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Storytelling in Games
Here are my answers to some questions about stories in games.
Does a strong storyline make a better game?
Yes and no, it depends on the game type and style of the same. Like if youre playing the Sims, if the Sims had a story it would not make it simulation game anymore, it would make it a role playing game. A game like assassins creed needs a good story to make it interesting, the story is what makes that game, without the story, the game would be boring and it will have no drive.
As a player, does the story happen to you, or do you make the story happen?
I dont really get this question, so Im replying on the basics of what I get about the question. It depends on the game when Im playing oblivion I would do all the side quest cause Im not that interested the story and makes the games story what I want it to be. But in assassins creed I just like to play the main story as I find the story more interesting than the side quests.
Do all games have a story - what's the story in Second Life? Or in World of Warcraft? Is Call of Duty a war story?
No, like I said above, games like the Sims there is no story, you are the story maker in these types of games. But in other games like warcraft there are stories, but there mini stories and you place them in a story line the way you want them mini stories go or fit in with your planes of the game.
An introduction to Game Technology
Here are my answers on questions about game technology.
Which gaming platforms interface was the easiest to use.
I found the original Xbox interface easiest to use, as it was simple all you had to do is put a game disc in and it would play it, there was no log in or menus, only if you wanted to go into xbox live.
Which platform looked the nicest?
I like the look of the Xbox 360s interface, is it looks clean and shiny, it reminds me of the iPod interface.
How do you think users will interact with gaming consoles?
I dont really get this question, I dont know if its referring to new consoles or new people to gaming? But I will try and answer it.
They will interact like they interact to anything new e.g. a computer or an iPod, the first time I played a console, it was my brothers saga mega drive and I was 8. I found it confusing and hard to understand, but my brother went over it with me and I grew to love it, I played the saga mega drive more than my brother in the end. But now my parents got a wii and I hate it, I really dont like the motion controls, they make me feel stupid when Im playing the wii.
Is the game pad/joystick a dying technology?
I hope not, I think it is. With the motion controls coming in, as all 3 consoles have/or getting motion controls as people and government are trying to stop adults, children and teens getting over weight. And games companies are seeing this as marketing opportunity and jumping into it to make money, like the Nintendo wii. But I must admit people spend more time on computers than on games. I just hope the same thing will not happen to computers, I will become a twig.
The elements of - Story and Character
Im going to answer questions on story and character in games and over medias.
Think of the characters you've encountered in books, TV and in films. What are your feelings towards them?
Well I dont read many books or watch many films or TV, but I do watch the US drama Bones. The 2 main characters, I fill like they dance around their feeling too much, it frustrates me, but its funny to watch.
What techniques do you think are being used to make you respond to these characters?
I think the use of basic human psychology and the combine of character designs and good acting is what I think that makes people love/hate a character.
How much is dependent on the script, the acting and Appearance?
Most of it, as if these things was not important the character would not be interesting and that would make the story boring as well.
What sort of stories do you find completely irresistible? Why?
I like stories about investigating, because I like the collection of knowledge and then combined that knowledge to make the ending. Plus I like they way all the information is collected and put into the story as well.
The elements of Game Design Gameplay
Im going to answer some questions on game play in games.
Game play, what exactly is this thing?
Game play is the acts of plays and motion/button pressing that controls the game.
And why is game play important?
With put game play a game would be like watch and film or TV show, the game play is what makes a game a game, game play is what makes games different watching or reading a story.
Does it exist as a definable set of rules?
Yes it does, because game play is what makes a game and to make good game play there are rules/guidelines to go to and go by to make a good working game.
Can it be designed into a game, or is it the random convergence of several interacting factors? Is it even important?
Yes like everything, game play can be designed as you can get bad game play, if its not put in the game right, or is right for the game. So there for it can be designed in to a game. Game play can be one of the most important features of the game as if the game play is bad it can ruin the whole game, but if the art/graphics are bad in a game it dont ruin the game that much as it is still playable. A game has to be playable and you need to be able to finish a game.
What exactly is Creativity, and how does it manifest itself?
Creativity is the imagination, inspiration and ideas of one or many people, and put into one design.
Is creativity hindered or enhanced by technical constraints?
Yes and no, yes in the respect of technology is not there yet for creative people to push themselves, instead their pushing the technology to its limits. Buts it is enhanced some artists work, like me for example: I cant do 3D models in clay better than I can do them in 3Ds max and maya. But I can draw much better on paper than on the computer using a tablet. But for some artists that its the other way around for them, it depends on the artist and their ability to adapt to things.
