Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Purposive random interjections

So, following the recommendation of RD/KA!'s first fan the Gnome, I recently took to using the social bookmarking site StumbleUpon. I like it. I don't expect it to replace well organised bookmarks, but I find it much better than email for swapping links and Donald and I are already using it regularly for that purpose. Here are a couple of neat sites I've Stumble[d]Upon.

DRAWTOY VS. BYOKAL, to present the full title as it appears on the app, is a simple way to make interesting patterns. If you like kaleidoscopes (and who doesn't?) then you can easily enjoy literal minutes of amusement with this before it wings its way past you leaving perhaps the lightest of touches (or more?) on your memory (or not!).

Screenshot samples showing how the patterns build up

This is just one of many toys and other items of interest hosted by Ze Frank, a US comedian. Here for example, he writes about tweeting for invites to adopt people's fB ID's for a week. As a roleplayer familiar with a real-life example of someone adopting a false ID on a gaming forum- and getting away with it for quite some time, I find this intriguing. So I'd say ze's page is definitely worth an idle browse.

Multicolr Search Lab
For more harmless internet hijinks you could visit the Multicolr Search Lab. This is one of several apps using the image-search technology of Idée Inc.; in this case to search for images corresponding to a colour or colours you choose using the simplest of point-and-click interfaces. Again, simple and strangely appealing.

Here are a couple of samples showing how the image selections change as you add different colours. No prizes for guessing why I chose that shade of green first, although (big geek confession imminent) for readers who are new here, or who maybe just didn't get it: yes, RD/KA! really is its lurid green because it's the colour of my beloved Penumbra's Talons; and why not? Any complaints, take them to Brother Elias...

...because if a genetically-engineered supersoldier all but dead and encased for centuries in a cybernetic sarcophagus controlling a walking tank can't deal with customer service, then who can?

I tried out more colours, naturally enough; as many colours as possible, as you'd expect...

...and was pleasantly entertained by the friendly message ("The Computer is your friend!") whose gentle chiding brought me back to the maximum 10 colours:

"And your point is, blogger?"
Passing amusement these pages certainly offer, but are the apps here previewed actually of any use, eg. to gamers? Perhaps.

The Drawtoy for example makes me think of some kind of control panel- on a spaceship maybe, suggesting images grabbed from the Drawtoy could be used to show players in an SF RPG some peculiar scanner effect. The strong visuals would have an obvious appeal, and a creative GM should be able to create an interesting puzzle about the what's, why's and wherefore's of the technology behind the imagery. Photos themed by colour could have some use in, eg. WFRP with its chromatic Wind of Magic sorcery system.

I've no idea how these suggestions would pan out in practice, but I do know that my roleplayer's mind found worthwhile the simple exercise of trying to think of useful applications of these toys. So Drawtoy and Multicolr have already proved useful just by stirring the creative stew of the subconcious that every good roleplayer needs to keep a-simmering so that they can bring as much as possible to their own and their fellow players' games.

PS. This post will be timestamped:- 09:00, 09/09/09. Heh! ;)
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