Friday, 13 March 2009

So Thankyou!

Well first of I would just like to say I have really enjoyed this year and I feel like I have learnt a lot. So thank you.

Ok well I did feel like I was being thrown into the deep end with the 3d but I think that’s because I have never used anything like Max before. So I would suggest a few more small tutorials at the beginning. But I don’t find it quite as difficult to use as to when I started. (Even if it seems like every time heather comes over all I have to show for myself is a different sized box.) As to the Visual design part I really feel like I have learnt a lot and improved for the first time it feels like i’m being properly taught about art instead of just how to fill a sketchbook. I really look forward to ‘Motivational Wednesday’ every time I came out of the morning class I had the urge to work or do something! And the film in the afternoon was a nice way to round up the week as well as (especially during the first term when I didn’t really know anyone) a good talking point with class mates. So I may not have liked all of the films but that’s just personal taste I tend to have an aversion to happy endings.

Thanks :)


The Games Developers Conference is the biggest event for anyone within games. There seems to be so many interesting sessions that I really can’t talk about all the ones I wish I could attend. But there are a couple that sound partially interesting.

There is a creativity boot camp (yeah back to creativity again!) which sounds really interesting, the aim of it is to develop your creative mind using practical exercises and is open to any experience level, its to help anyone ‘enable them to see how a nimble creative mind can truly enhance the design and development process.’

Another session that sounds interesting is the stop wasting my time and Your money: Why your game doesn’t need a story to be a hit. Because I really do feel (unless its one of the few genres that can really get away with not having a storyline) I really am a firm believer in a good storyline and ok to many cut scenes is annoying but I just think don’t a truly good game could get by without one, I think it has a lot to do with my personal gaming though.

Master metrics: the science behind the art of game design. This session is based of game techniques from game designers across the world.

Ok I really want to go to this now! (There where so many others that interested me I couldn’t have named them all so I decided on just three.)

where do i want go?

Planning for the future has never been one of my strongest points I have always had a tendency to muddle through life trying to do what I like and its has lead me to this point, I don’t regret the choices I have made in life even if some of them were on a whim, it seems that if I follow my instincts I tend to go where I wanted to in the first place. I don’t think I would be who I am if I hadn’t made mistakes, I dropped out of college the first time round but it gave me some thinking time and the second bash at college was much more rewarding as I really thought about my options (whereas I just flicked though the prospectus and ended up with a odd selection of courses) and realised all I wanted to do art and i always had, I just didn’t know what area to go into, so multimedia sounded like a good way of trying different areas. My parents have always said to me to do what I want and never pressured me into a more academic route. During Multimedia I found I liked animation but preferred to make the sets and characters more than the actual animating part and I suppose that’s how I ended up here, though a process of elimination.

As to the future though in still open minded about it for example at the moment I not the biggest fan of 3d modelling but that’s because I find the program difficult to use but once I can use it more fluidly then maybe I will want to do that but at the moment i’m in limbo. Which i’m fine with as once I have decided I know it’ll be for the right reasons and not just on a whim.

Creativity Part 2

Creativity is a process, it is use of the imagination to create or problem solve. Before this course I thought I knew what it meant but never really thought about, I realise now that people are always saying something or someone is creative but when I ask them what creative really is they cant really explain it. So it after some discussions in and out of class that it seems to come down to worth, that could be in saleability, emotional or personal.

Is it possible to truly create something new though? When most people go though a similar education to answer the same exams, are we all just creating varies types of the same thing and tweaking old ideas?

Creativity seen as a process seems to be about problem solving. (And yes i’m going back to the toilet example from the previous blog on creativity) the design of a toilet didn’t come from thin air, I would say it starts with a bucket and then someone thought about it and decided to make it easier/more sanitary and from that the next person did the same thing to that idea, this happen over and over till the generally perceived image of a toilet was created. Well that is multiple people being creative to make life easier.

Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being...creativity requires passion and commitment. Out of the creative act is born symbols and myths. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness–ecstasy.”— Rollo May, The Courage to Create

life changing or career building?

The thing with games they cover so many different areas is that unlike law which you study law then practice it, with games generally you’ll be using the skills that you’ve learned but have to continuously apply them in different ways. Personally I think this course is going in the right direction it makes sense that to be a good 3D artist first you should be a good 2D artist.

All over the internet are complains that students graduating from games courses aren’t trained in the right areas and have been deluded to believe that they will automatically get a job. I think many of the companies are looking for students which will slot right into the workplace without much train that have also got a background with the art area and retain there ‘creativity’ which to be honest is quite a lot to ask how do you thoroughly train someone whilst retaining individuality?

To me school, college and university are about refine and specializing. (How can u know what you want to do if you have only ever done the same thing?) So probably by the end of ‘official’ education I will have a pyramid style of education. (This should continue to grow throughout life)


Thursday, 12 March 2009

“As a species were fundamentally insane”

The Mist based on a novella written by Stephen king, the film was written and directed by Frank Darabout. The film wasn’t what I expected from what I heard and the title I thought I would be terrible however I really enjoyed it, the mist had a sinister streak which had nothing to do with the evil creatures but the people inside it plays on the fear of the unknown and the responses of the characters were a result of this. The religious fanaticism was terrifying because unlike the creature it’s real; throughout the world people have been sacrificing to the gods and looked at some higher power to be at fault or to explain the unbelievable.

