Sunday, 24 January 2010


Went to a meeting last Friday - my friend Dave Ware has set up a little independant-of-uni event going on where people from different courses meet up and work on a project together for a couple of weeks, with the aim being to help people network. Basically we have to create a piece [be it performance, film, animation or game] under the theme of Interaction.

The group I'm in consists of Matt Hains and Matt Lee from 1st year Film and Video, Ollie Elliot from 2nd year CGD, and moi. So far the plan is to create a film/animation of a looping relay race, where live action, 2D animated and 3D CGI characters interact and pass a baton between eachother.

Here's a quick idea for Mr. 2D, based on a run cycle guide I found online. Not sure why but the animation sort of skips on the last few cycles..

For some reason, possibly because of my experience during the AIR project, I feel like doing some side entries done just by myself. There are soo many things you could do for this theme. Recently I went climbing at Boulders in Cardiff, and also went to a Capoeira session with Dave, and both of those things involve interactions...

I think I'll do it if I think of anything good, but won't neccessarily show them at the screening thing. We'll see. Hehe.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

And then I was like, Yay

19th January 2010: FMV Critique

Well, Richard wasn't there because he came a week earlier because that was when he was free, and Babsi wasn't there today, but Surman says she will be looking at the work with him during assessment, which will be happening over the next couple of weeks. But I quite liked the feedback we got in the crit, especially the bit where Surman said the cutting and editing was good :D I think the main issue was the way the quick cutting was at odds with the complexity of the characters, so I mentioned the idea Ben had of doing like little animated shorts about each individual character. Kinda like the Team Fortress 2 ones.

In other news, I was chatting to my friend Sam today about what constructive things I could be doing over the next two weeks. He mentioned that he was intending to get some video's for teaching people Parkour, and what kind of things I'm able to animate. I think I'd quite like to help him with this. They'd be like live-action diagrams with labels showing things like centre of gravity. If I did help, I would definitely learn something about Parkour. That would be cool.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Urghh. My brain is hurting.

Handed in my essay and the FMV today. There was a sound issue where I'd imported some narration, but for some reason it was playing twice as fast and was high pitched, while none of the other sounds were. I felt well proud when I figured out how to fix it :D Also I've noticed that I learned how to change the volume of audio in flash, that'll come in very useful.

I finished the FMV first this morning at like 4am I think, and then started finishing my essay. My laptop was really hot though, so I paused to let my laptop cool down, but I ended up falling asleep. Luckily my alarm went off at 10am and woke me up thinking "Huh? Where am I?" because I'd been having some strange dream, whose details I couldn't actually remember. Then I checked through my essay and it was kinda weird because I could think slightly better, so those two hours ish of sleep actually might have helped.

Then before noon I went to hand in with Ben, then found out I didn't have to hand my essay in right away, so I went back to mine to tidy up the Research section [I had more links than some other people, yay for thorough research], commonly known as a Bibliography - except I didn't want to call it that because most of my research involved looking at the opinions of people which they had posted on the 'net, as opposed to stuff I'd read in books.

As for the FMV, I don't like it anymore. I'm not sure whether it's because I actually don't like it, or if it's because I know who did what so that differences in style jump out at me, or if it's because I've been stressing about it for the past 7 days because I wanted it DONE a week early so that we could have a whole week to polish it, as opposed to the zero minutes we had instead because the "proper" slides were only started on... what was it...? Friday? Grr.

Or if it's cos of the associated pain of the horrible horrible brain ache I now have because of all this intense concentrating I've been doing on it to try to get it finished combined with the slight sleep deprivation. I hate "crunch time". I hate deadline stress. I hate knowing that despite spending considerably less time procrastinating than I have done in the past and focussing over the Christmas holidays [which contained not just Christmas and New Years, but also my birthday] on work instead of play, I STILL had to pull an all nighter.

