Sim City gets an exciting new upgrade in 2013 (video)

Sim City gets an exciting new upgrade (video)

Sim City gets an exciting new upgrade (video)

I always sucked at Sim City but I excelled at The Sims. I still loved Sim City and always tried incredibly hard to not go bankrupt or create droughts in my city. Utopia is a hard goal to reach. But perhaps I can reach my goal next year when Maxis releases a beautiful new version of Sim City.

With the new version they seem to have taken a lot of style and design cues from The Sims, which is a really smart move, as they’ve always felt like two separate worlds that should really be one. Make it so your characters from Spore can invade the world and they’ve wrapped everything up with a nice,big bow.

You’ll see some of the other crazy improvements they’ve made in the videos above, things like characters and objects having independent motions and motivations. The rendering engine looks like it’s capable of a lot of amazing stuff, hopefully you don’t need an equally outrageous computer to play it. The other cool feature is a multi-player option, which should allow you to have your city next to those of your friends, thus being able to help or destroy one another.

You can read more about the release by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

March 22, 2012 / By

The 4 Pixel Rhythm – A simplified approach to designing everything

The 4 Pixel Rhythm - A simplified approach to designing everything

I was doing some client work last night which involved working with Facebook’s new Timeline design. I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into the pixel perfection of the design, but this project had me measuring. Come to find out that the big hero image at the top of the Timeline is 849px wide. Not 848, not 850, but 849px wide. In all honesty, there’s nothing wrong with this fact, but it does happen to go against the way I deign for the web, and this may be the fault of a developer, not of a designer. Though, if it isn’t designed to spec, then it’s the designers fault for not making the developer build it right.

Anyhow, since I started working at Disney nearly almost 10 months ago I’ve learned a whole lot of new tricks, though one in particular is something that I’ve begun to practice religiously. It’s called the 4 pixel rhythm, an idea created by Aen Tan which was meant as a solution to designing for iOS. You can read all about his idea in a post he wrote by clicking here. I was truly inspired by this article, and really started taking these ideas to heart.

At Disney we’re certainly trying to think tablet and mobile first, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at any of the current sites. Hold tight, we’ve got some amazing things coming. So the 4-pixel rhythm began as an experiment, to see if we did everything in multiples of 4 would the designs essentially make themselves? For the most part, the answer has been a resounding yes.

To start with, you have 3 main canvas widths when dealing with the web – 960 for desktop, 2048 for iPad, and 640 for iPhone. All are divisible by 4, so we’re on to something. Then you can begin breaking up your columns into 4 pixel widths, and you start seeing a pattern there as well. Once you begin to start putting in gutters and finessing spacing of objects, your choices become limited, which is what becomes interesting. You can make a space 8px or 12px or 16px or 20px or 24px… but your knows when something is too much or not enough, and by setting these limitations you begin to let the 4 pixel rhythm do the work for you.

Now when designing this way I tend not to worry about the height being in 4 pixel rhythms, as it can be difficult to judge the height of text or you end up having to use an oddly sized photo. That said, I’m sure it’s possible, and though I’m a fairly detail oriented (pixel nazi) designer, that’s just too much for me. I’d suggest trying it out and see if it works for you.

On a final note, the main content column here on The Fox Is Black is 576px, which just so happens to be divisible by 4. This also happens to be a complete and total accident. When I first designing the site 5 years ago I made it that width because it was 8 inches wide… yes, I was designing for web inches. Oh the things we learn…

Bobby Solomon

March 22, 2012 / By

Stunning Black and White Landscapes by Christian Villacillo

Black and White Landscape by Christian Villacillo

Black and White Landscape by Christian Villacillo

Black and White Landscape by Christian Villacillo

Black and White Landscape by Christian Villacillo

Somedays you just can’t beat black and white photography. I recently came across the portfolio of artist and photographer Christian Villacillo and was instantly taken by his stunning shots of nature. Villacillo is originally from the Philippines but now lives and works in Canada where he seems to draw closely from the landscape there.

Inspired by the likes of Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna and the Romantic landscape painters, Villacillo photographs capture the beauty and stillness that can be seen in the natural world. Above is only a taster of his work, make sure to check out the rest of what he does by visiting his website.

Philip Kennedy

March 22, 2012 / By

NOMA Lab: An architectural cookbook for the Nordic cuisine

NOMA Lab: An architectural cookbook for the Nordic cuisine

NOMA Lab: An architectural cookbook for the Nordic cuisine

NOMA Lab: An architectural cookbook for the Nordic cuisine

NOMA Lab: An architectural cookbook for the Nordic cuisine

If you follow food, you’ve absolutely heard of NOMA. Ranked as the best restaurant in the world in both 2010 and 2011 by Restaurant magazine, NOMA concentrates on creating meals from locally harvested and seasonal foods. Continuing their experimental nature, they’ve worked with 3XNS Interior to create a food lab of sorts where “chefs could continue to take their skills further in the evolution and development of Nordic cuisine.” It’s a beautiful space that came with some extremely firm restrictions – no glue or nails could be put into the building. Yeesh.

