Monday, 28 December 2009

Cheers, Steam Sale :)

I was quite stuck on what to write my 2000 word essay on, seeing as I was going to write about how Fable 2 expresses an emotional realism and yet couldn't really remember how it went, nor could I really replay it as I don't own any form of Xbox nor the game...



I bought myself Mirror's Edge for some lovely cheap price. Never played it before but I'm liking it, despite causing Faith to die a lot because I'm not very good [yet... well, I'm playing on easy, and she's dying lots even when there's no one shooting at her... hah..]. Although I did somehow seem to get quite good when I had to chase Jacknife around the rooftops before he grabbed a loose pole [*snigger*], but that was probably because I thought that if he could do it, then it could be done.

So, I'm still answering the same question [“While photorealistic animation and gaming visuals offer a graphic realism, in what ways have contemporary titles such as Half Life 2 (Valve, 2004) succeeded or failed in expressing an emotional realism?”], but I'm now doing my essay on Mirror's Edge.

I noticed earlier today that the question says "expressing", not "creating", which might be a little trickier for me because I keep noticing the ways it creates emotion in the player [which one has to argue is probably real if the player is really experiencing things like adrenaline rushes and satisfaction from getting it right and stuff.. ? Yeah... We established in the seminar sesh's that the term "emotional realism" has to be carefully defined...]. But I don't think "expressing" and "creating" are quite the same enough for me to go too deeply into it. We'll see, maybe I can carefully word it into a loophole, cos I'm finding it quite interesting.

And yeah... If you're anything like me [constantly being told to play more games], then go check out the Steam Holiday Sale and see if anything takes your fancy :)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Warning: The following article contains lots of unBleeped Bleeps.

I like the fact that Rage Against The Machine's single Killing in the Name is number one this Christmas. It illustrates some of the things I learned during the Games and Animation Studies module regarding the fact that [THIS IS NOT A PIPE].

Sometime in the past week, I saw what I thought was a silly but well written article that claimed that the Rage Campaign means nothing [unfortunately, I've totally forgotten who's FB profile I saw the link on, and I can't find it again]. I can't remember the logic behind it. It could have been the thing about both tracks being done by Sony, as opposed to an indie band being chosen instead of RATM, or about no one caring about Christmas No.1 one anymore, or something...

If I could have been bothered to register to the site to state what I thought [and I rarely am, this seems to happen a lot], I would have told him that people will attach meanings to anything they want to, regardless of whether he, the article writer, thinks it means anything or not. We can't help it. Take the word "FUCK", for example.

Warning: The following video contains the word "FUCK".







Some people are offended by the word "FUCK" - but why? "FUCK" by itself is not offensive. It's just four letters of the alphabet arranged in a certain way, representing the sound someone makes when they say "Fuck." At some point, people decided that "FUCK" means.. well, all of the things it means in the video above, amongst other things. You could switch the word "FUCK" around with the word "PIPE", and all that would change fundamentally is the word used to represent the things that "FUCK" and "PIPE" represent. And what thing or meaning does the word "FUCK" even represent? It means many things... which means whether the word "FUCK" is offensive or not depends entirely on the context.

The only time people should be offended by the word "FUCK" is when it is used in a context where offense is intended towards them. However, if they are aware that the word "FUCK" is sometimes used to offend, they can get offended whether they were supposed to or not.

The BBC had to apologise after RATM started swearing at the end of a live performance of KitN on Radio 5.

The general public shouldn't be offended by the word "FUCK" in the line "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me," because taken in context, it's not even aimed at them. They are not the "you" in "Fuck you", and in the same way, pissing Simon Cowell off or bullying Joe McElderry was not the reason I bought a copy of KitN. But some people do get offended because they may feel the rebellious energy behind the statement, and feel it is directed at them [okay, I'll acknowledge the fact that pissing off Cowell or taking the piss out of McElderry was on some people's minds, but those people were not representative of the whole campaign].

Now that I've been thinking about it, it seems kinda odd that to make a statement with a swearword in it less offensive, we would Bleep out the swearword. How does replacing an expletive with a bleep make the statement any less offensive? Is it to make the listener feel like they have someone on their side, if they are of the offend-able persuasion?

Hey, we're going to to play you a song with swearwords in, but we know you might not like them, so we've Bleeped them out for you. What's that? Why not remove them entirely instead of Bleeping over what must clearly be something offensive enough to be Bleeped over? Oh.. I dunno.. But I don't fancy the artist coming round to the studio, and Bleeping me up the Bleeping Bleep for messing with their message.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Games Developers Characterers

Check out this post for the previous Character Mini-Bios.

Here are the [almost] final characters all nicely drawn out.. :)

Squeak: An ex-Pirate princess, she ran away from home to join the Games Industry as an artist, because she thought there was more to life than just pillaging treasures. She's really good at arts and crafts, and by that I mean, sticking people to things [such as the floor] using glue, and, dare I say it, chucking glitter at people. Meh, why not, it's pretty. I changed her hair to make her look more feminine, an then invented the new back story now that her hair looks a little like a tiara from the front, but a mohawk from the side; rebellious royalty that she be.
I did this today in Maya to see if it works in 3D. It was thoroughly enjoyable.


Keydude: Mr Angry&Jagged on one hand, but Blunt&Straight-to-the-Point on the other. He's rather good at being brutally acrobatic. After a little bit of discussion, we've decided to round his head off a bit, cos he looks a little bit too straight in amongst the other characters. Not sure yet if I'll make it properly round, or just slightly. I'll probably go with slightly. Also may remove those stumpy little legs of his seeing as he doesn't really use them [check out this guy for one-limbed awesomeness].
Some quick drawings of Keydude doing a cartwheel and a breakdance move that may or may not be called a swipe:


Jack: The Sound Guy, who is like some kinda emo, cowboy, Earth child, cat thing, with headphones for legs and a headphone jack for a tail. He's depressed because he's really into nature and feels like industries are ruining it, but that there's nothing he can do about it but go with the flow. Conversely, he likes to tinker with sound technology. Maybe cos he's kind of made of it and it seems perfectly natural to him. He walks like a cowboy strutting, can use his tail like a lasso, and jumps on peoples heads to play them music out of his headphone-feet. Don't think I need to really change anything on this guy at the moment. Do need to try modelling him up in maya to check how he looks in 3D though.
And here are the ones Ben designed:

GamesTesters: I don't really know the full story behind these guys yet, but I do know that they are intended to be NPCs in the game, and that they are generally always together. I think we've changed it so that there are now only two of them.

