Introduction to New Media art 311 Dr. J. R. Parker Art/Digital Media Lab Lec 01 Fall 2014 New Media

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Introduction to New Media

  • ART 311
  • Dr. J. R. Parker
  • Art/Digital Media Lab
  • Lec 01 Fall 2014

New Media

  • This course will focus on the basic concepts of new media.
  • At the end of this course you will have a better understanding of the nature of new media, and the materials used in its construction.


  • There are many assignments that can be completed in this course. Each one is worth a variable number of ‘points’.
  • This is like a game, and to win the game (complete a Minimum number assignments) you need to complete 100 points worth.
  • I don't like exams, but in first year classes and those with no official lab component there seems to be no reasonable alternative. Thus, we have a midterm.
  • We have a final (term) project)


  • You are responsible for materials used in completing the assignments. You will need access to computers, and may use your own, the computers in the NUML on the 6th floor, those in the information commons, or any other one you like.

Instructor (ME)

  • Dr. Jim Parker
  • Specialty: Digital media, video games, animation
  • Office: AB606
  • LAB: AB611

What Is New Media?

  • It's a term for the many different forms of electronic communication that are made possible through the use of computer technology.
  • The term is in relation to “old” media forms, such as print newspapers and magazines, that are static representations of text and graphics.

What Is New Media?

  • It's defined by the underlying use of numbers (codes) to represent media objects.
  • This use of codes enables computers to do the work needed to have the media be dynamic.

What is New Media?

  • * Web sites (Flash)
  • * streaming audio and video (podcasts)
  • * chat rooms
  • * e-mail
  • * online communities
  • * Web advertising

What is New Media?

  • * DVD and CD-ROM media
  • * virtual reality environments (Second Life)
  • * integration of digital data with the telephone, such as Internet telephony (Cell phones)
  • * digital cameras
  • * mobile computing

What is New Media?

  • * Digital animation
  • * video games
  • * web art
  • * network performance
  • * motion/position capture (GPS)

Use of the term new media implies that communication is happening between computers and humans resulting in a medium for expression.

  • Use of the term new media implies that communication is happening between computers and humans resulting in a medium for expression.
  • One needs to know about artistic creation and about computer technologies.
  • We need to know about technology especially with respect to its capabilities and the limits it imposes on expression.

Key Concepts

  • Information
  • Network
  • Interface
  • Archive
  • Interactivity
  • Simulation


  • At a basic level Media consists of information.
  • Claude Shannon – information theory.
  • How communication takes place is technical; the meaning is sociological or philosophical.
  • How can a communication system process messages that are unknown to the designers?
  • He defined a measure of information (entropy)


  • For a text message to be sent, the system has to understand the symbols used, so the sender uses symbols from a specified set.


  • Parts of a communication system:
  • Source (person, EG)
  • Transmitter encodes the message for transmission
  • Channel is the medium between transmitter and receiver (wire?)
  • Receiver decodes the message
  • Destination – target of the message
  • --- Noise ---


  • Marshall McLuhan deals with messages as content.
  • To Shannon there is only a signal, no message (a message Is meaning attached to the signal)
  • ‘the medium is the message’: Information can not be understood in isolation from the
  • technologies that created and
  • transmitted it.


  • Information in new media:
  • A new media object is a signal but is also a message, and the way the message is coded and transmitted affects the way we understand it.
  • Is a TV show moving objects? Sound? A sequence of still images?


  • 1801 J. M. Jacquard – Loom (graphics)
  • 1833 Charles Babbage – Analytical engine
  • Aug 19, 1837 – Louis Daguerre (photography)

Ada Augusta

  • Babbage's programmer:
  • “The analytical engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”
  • (Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815, London – 27 November 1852, Marylebone, London), born Augusta Ada Byron)


  • The first electric synthesizer was invented in 1876 by Elisha Gray
  • Development of motion pictures. First movie studio = 1893, T Edison. Produced 20 second shorts.
  • 1890 – US Census used electrical machines to tabulate the data. Punched cards (like the loom):
  • 1910 ........... Hollerith's Tabulating Machine Company
  • 1911 ........... Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company
  • 1924 .......... International Business Machines Corporation
  • 1936 Alan Turing and computability.
  • 1936 Conrad Zuse builds first digital computer using discarded 35mm film as data tape.
  • Turing machine
  • Turing test


