Successful Practical Outcomes

While Completing certain projects there are a select few that I felt was a particular success for a number of reasons. Here are three examples of my work and why I feel like they were successful.

1.

I came into contact with a lot of new equipment and softwares this year, that I may have heard of, but I never really used. One of these was a game creating software known as Unreal engine. This is the software I used in order to create my game.

The main reason I feel like I have been successful in this area is because this was the first time me using Unreal. This was quite a long process in order to grasp a full understanding of this software, but i eventually got a good knowledge of how it works. It was so successful because the sheer amount of independent research I did into Unreal. Another major reasons for me being happy with my product is because I set myself strict goals that I wanted to achieve by a certain time period.

2.

I am also happy with the success of my character design for my game I am creating. The reason I felt this went so well was because of the process of creating these characters. I went through many concepts in order to reach my final product. i felt as if the process of going through these ideas really helped me hone my ideas, so I came out with the best result possible.

I also spent a lot of time learning news skills within the photoshop by watching educational videos online. This gave me options to approach problems in a different ways other than the ones I would of originally would’ve thought of.

3.

During my time on this course I have produced a number of music tracks on a software called Logic Pro X. My progress with software has been rather slow due to the fact I mainly go on it as somewhat of a hobby. It does however have some links into my into my module where I have to create a game. I have recently come across a huge breakthrough when it comes to creating music. I have gotten very familiar with a technique for mastering music tracks. I recently went to a friends house who has mastered Logic Pro X to level that greatly surpasses mine. He taught me a new way that I can master my tracks while using this software.  Because of this I have been much more successful in creating music due to me learning from a peer.

 

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Independent Work

During my time on this media course I have done a lot of independent work ranging in all shapes and sizes. When conducting work it is important to evaluate the progress you are making with your work. This is vital in ensuring improvement in all areas of life. I’m going to be going through some work I have completed and analysing the positives as well as areas I can improve on.

Photoshop

I have made a number of assets for my game within Photoshop. Using Photoshop has been a massive learning curve for me because of my lack of previous knowledge. When it comes to the actual assets I am pleased with the pure aesthetics of my work, but in my own opinion the process of creating them needs to be vastly improved. The time took to create these assets took a lot longer than I originally planned for it to take.

The end product met the expectations that i wanted to reach, however getting to this end goal consumed a lot of my time that could’ve been used more productively on other projects. A solution that I have come up with is to teach myself the keyboard shortcuts to certain tools within the software. Learning these would help me progress through work at a much quicker speed, helping me to get to my end goal a lot quicker. To add to that using the software for an extended period of time has already improved my workflow just from being in contact with Photoshop for a large amount of my time.

An example of my work is this caste I designed within Photoshop to be a background asset for my game. This was one of my very first products from Photoshop, so it took me around five hours to complete.

Castle

In comparison to that here is an example of a piece of work I completed only a month or so ago.

Red Forest

Both have a similar level of detail within them, but this one only took me around two and a half hours. This shows that just by simply using a software for an extended period of time can vastly improve your work speed. When I was creating this asset I had learnt a small number of the basic shortcuts on the keyboard, which shows that my plan to improving my work has already begun to work.

Another part of this is the fact that my artistic skill within Photoshop has vastly improved when it comes to creating pixel art (as seen above), however it is fairly limited when it comes to other areas of art. Looking into the future I Feel like I need to expand my knowledge of other styles and techniques to improve my work in other areas. This will be vital to ensure that my skills keep on improving. It is also important to keep options open when it comes to the media industry. I don’t want to be tied down to a certain genre of type of artwork.

Digital Culture Practical Research

While creating media products it is essential to conduct research for a number of reasons. The core aspect behind researching is the idea of having a informed decision about an action you are going to take. In the media industry this is vital to ensure that your product is going to be successful.

When designing my game for my games and interactive design module I considered a vast array of types of research. I started at conducting contextual research in order to get a strong grasp on consumers. When thinking about contextual research  it is important to think about three certain areas, these areas are location, activity and social setting. These days media is everywhere whether it is on the internet or the access to smart phones. This covers all of those three core aspects of context, because smart phones allow consumers to use media in every location, during, after and before all activities and also everyone can experience media and then share it socially on the internet.

With this in mind I decided to research about how popular mobile games are and how to promote something on the internet. After looking into the statistics of how many people use mobile phones for games, I decided it was key to make a port for my game that people can use on their mobiles. Over 16% of gamers  play games on their mobiles. This is a a huge statistic that simple can not be ignored. Implementing this into my practical work was a step by step process. When creating new content for my game at every stage I had to consider how I can apply this to my mobile version.

