shenzen
News

SHENZEN I/O is here to make you code like it’s the 1980s

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. SHENZEN I/O (Windows, Mac) BY ZACHTRONICS Some games and educational apps try to ease you into the art of writing code. SHENZEN I/O isn’t so soft. It’s a throwback to the 1980s, when there wasn’t much so media geared towards teaching people how to code. Hence, it begins its lessons by throwing a hefty manual (which you can print out) and a number of circuit-based challenges at you, and then leaves you to figure it out. There’s a little bit of guidance at first but…

handmade-hero-1
News

The people trying to save programming from itself

“Most things in the world are broken,” noted RAD Game Tools owner Jeff Roberts in a 2013 vodcast with programmer Casey Muratori. Roberts was talking about the busted, often unusable state of technology in our every day lives. You’ve probably seen examples of this when you’ve simply tried to install a game: “driver not found”; “reboot now or install later?”; “an error occurred.” These are the result of poor decisions made decades ago, Roberts explains: “We’re in the mess that we are in now because of software engineering preferences from 30 years ago, made by people that just didn’t write enough code to have those preferences…

pixelsynthlead
News

Pixelsynth lets you turn your face into a song

Pixelsynth is a new web app from coder Olivia Jack that allows anyone to compose songs simply by drawing or uploading pictures. It’s available for free over on her Github, and it works by setting music to images in a method similar to a commonly used scientific and musical tool called a spectrogram. Like how sheet music is a language for representing different pitches of notes, spectrograms are visual representations of the spectrum of frequencies that make up a sound. Every song has a spectrogram that can be derived from it, and conversely, any image can be plugged into a spectrogram…

creative coding
News

Celebrate International Month of Creative Coding by taking online courses

Everything we know and love virtually is the source of meticulous coding. Coding is the backbone of videogames. Coding is in the DNA of the websites we visit daily. In fact, coding can be the reason why some of our favorite creative endeavors exist at all. Coding all too often makes the impossible possible. And that’s why the for-profit online course provider Kadenze has officially dubbed May as the “International Month of Creative Coding.” But what makes coding creative? Coding makes the impossible possible Creative coding is the primary goal of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics education (STEAM). Coding’s…

Glitchspace screenshot
Review

Glitchspace is a part-time shift of fixing bugs

No videogame is perfect. Somewhere lurking in the seams of polygonal landscapes lives the glitch —a graphical hiccup that could lead to characters not loading properly, items malfunctioning, or walls losing their solid form. However, in recent years the glitch has transcended its status as a technical bug to become a populist generative art tool. For example, Assassin’s Creed Unity’s (2014) walking nightmares wouldn’t have existed without errors to prompt them. Someone found an exploit in Dark Souls (2011) that lets you skip most of the game and break speedrun records. And even older videogames have found new life through…

Cat++-gif-header
News

Cat++ turns our feline obsession into a coding language

Cat++ is a code developed by Nora O’ Murchú, an Irish new media art curator, designer, and academic. Oh, and a cat lover, of course. Created during a residency at Access Space in the UK, Cat++ is thought of as a one-of-a-kind “cat simulator.” The coding alternates cat interactions with random and uncontrollable events that are translated through a series of 8-bit-esque animations. The code is based on real cat characteristics and assigns different dynamic visuals to user input. What’s even more wonderful is that O’ Murchú invites others to expand on the code with more cats and behaviors for new and unexpected…

Miguel Nobrega
News

The code-generated architectural drawings of Miguel Nóbrega

The computational science of randomness is a way to establish a firm balance without bias; a gateway between an artist and code itself. In videogames, randomness can take hold anywhere from a laughable Bethesda glitch, a serendipitous discovery in Metal Gear Solid V, to the randomly generated levels of iOS indie hit Downwell. For Los Angeles-based artist Miguel Nóbrega and his online art gallery “Possible, Plausible, Potential,” randomness is implemented as a way to strike a balance between coding and the artist. none of this illustrated architecture can actually exist. Using a plotter machine armed with colored markers, Nóbrega has…

Giapetta's Workshop
News

New Kickstarter uses crafting, jewelry, and games to get girls coding

A new Kickstarter entitled Giapetta’s Workshop wants to blend coding, crafting, and narrative into a single game that encourages 8-12 year old girls to be interested in STEM. The game begins in the real world, with a necklace and jewelry box that each girl can customize to fit her own style. The necklace then becomes her portal into an animated Adventure-Story app that turns learning how to code into a magical journey. The necklace serves as an input device which reveals hidden spells that, in turn, can only be unlocked by learning a basic coding program. Giapetta’s Workshop stars a…

elseheartbreak
News

The world of Else Heart.Break() is yours to hack

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Else Heart.Break() (PC, Mac, Linux)  BY Erik Svedang Life kinda sucks until you find out you can hack the world. That’s been the through line of a lot of cyberpunk and hacker fiction over the years. Else Heart.Break() doesn’t depart from this generalization but it does draw you into it more than ever before. You point-and-click Sebastian around an old European town until you discover its underground subculture of hackers. It’s then that you acquire a tool that lets you manipulate the code of everyday objects. Everything from…