Highlights of the Direction 2016 conference

Posted by in conferences, Technology

Whenever I go to conferences I always try to think of ways to remember all the great things I’ve experienced there after the event. Two months later, I’m quoting something and for the life of me I can’t remember who exactly said it when someone asks! Infuriating right? Anyway, I came up with the idea of writing things down and sprinkling it with tweets and Instagram posts, revolutionary I know!
So here’s my highlights of it all covering the two days 10-11 Nov 2016 of the Direction 16 conference.

First off, a shout-out to John Allsopp and his team for making this fantastic conference a reality. Another shout-out to the Faculty of Architecture, Design and planning at the University of Sydney, who are one of the major partners of the event and their student projects that were displayed outside the conference hall were pretty cool. a small disclosure here; I work at the University of Sydney myself, thought not in that faculty. 😃

Day 1: Nov 10th

9:15 am

Magical UX and the Internet of Things

Speaker: Josh Clark, IxD, Big Medium @bigmediumjosh
Schedule info: “What if this thing was magic?” Designing for the internet of things means blessing everyday objects, places, even people with extraordinary abilities—requiring designers, too, to break with the ordinary. Designing for this new medium is less a challenge of technology than imagination. Sharing a rich set of examples, designer and author Josh Clark explores the new experiences that are possible when ANYTHING can be an interface. The digital manipulation of physical objects (and vice versa) effectively turns all of us into wizards. Sling content between devices, bring objects to life from a distance, weave “spells” by combining speech and gesture. But magic doesn’t have to be otherworldly; the UX of connected devices should build on the natural physical interactions we have everyday with the world around us. The new UX must bend technology to the way we live our lives, not the reverse.

How can we create worthwhile experiments that make it easy and make it available and usable? As an IOT that feels like magic and technology combined?
The goal? To make technology invisible so that it doesn’t distract us from what we are doing but rather enable it.
physical interaction with a digital API i.e. the world is the interface (which has always been true).
Having said that, not all IOT are born equal, some are ghastly! Try this one for size:

Others sound better though, e.g. Automatic Pro from Automatic : A program that gives you feedback on how you drive to give you suggestions how to improve, fix and better control your car, giving the driver insights on what they are doing.
The aim is for the world to react to our actions: Wearables? there-ables…
The world is a big canvas for digital interactions (design interactions to a whole room not just desktop and mobile)?


magic, imagined: Google Glass, didn’t work well and didn’t come out of development and was mainly an engineering problem and discussion. Josh asks what if we asked “what if our glasses were magic?” Pulls you out and make you think; Design for the things, Essential Thingness? if we better understand the environment we are designing for, we’ll produce a more meaningful and streamlined experience that transcends the development teams into the real world.

We should bend things to help our lives, not the other way around…

    • Bank on illusion, embrace misdirection, not to fool people, but to help understand what they want and how to interact.
    • Build systems that are smart enough to know that we are not smart enough?
    • Technology supports us not the opposite…

so the Question we should always ask is “what if this was magic?”

Magic imagined:

  • “What if this was magic?”
  • Add insight, not just data
  • Honour intention, don’t assume it
  • Make it calming and humane

This is not a challenge of technology, we are awash with technology. It is a challenge of imagination, how me might apply this stuff to create human emotion and value…

10:45 am

Tragic Design: The real cost of bad design & how to fix it

Speaker: Jonathan Shariat @DesignUXUI #TragicDesign
Schedule info: Jonathan will be discussing the concepts in his book Tragic Design, published by O’Reilly Media. Bad design can have very real costs outside of just lost revenue. Bad design can harm physically, emotionally, by excluding, and by causing injustice. Jonathan challenges designers to rise to the challenge to avoid and fix these problems and put their design skills to use for good!