The moral of the story is that video games are evil, and that I want to be a recluse artist philosopher who answers only to herself and lives in a pretty mansion cottage with a tree that fairies live in outside for me to look at when I feel like looking at a tree or climbing one, but isn't actually a recluse because she has lots of friends that invite her around to watch films all the time or to play truth or dare or to have an innocent massage party.

I'm halfway there.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

"Ti Ob"

Since last night, I've been taking another look at what the message that the team are looking for could say. Here's a section from my notes:

The story would end in the successful instance with the designers finding an ancient creed, which reflects the holder’s image, that says “LOOK FROM WITHIN.”

Or, they find a glass object, with a nonsensical inscription on it…

“…What the hell is that supposed to mean?!”
“Fuck it, why don’t we just make another action game. We can base it on what we‘ve just had to do to get here.”

They then make this very game that the players have just completed.

Basically, the characters would be looking at the message the wrong way round and wouldn't understand it, but because they have to make a game anyway, they just go ahead and make one about themselves.


Then I thought this:


or better:

"dO iT” “Ti Ob”

I stopped there cos I quite like this idea. For a start, it's simple.

It fits in with the genre the game is aiming to be - a beat'em up action adventure.
It also fits in with the idea that games are supposed to be interactive. The player doesn't just watch, like they would watch a movie, or just listen, like they would listen to a piece of music or a story being told to them. To move the game along, they have to do. You could say the language of game is doing.

I hear that showing people in cinematics that the character they play is a certain way can be better than simply telling them that the character is that way, and expecting them to go along with it. I hear that it's even better to work it into the game's mechanics or the gameplay. Think Sonic the Hedgehog. Probably wouldn't quite work if Sonic was the protagonist of a game that turned out to be like Farmville or something [I probably shouldn't say that, since I've not actually played Farmville. But I imagine that it's a slow paced game, that involves a lot of waiting around for stuff to grow before you can harvest them].

"Do it" can also be quite wise advice in regards to any goal someone wants to accomplish, in that sometimes it's better to just try something and see if it works, and then learn from that then develop a new plan and try that, rather than sit around forever thinking about how to get it perfect the first time.

I had an idea that completing the game could unlock a short humorous animation explaining why the object say "Ti Ob", where the glass object is on a pedestal in a temple or something that feels a bit like an art museum. It starts off saying "dO iT" and then some naughty person comes along and looks at it, and chuckles, wanting to make some mischief, and the object is there looking at him, telling him to dO iT, so he does, and sneaks under the barrier to swivel it the wrong way round, so that it doesn't make sense anymore. Hehehe.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Headphone Jack: Version 3.0, and the other updates

Just noticed that I seem to have changed Jack's personality from what it was before, although he looks exactly the same. He isn't such a soppy git now:

Headphone Jack [The Sound Designer]
When he’s not slinking around like a self loathing cat, quietly contemplating the shadows and tortures of the world, or tinkering with technology to make it “better”, he’s a reckless, risk-taking cowboy. If you piss him off, he’ll jump on your head and torture you through music with his wonderful view of the world.

I think the change happened when I moved the bonsai tree off his desk and onto Squeak's. Speaking of Squeak, I've revised the description of her as well, although there aren't many major changes to her story:

Squeak [The Visual Designer]
Once upon a time, she lived on a ship as a princess of the pirates. Feeling like there was more to life than stealing from others, she rebelled, and ran away to assume a new creative identity as a games designer. She didn’t leave everything behind however, and retained a love of pretty or glittery things. Unfortunately, she found that her high pitched voice caused some people to not take her seriously and earned her the nickname “Squeak”. She was not amused.

She'll still use glue to stick people to stuff in the game, I've just taken that bit out of the brief personality descriptions. I may as well post the other descriptions up as I've written them just now...

