Wednesday, 9 December 2009

My past inspirations

Ok so its all well and good us being here and conforming with the course but I think I should take the time to talk about my past inspirations toward the artistic area.

There are many different artists throughout my lifetime that have inspired me, lots of expressionistic and abstract paintings influenced my fine art throughout GCSE and A-levels.

Wassilly Kandinsky was a main inspiration, because of his colourful paintings, the use of geometrical shapes in his art work also provided me inspiration for quite a few of my past projects. Gustav Klimpt was the main influence for my final piece in my A-level submission, his use of colour and the way he applied paint to the canvas was good.

More centred toward the art work that influences me on this course is that of Ashley Wood, he worked on Metal Gear Solid and did work for the games and in the graphic novels. His loose painting style and the way he applys colour, he seems to have a very conceptual style and the way he approaches a painting is very "sketchy" but it in my opinion it is very effective.

Another artist that have appealed to me in the past are that of Monet, his paintings are blotchy and don't particularly look good close up, there more the sort of painting that you look at from far away and come into focus the closer up you get to them. He used alot of vibrant colours which made his work interesting and inspiring, he also worked relatively loose within his paintings which gave the pictures a stronger sense of depth and movement.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Game Technology wk9

The first thing I cast my mind on was the basic ergonomics of a Playstation or Xbox, does the actual shape of a games console go to far? I believe the answer to this is no... No matter how curvy the console is or becomes it will only ever be a console, a console changes its shape to fit in with modern trends and shapes, consoles may seem abit bizarre if they were shaped like arcade machines from the 70's!! Although perhaps if they were shaped like that it would a social norm because consoles haven't been made in any other way (we wouldn't know the difference)

For me the easiest console to use was probably the PS2, it did 3 things, play a game play a CD or DVD and change basic settings and to be honest isn't that all you need from a console? Its the gaming experience you should be most concerned about as that is what you pay your hard earned money for, flashy gizmos and online additions are great but are they 100% necessary? What's next a console that will cook you a full English in the morning when you wake up? (Would it be so obscene?!!!)

The best console overview has to be the Xbox 360, the Wii was horrendous although the point and click does probably interest people. Xbox offers a multitude of menus and sub menus to access the information that you want it looks good and is very concise in getting to what you want to use.

Just to emphasise the previous point about the relevance of actual content on consoles e.g. radio, twitter, facebook, movies. Does a console really need it? Its more of a convenience or luxury than it is a necessity to use such services... they don't improve your general gaming experience but some people would say its more a merging of PC and the general home entertainment system, perhaps one day all of these areas will be made into one, the culmination of technology's...
As to the loss of joysticks its noticeable that yes they are becoming less used within the gaming industry BUT you could say that the wii has used the joystick as a base and improved it in their technology (wiimote) to make the gaming experience more concise. So yes we may have lost joysticks in one sense but we have re-gained them in another.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Story Telling in Games wk8

Sometimes players play a game plays a game for a sheer laugh, although talking about a game and its story sometimes it can be said that a game doesn't really have a story. Take for instance yourself on holiday in the UK perhaps Skeggy (yes mike, you with shorts and a hat on away from your favourite ceiling!!) your walking around enjoying the sights and that 99 you just can't go without and you go to an arcade. Knowing today's arcades there's plenty of 2p machines ect, but of course were all interested in those arcade game, take for instance the Tekken series, yes there is a story there but its not particularly in depth, but you do enjoy playing it because of the sheer satisfaction of beating the crap out of a giant bear named Kuma! Moving on to another game Time Crisis, again it has a story but its not quite full on, its entertaining but not Bafta award winning, and so do you see what I'm getting at? Some games are made for different purposes like short entertainment. Games such as these are also made to keep the user playing so the game play and the story has to be interesting enough to keep the player paying his money.

Of course these examples are arcade games, but overall it is still a type of gaming. It is more noticeable that storylines are produced in console titles it is also noticeable that everyone is entitled to an opinion, defining a story is often overshadowed by the rating of the game becuase of it graphics or soundtrack for instance sometimes games should just be rated on storylines as well as aesthetics.