  • On January 23, 1926, John Logie Baird (of Scotland) gave the world's first public demonstration of a mechanical television apparatus to approximately 40 members of the Royal Institution at his laboratory.
  • NBC officially began regularly scheduled television broadcasts in New York on April 30, 1939 with a broadcast of the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair.
  • The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) adopted the American NTSC 525-line B/W 60 field per second system as its broadcast standard. It began television broadcasting in Canada in September 1952

TV 1937


  • 1950s TV – Space Patrol. Note the production methods.


  • 1956 Range Roundup. Note video /sound quality.

Next steps

  • 1951 CSIRAC (Australia) publicly plays the Colonel Bogey March (computer music)
  • 'Baby', Manchester England. Earliest recorded computer music.


  • 1954 - Korean War vet David Rosen sees the popularity of mechanical coin-op games on US military bases in Japan, so he starts SErvice GAmes (SEGA)to export these games to Japan.
  • 1958 - In an effort to keep visitors to the Brookhaven National Laboratories in New York from being bored, physicist Willy Higinbotham invents an interactive table-tennis-like game that is displayed on an oscilloscope. (Pong)
  • In 1951, the first video tape recorder (VTR) captured live images from television cameras

Tennis For Two


  • The Model 95 was Polaroid's first camera, and it was introduced in 1948.


  • Theremin, invented in 1928, released as a kit from Moog.
  • Minicomputers - CDC-160A

Mixing Media

  • TV Theme 'My Favorite Martian' uses a theremin.


  • 1960 - PDP-1 minicomputer (and SpaceWar computer game)
  • October 17, 1969, George Smith and Willard Boyle invented the charge-coupled device (CCD)
  • 1963: Douglas Englebart – first mouse
  • 1963 Ivan Sutherland – Sketchpad, interactive CG system- pop-up menus


  • 1967 – First computer animation


  • 1968 - PDP-8 minicomputer
  • The first ARPANET link was established between the University of California, Los Angeles and the Stanford Research Institute on 22:30 hours on October 29, 1969.


  • Commercial video games
  • First home computers
  • Atari releases home Space Invaders
  • VCR – although the first home vcr was the Sony model CV-2000, it was $1000, monochrome, and used reels.
  • 1970 Philips developed a home videocassette format.
  • Betamax November 1975
  • VHS format, introduced in Japan in September 1976


  • Apple I 1976 (a kit)
  • The Apple II was introduced on April 16, 1977 (VisiCalc spreadsheet)
  • 1971 – Andromeda Strain. Short 3D graphics segment.
  • 1973: John Whitney. Jr. and Gary Demos – “Westworld”, claims to be first film with computer graphics.

1971 -Andromeda Strain

1973 -Westworld



  • SONY - 1981, the first prototype digital camera, the Mavica.
  • 570*490
  • 50 still frames
  • floppy 3.5" disks
  • CCD sensor


  • In 1982, two events happened that eventually led to the home camcorder boom: JVC introduced the VHS-C format, and Sony released the first professional camcorder named Betacam.
  • Cameramen did not welcome Betacam, because before it, carrying and operating the VCR unit was the work of a video engineer; after Betacam they came to be required to operate both video camera and VCR.


  • IBM introduces the PC
  • with 64 kB of RAM and a single 5 1/4 inch floppy drive and monitor sold for US $3,005, while the cheapest configuration ($1,565) that had no floppy drives, only 16KB RAM, and no monitor (again, under the expectation that users would connect their existing TV sets and cassette recorders)
  • 1983- When a civilian airplane of the Korean Airline (Flight 007) was shot down by Soviet fighters after it had gone lost over Soviet territory, GPS was declassified by President Reagan. GPS moved from pure military effort to public project: it was decided to allow the civilian use of the GPS system.


