Lucky Wander Dude
8Mar 07GameSpot finally has one of basically two of these shows on the net. It's called Indievelopment. I still can't help but feel this is just a reaction to Games.net's, Creating Kaos which I mentioned in a past blog post. It's still pretty cool so check it out.
Pop art is the work of famous artists such as Andy Warhol who truly pioneered the medium and brought it into public light with his broad application of its ideals. Pop art is defined as the use of everyday objects to express so for example Andy Warhol used pictures of famous people or soup cans and other seemingly common or mundane objects. He would then add colors and other touches to transform it into something for an audience to ponder or consider or even find some meaning in.
Machinima is of course the use of a virtual world, typically a video game, as the set for a film. The film takes place within the game world with the gameplay as the actions of the film. This is of course a unique aspect of film and by its nature it is hard to define in terms of its place within art. For machinima to be taken seriously and evolved however I believe it must receive some recognition by the art world within some category and this categorization can also inspire machinima filmmakers to grow their medium in ways other media have gone within the categorization.
Aren't video games a commonplace part of society? Don't they qualify as an object for pop art to use? I believe so. Games have become a recognizeable part of culture. People know what Pac-Man is, they recognize Mario and importantly they recognize Master Chief and what he looks like playing in the game Halo. People can look at machinima the same way they look at pop art. They take a commonplace aspect of culture and look at it in a completely different way because of what is being done with it. Machinima is thus a specialized film version of pop art with a sole focus on video games as an object of culture and thus as an object in pop art, ofexpression.
5Mar 07Everyone bashed Super Columbine Massacre RPG for its perspective through the killers eyes. Nobody trashed Jeremy by Pearl Jam however which was about a boy who got picked on, abused and finally shot up his school and himself. Check out the video and tell me it isn't just as artistically relevant and really no less offensive than the game disregarding the incorrect interactivity argument.
As I mentioned I'm currently working on starting a monthly webzine (like ReviewSpotting) with multimedia including games, film, machinima, writing, art and more specifically related to gaming or game culture. Well I am in the process of setting up a Union to develop the magazine for the venue which is my Union Avant-Game Underground.
Currently I have the first issue planned out and plan on completing most of that content myself but for future issues community contributions will be crucial. The following is the content we need:
Game Ideas-Just ideas. Submit them and we will make them monthly.
All of these should be about game culture. If you have anything you could submit or know someone who could submit something please PM me with details. Also if you wish for your Union to be advertised in this webzine, PM and I'll give you details on how that works. This allows my webzine to be promoted in your Union and your Union will be allowed to submit an ad of any kind to be displayed as part of the webzine. Your Union will also be featured in each issues ad video. Everyone has a game idea, submit one of these at least, please! Any participants get credit for their work.
I've been very busy lately with friends and school work and so I haven't been able to add any new content. I am still working on Pixelated-Episode 1 but I haven't had a chance to work on Noise since I released Maul Maumee. The development of Maul Maumee was quick and from a design standpoint it mostly accomplished everything I wanted it to. It was by definition what I call a hardcore arcade game (more on this genre in a later blog post). This simplicity has inspired me to plan a unique web magazine project devoted to this style of gaming. I plan on gathering actual game demos and releasing around five with each issue as well as some written or video content. With this project I am going to encourage somebody else to develop some demos once in a while. This is still a while off though because Noise development continues.
At school I am working with my friends to found a film/media studies school. We have already been hanging out watching movies and discussing them as well as games but we decided why not get this put on our resumes of high school clubs? The club is gonna be liberal so we can also do things like write screenplays and work on media projects in addition to studying film/media. The setup of this club is taking some time but it'll get there.
Anyway, that's all that is going on right now so more on hardcore arcade later.
Well, I can cross Maul Maumee off of my project list because I completed it last night at around 11pm EST. I had school today so I chose not to stay up later and post a download here and unfortunately I cannot yet post a link as I am at school and cannot upload. You'll have to wait until after school.
I spent most of yesterday coding it. It uses the same basic rail concept as Noise so I did get to tighten the code on two games and know for sure what will work and what won't. Overall I'm proud of it for what it is. Look for it later!
Lately because of school, dreams of multimedia and game development and my honest wish to rejuvenate and expand my union I have been taking on a series of projects. From your perspective, I have Noise but I plan on sharing the outcome of these projects with you guys and so I figured why not compile a list with some explanations. Without further ado:
Noise--An independent game. It is an arcade hybrid of rail combat and rhythm. The game contains expressive mechanics to drive a surreal post-modern narrative about 90s grunge and manic-depressive struggle.
Pixelated--A machinima series I have been planning. Currently, production of the first episode is under way. This will be featured by my union as an exclusive series.