I've just noticed that if you take the first letters from "Jagged", "Angry", "Blunt" and "Straight-to-the-point", you get "JABS". That sounds like a good name to me for the Key dude, seeing as I've noticed a lot of confusion in some people regarding this character. I only called him the Key cos he looked like one, but people were reading into it a bit much, saying, "Is he the key figure?" or something about how he shouldn't be the programmer because the key role in games design seems to them to be something else. So:

Jabs [The Programmer]
Easily frustrated and quick to anger, “psychotic” is often the first impression he gives off. Sometimes he feels like he’s surrounded by morons - that he’s the only one who can see things for what they really are, and copes by insulting everyone with his sarcastic, dry sense of humour. He doesn’t hate everything, however, and has a passion for [brutal] acrobatic movement. He may have no legs, but that doesn’t mean he can’t kick ass.

The BigOomphGuy I've started to call BOG, because I can't be bothered to keep typing "BigOomphGuy" when I write about him. Whether he finally ends up just being called BOG though remains to be seen..

BOG [The Manager, or Team Director]
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 wrestles with the fact that he has to look up at everyone everyday… resulting in a strange “mean-little-man” mental complex.

And finally, the little potato guy, who's name we shorted to Po, partly cos I thought it was funny that he was supposed to be a little shit and the German term for the bum is "das Po" or something.

Po [The.. What’s his job again?]
Po is, basically, a cocky little runt. He wears a tie to work and thinks he’s a pro, but the rest of the team don’t actually pay much attention to him. They’re not even sure how Po came to be on the team. What they don’t see yet is the fact that, while Po may not be all he makes himself out to be, his imagination, ideas and determination are a force to be reckoned with.

Thing is, I randomly had a thought today that our game reminded me of Kung Fu Panda, what with the one character who's all lame and stuff but he's with this other people who are pros at what they do, but then he turns out to have a vital skill or something. Also the part about a special item, ours initially being:

"The story would end (in the successful instance) with the designers finding an ancient creed, which reflects the holder's image, that says "LOOK FROM WITHIN". They then make this very game that the players have just completed"

Then I googled Kung Fu Panda, cos I needed reminding about what actually happens in the movie. I'll be honest, I was surprised when I read that the Dragon Scroll was reflective, and then freaked out when I realised that the main character was also called Po.

Seriously, WTF.

It's not too bad though, because I realised the moral of Kung Fu Panda was that there was no special ingredient, that all you needed was to believe.
Our is slightly different, because ours focuses more on the power and importance of the imagination. Sorta.

Oh shit.. wait.. that's not different at all, is it 0_o

Friday, 8 January 2010

Story Telling in Games, and how I'd like my own secret time machine.

During my research for the essay I'm writing on emotional realism in Mirror's Edge, I found out that it was written by Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of Terry Pratchett. When I was checking out the interviews section of her website, I found some articles that tugged on the strings of the storyteller in me.

I've been told I'm rubbish at story telling - when telling stories face to face, that is - but I also remember a time when I was good at writing stories, and not only good, I really enjoyed it. There's a big difference between telling stories off the top of your head and writing them, and that difference is in editing time. There's also a big difference between writing stories for games, and writing stories for books - in games you have to keep interaction of the player in mind...

Before I start getting too much into the idea of story telling in games though, I should probably finish my essay. Oh how I love deadlines.

Speaking of deadlines, I've noticed some of the blogs of the others in my course, and I'm worried I haven't been mean enough. A time machine would be handy so that I could tell my past self to tell santa not to get Ben a PS3, because I feel like we're behind on our project. I also kind of wish I didn't have to do the essay at the same time, because I keep fretting about whether I should spend more time on the essay or more time on the FMV, which just wastes more time. I also feel like I'd be getting more work done if I were in my room at uni. Life at home is not the best work environment for me, seeing as I keep getting moved from room to room with no desk of my own here, and often have one sister telling me to "Do something productive and tidy up!"

Unfortunately I have no time machine to help me with my time-fretting, nor a teleporter to teleport me to my uni room, so it seems I shall have to learn to stop thinking and start doing again.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Imagekind - Would you like a pretty picture for your pennies?

