Ciro Durán A Live Archive

I met Amon in Brixton: Celebrating David Bowie

David Bowie died this past Monday 11th of January. It was very sudden, unexpected, as he had released a new record days before, and also he had his birthday just as recently.

I also happen to live in South London, not too far from Bowie’s birthplace, Brixton. I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s a really ethnically diverse place, next to Central London, great food, and markets where to buy plantains, one of my favourite foods I used to eat in Venezuela, for cheap.

I had the news of Bowie’s death in my head all day. So, after my working day finished, I travelled to Brixton to see what was going to happen there. To be honest, I had no idea if something was going to happen. I did not check the news. No one really had a central voice that said “let’s all gather here.”

I personally have not listened to more than three or four songs from Bowie, but I thought it was a unique opportunity to see history in the making. To see part of something bigger than anyone. Gathering around to celebrate a man that had just become his songs. A man that now will live in the guitars and musical instruments of all those who play him. That’s his level of influence.

I got down in Brixton railway station and the first thing I did was to look for something for dinner. Meanwhile, I began to think what the hell was I doing there. I had only learned of Bowie’s birthplace two hours before. I had no idea where to go or what to do. So I looked on Twitter to see what was happening around. I found out about Bowie’s mural next to Morleys Department Store, and the Ritzy Cinema, which had put a big sign honouring Bowie.

So I went to the mural, which was nearest, to see what people were doing, It was surreal. There was a big crowd around the mural, with lots of people raising their hands with their phones, probably attempting to capture the mural and the front row of people putting flowers. But from my point of view, it was just half of the mural, with lots of little screens around. Were they trying to capture just the lower half of the mural? The heads and phones of all the people piled up there, like I was? Some people were really happy showing off their pictures between their groups.

There was another big crowd nearby. The crowd was not gathered around anything in particular, and after they left there was nothing, just an empty seat. I could hardly listen to a guitar playing, but that was enough for people to sing Bowie’s songs spontaneously. Some people went as groups, but in general, no one knew each other, except that they were there out of their love for David Bowie.

My wife and a friend joined me right after, and I showed them the place I had arrived just 10 minutes before. I considered all of this like a theme park that was in development, with attractions that come and go. You were an attraction if you brought your musical instrument, or came dressed as your favorite Bowie era. And very soon, all these places will become shrines to come and feel a connection with the artist.

Not long after we were standing there some guy comes next to us and asks us what do we think about John Lennon. He said it in a very convincing voice, as he was really attending John Lennon’s memorial. After a very awkward minute, he started laughing and began to tell us his story.

He started listening to Bowie when he was fifteen, that it had touched his heart, that John Lennon, Roger Waters, and David Bowie were his favourite musicians. That England had so much good music to show up. That it was the musicians the soul and the face of the country, not the politicians.

It was these guys that really communicated the values of our society, and that that made him very, very proud of being an Englishman. In London’s everyday, it’s very rare that someone will come out of the blue and pour their heart on to strangers, but right there, right now, it was the correct moment.

Before he left us he jokingly invited us to his place to eat. Probably our face was a clear sign of declining his invitation. Nevertheless, I asked him his name before he left. “Amon”, he said. He said he was really Irish, but that he had been living many years around London.

We continued walking to the nearby square in Brixton. The Ritzy Cinema had a huge sign honouring Bowie, and the square in front was full of people. Young and old. Everyone remembering him and his songs. Some with musical instruments, and others with speakers that were too weak for the vast public space around. But the weakness of the speakers was aided by the people around, who started chanting the songs and thus everyone that was a bit farther started singing.

The center of the square was particularly packed with people. I could not what everyone was gathering around there. But I could see that a building next to the square had all their lights on, with people next to their window celebrating the musician as well. One of the windows had a projector showing mute music videos.

There was a bust that suddenly fell into the attention of everyone, as one guy hopped into the bust, embracing his legs around it, and started putting some masked tape to the face of the bust. After putting the tape, it was obvious what was going to happen next, with a fucsia spray one part of the eye and the forehead was now painted with a thunder in Ziggy Stardust’s fashion.

This was it, there was no other objective in this gathering, more than to share the feeling of having enjoyed his music, celebrate it, and be happy for it. It was not a mourning, it was a reaffirmation of what he represented and the legacy that he left.