Who 'does' creativity - the art director, the artists, programmers or writers?
All of them, it depends on what you think creativity is or how its output. A person making any thing is creative in my eyes. Most of peoples creativity is built upon inspiration and imagination and they have to get some from somewhere.
What does creativity look like?
It everything man made you see in front of you. Everything had to go through a creative process when it was being made.
Is it in the brand identity or does it live in the overall experience of play?
Its in both, for game play to be good its needs to be creative when the player is playing the game, so the player wont get board. If I had to play game and all I do is press the A button to play the whole game and finish it, I would never play that game again.
How do games manifest creativity?
Games as a whole is an art in its self, even though not many people think games are art, as I dont think a bunch of boxes is creative. Games are made by group of people putting their ideas, inspiration and imagination together to create a game concept and when the game is being made its always changed in some way.
Are there any companies or individuals who seem, to you, to be particularly creative?
I live and work with a bunch of creative people; Im surrounded by creative people who inspire me. As my family are very creative, as my mom is a Photographer and my sister dose animation and my other sister edits film and sound. The company I work for (WeAreColin - [link]
its a small company and were all creative, but we get a bit over the top with our creativeness and this makes games deadlines nonexistent.
As an artist, or programmer, how will you show your creativity - and how would you expect it to be acknowledged by others?
By doing what is told of me but I will try and put some of my ideas to the task in hand. I dont expect my work to be acknowledged by others, I just want it to be enjoyed.
An introduction to the Game Industry
Im going to answer some questions about the games industry.
How is the industry doing?
Well with the resection, there are not many jobs in the industry, so its hard for new people to get into the industry at the minute. And there is a reduced amount of games being made, as a lot of companies cant make big budget games anymore, so some smaller companies are struggling to set off, or are going bust.
What are employees views of working in the industry?
Because of the resection, not many people get employed, so for the people that are already in the industry there is a bit work load for them, so games are having to be delayed so the company is losing money, its just a big loop hole.
What are the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment?
Losing money because of the resection, not being able to make big budget games as the banks are not lending money to companies that much. And games not getting released in time cause of lack of workers and games getting stopped half way because of the companies went bust.
How might these challenges impact on the industry in the near future?
As some companies when bust there will be fewer jobs for university graduates to get into the industry for the first time.
What game cultures are you part of?
Well Im a part of a couple, but more on the art side of things, Im not part any fan game cultures, the ones Im a part of, are ones that focused on game art and making game art work (but not the fan stuff, most of its original ideas, but some of its based on games)
Some of them are on DeviantArt.com
The 3D Artist Club ([link]
they do game art themes and I own and run this club.
Game Art Club ([link]
Cg society - ([link]
How much of your life does it occupy?
About 15%, as I run a game/3D art club, it takes some time to do. But most of the time Im 3D modelling and doing boarding house/family stuff. But when I get the time I do play my Xbox 360 and play Xbox live with a couple of people.
Do you have friends who you know only through MSN for example?
Not on MSN, but on Deviant Art I have 50 to 60 people I talk to regularly on a daily bases, a couple on face book and twitter. But I tend not to talk to people about my life, its more about 3D and 3D tips, they usually ask for help. Im not that exciting of a person, but I do like being helpful.
Game Technology - Game Engines
What does a game engine do?
A game engine uses tools needed to make a huge variety of custom 3D applications and games using a combination of art, levels, and code, this makes games easier, faster and better to build and to a good quality.
What are the key engine technologies?
Speed Tree - Speed tree is used in Oblivion and Just Cause 2
Unreal Unreal is used in Gears of war, Borderlands and Bioshock
Cry Engine The cry engine is used in Farcry and Crysis
Crystal Tools Are used in Final Fantasy 13
Game Bryo is used in Fallout 3, Oblivion
What is meant by subtractive and additive?
Subtractive - takes away from a filled infinite space, good for indoor environment.
Additive - adds to an infinite empty space, good for objects and outdoor environment.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying into proprietary technology?
This will make getting into the industry far easier because of the understanding of the technology is higher, and keeps you up-to-date with the latest software, but keeping up-to-date is expansive and this can stop you buying the latest proprietary technology.
What seem to be the key issues for 'next-gen' game engines?
Your Computer counterpart needs to be equal to or more powerful than an Xbox 360/Play Station 3 to run the games engines and make games to the same spec.
Game Technology - Sound for Games
How is sound used in games?
Sound is used in games in the form of music, sound effects, and voice audio.
Who are some of the key composers working in games?