I've always liked the idea of walking into someone's home and finding a picture I've done, looking all pro, hanging up on one of their walls. So when I came across this Imagekind site that will sell prints of my images [that is, assuming anyone wants to buy any of them] looking all nice on posh paper or on canvas or framed up in a proper glass frame, I couldn't resist checking it out :) I've got a couple of images up on there at the mo, and a third is on it's way.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Since when does it snow in January here? :D

Had a bit of a play in the snow today, got a few nice action shots of my sisters throwing snow at eachother, tehehe :D

Friday, 1 January 2010

My surname is not actually pronounced "geezmun".

Before coming to the realisation that I will live until at least the age of 120, I joined some sites in a frenzied panic, just incase games design is the direction I end up going to for my career. Here they are, in order of creation.

- YouTube: I already had a YouTube account, but I decided to let that be my personal piss-about account, and made myself an account especially for professional porpoises. And yes, I do realise what I just wrote.

- dAportfolio: So, I checked out my deviantART account recently [it's been feeling extremely neglected], and it turns out they have this new thing where they let you have a "portfolio" site for free, and it's all nice and simple and easy. Why not, I thought.

- deviantART: My first dA account was under the username Marlwood, but since I've noticed that there is a school with that name somewhere, I'm claiming the name Geezmun.

- theGreatGamesExperiment: I can't remember how I came across this, but it looked helpful, so I signed up.

- IGDA: I was reading up on Robyn Hunicke to see what projects she's been involved in, and then came across the IGDA. Again, looked helpful, but I've only signed up with a free membership at the moment, instead of a paid Student membership.

Oh, and "Gyseman" is pronounced "Guys-man", if you were wondering.

In other news, my sister just showed me this. I love CollegeHumor, tehehe.

The End of the Naughties. Cough, I mean, Noughties.

Maybe it's because this year is the year I leave my teenage years behind, but I have been freaking out about my future during the past couple of days. In 10 days, I will be 20, and then 10 years after that, I will be 30. And so, I'm not going to make any New Year's Resolutions [ if I even remember what they were by the end of the year. I definitely don't remember whether I made any last year, let alone what they were].

Instead, I'm going to make New Decade's Resolutions. This is a list of things I intend to do by the time we reach 2020. And yes, I intend to live past 2012, and expect everyone else to do so too [except for perhaps Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, and all the people I have actually met who ended up passing away in the past year. There were far too many of you]. I caught the last ten years of the 20th century, made it to the 21st century, and fancy seeing how things go into the 22nd century. I don't think it's too ambitious. But anyhoo's, onto the list:

1. Go to the Philippines
This is where my mother was born, and where I was conceived [...TMI?]. It seems that all I need to do this is to get myself a passport, and then wait for a time where I'm free and can tag along with the Fam when there's a nice deal going on.

2. Get a provisional driver's license
I think it would be nice to at least have the ability to drive, but mostly this is for ID purposes. It really wazzes me off when I find that a night out with friends gets sidetracked because I look young. As for actually learning to drive, I was originally going to learn ASAP, but now I don't really intend to start until at least after I have finished uni [...if ever].

3. Invent a new language for an imaginary world
I've always wanted to, and I don't see why I haven't started already. It'll probably be a mix of allsorts of languages, like Filipino, and english slang, and nonsense. All I have to do is get an English dictionary, take my pick of the words I want involved in my new language, and then write my translations next to them. Haha.

4. Set up my Life as an "adult"
This is the big one, the main thing that is freaking me out at the moment. At this moment in time, I do not intend to end up living at home in The Shire after leaving uni. Mostly because I dislike being told to tidy up a mess in the house by my sisters, because after living in my own space at uni I know that I'm not a particularly messy person. Or maybe I've just gotten used to being able to come and go entirely as I please.

...I did write a couple more paragraphs here, stressing about where to find a nice place, with nice people, and getting a nice job, and I'll marry a nice man like the lady in The Notebook, blah blah blah. I'll get there eventually, wherever there might be. When I think about my plan to live to see the next century, it kinda puts the timescale into perspective. But then, that just leads me back to the question: Other than live to see the next century, what do I really want to do with the time I have on this planet?

It's a bitch of a question. I think I'll let myself sleep on it.