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Friday, July 30, 2004
Angie McKaig offers assorted sweets and musings on digital culture. This link, Designing Games for the Wage Slave, reveals the gaming industry's big paradox; huge complexity is possible, but the time available to actually play games is decreasing. The trade-off is that complexity and realism equate to a more immersive experience: more detail makes for better games.

But just how complicated do you want your games to be? (special offer: we'll send a free set of discs for Republic: The Revolution to the next things pre-order received - that game looked so complex that I didn't even bother to install it...). The next in the series of Grand Theft Auto games, San Andreas, will apparently add virtual fast food to the gaming world. Your character (does anyone still say avatar?) will get gradually weaker unless you pay heed to a hunger meter. Conversely, eat too much, and you'll sweat and stumble around the landscape. For now, this feature is being treated as marketing spin, rather than a significant advance in the immersive qualities of the gaming world.

With the developer currently under fire for the alleged links between their game Manhunt (which to be honest, looks horrid), it's time to re-visit that old chestnut - can video games influence social behaviour? The emphasis on violence is a distraction, as, thankfully, it seems that only a minority are predicated towards violent acts in the first place. Perhaps when more mundane - yet quantifiable - behaviour is simulated, such as eating lots of burgers, clear links will emerge between real and virtual worlds. For example, will there be an 'epidemic of obesity' in the world of GTA?

Back to real world concerns. The European Assistant for Energy Efficient Architecture - lots of examples under 'buildings' / a different type of green architecture: Kudzu-covered houses / the Recent Past Preservation Network. Their 'Windshield Survey' is a snapshot of architectural optimism. More at modern Phoenix / Battle of the Bugs, a 1987 Newsweek story from the peak of the Cold War about information theft.

Electricity Pylons Around the World (via Coudal) / feeling inadequate? fearful of surgery? you need The Bulge, apparently / not related. pop-up and movable books, via iconomy's metafilter post / linked just about everywhere in the last few days, but Transportation Futuristics ('Visionary Designs in Transportation Engineering') is a fine little site - exactly what you'd want from this kind of exhibition. (found via gizmodo, K-ho and more) / great mash-ups: Yoshimi Battles the Hip Hop Robots at Klepshimi.