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


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.