Back in 1991 there was an Autodesk DOS program called James Gleick’s CHAOS: The Software., written by Josh Gordon, Rudy Rucker and John Walker. It allowed you to generate visual representations of a lot of Chaos Theory’s best math, and Rudy wrote most of the algorithms, except for John Walkers Fractal Landscapes algorithms. Rudy has now posted it online over at GitHub as a free open source download under the GNU license. It will run on pretty much anything that has DOSBox installed on it, which is itself free open source software that runs on Windows, Linux, MACs, Raspbian and more.

If you are playing with 3D modeling, be aware of MakeHuman, a free open source tool for creating 3D characters. Written in Python, it integrates seamlessly into blender, and allows you to instantly generate a fully rigged and ready to animate human or near-human. It’s slider set has over a thousand morphs you can apply to modify your character, including (but not limited to) Age, gender, height, weight, body proportions, face shapes, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears, neck, hands, feet.. the list goes on. And it is licensed under the CC0 license from Creative Commons, giving you unparalleled freedom to use your creations however you like. The folks over at Games From Scratch did an excellent introduction video on this, which I am including here so you can see just how easy and powerful this package is.

The SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival 2017 entries are still open, and will be until March 21st, which is also their deadline for VR Theater entries. So you still have a bit of time to submit your projects to the gathering, which will be held from July 30th to August 3rd in Los Angeles this year. Yes, the competition can be daunting; after all, these are most of the folks doing serious VR and Animation work on the planet. But if you have something that you are proud of and willing for others to see, this could be the perfect venue for you to put your work in the public eye. And maybe it might be you standing on stage and accepting the award this year.

I found this video amazing; it is an explanation of how they used a real person to create a game character, and in the process invented the combination of technology needed to allow that person to act in real time in the game. Which means that anyone with deep enough pockets (which would have to be very deep, at this point) could schedule time to get themselves scanned and processed, buy the gear including the head mounted camera system, and do the same thing. It allows you to be fully immersed in the 360 VR game environment as yourself, with everyone able to see and hear you, right down to your current facial expression. Of course, it will be a decade or so before the price comes down enough that the rest of us get to try this out, but its good to know it is on the way.

These are a few pictures taken while wandering around London’s Chinatown area, and the first one is my new favorite snack, TaiYaki. We first ran into this snack while hanging out in Second Life, but had never seen it in RL until we found a little bakery in London’s Chinatown that seemed to be making 70% of its sales from fish waffles. Most times of day they had a line the length of the store queuing up to buy them.

Taiyaki
Taiyaki

They may look like fish, but they taste like lightly sweetened Belgium Waffles (the real ones that you can buy from the street vendors in Brussels) with just a dab of creamy custard in the center.

Chinatown Tori
Chinatown Tori

I think of Tori’s as the gateway into an area, but the one in London’s Chinatown is a good two blocks in.

Monkey King
Monkey King

I never did find out exactly why this representation of the Monkey King was hanging out on this building, but I found it interesting so I am including it here.