More from Adobe Max
1. New York Times Reader
www.nytimes.com is building a news reader in Adobe AIR whose purpose is to bring readers digital content in an aesthetic as close to a newspaper as possible - “the way it was meant to be.” The product isn’t released yet, but NYT does seem to have a Windows Vista based reader for download that may have been intended to serve a similar goal. I’ll wait for the AIR version thank you very much.
My personal opinion is that the layout was incredibly attractive. Even better than a newspaper. Hopefully they’ll have demo soon so you can see for yourself.
2. Adobe Flex Catalyst (code name “Thermo”)
This project was announced at Max 2007 one year ago and is now in quazi-Alpha. It’s a platform for developing Flex/AIR applications geared towards supporting a work flow that better integrates designer contributions and developer contributions. Most importantly, it allows designers to create interactive components for which code is automatically generated.
The interface for designers is basically Photoshop on even more crack than it already was. For example. The designer can just draw a line and a shape somewhere near that line, select it all, right click and pick “make this a slider” and presto! they’re made a custom slider without writing code. Same with buttons and text areas and other widgets that have a graphic design and interactive design element
I get the impression that there is a huge overhead in learning the system, but apparantly, that’s okay because designers go to school to learn every last feature in Photoshop. I don’t know how Photoshop/Catalyst developers treat discoverability, but I would be keen to know. Anyway, here’s the obligatory video link. Although I was underwhelmed by it.
Side notes: I accidentally heard a talk by a guy named Peter Marx, who some members of the audience had confused with God. Apparently he was the creator of involved in World of Warcraft (he was CTO for Vivendi Games). He also had a big hand in witnessed the release of Ultima Online while he was at EA. (Clarification thanks to Peter, see his comment.) Personally, I would have been more impressed if he’d said he invented Free Cell. Anyways, he was talking about virtual worlds. He said that publishers strive to make their games usable and discoverable because if they don’t the volume of calls they get on customer support lines will drive them out of business.
He said that the two biggest factors in the enjoyment of games is
1. representation of people, aka avatars (I guess he read Snowcrash)
2. representation of places - football stadia, the streets of new york, whatever.
Particularly he pointed out that the yellow “line of scrimage” on televised football actually came out of video games like Madden. He also said that games like Madden have better visual representation that actual game TV broadcasts. That’s probably true, and kind of scary - virtual worlds are competitive with the real world.