The internet is a major factor when thinking about when creating media content. This because everyone can use this a platform to promote themselves or a product. Anyone with the right know how can use the internet in this manner. There is a great way of small companies or independent people can source income to help develop their product. This is known as crowdfunding. There are many websites such as Kick starter that are on the internet for this very purpose. Because of media context and the social aspect behind it I decided that it would be a good idea to ensure that my practical work was presentable on this format. A major aspect of crowdfunding is sharing with the audience the progress you have been making with your product. This helps to create a social community around the product, having the audience help with the development of the product. With this in mind I decided to make videos of certain aspects of the game I have made. I recorded myself making assets within Photoshop so if I do decided to use a crowdfunding method my practical work could be applied to this format.

In summery it is very important to incorporate contextual research before creating any form of action. Conducting this research has giving me a great viewpoint on how to proceed with certain aspects my practical coursework.

 References

Showman, A. (2013) Five Essential Skills for Every Undergraduate Researcher. Available at: http://www.cur.org/assets/1/7/333Spring13Showman16-20.pdf (Accessed: 3 May 2016)

Unite (2000) The importance of research – research methodology course. Available at: http://www.uniteforsight.org/research-methodology/module6 (Accessed: 4 May 2016).

Bloxham, M. (2016) Media research: Planning for context. Available at: http://www.warc.com/Content/ContentViewer.aspx?ID=7e94ad81-00d2-4696-ab8e-e8077187bbeb&MasterContentRef=7e94ad81-00d2-4696-ab8e-e8077187bbeb&Campaign=admap_apr13&utm_campaign=admap_apr13 (Accessed: 4 May 2016).

Unknown (2015) Mobile gaming – statistics & facts. Available at: http://www.statista.com/topics/1906/mobile-gaming/ (Accessed: 4 May 2016).

Crowdfunding Consultants (2014) Crowdfunding 101 – Crowdfunding strategy & information – Crowdfunding consultants. Available at: http://crowdfundingstrategy.net/beforeyoucrowdfundtips (Accessed: 5 May 2016).

Relative Theory In Digital Culture

Digital Culture Research

In my digital culture module I conducted research to gain a greater insight into the way technology has shaped our world and the culture within it. Technology and the digital realm has dramatically changed the way we function as a society in a number of ways.

My research started at determinism, which is the concept that new significant technologies would transform society. In the Book “Understanding Digital Culture” by Vincent Miller it says “Raymond Williams (1990 [1975] defined technological determinism as suggesting that new technology set the conditions for social for social change and progress. In such view, technology is seen as a law unto itself, on the sense that technology innovations are seen as drivers in the ‘progress’ (or sometimes ‘declines’) of society and culture.”,which sums up determinism very well.

Understanding this viewpoint this can be beneficial because of the way it can be linked to digital culture. A great example of determinism is that over the last few years is the idea that media’s such as video games and television programs have encouraged violent behavior from children. This theory has helped me to understand digital culture in a lot more detail because of the way it sums up the possible effect of media on consumers.

Although this may not have a direct link into any practical work I may make in the future, it does help me get good understanding on how I could target certain audiences. This is the main reason I decided to conduct research within this chosen area.

Although I found this theory somewhat interesting it seems fairly dated. The idea that the audiences are completely passive when consuming media’s is a bit far fetched in my own opinion. Also the media for example the news on television tend to use scapegoat on story’s to draw in more viewers and make it sound more exciting.

To summarize the determinism theory has given me some interesting information on how audiences work with the media and the benefits of conducting research.

oldsite.english. 2005. Media Determinism and Media Theory. [ONLINE] Available at: http://oldsite.english.ucsb.edu/faculty/warner/courses/w00/engl30/MediaDeterm.html. [Accessed 2 May 2016].

Miller, VM, 2011. Understanding Digital Culture . 1st ed. 55 City Road London : SAGE Publications Ltd.

Honey & Mumford Learning Style Questionnaire

Honey & Mumford designed a questionnaire to define what kind of learning style you are. This is to help you think about the different ways you learn and to potentially find a way to improve your learning.

The 4 different learning styles within the question are reflector, theorist, activist and pragmatist. Reflectors are people who look back at previous experiences and try to evaluate what happened. They also tend to not take the leadership role, so they prefer to take a backseat in team activities. Theorist’s learners tend to want to understand the information behind the actions. They also think through problems step by step in a logical manner with facts and concepts.  Activists are the type of person to take action rather than talking or reading about problems. They like to get hands on experience with things and also tend to have an open mind about new information they are given. Pragmatists tend to want to know how to use what they have learnt in real life situations. They cant full grasp subject concepts unless they can practically use them.

