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Xbox Avatars

Posted on September 21, 2008 
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In case you missed the E3 announcement, Rare is currently working on the revamped version of the Xbox interface. The “Blades” will soon be replaced by really slick graphics where the user will be represented by a customizable Avatar. Here is a presentation by Microsoft employee Larry Hryb “Major Nelson”:

My Xbox Gamertag

Posted on September 21, 2008 
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For month I couldn’t be bothered to create my own Xbox gamertag and kept using my flatmate one but this week after playing “Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise” for more than 6 hours, I decided it was time to get my own one. So here it is!

Banjo 3 demo

Posted on September 13, 2008 
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Elissa and Neil were demoing Banjo in Paris this week. Here is the presentation they made to the french media. I had never seen the actual gameplay but this got me really excited! I can’t wait till the game is finally out mid novembre.


Posted on September 13, 2008 
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The Single speed/track/fixed gear bike craze was supposedly triggered by the Mash video:

I haven’t seen the Mash video yet but I have seen the trailer and clips from the new San Fransisco based video, Macaframa, directed by Colby Elrick and Colin Arlen. Have a look at the trailer and their Vimeo page. The footage is beautifully edited, cinematographed and color graded. Sweeeet

MACAFRAMA Trailer from MACAFRAMA on Vimeo.

Bizarre yet fun japanese skateboarding video

Posted on September 13, 2008 
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man I wish I never discovered


Posted on September 13, 2008 
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This week I bought a beautifull red Felt F90 racing bike from my coworker Matt. It has aerodynamic spokes and the kind of gears you find on sports cars. Really fancy. It is obviously ultra light and I am intending to use it to go to work. I have been told by my coworkers that it would take me from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on my level of fitness. I am fit so it will take me 30 minutes….. well we will see ;-) it is a really long distance, 10 miles (16 kms) according to googlemaps.

I am a bit tired of car pooling, I don’t want to buy a car, the fancy Vespa I always wanted to buy since I moved to UK wouldn’t last 2 days outside my house so this looks like the only option. Also it was a good price … for that kind of bike ;-) and Matt did very well at numerous competitions riding this bike.

Now this bring me to my second point. Single speed bikes.

If you live outside a big city you have probably not heard about the craze about single speed bikes. They are sleek, sexy, ultralight and really low maintenance since they don’t require high tech components like racing bikes. I saw some guys playing Bike Polo few years ago in Bethnal Green and thought that was really cool. I have never tried one but if it weren’t for the vandal that bend your wheels when you leave your bike unattended I would have probably bought one myself in my London days. The reason why I wanted to mention them today is that I found some videos of guys doing tricks on their single-speed bikes. Riding them in town is rad but riding them in town while doing tricks is even radder.

I created a Youtube Playlist with some really cool videos related to single speed bikes and messengers PUMA commissionned a great documentary on messengers called “NYC Messengers” but I can’t find it anymore.

Stupidest ad analysis ever

Posted on September 7, 2008 
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The most useless ad analysis ever on by Gary Krakow and his sidekick. Come on Gary, just stick with your “Iphone killers” videos instead. At least I can easily filter what is junk and what is gold on TheStreet.

What were you expecting? A copycat of the Apple campaign? A technical demonstration of why Microsoft is so great? This has been done in the past and didn’t work. Remember the previous Wow campaign?

Please TheStreet, more Altrucher, less Krakow

“Churro?” “I am good!”

Posted on September 6, 2008 
Filed Under Acting, Animation | Leave a Comment

No matter what you think about PC/Macs, I have to share the new Microsoft ad with you. I can’t help smiling while watching it. There is so much emotion coming out of this ad that I can’t help loving those 2 characters.

Shoe Circus from Windows Videos on Vimeo.

If we study this ad on an animation point of view we can see so many great touches. It is obviously a bit wacky with Seinfield explaining that he has a shower with his shoes on to save time or when he asks if Microsoft will every gonna come up with something that will make our computers moist and chewie like a cake but there are some more interesting elements.

Secondary action:

1. Seinfield and the churro. He holds it, bite it, offers it to Gates. At the end they both walk out, each holding their churros.

2. Gates and Seinfield softening the sole. Seinfield has a very accurate gesture while Gates can only ackwardly mimic him.

Both action happen while they are talking about something else and are still not distracting but help them to look more alive. They are real characters in a real store, not two actors delivering lines.

Timing and pacing

The beats in the add are dictated by the delivery of the lines. There is a lot of talk but there are also some long moments of silence filled with emotions like the “what is it?” “the leather” sequence. The beats slow down, accelerate, stop and start again. Isn’t that a nice texture?

Now on a marketing point of view I think it is very clever. A lot of people are commenting negatively on it saying that they don’t understand it but the advert is not a soap advert hammering that the microsoft products are better and shinnier, it is much more clever than that. They have already tried the soap marketing campaign and it only partially worked so why not trying something a bit more “wacky”? Don’t forget that it is only the first one of a series of advert so let’s wait and see what else they have in store.

What they are trying to do here is to portray Bill Gates as a really simple guy, someone really down to earth with really simple values in which most people will recognise themselves.

He is a very rich person but still buys his shoes at the discount shop in the shopping mall because that’s the only place he can find the best price for value products. Shoes like computers are a commodity, they shouldn’t become a lifestyle and paying a high price for them is silly.The message is quite clear: he doesn’t like to be ripped off.

There is one little details than hardly anyone will notice and that the ad company probably placed there for a reason. I am not too sure why exactly. Maybe to show that Bill Gates hasn’t always been the straight guy we know but just like everyone made some mistakes in his life? If you don’t know, the picture on the Platinium Shoe card is the one from his arrest in 1977 for a traffic violation.

My favourite games

Posted on September 3, 2008 
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People outside the Video game industry could easily think that Video games are only about First Person shooters (“Shooters”) but it is not. Here is a selection of games I really like. I won’t mention the games we are doing at work since I already keep mentionning them.

Wario Land: Shake it

Castle crashers

Viva Pinata “Trouble in paradise” is shipping

Posted on September 3, 2008 
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The sequel to Viva Pinata is coming out this month. A lot of my coworkers worked on it and as you will see in the following videos they did an amazing job. A Nintendo DS version is coming out too so if you don’t have an Xbox you can still enjoy this great game. The reviews are giving the game an average of 8/10 and even 9/10 for some.

Peer storyboarded and animated the intro sequence but unfortunately I can’t find a video of it so you will have to play the game to see it! ;-)


Video Review

DS version. demonstration of the Sandbox feature