Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Morning Lectures

Today we had our first decent lecture for the whole semester. I think it’s a great idea to allow lectures from other specialisations to be able to come and speak with us. Although Fiona (the lecturer) was not 100% prepared to do the lecture and forgot her script, I think the free flow of the entire lecture and what she was talking about was inspirational to us all and we can incorporate many aspects of the lecture into our MA course research.

Although I had already seen the Anthony Gormley statues planted on the shores of the UK on the news, I had never really appreciated them for what they were. I just saw it as an artist’s expression of whatever he was doing and kind of stopped at that. Seeing them again and seeing Fiona’s incite to her thoughts and feelings of the statues and what they represented to her allowed me the view them from a different angle and really open the can on viewing things from a different angle, which is what I feel the MA is about exploring? Or am I wrong there? The exhibition was called 'Another Place' and I would highly recommend viewing it for anyone that hasn’t done already and it would be interesting to see what the exhibition means to other people?

For me the exhibition demonstrated separated and lonely feeling, how everyone is individual although we all look the same. By this I mean that all the statues were casts of Anthony Gormley and all look the same. However when they are spread out and looking towards the sun it gives them a different atmosphere than if they were all stood in a line or in some kind of group. The fact that Fiona felt the need to cloth them relates back to her fashion routes and how every civilization wears something to cloth their body, whether fabric or Ink. However I personally didn’t see the need to clothe the figures, I didn’t even seem them as people although they obviously resemble the human form. I think what I took from the exhibition was the fact that we're constantly looking for new horizons, looks towards the setting sun, always looking for something more than what we've already got, and what we’ve got always wanting more. I don't know if this is me just thinking out loud or whether this imagery pops up in other people’s minds?

The downside to the Friday morning lecture was the group project. I felt that maybe now that the module, originally weighted at 20% of our grade now weighting 0%, Alan would maybe make a group apology and try and think of some sort of reasoning behind them changing the syllabus. However this did not happen. The result of this being that my group project has now disintegrated before my eyes. My group that originally started at 9 people from all different courses two weeks ago now has 3 people. On top of that the 3 people remaining now don't feel motivated or passionate enough to continue with the project, so 8-10 hours of my MA research is now down the drain. I wonder if we will ever see an apology or a reason for this happening apart from one lecturer simply not caring enough about our MA course to fully think it through and prepare half ass lectures created the night before in 15mins after a heavy drinking session followed by a skim through of the ‘Dummies guide to Microsoft PowerPoint’. Maybe this is what we should expect for the next 2 semesters of MA life, or maybe enough people will voice their opinions resulting in a more structured course with different Art and Design lecturers giving us their knowledge and input and inspiring us to do more and want to push ourselves. I only hope something changes in time for us to regain the reigns on what the MA course is about and allow us to achieve the highest grade, because as it stands I’m running low on motivation… And caffeine.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shaking the summer cobwebs

I’ve been throwing round idea after idea for the last week or so now trying to find a direction for my exploration in to game mechanics and how to attract and maintain the player’s concentration through challenging them in different scenarios. I’m asking myself questions such as ‘What can you, as the player, do in the real world?’ and ‘Now what can I achieve in the game?’ By this I mean that players tend to follow certain game logic in what they should be able to do and not what they can actually do. With this in mind I want to create a range of different game play challenges allowing the player to think outside the box they are contained in and explore the ‘what if’s’ within the environment. I will start to develop a feel for the puzzles, if you will, by exploring what’s already on the market with games such as Portal, the Tomb Raider series and also Half Life, Doom and other games similar to these titles. This ideology should lead to ideas in my own head of what does and doesn’t work and also allow me to develop my own ‘outside the box’ thinking. I am aiming for a few different playable scenarios created in UE3.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Group Activity

Today we started our group modules for the Friday morning lectures. After a tedious lecture we then split off into groups where I hoped things would get a little more involved. My group consists of other MA students from a range of other courses and has 7 other students; Frank, Andria, Mandula, Jenny, Simon, Laura and Carmel. The brief is to explore Preston and create something, which could be anything from a brochure to book or a model, and present it to the entire MA course in 6 weeks time. We all threw around some ideas and dismissed most but elaborated on a few until we came up with a solid idea. The next task is to ‘Gang Bang’ ideas on Preston which basically means we all gather different research and see what we come up with by next Friday. The group project is a great way to see what other course thought pattern is and how different groups of people think in different ways and allows me to think outside of a game design perspective and maybe look at things through the point of view of say an Advertiser of even a ceramic designer.

Ice Breaking

Just kicked off the MA Games Design course with an Ice breaker project where we had to design a character united with a message about the character and who they are and what they do. I started off with a few sketched ideas and then developed them in 3D using Maya. As I am not a character artist I find even the simplest organic drawings difficult and do not receive the results I am aiming for. With this in mind I kept with a clean looking mechanical style character and came up with a back story which included a young boy who created a robot toy to go on adventures around different environments. This robot would seek out different spots around the house and snap pictures to create a virtual scrapbook, in which the robot could upload through antennas located on his head, on the boy’s computer. The way in which the robot can upload the pictures is through locating Wi-Fi spots around the environment and being within 5 feet of them, then an automatic upload would commence. The robot also has an upturned coffee cup for open areas to hide underneath so that he doesn’t get noticed on his adventures. I decided the robots name would be Scrappy, as his missions include uploading pictures on to a ‘Scrapbook’ and his message is ‘Because the world is too big to see with your own eyes’. The different parts on the robot are a Webcam for his head, antennas for the Wi-Fi signal. Scrappy also has feet from a chattering teeth boy and suction cups on his back to climb up walls and other inaccessible locations.