New games and reorganising the list

I finally uploaded here Blame Clotilde!, a game made in past August together with Héctor Vargas, ¡it was a great experience! I also seized the moment to upload several game I’ve done throughout several game jams, so they now have their own place.

I met Craig in the train

I was leaving my worktown very late as I was with some friends after work. Thus, there were no longer any direct trains to my home, so I had to take one that passed through Gatwick Airport and then connect somewhere in London.

I was ready for the long trip, so I was leisurely reading a book while hearing music. I noticed some guy barely able to stand, right next to me, speaking loudly on his mobile; I wasn’t able to know what he was talking about as my music drowned his words.

He eventually sits in the opposite of the table I was sitting in. It was probably that the battery of his phone died, or hanged up, but he shut up and then started looking who to talk to. It was not difficult task as I was almost the only one in the coach.

The guy had a black cap, weared backwards, showing a very stylised figure of an Egyptian Sphinx. He also wore some huge pilot sunglasses that covered his eyes, and had a plastic bottle that used to contain water, and now contained some yellow alcoholic beverage that might as well be used for de-clogging sinks.

“What are you reading?”, he asked. At first I did not pay attention, as it is usually a tacit rule that someone with earphones wishes not to be disturbed, unless it’s a train guard asking for tickets. But since this guy was clearly so drunk, I guessed he was not much into etiquette.

So I started listening to this guy, who immediately switched to how happy he was. He had just left a girlfriend who worked in Gatwick Airport. He had two girlfriends, he told me. This one, and a correctional officer, who he met when he got out of jail. He had one baby with each one. He was particularly happy because he felt his future was assured by the jobs of one of these girls.

He asked me what I did for a living. I usually do not reveal immediately I make games for a living to strangers. So I answered that I worked with computers. He started a whole speech on how he has worked with computers and how he has assembled and disassembled them.

I was then a bit more specific, and revealed that I worked developing software. He then asked in what sense what I did improved his life. It’s actually a good question, regardless I develop games or not. I seriously doubted this guy had a bank account, so I couldn’t appeal to that, but even then, if you think about it, being shut out of modern finances is in no small part an influence from computers and what me and other programmers do. I gave a really clunky answer I couldn’t remember.

The final subject we touched was the latest money-making scheme he was devising. He asked me how much money per weight a fish costed in the High Street. To be honest, I did not understand to which fish he was referring to, as my vocabulary in English for fish is quite limited. I took my earnest intention to guess, and said between 5 and 10 pounds. He said it was about 7.5 pound, and claimed that for that price he could sell as much as four times the amount of fish.

So his plan was to buy fish from the Peckham market, and he also mentioned Hoxton as an alternative. Also buy one or two refrigerated vans, and distribute fish around the south of London. The only thing he needed to do was to have a laptop at his home where he would run the company. I asked him who could he hire to drive the vans, as this person would need to be trusted to drive well, or at least not to take the van away. He disregarded that as an important issue, he said he would just hire an uncle, or a relative that could take care of that. He surely seemed really confident and happy about this plan.

As I got to the station I would change trains, I said goodbye, got my stuff, and asked him before I left the train what was his name. “Craig”, he said. So I said bye to Craig, and wished him good luck in his endeavour.

And then all trains to my home in the next hour were cancelled and I had to take a bus in the end, but that’s another issue.

Dancing Cubes, a voxel art tool

May I present you the first release of Dancing Cubes, a tool for making voxel art, available for Windows. With the tool the artist may build models to make tiles in 2.5D or models with voxel art, using basic constructions blocks. It’s available in itch.io, where you will be able to download it.

The tool is based in the prototyping challenge proposed by Daniel Cook in his blog Lost Garden. The program still has many rough edges, but I appreciate your feedback. Especially if you have used similar programs.

Here’s a quick timelapse on how to make a model inside the program:

Abiertas las inscripciones del Caracas Game Jam 2014

¡Hola a todos!, El siguiente post fue enviado a los suscriptores de la lista de correos del Caracas Game Jam. Si deseas recibir correos del evento, suscríbete ahora mismo.

¡Bienvenidos al Caracas Game Jam 2014! Si estás recibiendo este correo es porque te suscribiste directamente a la lista de correos en http://www.caracasgamejam.com. El objetivo de este correo es abrir oficialmente las inscripciones del Caracas Game Jam y hacer algunos anuncios. Si no esperabas recibir este correo, lo lamentamos. Tendrás instrucciones para retirarte de la lista con un solo click y sin preguntas.

