Archive for August, 2009

On the Horizon

Advance news of Typographics Horizons, a one-day symposium for Midlands typographers. It’s being organised by UKType in collaboration with Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD), Birmingham City University. There are no further details of website yet, but if you’re a typographer or graphic designer the date for your diary is 18th November 09.

Guide To Sources Of Small Business Finance In The West Midlands

The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has produced an excellent free booklet, A Guide To Sources Of Small Business Finance In The West Midlands (July 2009). This detailed and concise 28-page guide has everything you need to know about current regional and specialist sources of funding for your small business.

News from North Staffs

I just updated Creative Stoke with 70 new opportunities and news snippets for those in and around North Staffordshire.


My review of Fuel (PC), the biggest ‘open world’ yet. A 5,000 square-mile chunk of North America, proceedurally generated atop real-life DEM maps, with 100,000 miles of roads and tracks.

Fuel up!

An addition to my recent Virtual Tourism list… Eight hours to drive across America.

Game art

Game art.

Be2Camp videos

Wednesday’s Be2Camp in Birmingham now has videos of presentations online (Speaker list).

Gaming the regions

A couple of bits of UK digital industry news, boosting the digital profile of places outside London. Although not the Midlands, sadly. A new £7m UK research-oriented Centre for Digital Entertainment in Bath, partnering with games and animation companies to provide long-term doctoral work that solves their problems. And the major Eurogamer Expo ventures out […]

Little Wheel

Another beautiful little Flash game. Anything using a silhouette style of art has me straight away. Little Wheel is a free point n’ click puzzle game in which you have to restore a robot civilisation to life, 10,000 years after an accident killed it… My one problem with Flash games such as this is most […]

Rhubarb cut back in 2010

It seems that Birmingham’s Rhubarb Rhubarb is ceasing the prestigious core ‘portfolio review’ aspect of the photography festival in 2010. The British Journal of Photography reports stalwart organiser Rhonda Wilson as saying that… “financial constraints resulting from the recession [means that photographers’] capacity to buy time at reviews and courses is getting less, due to […]

Tourism v2.0: top 10 virtual tourist experiences

My survey of the top ten ‘Virtual Tourist Destinations’. All ten are free: 1. Whitehart Island, Washington State hunting wilderness. (3D open world, game-engine)… 2. The Painted Caves of Lascaux. (Psuedo-3D Flash tour)… 3. Bejing’s Virtual Forbidden City, a faithful recreation of the city in the Qing dynasty era. (3D world, game-engine)… 4. Disney World […]

Another Perfect World

Another Perfect World (Channel 4, 2009), a TV documentary on virtual worlds. What’s this in the intro… Quote: “The biggest worlds are War of Warcraft with…” Er? The problem, of course, is that very few are anywhere near perfect. We’re sold new games and virtual worlds on a stream of advance control-freak marketing hype and […]


Amusement. A curious idea — blend an aloof-yoof fashion/style magazine with a videogame magazine. Publish half of it in French. Sprinkle liberally with a dusting of embedded RFID tags to connect the paper magazine to the web (you need to buy a special hardware tag-reader from the publishers to do this, which seems idiotic)… Still, […]

Google gets a shot of Caffeine

The new Google, now on open test at The results are ranked differently, the pool from which results are returned is far larger, results appear twice as fast, and the new index relies more on keyword strings (thus burying more spam).

Games you can’t buy on Amazon UK

It’s a sign of the times that some of the most interesting PC games of 2009 (so far) can’t even be bought or reviewed on Amazon UK. I’m thinking of The Path; Plants vs. Zombies; The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition; Launch of the Screaming Narwhal and subsequent chapters; Emote’s free-to-try The Hunter, and […]

“Ah, progress…”

A while ago I mentioned to a University of Birmingham expert on painting that the 18th/19th century picturesque landscape picture (a Midlands invention, incidentally) might be alive and well and living in videogame art direction, but he looked dubious. I was thinking of games such as Oblivion and its ilk, but here’s some evidence from […]

City Murmur

CityMurmur — auto-extracting keywords and street names from news, and using them to colour-code the city map by news type…

Can’t Connect, Won’t Connect

Can’t Connect, Won’t Connect (listen again), a BBC Radio 4 documentary about those who can’t use the internet.

The Hunter

The Hunter, aka theHunter. Joint Venture Development: Emote / Avalanche, 2009.Platform: PC, Windows.Game type: Steath, Strategy, Sports Hunting Sim. Bambi lovers, look away now — an outstanding PC sports hunting sim game was launched a few months ago. And it’s partly a local product from the Midlands. The Hunter was co-developed by Derby-based British indie […]

Recession snapshot

A new recession snapshot of the cultural and creative industries in the West Midlands (PDF link)… “evidence is now emerging of widespread cuts to local authority arts, culture and tourism budgets and/or small grant schemes. This coincides with a reduced Advantage West Midlands budget and reduced availability of funding from private investment … The number […]