Saturday, 5 December 2009

Friday Lecture...

I enjoyed Friday's lecture - though that is possibly becaise it was Philosophy centred and I have a degree in pointless waffling... erm I mean Philosophy ;)

Seriously though it was good and got me thinking. As I've been writing a LOT about teh Magic Circle and the distinct 'game world' and 'real world' the lecture on Friday and some comments from people during discussion in the lecture reminded me of the Ontological Argument for God's existence (it goes (VERY BASICALLY) along the lines of I have an idea of God - the idea of God is of the greatest possible being - the 'greatest possible being' would not be if it didn't exist as 'existence' is one of it's attributes - therefore God must exist).

The thing is, with this argument you can pretty much think ANYTHING into existence so long as 'existence' is one of it's attributes. The Unicorn and Santa being two good examples (not that I'm saying Santa doesn't exist, and if you're reading this Santa, I have been good - all year - and my Christmas list can be found on my desk under the monitor!)

Anywho... linking back to the Magic Circle idea. In an Ontological Styleee you can bring anything within the circle in to existence. It manifests while you play, but it has all the attributes of a real thing. Say for instance (as I'm going to play on WoW after this), we take my Night Elf character Alef. She has all the attributes of existence that I have (very bascially). In fact, I would argue she has EVERY attribute of someone you have not yet met.

In the games we play, either on computers or not, we create things - characters, places etc that we give real world attributes to (even though play takes place withing in the 'Magic Circle' which is suppsoed to be distinct from the 'real world'). And this, I think, plays a massive role in our immersion as we can on a 'non-play' level find attachement and familiarity with what we play as well as on a ludic (I think that's the right term) level.

So yes, that's my thinking for the day. I'm off to run around the Terrokkar Forest for a bit!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Lots and lots...

I've been doing some reading for my assignments. All about the 'Magic Circle' and I've just read a paper called "Abandoning the Magic Circle". I had high hopes for this as I was looking for some writings against the use of the 'Magic Circle'.

Now I don't consider myself an expert on academic writing - far from it - but I do expect a little more than what I go from this paper. In talking about the notion that the Magic Circle (i.e. the 'area', physical or otherwise, in which 'play' takes place) can be closed or open (i.e. influenced or affected by the 'outside' 'real' world), his main criticism seemed to focus on the fact that 'geometrically' a circle has no end/beginning and there for it cannot be described as 'open' it must always be closed. o.O Therefore, he argued, the concept of the Magic Circle, in describing the 'area' in which play and games take place, must always be closed and cannot be open and linked by the outside world. A notion he rejects as he believes that play and games are influenced by the 'real world'.

If your academic and intellectual criticism of a concept is based on using mathematical geometry to attack a metaphor then you need to rethink.

Though I hear his next paper is entitled "Abandoning the Snow Blanket" in which he attacks the notion that the description "a blanket of snow" to describe heavy and covering snowfall is incorrect as snow does not have the physical properties required to bind and hold together in the same way material would need to in order to create a blanket...

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A Thought...

Firstly, apologies to my dear blog for neglecting it! My head has been all over the place for the last few weeks with being ill and frothing over LARP (or LRP?), but I’m refocusing now!

I was thinking today about types of games, both computer games and other types, and how everyone has preferences or types/genres that appeal to them. In particular a conversation I had about role play games either computer games or LARP (not so much D&D as I have no experience there) and that they don’t appeal to my girlfriend. This developed in to a conversation about what we used to play as a child. Eliminating predefined games such as board games, sports etc, what did we play? I played lots of what would probably be characterised as role play games such as Cowboys & Indians (Indians ftw!) and war games, and racing games and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Robin Hood’ (yes, I was a massive tomboy) and hundreds of variations of this where I/we took on the role of a character in those games other than ourselves. My girlfriend never played like this as a child. Though my instant reaction was ‘weirdo’, I started comparing our tastes in computer games now. I love WoW and 3'rd person action/adventure such as Tomb Raider and Resi Evil and fighting games (i.e. Tekken), RTS such as Warcraft, Civilisation and Dungeon Keeper and Madden NFL. She goes for puzzle games such as Professor Layton and games like Sonic and Mario. Oh and, of course, I love LARP! Considering how I used to play as a child it’s a natural progression – what more does a girl want than to dress up and kick monster’s butts in hand to hand combat? Pfft! (Don’t judge it before you try it!)

