Eno Making Procedural Music for Will Wright’s Spore

If you thought the hype and excitement over Will Wright’s Spore couldn’t get any greater… Rumors have been floating through The Tubes for a while now that Brian Eno is doing music, generative music, for the game. A piece on Eurogamer confirms this. The piece got its info from Regina’s (of We Make Money Not Art) wonderful notes of a lecture Eno recently gave called “Before and After Darwin.” Good stuff all around.

Thanks, Blake!

Attention Game-Geek Viewers

Eccentric gaming god Will Wright is going to be Stephen’s guest tonight on the Colbert Report (Comedy Central, 11:30PM Eastern). Should be fun. As Kotaku puts it:

That’s right, the industry’s recluse genius is going on the Colbert Report so Spore can be mocked for its ability to create creatures with three asses. Don’t miss it.

Thanks, Blake!


LEGO Flamethrower

I bet this was the farthest thing from the minds of the creators of LEGOs, even for the more tech-focused Technics and Mindstorms products. And while these guys’s parents are probably afraid that they’re in their room streaming porn and bittorrenting movies, they’re instead doing their level best to try and torch the house, in the name of science, of course.


High-Powered Rocketry in the New York Times

The New York Times had one of those obligatory “oh those loveable geeks and their really big rockets” stories that show up in each major daily every few years. The piece includes some of the usual suspects, including “Rocketman,” Ky Michaelson, the guy I profiled in MAKE Vol 5.

The article does talk about how, post-911, high-powered rocketry has run afoul of the Feds because the “ammonium perchlorate composite” (APC) used in rocket motors is considered an explosive now (even though it doesn’t actually explode, it “deflagrates.” Think: road flare). High-powered rocket enthusiasts are afraid that requiring low-explosives permits, which require background checks, will hamper the growth of the hobby. As Ken Good, president of the Tripoli Rocketry Association, puts it in the piece: “If I was an 18-year-old and told my mom I needed a low explosives permit and that an A.T.F. agent would come to my house, she’d say, Why don’t you just continue with your guitar lessons?”

You can view the ATF lawsuit documents on Tripoli’s site (Tripoli and the venerable NAR (National Association of Rocketry) have filed a Civil Action suit against the ATF).

Thanks, Kate!


Wondrous Steampunk Conceptual Art

Everybody’s favorite steampunk engineer I-Wei has posted a nifty piece on his Crabfu site called “How to Draw Steampunk Machines.” It contains both fantastic concept art as well as technical sketches for the actual steam-driven machines he’s built. This guy continues to amaze.

[Via MAKE]

Steampunk “Lobster Tank”

Steam-driven vehicle builder I-Wei Huang has done it again, his latest extraordinary machine being the “Lobster Tank,” a propane/butane-powered tank built out from a Tamiya 1/16 clutch-driven R/C model. Besides the powerplant conversion, I-Wei built a cool sheet-aluminum body. The page for the tank includes some concept sketches and a video of the vehicle in action. [Via Make]

Smallest Game in Cyberspace

Who sez you need an inch or two of screen real estate on a gadget to have a usable interface? How about 16 wide and 16 tall, baby? Pixels. Okay, so playing Pong, PacMan, Asteroids, and other arcade classics on a screen the size of a hanging chad might be a bit of a trial, but maybe it’s to prove a point (that size doesn’t matter so much) — the company that makes the games also develops games for mobiles.

Troy, Another ARG (Alternate Reality Game)

I’ve been following, with some interest, the growing ARG scene, with games like Perplex City, edoc Laundry, and the just-launched Lost Experience (yes, tied in with the TV show).

Troy is a new ARG created by the Experimental Gameplay Project. It is a Web-based game where figuring out how to “play it” is how you play it. The underlying theme is privacy. You start at a 404-File Not Found page and you’re on your own from there. Besides Troy, you should check out some of the other fascinating games and discussions at the EGP website. Troy? Gee, do you think there’s a Trojan Horse involved?

For more on ARGs, check out the Alternative Reality Gaming Network.

Power Tool Drag Race Video

In a world run by geeks and gearheads, sports like baseball and football would be replaced by events like Robot Wars and Power Tool Drag Races. Welcome to that world. Make provides live video coverage of this past weekend’s Power Tool Drag Races in San Francisco. “Gentlegeeks, start your Makitas!”