  • Apple Macintosh

A turning point

  • When computer power becomes easily available to all, including artists and musicians, then the convergence of informatics and the arts really begins.
  • There is a democratization that occurs at about 1984.


    • Nintendo Introduces Monochrome Game Boy
    • Cell phones were first made available to the public in 1984. (The first actual cell phone was made in 1973 by Martin Cooper of Motorola and other assisting inventors who used the idea of the car phone)
    • According to a former employee of NASA, Edward Lantz, the first was sent via a simple Motorola beeper in 1989 by Raina Forteni from New York City to Melbourne Beach, Florida using upside down numbers that could be read as words and sounds.


    • 1990 - WorldWideWeb. The first web page address was
    • 1992: Silicon Graphics – OpenGL specification


    • The first SMS typed on a GSM phone, sent by Riku Pihkonen, an engineer student at Nokia, in 1993.
    • 1995 - Sony ships 32-bit Playstation


The Most Important Invention for New Media

  • The Analog to digital converter

A/D Converter

  • Converts an analog (continuous) signal into numbers (digits)
  • This enables a computer to store and manipulate any electronic signal, including sound, video, heartbeat, radio, etc etc by converting into numbers and storing as such.
  • Inverse operation is digital to analog conversion. Allows numbers to be played as music.
  • These devices are most often seen these days in CD and DVD players, PC sound cards, cell phones..


  • The ADC and DAC developed by Reeves deserves some further discussion, since they represent one of the first all-electronic data converters on record. The ADC technique basically uses a sampling pulse to take a sample of the analog signal, set an R/S flip-flop, and simultaneously start a controlled ramp voltage. The ramp voltage is compared with the input, and when they are equal, a pulse is generated that resets the R/S flip-flop. The output of the flip-flop is a pulse whose width is proportional to the analog signal at the sampling instant. This pulse width modulated (PWM) pulse controls a gated oscillator, and the number of pulses out of the gated oscillator represents the quantized value of the analog signal. This pulse train can be easily converted to a binary word by driving a counter. In Reeves' system, a master clock of 600 kHz is used, and a 100:1 divider generates the 6-kHz sampling pulses. The system uses a 5-bit counter, and 31 counts (out of the 100 counts between sampling pulses) therefore represents a fullscale signal.


  • Commodore ships the Amiga as computer system designed to support games
  • Sega ships Sega Master System as console game
  • Atari ships the 7800
  • Nintendo is king (10 to 1)


  • Electronic Arts releases their first in-house game: Skate or Die
  • Serious games released for IBM PC’s VGA and SVGA graphics
  • Tonka Distributes Sega Games Toy-truck company Tonka purchases the US distribution rights to the SMS and gets it into more stores than Sega did, allowing it to better compete against the NES.
  • Galaga,Dig Dug; Robotron: 2084, Joust; Electronic Arts' One-on-One Basketball, and Atari's own Asteroids and ; Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda ; Kid Icarus and Metroid


  • Atari Releases Games for the NES Atari Games establishes Tengen, a subsidiary that produces games for home consoles. Tengen begins as a licensed third-party developer of NES-compatible games. This role ends when Atari Games takes Nintendo to court, claiming that Nintendo has an illegal monopoly on the video game industry, achieved through illegal practices, such as fixing prices and using computer-chip lockout technology to prohibit unlicensed development of NES software.
  • Tengen Bypasses Nintendo "Lockout" Chip Tengen discovers a way to produce NES-compatible games without Nintendo's approval and announces that it will develop, manufacturer, and distribute NES-compatible games without Nintendo's blessing.
  • Coleco Files for Bankruptcy Unable to recover from the disastrous Adam, Coleco files for bankruptcy. Most of its catalog goes to Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers.


  • Tetris Troubles Tengen acquires the home rights to Tetris and begins selling the extremely popular game. However, it is quickly discovered that Tengen bought the rights from Mirrorsoft, which did not own the rights in the first place. Nintendo quietly acquires the legitimate home rights to Tetris and releases it under its own label. The Tengen version is removed from the marketplace.
  • Nintendo Introduces Monochrome Game Boy Nintendo releases its handheld Game Boy ($109). The system comes with Tetris, and despite a tiny monochrome screen, it begins to build a historic sales record. A Game Boy version of Super Mario (Super Mario Land), a Breakout clone (Alleyway), and a baseball game are quickly released.


