Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Me and games.

I've never really liked playing on games because i was always afraid that i would lose. That's apart of life. You learn from your mistakes and make amends. But for me i am a perfectionist and it has to be done right the first time.

One of the first computer games i can remember playing is the Super Mario brothers on the Nintendo 64. I could only play on the first world on the first 2-3 levels because i was afraid that i was going to lose if i went further as the levels got harder. I feel ashamed about it. It's like in real life that I'm afraid of dying, I'm afraid of dying in games. Stupid i know.

As i got older i have been more involved with games. Although as reluctant as i am, i try to get games that are turn based. I managed to buy a few Final fantasy games and completed 2/4 strategy and 1 turn based. From Final fantasy VII to Final fantasy X-2 guess which was the easiest for me. I enjoyed the final fantasy games but strategy games are still a little hard for me. I'm such a wuss.

Since finding out that i was more into turn based, i have enjoyed playing some of the Koei games such as Disgaea, Makai kingdom and Phantom brave although they have been very long winded to level up, but the storyline is good and i love the art.

I don't play on games as much as i would like, either i can't find the time, too tired that i can't concentrate, have better things to do and think that games are just a waste of time.

Friday, 26 December 2008

First term at a glance

Where to begin?

I guess it's back to the 20th of September, the move in weekend. It was the first time in my life i have moved so far away from my home town Middlesbrough, in fact its the first time i've moved. It was strange at first. but after unpacking half of my original bedroom in to my new one at Liberty park, i felt right at home.

Freashers week wasn't all that great but at least i had time to spend exploring the town and getting use to being away from home. I made a lot of new friends in that week as well, as well as joining two societies: Anime, and the rocksoc (short for rock society).

Then came the first of many weeks of uni life. I got to know people in my class, and saw the sheer size of the class. I'm not keen on being in a large class because i feel insecure. I got to know my tutors which was a little strange since i've never really been involved with my teachers in college.

Classes have been hard, especially with game production.. I have never used 3D max before and i'm still struggling to understand half of the commands and other stuff to prepare the objects for analysis. Since we didnt have the computers at the beginning we didnt have time to go through the tutorials again and i was doing projects that i had no idea how to go about, but i tried my best and even asked my friends how they did certain things and i am going to try them out. Visual design should be easy but the lack of B pencils got me into trouble. Critical studies is a great excuse to relax and watch movies, especially when i have an hour lecture on the morning, a three hour lunch, two hour lecture/ movie in the afternoon, two hour tea and me time, then out at 5:30pm to my two clubs and i dont get back till 11 or after midnight.

3 months later and i'm enjoying uni life, missing everyone at home and low on cash. I really need a job badly so i can eat and have a home for next year. I love Leicester, i like uni, i have loads of friends and i'm living my life like i've never done before.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

10. The elements of game design: Story and character

Characters that we come across in everyday life in books, TV, films and games, all ave a significant role just like we do. These characters whether main, sub or background characters all help to make a story come to life. The way how i see it, a strong character brings a strong story. But I'm very picky with what i want to watch and whether i would like it or not, mainly because of the story and the characters. For example: Harry Potter films and books; the books go on forever and start to become repetitive and nothing much happens, and in the films the acting is crap and the story is worse because they can't fit a whole book in 3 hours.

To make a good character, i think you need to give the character a good history, good profile, and a good character design, without these the story is going to fall to pieces. One thing i do find had when creating characters is that i can't design the character how i want them to be and also give them a history and profile to match. Most of my characters don't make sense.

When creating characters, if you have made a great script then you have a great story. And for a great story to happen you need great characters to go with it. Acting and appearance is important because they are what make the character come alive. Acting gives the character a personality and appearance makes us see if this person is the good guy or the bad guy. Without them or a lack of one or the other, then the characters will be lame.

I wouldn't say that I'd find something 'irresistible', that word doesn't exist in the world of TV, books and films simply because everything is pants and repeating the same idea but using different characters. I like to watch Harry hills TV burp because it makes me laugh and he takes the mick out of all the shows i hate. And although i don't find comedians funny, Harry hill is there for me on the Saturday nights for TV entertainment. Also Heroes is another show i like to watch, again not my cup of tea, but it has improved since season 1. Would love to watch season 3 because everyone keeps saying how epic it is but I'm not around on Wednesdays to watch it and I'm not staying up on Sunday nights because i like to sleep.

Friday, 5 December 2008

9. An introduction to game technology

Having looked at a small glimpse of the gaming platforms from 1967-present, I have only ever played on a small fraction. In order I had: A Super NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) for a short time, the Amiga (can't remember which version), PlayStation, Gameboy color, PlayStation 2, and a Nintendo DS lite.

As far as platforms go, there's a lot that do the same thing in similar ways. The one that i find most interesting is the Amiga. Simply because it's a keyboard with the addition of a joystick and a mouse. The games came as floppy disks which didn't store much oh them but from the collection i had so very few were enjoyable. Mr. Nutz was probably my favourite because it was a squirrel. But thinking back now, Trollz was the best. Even though i couldn't play the games properly because i was scared I'd lose it was still most interesting platform i had.

