To Boulder-ly Go…

Since we last spoke, I have listed out all of the aspects of this boulder-roller on a great big list, along with what it needs to cover and how I would basically go about it. There’s even a place holder name, “Add Infinitum.” It makes sense if you have my brain.

I am quite sure that even though I am laying the groundwork for a simple but full game, this will probably never come to the level of completion all games wish to be. The ideal version of this game would be primarily used as a creativity challenge for people, much like Minecraft if Minecraft could fathom a sphere.

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I’ve noticed a great number of fantastic and well respected creation of people in video games that otherwise limits the player’s abilities to produce those effects, as I’m sure you have too, and I’ve always noticed that the nature of the limitation is what spurs the creative process in the first place. Unfortunately, intentions and ideas don’t carry much weight as far as grades or actual product goes, so let’s not dwell.

The point is that I wrote down all the stuff I have to do and am about to start ticking things off. Unfortunately I happen to also be getting other assessments that are more fun and I feel like I can do better in, in other classes which is probably going to start taking up my time because, let’s face it, I’m prone to distraction and more so to productive ones. That’s something I really need to get a handle on throughout this course (Eep).

As I’ve been starting to look over some of the necessary functions and lingo of physics based movement in 3d I also started having a look at some of the older tasks I was given in previous modules of this degree and so I went and started making a twine based choose your own adventure. Granted I got about 6 option in when I realised I didn’t want to do it THAT much, I have decided I will treat it like a game, for that is what it is, and scope down. It’s called “ The Hound of the Valcouthes,” and it is a simple story where you play Jonathan Valcouthe who has recently gone to visit the home left to him by his departed Aunt. The last of a family that has been progressively wiped out by an unknown force, it is up to you, Jonathan, to try and discover what is the cause this plague, why your family is the target of such a horrid plight, and what is locked in the basement?

I intend to put it up on my itch.io account the moment it is completed and I hope you will enjoy it. Eventually. Like any book or game it will still require the classic tropes of proof reading and polish and even if it doesn’t, I feel it’s be good practice that I should… well, practice.

A Boulder’s Beginnings

Greetings wanderers, prepare yourselves for the deep reservoir that is my process of working. I begin this blog series by telling you that I am no programmer. True I program, I have a cursory knowledge of why code works and can read it about as well as I can follow the plot of the Matrix movies without asking “what’s going on??”, in truth I could slip into a room of programmers undetected and, if I were so inclined, could spy on their programy ways. but I digress…

This blog is a boiled down version of what things I intend to do with my coding abilities as I acquire them, how I intend to do them, and later, why it didn’t work at all.

 

The story so far: This term has already had us in the programming class look at how to implement twin-stick controls and ragdoll physics through group based experimentation. In the previous term we noobs were taught the basics of programming, specifically in C# in conjunction with Unity.

 

So, the task at hand: We’ (My class) have been told to do a physics based game where there is a boulder rolling around, doin’ stuff… Awsome… Physics… I can do that… magnets, right?

My first idea was a testament to the ways of the modern nerd. I thought perhaps the player is a D20 die rolling down an infinite play mat where the number the player end on is the score multiplier. I decided against it on the grounds of being trite.

 

Though 2 involved a ball on pressed together zombies that try to roll over walking figures. Humans give points as they are eaten/infected and rolling over other zombies increases the balls side. After 20 minutes of discussing how the textures or attached outer zombie models could be designed and implemented not to look strange as the ball changes some, I realised I was out of my depth on all point and so looked to another idea.

 

Finally I ended with an idea to have a ball rolling on a ball (if you’re into that sort of thing). This idea came together pretty quickly which is usually a good sign for me. It doesn’t seem too complex in my mind and it should cover all of the criteria pretty well. Let’s do it.
My plan is simple. I am going to have a ball that rolls around a tiny planet, Mario Galaxy style. Artistically I’d like the player to be able to create platforms underneath themselves so that, ideally, the player would be able to give themselves a challenge to create images using platforms. Imagine the shells of a particularly heavy atom (Ha. Chemistry now too).

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And here’s one someone else prepared earlier.

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No height limit but perhaps a height meter that records highest score(?), of course, this is all subject to change or grow as I have only spent about an hour on the idea so far.

 

Will investigate further.
Yours truly,

Code Spy.

How Fans Keep you Cool: CIU111

Broadcast Television has been gradually going the way of VHS over the last 10 years, according to various sources such as the Sydney Morning Herald this year (Turner, 2017), with high speed internet and a smart phone in almost every pocket. Streaming video and web based entertainment have been allowing people to stray away from the old radiation box and choose their own entertainment times like we haven’t seen since the golden age of comics.

