Archive for December, 2005

Spell of a Fractured Land

December 29, 2005

Spell of a Fractured Land Pictures

A photoStory has been posted on Zen Picture Pan Zoom and a few pictures from it are posted on my FlickR site.

Zen Alarm – Play Any MP3

December 16, 2005

Zen Alarm is an alarm clock that comes with two alarm sounds – a gong and a special message. But, users can type any MP3 and it will play it as the alarm – pretty cool huh?

Go to the site, read the quick instructions and bookmark your alarm – or download a desktop version…

The link to put a Zen Alarm on your Google home page is here:

ZEN ALARM 2.0 just launched with an added feature to allow you to pop up a Web site after a certain amount of time. Also, the alarm does not go off until you select a type of alarm.

Experimental Pictures

December 11, 2005

Experimental Pictures

Just posted a few experimental pictures I did in the workshop by hanging a camera on a string over a candle and a black light strip. You then set the shutter speed to about 8 seconds and swing or spin the camera around. Examples with moog from my old band thee Gnostics (site to come some day) are up on Zen Picture Pan Zoom and a copy are posted on my FlickR site.


December 9, 2005

A few thousand people have left a stone in the Dan Zen Garden. We hope that you will now say “hello” to us in the comments of this post. Please do and let us know a little about you, a link to your blog, or just a greeting!

While you are here, take a look around and perhaps if you are a long time Dan Zen visitor, find your favourite game and tell a story about what it was like playing it. Just click the comment link!

And if you have a blog, please let us know your URL. If you do not have a blog then why not make one and then let us know your URL!

All the best,

Dan Zen

Predict-A-Poll Predicting and Voting at Once

December 9, 2005

Predict-A-Poll is a poll portal and tool where you can predict polls as you vote in them. You can create your own polls that will show on the portal. If you want, you can post the polls on your Blog or Website. You can also make private polls.

The results show the predictions and the actuals so you can see if you are predictable and if you are good at predicting! Results are also graphed and analyzed.

Polls are organized by keywords and display context sensitive merchandise using a cool little mini mall from Chitika. Click the link under the mall if you are interested in putting a mini-mall on your site. Send the link to a friend if you think they would be interested.

Zen Picture Pan Zoom

December 9, 2005

Zen Picture Pan Zoom is a picture tool for you and a picture site.

Pictures will slide horizontally and vertically as you move your mouse in the direction you want to go. Click on the picture to zoom to a spot then click-drag to pan or click again to zoom again. Double click to exit zoom. POP pops up a window and FIT makes the picture fit. When all pictures are loaded, a triangle appears at bottom right. Click the triangle to show a menu. Drag the pictures in the menu to scroll them – click to choose a picture. You can also use arrows to jump to previous and next pictures and spacebar to pause.

You can see your own pictures in ZPPZ within 5 minutes by clicking Download Tool above. Send us a link and we might post them!

WannaGet – Collecting Game for Collectors

December 9, 2005

WannaGet is the collecting game for a collection of collectors ;-). And it is designed specifically for content creators – like site owners and Bloggers – to offer their viewers something fun.

You can collect items in a number of topics (like Harry Potter, Narnia, James Bond) and as more providers create sites, there will be more items to collect. You get points for collecting – click to read the rules and play!

Zen Dots – Compact Timeline Tool

December 9, 2005

Zen Dots is a time line tool that lets you efficiently view a timeline and associated data. As the viewer, you can expand or contract the scale of the timeline and drag the timeline to view various event descriptions. As the creator, you can set the dates, the colors, and the descriptions which are HTML.

Download the zip file for all you need to create your own timelines. It uses an XML configuration and data file. Alternatively, the tool, less the HTML output field, is available as a Flash component so you can use the timeline slider as an interface to control different types of descriptions.

Zen Deck – Card Viewer

December 9, 2005

Zen Deck was created when building Rich Deck as a generic card viewer. Whenever you build a feature you can often make a tool so other people can build the same type of feature. Zen Deck was modified quite heavily for Rich Deck but the core still stayed generic. Zen Deck is used for the current main interface for Dan Zen.

Other samples of the tool can be found here: Flash Deck and Flash Goddess

Zen Deck reads in an XML configuration and data file. It is fairly customizable in terms of colors and content. The layout and functionality is rigid. You can download the zip file with all you need to set up a Zen Deck feature of your own. See the “About” link in Zen Deck for the download link.

Zen Picture – Sliding Picture Presentation Tool

December 9, 2005

One of the most useful Dan Zen tools, Zen Picture shows pictures in a unique and efficient way. It slides horizontal pictures horizontally and vertical pictures vertically without a break. Zen Picture also lets you apply captions which with the continuous feel of movement, lends well to story telling. We have an upcoming version where sound can be added overall or to specific pictures.

It has been called “a very civilized way to view pictures” and said that “Zen Picture has made me interested in using pictures to tell stories and finding connections between pictures”. This, we believe, differentiates Zen Picture from tradition picture viewers.