Results of bad design:

  1. Physical Harm: Ford Pinto, which is famous for bursting into flames and the doors get jammed, but… they had a solution to fix this, however, the company decided that the fix would cost more than them getting sued after injury/death. (they justify their action by a simplistic formula) which is the wrong way to think about it. Why we ask? To start with, they were wrong, because they got sued for way more than they anticipated. Instead , they should have asked their engineers to think about trying to create a fix that is more efficient and better.
    How can we view the world differently? We need to view the world from a different prism that is not too simplistic and rely on just cost.
  2. Emotional harm: usually, it is hard to feel the way others do. However, Facebook came up with “Year in review” an example of an impacted user of this feature is Eric, who was dealing with a tragedy and his daughter’s death. Facebook gave him see your year, with celebratory figures and the like! He was emotionally harmed. If Facebook had more thought about what possibilities and situations could arise from it? could the results have changed? other examples of situations for Facebook to think about, is a house burning down or the death of friends. All given back to users as reminders or celebrations!
    Impolite software?
    • It pushes itself forward at every opportunity
    • It requires more than it gives in return
    • It runs and gobbles up resources on your devices
    • It feels free to interrupt the user at any time
    • It does not respect user’s preferences
    • Uses patronising tone in its dialogues and instructions
    • It tricks to get the user to do things they did not intend

    Check dark patterns.org to see these in full action.

    Another example of impolite software that does all of the pointers above? see if this one tickles your memory, or maybe you nightmares?

    LinkedIn… Jonathan does not like them 😃 his experience? Discovering that LinkedIn emailed all his Gmail contacts an invitation to connect via LinkedIn, when the process he went through didn’t give the impression that this is what’s about to happen!

  3. Exclusion: 285 million world wide cannot read all content on a website, 39 million of those are blind.

    We all have biases (yes you too)

  4. Injustice.

Design is important.. Bad design shows us just how important.

11:35 am

Beyond Helvetica–everything you always wanted to know about fonts* But were too afraid to ask

Speaker: Wayne Thompson , Founder, Australian Type Foundry
Schedule info: Fonts, particularly for Web and digital design have typically been a simple affair. We choose among the fonts most likely to be on most user’s devices (with fall-backs to “similar” fonts to ensure coverage of as many devices as possible). The rise of Web fonts, and services like TypeKit opened up a far wider palette of possibilities. But how much do you really know about the fonts you’re choosing?

He starts with the question: “Why free fonts are bad for you?” Not every case of course but many.
Ligatures? not sure about what it is? In facts I was a tad lost in relation to font terms when it came to what Wayne was talking about. Dr Google gave me a nice site that is a glossary of font terms and the like https://www.fontshop.com/glossary that I found helpful to demystify and be a reference to what some of the terms Wayne used and showed us.

Free fonts often have issues with details, such as special characters, spacing, ligatures, etc..
Biggest problem though with free fonts? Is that many of them are not actually free at all!

How do you choose which font to use?

Good examples: Georgia and Verdana designed specifically for screens, designed with bitmap to start with.
Fonts not to use?: Arial, Century Gothic, Brush Script, Comic Sans, Hobo, Chancery.

Always contemplate the ramifications of a font, an example how spacing is used in a font!

12:00 pm

Design by numbers: how to practice effective data-informed design

Speaker: Lucinda Burtt , Head of Product Design, Fairfax Media
Schedule info: “Data-driven” is the adjective on everyone’s lips—but can this truly apply to the creative space? Can we solely rely on numbers and evidence-based decision making to shape great product experience?

Data is important to be used in product design…

Data can help us understand how the user uses the product

  • When collecting data, it is not just about numbers, you can also talk about qualitative data with both direct and indirect feedback (Behavioural and attitude) … e.g. attitude (what they believe and say they believe) “yes I am a person of the world”, however, their behaviour says other things, such as they don’t read world news (what they actually do)…
  • A/B testing… when you are going down the optimisation path Tactical improvement to a select product feature, validation and stress testing…

Getting good data

  • Clear metric– with a defined success point
  • Sufficient users – and traffic to the feature you’re testing
  • Acknowledge systematic bias – over-focus on the micro (not macro)
  • Data-informed – with thought to short-term, long -term trade-off

the PIE frameworkPotential: how much improvement can be made. Importance: How valuable is the traffic to the pages? Ease: The degree of difficulty a test will take to get running on a page.
Metrics really define our values…..
Andrew Chen: Metrics are merely a reflection of the product strategy that you have in place…

