Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Next year?

I’ve enjoyed my first year here and feel that I’ve been able to develop and learnt a lot, previous to this course I knew nothing about 3ds max and now I have the basic understanding of it. It goes the same for the visual design part of the course as well, I was obviously seen good enough to be allowed on to this course and through it my skills have truly developed. Looking back on the work I had done in college I can see how much I have gained from Chris’s teaching including the detail of work, rendering skills and development of work and its process. Mikes critical study sessions have been enjoyable, nice and relaxing, I think it’s good that we have been able to talk about the industry, work and all the other issues covered, it’s great to see another side other than the visual and 3d work. I suppose everyone will be saying roughly the same thing, but I guess that if you didn’t feel like this you wouldn’t want to be here right now would you?

Now for next year, with game production I would like to see more tutorials on modelling, texturing, mapping, all of it as you said integrate it into a more formal system. This would allow us to develop our work more outside of lectures and also look back on details we can use outside of heathers sessions; we can learn to go further with techniques and processes by analysing them and trying to find other routes of creation. Also I understand that this year we have been taught the basics of 3d modelling and our briefs have been set to work alongside this, but for the continuing year I’d like to see tasks that fit into this generation of games design, have projects that ask us to create models that can be used in consoles/games today instead of past generations. I say this as from the talk of students that went over to the GDC and spoke with members of the industry and from research I have seen its seems that we should be pushing ourselves to create such pieces of work, maybe I’m wrong and pushing things before we are ready. With the visual design aspects I would like a variation of tasks between the traditional art and digital art as it seems that digital art is a major part of the industry and a skill we should know and begin to develop. Obviously we should be trying to make ourselves better outside of your lessons but to have that focus inside of education as well is a great thing to have. The idea of more sculpting and craft work would be nice, allowing us to develop even more art skills other than 2d design.

Over the summer (like most) I want to continue developing my skills in all these areas, but as Chris spoke about, tasks we could do over the summer break would be nice, simply because allowing us to have a brief keeps me focused on what my limits to what the end product must be. It would also keep me on top of doing more work over the summer and make sure I don’t get sloppy entering the second year.
I feel as if this has just been a rant but these are the things I’d hope to see entering the second year of this course, I’m sure most of it is, and I’ve pretty much suggested nothing, if so I’m a happy bunny.

Alice, you let me down

Seeing as we have a week off thought I’d give a little write up on the new Alice in Wonderland.
Now going on the previous films of Tim Burton I was lead to assume this would be something…let’s say good, even the lead up and reviews was immense, very mislead I was.

Firstly I want to say the film was atrocious but I can’t there were I’d say maybe 4 points I laughed at but they weren’t major parts of a. the story line or b. the film. Hence why I can’t call it this, I can think of a number of films I would call bad, atrocious, grim, and deadly such as;
twilight (all of them) day breakers
kidulthood and adulthoodharry potter
and so on and so forth.

Anyways getting back to Alice, right from the start you are feeling that this is going to be bad, the girl playing the Alice character just annoys me nothing in particular stands out but she is just annoying, she seems to only have one facial expression, the whole lead up to her entering the rabbit hole is slow and snooooooooooore. It continues to disappoint as it drones along and the majority of the characters are pointless or have pointless attributes that continue to annoy me. I presume you understand my annoyance by now. The main thing I found interesting was the mad hatter, the style and character is good, and this could be because Johnny Depp makes his roles interesting or it could be that I found everything else so crap! A lot of it was also frustrated comedy, the white queen being so gentle and floaty was stupid, then when you saw her in areas with blood or low funny bits made you feel like leaving, then there is a stupid dance at the very end which I don’t even know what to say about it, it actually throws off my thought pattern because there was no need for it to be in anything. EVER!
I in respect to my soul asked for a refund because I just felt like I had hurt me by sitting there. I know this sounds very dramatic but it truly did piss me off.
I calmed myself down to think about the film in total and this is how I register that, saying this a small part of me thinks maybe it wasn’t this bad but because of the media hype and Tim Burton’s previous work I expected too much. Safe to say I won’t need to waste money buying this when it hits the stores.

GDC rant.