BigOomphGuy: The guy keeping everyone else in order. He can't stand being told what to do due to his strange mean-little man complex, which is why he's satisfied with a role that allows him to tell everyone else what to do. And let's face it, who would dare push him THAT far? Just need to define the face a bit better on this guy, through some colouring on the nipples. Cough, I meant, colouring on the eyes. And possibly move the eyes up a tiny bit.
Po: He's a little runt. Nobody knows what the point is of having him around, but they don't really care to ask. Nobody takes him seriously. They let him sit at his desk, furiously scribbling away. But when he gets really worked up, his imagination becomes a force to be reckoned with; literally. Shadows from his mind spring up behind him, and he controls them like puppets. Apparently this was the weakest looking character in design terms, so we're giving him some hair possibly and a tie to break up the "weird neck thing" he's got going on, and to give him some more detail. Also, he thinks he looks more pro because he wears a tie to work, and he thinks it's awesome that he makes games for a living. If he had any friends outside of work, chances are he would brag to them about it.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Bayonetta

Surman was talking about this the other day, and I hadn't heard of it. Sounded interesting..


So.. she's a glasses wearing, four-guns-named-Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme-wielding, long legged, sexy, witch, mum with a British accent.. is it? Even if that's not quite right, I'm still definitely intrigued. I want to get it, play it, and then let my sisters play it and see what they say. The last badass lady they played was probably Lara Croft.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Yr2Proj2/"Game Designers"/We-really-need-to-come-up-with-a-decent-name-for-this-thing

Just chucked the characters together to see how they look together, and then messed with filters and such about a billion times on Photoshop...

I totally forgot to add the ActorMan though...

So far we've got a Concept Doc [a lame half hour effort because we thought the first pitch was supposed to be powerpoint stylee], which I need to update and expand a bit more, and the storyboard, which I need to redo the images for as they were pretty much quick little thumbnails done in my notebook and then uploaded to the doc via a camera phone...

Oh, I didn't explain on here what the game actually was, did I?
Basically, it's a humorous cartoony pisstake of games designers in the games industry trying to make the perfect game.

Here are the mini-bio's attached to the Storyboard- names used may differ from final product ;) See if you can figure out which is which in the picture.

Po [The... What's his job again? A.K.A. Little "Stereotype" Guy]
The team don’t quite know what his job actually is in the office, so they’ve decided to make him be in the commercial for the new game they have produced. All he needs to do is sit quietly and play the game while Mr Actorman does his thing...

Mr Actorman [Voice actor, and Narrator in the commercial]
With his career in the film industry flailing, he’s left it for what he believes to be the way forward; the computer games industry. And almost everything he says sounds like an innuendo.

Mr MusicGuy [The Sound Engineer]
He’s a bit of an emo/scene kid, if emo/scene kids were made of headphone equipment.

Mr KeyDude [The Game Programmer]
He’s a bit angry, a lot of the time. And also rather violent. I guess you could replace “angry” and “violent” with the term “psychotic”.

Squeak [The Concept Artist]
So named for her squeaky, and kind of annoying now you mention it, voice. She’ll be the one trying to make everything look nice and pretty [and no, not with pink paint and glitter].

The BigOomphGuy [The Design Director Manager... Man]
He’s the “big boss man” of the operation, trying to co-ordinate the efforts of the rest of the team. Despite being taller than everyone, the unfortunate position of his face means he still has to look up at everyone... resulting in a strange “mean-little-man” complex.

The Game Testers
There are three of them... but only two are in the pic above. Unless one has invisibility powers that I didn't know about.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Forcast for [Yr2Proj2]: "Scorchio!"

Just had a meeting with Ben, things are looking wicked. We're planning on having a tutorial sesh with a lecturer, because they could really help us with certain aspects regarding presentation.

No idea how the coursemates will react to the idea, but I'm pretty sure a few of them will think, "Are you serious?" Which, to me, is a good thing, because it is going to be a little out there... But it also means we have to be very careful and really think out how we present it to the big boys. Some of the rest will love it and laugh, while others will be a combination of the two, who might laugh while asking, "Are you taking the piss?" [Reply: Maybe. Whatchoo gon' do about it?]

Ben's also brought a contact to the table, a friend he made last year who's doing music [possibly Creative Sound and Music, I didn't ask]. He can create ambient stuff like this. But from the looks of some of his other YouTube videos, he's also got a sense of humour on him.


Friday, 20 November 2009

New Project [Yr2Proj2]

Sooo, for this project I'm working with Mr Ben Williams. Never ever worked with him before, so there's a chance it kinda of goes against what Dave said about picking your next partner carefully. That said, I guess I wouldn't have agreed to Ben if I thought he was someone who wouldn't pull his weight.

I had trouble coming up with ideas to begin with, blank pages tend to do that to me. So I tried to get Ben to give me something to bounce off. First thing was: He didn't want to do anything to do with butterflies or ants [my old project], or water [his old project]. Sounded fine by me, seeing as the only constraints we have is the fact that we'll be pitching to people who will tell us our idea is crap if it is, and Dave said that if we're up against anyone, we are up against the animators. That leaves a lot of scope for game ideas, seeing as we can make it about anything we want.

Second thing was: He fancies doing something playful, cheeky, and non-serious, with some memorable characters that people can talk and reminisce about. Also fine by me. It reminded me of the Gastronomy project [originally titled Fartman].

We've started off by doing some character designs, then met up to look at what each other had done, then decided things were looking good and that we can expand them a bit by putting them into scenarios and give them family members. Here's what I've drawn so far:



I've also come up with a rough idea for the scenario in the game, but we'll see what Ben thinks before I write it up here.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles trailer

It's well interesting. If you've not seen it, click here, put in your date of birth, and just press play [no need to watch it full screen].

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

OH MY GOD!11!""!2

...Traditionally, what would happen next on the course is, we would produce a 30 second animated vignette to be handed in to the desk in 6 weeks time based on what we've been working on in the past 6 weeks.