Like the common hermit crab, creative media has found a new, bigger home online where it has enough room to spread out and grow. This opened the path for indie creators and generally creative people to start distributing their own works and sometimes, SOMETIMES… they are discovered by people that like it.

Much like the classic television rubric, successful internet shows and production companies rely on a solid fan base that watch their shows, buy their stuff and, ever since Kickstarter came on the scene, funding their productions. This is all easier when each member has someone to brag or vent to and the same kind of tech that allows hours of someone else playing a video game, also allows everyone watching it to talk to each other and discuss how they feel about it. at length… no holds barred… and unfiltered…

This is the birthplace of the online community, where The fans generate their own content within the bounds of the original show, game, cartoon, podcast,etc. by engaging with each other on the topics of the original. Suddenly these active participants gain their own following and we see the emergence of a community. This community becomes a collective force that supports each other and the creators in order to be part of something they feel is greater than the sum of it’s parts and so come together to try and add to the production they hold so dear. together. This can be most evidently seen with production groups like Rooster Teeth Productions, GameGrumps, Smosh, and literally thousands more.

Fans give direct monetary support when they buy merchandise, which is made to order a lot of the time cutting costs and risks, they give marketing support by showing the product to their friends and spreading the word, and they are even willing to give money directly to a cause if they have sufficient proof that it’s something they want and can be done through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a direct form of monetary support that fans can offer to creators which they are more likely to do so that the creators have more control over their production, thereby more likely to deliver familiar quality content that the fans want. But this is the higher level stuff. On the lower, I’ve had friends experience moderate, sustained success on Youtube who have had fans give voice performances, music, digital tools and services, and many other forms of support in order to help creators gain access to production elements that they may otherwise have been without.

In my own works, I am striving to create a foundation of content that anyone who is interested would be able to bond over, or at least discuss with some degree of invested interest. Personally, I hold myself accountable as a creator who is yet to prove their ability to deliver. As someone who has earned an audience. I move forward by trying to create enough to prove that I am worth believing in as I have, too often, witnessed the break of trust between a creator and their doting fans.

To speak callously, fans are a resource that no creator should overlook or take for granted. they are the grass on which a creator will graze and put a lot of energy into loving you.
According to an interview by Felicia Williams for TechCrunch, Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth Productions (creators of Red Vs Blue, longest running web series of all time and second longest running sci-fi series ever) said “Rooster Teeth has always listened to its community, and has grown and been around for so long because we take their feedback to heart…” (Burns, 2016).

 

Turner, Adam. (2017, 29 March). Decline in broadcast TV viewing accelerates as Aussies tune out. Retrieved from URL on 27 April 2017.
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/gadgets-on-the-go/decline-in-broadcast-tv-viewing-accelerates-as-aussies-tune-out-20170328-gv8m6a.html

Burns,Burnie. (2016). Rooster Teeth’s Burnie Burns on pioneering online-only video/Felicia Williams. Retrieved from URL on 27 April 2017.
Rooster Teeth’s Burnie Burns on pioneering online-only video

Art “jobs” (Marketing):CIU 111

My time at SAE has been hammering home the fact that survival in the creative industry requires a very practical way of looking at the world. Ideals are good to have and are good things to strive towards and try to build, but immediacy trumps imagination when it comes to becoming an established agent in your field, especially now in the 2010’s.

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The idea of a job in the creative industry nowadays is better defined as having a flow of work and contracts on a regular basis. This sort of recognition requires good connections and proof of ability. Making yourself as able as you can in order for someone to risk recommending you as much as possible.

I’ve done some book art in the past but that was a while ago and I didn’t pursue it for long as I realised I was not at an acceptable level of ability at that stage.  Now it’s time to get back in the game, contact some publishers, get some “street cred” (metaphorically speaking). Seriously though, I’m in need of knowing some people and so are you if you feel like you’re ready to make the next step. And I’m backing it up with this person!

“The person who gets the gig is not always the best or most talented; it’s usually the one that is personally connected to the decision makers in an industry. Why?  Because people like to buy from people they trust.” says Maria Brophy, an artistic consultant based in California.

I’m going to need an awful lot of gigs, aren’t I? The answer is “Yes, Scott. Yes you are.”
So here I am trying to make contact with people with some clout. Confidence is playing a part on this but at least I finally have something resembling a portfolio which doesn’t embarrass me. Remembering you have to crawl before you can walk.

Brophy, Maria. (2016). Not what you know but who you know. Retrieved from her website.
http://mariabrophy.com/business-of-art/not-what-you-know-but-who-you-know.html

Drowning in social media: part 1

Over the last few years, I have found it necessary to create accounts for a wide bunch of different social media platforms for pretty much any project I undertake so that I can have the hope of succeeding. However, having to deal with something like 15 different accounts over as many platforms, none of which I actually care about, I find that I often forget my chosen username, password or even the site I have subscribed to.