Masaharu Iwata he composed music for Ogre Battle, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, and Soul Calibur IV, though throughout his career he has composed music for over 65 games.
Paul Weir he composed music for Crime Life: Gang Wars, Rogue Ops and Ghost Master.
Jack Wall he composed music for Myst franchise, Splinter Cell, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect 1 and 2 , though throughout his career he has composed music for over 20 games.
What are your key music moments in your gaming history?
I must admit, I dont really have any; I was not that interested in the music of games as Im more focused on the task in hand. Plus the games I like to play the music is just back ground noise and not a focuses in the game.
And is it true that the Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards composition 'Good Times' is the most influential recording made in the 20th Century?
Probably in some peoples eyes, but not mine, Im not a big fan of the song, but it was probably inspiration to other people and some later songs where based/influenced on this song.
Life Changing or Career Building?
Some game companies want highly trained graduate artists and programmers. Some claim they really prefer creative individuals with a good Liberal Arts background. They cant both be right can they?
Yes they can and they have been for the past years, the industry has one big loop hole, you have to have experience to get in the industry, but you need to be in the industry to get a job in games. Very few companies will employee university students.
There is a couple of ways of getting industry experience, do voluntary/small pay work for small company while on your university holidays. Or set up a set up a small company with some of your class mates and make indie games. You can also go into the digital art industry first then go into the games industry or do some commotions for people that need artwork.
How can education meet these opposing views and yet provide a valid and fulfilling experience to students?
We you can set a project where they make a non-profit indie game on the Xbox 360 or iphone, the game could be purchased for free and get reviews and this means that university students get that industry experience that the games industry wants for new employees. But this dose meant that a game art course will have to team up with the programming course to do this project. But I dont think that wont be a bad thing, it would give people the experience working with other people that are not in the same class/course as them and they will have different ways/ideas of doing things. Its a good team building exercise.
Where do you want to go, and how do you get there?
'What am I going to get out of three years at University?'
Hopefully a qualification, but Im hoping to become a better artist and know more about the games industry. I would like to come out with more knowledge about 2D art and expand my 2D art skills and knowledge so Im can draw more and to a good quality. I would also like to come out of university knowing more about 3D and using different 3D programmes and game engines, I know how to use 3Ds max to a good level and I know how to use Maya, Z-brush and UDK to a basic level, but I would like to expand my 3D knowledge more to just them 3 programs.
I would like to expand my knowledge of the game industry as a hole, but I would just like to better myself, mainly my 2D as my 2D is my weakest point and I dont want it dragging me down when I try and get a job in the industry after I leave university.
But its not just games I would like to go into, I would also like to get into movies and film, but I aim to going the games industry.
I missed the GDC to watch them live, so I went on the webpage and I was looking trough and I found this - [link]
It kind of scared me, as its going to lose jobs for new game artists; the 60-minute Lecture is about Building an Open-World Game without Hiring an Army. Yes this is good news for companies and top game artists that are in the industry, but this is one of the ways that new artists get into games, doing the lesser jobs that the top artists dont want to do, but if they get rid of these lower jobs, how will we get in the industry now?
I know that the industry need to save money as its resection, but doing this way will lose jobs for us and I think the industry need fresh ne talent , to get more ideas to make more original games. As games at the minute are the same as 5 years ago, most games that are coming out are sequels to other games or spin offs. I think there need to be new talent industry to make new games.
Constructive feedback blog
I feel that the course is good I have learnt a lot and I enjoy some bits more than others, my art has improved. I like that we can use facebook to talk to other people on the course and staff, as I commute to university every day and its good way of letting me/and others that commute know what going on, if lessons are not on and when things have been changed. But not a lot of feedback on my work thought the whole year, unless its amazing or really bad you dont get a crit from people and that dont help people get better.
I really enjoy the 3D side of the course, but I fell there is not lot of 3D tasks on the course, I would like more, but Im 3D mad.
The 2D side Im not a fan, I feel I have been thrown in the deep end on this one, as I came out of college not knowing much about 2D and I was not as good as some people in the class or as fast. I feel there was too much 2D work in a week, so I got behind, and then I got behind on my 3D and blogs and then my 3D worked suffered and quality of both 2D and 3D dropped cause I could not to it all and I had to rush in the end. I feel there should be more aim on quality than that of quantity of 2D and 3D work.
I have been working on a game as I work for a small games company called We Are Colin (The WeAreColin Website!),The game is called WordSearch Rush it's going to be on the iphone, The game has been made in 3D, to know more about the artwork of the game please read ,The Art of WordSearch Rush I hope you like what I've been working on!
Thanks for reading
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