for my Visual Communications course, I decided to focus on the ongoing tragedy occurring in Iraq. I wanted my critique to be bold and biting, yet symbolic at the same time by using George W. Bush’s own words being contradicted by documented facts on the ground within the layout of the American flag.

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The Starlight Express
Poster Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

The Starlight Express

One of the first poster design projects that I worked on in the Design Essentials program at ECUAD and BCIT, I wanted the overall theme to reflect a bygone age in which the Royal Hudson train serviced passengers from Vancouver to Squamish. This was all tied in with the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics along with using Futura as the typeface.

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International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Layout Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

International Campaign to Ban Landmines

This layout design was created to reflect on the tragedy that landmines cause in third world countries by mirroring two family units. Where the Nuclear Family is shown with the requisite two parents and two children, the Landmine Family is shown with obvious limbs missing and the daughter being replaced by a tombstone due to a landmine explosion.

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Tribeca Film Festival
Layout Design – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival

Utilizing still images from the films playing in that year’s festival, a double-sided handbook spread was made highlighting film screenings and appearances in a clean and elegant design.

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Phoenix Rising v1.0
3D Design – ECUAD Design One 2007

Phoenix Rising v1.0

These sculptures were created for my Design One class as the project called for us to construct new and unique 3D sculptures by combining a singular object in a repetitive fashion so that the original object would get lost in the sum of the whole of the new piece. Version 1.0 is a freestanding structure and able to balance on the tips of plastic spoons.

Phoenix Rising v2.0
3D Design – ECUAD Design One 2007

Phoenix Rising v2.0

Version 2.0 was created as an alternative and two interpretations that I have with this sculpture are that of a Phoenix Rising out of flames (hence the title of the pieces) or of a frame-by-frame rotation of a high board diver tucking in as he falls to the water below.

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OBSCENE
Flipbook – ECUAD Digital and Interactive Arts 2008

OBSCENE

Wanting to play on my audience’s moral standards, this flipbook showcased a woman performing an otherwise overtly sexualized activity, yet because I enlarged and hyper pixilated the original video footage, the viewer is not able to immediately ascertain what they are viewing. On initial viewing, they may in fact realize what they are seeing, but due to their personal embarrassment, may not give in to such puerile thoughts.

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HDR Porteau Cove
HDR Photography – ECUAD Digital and Interactive Arts 2009

HDR Porteau Cove

On a very windy and cold January afternoon, my girlfriend and I drove up to Whistler from Vancouver and stopped briefly at the Provincial Park in Porteau Cove where I wanted to capture the incredible whitecap waves and this beautiful island in the distance. I took my original shot into Photoshop and digitally manipulated it in order to create this much richer and vibrant image.

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Oppositions
Design Exploration – ECUAD Design One 2007

Oppositions

Playing around in Illustrator for one of my Design One projects in 2007, I became transfixed in creating artificial 3D perspective illustrations on a digital 2D plane that draws the viewer in to mesmerize and make them dizzy.

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Compression
Typography Exploration – ECUAD Visual Communication 2008

Compression

For this typography exploration, I decided on taking words at their literal meaning and creating abstract illustrations out of the words themselves. Compression being a thematically delicious word to utilize in such a fashion, the word is repeated and imploded without end into itself.

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Poster Girl
Illustrator Project – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

Poster Girl

One of my first major digital illustrations, this image has always been a favorite of mine and its title harkens back to the process of origination by using the Posterize tool in Photoshop to create the initial blueprint and then cleaning it all up within Illustrator.

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ROLEX Submariner
Illustrator Project – ECUAD Design Essentials 2005

ROLEX Submariner

Another of my digital illustrations, I spent over 20 hours on this perfecting every detail in order to match the precision of the original watch itself. Created entirely in Illustrator, this illustration could substitute for the original any day.

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Idris Salih Photography
Website Design, Identity, Logo 2005

IDRIS SALIH Photography

IDRIS SALIH Photography

One of my freelance web design clients back in 2005, I was originally hired to just design and produce his portfolio site, but after seeing the logo and identity that he had been using, I challenged myself to provide him with a new one which would reflect the high contrast and starkness that is representational of his b/w portraiture photography and he loved it.

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John Fortunato Photography
Website Design 2005

John Fortunato Photography

Another of my freelance web design clients from a few years back, his work reflected a lot of what my design philosophy entails as well: clean + simple + elegant = design. With that in mind, I decided to use a clean palette with a lot of white space and simple, yet intuitive navigation, in order to allow the photographs to stand out and have greater impact on the viewer.