INSTEAD

Dave is bringing over what is basically the panel of GameCityU, in 6 weeks time, to critique a 30 second animatic thing, based on a brand new game concept that we have to come up with starting from now and pitch to everyone in exactly a week's time, with a brand new partner.
WARGHH

But then, I spose it's not unlike that time in Year 10 doing the Enterprise thing, where I worked with some classmates to come up with an idea to place Pembrokeshire on the map and pitch our idea to the teachers in like, a day. And then when we went on to do pitch it again for our area and went on to London to rep Wales. And then came second in all of the UK... [Woo, go Ysgol Greenhill School!]

Except, this time we have like 6 weeks to prep...

Okay, I think I'm calm now.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The 300 Words...


... plus a bit more, adapted to put the player into the narrative.

The large blue sky lies above. You focus on a bird gliding across it, which suddenly stutters. Changing its direction, you guide it down towards a tulip, whose head is heavy with water from rain the night before. The bird swoops down, crashing into the tulip and spilling the water. As this flows out of the flower, you release the bird, which shakes itself as if waking up. It gets its bearings again and then stretches its wings out, taking back to the skies. But the water quickly spills into a little hole in the ground.

It shoots through a tunnel, and you follow as it winds down into the darkness, until it reaches an open chamber full of surprised ants. Some are washed off their feet, but they quickly realise that they need to move the larvae to another chamber. You focus in on one near a pink caterpillar, adopted by the colony by disguising itself as a queen grub, and guide the ant to rescue and carry it to a safe chamber along with its “siblings”. It is left alone with them, while the naive workers hurry and rescue more of the others…


Outside it becomes night time; you can see the silhouettes of bats against the stars, as they dart around catching unfortunate moths. You watch them a while, now and then switching between helping a bat catch a moth meal, and saving a moth from becoming that meal. Then a badger catches your eye, and you make it the centre of your focus. You try and guide it towards a nearby fox to see what happens, but it resists like a reluctant horse pulling against its bridal. Suddenly the badger starts digging where it is, dirt and little stones and ants flying everywhere. Ants… You realize the badger is digging into the ants nest, and you pull back harder on its mind, trying to make it listen to you. The fox saunters off, on the hunt for rabbits.

Months pass; it’s been some time since the great flood. There’s an unusual stillness in the tunnel, apart from the gentle twitching motions coming from within the pupa resting near the entrance. After ten months of hiding away in the ants’ nest, a Large Blue Butterfly is finally ready to reveal its true identity to the world. It pulls itself out of its protective casing, out of the tunnel and into the bright world outside. Having not seen the sun for as long as it has been adopted, the butterfly bathes in the light, waiting for its wings to warm up, shimmering. It’s been a long wait. You take the butterfly to the sky in triumph, and large blue is reunited with large blue.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

DJ Hero [..is that even what it's called? I can't remember]

Soooo, today was, uhh, interesting shall we say, slowly leading on to pretty rocking, to absolutely epic rocketing multiplied by two! :D ... I'll leave that at that for now.

Onto the topic of this evening: DJ Hero [I think]. I just played it for the first time ever with some friends who have had much more experience with it than me. I gotta say, it looked a little daunting what with the little twirley nobs and slidey switch things that you're supposed to use... when? [I'm a guitarist, not a DJ...] And the buttons on the circle thang, which moves under your hand almost when you least suspect it, like a skateboard when you've never stood on one before.

But, [oddly, not unlike the rest of my night] once I got into it, it was pretty damn cool. You'd probably have to have some kind of appreciation for mixing and remixing tunes and the like, because it could get confusing if you're not used to the kinds of sounds and beats you can get out of it. But yeah. It's definitely a game I would recommend myself to buy for the Fam. The little ones [who aren't that little anymore] and possibly the brother would be well into it.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Games Designers are People too, & The Importance of Notebooks.

Got back from Nottingham's GameCity on Halloween. It felt very different to last year's GameCity, but it was still very interesting, possibly more interesting to me than last time because I've become more into the whole thing over the past year. I won't write about the whole thing here because I got a few points from the different talks, so I'll write about them seperately.

One of the events, GameCityU: 2 Hours is Not Enough, involved my lecturer, Dave Surman, and a lady named Raina Lee asking a panel of people [including Mr Katamari: man of few words, sweet Dr. Babsi from Papermint, Masaya music man Masuura, and sad Jon Burgerman below.. I realise those descriptions would make more sense if you'd seen the event] a series of questions such as "Boxers or briefs?", "What's the worst dating experience you've ever had?", "Rock, paper or scissors?", and "What are the best and worst things about being a creative person?".

I did overhear someone saying "..it was like watching Dave have a gathering with his BFFs", which to me was a pretty good summary. However, as trivial as I might be making it sound, I did actually find it both entertaining and interesting to hear all their responses and reactions to the questions, as it really went to show just how varied the personalities in the industry are. I think it would shock some gamers to actually think that behind those companies who make those games, there are actually real, normal people, people who you can chat with, have a drink with, and partay on down with if you ever get the chance [as some people did. *Cough* Todd *cough*. I wonder if there are any pictures].

I can't remember now whether it was the GameCityU event or the GameCityU: 2 Hours is Not Enough one in which Robyn Hunicke, a lady from ThatGameCompany, talked about how important it is to have a notebook [illustrating my point nicely; if I'd had one with me, I could have written it down]. When she spoke about it, she referred to it like a journal, a place to write stuff down so that it would free your mind to think of other things, as well as letting your brain relax and spend less energy juggling all your thoughts.

This is something I tend to do, although I don't write in mine everyday. If something's really annoyed me or upset me, I'll end up carrying that around with me until I can write it down and get it out of my system [it's also quite fun to write in it when I'm drunk, and then laugh the next morning at my inability to write legibly when under the influence. It's also probably safer than posting things on Facebook while drunk]. The video below shows Jon Burgerman explaining another good reason for having a notebook with you. Mr Burgerman, over to you :)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Sexiness Issues

We had the second lot of pitching today, except I think everyone who pitched today were just the ones who hadn't pitched last time. The main point I took at the end is the sexiness issue; how appealing does "salmon shoal shepherding" sound to you [...and how many times can you say it quickly without messing up...]?

It seems we all have decent ideas, but we need to learn how to make them sound really appealing to the people we are pitching to. Appealing, attractive, seducing... all those words came up during the lecture, and I thought hmmm... how sexy can one make an ant-baby-eating caterpillar...

This probably isn't what Dave meant.

Next task is not quite another pitch, but 300 words setting out how the intro to the world in our games. I've also written down "structure" and "flow of spaces" in my notes... but I think I'll need to think about that some more.. [annoying quirk of lectures, they always seem to make more sense at the time].

