Day 1 of FITC SCREENS 2011 turned out to be a great success showcasing presenters with very interesting ideas.  Here’s a rundown of some of the sessions I was able to attend.

Creating the Ultimate Smart Experience: How Samsung is Expanding the Ecosystem Across Multiple Screens

To kick off the event, Paul Brannen, the General Manager of the Mobile Communications Division at Samsung, provided us with an in-depth look at the growth of mobile devices like smart phones and tablets by Samsung and more and how they have become much more than just a technological accessory, they’re part of a lifestyle.

“In this data-centric, content-driven mobile world, technology is quickly evolving in the marketplace,” stated Brannen during his session.  Even if you don’t know very much about specific technological developments, information about the latest devices surrounds us wherever we go – whether through billboards, magazine ads, commercials and more.

With those technological developments come more opportunities to connect and synchronize compatible products.  We are at a point in technology where we can completely customize everything in our daily lives and we can rely on digital downloading to receive fast and efficient pieces of information in music, videos, games and books within those devices.  There’s no better time to get connected.

Introduction to Corona SDK
For those of you looking to help streamline development for high performance cross-platform games, Darren Osadchuk of Ludicrous Software might have just the answer for you.  In Introduction to the Corona SDK, Osadchuk explored the simple-to-use and intuitive iOS/Android development kit. With a built-in Box2D physics engine, native sprite sheet support and social and analytics APIs the Corona can emulate other devices, and turn any display object into a physics object – perfect for game development.

In conjunction with Lua, a dynamically typed language that is a popular script to use in AAA games, Corona provides the utmost in performance for cross-platform devices.  Corona is optimized for games, but equally so for apps.

Even though Corona is simple to use, it is still a little limited in its functionality and not necessarily the most versatile (i.e. locks into feature sets and limited native UI support) but it is a great tool if these predetermined feature sets work for you.

Corona is still a very new tool in development so the versatility of this dynamic app will definitely grow as it matures – definitely one to keep your eyes on. If you are interested in using the Corona SDK for your project, then consider going to Wednesday’s Corona workshop – Game development with the Corona SDK (held by Darren Osadchuk) Wednesday, Nov 16 at 10am in room 203B.

Optimizing Game Performance for Web, Mobile, and Desktop
Creating content that meets user’s expectations is a very important part of game development, greatly affecting the overall success of your game.  Charlie Schulze, a Interactive Flash consultant, showed us that the process is not as intimidating as some might think.

In Optimizing Game Performance for Web, Mobile, and Desktop Schulze provided several tips and tricks to help maintain performance across each operating system.  Game development techniques like blitting, sprite sheets, bitmap caching, up-scaling across different screen resolutions and more are easy and efficient ways of optimizing your development process.

Blitting, for instance, significantly improves game performance but depends on the amount of activity on screen.  The more activity going on in your game, the more beneficial blitting will be for you.

However, development techniques are not the only places to learn and improve, personal growth is important as well. “Listen to the community” stated Schulze, “but test [your project] for yourself before making judgments. Don’t be afraid to try again.”

A Lap around Windows Phone 7 Codename Mango: A Developer Perspective

In this technical look at the new Windows Phone 7 Mango, Vladimir Li at Digiflare guided us forward, illustrating the Windows Phone 7 Mango software update specifications, architecture of the OS, improvements (particularly in multitasking) and developer experience.

Through various technical-based demonstrations Li brought simple script to life through an intuitive Windows Phone 7 emulator, replicating the look and feel without having to use the physical phone.  These demonstrations showcased the importance of integrating more intuitive social networking capabilities and how multitasking is a pivotal part of smartphone development.

Li also spoke about how User Experience (UX) and technical efficiency need to work hand-in-hand to create a high-performance device – in this case, the Windows Phone 7 Mango. Engaging the user is, without a doubt, one of the most important goals all developers need to keep in mind and Li made this totally aware while giving us a little bit more insight into the much-anticipated technological upgrade.

If you are interested in using Windows Phone 7 for your project then consider going to Wednesday’s Windows 7 workshop – Building Mobile Experiences on the Microsoft  (held by Atley Hunter) Wednesday, Nov 16 at 10am in room 203C.

Mobile, Data Visualization and Upcoming Technologies in HCI
To end the day, Alejandro Marin, User Experience Designer for the Mobile Solutions team within Transcontinental Interactive, presented us with a more visual-based presentation unfolding the technological advancements that have emerged from experimentation and creativity. Flexible screens, Smart Surfaces, Voice-computer interfaces, Motion-control peripherals, Spatial Operating Environments etc. are but a few examples of technologies that keep us physically and mentally involved and engaged.

Marin illustrated how the body is the ultimate mobile device – human potential and technology must synchronize in order to create fascinating new developments. Digital visualization helps conjure the information within those developments clearly and effectively through graphical means.  While this data is not something we can physically grasp, it is an important attempt to shape the way people think.

Focusing all of his energy on bridging the gap between science, art and technology, Marin provided us with a look into an inspiring and exciting future.

If you would like to learn more about today’s presenters or want to know what’s happening tomorrow, you can find all of that information and more at