Oh yes!!!!

Found out today that I passed and am now an MSc. So to celebrate a quick trip to Mr Bun was called for.

Buns and coffee

Video Game as a Production Tool

I’ve been a bit lapse in updating my blog but here’s my thoughts and research.

I had originally been interested in exploring games as a metaphor for software development considering my love of football but the more I read, the more I became interested in video games being used as development software. I was already aware of machinima following on from my attempts at it last year but I was quite keen to explore other avenues. Something that started to appeal was a practice called sonichima; producing generative audio from playing a video game. Not being much of a gamer, I thought it would be fun to make a piece of ‘music’ now and then practice so that I became more adept at the game and then make another piece, almost like turning the game into a musical instrument. However what I discovered was that it didn’t really have much of an impact on the improvement of the sound generated.

Following on from this, I did more research and was particularly interested in Alison Mealy’s project Unreal Art and Julian Oliver and Steven Pickles’ project q3apd. They used different games but each had a common technique; that of making maps so that they had more control over the outcome. Therefore I decided that I would try the same using the level editor of Unreal Tournament. Effectively working backwards in my opinion, I worked out the locations where my bot needed to be so that the x and y coordinates logged into the system file would generate the required note in my Processing script – or at least as close as possible to be fairly recognizable. To hear the results and to loadup your own UT system log and make music, follow the link below.

Unreal Soundz

Video Games as a Production Tool readme

Cory Arcangel

Just got back from visiting an exhibition of Cory Arcangel’s work at Spacex. I really liked I Shot Andy Warhol which he made by modding Hogan’s Alley on a Nintendo cartridge. In the game, the player has to shoot Andy Warhol and avoid hitting the Pope, Flavor Flav and Colonel Sanders. Other pieces on show were:

Colors where he plays the film Colors one line of pixels at a time

a couple thousand short films about Glenn Gould which uses YouTube clips of amateur musicians to recreate Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Sans Simon which is a video where he edited out Paul Simon by covering up the singer with his hand

Two Keystone Projectors which is 2 projectors who have had their displays distorted by altering their keystoning and displaying the blue screen normally seen when a VCR is empty

The Bruce Springsteen Glockenspiel Addendum which is a remix of Springsteen’s Born to Run album with added glockenspiel. The whole remix was given away free at the exhibition.


For my project, I have decided to revisit something that I had initially looked at some time ago. Still keeping with the theme of gaming, I’ve decided to drop the idea of using a real-world game or a sport to generate the digital in favour of using a computer game as an instrument or even an orchestra to generate sound. I have always liked the work of Alison Mealey who uses Unreal Tournament to generate art. Some of her work can be seen in this interview with artificial.dk – http://www.artificial.dk/articles/alison.htm. She uses the positions of the bots within the game to draw coloured circles and every time there is a death in the game she uses it to draw a black circle. I have also liked and have been inspired by the work of Friedrich Kirschner and his person2184 series of films which, as with Alison, he made using Unreal Tournament. Unlike her though, he uses the inbuilt editor to construct the set and then plays and records the film within the game. With both of them, I like how they use the game as the tool for their work which is something I want to explore.

I want to extract the data from a live game and feed it into PD or Max/MSP to generate sound. I’m also keen to explore the idea of “learning” the game as you would an instrument. I’m not a particularly strong gamer and so it could be interesting to hear the sounds made at the start of project before I learn to play and compare them to the sounds made once I’ve mastered it.

Some more thoughts

Ok, still thinking about a game but this time I’m considering using a chess match. I think the strategies that are used in chess could be quite interesing when applied to software development. I’ve recently read about a chess game Duchamp played with John Cage at a concert called Reunion where the music was produced by a series of photoelectric cells underneath each square of the chessboard which were sporadically triggered during normal game play. I had originally considered just mapping the moves but maybe I could hack one of those chess computers and connect it up to a “normal” computer to register the moves and generate the code dynamically.

Some ideas

Been thinking about my project and I’m really getting into the idea of using a game to generate code. I’m considering using a sport as I like the idea of the analog creating the digital. Maybe use the plays that take place during a football match can dictate what happens to some data. How or what the data will be I’ve yet to decide upon.

Quick update

I’ve had a couple of meetings with Geoff so far. We’ve discussed my “interest” in football and have expanded it to gaming in general in particular historical gaming theory. I’m gonna have a look at Von Neumann as he seems to be the ‘father’ of gaming theory. Geoff also told me that Duchamp was a very accomplished chess player so that could be a good area to research. Alex Galloway of the Radical Software Group has created an online version of the Game of War which I also intend to have a look at.

So I’m gonna try and see if I can make football or gaming as a metaphor for software development or maybe even software development as a metaphor for football/gaming.


Histories & Futures explores contemporary forms of cultural and technological production – using ‘software art’ as a case study.

This evokes a previous discussion around the impact of new technology on the conventions of art:
‘Earlier much futile thought had been devoted to the question of whether photography is an art. The primary question – whether the very invention of photography had not transformed the nature of art – was not raised. Soon the film theoreticians asked the same ill-considered question with regard to film’ (Benjamin 1999: 220).

The module focuses on ‘software art’ as an emergent practice that appears to exemplify both a technical and cultural processes. It emphasises that software is not merely functional but can have poetic qualities, and political significance. Whether software art is art or not is simply the wrong question to ask (as Benjamin suggests in the above quote).

This recent attention to software art is partly due to a range of cultural events that grant critical attention to the materiality of code, and drawing attention to the structures of programming that lie behind the work. This is part of a historical lacunae that has tended to overlook the material and aesthetic aspects of software, and recognise that programming code is inevitably a significant part of all art that is digitally produced.