Maul Maumee--An arcade rail shooter made for a portfolio to get into my school's multimedia course (The Cellar). The game is about destroying our school's football rival symbolically.
Noise Previews--A series of documentary vodcasts. Expect these to become more complex and enjoyable soon.
Gameology--A vodcast series about game design.
Game Radio--A feed of shareware game demos. The feed can be subscribed to and will contain advertising to boost your site (with royalties to me upon true content gain). Their will be charts so developers can compete to create underground hits.
Avant-Game Underground Website--A gathering of game and cyberculture featuring special developers and community. Game Radio will be based officially here, there will be machinima, animation, essays and much more.
There you have it. Be on the lookout for some of these.
This post is for my friend Marshall with whom I've continued to discuss the conceptual ideas behind my game with.
The following is an interpretation of the band Nirvana shortly after Cobain's death.
"Obscured behind a smokescreen of publicity and deadened by the effects of endless radio play, Nirvana's music nonetheless holds its own as some of the very best of the 1990s. Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Cobain managed to direct molten flows of white noise into melodic channels navigable by mainstream listeners. Cobain's lyrics, meanwhile, were imbued with the Pentecostal passion of someone speaking in tongues. Traveling in rapid pendulum swings from mania to catatonia, his singing conveyed the pain of a soul mortgaged deep in addiction and depression. He was a man trying desperately to make sense, through song, of the world around him -- something not often heard in Top-40 music...Nirvana never aspired to be the anti-heroic role models that certain hopeless souls among us needed them to be. To make music that mattered is all they ever wanted, and they took genuine risks to achieve that goal. In the process, they inadvertently altered the geography of modern culture by popularizing (for better or worse) so-called "alternative" music."--Chad Driscoll
This is essentially what separates Nirvana from other rock bands and adds more meaning behind what is often just a theatric.
An interesting song by punk band Wipers. The song is obviously sci-fi themed to an extent but unlike other sci-fi themed songs it is bleak and seems to have much more meaning. The feeling of listening to this song is tragic and terrifyingly sad. I cannot even really express it but perhaps try and listen to it yourself. Here is the link. The video has nothing to do with anything but listen to the song.
Straight as an arrow
Not straight, not so straight
Dull dull, so dull
Standing on the stairs
Cold cold morning
Ghostly image of fear
May day may day
Gonna leave this region
They'll take me with them
Dimension 7 Past astro borders
Zeno lies waiting
Past gascous remains
Intrigue such intrigue
Gonna leave this region
There taking me with them
Like BlueBirdTS, I'm attempting a video podcast about my game Noise. It will not be regularly scheduled but I will do one every once in a while. Here is the first one. Be kind it is a bit rough. When it gets to me talking you may need to turn it up.
31Jan 07I added a new feature to my game's combat mechanic. I was playing Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (new game for me) and I realized my game doesn't have enough back and forth action between the player and the enemies. It was all player. Well I have devised a way to change this and it just so happens to be very convenient. The change does not alter anything already in place, it enhances the artistic/thematic expression of my game and it also creates more gameplay and fun for the player. It also will only take slightly longer to program. I'm glad I realized this and only wish I could have added this to my Developer for a Day entry. I will have it in the demo. It may be an ideal combat system, at least it is to me and that's for whom I designed this game .
I know, you guys probably hate my school posts but it is pretty awesome to me. I can work on coding and it makes me extremely happy. Anyway, while on the subject of school I think I should perhaps tell a story about the most annoying thing that happened to me at school. By the way, BlueBirdTS was sitting right next to me when this happened and even has a role.
I was in sixth grade taking Latin. My teacher was a small, irritable man from Haiti who spoke better French than English. It was very hard to learn Latin from someone who couldn't even speak functional English so you must understand this guy already annoyed me. He was kind of mean and openly insulted me on my assignments. Well one day he was givving us new notes and was passing around a hole punch to accomodate our binders. Well, I was going to staple the papers and put them into a folder. I had my stapler out and was about to press down on the paper. Mr. Preval (the teacher) set the hole punch down on my elbow. I pressed the stapler. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, the bump to my elbow placed my thumb under the stapler and bam! I had a staple through my thumb. I was shocked! It was through my thumb, entriely impaling me and I didn't feel a thing. No one else had noticed. I turned to to Tommy (BlueBirdTS) and said "Look what he did!" He said "You're faking!" I said "No I'm not!" Anyway I told Mr. Preval who told me to come up to the front. I did and he looked at my thmb. He muttered in French and ripped it out before I knew what happened. It started bleeding and he told me to run it under hot water in the bathroom (hot water increases bleeding it turns out). So about 15 minutes later I got back to class with a pale, numb thumb and a really annoying experience. Never trust a creepy Latin teacher who mutters in French is the moral of the story!
