[-empyre-] Games, histories and preservation

Julian Oliver julian at selectparks.net
Thu Mar 20 08:46:57 EST 2008

..on or around Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 01:23:35PM -0700, Jim Andrews said:
> open source is important to the longevity of projects, of course.
> so is an interesting, featureful, rich dev tool. director is not 'open
> source', but it has been around, as paul notes, for quite a long time. it
> was started in 1987. it is quite featureful, by now. and extensible via
> xtras. and available for pc and mac. and the dev community is extrordinarily
> knowlegeable and open. director can generate either standalone executables
> or shockwave output that'll run in browsers.

some browsers on some machines. i prefer to use Linux as a development
environment and so cannot few shockwave content or use Director. flash
content however is fine. 

nonetheless, regardless of platform, i wouldn't use Director. that's not
to say it doesn't look relatively feature rich: i enjoyed playing around
with Lingo at a recent workshop.

> ideally, tools would be open source but developed by a dedicated team of
> coordinated programmers with the resources of a philanthropist. ha. sure.

many tools are. i've worked almost exclusively with open-source tools
for around 8 years. i'm so used to it now i don't think to consider
using proprietary tools, though i like to keep in touch with what's out
there. moreso i have a personal policy not to teach students tools they
cannot afford to own themselves, especially in publically funded

as an artist however, i feel i have everything i need in the open source
software realm (with the exception of a more slightly more stable video
editor). it wasn't like that some years ago however, a fun challenge but
a challenge nonetheless..

> you mention timing in director, julian. http://vispo.com/nio and
> http://vispo.com/jig are a couple of interactive audio projects for the web
> i've done that synchronize interactively re-arrangeable sequences and layers
> of audio files (and animations, in the case of nio). the source code of nio
> is available for download. i wrote an essay on audio programming in director
> as part of the nio project. this explains how to do that sort of
> synchronization in director. the essay was published by macromedia, also, as
> part of the director documentation. over the years, i've had various
> inquiries from programmers wanting to do that sort of synchronization. the
> nio code has not yet needed updating, however; it still runs ok.
> i see your packetgarden project is done primarily (or exclusively?) with
> python. i have heard good things about python but have not done any work
> with it.

Python is a great interpreted language. it's certainly more fun to write
in than compiled languages like C and C++, which is where i find myself
most of the time these days. i feel Python is sketching whereas C++ is
more akin to technical drawing.

> i note you say packetgarden is not net art because it isn't delivered
> through the browser. it's pretty net-oriented, though. it's all about data
> visualisation of personal net usage. dunno, i think i'd call it net art.
> certainly it needs a net connection, doesn't it? isn't that the way some
> people define net art: needs a connection and does something interesting
> with it artistically?

my distinction, one shared by some other people, is that net art is a
kind of art that is internet delivered, rather than art that is simply
about the internet or derives some aspect of form from internet traffic.

PacketGarden is a graph, derived from internet traffic, that runs on the
client. there are many static artistic visualisations/representations of
internet traffic that are not considered net art just as there is prose
and video about the internet that is not net art.

people can take it as they will. i made it and prefer to consider it as
somewhere between network information visualisation and The Little
Prince ;)


julian oliver
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