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Games Design @ Hull School of Art and Design

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September 2016

C.A.T.S – Brief and Module Overview

Module Description

‘During the level 5 module students will engage with broader culture, specifically ethical and social issues. There will be an emphasis on exploring different positions and viewpoints through seminar discussion and by researching the opinions of theorists, critics and practitioners. These discourses can be related to creative practice and professional contexts in the other level 5 modules. Within this module students are provided with opportunities to develop their critical reading skills, which will prompt and stimulate further independent study‘ – New Media Site, C.A.T.S, Module Description.

The Text above is from the Hull New Media Site (http://nm.artdesignhull.ac.uk/modulesIndMD.php?briefId=141&year=2&courseId=2). I have highlighted certain words that stand out to me so that I have a clear understanding of the module description. Below is each of the highlighted sections described so that I understand what I need to achieve.

  • ‘Engage with broader culture, specifically ethical and social issues.’ – To understand and learn about a variety of cultures, look into their religion, how they live around society, how they deal with social situations and their everyday life.
  • ‘Exploring’ ‘Viewpoints’ – Look at life from their point of view or perspective and don’t be bias, look at the good and the bad from both angles.
  • ‘Seminar Discussion’ – Group Discussions, work together to debate and discuss.
  • ‘Researching the opinions of theorists, critics and practitioners’ – Research other peoples opinions and beliefs. Look at general research online but also genuine opinions from theorists, critics and practitioners.
  • ‘Develop their critical reading skills’ – Thorough reading is involved, research from a variety of sources is needed (not just the internet, use the library, history  centre, museums etc.
  • ‘Independent Study’ – Study as a group but remember to be independent when it comes to your own essay and most of the research.

Syllabus

To enable students to explore a range of ethical, social and theoretical issues in relation to the production and consumption of cultural products.

To focus on a range of texts in order to encourage analytical, critical and reflective responses to sources.

To embed informed debate and critical analysis within essay writing and other agreed forms.

To prepare learners for the academic and theoretical demands of Level 6 study.

The Brief

Learning Outcome 1 – Critically analyse, evaluate and draw upon a range of texts to inform debate leading to the construction of a viable and coherent self -initiated programme of study (for Level 6)

Evidence 1 – Seminar Activity: To focus on the analysis, interpretation and critique of key texts. Study Skill Workshops: To examine the presentation and structuring of essays and other agreed forms through group activities. Individual Tutorials Lecture: To introduce the level 6 programme of work (including presentations/discussions with year 3 students). Individual Tutorials/small group activity: To support students through their choice of topic/question. Including summative feedback on level 6 statement of intent.
Learning Outcome 2 – Formulate and structure an argument. Draw on and synthesize a range of evidence and engage in critical debate in essay writing and other agreed forms.

Evidence 2 – Lectures and screenings: To introduce key concepts and theories, perspectives and processes. Peer learning: Group activities, discussion and feedback.

Learning Outcome 3  – Examine ethical, social and theoretical issues relating to the production and consumption of cultural products. Demonstrate the ability to address issues from different viewpoints.

Evidence 3 – Seminar activity: To discuss issues, explain and listen to viewpoints and engage in debate. To develop criticality in response to a range of texts.

Learning Outcome 4 – Independently locate and evaluate a range of research sources and use academic conventions regarding presentation, written expression and referencing.

Evidence 4 – Library sessions and study skill workshops: To examine the research, presentation and referencing of essays through group activity.

My Overview

Now that I have a clear understanding of the brief I know that as well as having group/class discussions that I need to also be independent with my learning. As well I just using my opinion I have to take into consideration what other people believe and also have an understanding of their culture. I must use many sources; not just the internet and google, go to the museums, visit the library, view archives etc.