  • Nintendo releases Super Mario 3
  • Video Game Rental Dispute Nintendo and Blockbuster go to court over video game rentals, with Nintendo maintaining that the rentals are destroying its sales. When the courts decide the games can be rented, Nintendo strikes another blow by claiming that Blockbuster illegally copied the copyrighted game-instruction manuals. This time the courts side with Nintendo.
  • Sega Arcade Hits Continue to Come Home Sega continues to turn out games to trade on its established arcade successes.
  • PC’s and consoles are major game platforms


  • Nintendo launches Super-NES as 16-bit machine
  • Sega Introduces Sonic Sega unveils Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Game Genie Galoob Toys releases the Game Genie, which infuriates Nintendo--the device lets players cheat in NES games and win more easily. Nintendo sees the Game Genie as a tool that reduces the long-term value of its games, and it attempts to prevent Game Genie sales.


  • Pentium chip launches
  • Sega and Nintendo consoles are 80% of game market
  • Genesis Software Although they have contracts with Nintendo, Capcom and Konami talk actively with Sega about development for the Genesis. They ultimately release games but never devote their best teams to work on Sega software. Sega hurriedly prepares Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for a holiday release. The game sells like mad, and Sonic becomes a serious challenger to Mario's future success.
  • Panasonic ships Real-3DO as 32-bit software product. 3DO, a new company started by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, announces a new 32-bit gaming console. 3DO receives major backing from Panasonic, Time Warner, and MCA. 3DO does not plan to manufacturer any consoles itself. Hawkins' dream is that the 3DO console will become the standard that will be released by many different manufacturers.
  • Civilization released
  • Congress Notes Video Game Violence Incensed by the violence in Mortal Kombat and Night Trap, Senators Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut) and Herbert Kohl (Wisconsin) launch a Senate "investigation" into video game violence, threaten to somehow effect a ban on "violent" games, and eventually soften their demands and concede to an industry-wide rating system.


  • ESRB Is Established The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is established to rate video games. Large letter icons appear on game boxes to let consumers know the recommended age of players for each game and whether the game is violent or risqué.
  • Atari ships 64-bit Jaguar$700 for console $100 for game titles
  • DOOM released by Id
  • Nintendo Releases Super Game Boy Nintendo releases the Super Game Boy ($59), an adapter that lets Game Boy cartridges play on the SNES with extra features.
  • New Japanese Consoles Are Released The Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation are launched in Japan. By year's end, critics are pointing to the PlayStation as the superior machine.


  • Sega ships 32-bit Saturn, Sony ships 32-bit Playstation
  • Microsoft releases Win95 (DirectX) Internet and WWW explode
  • Nintendo VirtualBoy, N64
  • Sega Saturn


  • Console Prices Lowered Sony drops the price of the PlayStation to $199
  • Nintendo sells its billionth cartridge worldwide--an announcement made as stores begin to dump stocks of 16-bit cartridges at large losses.
  • Multi-player gaming becomes serious.Modem, Network companies, Internet
  • Sony Success Sony sales are said to top $12 million per day through the Christmas shopping season, and the PlayStation holds on to its worldwide place as the number-one next-generation game console. The video game industry has a highly profitable year, and software prices on 32-bit games begin to show exceptional volatility.


  • New Nintendo Policies Under new laws passed by the European Economic Commission, Nintendo can no longer sell European software companies the privilege to develop Nintendo-compatible games. And developers of N64 games no longer have to create games exclusively for the N64. Laws also prohibit Nintendo from being the sole manufacturer of the cartridges.