As for this morning, we had a tech sesh in Maya. I love playing with Maya, although it still feels like an iceberg to me with all it's little buttons and menus that do things I didn't know it could do... We were learning how to put a texture map on a cube, which we've done before but a refresher was definitely in order. After Charlie had taught us that, I started fiddling with the model I made last week and tried to figure out how the textures work on a shape with many more than six sides. I might have broken my first model somehow though.. dunno how, I was working in a copy of the scene saved seperately, and somehow the copy AND the original changed? *shrug*

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Pitching, pitching & pitching.

Been back in uni for a while now and our first task has been to get together with a partner and come up with a game idea based on a natural process.. and then pitch it to the rest of the group a week later. That intial pitch has come and gone. I noticed a few of the ideas being influenced by the same process, and also some of the ideas seemed to have similar game mechanics but different subjects [one involved moving planets to influence the path of a meteor or comet, another involved using seismic activity or wind or waves to direct a ball or similar object though a course, both ideas using the mechanic of changing the environment in order to influence the path of something].

I teamed up with Ollie on this one, and we've come up with a game that involves attempting to influence the behaviour of creatures [insects mainly] in order to save the Large Blue Butterfly from extinction. It's pretty much based on the real life extinction of the Large Blue, which disappeared from the UK in 1979. In 1980, conservationists imported Large Blues from Sweden, so now there are like 30 colonies of the pretty little Large Blues fluttering about across the south west of England.


Watercolour image I did of a Large Blue Butterfly. I did actually adjust it on photoshop, the sky is darker on the original painting and the dusky pink in the background was added later aswell, to match the Thyme's colours and make the ground in the background darker.

For those of you interested in stuff like this, the Large Blue is interesting in the way it depends on a specific species of red ant to survive, who in turn are quite dependant on a specific kind of environment. If there aren't enough rabbits keeping the grass short enough, the ants won't be able to hack it because they need it to be a certain temperature, and even a centimeter difference of grass length causes a big difference in temperature to the ants. If the ants are not around, then there's no way the Large Blue can survive through caterpillar-hood, because the later stages of it's life involve living and hibernating in the tunnels of Myrmica sabuleti, eating ant grubs while disguising itself as one to prevent itself being attacked and eaten by the ants. I'm getting a slight sense of deja vu writing this, so I've either written this on here before, or I've just spent a lot of time explaining how the Large Blue lives...

Which brings me nicely onto my next point to which the title of this post refers: pitching. Again and again. It seems to me that the main aim of this exercise is not to create an amazing game USP [although that is an important part of it], but to learn how to present our ideas to another person; to be able to explain to another in a way that inspires and excites them, and makes them want to support your idea and become involved. I'm not surprised to be fair, pitching ideas to people who have the money to pay you to do the work seems quite a fundamental part of the system in the games industry at the moment.

Moving back to the topic of ants [yes, I know, I'm going this way that way forwards and backwards over the Irish sea...]: they're brilliant aren't they? I've got to do an image of a flood in an ants nest from an ants perspective, and while I was trying to find some good underground images to look at I found a couple of really intriguing videos. The first was of an ant colony building a raft out of themselves. The second was the video below.



I find it ironic how, in trying to make it sound epic, the narrator actually makes the video seem a bit hilarious to me - despite how really quite amazing the subject matter is. It might just be me though - I get amused listening to the different voices narrators have on adverts, such as the chummy way supermarket ads often talk to us, how car adverts are always cool, but car insurance adverts are never ever as cool, and how films are always advertised in pretty samey ways with the narrator who always talks in that special voice that tells you whether the movie is scary, a comedy, an action film.. or even a comedy taking the piss out of the scary film genre. If you watch TV in Britain and aren't hard of hearing, I know that you know exactly what voices I'm talking about.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Pretty little Bugses

First page: Done when I wasn't really sure what I wanted to focus on. I did these all in pencil first, then went over them in biro and watercolour later on, after painting the first thirteen bugs on the second page.

Second page: Bugs copied from Micheal Chinery's Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe.
Top row: Epilachna chrysomelina, Subcoccinella 24-punctata, Coccidula scutellata, Scymnus frontalis, Hippodamia 13-punctata, 7-Spot Ladybird, Eyed Ladybird.
Second row: Thea 22-punctata, Propylea 14-punctata, Wasp Beetle, Plagionotus arcuatus, Chlorophorus varius, Calosoma sycophanta, Common Swallotail.
Bottom row: Black-veined White [Aporia crataegi], Large Blue [Maculinae arion]. Large Blue larvae are pink to begin with, feeding on wild thyme flowers. They are then carried into certain ants nests, where they feed on antgrubs until they pupate.
Picture in the bottom left corner of page is of a hall with a ceiling decorated by beetle shells.


Third page: Oleander Hawkmoth [Daphnis nerii], Hoplia caerulea [top right], under that is the Spanish Moon Moth [Graellsia isabellae], and bottom right is Pterostichus cupreus.


Fourth page: Very quick colour studies of Calosoma sycophanta, from photos found on the net.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Me likey Anamorphosis

[Source photo here]


Calosoma sycophanta

Looks a little messy maybe, but my eyes keep seeing the back end as 3D in the second photo :)

Small entry I know, but it is Freshers fortnight... More paintings to put up later.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Politics, Wellbeing, and that thing we call Currency.

One of the major reasons I haven't been spending all my time doing the work I should be doing, has been Affluenza by Oliver James [my sister bought it because it sounded psychological and interesting, the same reason I even started reading it in the first place]. It's all about how money doesn't make you happier, but it goes much deeper than just making that old statement.

Oliver James travelled around the world to interview people in different English-speaking countries, giving snapshots into their personalities and emotional lives, and showing how their environment could have contributed to each. He's also extremely anti-Selfish-capitalism, and by the end of the book I had decided I really dislike adverts that tell you that if only you had their product, you would be so much happier.

Funnily enough, his book also gives his suggestions to avoid the "Affluenza virus" [known symptoms include wanting to be famous for the sake of being admired, wanting to have lots of nice things that you don't actually need in order to keep up with the Joneses, and thinking of people as commodities - including yourself - who will help you in your career or else you're not interested, as opposed to friends you like to spend time with], thereby reducing your vulnerability to emotional distress, giving you a chance to be happier. The difference between me saying that and an advert is that, if you buy Oliver James' book, I won't be getting any money for it. I'm spreading the word, not selling a product - there's a very fine line. It's one of the reasons I thought Lostprophets were awesome when I went to go see them in Newport. One of them said to the crowd that he didn't care if you downloaded their new song illegally, so long as you spread the word. Then again, I suppose they know enough of their fans would buy it anyway.