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Interactive Environments and Level Design – Intro to Level Design

21/09/16

Part 1a – An Introduction to Level Design

Gamification

Games are used almost everywhere now, sometimes you don’t even realize when you’re playing. Anyone can like games as there are many age ratings, many game styles and a large variety of story lines fun for anyone. Gamification is very popular now as it is seen as  a way of advertising as well as entertainment. (For more information on gamification via my blog click here: https://hannahbalesblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/games-design-gamification/

I really enjoy gamification but I think it also has its disadvantages; for example Pokémon Go was a big hit as soon as it was announced and now most people I know play which is good because we can talk about it and search for Pokémon together, however it can lead to conflict as some people may have better pokémon than you do and therefore it becomes a competition, also there has been many accidents since the game was released (mainly car accidents) and as well as that we have to take into consideration that the world already isn’t very social due to portable gaming and messaging. Everyone stares at their phones to much these days and I believe that will cause big issues in the future. Gamification can have some great advantages though as some people try to make games that benefit specific audiences, for example Jane McGonigal created an app called ‘SuperBetter’ this app helps you with your physical and mental fitness by treating your problems like the bad guys in a game and fighting them off by completing the given tasks. For example if you struggle to be social the app with challenge you slightly each day by maybe getting you to message someone or post something on a social media website.

pokemon-go-001

Pokémon Go App

SuperBetter 001.jpg

Super Better App by Jane McGonigal

Technology within Society

As well as gamification we have lots of technology all around us, some say too much whereas some say too little. Security cameras are a big issue at the moment as they are everywhere, they watch our every move; this is a good thing as we feel safe knowing we have the cameras to catch anyone behaving badly but we also want some personal space (we don’t want to be filmed everywhere we go). As well as cameras we have information; most information is given out in a digital format now such as when you visit a museum, go on a tour, view/buying items in a shop; most people will usually shop online now because they don’t want to have to be around too many people. When I went on a tour in London at the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio many people had headphones on with a touchscreen device, I thought it was an easy way to get the information across but no one was really looking at where they was walking and no one could hear you so it seemed to be quite rude.

Camera 001.jpg

Too much CCTV?

harry-potter-001

Harry Potter Digital Tour

Retro Games Vs Modern Day

I really liked the original games from the 1990’s as I found them very fun, so fun in fact that I still play some of them today. Arcade games used to be very enjoyable and still are, however I believe that some of them you couldn’t really play for hours unless you was so desperate to break someones high score as I found them to be very repetitive (although I still have to consider when the game was made as they didn’t have very advanced technology at the time. Arcade games such as Pong (1972), Donkey Kong (1981) and Pacman (1980) had very repetitive levels; the area would be the same, however some items would change place to give it a bit more variety also the music was incredibly catchy and the characters/games are very iconic and have been improved furthermore in this modern day.

pong

Pong

vintage 80s video games 1980s nintendo

Donkey Kong

nostalgia pacman love

Pacman

Video Game Glitches

I like modern day games as they take me a while to complete and even after completing the story modes I now have the fun of achievement hunting or playing the extra add-ons (dlc-downloadable content). They are fun, but because games these days have better graphics and a longer story plot as well as extra content we have more problems with glitches, crashes and general issues throughout the games. Also game companies are competing against who has the best graphics that they are not actually listening to what the customers want such as story lines, memorable characters and large maps/extraordinary areas to discover.

Below are some video game glitches that I have came across whilst playing some of my games.

Saints Row Glitch Screenshot – Car stuck in the floor

Goat Simulator Glitch Screenshot – NPC floating in the air

Fallout 4 Asset Glitch Screenshot – Skeleton Floating for no apparent reason

Games aren’t always digital, we can also play board games. I enjoy a good board game as they are mainly aimed at 2 or more players which influences more family time. Some games are fun to play but after a while can get quite stressful, take ‘Monopoly’ as an example; it is known as the board game the can tear families apart because people cheat and people get jealous. A few of my friends play ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ I really enjoy card games because it isn’t one set game, it is many in one and you have the chance to make as many of your own games as possible. As well as board games there are games that involve sport such as laserquest or paintball and even games you played as a child such as tag or hide and seek. I enjoy laserquest as it does feature some digital affects such as lighting and points scoring, however it is great to get involved with friends and enjoy the environment, sound effects and music.