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World of Warcraft – Haikus

May 12, 2009

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I made this video for my Video Art class at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, BC, Canada this spring and it is based on the online video game, World of Warcraft.

The project required us to use found footage and splice it together within the theme of a haiku and I chose to focus on Warcraft, using several different scenes from official gameplay trailers along with my own haiku sequences in order to create its own unique storyline.

Enjoy!
– FlashAddict

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http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=110645

http://www.wowinsider.com/2009/05/12/wow-moviewatch-world-of-warcraft-haikus/


Dying Briton ‘wrote killer’s name in blood’

May 5, 2009

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Pretty messed up story I came across today…
– FlashAddict

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LONDON (AFP) – A British student desperately tried to scrawl the name of his German love rival in his own blood as he was being stabbed to death, a court heard on Tuesday.

Matthew Pyke was knifed more than 80 times by German office worker David Heiss, who had become obsessed with his girlfriend after getting to know the couple through a computer games website, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Jurors were shown a photograph of Pyke’s computer with the first three letters of Heiss’s first name scrawled in blood on the side in what the prosecution says was an apparent attempt to alert police.

The object of Heiss’s affection was Joanna Witton, 21, who lived with Pyke.

Heiss, also 21, from Limburg near Frankfurt, denies murder. He claimed he stabbed 20-year-old Pyke in self-defence at Pyke’s flat in Nottingham on September 19 last year.

The German said he was fighting Pyke for his knife in the moments before he allegedly murdered him.

“He charged at me. I was trying to push his arms away so they wouldn’t make contact with me. I stumbled back and fell on the table,” Heiss said.

“He lost the knife when it fell to the floor near the table. He tried to crawl towards it but I tried to prevent it by sitting on him. After a few seconds I got hold of it.

“He started kicking me in the back and he was looking at me angrily. I was lucky that I was still alive. I was almost sure that if I had lost the knife it would have been my end.

“I don’t know if it was adrenalin but I managed to get my arm away and then I stabbed him.”

Heiss, who lived with his grandmother, used to spend up to eight hours a day on his computer, the court heard.

He met Pyke and his girlfriend through the warscentral.com website and managed to obtain their address. He visited them several times in England but the couple grew increasingly annoyed by his attentions.

The prosecution says that Heiss eventually flew to Britain and lay in wait outside Pyke’s home, pouncing on him after seeing his girlfriend leave for work, before changing his clothes and fleeing back to Germany.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/090505/world/britain_germany_trial


World of Warcraft – Secrets of Ulduar – Patch 3.1 Trailer

April 14, 2009

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Tis that time of year again, when the powers that be (aka Blizzard) releases the newest patch for WoW – Ulduar looks pretty sweet and I am looking forward to raiding this new instance after spending the past 5 months running Naxx every single week!
– FlashAddict

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Not just a video game: the obsessive world of gaming and its young stars

March 9, 2009
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Reading this article really hit home and reminded me of the project I did last year dealing with World of Warcraft and its addictive characteristics:


– FlashAddict

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Ontario boy’s death focused attention on industry

Last Updated: Friday, March 6, 2009 | 6:06 PM ET

As far as his parents were concerned, Brandon Crisp was just playing one of his video games, a time-consuming pastime for the 15-year-old.

Brandon Crisp ran away on Thanksgiving after an argument with his parents about his obsession with playing video games.
Brandon Crisp ran away on Thanksgiving after an argument with his parents about his obsession with playing video games.
(Canadian Press)

Little did they know the Barrie, Ont., teen was making his way to the top tier of the gaming world, where all that time in front of the gaming console might start to pay off with big wins and recognition in an alternate online gaming universe.

When Steve and Angelika Crisp confiscated his console on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 13, 2008, the teen threatened to run away from home — and did. His body was found three weeks later in a forest, with the cause of death determined to have been a blow to the chest likely caused by falling from a tree.

CBC-TV’s Fifth Estate took a closer look at the case in a documentary titled Top Gun which airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

Though Crisp’s disappearance began as a simple missing child case, it grew into something larger, prompting parents and officials to turn their eye on a world they barely knew — the quickly growing video gaming circuit — and its allure for young and impressionable teens.

The video gaming world, with graphics so sophisticated they make the settings seem real and lucrative prizes that rival some professional sports, is enticing to children, many of them younger than the ages recommended in game ratings.

The Crisps admit they had no idea how important video games had become to their son and said they would never have bought the console as a Christmas gift if they’d known where it might lead.

