Monday, 17 March 2014

Monday, 13 January 2014

Should We Bury Fukushima?

I've watched this Fukushima situation with concern for a few months now. I have an interest in it partly because I worked in disaster response simulation design. My specialty was in designing simulations that dealt with what you might call the meta-level of situational events. (I worked on sims that dealt with how hospitals manage their resources at an overarching level during terrorists bombings and epidemic events.)

The Fukushima Diachi Nuclear Facility (displaying the 4 reactors)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Code Orange

I was a core designer at BreakAway Games for Code Orange, a computer 3D real-time strategy serious game to train hospital staff to deal with mass casualty incidents. I gave the project a strong new design structure and overall creative direction that reflected both the core strategic elements and the “feel” of disaster medicine at the hospital level.

I did extensive research on the topic, consulted with many experts (such as Israeli trauma specialist Dr Asher Hirshberg); brought in subject matter experts (SMEs) to work closely with myself; attended numerous courses, symposiums, meetings, disaster drills; spent many hours observing at the famous MedStar shock/trauma facility in Washington DC, and toured many hospital critical care facilities. I also became an unofficial expert in the Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HEICS), and did extensive client relations work.

I designed a tabletop prototype that covered the response of an entire hospital to a terrorist bomb scenario. I brought the development team (overseen by our subject-matter experts) through this prototype, so they could understand how the situation worked. I wrote the design documentation for the computer game, including spreadsheet-based data fields and mock-ups of the core user-interface.

I provided design leadership, guiding the development team in taking on the complex medical subject matter; boiling complicated materials down to a workable design, especially at the clinical level.

Code Orange was a project of Washington Hospital Center's ER1 initiative.

Here is a video of Code Orange in action, which gives a very rough sense of the interface (on which I also did core design work).

You can also see a video of myself moderating the tabletop prototype I designed for this project on BreakAway's homeland security page.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Tim Carter: The Game Trailer Auteur (Self-Ridicule Intended)

I think I made the very first "game trailer".  The very first video that spliced gameplay action over music.

It was 1987. I was in my second year of film school (God, how I hate that term - film school... But it did let you make mistakes as a creator; it was an incubation space). Anyway, we had to do a video cut to music. So I convinced my buddy, Ed Vitunski, to go down to the arcade strip on Yonge Street...

Then, Yonge was a seedy street, with lots of these quarter arcades... (Now it's a somewhat less seedy street, but with a glassy, plastic, sickly saccarine sheen to it. Frankly, I miss the Old Yonge Street... But I digress...)

The owners at one place HATED us shooting video in their place. I guess there were a lot of less-than-savoury-types hanging around there... Underworld somehow. Eh... that was the arcade clientelle. We snuck some shots anyway, and got some good footage before they noticed us and kicked us out. Then we moved on to the next arcade... there were so many back then. (Now gaming is totally isolated... Back then, you'd meet people at these places - join in together with a stranger to put in quarters and defeat the Ultimate Boss of some game... Now, we're all in our own little cells... But I digress...)

Anyway, we shot footage of guys playing videogames. Some were real rockstar players: guys who were in their zone. Most were just messing around.

We also shot loads of my collection of cracked Commodore 64 games.

Plus we shot my friend Scotz, and his loopy football buddy, acting as if they were playing.

Then I cut it to Great Balls of Fire!!!, by Jerry Lee Lewis!

The result, I present here...

My next foray was some time later, in 2000, when I did something called SERVICES: The Counter-Strike Documentary (which is a whole other story...). Anyway, I put online this trailer for that documentary about Counter-Strike...

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Fire Zone

Fire Zone: 1998: Front Cover Design
20th Century Military Roleplaying & Miniatures
Fire Zone is a tabletop roleplaying-slash-miniatures game I designed and wrote.

I've just uploaded it to Scribd...  Get it there for free.You can see the entire 280-page game manual there. It works well as a sourcebook for a modern military RPG campaign you might be running... I'd say it even works as a read unto itself - as a reference book. So you may find it interesting, though it's probably a bit too complex to be playable.

(Pardon the low-rez scan... It took me an entire day to scan the 1998 draft.)

Fire Zone has a long story. It contains a pretty extensive Design Notes section, in the manuscript - but I want to include some context in this post.

Along the Edges of Zeitgeist
Really, it is the anchorpoint for most of my thinking and design work around modern combat subjects. It begins in 1984, when I began to gamemaster Traveller, the roleplaying game, in a serious way.

Friday, 17 May 2013

What Alien Swarm Means To Me

A Gritty Kind Of Sci-Fi

When I was young, years ago, I used to design and gamemaster science-fiction tabletop roleplaying missions and campaigns. This was where I cut my teeth on mission design, game design - even screenwriting and filmmaking to some extent, as many of my campaigns and missions were delivered in a cinematic way.

The first "bug mission" I did, in my homebrew version of Traveller (the RPG), was even before Aliens came out. (It felt more like Alien than (read more)...

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Our New Commander...

Just today, I think, I saw this amazing video by Chris Hadfield, and his son Evan Hadfield...

I've been watching it today, wondering what about it intrigues me. Hadfield's voice is borderline... If this had been some major entertainment production...

But I think that's the point of it.

What isn't so striking about it is his voice.

What IS striking about it is his demeanour.

He looks at you dead centre. And he's cool to the core. Like, this is the soul of a Test Fighter Pilot. One who succeeded in his centre-most dream-in-life: to Command a Mission in Space. He says "This is my voice..." And that's it. He doesn't challenge; he doesn't threaten; he doesn't apologize; he just claims it.

So it's that cool centre... That ultimate self-acceptance... I think that's what's so amazing about this video.

It's as if he stepped into the world of emotion and challenged its many denizens to think of the world of science. He is a scientist who dares to step into the world of art... But he does it so well because he speaks from self-acceptance... He dares to heal the rift between the logical and irrational mind.

I think Hadfield is the kind of person who is a symbol for what people need now as leaders and heroes. He's a hero for our time... funny as that may sound.