The easiest one i found to use was the gameboy color, simply because you had a direction pad and two buttons. Even though the games were lame (i only had two, and borrowed a friends and still haven't given it back), the controls were easy enough.

The one that looks the nicest is the Nintendo DS lite. I chosen this one because its simple compact design. The lite design is so much better and less chunkier than the first version. The DS lite is lighter, has two screens in which the bottom screen you can interact with it with the stylus. You can play the Gameboy Advance games as well as DS ones, as well as certain games like Pokemon, and Harvest moon, they both have GBA and DS games so if you insert both games you can interact with them. EG Harvest moon DS allows you to interact with more villagers when you insert Harvest moon: More friends of Mineral town (GBA).

Looking back at the early consoles and todays consoles, i find that now we don't use joysticks anymore unless its necessary for the game like flight simulation. But game pads are used quite a lot and deemed necessary to play games. Except for the likes of Rockband/2 and Guitar hero/ world tour where the instruments act as the game pad.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

8. Storytelling in games

Looking at how popular some games are nowadays they are popular because of the great storyline, characters and amount of interaction within the game. I found that through the games i've played the storyline is most important because thats what draws a person into playing. If theres no great storyline then theres no great depth of interaction during game play.

The final fantasy games is one example. And one of the most popular final fantasy games is Final fantasy 7. Everywhere i look theres fanart, cosplays and people talking about Final fantasy 7. A couple of days ago i watched Final fantasy 7: Advent children and i can see why the movie alone was good. But the game itself is better because of the storyline as well as the game play that keeps us hooked til the very end. And because of the success with Final fantasy 7, theres a prequel called 'Final fantasy 7: Crisis core'. Although i havent played it, it is still as popular as the original.

As a player i would like to make the story happen rather than let it happen to me. If you can do that then the game will be more interesting because you dont know who its going to affect the end of the game. Like on Disgaea: hour of darkness, depending on what you do during gameplay will determain how the game will end. MMORPGs like World of warcraft are different, because there is no storyline, you just play how you want to although your doing quests and fighting monsters. My answer for the last question: "Is call of duty a war story?" is: I have no idea. I don't like games like that. So i am going to take a random guess and say that it is because of the title.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

7. An introduction to Art directions for games.

An art director is responsible for the appearance and interaction of the game, stretching technical and artistic capabilities. The art director works along side the creative director to define the artistic and stylistic goals for the game. Works with the Art manager to ensure that the artistic side is fully manageable and kept within the budget and schedule. And also the art director works along side the recruitment team to make them an exceptional team.

To me i think that Art direction is an important role, and having read more about being an art director, I have found that the art director gets involved with everything, knowing about the production technologies, aids in visual consistency and creation and maintenance capabilities, oversees production design, supervises art reviews and solves problems during the production and much, much more.

Art direction is similar to other productions like Film, because the way how they both are made from beginning to end are similar, except one requires computers and animation and the other requires a camera and settings. They go through a similar series of developments. Game development goes through: Pre-production, production, Milestones, Nearing completion, Testing, Completion, and Maintenance. More on this at: Wiki- Game development. Whereas film making goes through: Development, Pre-production, post-production, sales and distribution. More on this at: Wiki-film making

The qualities that i need to become an art director isn't impossible, but it is a little out of my reach. Firstly i need to get into the gaming industry and have 5 years experience, leadership experience, A BFA, and instant problem solving More listed at: An Art directors job. These listed are pretty much going to be hard for my to reach, not only do i have to be the best at what i do but i also need to be the best of the best to get a job in the gaming industry as it is competitive to get into.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

6. Introduction to game design

Game play is what the player interacts with and experiences during the game. It's basically what the player does whilst playing. Game play has developed from video games to the more traditional type of game forms.

Atari, Nintendo, EA games/Sports, on-line systems are all leading and popular companies in game design. Since computer games started they have been producing great games. Game design has evolved a lot since the beginning. The programmer was often designing game play, Atari often did this with many of their titles. Beforehand one person could create an entire game alone but since games became more complex to make and create there was now a new position of 'level designer'. Because of this more people were employed to create the vast design of a game.

Now they are many jobs that are there to create a level in a game. Level designers or map designers individually construct the game play. Not all games have the same design patterns. Some games may have a 2d base some may have 3d.

Whats important to me when i play games is that the game itself has to be interesting. Like World of warcraft, the maps are simple for me to follow, theres plenty to do in terms of quests and interaction with creatures and other players. I find that the design of the game and the game play itself to be most important, because without them the game is pretty much boring.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

4/5.Writing about games

When reviewers are writing an article in the gaming industry, and like many other companies like those producing magazines, have a limited time to write their article in. Reviewers watch demos of games that have been brought in by companies who want to sell their game, watch and review. Their wages are paid by the magazine company they work for.