“He was the kind of kid that would want to be the best at everything or anything that he did,” said Steve Crisp.

Brandon had put that passion into hockey years earlier but stopped playing at 12, frustrated about getting benched because of his small size.

He found a new niche in the so-called first-person shooter genre of video games, in which the player experiences the game through the eyes of a fighter on a mission. Brandon became obsessed, playing the Xbox video game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on a television in his bedroom every chance he got.

“We’d wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and find him playing games at two or three in the morning,” said his father. “I would go into his room and literally rip the cords out of the wall sometimes just because he just wouldn’t listen. He wouldn’t get off.”

Reaching for the top

It was Nick, a friend Brandon met on a school bus in the first week of Grade 9 in 2007, who introduced the teen to playing Call of Duty online, opening up a whole new world.

The friends formed a team, or clan, on Gamebattles.com — one of the fastest-growing online gaming sites — that allowed them to go on video game missions together, work their way up player rankings and win prizes. Owned by Major League Gaming, the site boasts 2.5 million registered users.

Soon, the members of the group were battling insurgents together in a virtual landscape stretching from the Middle East to Russia.

“We all kind of got good,” said Nick, but it was Brandon who proved the natural leader.

As Brandon became more and more immersed in the world, his parents were trying to limit his playing time. They even tried to cancel his online gaming subscription, but Xbox refused because the account was prepaid.

Then, three days before Thanksgiving, his parents discovered Brandon had skipped school to play the game. The Crisps took the Xbox away and hid it in their bedroom.

But Brandon found it, plugged the console back in and started playing again.

“Son, this time, it’s just not coming back,” Steve recalls saying. Brandon reacted by threatening to run away from home.

The two called what they thought was a bluff.

“I said, ‘Brandon, you’re not going to leave over a game. That’s ridiculous’,” said Angelika. Then she advised him to take a warm coat if he was going to leave.

He sped off with his coat and a knapsack on a mountain bicycle he hadn’t ridden in three years. A week later, that bicycle was found abandoned in a ditch by the side of a road in Shanty Bay, a few kilometres from his home.

Hunters found Brandon’s body several weeks later on Nov. 5 in a farmer’s field in the area north of Barrie.

Parents feel like hostages: expert

Brandon Crisp's casket is carried out of St. Mary's Church in Barrie, Ont., on Nov. 14, 2008.
Brandon Crisp’s casket is carried out of St. Mary’s Church in Barrie, Ont., on Nov. 14, 2008.
(Steven D’Souza/CBC)

During the three-week-long search, many comments were made about the type of kid Brandon was, but his friend Nick says it could’ve happened to anyone.

“It wasn’t Brandon’s fault. There’s a lot of people that get sucked into that game,” said Nick. “I could have been in the same situation as Brandon or any of my friends could have.”

Gary Direnfeld, a social worker in Dundas, Ont., known for his advice on the lifestyle television show Newlywed, Nearly Dead?, said his practice has seen a rise in the number of parents seeking help for their children’s gaming addictions.

“The parents are at their wit’s end,” said Direnfeld. “They’re pulling out their hair. They don’t know what to do. They get held hostage by the backlash from their teenager when the teenager says, ‘You can’t do that to me.’ They’re scared.”

While video games aren’t the same as drugs, Direnfeld says they can produce a similar effect: a sense of euphoria and power plus an adrenaline rush that proves addictive.

Peer pressure prevents breaks

Daniel Folmer, 24, of Texas was eight years old when he started playing first-person shooter games and became addicted.

“I felt physically compelled to play,” he said. “And every time I couldn’t play, I was angry; I was upset.”

Folmer remembers how he felt chills each time the game loaded up and revelled in killing hundreds of virtual people with his sniper rifle. He later quit cold turkey and now gives lectures about helping people get over their gaming addictions.

Folmer said the problem with online gaming was not only the violence but the intensity and sense of responsibility players feel to the team members with whom they spend hours on the console.

“If I wasn’t playing enough, my team would get upset,” said Folmer. “Then I would say to my mom, ‘I have to play, I have to play’.”

Peer pressure is built into the games, said family therapist Gary Direnfeld, with friends relying on each other to advance up the rankings ladder.

“Forget getting killed. If I get called to dinner, if I want to go do my homework, I’m letting down my team,” said Direnfeld. “Somebody else may die. And if they die, they’re out of the game.”

