Sunday, 14 December 2008


When I look at why i haven't written my blogs, i can never come up with an answer apart from i cant be bothered at the moment, i know this sounds really harsh and Mich i know you will really hate this fact but, when i start writing my blogs I get so into it, its unreal Ive already written several tonight i don't mind writing some more, i think being as each one is a different topic it seems to keep my attention. I'm also quite surprised at the things that we never really look into as gamers, but i think its amazing how games are broken down into so many different sections, that create it as a whole but thats a topic for another time.

Game Technology - User Interface

The way that games have developed is astonishing but I’ve never really looked at how the User Interface has changed so this is actually quite interesting to me.

Starting from the beginning, ‘Brown Box’ this is the same console that was designed by Ralph Baer, the controller for this was just simply a couple of knobs, that control the form/character you play as. The Odyssey followed a very similar principle in User Interface. Pong on Tele-Games has got to be the simplest design that I even seen. In 1985 the NES moved away from the traditional controller format, and went for a D-pad format allowing the player more control of the in game interface and character, also they added 2 extra function buttons (the famous A,B). The Nintendo Gameboy also followed this format very closely.

Since the release of the NES all controlled have followed these basic principles, but adding more functions to the controller. Strangely enough Nintendo were the first to move away from original D-pad design with the N64 controller, adding an analogue stick and a third handle, personally I didn’t like the idea of the third hand on the controller because is move to far away from how natural the previous design worked.

Sony later improved on Nintendo’s design with the Dual Shock controller, adding a second analogue stick and positioning them so they were more comfortable to hold.
Sega came back on the scene with the Dreamcast, and personally I think they took a step backwards with the design of the controller, making it surprisingly large in comparison to their competitors designs, it was also quite uncomfortable to hold.

Sony brought out there Dual Shock 2 controller and the only thing I can say is all I they did is change the colour.

Microsoft not long later release the Xbox, there controller design still followed the basic principles of its competitors but they focused the shape of the controller around comfort for the player.

The only real changes since then have been the Revolution Controller, this is extremely closely related to the original NES controller, but this is because of the way the controller is designed to be used, instead of just sitting holding the controller they are designed to get the player to interact more with the gameplay.

Storytelling in Games

Straight away I have to say that the story behind as game really makes the game better for me. If I can get into the storyline of a game I can appreciate it a lot better, I think that’s the reason to why I’m so addicted to RPGs.

Do all games have a story? I think that a majority of games do have a story behind them, whether it be that you play a new recruit during WW2 trying to help save your country and get back home alive, a Nascar racer trying to win the Season, or maybe a lonesome peasant caught up in a greater picture. The question about storytelling is not if a game has a story, but about how the creators of the game develop that story toward you as a player, and as the character. For me as a gamer I prefer to live as the character when playing a game, sounds crazy but its true I like to submerge myself into a game.

I personally don’t know the story line behind second life, so I'm not going to try and go into that.
World of Warcraft, does it have a storyline? Hell yeh, it has got the have the best back-story I have ever known, I’ve have been a Warcraft fan for several years know, and that is mainly because I was grasped by the storyline of it. World of Warcraft is currently continuing the storyline of ‘Warcraft 3’ ‘Reign of Chaos’ and ‘The Frozen Throne’, with the previous two expansion packs, I could sit here and fill pages and pages going on about the storyline of Warcraft but I'm not going to, (insert sigh of relief from reader here) but I am going to give you this link just encase your interested. But the way the storyline within WOW has works is that you will follow, hundreds, yes hundreds of small storyline based on your character, these include race, faction, level, and location within the world, the higher level you get the more you are able to discover about the main storylines that Warcraft is based around.

The Art Director

Ok I’m going to get straight to the point in this entry, starting with “What does an Art Director do?”

An Art Director is seen as the leader, and somewhat Wiseman in the overall vision of the game, but its stretches a lot further than people would think; they work closely with the Creative Director to define the artistic styles for the game; the Art Director also work closely with the project art manager to help, manage the artistic goals within the set budget and schedule. The recruitment of art teams, along with the recruitment department, also falls to him/her. They oversee all of the art teams’ results and giving feedback to work in progress; solves problems effectively related to the artistic creation of the game. The list is pretty much endless and to be honest sounds like the artistic part of them will be sucked right out of their souls if they’re not careful. I personally don’t think it is a creative roll, personally I think it is more about management than art, but without an Art Director not just the art department but the entire company would fall apart. Kind of like a house of cards, you take one card out the whole thing falls down.

If I wanted to ever become an art director firstly I think more than anything you need good leadership skills, tied with vast knowledge and experience in the Industry, not only being good at your chosen area but also in other areas very closely link e.g. 3D modelling.
Personally based on what I’ve found out about being an Art Director I would rather stay as an Artist/3D modeller, why? I prefer to be creative than managerial, hence the reason I’m studying a Creative course, and not a business based one.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Donnie Darko

When i got back from watching the film, i was blown away storyline, certain things mades scence, but the more i try to get my read found it, the more messed up my mind gets. Anyway i wemt looked for info and heres a little something i found. its the link to the film website, its crazy. There are three 'levels' open to you but you need a password to access levels two and three. Go into level one and try to figure out what the password is, ive been at it for about an hour and a half straight. I does explain some of the theory behind the film aswell.

Have a go it will get you brains working overtime.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Writing about Games - Cont.

Welcome back. This week’s edition; Writing about games (continued).

So I left of last time with my opinion on those NGJ articles. Well I’ve been looking at some more of them and damn there good. Personally I really like subjectivity, within games journalism; it really grabs my attention more, to know other players experiences, and I think it helps to really sell the game.

How do I feel about my own writing, well I don’t really know, I’d say there’s a hell of a lot of room for improvement, one of the main things would probably be my vocabulary, as well as my last of knowledge, when it comes to describing something, I’ve always struggled with this, not severely but it can really put a stopper on things when trying to pitch an idea, or explain something, worst of all myself, cannot for the life of me explain myself, honestly the trouble I had writing my personal statement. Anyway stop ranting Simon you’ll do yourself an injury.

Moving on swiftly...Other forms of Game Journalism, well I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t done much research into it at the moment, but I will do so over the next week. So watch this space.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Writing About Games

Ok, I have my notes and Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream at the ready; let’s have a look shall we.

The main issues facing games journalism is probably online publishing, even though it isn’t that good, a lot of people will look up information about new games and review on the internet and in review forums. Therefore this is jeopardising professional games journalism.
Damn don’t you just hate it when I see something that u later rely on, forget to note it then u just can’t find it again, people usually think your making it up, but I tell I read that somewhere, and if I’m right it’s in the Kieron Gillian article

Personally I really liked that article, but still back to the matter at hand.

After read several NGJ articles, I have really been taken away by them, the way that they don’t just talk about the game, but how they talk about their experiences, whilst playing the game, for example, the article ‘Bow Nigger’ talks about ‘Jedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast’, and his experience of how a certain battle no long felt like a game, but I good old fashion fight between good and evil. Ok Ok I know this might sound crazy, and people will think, that guy plays games to much, but just read the article, and you’ll see why. Here’s the link

Another article that really grabbed by attention was, ‘ZangbandTK – Confessions of a Dungeon Hack’ by Kieran Gillen. In this article he talks about his experience playing ‘ZangbandTK’. Not only about how the game works, and its history, but his experience playing the game, along with a short description of his characters (in some cases rather short) lives.

Ok I just want to know what the heck Sony were thinking when they released ‘Rez’ with a “Trance” Vibrator.