My favourite story has to be that of Resident Evil, it has tested itself against time, and has produced over 15 titles, the story itself has many twists and turns but the vast amount of games produced, all add to the overall amazing story without ruining it with too many titles. Twists and turns also improve he general story like Wesker being alive after being killed by the Tyrant :O everything in the game adds to its entertainment and replay value.

An Introduction To Art Direction For Games wk7

Ahhh Art direction, so... the direction of art inside of a gaming company, sounds pretty simple, probably really hard!!

It was noticeable that the main link : wasn't actually working, (wells it dead) so i scouted some other links.

Anyway back to the point, merely to be considered as an art director, someone must have a minimum of 5 years experience as a technical artist or some other form of artist from the gaming community, so obviously they have to be good at what they do, as a director they have to evaluate the work from their different specified teams so production can be moved on and dead ideas can be improved upon or removed from the production process. They have to make a lot of important decisions about the work involved in their company's creation pipeline and they also have to have an understanding of the open market as a whole to see what the customer likes and wants. They themselves need to be creative and produce good pieces of artwork to inspire their artistic community, but I believe there main responsibilities are to evaluate and guide fellow employees.

I imagine there are many differences between a game art director and a film art director, but I suppose there could be many similarities as well. Game art directors have to have a large understanding of graphics programmes, as well as an understanding of other computer programmes like photoshop (I'm sure film art directors also use programs like photoshop etc) it is likely that game art directors have to have an understanding of the market and the wants of the customer, knowing this they also probably have to have understanding of environments that the customer wants to see in a game. Film art directors have to have a deeper understanding of areas and environments, they also have to have an in depth understanding of camera angles and the use of filming technologies and equipment.

Lots of skills would have to be improved to become an art director, evaluation skills would need to be improved greatly, an art directors decisions can sometimes make or break a company the right decisions have to be made to make a good computer game. Drawing and perspective work would also probably need to be damn near perfect (no surprises there with what we have to do on this course!!)

From Pong to Next Gen wk6

Well to begin with there are definite connections between that of Pacman and Fear but only in loose comparison, both games are similar in one particular way, as they both have an outcome or ending. Both games are also played in a competitive manner E.G. the player wants to gain satisfaction from playing and completing the game, or achieving certain goals. The main difference between the games are that one is produced now in the present and the other one was produced in the past, and so there is bound to be a difference in the quality of the outcome, obviously one game will have better graphics because of the time it was produced at.

Another way in which a past game and a present game can be similar is that of their own particular genre, take for instance "golden Axe" and "Legend of Zelda" or "World of Warcraft" the premise is very similar, as the genre denotes the game to be an adventure, the story is also that of a warrior (compared with Legend Of Zelda) or the choice of different characters with different area of expertise such a wizardry for instance (compared with World of Warcraft). The way in which games like Golden Axe and other fantasy games are played are even more similar the main aim of the game is to defeat the enemy, story is perhaps of no consequence it just differs throughout time from past and present.

There always has to be a winnable side to attract players into games, this is somewhat different nowadays because of online play, older games were always pitted against an A.I. opponent, this does produce a winnable scenario but the player is only ever beating the computer. Different from A.I. is that of online play on the Xbox 360 for instance, one game that certainly sometime feels unbeatable is that of "Command and Conquer Tiberium Wars" when played against certain seasoned veterans, being beaten multiple times deters players from a game but is also a big difference from playing against an A.I.

I suppose the choice of the genre is all down to the design brief itself, the outcome of the game all falls down to the chosen direction in which the company wants to follow, further development comes from the artists and this influences the outcome of the game from the development of art shows how the game should look or feel. The outcome of the game is greatly influenced by the artwork produced in the preliminary stages but many areas of the production influence the final outcome, the production of a game should be emphasised as a team effort!!

