Other pictures of the MetaScience mayhem are on the Photoboof! site here: http://thephotoboof.com/events/metascience-G124X/
And on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fightingwords/sets/72157594580112739/
Second things second:
This may be hands-down the best conference I've gone to--not because of the panels (which are by far superior to anything I would have encountered at GDC last week had I bothered to attend them) or even the parties (though they have been good)--but because I showed up here solo, and beyond the few people I've run into whom I already knew, I've met some amazingly smart, funny people with great ideas who make my brain feel bigger. Seriously, I haven't felt this smart--or this challenged, inspired, or appreciated--in a long, long time.
A few things:
In reference to Google Earth being "built" by random users of SketchUp, the full-force turn towards creation of a "3D Web," and the emphasis not on fantasy but on realism in virtual worlds, I pose the question: Even beyond character design, are we approaching an Uncanny Valley? If we're pushing for more user/player-generated content, won't such "realism" intimidate and frighten users/players? And what's wrong with wacky, fantastical, and completely unrealistic worlds anyway? (Also, while we're at it, can we please stop talking about a "3D Web"? "Virtual reality," anyone?) My new friend is Matt Jones and I have decided that there should be a Godwin's Law for the inevitable mention of Second Life in any conversation about online games and virtual worlds. I've suggested it be called Linden's Law (tm). Justin Hall's PMOG is sheer brilliance. If no one Twitters it, it didn't happen. If you fall asleep in public, you will be publicly mocked. Favorite quote today (so far) was from Ben Cerveny on the "Online Games: Beyond Play and Fantasy" panel: "Apparently I have levelled up in rhetoric."
My grandmother's doing better. I'm not sure how much better, as my mother can't seem to make up her mind while giving me updates from Springfield. It seems that she does have pneumonia, is able to have some physical therapy now, but won't eat. My mother gets back to Berkeley tomorrow night; we'll talk about it then.
In the meantime, it's my last night here in Austin. Off to party and perhaps further discuss zero-gravity frozen vomit Pong.