Of all the creatures the mutant spiders did get to me but that’s due to personal ‘issues’ with them. (i’m ok with them if there not too big, too close or too hairy) the creatures didn’t seem to have a grand plan on taking over the world in fact they seemed just like bigger versions of ‘real’ animals. From what you got to see of them anyway.

This could have so easily been a terrible film of flesh eating monsters coming from the mist because the Army scientists opened a ‘window’ into another dimension, luckily though it wasn’t, the characters in the film made it believable however the main character David Drayton did the classic macho hero thing but it backfired in the end evening it up. The religious Anarchy that took place within the store was the truly horrifying part, within days of disaster the people started to murder each other. As humans we seem to go to extraordinary lengths to destroy others of our kind with wars, homicides mafias and don’t for get nuclear bombs. Even though the quote from the shop keeper made me laugh
“As a species were fundamentally insane” Ollie weeks. I couldn’t quite disagree with it.

I’m glad The Mist didn’t have an overall happy ending with everyone surviving and living happily ever after. Because for the most part it was a happy ending (the world was taken over with the creatures) but not for the main character he had murdered everyone he was with then to find out if he had just waited a little longer he wouldn’t have shot his own son.

The different interpretation

When i’m blogging I first write the blog on paper and then I type it up later but with the mist blog I left it for ages just hand written, I didn’t realise that I had already started to type the blog and so I started again. Both the paragraphs that follow come from the same draft I thought it was interesting how over the space of a month I interpreted the same text in a different way.

(First one I wrote that I forgot about)

The Mist based on a novella written by Stephen king, the film was written and directed by Frank Darabout. The film wasn’t what I expected from what I heard and the title I thought I would be terrible however I really enjoyed it, The Mist had a sinister streak which had nothing to do with the evil creatures but the people inside it plays on the fear of the unknown and the responses of the characters were a result of this.

(The second one)

The Mist is based upon the short story by Stephen king. Unlike many evil aliens films the creatures didn’t scare me half as much as the people within. The religious fanaticism was terrifying because unlike the creature it’s real; throughout the world people have been sacrificing to the gods and looked at some higher power to be at fault or to explain the unbelievable.

“The sonic recreation of the end of the world”

Sound within a game sets the mood, builds tension and educes fear, when a box crashes to the floor you except to hear it and if you don’t it doesn’t seem believable depending on what sound it makes depends on how you ‘read’ what is happening, for example if the box makes a hollow sound then you’ll believe the box is empty but if the sound effects portray that something heavy inside then we will investigate further. Sound makes us believe something is there when maybe it isn’t or it’s hidden.

There are two types of audio within games, sound effects and musical scores. Good sound effects make the game believable whereas good music creates an emotional attachment. Similarly with films if the sound is out of sync or inappropriate then we are less likely to believe it.

There is nothing more irritating than a good game with a terrible sound track. Spyro had possibly the most annoying sound track because it was tacky and repetitive (in hindsight so was the game so it’s fitting in that way.) listening to it now actually offends my ears.

For a good sound effects/track they should help shape your emotional response and believability of the game. The music should flow from area to area without noticing the change.

Game Engines

A game engine is an unseen code which controls pretty much everything within a game. (Such as physics and they way objects ‘behave’)Pre-developed games engines come in varying degrees some require large amounts of programming were as others require very little.

Genesis3D is a ‘ready-to-go’ engine which involves hardly any programming (if any at all) which is fine but restricting, less diversity to what can be created and the style of the game.

Creating a games engine is expensive and takes time but after the bugs have been ironed out the engine will do exactly what is required and if it’s partly good can then be purchased/re-used for a different game. When using an existing games engine generally some alteration would be needed to be made and hence permission from the owner has to be granted before any modifications can be done.

The unreal engine is very popular as it allows for professional results but isn’t impossible to use, also the coding is editable so more diverse than other engines.

So either way some sacrifices have to be made and essentially it depends on funds for the project and time as well as skill of the team.

Game Culture

Gaming varies from very personal alone time to playing with masses of people, sometimes this crosses over, take WOW there can be a lot of social interaction but the thing that payers need to remember is that those people that your talking to could be anyone, they aren’t with you in reality and some of them (not all) are creeps.

LAN parties are fascinating thing in themselves, people coming together, from a couple of friends to hundreds of people which travel from all over with there computers for hours.

Gaming culture is generally perceived as something lone male teenagers do but all different people play games, there is a diverse range of games available suited to everyone. Take the Wii people that aren’t ‘hardcore’ gamers can pick up and play games such as Wii sports and Mario Karts with friends (or on their own) making gaming much more social.

Games are often seen in a negative light but they can be good for reaction times and concentration. There was a study of trainee surgeons, 303 trainees were tested and after 20mins of playing Super Monkey Ball they performed quicker and more efficiently (on average 11 seconds faster) with less mistakes.

Gaming used to occupy a lot of my time but it doesn’t so much anymore, now and then I play but I think the reason I firstly was that I was broke and secondly I was bored.

Gaming seems to be more ‘mainstream’ nowadays. Brain Training for the DS is a vastly popular game which can be played my most people (could be a bit of a challenge for really small kids) and yet it seams like the most boring concept for a game ever! I personally hated mental maths at school so why would I want to pay £20 to do just that, also it insults you last time I had a go it said I had the mental age of a 65yr old! But this sort of game does show a shift in who the games industry is trying to reach out to….everyone.


blair showed me this video and its possibly the oddest/freakiest student film i've ever seem!