Data-driven pitfalls:

  • Micro-optimisation – where one metric is to the detriment of all others
  • Undefined hypothesis – an unclear goal for the research
  • Inapplicable metrics – not every product problem is an optimisation problem
  • Local minimum – have iterated and achieved optimal improvement for current design (max effectiveness)

Practice safe data-informed design

  • Focus on key decisions (Testable, tactical)
  • Define your hypothesis
  • Choose your metrics wisely (Balance the micro / macro)
  • Start small, be strategic (compare like-for-like)
  • Acknowledge what you can’t test

In conclusion: be data-informed, not driven by it. Lucinda mentioned that she will be sharing the slides (which is great).

12:25 pm

Making things for people to do things with things we’re preserving for them

Speaker: Seb Chan , CXO, ACMI @sebchan acmi.com.au
Schedule info: Museums are great storehouses of knowledge, and, importantly, things. They are also, when they are at their best – curiosity engines. Many have and continue to be radically reshaped by the opening up that the internet has brought with it. Seb Chan will talk about his work over the last decade in helping different types of museum transform and reimagine their possibilities through visitor-centric, technology-enhanced design interventions.

Museums as democratic spaces and curiosity machines….
Renovation: build a system to change who came to the museum by changing how the collection is experienced…
Talked about Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (located in the Upper East Side’s Museum Mile in Manhattan, New York City)

Points to think about when designing

  • What biases do tools bring? how might we make those biases visible?
  • How might we work with rights holders to let visitors leave with content?
  • How might we work with public broadcasters as well as streaming, e.g. Netflix, Youtube?
  • What interfaces might we make to best reveal the connection between different types of media?
  • What do you want from a democratic museum of film and video games?

https://github.com/ACMILabs Projects and experiments from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

1:45 pm

Designing Civility

Speaker: Caroline Sinders , Machine Learning Designer, Buzzfeed @carolinesinders
Schedule info: For much of the history of the Web, conversations and other digital analogues of real world social interaction have been a key part of user engagement. From Usenet, IRC to AOL Chatrooms and now Github, Reddit, and Twitter, design patterns like threaded commenting, liking and favoriting, up (and down voting) lie at the heart of social media, online platforms like Stack Overflow (and GitHub) make up our communication tools. With digital literacy at an all time high, new communication models are starting to usurp SMS messages.

  • Trying to see if Machine learning design can help in identifying and solving online harassment
  • SMS and social media are actually … very similar.

#gamergate …

  • harassment is very hard to solve in large public systems
  • This isn’t a freedom of speech issue, this is a design problem.
  • Think of every post as an individual ecosystem.
  • Okay great, but now what about other communication spaces?

2:35 pm

Scaling Walls: The Barriers to Female Representation and How Atlassian is “Eliminating Them”

Speaker: Aubrey Blanche @adblanche, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Atlassian
Schedule info: It’s not a secret that women are extremely underrepresented in technical fields around the world. In this talk, you’ll see scientific evidence of the barriers that women face in the technical workplace, and hear about concrete strategies to overcome them. Collaboration software company Atlassian has used this knowledge to develop tactics and initiatives to overcome these barriers, resulting in >46% female technical hires in their last three intern and graduate cohorts. Join Atlassian’s Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion to learn about what you can do to overcome the gender gap. The talk will include a Q&A session, so please bring questions!

  • Her position was created to help Atlassian to more effectively be diverse and inclusive with their staffing (design a company that creates equal access environment for people to come and work in)
  • Why girls opt out?
    • It started in 1985, computers were marketed to boys so parents were buying their boys computers resulting in giving boys a 10 year gab!
    • We have stereotypes of who girls are, who techies are and if someone doesn’t identify they don’t participate


    • It causes us to actually evaluate the tech skills of woman techies less than men… research showed that when removing names that gender based patterns disappeared…
    • Design environment to limit the application of bias (conscious or unconscious)


    It turns out that it is not expensive to solve some of this: Though you can ask yourself, why do this? Research indicates that companies that are more diverse are significantly more likely to out perform other companies in the same business. Why? Because in such companies and culture, people are happier, more productive, innovative and companies can retain staff for longer.

