Xindanwei | 新单位 A new way of working | 一种新的工作方式

February 1, 2013

Chair Member Michael Chang| 椅子会员Michael Chang

Filed under: People | 人物 — Tags: — Alice @ 12:00 am

[lang_en]Interview &Translation / Alice Dong

1. Welcome to, Please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field?

Hello Xindanwei. My name is Michael Chang and I’m a free-lance creative technologist working at Google. I was born in Taiwan, and studied at UCLA in California. It’s been a long and twisted path, starting with doing programmable motion graphics at Motion Theory, then a creative director at Protohaus in Shanghai, before being called back to the states for work with Google.

2. We learned that you are working with the Data Arts Team at Google and make Chrome Experiments alongside some very talented creative coders on projects. Can you tell us about 100,000 Stars, the project you are working for and what you do for them?

Data Arts Team is a branch of Google’s Creative Lab, which handles all of Google’s marketing and branding. We do everything from internal design development, event graphics, and data visualization. For example, I was asked to create the boot-up animation for the Nexus One phone for Google. We’re also tasked with pushing the boundaries of what Chrome browser can do, specifically on Chrome Experiments where we ask developers to submit their “experiments” using the latest web technologies. The work that these developers do constantly surprise us. Internally we also make our own Chrome Experiments, such as when our team leader Aaron Koblin worked with Chris Milk on web music videos like ROME or collaborative art installations like Exquisite Forest which is currently on display at the MOMA in London. Our latest piece was 100,000 Stars. I spear-headed this visualization and worked with the team on implementation and the data-gathering.

3. Please elaborate a bit on your approach to realize your project 100,000 Stars. As you’ve been working on data visualization, can you also tell us the experiences you had for these years?

It’s a really exciting time to be doing data visualization especially now on the web where we can deliver some really rich 3D graphics with things like THREE.js (a webgl library). Data visualization has the power to show people things that are hard to imagine — we’re surrounded by really interesting, fascinating sets of data and yet it’s really hard to get someone to look at a spread-sheet or a graph. I personally think that data can and sometimes *should* be made attractive, such that we get the public to look at and understand the data. That’s always really challenging.

4. You’ve also been one of the driving forces behind Puny Human. Can you explain a little about this indie game studio, your experiences with it, and how it got started?

Several years ago my colleague and I wanted to play a sword-fighting game with gameplay that we had in mind, and unfortunately at the time no game studio made the game that we wanted to play. So in a moment of fearless (and possibly stupid) decision making we hit the road with studying up on game engines, and learning how to make a game from scratch. We didn’t go into it completely blind, we already knew how to animate, or model, or program — and so it started from a simple prototype of a game to what it was today. That was in 2008! So it’s been a long time now.

5. Of course a follow up to the previous question is, Can you explain a bit about Blade Symphony, what it is, and who it is for as well as your involvement in its creation?

Blade Symphony is a third-person multi-player sword fighting game for the PC. You can switch to one of many fighting styles like fencing, Chinese Jian-Shu, german long-sword, kenjutsu, and even non-existent styles like break-dance sword fighting. I had to actually go out and study and train a few different sword fighting styles like kenjutsu and italian and german long-sword fighting techniques. Our team is about eight people with a support staff. Everyone is non-paid, which is sort of un-heard of given how big the game is. We did run a successful Kickstarter campaign and raised enough money to pay for the game engine we’re using, but not enough to pay ourselves. We’re pretty close to finishing though! The beta is coming up in February and a full retail release on Steam is looking pretty close this year.

6.Thanks again for providing this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?

There’s a lot of bright, inventive people at Xindanwei. I hope to get the chance to meet you![/lang_en]

[lang_cn]采访和翻译/ Alice Dong


大家好!我叫Michael Chang,我在谷歌工作, 是个自由创意技术人。我出生在台湾,曾就读于UCLA。关于怎么开始进入到现在这个领域里,真要说起来,怕是个一波三折的故事,在回到美国为谷歌工作之前,最初在Motion Theory设计编程动态图像,后来又在上海Protohaus任创意总监。

2.我们知道你和一帮极富创意的编码师一起在谷歌数据艺术团队里参与到 Chrome Experiments的各个项目中去,能跟我们说说100,000 Stars这个项目吗?

数据艺术团队是Chrome Experiments的一个分支,负责处理谷歌的营销与品牌推广。我们参与其中全部的内部设计开发过程,以及图像,数据可视化等,譬如就像要求我设计谷歌Nexus One的手机开机动画那样。我们团队的所有人都致力于将Chrome的性能尽可能的向更远处推进,尤其是在Chrome Experiments,我们要求开发者用最新近的网页科技在Chrome Experiments呈现,而后来这些开发者持之以恒在做的这些事情也曾让我震惊。其实,我们自己也有一直在做Chrome Experiments,譬如我们的主管Aaron Koblin和Chris Milk合作像ROME这类的网页音乐视频,还有现在正在伦敦MOMA展出的联合艺术装置Exquisite Forest。我们最近的作品就是100,000 Stars,我主导了这次的可视化项目,同时也参与了其中的执行以及数据搜集。

3. 请近谈谈您是怎么来实现100,000 Stars这个项目的。您一直在做数据可视化,能顺便聊聊您这些年的相关经历吗?


4.除此以外您还是Puny Human的创始人,能跟我们说说这个独立游戏工作室吗?您是怎样开始做这个工作室的?


5.当然紧接着的问题是有关Blade Symphony,它做什么的,以及您在这其中的参与体验?

Blade Symphony是一款适用于PC,基于多个玩家的格斗类游戏。玩家可以在多种格斗模式里切换,击剑,中国剑术,德国长剑,日本剑道,或者是其他一些子虚乌有的模式譬如霹雳剑法。我需要走出工作去实战学习这些不同的剑法,譬如日本剑道,意大利,德国的长剑。我们的团队有8个人,外加一个辅助支持人员,所有人员都是全全奉献在这个游戏里不拿任何薪资的。我们曾成功发起了一个Kickstarter项目,从中集资负担了游戏引擎方面的经费,却并不足以支持我们这帮人的劳动力。现在我们已经接近尾声了,测试版将在这个2月上线,Steam上的全面上线也将在今年紧锣密布地进行。




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