So what's all this got to do with computer games, eh?

Well. I was thinking about the politics of it, what Capitalism was all about, and I realised I didn't really know a lot about it and it's alternatives. I knew my friend Tito likes to write political things on his blog, apparently he's an Objectivist, and again, I didn't have a clue what that meant. He wasn't about at the time, so I googled it to give myself a vague idea. Then I had a look at what Socialism, and Communism, was all about, and then it struck me: how come I've not heard of any virtual worlds that try to put these ideas into play in the game? [If you know of any I could look at, do leave a link for me to check out :D] The unpredictableness of some players would be useful in seeing how such systems would work [or not work].

I thought about WoW and how it seems to involve a lot of [virtual] materlism. You kill one thing and what do you get? Copper. Silver. Gold. Maybe an item. Complete a quest and you get gold, or items. As you level up you get more gold to buy better items to increase your stats. When you get to the end level, your focus shifts towards group work to gain items in raids that have better stats that help you get better items in raids to give you even better stats. It's similar in the Sims in one way too - they NEED money.

They need it, not just to eat, but it's also decided that their happiness depends on the items they own - the items that are the most satisfying to Sims in-game are the ones which happen to be the most expensive. And [ignoring the money cheat for a moment] if your Sim doesn't have a job, you can't meet your needs very well, your Sim gets unhappy, and then it can't get a job. Then it dies or something. I'm not sure, I've never done a deprivation experiment on Sims, but I have witnessed how difficult the game got for one Sim a long time ago, probably before Sims 2 or 3. He ended up very depressed, and angry, and his wife left him. It was endgame for him then, because he had no one else in the house to bring in money for food, and he wouldn't get a job because he was "not in the mood", and we didn't know the money cheat at the time so we couldn't save him.

It might sound like I've just been stating the obvious. But in real life, it's not always the most expensive things that make people happiest in the long term. "The best things in life are free". If you think about it, this system of materialistic punishment and reward is something many of us have taken for granted in games. I'm probably going to be spending a lot of time now considering what the alternatives may be and how they might be implemented.

I don't know if this post has made sense to anyone at all, seeing as this is all quite new in my head and I'm sure I have a few contradictory thoughts floating about. Oh well. Here's some more reading, an article I just stumbled across but have yet to decide on how I feel about it: Happiness, the new currency in France.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Only a FORTNIGHT to Go!

Only a fortnight til I get to be back in uni :D

It might not look like it to the casual observer, but my mind is that hyper about the thought of going back that I'm actually losing sleep at night. Can't imagine how I'll be in a week.

I've started to pack by putting everything I brought back from uni into a big heap on my table. Now I just need to sort through it, and try to bring back only what I need [dad wasn't kidding when he said I'd accumulate junk there].

On top of that, I've got my Summer Assignment to do... For some reason, I had tons of motivation during my first month home, although I didn't actually do much proper work, and then after a few weeks it fizzled away so I could get on with holiday fun. Oh how inevitable of it. I feel like I'm at that point again where I don't know what to do, so instead I do nothing but ponder.

On the flip side, it took me 8 minutes to clean a shower-room at work today. 8 minutes! It used to take me like half an hour, because I'd have to think and try to remember what to do. But now I've got myself into a routine, I can spend those 8 minutes thinking about more important things as I clean... such as what on earth to do for my Summer Assignment.

It's not all bad I guess though, I'm making it sound like I've done no work. I've drawn, gone over in biro, and watercoloured the images of 13 pretty bugs in my book for use as reference [pictures to come]. Except they kinda only take up part of an A3 page... Hmmm...

Friday, 14 August 2009

Jonas Brothers - "Fly With Me" Cover Contest

I was going to wait until we recorded a little segment to add onto the proper animated video, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen for a long while now, if ever. Basically, just over a month ago, my sister, Gen, found this video:




Win a guitar? Yes please! One of Gen's ideas to make our entry a little more original [other than completely change the melody and chords... haha] was to do an animation for it. So... guess who did the animation... :)



Gen kept listening to the JCB song, and we liked the simplicity of the video, which is why I went for the scrolling sky thing and cartoony us's.

Although, in the actual entry, the sky wouldn't scroll... because I'm not quite an expert on Flash [yet..] and I ran out of time trying to figure it out. But I've remade it now, so that when I exported it as an avi, it actually worked properly... It involved a lot of copying and pasting, but I got it done in one night. I think rotoscoping that wind up box thing took longer, haha.



Everyone you hear is a Gyseman gal :)
Me: Background singing, guitar and backbeat [...which was actually just me hitting the guitar]
Gen: Singing, and background singing
Abi: Singing
Yvette: Singing with Abi

Gen came up with the tune [the day before the deadline!] and did most of the sound editing. We didn't actually win in the end :( But so far all the commenters have loved how original it was :)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Aion Online

By the people who brought you Guild Wars, Lineage and City of Heroes, NCsoft have got a new game out soon, Aion Online. I saw this video and thought, "Oooooooh, ahhhh!"



I like the pretty places, I like that you get to fly, I like the customisation options in the character creation... but I have a minor complaint. In the videos I've seen [I've not played the beta] I think the running animation looks a bit weird. Like they look like they should be going faster than they are.

It's like the opposite of what bugs me about the kodo[?] mount run cycle in WoW [they're so massive, but their legs move really fast, and they sound like little gnomes when they run through water. It's actually kinda amusing now I think about it].

I dunno. Mebbe they tilt forward that far because of.. the gear they may be carrying? *shrugs* Maybe it's to create the illusion of speed, and the camera angles I've seen it at have just made it look weird. Or maybe, I'm being fussy :p

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

"When I grow up..."

I've been thinking over the last few days about what it is I actually want to do. I haven't figured it out yet. This is after reading about finding your true calling on The Lazy Way to Success blog.

So far, I've figured out that:

- I like cleaning. And tidying, restoring, and generally making things and environments look and feel nice. I'm not sure where I'm at with my 'collecting-junk-to-make-things-out-of habit'. I guess I try to organise things so that all those little bits of junk get their own drawer, out of the way of all the useful things..