Wow, a lot of stuff! It’s good to see that our intended industry is so manic and loved and that it’s not just about making a giant wielding blob monster game (just for you mike).
The main thing that’s great about the GDC is that it’s more about the people behind all the shiny shiny graphics, such as the IGDA which is mainly volunteers who try to help game developers in the work place and outside of it, trying to help the industry evolve and make sure that it can continue to flourish with work.
They say that their code of conduct is based around these three points;

To promote the growth of our industry and the growth of creative endeavours.
To ensure a professional standard of workplace environment for all development.
To publicly establish and communicate our standards as media professionals.
(More on this at http://www.igda.org/about)

Alongside Scrum Masters Course which is intended to help improve development of work and workplace environments that get affected by the credit crunch, a 2 day course that lends a helping hand, only thing I find odd is that they charge $1500 for seating, not so much the helping hand I thought it to be. As well as the IGF, Game Connection and the Tutorial sessions it seems to be an amazing opportunity for people working or aiming to work in the industry.
I think I find the work by the IGDA the most interesting here, odd I thought it would be something that was actually game related rather than people related.

Looking at what the IGDA try to work with and their goals I have two thoughts, first off this is basically our industries union, they handle the issues concerning safety of employees in workspaces and make sure that they are correct, they advocate the right that the games industry should not be treated differently from any other media driven economy and lobbying which is CRAZY.
Lobbying is basically the practice of influencing governments on decisions they make concerning laws, with games its mainly surrounded by the whole, “I did it cause I saw it in a game” which really means “I’m a bell end.” The majority of the laws fought I guess were not that bad, saying that a game with nudity or extreme violence should by minimum have a age rating system, this is fair, it saves any issues that could come back and bite you because a system has placed an order in affect and the companies have stuck to it. Then again I don’t know anyone that’s ever been asked to show id for a game, nor a film saying that.
A small rant there, but it’s like most kinds of “influential” Medias or more so on everyone becoming so anal. Take my cinema trip a few weeks ago, a woman actually felt she had to complain to me because I said crap in front of a her daughter who looked around 11, now had i said shit, fuck, bollock, I’d say fair play but the word crap….i don’t understand how you can be so retarded, is it because the worlds become so P.C? Or because they are led to believe they are better than you? Who knows? Going back to the issues with the IGDA I think what I’m trying to say is that you need some kind of shield in media these days because people will always want some kind of scape goat.
The second thought is that it’s kinda worrying that they are trying to do this with only volunteers, surely if this is such an important thing for the industry to have; other companies would be investing to keep the products, studios and games flowing. Then again this whole issue could be simpler than I’m thinking, it could simply be that the industry has grown significantly over the last few years and the IGDA are still trying to start up?

My future?

Before coming to uni I just wanted to go into a career based around “art”, something I’ve always enjoyed and I saw no point in going through a career I would hate. I didn’t have an exact goal but I knew the area I wanted to be a part of, the choice I made to come to this game art course came from the thinking that within our life technology and entertainment has grown astronomically, be it working in games, film, TV, whatever. This course is obviously meant to teach you what you need to get into the games industry (well it is called GAME art) but with the skills we will obtain from it that’s not the only road you can take.

I still am in that pattern of not knowing what I actually want for myself, I would love to work in games, I truly would but that’s not always going to be an option, between the economy and how well I can progress I need to personally understand what I can achieve. Like most things this will come from me working as hard as I can and having a passion to do it right! As we’ve talked about before does talent actually work or is it the persistence and practice that give you that so called talent? You can always be taught how to do something but to go further than this and to achieve a goal is entirely up to you.

This is what I want out of my three years here at DMU, I want to have the opportunity to learn and develop these skills, get to grips with what is expected to stick in your thumb and pull out a plum. People can do this by sitting next to a computer or going out every day and drawing mounds upon mounds of work but this is by having a support by working or having your family there to back you up. If I was to do this I don’t think I would be able to get what I’m getting out of this course, the guidance to start me on my way and the detailing that I can work to, a brief is what allows you to see the small goals that will get you your prize. I don’t have the distraction of lively hood thanks to our loans obviously I have to manage how I live alongside the course but it now allows me to concentrate solely on my work.

Creativity re-visited

After the last one of these I thought that maybe I went along the wrong path, did I try to explain what creativity is or just what I thought it might be? I really do find putting a pin on this a real nightmare, there’s no definitive way of saying yes or no, but I think that creativity now lays in bed with the consumer, maybe even sneak off to play with the trend at the time. As I can only give what I think as an answer I asked some people what they saw as creative games, they all seem to come back with things like “oh bad company is so like real, its intense” same kinda answers around modern warfare 2 and even sports games. The idea from this is that realism in a virtual state is seen in an unknowing eye as “creative” but that’s not what it should be, it should be known as what it takes to make something creative and then it to be viewed as such. If you really strip things down I guarantee that most games are exactly the same no differences yet the “talent” of game developers allows them to become something totally different. Take halo and mass effect, first off very different, scrape the first layer of juicy, moreish settings, then you get people in a fantasy setting shooting aliens, if you want to take some more off you got me kill you, me walk past you, me win!