I think that the ranking of the game at the end of a review shows an opinion of what that person thinks of the game. I think its encouraging and helps those who are thinking about putting the game have a better overview of how good the game play is.

I think that NGJ is a good thing. Like the Nintendo magazine it opens a new window in the world of gaming. It shows the latest games and which are the best ones to look out for. The reviews are encouraging as they go into a little depth of the game and tries to sell it to you. One of the best places to go for gaming reviews online are usually in forums. People can come together and share their views of the game and discuss what was good and what was bad about the game.

I feel that my writing could be that little bit better. I'm not entirely use to writing and reviewing games I am learning more as the weeks go by and i am hoping to be able to create a good review of my tasks.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

3.A history of computer games Pt3

Since the beginning of compter games, they have been a few faults. But since then the price of produing a game has gone up and the quality is much better making the gaming experience more enjoyable. In 2004 came a revolution when Halo 2 made a debut appearence and sold over 8 million copies. It hade better graphics, better game play, took over three years to complete and $40 million to create.

In the past few years, the cost of developing a high profile game risen due to the demand of the many consoles we have today. Some require better quality than others. In 1982 is was harder to fund the games because no one had $20 million in their pocket. Where as now companies have the money and the budgets begin to spiral. For one game 'Origin', wasn't able to raise enough money to fund the project and so the gaming company EA took them down.

Nowadays gaming companies are creating sequels to the best selling games such as Halo and Final fantasy VII. And they has been a large increase in the amount of ideas from movie, comics and tv shows which then are made into games and these are becoming increasingly popula.


What i expect from games in the future are more like add-ons and virtual reality. A few months ago i played on World of warcraft, a ten day trail, and i thought it was the next best thing. I understand that they have add-ons from that but i i would like to see new features, armor, dungoens, quests, increase in the limited levels etc, updated about once a month to make the players more interested in the game.

I am really interested in playing a virtual reality game. I have a manga called 'id_entity' and the story is about this virtual reality game called 'Lost saga'. The game has everything a person could need with updates every so oftern, tournaments, easter eggs and a great character personality because the characters are IN the game. This is the kind of game i would love to play, and although its a MMORPG you get to meet and really interact with other people as thopugh they were in front of you.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

2.History of computer games P2

Come the 1980's, gaming took to a whole new level. From the Cathode ray tube to an actual computer where people cam come together using a phone line to connect and play against each other in a multi-player system which then lead off to bigger games where more people could joining in, this was known as MMORPG (massively multi player online role-playing game).

Soon after, a company called Nintendo started making a handheld games console. These became really popular and encouraged other companies to follow.

Unfortunately in 1983 there was a crash in the video gaming industry as well as bankruptcy in companies in North America that supplied computers and video games. This was because of a poorly conceived games such as E.T and Pac-man. So many unsold games were buried in a landfill.

Come the 3rd generation, development in the handheld exploded again as the gaming companies made plug in consoles for the T.V. One of the first to be made was the Famicon, and 8-bit console from Nintendo. And one of the first game to be manufactured along side it was the popular super Mario bros. This then brought on the ever popular Final fantasy series that took the world by storm, and still remain popular today.

Since the beginning, games have changed and evolved like the consoles they are played in. Over the first two decades, games and consoles excelled at a fast pace and became a well known source of entertainment.


As my gaming years went on, i moved from the Nintendo 64 to the Amiga. I still wasn't as confident playing on the Amiga but later on in the years in my teens, i did go that one step further and challenged myself to try and get further on a game called 'Mr. Nutz'. I did just that and felt a great sense of an achievement.

I played games on and off during that time, then 10 years later i wasn't introduced to Final Fantasy VIII from a friend. Since then i began to collect a few other final fantasy games and other games that i thought i would be good at. Whilst some still remain unplayed and not completed i have had great enjoyment from the experience.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

1.A history of computer games P1

The first ever known game was created in 1947 by a couple of men called Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estel Ray Mann. They created a missile simulator which was inspired by a World war II radar and they did this on a Cathode ray tube. What the cathode ray tube did was to produce images that used the light emitted from the fluorescent screen. The image was represented in the form of an electrical waveform, television pictures and radar targets. Thomas was a vice president and was apart of the radio manufacturers association committee on cathode ray tubes and won an award for it too.
I find it fascinating that something like this was created so early before Bill Gates created the computer.

The first computer game can think of that i played was probably 'Super Mario brothers' on the Nintendo 64. I didn't enjoy it much because i was afraid of losing and it wasn't my kind of game play.
The most recent one I've played was Hotel Dusk: Room 215. It was my second time playing it since my 19Th birthday.
I don't know why i continued to play games because at the time i wasn't much of a gaming person. I was extremely picky with what i wanted to play and what i wanted to try. But later on i began to learn that there were different ways of game play. I soon discovered that i didn't like strategy games as much because although i liked the game play i didn't like it when it came to fighting monsters. Then there was turn based which i found a whole lot more easier and i had time to plan my strategy, but downside is that the games began to get boring after a while.