- I don't really like deadlines. Which is why I tend to prefer cleaning my house over cleaning the lovely lodges at work.

- I like finding out the truth. Getting to the bottom of things. Kinda like a journalist I guess. I've only noticed that recently, while writing these blog posts about things I've read online. Ever since finding out Jeff Goldblum fell off a cliff and died, the same day as Michael Jackson, I've realised I can't believe anything I read on the internet just because someone I know believes it [for those who hadn't heard about him dying, Jeff Goldblum didn't die. Or even fall off the cliff. Or was even on a cliff that day].

- I like making stuff. Especially stuff that, when someone looks at it, makes them say, "Charlotte! How did you make that?" I also like it when someone says, "Charlotte! How did you do that?" I think I kinda like teaching, too. But at the same time I like being able to do things, where people do not have a clue how I did it. Like magicians. Illusionists. They create experiences and stories out of thin air with the help of the viewer's imagination. Sounds like good fun to me.

- I like learning stuff. I'm not sure if this is because I just like to know how things work, or because I don't want to end up sitting on a stool for a week waiting for the lights to turn back on. Not that that's what I'd do in such a situation... [Watch the video below if you've never seen it, he makes a very good point, hehe].



- Following on from the learning stuff point, I've noticed I've kinda forgotton about my like for science. As arty as I am, I did wonder whether to go for the other Games course [a BSc] that UWN offered. In the end I applied for both the Animation and the CGD course [both BA's], thinking I'd get to involve plenty of sciencey know-how in terms of Physics. That said, when it comes to designing games... you can design games about anything. I remember somewhere, somebody said that we, as game designers, come to find out all kinds of odd bits of knowledge while researching for projects.

So yeah. I'm supposed to figure out what it is I can do to create a service, product, or something like that for other's to pay me, while I do work that doesn't feel like work. Uni doesn't usually feel like work to me, which looks like a good thing. I think the deadlines won't bother me as much if I'm loving what I'm doing, because I'll always be inspired to get things done on time. But I've gotta say, I've always liked the idea of becoming an Entrepreneur. One thing I have wondered is whether this blog can generate any easy income [after reading about a thing called Project Wonderful]. It won't be long before I get to try it out and see how it goes. Sounds good for a bit of pocket money.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Twilight: The Video Game?

Daemon made me aware of a link last night that Craig had put up on Facebook. Apparently there's been a little bit of chatter on the net regarding "Twilight MMO". Before anyone gets too excited/enraged at the thought, I should tell you that [at the moment], no, it's not actually happening.

From what I can tell, what seems to have happened is Twilight Source put up a news post stating that there would be a Twilight MMORPG, probably after reading about it on Artuji, who may have possibly come across the story first on The Examiner. I think. I kinda stopped halfway through writing that paragraph and lost my train of thought to watch an episode of Psychoville with my sister.

One look at the actual website of this game however, tells you everything you need to know:

- The game is being created for academic purposes.
- Brandon Gardner is the Game Director and Lead Programmer, Steven Danielson is the Concept Artist.
- The game is not going to be an MMO.
- They are going to surrender the game and all it's materials to Summit Entertainment once it is finished, and it's up to Summit Entertainment whether they want to actually publish it or not.

If you want to know more, I suggest heading over to the "actual website" link above and checking it out.



On a more personal note, I seem to still be living in a sheltered world.

I'm a fan of the books and the story, and all the girls I know who have read the books loved it [as well as a few mums and a couple of librarians who had been introduced to them too]. It seems to be a chickflick of the book world. So it's no wonder to me that it's became so popular, that they made movies for it, and that anyone would consider making a game for it.

What did surprise me was the reactions of most of the articles I read about it. Such as this one on Massively. To put it simply: They didn't like it. Some thought the books were rubbish, poorly written and/or lame. Some thought a Twilight MMO would be the end of the world.

At first, I thought that point was a bit dramatic to make, just because one is not into the idea of romance and videogames [and people wondered why there weren't enough women into games...]. But then, I thought about it. Maybe, they're scared of the idea of a Twilight MMO. Women everywhere could take such delight in it, that their other-halves and/or sons would have to fend for themselves. Oh, the horror.

Imagine playing on COD4, or WoW, or whatever your addiction is, and suddenly finding that you're absolutely starving because the lady who normally brings you food has disappeared from reality. The thought of it kinda makes me wanna laugh and say, "Get over it, and stop playing that game for two seconds, or you can eat pixels for dinner." But on the otherhand, the idea of a game as addictive to women as WoW seems to be to, um, people who can't seem to stop playing WoW, is understandably scary.

I think the only way I could condone such a game would be if it helped women develop personally as they played - rather than turned them into one of those people that sit around letting their reality fall into disrepair, while they get sucked into an imaginary fantasy world because their reality sucks, because they've let it fall into disrepair... And if you don't think games can help a person develop as an individual, stick around. It'll happen. If a person can come away from a film feeling like they've learned something or been enlightened, I really don't see why a game can't be capable of the same and still be entertaining.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Age of Conan, The Last Bastion, and The Order of the Silver Dragons

I am so very intrigued right now. I came across the MMORPG, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, and now I really really want to play it. Here's a "re-review" of the game, from curse.com.

I'll be honest, part of the attraction for me is the fact that it sounds different to WoW in gameplay. I was trying to play WoW the other day and found I'd forgotten how to play my belf rogue. Button mashing, anyone?

However, I also found what I've seen of the world to be quite pretty as well. Shiney water make Lottie go, "Oooooh! ^_^". Also, I kinda have a thing for watching the sun and shadows move in games as time goes on...



While researching AoC, I found out that somebody called Zsolaith has started an epic machinima series, The Last Bastion, inspired by the player Silverar in the guild they call the Order of the Silver Dragons. I'm intrigued by not only the way The Last Bastion came into being, but also by the idea of the Order of the Silver Dragons.

The Order of the Silver Dragons (OSD) are a long-standing multi-wing gaming community that was founded on January 9th, 2006, and exists well beyond any one game, being involved in many gaming environments. What makes the OSD unique is their ongoing commitment to mature interactions, their proud display of civility and concern, their desire for adventure and their healthy placement of value on individual effort and communications. They are known across many gaming servers for taking the high road when situations arise, and they pride themselves in the knowledge that they will always strive to help others. Their continued success stems directly from the OSD officers of this order whom take it upon themselves to uphold these virtues, reminiscent of the fabled Knights of the Round Table, which in turn are mimicked by the community of players within the guild.