Top of the gaming world

Six months before Brandon ran away, he and his friends had signed up the clan for the Gamebattles Call of Duty ladder and were quickly caught up in the competition. But they, too, experienced the frustration when some failed to pull their weight.

Several months later, Brandon split with his friends and began focusing more time on his game.

According to his friends, he had reached the highest level of the so-called prestige mode in Call of Duty.

“That takes a lot of skill and a lot of dedication and hard work,” Folmer said when told of Brandon’s achievement by the Fifth Estate. “And I mean, that’s like … he’s an all-star.”

The Crisps learned after Brandon’s death that the Thanksgiving weekend when he ran away was key to their son finally closing in on the top ranks of his Call of Duty competition ladder. He had skipped school for a match and had others scheduled. Then his parents took away the console, causing him to lose his hard-fought ranking in a hobby he hoped to turn into a profession.

In fact, video gaming, referred to by some as an e-sport, can translate into a profitable career. Major League Gaming, which owns Gamebattles.com, has turned what once was an inside pastime into a televised spectator sport, with tournaments featuring $100,000 prizes and professional teams with their own coaches and sponsors.

The four players with Canada’s top professional video gaming team, Amp Energy Pro Team, consider themselves athletes and are fully dedicated to the career. They won’t disclose their earnings, but some professionals in the field are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Only now do his parents fully comprehend what video games had come to mean to Brandon.

“It would be devastating for someone to be disconnected,” acknowledged his mother, Angelika.

“It’s cult-like, and you can understand why he’d run down for dinner, run back up to his room and get back on the game and play in the middle of the night and be so mad when I’d rip the thing out of the wall unexpectedly when he’s in the middle of a game or a tournament,” said Steve.

No more violent than cartoons: MLG

But Brandon’s father says the gaming industry needs to be subject to more stringent regulations and shouldn’t allow children to compete for money.

“It needs to be way more regulated than it is” said Crisp. “Kids are out there competing for money that are 13, 14, 10. It shouldn’t be allowed.”

Brandon’s game of choice, Call of Duty, is rated M for mature, meaning its suitable for ages 17 and older. In Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it’s illegal to sell M-rated games to those under 17. Saskatchewan and Alberta are in the process of introducing similar regulations.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board, a self-regulated body established by the industry, allots the ratings.

“When the industry itself says that kids under 17 shouldn’t be playing this game, then … a parent can be pretty sure that it’s not appropriate for a 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-year-old kid to be playing,” said David Walsh, a child psychologist who pushed for the ratings system.

Major League Gaming CEO Matthew Bromberg says the average age of Gamebattles players is 18, which means many are younger. “It’s no more violent than a cartoon on Saturday morning,” he says.

“We don’t manufacture the game. We’re not raising the kids. What we’re doing is creating the sport that millions of kids are really interested in.”

Walsh said the gaming industry has sent a “double message” to children by “encouraging young kids to get involved with games that aren’t rated for them.”

Danielle Labossiere-Parr, executive director of the industry group Entertainment Software Association of Canada, points out it is often parents purchasing the games for their children.

She said ratings are clearly stamped on the front of game packages and parents need to educate themselves on their purchases.

“The way that we are conveying the ratings information is effective,” said Labossiere-Parr. But ultimately, you know, we can’t control what goes into every home.”

As for the Crisps, who only now understand a world their son spent most of his time inhabiting, they wish they’d taken control a lot sooner.

“Like other parents, we’ve taken the easy way out too many times, and this is what it results in,” said Steve. “I’m not saying we’re bad parents. I think we do what a lot of other parents do.”

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/03/03/f-video-gaming.html


Mad World – which version do you like best?

March 2, 2009
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One of my all-time favorite sons, Mad World, originally by Tears for Fears has been redone countless times and in each new interpretation, artists have brought their own passion and truth to what is in my opinion a very haunting and provocative song. I was amazed to find that the song has been used to the extent that is has been – see below and enjoy!
– FlashAddict

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– fan made Machinima trailer that covers the entire song – was inspired after watching the original trailer above

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All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad World
Mad world
Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad World
Mad World
Enlarging your world
Mad World.
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Background

“Mad World” began life as the intended b-side for Tears for Fears’ second single “Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love)”. The band decided, however, that it may be something people would like to hear on the radio and held back its release, instead waiting to issue the song as a single in its own right after re-recording it with Chris Hughes.

That came when I lived above a pizza restaurant in Bath and I could look out onto the centre of the city. Not that Bath is very mad – I should have called it “Bourgeois World”!

