Digital Culture Blog

1.Pixels and Polygons – Developer Story  30/09/15

Today i watched a rather interesting documentary about the struggles of an indie developer. I found this particularly interesting because of the subject it was about indie development. Indie development is something that i’ve always wanted to get into because i have always seen it as a line of work for me in the future.

The documentary was very inspiring and follows richard who has very little in the way of assets. This gave me a great insight into the process of creating indie games.

Watching the documentary in its entirety I came up with a few positives and negatives about creating indie titles.

Positives

– You can put as much effort into the game as you want, making as big or as small as you desire.

-You are able to go at your own pace not being pressured by set deadlines ( unless financial deadlines come up)

-If it is your passion you can have great fun in creating games.

Negatives

-You only have yourself or a small team that have to complete a massive task and you don’t have many others than you can rely on.

– Because you are independent you have a lack of funds, this usually restricts your projects.

-Have to fill a number of roles due to small teams

References

Gamestar Arts (2013) Pixels and Polygons: An Indie game developer story. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFELtcCnD94 (Accessed: 30 September 2015).

2. Semiotics 10/10/15

For a very long time i have found semiotics very interesting especially when it comes to videos games. After reading a powerpoint provided by the lecturer i decided to do some additional research about semiotics in video games.

To start off what is semiotics ? Semiotics is the idea that symbols and signs are a type of communicative behavior. So why is this important ? Well believe it or semiotics is apparent in all forms of media especially advertising. In advertising they use semiotics in order to draw attention to formal structures and significant aspects of culture.

A simple example of this would be that in an advertisement about female perfume they may use the colour pink in order to make the viewer think the perfumes is very girly or feminem. Some roses are also pink, which is symbolic for beauty and love. Now this can go into even more depth because different shades of pink have different meanings.

How does this relate to videos games ? Well video games are a simulation of real life there for incorporating as many realistic aspects as possible will enhance the player’s experience. It also is another way for developers to show the games language in a natural way. Most avid gamers understand the semiotics of gaming and can quickly understand the symbols that are on the screen. A great example of this is if a frequent gamer buys a new game loads it up and sees a red bar somewhere on the screen, the player instantly know that is indicates heath and will start to go down when their character takes damage. Anonymous_aiga_down_arrow_Clipart_Free

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Developers have created their own symbolic language that players understand the second they see it. I find this subject very interesting and i will be trying to include it into my games or interactive design module.

References

Reserved, A.R. (2016) Archive for the ’semiotics’ category. Available at: http://www.inspectorinsight.com/category/semiotics/ (Accessed: 10 October 2015).

Snyder, J. (2013) Following the river home; Video game Semiotics. Available at: http://www.theoryofgaming.com/essay-video-game-semiotics/ (Accessed: 10 October 2015).

3. Mobile Games 15/10/15

Today I downloaded a new game known as Clash of Clans and i have become completely addicted. I have being playing it in every spare moment i can find and this got me thinking about mobile games in general and how they have fairly different culture and audience that play them. I decided to do some research into the subject.

Mobile games has massively risen in popularity over the last few years. The rate it is expanding is just mind blowing. Mobile games have grown so popular that the revenue has exceeded console gaming. Here is a graph that shows this.

graph

This shows the sheer magnitude that the mobile game industry hold. Mobile games have become very popular with an audience that is classed as casual gamers. Casual gamers are people who aren’t completely hooked on games but play them casually in their spare time.

The interesting thing about mobile games is there business model. Instead of having a set price and then you get the product you want most mobile games use a free to play model. This has become very popular for games recently. The idea is that the game is free to play but within the game there is certain in app purchases, that can do a number of things for the player, ranging from more play time to a shiny new sword. This free to play business model has even made its way out of mobile games and into console and computer games.

Due to mobile games success large gaming companies have started to expand into the mobile game market. Obviously realising the potential profit that can be made. Thinking on this further if i ever decided to make games for a living i will seriously consider making a mobile port for my game because of its popularity.  The only issue i see with the mobile game market is that it is becoming saturated very quickly. Hundreds of mobile games flood the app store every day so i wouldn’t be surprised if the mobile game industry crashes in the not too distant future.

References

GaLoomis, M. (2015) The cost of nothing: Free-to-play games are changing the industry. Available at: http://gamerant.com/free-to-play-games-changing-gaming-industry/ (Accessed: 17 October 2015)

mesIndustry.biz.[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-10-22-report-mobile-to-become-gamings-biggest-market-by-2015. [Accessed 15 October 2015].