    So Atlassian stared with graduates from Sydney:

    • first part they pulled the list and found zero woman applicants, which was terrifying!
    • so they started at the basics, they knew women have a confidence gab, so they thought this might be the problem. Research indicates that men apply when they have 30% of requirements and women apply when they have 80% of requirements!
    • so talked about collaborative environment, have photos of women and minorities in the adds and then fundamentally changed the job adds themselves… companies often like to write adds as a Wish-list (stop doing that she says)! Now, Atlassian have only three requirements in their graduate adds. Don’t ask about the degree, but instead focus on the ability (e.g. ability to work in an ambitious, collaborative environment)
    • then they went into the second stage of people evaluation to remove the bias and become as objective as possible. So they started with a coding test that computers mark
    • they then focused on structural behaviour interviewing – (don’t fuck the customer, play as a team, straight talk and no bullshit, etc.. They found that “culture fit” was not helping them with hiring. (if someone says culture fit, ask what do you mean by that?)
    • organisational design by giving them the right tools and empower them to do what they want give you an end result of an amazing set of people.

4:00 pm

What Comes Next Is?

Speaker: Matt Griffin , Film Maker, Designer @elefontpress @beardedstudio @futureisnext
Schedule info: Matt Griffin (founder, Bearded) has been thinking about what it means to be a “web designer,” grappling with the many (and sometimes misunderstood) disciplines that come into play. All of the rapid changes in technology we grapple with every day have resulted in a shifting landscape of skills and responsibilities. What’s a designer to do? Luckily, Matt is in the unique position to answer this question from a variety of perspectives and experiences.

  • a planetary consciousness is what Carl Sagan called the internet in the 90s
  • mobiles broke our process of design!
  • responsive/adaptive design is about ceding control
  • Ethan Marcotte: Author of Responsive Web Design 

Research and design

  • iterative cycle (generative research) of work and design… stakeholder interviews, user interviews..
  • initial designs (prototypes)
  • evaluative research (A/B testing etc.)
  • refinement
  • evaluative research again
  • etc..
    as much as time and budget allows….

Good web design is a team sport with collaboration and working together to get the best results

Question: Should designers code?
Understanding HTML and CSS and its fundamentals is helpful for a designer to help in their design process.

UXdesign: Is a more holistic approaching to design of how your users walk through the design. Tools: usability testing, integration design, IA. We’ve outgrown graphic design, we must be flexible, we must embrace teams, we must specialise and overlap.

6:00 pm

Let’s Get Weird!

Speaker: Jenn Bane , Community Director, Cards agains Humanity @jenndangerous
Schedule info: People often hear about Cards Against Humanity’s crazy stunts and pranks (like the time 30,000 fans ordered a box of poop as part of a Black Friday sale), but are left with a million questions. How did they come up with the idea? How were they able to execute it? Is it even legal to send poop in the mail? Learn the behind-the-scenes stories from community lead Jenn Bane, who is delighted to share Cards Against Humanity’s best and worst ideas. This talk is weird.

At Cards Against Humanity, they don’t have a marketing strategy, instead, they do stunts to get attention!

help… figure out what you are good at and try to help people that can’t afford it for free….

It truly was a weird final presentation, talks about the voice used with customers, how they interact, what they do all in a funny sort of a weird way!

This tweet sums it up really

Day 2: Nov 11th

9:15 am

Many hands — one voice

Speaker: Anna Pickard , Editorial Director, Slack
Schedule info: Every interaction matters. Every line of marketing copy, every error message, every release note of every update is a chance to build a stronger relationship with your users. When building a personality for your company or your brand, how do you create or nurture a sense of the real people behind the product – and how do you scale it?

Anna did start the talk with a disturbing declaration!

Voice: about understanding yourself.
Tone: understand your audience and know when to speak or not to speak.

  • Slack bot welcomes you when you first use slack. it helps people to get in the mode for conversation…
    (Caveat: those are not a universal truth, she doesn’t know what this is exactly, because this is all she knows!)

Point one: Building and scaling a voice

Giving a voice to enterprise software….
To start saying it does not sound like this, gives a negative tone and put all the control on one side, but also it is not very useful in figuring out how do we sound!