Looking back at the past of gaming and then looking to present of gaming, there are obvious differences but then there are not so obvious simularity's, gaming may have come on leaps and bounds but looking at the development of an idea and the process of creating a game, the old is somewhat closer to the new than you might think.

The games review

Sooo continuing with our radical studies we are asked to produce a games review. As a majority of people may well know I chose to do Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising. Voiding myself from repeating the information on the review I think I should groan on about the experience itself and my opinions.

So the general task seemed simple enough to me, write a games review and present it to the class, and so I went to the task of writing and editing my power point. I won't lie to you I thought that it was going to be a simple feat to produce and present a power point to the class, and I thought it would be a breeze, (well how wrong was I) the easiest part was making the slides and thinking about what to say, but actually getting up there and presenting my review to the class was well daunting... It was perhaps noticeable that I froze at one point in my review, which probably shot me down a lot...

So all I have to say is well done to those who produced good to the point presentations unlike me who whittled on abit with too many notes and not enough decisiveness. We are all human, and I suppose being on game art design the majority of us are well, for a better word sometimes "socially impaired" in some situations (notes Chris's comment about us staying inside avoiding the outside world as much as possible!!) . So when looking at the teachers and perhaps thinking wow they've got it easy teaching us fools, I shall probably look back and think actually presenting any form of presentation is actually quite hard and yes they may have had a lot of practise but one day maybe i'll be as good as them at giving people feedback on certain topics and information!!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Writing about games

Multiple issues face games reviewers, I believe the most obvious constraint is that of actually getting employed into the business itself, how do you become a game reviewer for any self respecting games magazine or company? Perhaps most working in this sort of field study Media or English, I suppose its not just the general writing skill that is necessary its an interest in the gaming market itself, you have to enjoy what you work as else there's no point in doing it...

I would imagine that writers must have a general interest in the history of computers, gaming and the games industry itself. Without this background knowledge I'm sure they wouldn't be very good at reviewing games from the present market, everything they reviewed would just hold a typically similar rating from their part, they would either rate a game good, mediocre or absolute shit, but i suppose that rating a game in such a fashion is the base of the job they have anyway, they are basically paid to pass judgement on something created from the gaming industry. Having a job is one thing but keeping a job is another, as long as their judgement is concice against the game they are reviewing I'm sure readers will remain interested with the opinions of the magazine, after all the readers pay the wages of the writers all though this is similar to most other jobs out there...

Above all it should be noted that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, professional writers and amateur writers must be allowed such an indulgence. So... how do we class a review as good? Well that's hard to say... a good review is perhaps rated by how someone rates the game, but there has to be strong points that back the rating of the game up. Another way of knowing someone is a good reviewer is by stating what is good and bad in the actual game they are reviewing. A game cannot just have positive points, no matter how good the game actually is!!!

I would say that when I talk about games I'm a very subjective person... I make my opinion known but back my points up with the facts from within the game, if a game is good for one reason but bad for another I would say why and give my own opinion.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

2000's The Future

The Present and the Future of gaming, wow like gaming from our era!!!

Next Gen consoles such as Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii are perhaps the best consoles available to date. They have produced some of the most popular games around at this time, to emphasise this point take a popular game on the Xbox 360, namely.... Halo 3, it sold over millions of copy's and made millions of pounds and dollars from England and America respectively.

So.... it would be easy for me to talk about a multitude of games and (or) games companies that have succeeded in the gaming industry, but you already know all this so i won't bore you with such intolerable mumbling.
I will do my best to answer the questions presented on week 3's task. What do I want from gaming in the future? Well gaming in my opinion has already reached a pinnacle, i would perhaps like to see the AI in gaming improve to make games more challenging or even more realistic, there's nothing more frustrating than terrible AI in teams command sort of games like Operation Flashpoint for instance. I do implore the efforts made in certain games such as Call of Duty 4, and Flashpoint they are highly realistic for their own reasons.

I would imagine the future of gaming will probably become fully immersive giving the user the opportunity to actually become a part of the game, total virtual reality might not be out of the question but there is a question of how far should gaming and immersiveness actually go, remember all those lovely crazy people who spend a large majority of their lives on World Of Warcraft?? A world full of zombies is never good.