Thankfully 3XNS Interior came up with some clever ways of utilizing the space, filling it with specialized storage units utilizing customized modular units. Here’s how they describe them:

Curving playfully throughout the space, these units divide the 200M2 room into smaller areas accommodating the Food Lab, the herb garden, staff areas and office. Raw and simple, through colours and forms, it captures a unique Nordic aesthetic.

To learn more about the project I’d suggest you click here. I’d also suggest you check out the photos below which will give you a great idea of how amazing this space is.

Found through Core77

Bobby Solomon

March 22, 2012 / By

“In Caffeine We Trust” By Column Five

"In Caffeine We Trust" By Column Five

"In Caffeine We Trust" By Column Five

"In Caffeine We Trust" By Column Five

Are you one of those people who are crazy about your coffee and are borderline obsessed with your morning cup of Joe? Well, we have something for you! We came a little late to the party on this but Newport Beach’s Column Five sent us a rad poster to log our coffee consumption. It’s basically an IRL personalized infographic. They were having people log their coffee consumption and return findings for them to share. Even though it was a holiday gift, we somehow didn’t get it until recently and missed the boat on sharing findings. Nevertheless, we had to share because it’s pretty great, both sleek and inviting for you to paint on your coffee every day (and then use it to brag about your coffee findings). Check out more of what they sent and how you can get your own here.

KYLE FITZPATRICK

March 21, 2012 / By

‘The Lonesome Crowded West’ by Modest Mouse, wallpaper by Trevor Basset

Trevor Basset

Perhaps the best Modest Mouse album released, though not my very favorite, The Lonesome Crowded West took everything that was great about the last album and refined it even further. The album was released back in 1997 and it still holds up to this day. Coming in at an hour and 17 minutes the band continued to write about travelling and discontent int he city you live in.

There are songs like Trailer Trash, one of their most beautiful tracks, which is one of Isaac Brock’s most touching and sentimental tracks. That’s what was so good about the old Modest Mouse albums, how honest and vulnerable he allowed himself to be, spilling his guts into his lyrics. It was also an interesting time for Brock because I believe he was doing a lot of drugs and I think he may have been an alcoholic. I’m not 100% sure on this, certainly don’t quote me, but I think a lot of that experience shaped his lyrics and music. I mean, one of the best lyrics he wrote was from Out of Gas, where he wrote, “I had a drink the other day, opinions were like kittens I was giving them away.”

For the wallpaper Trevor Basset took a hysterical take on the album. I love this wallpaper because it’s so goofy, but pretty spot-on. On the track Heart Cooks Brain there’s a line that says, “My brains the cliff and my hearts the bitter buffalo”, so he’s clearly referencing that. There’s also a track called Cowboy Dan, so he’s got him in there as well. Obviously the last reference is the song Out of Gas, as there’s a gas can on the side of the road. So many good references.

Bobby Solomon

March 21, 2012 / By

Strange and Beautiful Paintings by Yosuke Yamaguchi

Phoebe by Yosuke Yamaguchi

Yakoku Cover - Yosuke Yamaguchi

We Know You by Yosuke Yamaguchi

These paintings are by the Tokyo based painter and designer Yosuke Yamaguchi. What really attracts me to Yamaguchi’s work is how he creates unique fantasy worlds. His paintings are places where two girls can hover amid a mass of floating debris or where a large bull can stand watching a girl in a swimming pool. They’re wonderfully strange images and alluring to look at.

While the people in his paintings may look melancholy and the colors are muted, these are really beautiful works and they are delicately made with inks and watercolors. To me, they feel a bit like the paintings of Edward Hopper were re-imagined by David Lynch and brought to life by Marcel Dzama, but even as an analogy that feels a little limp as Yamaguchi’s work is truly unique.

To see more of Yamaguchi’s work, make sure to visit his frequently updated Flickr page where you can see a lot more of the projects he has worked on.

Philip Kennedy

March 21, 2012 / By

Cancer Counseling Center at Næstved Hospital by EFFEKT

Cancer Counseling Center at Næstved Hospital by EFFEKT

Cancer Counseling Center at Næstved Hospital by EFFEKT

Cancer Counseling Center at Næstved Hospital by EFFEKT

Cancer Counseling Center at Næstved Hospital by EFFEKT

The Danish firm EFFEKT has won a competition for the design of a Cancer Counseling Center at Næstved Hospital. The program isn’t as daunting as the name suggests (programmed spaces include a library, kitchen, conversation rooms, lounge, gym, etc.) but it’s easy to get weighed down with sobering questions like “What quality of space is appropriate for counseling cancer patients?” If there is a correct answer to this question, I think EFFEKT’s project is that correct answer.

All of the images used to represent the project are alluring without being too splashy. Overall, the project seems to be light and finished with warm, natural materials. The mass of the project is broken into smaller, more intimate spaces by courtyards and gabled ceilings. There are more pictures on EFFEKT’s facebook page.

Alex Dent

March 20, 2012 / By

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