I don't care who you are or what you have said. If you entered the Developer for a Day 5 contest, you have undoubtedly thought about your entry and discovered things that you by accident left out or thought of something you should have added or something you wish you had gone into greater detail with or perhaps that you wish you hadn't gone in to such detail on something else. I know that I have felt this way and despite what many of you have said, you're liars.
My regrets are crucial to the image of the game in anyone's mind and so I hope my document was good enough to become a finalist. As a finalist I would be able to fix certain issues I have with my document. First of all, I needed to explain some of the data calculation aspects of my document. I included a few formulas to help Adam understand how exactly certain things in my game would be measured. Unfortunately, I forgot to explain why exactly these formulas are relevant to the calulation. I also forgot to add one stipulation thatcould change the outcome of the formula in a specific gameplay scenario. This is the major issue I had with my document. I also forgot to explain why my game is two-dimensional. I included a revised version of my Jam Games theory that mentions two-dimensional gaming but that certainly did not explain why my game is 2D. This is another crucial thing I forgot to add.
I also would have liked to tweak the story a bit. I feel that I have a fairly good rough draft of the narrative in the document, I don't feel I completed it. The last level's script needed more work and overall I needed to edit the whole storyboard to make certain things more subtle. A lack of time made this much needed edit, impossible. Of course there is nothing I can do about this unless I'm a finalist, but please be aware I did consider this. I have also further revised my Jam Games theory (something I may post sometime) and would really like to include that with the document if I get the chance to revise. I feel this is my strongest case yet for the concept.
The final revision I would like to have had ready was the demo. I am still working on the demo in case I'm a finalist and because it is a natural step in the development process. This demo has caused some data from my document to be changed around so this adds more revision but would also make my game more understandable. The concept is best understood in its execution. I really hope I'm a finalist because I have some much more to do on my document and I feel my game would be a strong contender if my document is given the chance for revision.
Well, this semester I have a computer class. It's called Integrated Computer Technology and essentially it goes over using software in Microsoft Office. While this is not hard, the class is good because of the access to the computer. I plan on blogging of course but also coding. I can get work done on my game and future game demos I'm working on. You may remember last year I could blog from school during Web Design. This class is in the same room with the same teacher so expect similar posts due to the similar environment. I can only access the TV.come portion of the site though so sadly no Unions or forums. Anyway, maybe I'll write something when I get home.
There is a disturbing trend in the wannabe game designers in this community. That trend is bad enough to produce a generation of atrocious game designers and games. How often have you heard someone say this "You can stick the gameplay of Oblivion and GTA and Zelda in it and it'd be the most awesome game ever..."? I have heard it far too often. How often have you seen a thread called "My Game Idea" where a giant story (always a terrible excuse for narrative exhibiting a profound lack of any artistic knowledge) is follwed by "...and the game is an FPS" without any further gameplay explanation. I've seen this to the point where I feel like burning my eyes out.
Undoubtedly, in the most extreme sense of the word, someone out there is viewing this saying either "That's me...this guy must be a design n00b" (although they have only scrawled out a few of these crap narratives in crayon) or they are saying "What's wrong, it's an FPS, duh..." Well, I'll tell you what's wrong, GAMEPLAY IS NOT AN ITEM YOU PLACE WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE IT! This is the most important thing a true student of game design should learn. You cannot just say "let's throw some FPS in there and it'll work." There is much more to gameplay than that. With an FPS (which seems to be the trendy example in this post) there is level design, extraneous gameplay interactions, a list of balanced weapons, controls as well as any special features or balance rules. Of course if you want to add some originality to your game you'll want to add more or go in depth with the ones already there.
This lack of true design when it comes to gameplay results in some of the most pivotal design flaws of modern gaming. This lack of planning creates impossible compartmentalization of gameplay from story, graphics and sound when in reality these should mesh. Cutscenes and bland repetition become the result. The gameplay is separate from the story and when an attempt to combine them is made, cutscenes are the side effect.
The lack of concern over the breakdown of gameplay itself results in gameplay packets. These packets are the untouchables. They are the genres and they contain all that these genres need. Wanna change things around? Get lost! Want to perhaps add a new rule to enhance the feeling of play? Screw you! That's the way it is buddy, insta-genre put it in your tea for a healthy dose of monotony and misguided art.
Not to keep bringing up the same concept again and again but story is the main reson for this. Not the story itself but the emphasis of it. Gameplay as I've argued before is the hub connecting all the elements of the game. Thus your game will be inherently flawed in less you spent time deconstructing and picking apart the gameplay, tweaking it and then assembling it again in working order. Story is fine but only an emphasis on gameplay will allow non-interruptive integration. The deal is, do not become a game designer if all you care about is writing cliched rip-offs of other game stories, become a writer of b-grade fantasy novels. If you love gameplay for what it is and you enjoy taking it apart, game design is your field. Game design is a love of gameplay so please...no more insta-gameplay!