- Zsolaith

Anyhooo, I've found Zsolaith's channel on YouTube and I'm about to watch what he's got there. You're more than welcome to join me :)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

XFIRE: Now you can spy on me gaming.. or lack of it.



Just joined the Xfire site and downloaded their thingy. I'll admit I've not come across anything quite like it, but I'm not a proper gamer yet, so I guess that'll be a given. I'm impressed though. How does it know how to find what games I have installed? Clever little thing :) But yeah, the point is that I've joined partly to see how much gaming I do, and maybe encourage me to game more. Not so sure the last part will work. WoW is probably the only thing that'll gain hours, if any..

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Time for some focus?

I'm having a little bit of trouble with this summer assignment, namely, I keep staring at things in my garden and doing little much else. Just had a bit of a revaltion now though, because I keep noticing the dreamcatcher-like things I made and hung up to decorate the BBQ area in my garden last summer, and the actual spider webs that have come to decorate the place in the time since.



I'm thinking bugs. Bugs and insects, and beetles and creepy crawlies. Butterflies. Moths. Dragonflies. Spiders. Lots of lovely shapes and sizes and colours for me to choose from with bugs.

And I'm thinking: I reheheally fancy some cheese on toast first.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Top Secret Project!

Okay, it's not really all that top secret and amazing, but I figured it would be more interesting if I titled it this way.

Remember the Dogbot character I made?
And the post where I mentioned David Freeman's book on Emotioneering?

I'm gonna be trying out a few of his techniques and design a game around the dogbot, and for some reason I'm also imagining a little green blobby alien that takes over the dogbot...

No idea how far I'll take it, but if anything more interesting happens with it, I'll post it up.

As for the Summer assignment, I've spent more time thinking than doing at the mo. I got about this far before I joined the family in the BBQ area in our garden.


Something like bamboo with windows in... and the other one was.. something like... willow branches? Yeaah. I think I'm gonna have to start taking a few pics of stuff in my garden for inspiration and do some proper sketches.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Plot to Take Over the World: Stage 1 - COMPLETE

Officially passed 1st year CGD with a respectable load of B grades [B11, B12, B13 & B13, in that order]


Now I have a Summer Assignment: Natural and Man-Made Form, Micro and Macro.

I am supposed to produce a series of drawings for the design of a virtual environment, inspired by forms in nature, paying "particular attention to differences in scale, from small to large, micro to macro..."

Sounds good, I'm pretty excited for next year already.

Also, I spoke to my friend Dan [a.k.a. the BigBlueLion] and showed him the little flash clip I made. He loved it.

Changing the topic once again, tonight I removed all labels from my posts. My previous system was... barely a system, to be honest, so I'm going to be re-labling [how does one spell that word?] all my previous posts and all posts that follow in a much more useful way. Also added Twitter to my sidebar... although I rarely use it at the moment...

Friday, 12 June 2009

Why Guitar Hero is a Beautiful thing.

It introduces kids to classic songs they may otherwise have never heard of.

How many kids go on youtube and purposely seek out this stuff? Not many. Proof that games can introduce kids to more than just a billion different types of gun - it can also introduce them to old music styles in a fun way. Take that, critics of the idea that games can't teach anything!!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Big Blue Lion & co.


The other day [yesterday?] just for fun, I began making a series of flash clips, using voice clips my friend Daniel sent me via MSN during a random conversation [or three]. It's almost like a follow up to the AIR project I had been involved in recently.

[AIR - Animator In Residence. Basically the animator, Ian Gouldstone, would make a 5 second video clip for us to make a response to. We would have 24 hours to make our 5sec or less response. He would then respond to that, as if we were writing animated letters to eachother, creating a dialogue between two characters that were created by us as the story went on. Click HERE for the result...]

The project went on for a few weeks, and I found it a good way to practice different animating techniques or try new ones I haven't done before, such as the digital rotoscoping maya method Eric and Rhys introduced me to.



This is a video of one of my entries. Bit frustrating as I haven't figured out why I can't export Quicktime movies from Flash, so it wasn't in the format requested. I also ran out of time to do what I originally intended, which was to have a picture of a joker on the side of the red cuboid - like a pack of cards - which would have an animated facial expression.

Also... in the previous clip done by our character, we called Ian's character a leprechaun... I wanted to make a leprechaun style "Jack" pop out, but also didn't have time to get it done. I made the box and handle in maya, animated it in maya, and then put printscreens of each frame into photoshop and traced over the action there. Rotoscoping is a cool technique, but rather time consuming. Especially at 25 fps -_-

But yes. I'm going to show Dan the first one before I put them up anywhere, to see what he thinks. I imagine he'll end up laughing. I know I am, and I haven't even gotten to the good part yet.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Watch out for HEADCRAB ZOMBIES...

I'd apologise for finding this funny but... no. Hahaha :D



This is, without a doubt, the greatest film adaptation of a piece of literature ever.

-- whichwayfilms

Assassins Creed 2 & My Maya grade...

Kieran told me we got a B13, yay! I've just emailed Corrado so I think he will be emailing me some more indepth feedback later.

Onto the next thing:
Just caught this trailer on YouTube...



Verry naiice.
Very cinematic.
Very sorry for the poor dude near the start.


Now for some commentated gameplay..



Leonardo Da Vinci gadgets... It's like James Bond set in the Renaissance.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Super Monster Candy Attack!



Went to the 3rd Year's Grad Show the other day, it was pretty good [it's still on, til the 5th June 09 - click here for more info]. Pretty interesting to see what kinds of things we'll be expected to do when we get to Year 3, and the atmosphere was really lively compared to some of the other Grad shows going on.



I wonder why.



CGD, knows how to party hehe :) But I guess the theme was Super Monster Candy Attack, so it wouldn't have been right without some candy!



A lot of the playable pieces were very glitchy, but still cool, and I'd like to see them when they're all done up proper. I heard some are heading to Game City this year, which I am totally attending as last year was Suhhhweeet :) As was breaking the world record for the most number of zombies recorded in one place...



1227 of us :) Anyhoo, back to the Grad Show. Here is a photo of the best thing there.



Am I talking about the mutant chicken thing in the background, or the fan? Blatently gotta be the fan. Just check out that structure, the choice of textures, the fact that it works when you press the "on" button...

