This year TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco was populated by the usual suspects hawking apps for nail art, tipping waiters, and all manner of we-promise-it-won't-be-annoying-at-all wearable sensors. There were tense company pitches predicting blue skies and money shooting out of fire hoses, frantic investor meetings and far too many references to unicorns (which I am told had nothing to do with Snoop Dogg on stage launching his new media site, with cannabis very much at the center, the aptly named, Merry Jane).
Might as well draw some pictures. Despite being overlooked for the main prize itself, one Irish startup actually did manage to disrupt Disrupt with a presentation focused not on wearable sensors or exponential returns, but the brain-eating undead. (Who, despite rumors to the contrary, have not formed a VC firm.)
Artomatix founders Dr. Eric Risser and Neal O'Gorman's "zombie graph", showing the degrees of artistic variation their company can produce, (with hipsters scoring the lowliest levels of 'uniqueness',) seemed to get a better reaction from the crowd than three days of scatter charts aimed at blue-skying the value adds of content-based wi-fi enabled underwear.
Or maybe it was just the humping rabbits on the founders' t-shirts. (A reminder for gaming fans that Artomatix "populates your game faster". Get it?) Artomatix' real point? 60% of game development costs are spent on the painstaking process of designing in-game art.
This program lets developers build infinite legions of zombies easily by just throwing Artomatix a few quick designs of the developer's desired zombie aesthetic. Then the program parses the similarities and differences of the developer's characters and creates an essential "average" of unique figures and randomizes them. This is either going to be great for game developers or the end of humanity.
The Artomatix team is based in a refurbished Guinness brewery in Dublin, where the smell of the black stuff wafting in from the factory next door surely goes some way towards explaining their creative flair and passion for animal husbandry.
They may not be Merry Jane, but these cross platform bunnies are worth watching out for in a crowded tech space, where a little humor can go a long way.