March 12, 2011
On Saturday, my first panel was Drawing Back the Curtain on CSS Implementation. This panel had representatives from theW3C Working Group on CSS as well as from the major browsers (Safari excluded). They broke down the features of CSS 3 into two general categories, new features and features that make things easier (or “easing the pain you feel every day”), and commented that the second group get a lot more response from the development community. The panelists repeatedly encouraged the audience to become part of the process by making comments to the working group. Elika Etemad discussed the box model- she believes that padding and borders should be part of width (Microsoft was right!). If your eyes are glazing over, you are not alone, I cannot interest my students in the box model and they are learning CSS. There was quite a bit of discussion about layout and why there hasn’t been a better layout model.
Next, Flash is Dead! Long Live Flash! A panel I can clearly relate to. After donning tees-shirts “I Love Flash” and “HTML 5”, Elliot Chong and Toby Miller of Resource Interactive discussed the pros and cons of working with Adobe Flash as a development tool. At the top of a list of topics, both sides first agreed that Flash intros suck. Search engine optimization in Flash, HTML 5 browser support, mobile performance in Flash were all debated. In the end, both sides agreed that Flash is just a tool and that developers should be “polyglot engineers rather than platform fanboys” using “the right tool for the right job.” I was hoping for more resolution here, but guess that wasn’t meant to be. Entertaining though.
Jane McGonigal reprised her TED talk (and Colbert appearance), making the case that “games are preparing us to take on the world’s most difficult problems.” She outlined the possible benefits of games (positive emotions, better relationships, meaning and accomplishment), then engaged the entire (very large) audience in a game of Massively Multiple Thumb Wrestling. “With great gaming comes great responsibility.” MacGonigal pointed out that an average gamer born in the 1980’s or after will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games, which is roughly equivalent to the amount of time spent in middle school and high school. She talked about the relationship of eustress, or positive stress, to gaming- one gets the focus and adrenaline surge without the negative consequences. After outlining statistics that prove that gaming really isn’t bad for you (gamers have fewer nightmares and more lucid dreaming, for example), she showed projects that have used gaming for social good, in education (Quest to Learn) and in politics (the Guardian’s Investigate your MP’s expenses project).
Next we took a break from panels and went to ScreenBurn, which is the video game element of the SSWi. We took a quick stroll through the exhibition floor, where the exhibitors range from Capcom and Sony to the Game Development Institute at Austin Community College. One standout was the IndiePub booth, which exhibited the finalists for the 1st Independent Propeller Awards. These games had great graphics and the gameplay looked clever and absorbing as well.
My final panel was All These Worlds Are Yours: Visualizing Space Data. I was really tired, got there late and didn’t take many notes, but check out these links. Eyes on the Earth 3D and Eyes on the Solar System
Had to take a break, why not visit the PlayStation Lounge? Cocktails, carrots, some strange food in chafing dishes. Also lots of games and 3D TVs.
Spent the evening with my family. Fun!