Bibliography

Pokemon Go Image Source: http://www.redbull.com/en/games/stories/1331804885230/pokemon-go-tips-red-bull-games

Super Better Image Source: https://www.superbetter.com/about

CCTV Image Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30978995

Harry Potter Image Source: https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/the-tour-experience/about-the-studio-tour#ID-80888F9EDA3841688E898BA33AD3E39A

Pong GIF Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/pong-bGYg4GQPXM5BC

Donkey Kong GIF Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/super-mario-donkey-kong-jumpman-4pPrCPDBQ5k88

Pacman GIF Source: https://giphy.com/gifs/nostalgia-pacman-love-jxJjBMvqEvMSA

Xbox Profile: DisneyHannah96

 

 

 

Interactive Environments and Level Design – Heritage Theme

22/09/16

Heritage Theme

For this heritage group project we have to show game aspects so we need a story, theme or style for the time era of the 1930’s. This is to give the players some sort of story to play with also it is also a great way to cut off the sections we are not modelling (because we can’t obviously model the whole city of Hull within the given time frame). Within the environment we must try to feature the area of Queen Victoria Square including buildings that existed at the time (1941 was the Blitz of Hull), vehicles relevant to this given time and also aspects as well as Artificial Intelligence.

We have split most of the research equally and all of us have contributed to the ideas presented below. The list consists of games that would be good to feature as a theme towards our heritage project; each one of us have decided on one or more games to research and within that research we will discuss what game aspects we can look into from other games to maybe use in our games such as the weather, the gameplay, aspects etc.

  1. Grand Theft Auto
  2. L.A Noire
  3. The Sims
  4. Assassin’s Creed
  5. Thief
  6. Sherlock Holmes
  7. Tomb Raider
  8. Red Dead Redemption
  9. Crazy Taxi
  10. Forza
  11. Need for Speed
  12. We Happy Few
  13. Street Fighter
  14. Uncharted
  15. National Treasure (Film/Game)
  16. Resident Evil (Film/Game)
  17. Silent Hill (Film/Game)
  18. Lollipop Chainsaw
  19. Watchdogs
  20. Payday
  21. The Godfather (Film/Game)
  22. Clockwork Orange (Film)
  23. The Exorcist
  24. The Bioshock Collection
  25. Back to the Future (Film/Game)
  26. King Kong (Film/Game)
  27. Agatha Christie (Film/Game)
  28. Nightmare Creatures
  29. Prototype
  30. Fallout
  31. Penny Dreadful

Silent Hill

Image result for Silent hill playstation 1 cover

The Silent Hill game was released in 1999 on the PlayStation One console. This is a rather large game series that is still getting made today with at least 10 original games and that is not even taking into consideration of how many remakes have been released.  Many Silent Hill fans have recently been very disappointed as a demo/preview named P.T Silent Hills (P.T = Playable Teaser) was cancelled and there are so many rumours going around that there currently is no answer towards why it has been cancelled, however Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead Star known as ‘Daryl Dixon’) was supposed to be the main protagonist, however since the cancellation he has recently been shown in a different game trailer named ‘Death Stranding’ and this is apparently a replacement for ‘Silent Hills’.

I chose one of the first Silent Hill games because I believe it holds some great ideas in which we could in-cooperate into our game. The first and main feature that grabs my attention is the fog; with this game being a survival horror they used the fog as a way to scare the player as you can’t see too far in front of you the player has to be more thorough whilst searching and when an enemy appears you will only notice when you are too close to it and therefore the player has to encounter enemies rather than running away. This game also uses its sound effects to its advantage as the player finds a radio at the beginning of the game which plays no tune but when an enemy is nearby the static noise goes crazy again another method of scaring the player. Another scare technique is the timing. Not only does this game have jump scares but it also features a siren that sounds every so often which encourages more enemies to attack and the environment to change.

Video Source: http://www.youtube.com

Video Credit: BlackFox2240

The video above shows the atmosphere of the game, watch more of these videos or play the game to experience the gameplay.

