Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Iron & Steel. Art of the Industrial Revolution

53 years ago, Walt Disney Productions released their full length motion picture adaptation of Jules Verne's classic, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. I wasn't around to see the film when it was first released however I had seen it when I was a kid. About a year ago, I saw the newly digitally remastered version on a Best Buy shelf so I picked it up. I remember liking the film as a whee lad and figured it would be a good flick to add to my collection. When I got home I popped it into my dvd player and watched it. I was shocked at how vibrant the colors were and how detailed the set pieces were. I had forgotten how amazing the Nautilus interiors looked. There were details that I had never seen before especially when viewing the film on a tv. I believe the movie was filmed in 72mm which means there are beautifully composed panoramic scenes that one can only appreciate if you watch the letterbox version. Now the special effects are a bit dated compared to any major film or decently funded tv show nowadays, but the craftsmanship of the Nautilus still impresses me. The ship is piece of artwork from the apex of the industrial revolution. A sea monster made of iron and steel with an interior of velvet, brass and oak. The interior of the ship overflows with late 1800's decadence. The ships heart beats with an intense energy source that at the time made reference to nuclear power. Although I know the Nautilus is just a movie prop, I recently took a ride on an old steam locomotive constructed in the mid 1800's. The shear size and mass of this train reminded me of a iron dinosaur. I would not call this thing an iron horse, it was 4 times taller. While this train rested idly on it's tracks, you could hear loud and clear the churning of the massive pistons. It sounded like a very low, powerful, prehistoric heartbeat. This massive work of art could have only been created in the hottest of foundries and been built with raw determination and will. The Nautilus blue prints I found online represent three appreciations of mine. The imagination and craftsmanship of the Disney imagineers, the forward thinking and adventures of Jules Verne and the awe inspiring testament to human ingenuity. In this day and age everything feels like it has become disposable digital, downloaded and stored as ones and zeros. Just a movie prop, like the Nautilus.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Inside the Magic podcasts

I'm a HUGE Walt Disney World fan. I've been to the 'Mouse House' nearly every single year since 1996 and my parents took me and my brothers there a number of times while we were growing up. What is worse is my wife is just as bad as I am. We joke around saying someday when we are older, we'll get a job working in the parks or the hotels. It's tough to pinpoint a single reason why I enjoy going down there so much. Maybe it because I had an amazingly fun experience the first time my parents took me and my brothers there. Whatever the case, the place is truly magical. Now I know that the place is not for everyone and that's fine. To each his own. To those people that have been to Disney World and enjoy it, I have found a podcast that takes you back to the warmth of a spring Orlando morning. Back to the smell of freshly popped popcorn on Main Street and the cool spay of water from the first plunge down the Pirates of the Caribbean. Back to the scenic views from the Wedway People Mover over in Tomorrowland and of sitting on the monorail just after watching the end of the day fireworks, feeling completely exhausted. I get so much pleasure from so many of the little things in the parks & hotels. Below is the link to the Podcast I found a week or two ago that takes me to my laughin place when I'm driving to work on a gray dreary rainy day. http://www.distantcreations.com/insidethemagic/
If you need to take a quick trip back through your Disney World memories, just listen to a few of these podcasts and you be strolling through the happiest place on earth in no time.

What is Conduit Labs?

Well it has been about 6 months since the last time I posted and I'm feeling pretty bad about that. So here's the deal. I am now working for a venture backed start-up called Conduit Labs. We are building Club Penguin for the Facebook audience. Well, not quite. We are building an MMO that incorporates and piggybacks off of preexisting social networks and other web 2.0 utilities. That's about as high level as I can get. To talk about some specifics, we are building a game in flash, but doing some amazing, never before seen techniques that's gonna blow some minds and have some folks scratching their heads. I can't really dive into anything too detailed about the game right now, but i can say you'll be hearing more about us shortly. Over the past few months, our very small 4 person team has been prototyping, testing, and developing a working demo of our game. For me, this process has been very exciting because I have had to learn Flash while figuring out what our art pipeline should be while traveling to meet a number of venture capital groups. Long story short, some of the top VC 's in the country were fighting over us to give us round A funding. I can't begin to tell you how good it felt to have people willing to give you funding when my past experience in the games industry has been the opposite. We are very lucky. Now that we have a better handle on pipeline and tech specs, we are ramping up the Conduit Team. The team that we are putting together is just unbelievable. This past month we have been focused on hiring and it looks as though the team will be about 9-10 people by the end of August. So anyways, that's what's up. Nearly all of my creative energy has been directed towards work the past few months so I haven't had the fire to post to this blog. I think the recent news about Disney buying Club Penguin for $700 million the other day makes me fell less guilty about not posting and better about staying productive at work.
Cheers! www.conduitlabs.com