4. Future of gaming 3/1/16

In my news feed today i saw an video about the virtual reality headset know as the Oculus and it sparked my interest, so i decided to research it in a lot more detail. Virtual reality will soon become more easily available to the public in the not too distant future with devices such as the Oculus Rift. This is mainly due to the advancements in technology and that the general price for VR has massively reduced.

Virtual reality can be used in number of ways other than for gaming. A great example of this is its potential in the educational field. You could train pilots in a simulated flight within any chance of danger, giving them a great safe environment to hone their skills in flying. It can also be used for medical purposes, like training doctors in performing surgery, again with no element of danger, giving them prior knowledge before performing the real thing.

This is also in my opinion going to become a main driving force of the gaming industry. Giving consumers the ability to completely immerse themselves within  a fantasy world. I have no doubt that this will become a major part of not only gaming but the media industry itself.

The only issue i see with virtual reality is that the technology behind VR is not quite at its peak yet and is seen to many in its current state as a novelty rather than a great source of entertainment. Virtual reality has still a long way to go before becoming perfected but there is progress being made everyday.

Another issue I see is a lot further on down the line but what if developers create a world so engaging and realistic that the people within them never want to leave and shun out their real lives for a virtual. This could potentially create a whole new digital culture that is always in the virtual world. Only the future will tell what virtual reality will bring but it sure is an exciting time to be alive.

References

Lowood, H.E. (2015) ‘Virtual reality (VR) | computer science’, in Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: http://www.britannica.com/technology/virtual-reality (Accessed: 1 January 2016).

VR, O. (2015) Oculus. Available at: https://www.oculus.com/en-us/ (Accessed: 1 January 2016).In-line Citation:(VR, 2015)
Reality, V. (2015) What is virtual reality? – virtual reality. Available at: http://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/what-is-virtual-reality.html (Accessed: 1 January 2016).

5. Violence in Video games and  the Media 7/2/16

Today I stumbled across an article Posted on the independent newspaper that claims that violent video games can be linked to aggressive behaviour. The title of of this article is “Study finds that violent video games may be linked to aggressive behaviour”. A quote that standed out the most for me was

“A report from the APA task force on violent media concludes: “The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behaviour, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.”

but then shortly followed it up by

Dr Mark Appelbaum, who chaired the APA task force, said: “Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence.”

clearly contradicting itself. From further reading i came to the conclusion that the writer of the article used that titles in order to draw in readers. The article itself doesn’t really come to a conclusion about whether or not violent games lead to violent behaviour.

Reading this however sparked my interest so i decided to continue investigating the subject further. There a number of case studies that concluded that violent media does create aggressive behaviour. This however are mainly pretty old such as the infamous BoBo Doll experiment. In this study a group of children was shown a video of a adult attacking a toy doll and then was left in a room with the same doll. Another group was shown a video of an adult being playful with the doll. In conclusion the children who were shown the violent video where violent towards the doll and the children who were shown the playful video were playful with the doll.

bandura-bobo_doll

This experiment shows that the children were affected by seeing the violent video but i would agree that the situation is very unrealistic and can’t really be relatable to real life. It’s a doll and as far as I am aware there is no law against being violent towards a plastic toy.

There are a large number of news stories that link violence with videos games. I found a list of 14 murders that are linked to video games. an example of this is

“James Holmes, went on a rampage in a movie theater showing The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012, He was a frequent player of violent video games including World of Warcraft, an infamously addictive role-playing game.”

I think that the media like to blow up these stories in order to get more viewers. People have always used new media as a scapegoat to explain why murders and horrible incidents happen. People use to think that paper and books where work of the devil and could be linked to witchcraft.

In summary i think that as humans we are scared of the unknown and try to explain the unexplainable gaining some level of control over terrible situations

References:

Fletcher, L. and Movieguide (2015) 14 mass murders linked to violent video games. Available at: http://www.charismanews.com/culture/52651-14-mass-murders-linked-to-violent-video-games (Accessed: 7 Feburary 2016).

Bingham, J. (2015) Study finds no evidence violent video games make children aggressive. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/study-finds-no-evidence-violent-video-games-make-children-aggres/ (Accessed: 7 Feburary 2016).

von Radowitz, J. and Association, P. (2015) Study finds that violent video games may be linked to aggressive behaviour. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/study-finds-that-violent-video-games-may-be-linked-to-aggressive-behaviour-10458614.html (Accessed: 8 Feburary 2016).

McLeod, S. (2011) Bobo doll experiment. Available at: http://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html (Accessed: 8 Feburary 2016).