Which essentially is all FPS games even RPG’s, what makes these games so entertaining is the level of creativity piled on in thick slabs; plot, visual materials, settings, the ability to do unattainable things and to actually beat it. This is where creativity is most likely to be, the ability to take something and transform it into something else, allowing it to be a product that is wanted rather than a dust attracting fiend. This ideal applies to most forms of media; if a book is bland and uninteresting no one will read it, the creativity lies within what the subject matter is and how the writer is able to keep you glued to the pages. With film it lies within developing plots and ideas, using different camera shots and visual styles to keep the audience interesting and gripping their seats.

In a nut shell I think creativity is mainly applying ideas to an audience that will work, not remaking something exactly as previous titles. Knowing how to make an idea appealing and worth the time and effort to reach its potential goal.

I guess my idea of what creativity actually is hasn’t changed that much but I think my focus on where it comes from has matured. I have come to appreciate the process of creativity rather than the product it forms.

Liberal artists?

First off I don’t actually understand liberal arts, so this is now what I understand it to be; liberal artists are free to experiment and have a free boundary to create compared to other art styles. The confusing thing I found was that liberal art schools mainly teach languages, literature, philosophy, sciences and history. From this you then can go into an artist’s role, mainly based around commercial art, photography or arts therapy, yes…arts therapy. This is a basically being a psychologist that uses art as a method of therapy to help issues that are not able to be shown in other forms, best description would be;


Looking more into “liberal art” it seems that very little artistic jobs are the route forward, more often than not graduates with liberal art degrees will go into political science, languages, biological science, psychology or English (a wide term indeed). So my thought now from an hour ago WHY DOES THE DEGREE HAVE ART IN IT?
Art is initially known as what we do draw, paint, sculpt, create? But this also applies to fine art, illustration, photography, graphic design even fashion. This seems to be now turning into a hypocritical blog, I’ve said “create”, which technically can be shown in all those careers with liberal arts, but could a biological scientist “create” a games content? Do all the prep work make those 3d models? I’m guessing not as well as someone on our course.
Have I confused you yet? Most likely.

My argument is that if companies want people from liberal art backgrounds does this mean they want people who are good at “art” who don’t always see reality as the way something should look? Or do they want someone who has not been a slave to the standard tick box curriculum (Chris’s favourite attack method).
From these thoughts I guess that means they would want people like us, we are now being trained to sway from our curriculum taught ways and brought into a more developed and better way of “creating”. It seems that the freedom to make something that isn’t box pressed is what is needed, things we make out of our own methods and ideas with the skill we are still at the present, developing.

Some more info on the whole “liberal arts” careers


Mmmm sounds good.

Sound is a very important factor in games and films alike, without it games would become a lot less interesting. Music mainly helps the game by setting moods and scenes it even encourages you to fight more! For example, in modern warfare 2 you have a recognisable sound between normal battle modes and when the juggernauts appear, it sends you into a state of small panic, do you have a heavy rifle, best thing for me to have right now would be a barret 50 cal rifle as it takes them down easier or do i have enough explosives to kill it before it reaches this area? As soon as this music comes into play your thought pattern turns from concerning on other ai/npc’s and your sole concern is the juggernaut. It’s the same with other settings, such as the ending with bioshock 2, the music turns a lot softer and more melodic because Eleanor Lamb is looking back on her love for the big daddy and how much torture there has been in her life. This is to set into the zone of connecting with this character throughout the game, if the music was the same throughout this say half an hour session the feelings you have with this character would not seem the same because the “mood” is not corresponding to the music. The most well-known composer for games these days would have to be Marty O’Donnell, he was the man who composed the music for the Halo franchise, I guess the reason he has become so well-known is due to the massive halo following. The thought I have now is that because of its following, would any composer contracted to this project done this well? I really only notice two types of music in the halo games, but this could be that I HATE HALO with a passion. The music that has been created does in fairness fit into the game extremely well; it’s completely recognisable to halo and nothing else, this is a very uncommon thing in most games, the music will fit excellently to a game but will not be iconic (I think that’s what I mean). With mikes question concerning key sonic moments in gaming history, I don’t feel that music or even sounds from games stick with me on a large level after I’m done with them. Obviously there are certain sound that stick with you, sounds that on hearing them you instantly know where they are from i.e. the dun dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuun sound from Zelda when link opens a chest and finds an item, KNOWN! Even the Pok√©mon battle music it’s not changed since red and blue. This i suppose is one of those things that doesn’t need changing, if it’s not broke why fix it? The same goes for that good times inquiry, but I don’t think it’s the song that’s so amazing, it seems to be the bass line. Looking around it seems that around 60 songs leading up to the 00’s have that baseline tapped into the songs, if it works use it!