La Sexta Edición del Caracas Game Jam vuelve para el deleite de propios y extraños. Durante 48 horas, artistas y programadores unirán sus fuerzas para crear videojuegos y juegos de mesa desde cero. No importa si eres estudiante o profesional, si has hecho 100 juegos o no has hecho uno nunca en tu vida, el Caracas Game Jam es un ambiente que les da la bienvenida a todos por igual. Si nunca has hecho un juego, este evento te enseñará lo que es un ciclo completo de desarrollo. Si eres profesional, estarás animado de romper un poco el orden de un proyecto largo para hacer un prototipo rápido y, más importante aún, algo que puedas llamar propio.

El Caracas Game Jam forma parte del Global Game Jam, y durante el fin de semana del 24 al 26 de enero estarán participando simultáneamente junto a más de 300 sedes distribuidas en más de 60 países del mundo. Al finalizar el evento subirán su juego junto con todo lo que hicieron para que otras personas puedan jugarlo y estudiar su código. Sin embargo, todos los derechos del juego siguen siendo de ustedes.

En esta nueva edición contamos con un gran aliado. La Academia Wayra abre sus puertas para el evento, con un gran aforo, y excelente espacio para que todos puedan trabajar cómodamente. La Academia Wayra se encuentra en la Torre Xerox, en Bello Campo, a muy poca distancia del C.C. Sambil y a unas cuadras de la estación de Metro Altamira o Chacao. Puedes ver un video de la Academia Wayra en Youtube.

Las inscripciones se abrirán a partir de hoy 1ro de enero, y estarán abiertas hasta el inicio del evento . El costo de la inscripción es de 300BsF por persona. Este costo incluye la entrada al evento, refrigerios, bebidas y certificado de participación. El evento este año se hará en un espacio que está dotado, equipado y acondicionado para que la experiencia sea mucho más cómoda. El límite de participación es de 80 participantes. El espacio incluye una sala acondicionadas para trabajo con computadoras con internet inalámbrico, area de descanso, de esparcimiento, comedor con microondas, ducha, vigilancia, entre otras (el estacionamiento no está incluido). La edad mínima de participación del evento es de 16 años. Si eres menor de edad, debes venir con un representante legal y una autorización firmada por el mismo.

Para formalizar tu inscripción, deposita o haz una transferencia electrónica a cualquiera de las siguientes dos cuentas:

Banesco 01340225612253095148 Cuenta Corriente Mercantil 01050614010614009715 Cuenta de Ahorro Nombre: Ciro Durán / Cédula: 16005564 / Correo: ciro@caracasgamejam.com

Escribe a ciro@caracasgamejam.com con tu nombre, nombre del banco al que transferiste, y el número de referencia del depósito o transferencia. Ten en cuenta que si transfieres desde banco diferente el proceso puede tomar 48 horas. Se tomará en cuenta la formalización de la inscripción al momento de acreditar el monto. Iremos avisando a medida que las plazas se llenen y cuando ya queden pocos puestos. Atenderemos por orden de llegada de las transferencias. Te enviaremos de vuelta un formulario.

Deberás traer tu propio equipo ya que no contaremos con máquinas para prestar. Si traes desktop trae tu propia regleta para poder conectar todos los dispositivos. También debes traer tu propia comida: desayuno, almuerzo y cena. La torre tiene al Centro Comercial Sambil cercano, y un local de comida rápida (más adelante ampliaremos esta información). También recomendamos que lleves abrigo, pues el lugar puede llegar a ser bastante frío durante la noche. Debes traer también tus implementos para dormir (Colchoneta portatil o colchón inflable, recuerda que si traes colchón inflable, debes traer también la bomba de aire.)

Esta edición del Caracas Game Jam es organizada por El Chigüire Literario, y auspiciada por la Academia Wayra, contando con la colaboración de la Fundación Filantropía.

Si tienes alguna pregunta, puedes hacerla a ciro@caracasgamejam.com. Está pendiente de nuevos anuncios que haremos a través de esta lista de correos y nuestras redes sociales.

Twitter: @CaracasGameJam (Hashtag: #cgj14 (Caracas Game Jam) #ggj14 (Global Game Jam) Facebook: Caracas Game Jam

¡Gracias por tu atención!