It is our hope to have photographers use the tool and post their presentations in the public area.

You can download a Zen Picture zip file with all you need to make Zen Picture work. Currently, Dan Zen has made about fifty Zen Picture presentations and has gotten quite good at using the tools efficiently.

Motogami – Flash Motion Gaming

December 9, 2005

MotoGami is a set of motion games including ChooFu, ConGon, KiteKilt and InfiZoom. It is hoped to add more in the future.

Motion games tend to use dynamic animations, hit tests, dragging, etc. Often the simple game play can be embellished with a fun story. For example, jumping or ducking objects turned into ChooFu where you practice Kung Fu on top of a train avoiding the smoke puffs to keep your guy clean. Or a spotlight that gets smaller each time you find and click something with it becomes a search light for cons as you try and capture them after a jail break.

Dan Zen generally tries to make “mind games” with storytelling and community as opposed to frivolous motion games, but it in this case, it was fun to let loose.

Spy-mail – Secret Message Service

December 9, 2005

Quite an interesting game, Spy-mail lets you send messages to people and if you do not protect the message or forget to protect the message, then other players can spy on it.

Even before we launched Spy-mail, we sent a Spy-mail message to the president of GameSpy, the very large multi-user gaming site who happened to have the URL We made them a branded site and asked if they would be interested in using it. After a while, we spied on the topic and sure enough, there was a message from another employee back to the president that was unprotected. We got to read the initial message from the president saying “what do you think about this…” then “well, we already have our upcoming gaming network mail…”

Do a spy on Agent Dan Zen and you will find a number of interesting uses of Spy-mail.

Given the right codes, Spy-mail also acts as a full fledged Web-mail account – not bad for a few months of partial programming.

Kirputnik Cam – Mad Inventor’s Workshop

December 9, 2005

The Kirputnik Cam was a prototype interface for Dan Zen and then launched as the first feature of the Pagoda of Games interface. It provides a bumpy ride through the Dan Zen workshop viewing imaginary representations of Dan Zen games through a Web cam mounted on the Webmaster robot, Kirputnik.

The interface features movement and zoom and also introduces random bumps along the way.

The drawings are of Dan Zen online games and gadgets as well as some offline inventions. As you roll over the features, Kirputnik describes them but eventually Kirputnik runs into some technical difficulties which you can overcome by pressing a button. Have fun.

Rich Deck – Web Application Trading Game

December 9, 2005

Rich Deck is the Dan Zen card game where you buy and sell zany companies and make millions of Deck Dollars.

Rich Deck is a full Web application equivalent in complexity to large sites like e-bay. If you own a company, you make money from people buying franchises. If you have a franchise, you make money by e-mailing friends and having them accept the card. Different bonuses are given to different franchise owners for logging in, for players accepting the card logging in, for every 100 players logging in, for every week you own the franchise, etc. The technology is Flash – PHP – MySQL

Rich Deck was the prototype for Zen Deck. So with small modifications, Zen Deck was built. Zen Deck is a “card viewer” and works well as a portfolio tool or site interface.

Several other games along these lines are being considered – Spy Deck is one of them where you use agents to get at people’s secrets. In this case a group of people would start a Spy Deck game and play it amongst themselves.

Zen Motto – Philosophical Focus

December 9, 2005

Zen Motto is an attempt to pierce the physical world. One of the most viewed yet empty spaces in our society is the border around the computer monitor. Zen Motto is set up so that you can print a motivational motto and tape it on your monitor.

You can use an existing motto or submit your own. The mottos are two words which often leads to multiple interpretations in a Zen sense. Almost 3% of the views have led to a printing. Perhaps you should try it!

Zen Motto also showcases the Flash grid component for sortable tabular data. It makes use of a full e-mail publishing system where people’s mottos are submitted, an e-mail is sent to the editor who can accept, modify or decline at which point the motto is processed and may show up on the site.

Zen Play – Presentation Tool

December 9, 2005

One of the series of Zen tools created, Zen Play lets you store a series of Web pages and play them back as a slide show at various speeds. It provides a slim frame up top to let you pause or advance through the pages.

Zen Play is a nice simple way to show work, a business presentation, etc. where your content is on different Web pages. It is also easy for the public to use to cycle through your presentation.

Dan Zen has used Zen Play each year in Open House presentations for the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia program.

Dan Zen – Pagoda of Games

December 9, 2005

After a few years of the Board interface, we started to get… board. It was also fairly full. We created the Pagoda of Games, a Flash interface with lots of motion, to lead people into a pagoda of games and present them with moving menus representing motion through rooms in the pagoda. This allowed the Dan Zen games to be categorized.

The Pagoda also offered a different approach to making money where if people donated to Dan Zen then they would let everyone in line into Dan Zen. So it was an appeal to help others with their donation as well as Dan Zen. This did increase donations by 100%. But unfortunately 100% of a little is still a a little ;-).

The pagoda has lasted three years and filled up nicely as expected. So it was time to redesign and along came the Dan Zen Deck of Creations.

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