Roland Orzabal

“Mad World” was the first single off the finished album. The intention was to gain attention from it and we’d hopefully build up a little following. We had no idea that it would become a hit. Nor did the record company.

Curt Smith

Meanings

Lyrically the song is pretty loose. It throws together a lot of different images to paint a picture without saying anything specific about the world.

Roland Orzabal

It’s very much a voyeur’s song. It’s looking out at a mad world from the eyes of a teenager.

Curt Smith

Mad World” is a song by the British band Tears for Fears. Written by Roland Orzabal and sung by bassist Curt Smith, it was the band’s third single release and first chart hit, reaching #3 on the UK Singles Chart in November 1982. Both “Mad World” and its b-side, “Ideas As Opiates”, would turn up on the band’s debut LP The Hurting the following year. The song would eventually become Tears for Fears’ first international success, reaching the Top 40 in several countries between 1982 and 1983.

Two decades later, the song made a popular resurgence when it was covered by composers Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the soundtrack to the movie Donnie Darko. This version reached no.1 in the UK in December 2003.

Michael Andrews and Gary Jules version


“Mad World” would achieve a second round of success beginning almost twenty years later, after it was covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the film Donnie Darko (2001). While the Tears for Fears version featured various synthesizers and percussion, the Andrews/Jules version was stripped down. Instead of a full musical backing, it used only a set of piano chords, a cello, and modest use of a vocoder on the chorus. Their version was originally released on CD in 2002 on the film’s soundtrack, but an increasing cult following spawned by the movie’s DVD release finally prompted Jules and Andrews to issue the song as a proper single. The release was a runaway success in late 2003, becoming the Number One single over the Christmas holiday in the UK, a feat Tears for Fears themselves never accomplished. The music video has been very popular on Youtube, garnerning over 11 million views as of 2009.

Popular culture

In late 2006, a condensed version of the Andrews/Jules cover of “Mad World” was featured in the award-winning commercial for the video game Gears of War. The advertisement has been credited with helping propel the song to #1 on the iTunes sales chart. In addition to its usage in numerous advertisements and fan-made YouTube videos, the Andrews/Jules cover has also become a popular choice for background music in television dramas, having appeared in the following series:

  • Cold Case
  • CSI
  • Emmerdale
  • ER
  • Jericho
  • Judging Amy
  • Las Vegas
  • Line of Fire
  • Medical Investigation
  • Nip/Tuck
  • Silent Witness
  • Smallville
  • Station X
  • Tatort
  • The Cleaner
  • The L Word
  • Third Watch
  • Without a Trace

In 2006, the song appeared on Broadway as the closing number in Butley starring Nathan Lane.

Other versions

In addition to the Andrews/Jules version, “Mad World” has been recorded over the years by the following artists:

  • French artist Nicola Sirkis, frontman of the new wave band Indochine, on his solo album Dans La Lune… (1992).
  • American industrial rock band Kill Switch…Klick, on the Cleopatra Records compilation New Wave Goes To Hell (1998).
  • American alternative rock band Finch, on their EP Rolling Stone Acoustic Session (2002).
  • British singer-songwriter Alex Parks, on her debut album, Introduction (2003).
  • American industrial act Brainclaw, downloadable on their website (2004).
  • American metalcore band Evergreen Terrace, on their album Writer’s Block (2004).
  • German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen, on their live DVD Rock am Ring 2004 (2004).
  • Australian art rock band The Red Paintings, on their EP Walls (2005). This cover features an acoustic cello and guitar arrangement. While they modified the lyrics from the original version, in live performances they are known to enunciate words in different fashion giving it an altogether unique sound.
  • German DJ Jan Wayne, on his single Mad World (2005).
  • American singer-songwriter Sara Hickman, on her double album Motherlode (2006).
  • Canadian rock bassist Ken Tizzard, on his album Quiet Storey House… An Introduction (2006).
  • German a cappella group Wise Guys, on their album Radio (2006).
  • American dark cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, on their live DVD Live at the Roundhouse (2007). The performance features Trash McSweeney of Australian art rock band The Red Paintings.
  • Canadian folk-singer Tara MacLean, on her EP Signs of Life (2007).
  • German vocal band Gregorian, on their album Masters of Chant Chapter VI (2007).
  • Vietnamese-Canadian singer Kristine Sa recorded a cover of the song.
  • Israeli actress and model Melanie Peres recorded a cover of the song, as the theme song of Reshef Levy‘s film, “Lost Islands“.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_world