We Happy Few

Image result for we Happy Few Game Cover

I haven’t actually played this game yet, however it looks quite complex as I’ve watched a few reviews and also some walkthroughs. The game was released around the same time as ‘No mans Sky’ and they both had a similar aspect in common which is procedural generation. Procedural generation is another term for random generation, items within games are usually in the same place all of the time and we know exactly where to go every time we replay the game which can sometimes make the gameplay boring. Procedural Generation allows the player to have a slightly new experience every time they play the game also I think it is good for the players as if a player is struggling they will find it hard to find the answers online and therefore the player must try their hardest to progress further. When No Mans Sky was released it was a highly anticipated game, however, it is now known as the game most likely to be traded in as the procedural generation aspect failed on its release as many people have stated that the game was very repetitive.

Image result for we Happy Few concept art

Image result for we Happy Few concept art

“No matter how many solar systems you jump to or planets you explore on the direct path to the center of the galaxy, you’ll grow tired of repetitive NPC interactions and the planets’ implied-but-shallow variety, and you’ll lose interest in new ships–and perhaps the journey altogether.”  – Gamespot Review by Peter Brown

“We Happy Few will cultivate a deeply nuanced story told through details scattered through its world, including some pieces that aren’t in the game yet. It’s the kind of game you want to experience when its finished, and not before.” – We Happy Few Review by Mike Epstein

Above are 2 reviews, the first one is about No Mans Sky and the second is about We Happy Few. We Happy Few is highly anticipated but so was No Mans Sky and that didn’t work to well, however We Happy Few has been released via early access so they can receive feedback from players on how to improve the game before releasing it fully which I believe is a very bright idea.

Also seeing gameplay I am very intrigued in the game because of the art style, there are many aspects that we can use from this game to place within our game, such as costume design, aspects/objects and the environment/weather. I am also a great fan of their website as it is very informative and presented very well.

Video Source: http://www.youtube.com

Video Credit: MGplayy – Trailers and Gameplay

Sherlock Holmes Games

Image result for sherlock holmes crimes and punishments game cover

There are many Sherlock Holmes games (at least ten I believe) and they have all had good reviews no matter what console or game style, however, for this specific topic I have chosen to discuss the game known as ‘Crimes and Punishments’ because I have played this and I believe it can relate to our project really well.

The game is very guided, meaning the areas you visit are quite small and the path for the character is quite limited, however this is a good thing as it makes it better for the character to find items and objects. Also detective games are usually great as small closed of spaces as you can place more items down to fill the space and the environment therefore looks more realistic (this goes back to the ‘Their Pride and Joy’ project in which we had to fill the space as much as possible so the environment looked interesting). The game is set in the late 1800’s nearly early 1900’s so some of the aspects of the buildings exteriors/interiors would be good to look at as well as maybe clothing and assets.

Video Source: http://www.youtube.com

Video Credit: Gamspot

Bibliography

Silent Hill Image Source 001 – http://www.ign.com/blogs/lecambrioleur/2010/12/02/top-15-playstation-1-games

Silent Hill Information – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Hill_(video_game)

No Mans Sky Review – http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/no-mans-sky-review/1900-6416492/

We Happy Few Review – http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/we-happy-few-early-access/

We Happy Few Image Source 001- http://gearnuke.com/happy-now-steam-early-access/

We Happy Few Image Source 002 – http://weunhappyfew.tumblr.com/post/123456505777/official-we-happy-few-art-garden-district

We Happy Few Image Source 003 – http://weunhappyfew.tumblr.com/page/18

Sherlock Holmes Image Source 001 – https://www.trueachievements.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Crimes-and-Punishments/walkthrough.htm?page=1

Interactive Environments and Level Design – Blog Directory

Below is a list of the names and links to each team members blog. To view any work about the heritage project or anything in relation to Games Design please use the links below.

Harry Langdon

https://hlangdonblog.wordpress.com/

Sam McNeil

https://samm1996blog.wordpress.com/

Sam Akester

https://sammehreviews.wordpress.com/

Matty Britchford

https://mbritchford.wordpress.com/

Kyle Agnew

https://kyleagnew.wordpress.com/

John Ovrington

https://darkpadalin0.wordpress.com/

Harry Javan

https://harryjavan.wordpress.com/

Hannah Bales

https://hannahbalesblog.wordpress.com/

 

 

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