I worked for three days with perhaps 3 hours of sleep and lots of Mountain Dew, Coke and coffee but I finished the document. It took a lot of work and I still don't feel that I finished everything due to the rush at the end so I can only hope what I submitted is enough to be considered a finalist. If I am a finalist then I get a chance to revise my document. This revision of course is something I will do early and regardless of my placement in the contest although working now would help if I am a finalist.
Being done with the document means I can continue work on the actual game. The document helped me finish one slight design concept and so now development of the demo will be done soon. If I am a finalist, a demo would be such a nice revision wouldn't it? After the demo is done I mostly have to add the story content of the game along with menus and a few other production elements but then I'll be done. I'm most worried about finding a good sketch artist. My game has 52 cinematographic frames of stills that need to be drawn. I'm thinking of outsourcing this so if anyone is interested, send me a PM and perhaps you can do a few of the stills.
At this point, I cannot help but feel the work left on my game is minor and really just finishing touches, solely because the design is done, 96% of the programming is done and the production elements will take maybe a week to implement if I can find artists. So in the waning days of this game I have to wonder, what next? Well I can tell you that I have already answered my question: more games! I have already had a few inspiring ideas and I've begun pre-production on all of them. Mostly just some concept lists, a map and a few gameplay abstractions but my next big project will in fact be big. This project is large and so I do plan on working simultaneously on some other small projects and demos. This time around, my development team will be more involved in design and programming along with myself so these projects will go faster with less pitfalls.
All in all, game development is going good and I hope that Developer for a Day shows it. Wish me luck!
Today's is the last day for my hype threads. First of all I'd like to thank those of you who actually paid attention both conceptually and on a daily basis. I also need to make something clear: I'm not stating that depression is ideal. Art does not have to be about the ideal. I'm merely observing the philisophical transitions in a manic-depressive drive to self-destruction.
To emphasize past concepts, I realized I only showed pictures of manic state concerts. The following is Nirvana during a depressive state, the difference is very notable.
Note the drooping clothes and hunched, slow look of the picture.
Today's concept is how in fact the manic-depressive state worsens and eventually leads to death.
To cope with bipolar disorder, the afflicted often turn to alienating themselves and thus make themselves more depressed. This requires more mania to cope with and of course the problem becomes worse and worse.
These photos show Nirvana and you'll notice that though Kurt Cobain is the center of attention in the group, it also alienates him. Also note that most people described the band's downtime as Cobain being locked in a room alone (by his choice) while the other guys would socialize and do other things. It was always Kurt and then "Chris and David." These photos I feel exhibit the point. The last picture is also of J Masics' alienation. He was part of the influential noise band called Dinosaur Jr.
The glasses were worn in the months before he died. Subconsciously I think they were a wall of separation.
This picture once again shows Chris and David standing side by side while Kurt feels the need to detach himself.
Notice how J Mascis (literally the only hub of the band whatsoever) off by himself. His songs follow a manic-depressive structure as well with manic noise and slow verses.
What does this intense philisophical and psychological exchange lead to?
The intense nihilism leads to a feeling of nothing to lose, and to cope requires the ultimate mania, self-destruction. The following is a picture of Kurt Cobain roughly a month before he died. In the picture you can see how unhinged he is and how it is quite obvious he feels a lack of anything and thus a lack of consequence. With that I leave you. Wish me luck with my project.
"I miss the comfort in being sad..."--Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle by Nirvana
Tommorrow I will resume pictures. Unfortuantely my plan for today's post has changed. What we have learned is this:
Manic-Depression creates a pattern of nihilistic depression and reactionary existentialist mania in the person's life. The extremes of depression and mania become so extreme that this begins a driving force towards self-destruction. The depression becomes so deep apathy for EVERYTHING creates a sens of nothing to lose. The mania as a result becomes more and more extreme to pull the person from the pit of non-existent feelings and finally becomes suicide.
With that I leave you until tomorrow.
No pictures or downloads today, just a few words to tie up so far what we have done. We have associated that these grunge and noise rock stars (at least the better ones...) are nihilistic to a point. This nihilism is an emptiness that most definitely bonded with dissonance and the different, not just because of filling the void but it sets them apart and in fact and thus ensure their own existence and so there is a brief evolution to existentialism. The things that do this are smashing guitars and distorting sound. So the association is this:
Musical Distortion and Guitar Violence= Mania, Nihilistic Release
Acoustic Music and Crouching, Laying or Other Strange On-Stage Mannerisms= Depression and release from society and self and thus a regression from existentialism back into nihilism.
Tommorrow more pictures of Dinosaur Jr. and Nirvana and a discussion of the cause of this Manic-Depressive loop.