I own an extensive amount of games and games consoles, next gen consoles i own are the Nintendo DS, PSP, Xbox 360 and at one point i did own a Wii. The console i enjoy playing the most is the Xbox, Online is excellent you can't not enjoy Modern Warfare online, hours of fun!!!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The history of Games 1980's-1990's

The next step within the gaming and computing revolution happend from the beginning of the 1980's onwards. At this time the presence of arcade games was on the increase. Popularity of gaming was on the rise, people were playing games for enjoyment and perhaps the challenge of the game. Im sure arcade games were widely enjoyed by many, but more than none the best form of socialites.... Pub goers'!!!! (Mike :D)
The fist noticeable arcade game was made in 1980, "Pacman" was a 2d arcade game that made the user control a moon shaped character that ate dots and fruit, the aim of the game was to eat all the dots and avoid the ghosts. All in all it was and still is a very addictive game. Another arcade game that interests me is that of "Donkey Kong" which was released in 1981, it was again a simple 2d game, which pitted "jumpman" (Super Mario) against Donkey Kong. Giant monkey vs. 3 foot plumber, always good!!!
The final arcade game that i feel the need to talk about is that of "Paper Boy" made by Atari, it basically involved the user by making them play as a paper boy on a bike delivering papers. This to me is highly comical as the main objective of the game is to deliver papers! It's not awe inspiring but more bizarre as the game can be marketed to different audiences, could you imagine children earning money on actual paper rounds to then burn their money to play a game which makes you deliver papers!!! The mind boggles!!
Multiple new platforms were released between the 80's and the 90's, The best platform released in my opinion was the "NES" produced by Nintendo. Other examples of platforms are the "Atari ST" and the "Commodore Amiga" Marketing was and still is very competitive I'm sure that when people realised money could be made from making games, competition would surely ensue.
Toward the end of the 80's platforms, improved and consoles became more 3d. Consoles like the snes, N64 and later on the playstation set the stage for the 3d consoles that we play today.
The next game in my gaming history that i played was on playstation after the Snes, "frogger" was probably one of the first games i played on the PS1. I spent an awful lot of time on "Command and Conquer Red Alert" that seriously gave me hours of fun, I even play the RTS's on the 360 today. I also remember the sheer terror and the tremendously bad acting in "resident evil 1" I love all the resident evil games merely for the way they push the player to be resourceful and investigate every corner.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The history of Games 1950-1970

The first ever game was made through the use of army mainframe computers, it was very basic, lacking the complexity that is used in gaming production today. Although games were unimpressive up to this point, the creation of something that could be played with the use of technology was unprecedented. Games were made one after the other from the 1950's-1970's, although there were no real breakthroughs until the late 1970's.

The first "game" was made by a man called Thomas T. Goldsmith, JR. in 1948. The game simulated missle fire upon a target, it was of course very basic, as this game was made with military computers, one can presume that the game was made to try and aid that of the U.S. army. This perhaps hold significance because the 2nd world war had just ended, every facetion felt the need to strengthen their military prowess (although I speculate!)

In 1952 "OXO" was made, this was created by A.S. Douglas at the university of Cambridge, it tested human-computer interaction. This basically tested the player against the computer, it was scientific research and perhaps not created for pleasure or enjoyment but im sure users enjoyed the experience at the time.

In 1961 a game called "Spacewar!" was created. this was the first independant game that pitted two players against each other. Apparently it was the first influential computer game ever created. Another area of significance suurounding this game is the time in which the game was produced, the space race began in 1957 and the first human to go into space was a Russian in 1961. It was noticeable that the game reflected the goings on of the time.

The first game that I ever played was "Donkey Kong - Diddy Kong's Quest" in 1997 it wasn't a choice of my ownto purchase the game but that of my mothers for mine and my brothers birthday. Obviously I played this game for fun, it solely is the reason I play video games to this very day!!!