  • Tamagotchi Fever One simple theory explaining Bandai's failed engagement with Sega is that the toy company no longer needed Sega to help turn its sluggish sales around. In November 1996, Bandai released the Tamagotchi in Japan, which fortified the company's earnings all by itself. The Tamagotchi quickly became a national obsession in Japan, selling for hundreds of dollars, well above its original $16 price tag. Bandai releases the Tamagotchi in the United States in May. F.A.O. Schwartz, the first US store to offer it, sells out its initial supply of 30,000 in just three days. Bandai announces PC and Game Boy versions. Before long, other companies, such as Tiger Electronics, release their own virtual pets.
  • Pentium II’s with 200MHz processors introduced

1998 Modern Age

  • New Sega Console Sega officially acknowledges its new 128-bit system. At the same time Sega discloses that the new system will use a Microsoft Windows CE operating system, which will mean easier game conversions to and from the PC. (Dreamcast)
  • Playstation is console king.
  • Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the N64 on November 23. Sells 2.5 million copies of the game, grossing $150 million.
  • Pokémon Coming to America Nintendo announces that Pokémon will be coming to the United States. A marketing sensation in Japan, Pokémon (short for pocket monsters) receives worldwide attention when a crossover cartoon causes epileptic seizures in more than 700 Japanese viewers. The cartoons will be edited in the United States so they won't have the same effect on viewers. When the games release for the Game Boy in two editions in September, they become Nintendo's fastest-selling games ever.
  • Senators Praise Video Games Herb Kohl, the Wisconsin senator who cosponsored the 1994 bill to rate all video games, praises the video game industry for creating an arcade rating system and advisory messages.
  • Banner Year for Video games The IDSA (Interactive Digital Software Association) announces that 1998 was a banner year for the electronic entertainment industry. During the first six months of 1998, sales were up 30 percent from all of 1997, which itself had been a record year.
  • Frogger


  • Cellular Phone Games Nintendo announces the Game Boy Advance, a 32-bit color handheld system, which can be combined with a cellular phone for Internet access. Nintendo promises that the new unit will be compatible with both Game Boy and Game Boy Color software.
  • Maximum Score for Pac-Man Achieved Billy Mitchell achieves the highest possible score for Pac-Man when he completes every board and winds up with a score of 3,333,360.
  • UM-Dearborn offers first game design course

2000 New Era

  • PlayStation 2 Released in Japan Sony launches the PlayStation 2 in Japan on March 4. In two days, the company sells 1 million consoles--a new record. As is the case with all Japanese launches, gamers begin lining up outside stores two days in advance. Unfortunately, demand exceeds supply and not everybody gets a console, including those who preordered. Robberies of PlayStation 2s are reported.
  • Xbox Officially Announced The world's worst-kept secret becomes public knowledge after the opening of the Game Developers' Conference in March. Bill Gates delivers the keynote address and officially announces the Xbox to the world.
  • PlayStation 2 Frenzy The PlayStation 2 becomes the hot console of the year because it cannot be found. New PlayStation 2s go for as high as $1,000 on eBay.
  • Dolphin out, GameCube In Nintendo renames the Dolphin. First it becomes the Starcube, and then, thankfully, it becomes the GameCube. The console, which is shown to the press only during the first day of Space World, is literally a cube. Instead of using CDs or DVDs as the storage medium for GameCube games, Nintendo uses a proprietary optical disc based on Matsushita technology. Nintendo predicts that this medium will eventually be a standard, as its small size makes it attractive for future handhelds.
  • Diablo II, Sims


  • Gamecube from Nintendo
  • Sega of America Releases First Online-Compatible RPG Sega of America releases Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast. Thousands of gamers can play together online at the same time anywhere in the world. Icons and preselected text translate between languages.
  • Video Games go to the Movies Five years after the original game's debut, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is released into theaters on June 15. Starring Angelina Jolie as Croft, the film grosses $48.2 million in its opening weekend, the highest ever for a movie based on a video game. Less than month later, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within makes its debut on July 11 and earns just over $30 million in its entire US theatrical run. Undeterred by the mixed box office messages, movies based on Duke Nukem, Soul Calibur, and Crazy Taxi go into production, joining Resident Evil as the major video games receiving the Hollywood treatment.
  • Rogue Spear Becomes More than a Game Following in the footsteps of the US Army's use of Battlezone in the early '80s, the US Department of Defense licenses the Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear game engine for tactical training exercises.