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This series of blogs is simply going to be my ranting about difficulties and breakthroughs when dealing with all of this social media stuff the kids are all hooked on these day. What with their instant orange drink and cellular screen devices.

But seriously, it’s hard to move through all the updating and sharing and tagging and liking, but it’s all the way the world works in 2017. At this moment, I have an account for

twitter, facebook, wordpress, gmail, hotmail, itch.io, youtube, steam, curse, skype, unity, twitch, battle.net, artstation, conceptart, deviantart, pintrest, google+, xbox live, LinkedIn and probably more.

You may think I have listed these out to try and make a point when, in truth, I am simply compiling a list online so I don’t forget to sign in to these every now and then to make sure I haven’t been hacked.

So now that my career aspirations are hinging on whether or not I get seen, I need to try and maintain some semblance of activity on all of these. As I go, I’m going to share, here, how much I care and want it to continue. Maybe I’ll grow as a person, maybe I’ll become bitter and enraged, maybe I’ll choose another career path away from all of this, or maybe, it won’t  matter at all. Let’s find out together and spread the lessons learned.

My Media Identity: CIU 110

I absorb creative media whenever possible and in any format that can use it’s limitations to best effect. It drives me and challenges me to create my own stories and present them in whatever ways I have at my disposal. So far, this has primarily been through short films, animation and illustration but that should branch more into audio podcasting and video game creation soon. The three primary areas I intend to focus on, when I am capable, will be the videogames, podcasts and animations so let’s focus on those three for now.

I’m a child of the 90’s which means I grew up with the best cartoons but didn’t get into the culture of them until around 2004. Family Guy, Futurama and Invader Zim were shown to me by some friends and I was hooked. Granted we all binge watched these series and almost any others we could get our hard drives on, I had some drawing skills budding by then and I started practicing. Nowadays I watch and practice, learn and practice, create and practice because it would just be SO cool to be able to make things like them. Animation like this is my way of being able to deliver my most incredible stories while still only being one person and so it is my artistic foundation. YouTube makes distribution so accessible but nowadays is also unsustainable which forces animation to the lower end of my priorities in lieu of less involved methods of content creation. So…

Audio podcasts have become almost an expected form of media among most technologically inclined people in this age of information. They are also quick and relatively easy to produce so long as someone on crew has a good understanding of the equipment. I listen to podcasts about once a week and other people can devote themselves to them for great periods of time, usually while performing another task. Live podcasts are a relatively new online development as internet speed and data costs have only recently been at levels that allow for online streaming though services like Twitch and Hang w/ which have gained audiences of specific interest at regular scheduled times. I have had experience with these before but none of my own. I feel there are many interesting ways that people have only sparsely experimented with like communal story telling, role play, party games and quizzes. I’d like to begin something of this nature soon and build some sort of audio library that presents either new creative uses of audio entertainment or even revives some of the cooler styles from the days when radio was the current technology.

Then we come to the most involved but also highest potential for profit, video games. I play them when I find myself with some free time and I decide I deserve a break from creating. I have loved them since my first interaction with them. I shy away from the multiplayer side of things and instead approach them as interactive stories, which is the most rewarding way I experience the type of media it is. I know I have the capacity to create at least some of the ideas I have and turn them into the types of interactive experiences that I would enjoy. The law of averages figures that if I would like it, so would quite a few other people. I particularly enjoy most Blizzard games and have a love for those extreme

Luckily, I was born into an age where media can be easily broadcast and viewed by a vast audience. Ultimately, I just want to create and present in a content that allow me to express my stories and inspire the next generation of content creators like me.

I’ve come to the realisation that I have an awful lot to do.

I’ve come to the realisation that I have an awful lot to do.

I dabble with drawing, writing, animating, illustrating and most other creative outlets which is useful when you have so much creativity to let out. I’m not particularly good at any of these things but every time I finish a project in these areas I am proud to have done them, even if I’m not particularly happy with the piece. Strange. That brief sense of satisfaction has led me to believe that this is the field I have to pursue if I am to look back on my life at some point and feel like I did the right thing. The thing I was meant to do. The thing that defines my sense of “success.”

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Sadly, I’ve also noticed that the resources to enter this field, professionally, are scarce in my immediate surroundings and it has become clear that if I am to succeed, I need to build something myself. And so, here I am.

I have established a light presence on the internet though I am still without a significant following but I continue to make things, to study and learn and become better at what I do and share it with whoever finds it as interesting and fun as I do. First I need something to show off. Then I need people who want to show off too.

Unfortunately, that’s about as far as my plan goes. I’m still fresh with the details, there’s still a lot to figure out, but at least I’ve made a pretty significant start. I know what I have and where I want to end up. Let’s do it.