It’s hard to imagine Day one of FITC SCREENS is over, but Day two has proven to be better than ever. Below are a few of the sessions I had the chance to attend:
Android Open Accessory API
Day two began with a fascinating session with Pearl Chen, a cross-disciplinary freelance web developer, about the release of the new Android Open Accessory API, and its possibility for both commercial and experimental use.
The Open Accessory API allows for connection with USB peripherals (i.e. mouse, keyboard, game controllers) by using Arduino MegaADK, the most well-known version of an Android Development Kit (ADK). The API can potentially be used for even further experimentation, opening up the opportunity to add a minicomputer within the computer built into your smartphone. It’s a little hard to imagine that your mobile device is essentially a computer in the first place, but by recognizing the power and potential of your smartphone, the more room there is for experimentation.
Android is a great tool for prototyping, allowing you to be as open source as you want. The computer within all Android devices allows for an endless amount of experimentation, augmenting these devices for real-world uses.
Digital Fun for the Digital Home: TV, Tablets, and Smartphones
Much like Paul Brannen’s session during yesterday’s keynote Renaun Erickson, game developer evangelist, expressed the importance and fun in living in a world where we are perpetually connected – branching out further in technology and augmenting devices to establish a sense of interconnectivity and driving content forward.
By experimenting with interaction and real-time with different devices, Erickson showed us how device interaction can create some amazing new ideas (e.g. mapping a Nintendo Wiimote controller with Android via Bluetooth; multiple tablets’ screens being used as one screen).
Some of the biggest hurdles are allowing for different input methods, but as multiple device interactions are becoming prevalent the more likely we are to see more in the future. Erickson also showed us a more technical view at the process in making multiple device interaction a reality. The possibilities are endless.
Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich Development 101
In this introduction to Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich, Faisal Abid, Co-Founder of AndSpot, provided a fun and informative look into Android application development. For developers trying to build applications in Honeycomb/ICS and maintaining compatibility might seem intimidating, but these new changes to the Android SDK and UI framework don’t need to be nearly as scary as they seem!
Through both technical and visual demonstrations Abid taught us all new components introduced in this SDK including Fragments, Drag/Drop API, Actionbar, View Pager and more. For instance, Fragments are essentially “fragments of your UI – modules that you can reuse throughout your application – while ViewPager is the horizontal swiping tool that is very popular with Android devices as well as Google. The programming involved in these new components are extremely easy to use as well.
If you are a new or established Android developer looking to create something for the SDK you can – no matter what your skills levels are!
Projection Mapping with TouchDesigner
TouchDesigner is not just another Microsoft Surface, it’s so much more. Greg Hermanovic and Marcus Heckmann of Derivative and Side Effects Software explored the capabilities and potential of this visual development platform. Hermanovic and Heckman described how the TouchDesigner visual experience would radically change our perception of visual storytelling.
TouchDesigner has ignited a lot of attention for its capabilities, drawing in various professionals across the globe. Musicians like Amon Tobin and Skrillex have used TouchDesigner at live performances, projecting visuals that synchronize with the music, and video designer Luftwerk who used the platform to a beautiful sound and light show based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater. The possibilities are practically limitless.
Hermanovic and Heckman spoke about the core of some of these interesting and enlightening projects focusing most of their time expressing key aspects of these projects including interactive user interfaces, video mapping, mixing, 3D, multi-projections and Kantan Mapper, a recent projection mapping tool within TouchDesigner. This visual (and sometimes audio) platformer teaches us how we can use technology to create the most beautiful things.
Ponycorns: Catching Lightning in a Jar
If you haven’t already heard of Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure, what are you waiting for? Created by Ryan Creighton, president and founder of Untold Entertainment, and his 5-year-old daughter Cassie, Ponycorns (for short) is a labour of love. Created at the Toronto Indie Game Jam 2011 (TOJam) this dynamic duo have created something so unlike anything we have every seen before – something completely natural and totally crazy.
During Creighton’s session, he detailed the history behind this inspiring Flash game and how it came to be what it is today: a viral class. He expressed the difficulties in game development but how, with perseverance, anything is possible. Without Ponycorns, without the collaboration between him and his daughter, Creighton would have never experienced the creative wonders one can make with so very little.
If you would like to learn more about today’s presenters or want to know what’s happening at tomorrow’s workshops, you can find all of that information and more at www.fitc.ca.