I took this questionnaire to discover that my learning style is a mixture of all four styles. I scored 8 for Reflector, 7 for Theorist, 8 for activist and 7 for Pragmatist. One of the key steps to taking this questionnaire is to develop the ability to learn in the other styles too, so it looks like I may be a step ahead of some people. I however am nowhere near understanding everything there is to know about all these different styles of learning. I can see how I fit into all of the different styles. For example in certain group activities I will take a more of a backseat role if I think that someone else has more knowledge or experience on the subject. When learning new skills I tend to think to myself how can I use this information in the real world and how it can improve my life.

So overall I think the honey & Mumfords’s questionnaire is useful to improve your learning experience, making a good attempt at pin point areas that you may need to focus on a bit more. However saying this I found the questionnaire to be somewhat vague. Some of the questions where to generalised for me to answer it in a way I would have liked to. I feel that it is quite good for simply just being quantitative data, however I felt like some question could of done with some more information. For example one of the questions “ I often get irritated by people who want to rush into things”. There are a lot of factors that could change my answer to this question such as what are they rushing into or who is the person. Yes it does say “often” but this is too generalised for my liking. To conclude the questionnaire could do with some improvements but is a great stepping stone for understanding how people learn

Initial Self Reflection

From a very young age I have always had a strong interest in media, I guess you could say it ran in the family. My father is a keen gamer and film enthusiast. Before him his father (my granddad) was also a gaming fanatic until the day he died.  So media has always held a strong place in my heart because it’s been a major factor in my culture and my family life from a very young age. For as long as I can remember  I have always wanted to be part of the team who creates these amazing worlds with rich storylines and characters.

I have always seen myself as a creative person who loves coming up with concepts, worlds and characters. I feel like creativity is a key part of defining the kind of person you are whether it is from music, drawing  or games.  It’s a way of expression that can ripple through the years as a reflection of yourself  and this fascinates me. Being able to create something that someone can look back at and say ” Wow, this guy/ team really made something amazing”.  I think this idea can help drive me to create and make to the best of my ability.

When looking into this course and from my previous experience from level interactive media and games I knew this course was ideal for me. The units cover a good amount of aspects of interactive media that can serve extremely useful  for my future. I’m hoping to learn allot of new skills to assist my creative mind into creating great new experiences for media consumers. I also hope that the course will provide assets I couldn’t normal afford or attain, such as software’s and hardware’s.

So what am I hoping to achieve ? well this a difficult one for me. I am a very ambitious person who has first place on his mind. Basically owning a gaming studio that create games that win game of year every year. Now I know this is very farfetched and is probably as liking as me achieving my childhood dream of being a pirate, but I think aiming high is a good mindset to have, because the higher you aim the higher you’ll go. Realistically I would love to be part of a great gaming studio and just be a part of these amazing games worlds you see as a game designer.

Throughout my work and educational life I have struggled with reading and writing due to my dyslexia . This has been a major obstacle for me but over the years, but I have managed to keep improving my reading and writing skills in a number of ways.  Looking through requirements of game designers “written and verbal communication skills” will be an important aspect that I will need to improve. I have managed (with the colleges support ) to acquire a software called DragonSpeech, which basically writes down what you say out loud, making it allot easier for me to keep my train of thought, rather than concentrating on writing. Also for a number of years I have been taking classes with dyslexia experts to improve my abilities. Continuing with these I believe my dyslexia will no longer be a hindrance on my ability to work or learn.

Being brought up with computers they have become second nature to me. I find it very easy to pick up new skills to do with computing.  This will be a great strength to help me achieve the position I want to become a game designer.  A major part of making games are computer programming and computer animation. As they both make up the core of games. Although I don’t plan on specialising in these areas It is important to have some knowledge in these subjects as a designer. It will help me to understand the jobs my team have to do. So improving in these areas will help me further on down the line.

Throughout my life I have had a number of influences that have helped push me towards the media industry.  A major one is Todd Howard who is a game director, producer and designer for a large gaming studio called Bethesda. He has an amazing story about how on the way to college he used to go in and ask for job at Bethesda but was declined many times. Eventually they gave him a job after a number of years of trying. From there he started simply as a additional art designer and slowly worked his way up to becoming a director and producer after many years of hard work.  This story is truly inspirational because it just shows that can you slowly work your way up to the position you want to be in if you put your mind to it.
Game Designer Information:

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/video-game-designer1.htm

http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles_and_stories/job_roles/331_game_designer

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4912594_skills-needed-become-game-designer.html

http://creativepool.com/articles/jobdescriptions/games-designer-job-description

Todd Howard Information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Howard_%28video_game_designer%29

http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Todd_Howard

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1937470/

http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Todd_Howard