  • X Marks the Spot On November 15, at an event in Times Square's Toys "R" Us, Microsoft officially launches the Xbox. Based on PC architecture, the $299 console comes equipped with a 733Mhz CPU, Nvidia GPU, 10GB hard drive, and built-in Ethernet port. In less than a month, Microsoft ships 1.1 million units to retailers. The system's best-selling launch title is Halo.
  • The GameCube Debuts Nintendo's GameCube is released in Japan on September 13 and North America on November 18. The diminutive cube-shaped console uses propriety discs based on DVD technology and is priced at $199, $100 less than the Xbox and PS2. Nintendo reports that $98 million worth of systems, games, and accessories were sold on the US launch day, with more than 500,000 systems sold in the first week. Luigi's Mansion is the best-selling launch title for the console.


  • PC Hardware Standard
    • 300 MHz Pentium
    • 64MB RAM
    • 300-700 MB disk space
    • CD ROM
    • MS Windows 95/98/2000/XP
    • DirectX
  • Sims best selling game of all time
  • Sega became a third-party developer and publisher for all other current machines and the PC.
  • Retro Studios develops Metroid Prime, popularizing the first-person adventure genre.


  • SIMS on-line,SIMS Superstar
  • Star Wars Galaxies >275,000 registered users
  • Nintendo released the improved Game Boy Advance SP in March.
  • Nokia entered the handheld market with its N-Gage game-phone hybrid on October 7.
  • PS2 Linux Kit is launched.
    • Warcraft III, Half Life 2,UT 2003


  • Serious games summit added to annual Game Developer Conference
  • Halo 2 was released in November, becoming the largest entertainment release at the time. Within 5 days of release, Halo 2 becomes the best-selling Xbox game.
  • Half-Life 2 was released in mid-November, and goes on to become one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, with almost universal praise.
  • Nokia releases a re-tooled N-Gage, the N-Gage QD.
  • Nintendo released the Nintendo DS in the U.S. on November 21.
  • Sony released the PlayStation Portable in Japan on December 12.


  • Resident Evil 4 for Nintendo GameCube becomes the most critically acclaimed game of the year.
  • November—Guitar Hero is released, with great reviews.
  • The Hot Coffee Mod is released for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas which enables a previously disabled "sex minigame." Hacks to enable this previously unavailable content on other platforms are quickly created by the users. The game's rating is raised to AO in the US, which removes it from virtually all mainstream stores. Rockstar Games re-releases the game without the hidden content, bringing it back to an M rating—as well as a patch to remove the minigame from existing PC versions.
  • Microsoft releases their second video game console, the Xbox 360 on November 22, with a rare simultaneous release in both America and Japan. It is well received in America, with resold units going for much higher than MSRP on the secondary market but suffered in the Japanese market, with many retailers having to go to extreme measures just to get them off the shelves.[14] Although widely regarded as a superb console, stock shortages as well as system instability or poorly manufactured systems have marred this otherwise-successful launch.
  • The video game Spore is shown at the GDC, and is received well, due to its procedural generation and massively single-player style.


  • World of Warcraft: 200000 simultaneous players
  • Nintendo Wii best selling console
  • DS captures handheld market.
  • Serious Games Canada in Montreal.
  • Halo 3 is released by Microsoft and becomes the fastest-selling video game in history, generating a revenue of $170 million in North America during its first 24 hours of release. In addition, it also became the fastest-selling entertainment release in history, beating the previous record holder, the movie Spider-Man 3, by a significant margin.


  • World of Warcraft generates $1B in on-line subscription sales
  • Hand-held and cell phone games gross $3.5B in single year
  • releases the PlayStation 3 on November 17, chaos erupts at several locations in the US due to high demand and extremely limited retailer supply. Two men were shot, and many others were injured.
  • Nintendo launched the Wii on November 19 with an 800,000 unit launch across the United States. Sales surged for the Wii and it eventually sold 2 million units by the end of December, compared to the PlayStation 3's sales of less than a million (800,000).

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