Rules are not enough, you have to have a reason to want to follow those rules too…

Things to do: Empathy, frequency, courtesy writing: saying what you need to say, as clearly and concisely as possible then get out of the way. playfulness: it is about being open minded and spirited player.
Example: Bug fixes list, shows that we understand that they were painful and we worked to fix them.

Point two: using that voice responsibly

“The culture turned inward makes the product. The culture turned outward makes the brand”
“Words are powerful”- “Words are hard” – “Do the Work” – “Make sense.” – “Make room or joy” – “surpass expectations” – “know when to stop”.

10:45 am

WebVR: Building and Browsing Cyberspace

Speaker: Mark Pesce , Inventor, VRML
Schedule info: Cheap, accessible mass-market virtual reality systems – from Google Cardboard to HTC Vive – can explore a 3D web built in WebVR. Using the latest JavaScript APIs, WebVR provides a open and neutral platform for the authoring and delivery of richly interactive virtual worlds. It’s universe next door, and it’s already here.

A lot of surprised American speakers at the conference. Mark, started with Trump and a post of the Telegraph W.T.F front page 😃

Feb 1994 Mark created the first VRML banana, but it went nowhere and VRML became the could’ve, should’ve been!

  • A brief history of the Renaissance .. the moment VR really changed, based on Mark’s opinion
  • Web VR will be supported by all main browsers by mid-2017
  • Crash course in VR in 3 screen-shots! here’s the first of them!

Okay, this is very interesting and cool. Catching everything he’s saying if your not into VR? not as easy.. but the beauty of the net is that you can look it all up after the event and figure it out on your own pace! Helpfully, Mark provided relevant links in his slides: A-Frame, https://daydreamwebvr.com/d16/

You use tags, which means you already know how to do this right now… which is the key point with A-Frame to bring VR in.

Take home message from this, either this is a trick or it is way easier than I initially thought! pretty exciting. I’m wondering if just as you learn a language, when you want more complex things it gets exponentially more complex! My French language is still stuck at words ( a lot of them), actual conversation skills? Not to be seen anywhere 😃

VR gotchas: CORS is enforced, HTTPS is recommended, update browsers & frameworks (things moving very quickly), more details at webvr.info

An elegant way that Mark distinguish the web from VR “The web is for sharing of knowledge, VR is for the sharing of experience”

We know the world of VR is coming and we don’t fully know how it will all look like, which is okay… just think of the web in 1994! it is up to us to figure it out in the next 25 years and make it all happen.

So, what does it all mean? That VR is becoming a reality… Mark realised this in July when this came out! colonising the world for VR, think pokemon!

Mark submitted a Mixed reality services standard. it has numerous real-world uses. today. airspace permissions, AR Game permissions? Hazmat warnings?

Try MRS demo

Question: we’ve seen this hype before, why do you think it is difference now?
The reach and accessibility, everyone has the equipment to utilise it. The second reason is we are in a saturated data stage, and we need to better utilise it, better in visualisation terms. so it isn’t just a gimmick, it has real world actions to solve issues with data overload and it could improve the use of data and enable people to stop being overloaded with data and instead use the data to make better decisions.

Grab podcast Voice of VR about what to do to create 3D VR experiences (#473: Can VR Bridge the Culture Gap & Counter Cultural Indoctrination?)

11:35 am

Change your game (aka: the good the bad and the playful)

Speaker: Jennifer Wilson , Director, The Project Factory
Schedule info: Behavioural Science, Persuasive Technology, Gamification, Behavioural Change. Some of the key concepts in the new digital focus on health are coming straight out of the entertainment and gaming sectors. This short session will look at a few examples of this, with a focus on one key app to show how the right balance of nudge, nag and failure can generate real success.

