Agent Simon

Voxel Afternoon Tea – Inspiration Session 2

We need to learn to communicate our creative ideas better as a team! We figure that since our diverse life experiences and inspirations shape how we dream up and explain our ideas, we should share more of them with each other. Voila! Voxel Afternoon Tea was born. During Voxel Afternoon Tea we share something that has inspired us recently, and let the discussion begin…

You can also check out the first Inspiration Session from a few weeks ago.

Agent Tom

Conditional Design

Make it up. (source: Aug 2011)

Tom: I shared several examples of conditional design, where artists create their work by adhering to a very fixed set of rules, kind of like playing a game, that causes the artwork to emerge from the rules rather than from the artists own intention or authorship.

A bunch of examples are available at

I also shared a “raster division” tool ( which functions in a similar manner: the final image produced by this tool isn’t really under control, rather it emerges without any real intention of creating it. I think that’s a really wicked concept, and the results are intriguing.


Henrik: Doing this would probably have been more beneficial for me during my uni degree than learning the latest 3D software.
Matt: I loved the debate that emerged about authorship of an artwork. What is the minimum amount of input required in a piece of work to make someone the ‘author’?
Simon: This I love! Thank you for sharing 😀
Tom: So many interesting artworks are made when computers apply rules to generate artwork, so I think it’s REALLY interesting when humans must apply rules to create a work. Can they be said to be an “author” of this work? Would it be the person who created the rules? The interplay there is really interesting to the idea of an auteur.
Tian: It reminds me of this scribbler drawing tool, maybe worth checking out.

 Agent Simon

M.C. Escher

Convex and Concave 1955 Lithograph (source:

Simon:In grade one I spent almost every lunch sketching mazes and putting them in front of friends. In grade two I moved on to copying designs from an M.C. Escher book that Dad bought me. Ever since I’ve continued a fascination with patterns, geometric shapes and generative art (as seen last week). I thought I’d share my early obsession with Escher because it has been an important source of inspiration for me for so long. But secretly I really like Escher because it feels like an adult’s Where’s Wally. I like in the piece above how you can see everything and nothing all at once.


Henrik: totally unrealistic
Matt: I <3 Escher.
Tom: Love it. Escher is a favourite artist too, and I can really see how it influences your work.

henrik Agent Henrik

Muse Live at Reading festival 2006

Henrik: When I saw this the first time I got goosebumps for day. Muse for me was my gateway drug into spending time to looking and understanding song and tune instead of being fed the latest popular beat on the commercial radio station.


Matt: Muse live blows my mind. I discovered muse later than most people after watching their live at Wemberly DVD. Mindblowingly good live performance.
Tom: This song makes me feel 16 again, which is ironic because it was 21 when it came out.

 Agent Tian

Love and Theft

Reason for sharing: fantastic metamorphosis of a brief history of animation, while the transformation can be disturbing. It’s hard to use words to describe, so please just click on Play and be amazed.


Henrik: I imagine my birth to looked something like this.
Matt: Brilliant animation aside… I love the way the video changes and evolves. Every time you are starting to feel like you’re over it, it twists and morphs into something new and draws you back in. It’s a wonderful demonstration of how to manage the attention span of people.
Simon: DO NOT SKIP THIS! Watch it and wee your pants a bit.
Tom: This was a relentless animation. It almost made me feel uncomfortable with the rapidity of face-changing awesome. It draws you in though, so I had to keep up.

 Agent Matt

They Need to be Fed (iPhone/android game)

Matt:Apart from being a good example of a very nice game, specifically, I wanted to talk about the progression in the game, and why I think it works so well. So what is the magic X factor?

Basically, I think the key things to look for in progression are Variation (so the game doesn’t get stale), Re-playability (An excuse to replay completed levels), and Reward (a reason to keep unlocking levels). They Need to be Fed excels at the first two; Variation and Re-playability.

They Need To Be Fed is broken up into 8 different worlds, and each world has it’s own unique twist on the core mechanic. This provides the variation that prevents the game from getting stale, as well as contributing as a Reward for players who get up to the later levels.

The game is almost played in 3 sessions. The first time you play through, you’re just trying to unlock all the levels. But in each world, there is an ‘x’ level that you can’t play yet. This is enticing, and gives you a reason to play well in each level, instead of just rushing through the content. When you’ve completed the game… you go back and try to get any Diamonds you missed on earlier plays. Then finally, when you have all the diamonds, you get the play the ‘x’ levels. Which are basically the variation specific to each world times 1000. If one world is about spinning blocks, expect everything to be spinning out of control.

Gameplay showing the ‘x’ levels:


Henrik: Love the simple and clean aesthetics. It rubs my Swedish spine in the most comfortable fashion. I applaud the developer for taking a direction with the design that might not hit the broadest target but creates a sexy continuity in design, art and gameplay. The challenge itself is good but I with a pixelprecis platformer like this I need to controls to be an harmonic extension of my fingers and on each occasion that it’s not I will immediately blame the game and I found myself doing that a few times to many times.
Tom: I loved this game. The variations soon lost appeal for me though. I really liked the “basic” version of the game, but once it became complicated with things like missiles, it actually lost some appeal for me.

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