So in my entirely ‘scientific’ study of 2 people it appears maybe how and what we play as a child influences what we’re drawn to playing now. So how did you play and what do you play now?

Friday, 16 October 2009

Since the bad news...

After they said the Preston Project would not carry any marks or contribute to the MA overall, it's fair to say the wind was quickly removed from my sails and set free. Harumph. Which is a shame because I was really starting to enjoy it. Still we've continued our meetings and settled on work to do. We settled on the working on the Preston Docks. I suggested something to go on the wave breakers and we seem to have gone with that.

I haven't been to the docks myself, but by all accounts I'm not missing much other than a run down looking waterway complete with dead birds. Considering how important the docks have been to Preston in its growth is amazing they don't make much more of them - especially as they are no longer used for trade, there is surely opportunity to create a living space or entertainment space or something there like other cities have don't with their docks. Someone in our meeting pointed out Salford Quays as an example - where that area has become incredibly desirable.

So, our design response will focus around a series of installations on the wavebreakers - much like the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square that has different things put on. Everyone is contributing an idea for what could go on it. It's all being presented next week. I wonder if any groups will be 'brave' enough to refuse to take part? In artistic protest of course.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Level Design...

I thought I'd share some of my sketches for my level design project I had.

It was a lot harder than I thought it would be when I started - I realised quite quickly that my first sketch of a level area was too open - someone playing it would be able to just wonder around aimlessly for ages and go where they needed to go which led me to change how I was designing it.

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I was interesting to see how others had done it and to look at what the 1st years had done as well as their work was up on the walls.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Preston Project...

Volunteering to take minutes for our group meetings was a) a good thing as I enjoyed doing it b) a bad thing I as ended up with the most obscure item from the list to look in to/research. It turned out to be really interesting though. I had to look in to Temporal Rhythms of the city. Even though I had an idea of what temporal and rhythm mean, I had no idea at first where to start.

My first thought was the passage of time and its rhythm over time, since Preston began. My first foray into the internet was met with page upon page with information about Temporal Rhythms of the brain…. Not quite what I wanted but I did learn a new fun fact: The Temporal area of the brain and skull is on the side of you head above your ears – so called because this is generally the first area that greys so showing the passage of time. :D Stef Bow: serving the public with useless bits of information since 1983!

But then I stumbled across a journal article that contained the term ‘Temporal Rhythms’ in reference to the ratio of time parents spend at work/with their children and how this varies with the seasons. This actually opened up my thinking to other rhythms or cycles including seasonal, night & day etc. Searching for ‘City Rhythms’ led me to a Wikipedia article that mentioned economy and religion.

Much better! I think studying the seasonal rhythms of a city is too long and term project for this one, but would be interesting – how the city changes visually through the year with the change in greenery and light and the volume of people making use of the outside areas and so on.

Daily rhythms would be interesting. The ebb and flow of people in and out and through Preston, the rhythms of different shops and businesses opening and closing, the different (yet constant) sources of light.

We’ll see.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Diving in...

So, first week down and first work 'handed in'. Was an interesting experience to put my work on a wall and stand there with it! It appears teaching has come in handy for something - that is standing in front of people. I am slightly in awe of everyone else's work. Something to aim for I guess.

I have a project to do for next Thursday - Games Mechanics. I have to design a game level, mapped out on square/graph paper and use set games mechanics. I sat and started off doodling a layout. I think it's fair to say that I didn't really have any direction. (First attempt and lack of adventure games experience may be contributing to this!) Jim came and chatted and that helped - I think it flicked open a door so that I felt I was thinking a bit wider and it's making better progress now.

I think I rick going with the first idea I come up with - that age old panic to get things done kicks in rather than spending time changing, evolving and developing ideas. That's something I'll have to work on.