  • knowing what’s good for us… rarely changes our behaviour
  • Games ‘trick’ our brains, we act as though the experiences are real…
  • Games make failure fun! You’ve met with a terrible fate… try again?
  • Games help us focus: with balancing of frustration and fun…
  • Games and gamification (in health) help in many things
  • They’ve done a few fantastic apps using gamification concepts to help people in health.
  • Using AI to teach better communication to people, doctors, etc. (This is a fantastic approach)
  • “Clippy’s last stand”! really bad example of gamification!
  • There are times that gamification might go too far
  • B J Fogg persuasive computing, which jennifer quoted a few times, you can find one of his papers at: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=763957
  • Harm to benefit ratio between medication in comparison with gamification activities is amazing, with the latter at zero harm!

12:00 pm

Virtual Reality as used in our reality. (or Virtual Reality as used in the Real World.)

Speaker: Aaron Spence , Founder, CEO and Lead Photographer, Panedia
Schedule info: Listen in as Aaron, a 15 year veteran in the VR space, details how clients Qantas, Monaco (The Country), Olympus, P&O, Cruiseabout and more are using Virtual Reality right now to assist their clients with branding, training and buying decisions.

  • VR terminology: Aaron distinguishes between Live action VR and normal VR…
  • AR: augmented Reality
  • MR: Mixed reality?! Microsoft term for the Hololens overlaying ‘holograms’ on your real world view. Aaron isn’t convinced that this is the case, but this is what Microsoft is going with…
  • It seems if you work enough with 360 raw images and videos that you start seeing raw material as normal (at least Aaron feels like that!) 😃
  • They used Samsung VR equipment and Samsung phone with wireless headphones.

    Live action VR! Using Samsung VR. Cool stuff #direction16 #VR

    A video posted by Gaith Bader (@geolightx) on

  • Aaron comments that there are a huge amount of announcements on a weekly bases about VR devices and he recommends to ignore 90% of them as they don’t have the devices ready or the device is sub-par (crap to use his words)
  • VR as an empathy engine? Compassion (in Jesus’s name) their thought process is they don’t want to see it on Youtube or Facebook, because people won’t get the real power of VR… so they have them in different places with the full VR setup for people to try it out. (Story and narrative to drive people to give)
  • Training and learning (VR learn) Qantas VR projects with assessments done in VR too.
  • VR applications are only limit by our imagination in how to utilise them to make things better, easier and possible.

12:25 pm

Letting the kids run the show: Retail Experience & Design

Speaker: Ben Hawkins , Director Retail Design, Optus
Schedule info: Kids don’t want to go shopping and parents don’t want to take the kids, but out of the necessity the two must co-exist. So the CX team at Optus asked themselves “what if we focus less on selling stuff and more on creating an environment where families want to shop”?

  • Talks about a case study of how to operate at work…
  • The idea from anywhere: firstly, objective research… then came up with a Junior app… lots of enthusiasm… stakeholder input, its large, so you need to be careful how to manage them. then journey mappers, then design agency comes on board..
  • So we’ve got: Different views from kids… reality we are stuck in the fuzzy front end… so in reality there is a problem: we don’t think like an 8 year old, then a further problem, when we were 8 things were different (digital was a watch) so basically, we are completely unqualified to do a build a kids area in a store! so we all suffer from creative cognitive bias….
  • So bring a new team (kids) designed by Juniors for Juniors. The outcome?
  • Change the idea from value per square meter to, experience per square meter. On feedback. Ben said he screwed up (the kids said that in the feedback) tablets on tables, they wanted them under the table!

1:45 pm

Art directing web design

Speaker: Andy Clarke , Legendary Designer & Art Director @malarkey https://speakerdeck.com/malarkey (full slide
Schedule info: For years we’ve been told that websites shouldn’t make people think, that they should be accessible, easy to use and fast. But what if that isn’t enough?