6. Pixel Art Castle 2/3/2016

Today i got inspired by a piece of pixel art i came across while researching for my designing pitching concepts module. I found this pixel art on a pinterest page.

pixelart_castle_by_arthurio

This made me want to try and create my own castle pixel art. Pixel art has a new found popularity within the indie gaming scene. This is mainly because there is a culture that surrounds indie pixel games. Indie pixel games are popular within this culture because they get a nostalgic feeling while playing it. This culture is full of the slightly older age of gamer that was around during the times of Megaman and Mario, so it’s no surprise that they enjoy this type of game.

Being around these sorts of games when i was younger i also have a similar draw to this style of art style. The retro 16 bit pixel art style has been around for ages and i felt that this was the art style that i wanted to try to achieve for my module.

This one of my first attempts at pixel art, after being inspired by a number of sources. It was a very long process to create this particular piece of work. This was mainly due to the fact that i had never really attempted such a large piece of pixel art. Over all i am happy with my final product but the process to create the work can be improved on.

Castle

References

DeviantArt (2016) Pixelart castle. Available at: http://arthurio.deviantart.com/art/Pixelart-castle-44718879 (Accessed: 2 March 2016).

 

7. Pixel art Red Forest 4/3/16

Today i found another piece of pixel art that sparked my interest. This was piece of pixel art that was a forest.

maxresdefault

I really wanted to hone my skills in creating pixel art so in order to create a similar piece of work i practiced a lot. I also did a lot of research within the process of creating pixel art.

After conducting a good amount of research on techniques and ways of creating pixel art, i had made a vast improvement in my process of creating pixel art. This piece of work nearly half the time it did to make my initial one. My ability to use the software Photoshop has greatly improved over the time i have spent on this course.

This is the piece of work I managed to create after researching all these methods in creating pixel art.

Red Forest

Over all i am pleased with my work and also the progression i have made in particular area of art style.

References

mnrART (2015) TUTORIAL: Basic Photoshop for Pixel art (for beginners). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEGeveEsg0Q (Accessed: 5 March 2016).

PXLFLX (2015) Pixel Art Basics in Photoshop part 1: Drawing by PXLFLX. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwHW8HIrV5A (Accessed: 5 March 2016).

Pixel art forest (no date) Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=pixel+art+forest&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=619&tbm=isch&imgil=ztYqW3rrhXoaHM%253A%253Bv5S8eYxWABaOrM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fgiphy.com%25252Fsearch%25252Fpixel-nature&source=iu&pf=m&fir=ztYqW3rrhXoaHM%253A%252Cv5S8eYxWABaOrM%252C_&usg=__0w2WSjJX2TGv4I2h-YCyT-zy5qU%3D&ved=0ahUKEwjItL_avNHMAhUjI8AKHZNXDYwQyjcIMQ&ei=3NsyV8jWGKPGgAaTr7XgCA#tbm=isch&q=pixel+art+forest&imgrc=AKC6op6-M6YWGM%3A (Accessed: 5 March 2016).

8. South Korea’s Gaming Culture 1/5/16

I recently watched a documentary that goes into great detail about South Korea’s gaming culture. In Korea gaming is a massive part of the culture, for example if you got to a main city you would struggle to find a street without a gaming cafe. A gaming cafe is where gamers go to play games together and maybe grab something to eat. This has become a big part of the economy there. Instead of going with friends to maybe go and see a film it is just as popular to go to one of these gaming cafes.

This is even taken a step further by the massive gaming events that are held in massive stadiums that were originally intended to house baseball games. These events are surrounded by kind of practices and culture. An example of this is Cosplay, cosplay is where people dress up as game or tv characters. This is seen in western culture but not to the extent that is in South Korea. In South Korea it is a job to dress up as one of these characters and wander around these events taking pictures with anyone who desires to do so. In comparison to western culture where people do it for fun at gaming and comic book events, it is more like disneyland where it is actually a full time paid job.

In korea there is also professional player that are paid ridiculously well, almost like how western culture see athletes in sport. These professional gamers receive celebrity like status and all the perks that come along with it.

Over all i find this topic rather interesting and will be looking into the subject more in order to get a grasp on South Korean gaming culture so i can talk about it in much more detail within my essay.

References

Zhou, P. (2016) South Korea computer gaming culture South Korea is Infaturated with video games. Available at: http://geography.about.com/od/culturalgeography/a/South-Korea-Computer-Gaming-Culture.htm (Accessed: 1 May 2016).

VICE (2015) The celebrity millionaires of competitive gaming (full length). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of1k5AwiNxI (Accessed: 1 May 2016).

 

 

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