I'm joking, however, it was absolutely boiling hot in that room with all those people and computers. It's because CGD is so damn amazing, hehehe.

Also because somebody decided to put the table of sweets in front of the window.. and then somebody decided to have the blinds pulled down so the wind wouldn't blow the sweets away.

Oh! On another note, I've finished playing Fable II. Well sorta, I got to the finale of the game, but I haven't yet experienced the consequences of my wish before leaving the Spire. Am I the only one who got creeped out by the way Theresa spoke at the end about the Spire? But yeah. I was well miffed when Lucian shot my dog. Even if it was just pixels, and the only name I had given it was "Dog", or "Doggy"...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Dating for WoW Fans

Just saw this random Ad on the Adsense section on here and thought it too funny to not mention.

Hilarious. The thing is, I play WoW and I'm not a geek. I took a highly scientific test, and got the following result...


To be fair, I do say dude a lot. I suppose that's what happens if your childhood heroes included Bill and Ted, and Wayne from Wayne's World.

The First Maya Animation


Kieran has uploaded it onto his blog, so to save me the trouble of doing the same: here is the link to it :)
Clicking on the picture above can also lead the more observant among us to an insightful message. Teehee.

EDIT: Apologies, Kieran has since deleted his blog so I will have to get up a video of this animation when I can get hold of a copy of it.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Congratulations, it's Igor.

The past few days have been proper hard. I felt quite ill some of the time, and my sleeping pattern has definitely been affected. That said, I'm proud of what we've produced, and we were lucky that not too much of our work did a Seth on us.

I've gotten so far behind in updating about it on here, but in my defense it was because I was at Kieran's working on the project where I can't just steal the internet anytime. Often it'll be because when we're not working, he's using his internet to play WoW. I can't laugh, cos they've finally managed to persuade me to get back on too. Paid for three months, with the intention of not playing it in August due to the sunny weather that might grace Pembrokeshire, or wherever I happen to be!

Anyway, enough of that. I might wander a bit, it's quarter past 6 in the morning and I'm not sure when I'll go to bed.. but I just got back from finishing Maya, so I can grace you with some photos of the sketches we did during PrePro [hehe, I'll keep calling it that, it amuses me]. Oh, and a plasticine man.




"Fancy a beer?"



Initially we wanted to make Seth walk aswell, but time constraints, knowledge limitations and needing to learn how to use Maya alongside creating the full on [..well, primitive doesn't mean it has to look like crap, does it?] Maya animation persuaded us to try something simpler. After the crit, I may put the video up. Before then I might put up the playbasts taken from Maya.

It's kind of funny how our PrePro video is longer than the animation itself. I'm immensely proud of how the flickering of the welding looks, but ever so slightly worried that it might cause an epileptic fit when it's shown with the big projector like usual... Anyhoos, I need sleep! I've decided that the fact that I can hear the blood pumping around in my brain is a sign that I really should be asleep right now.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Fable II and its Reviews

I've decided to write my essay on Fable II. Initially my plan was to write about the good/evil or pure/corrupt system, or how making the different choices in the games lead you to different scenarios, but I found a book in the library which has been very interesting. It's called Creating Emotion in Games, by David Freeman, and offers many tips on making game characters, stories and worlds more interesting and life-like through the medium of... emotion. This is the area I'm going to focus on in my essay.


Now on to the main subject of my post: The reviews I have read on Fable II as part of my research.
I've noticed a great divide in the reviews here about the game, ranging from "a total waste of money" to "It's just Fabalous I say... just Fabalous. Or should I say... Fable-ous!"
Many of the reviewers seemed to like the game, although a lot of comments were made about how disappointing it was that two players could not play their own full characters during co-op mode.

Of some of the more extreme comments made against it, it seemed to me that these players were either angry because they had heard a great deal of hype about the game and were not given what they were promised, or they are stuck in this idea that the game needs tons of "cool armor", "awesome weapons" and a "big boss fight" at the end. This following comment in particular showed me how some players just don't understand what game designers need to do to encourage the games industry to develop.



fable 2 is simply stated an entire let down. you CAN'T DIE!? and there is NO MANA!? this game was built up so high with promises that ended up being total lies. The co-op is terrible. NO ARMOR!? The dog finds all the keys and items for you. The game was set up to be the easiest RPG in the world. They should have added difficulty settings. It is not better or more genuine than the past 10 years of Final Fantasy! i can't believe they said that. The game is 100% spoon feeding, from the trail to the dog to the no death. Why are there still Rez Phials?!? The choices for clothing and weapons and spells are way to minimal.




Yeah, I know, it makes me cringe too.

There's nothing wrong with a game that doesn't let you die. There's nothing wrong with a game that has no mana bar [seriously, WTF. Mana bars are just an imaginary limitation that someone introduced one day. I may be a bit on the agnostic side to say this, but I know enough to know that "Thou shalt design games involving magic to have mana" was not a Commandment. And there's nothing wrong with a game that has no armor. Does PacMan have armor? NO!

And why should they have added difficulty settings? This game is about the story, be that the main story you can follow, or the stories you help create yourself, such as when your character marries someone in the game and you have a baby boy named Ross, and then Alex divorces your character because you're always being chased by the law because you may have gotten caught killing a few people because you wanted to see how many you could kill one by one before you got caught, and then you decided to resist arrest instead of paying the fine. And then your son gets taken away when somehow your husband died after they moved to another region and you're unable to look after Ross because your destiny to find the three other heroes won't allow it.
I did find it somewhat humorous to return home after ten years to find that my caucasian spouse and I had managed to produce a dark skinned child, as if the first one had escaped like a pet and Alex had replaced it with one that was not quite the right shade. But I still felt the loss when social services wouldn't let me have him after Alex died.

...Anyways, back to my point. It's about the story. I mean dude, the clue is in the name. You do know what "fable" means, right?

It also intrigues me how many people have mentioned how long it took them to "beat the story". I may just not quite be down with all the terms seeing as I'm not a hardcore gamer, but the idea of "beating" a "story" doesn't quite make any sense to me. Sometimes, it's the journey that's important, not the destination. If you rush through the game without taking the time to observe and appreciate the characters, then of course you are going to be diasappointed.

It's times like these I realise how far I've come on this course. A year ago, I would have seen that person's comment and thought, "Oh look, an angry person."
Looking at it now, I'm thinking, "Oh look, an angry person who doesn't have a clue."