  • To start off, Andy looks nothing like his photo on the schedule program! 😃
  • The web should be a vibrant medium for expression just like print.
  • Our infatuations with processes can mean we might lose sight of what we are doing.
  • Our failure to understand art direction and how it applies to digital products and new stories.
  • What do you think of when you hear the term Art Direction? It can communicate an idea through considered use of words and imagery. It is the art of distilling an essential, precise meaning or purpose from a piece of content.
  • So what does it have to do with us? Stories are stories, no matter where they were told and on what medium. It could be a story about a charity, a startup, about your app and why should anyone download it. So go beyond the day to day and see what it actually mean to people. Art direction is understanding this message and see how best to communicate it.
  • Art direction helps people understand the significance of what they are reading.
  • Typography implores the understanding of a story. e.g. quotes lead people through design into a story.
  • Headlines demonstrate hierarchy, but so much more…
  • Every element gives an opportunity to tell a story in typography and the reader rewards the time we spend to do this.
  • “There is not that much difference between print and web unless we make it that way?”
  • When most people start on layout, they go to a frameworks such as Bootstrap. so if we’ve got an infinite number of layout combinations, then why we end up with the same design?
  • Grid templates, provide anchors and provide consistency, but we need to be careful that not all websites end up looking alike!
  • Atomic web design process takes away from instinct of design)

I have to confess that I like what he’s saying, but I’m lost in regards to many of the terms he uses for print design (look them all up? Glossary of design and printing terms – Thank you again Dr Google).

“Art direction is the gravity that pulls atoms together” – Andy Clarke

2:35 pm

OK, Dracula, let’s make a video game

Speaker: Jacob Bijani & Pasquale D’Silva , Product Designer/Engineer, Tumblr
Schedule info: Pasquale D’Silva and Jacob Bijani show and tell their first indie game, “OK, Dracula”. Learn what they learned, as they made an ambitious passion project. They’ll be giving out free blood if you bring your own syringe 💉.

  • Why make a video game? to have fun.. because the process is enjoyable, maybe even more than playing the game, but that is fun too. It is also a perfect outlet to their passion, art and engineering.
    Start.io is the first site Jacob made and got him his job at Tumblr
  • They set a creative constraint for what they will be building: Needs to work well on apple TV and they wanted drunk people and kids to be able to play it (super easy to play)
  • So, how does a video game works? First concept is a game loop.. watch for user input > respond to input simulate words > render camera view > repeat 60 times / sec
  • the camera rendering and the speed it repeats it matters because the faster with more frames the smoother gameplay is…

Teaching behaviour:

  • How to teach a bear to walk along the ground? (you have a bear, ground, walking)
  • how to teach a duck how to toss a dagger, which is a classic design problem, Pasquale raises. 😃
  • Always start with your first vision, otherwise you fall in the pitfall of pushing the deadline out and never finishing the game.
  • They use the same tools: GitHub for version control, slack for communications , Trello for project management , Unity where they built the vampire game engine (you can also blend animation in Unity too).
  • Making the game richer by decorating things in the game more, results in giving an overall better experience for the player.
  • Wider? Such as creating an endless terrain via computing instead of hand made is worthwhile, more efficient and improves the experience.

What’s next? planning to ship it early next year…

Okay, John Allsopp is back on stage and lots of prizes to be had, Oculus rift, electric scooter, Chromecast, T-shirt and free coffee!Awesome!Lots of happy people, I’m not one of them though! Outrageous is the only word I could think of as a response!

4:00 pm

Who Will Command The Robot Armies?

Speaker: Maciej Cegłowski , Founder, Pinboard ‪@Pinboard‬‬
Schedule info: It’s a rant about chatbots, machine learning, and the issues of accountability and power that go with automation.

Maciej starts with photos of weaponised drones of different military applications.

Question: With these weapons, will there be a point when there is no human element involved? This gets you thinking of future possibilities and the implications of it! I only can think of Trump and what he will come up with!

Funny and light session about crazy smart IOT devices and fantastic commentary to match.
So who is going to man all these devices? hackers is his answer that will take over the lot and unleash chaos.. but with very poor ergonomic use hackers controlling them all! We need a butler that should take care of all of these and protect them from the baddies!

An excellent finish to the day. Laughter all around 😃

A bit more serious segment about hiding work from buyers done by humans that are used as if they are robots and exploited.

Recap: military, evil police, Google, Amazon, poor programmers who want to go home, brands. But really, we as a society, should do it. But the real answer is whoever wants it the most gets to run the show!

We want to run things without accountability, we want to hire people without calling them employees, we want to sell you advertising without telling so, this is got to stop!

Next year talk… “Who will command the robot navy?”