Archive for the ‘Interactive Communications’ Category

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Ok then so when it came to interactive controller ideas. I hit a barrier, because there are controllers for everything these days. However I have come up with three ideas that I wanted to get down. The first thing is minor, it is a game console controller, a cross between an Xbox controller and a Nintendo Gamecube controller in appearance, but works with both of them. It is wired and felt like quite a weak idea to me, so I left it where it was on the page as just a beginner idea to get the creative thinking flowing.

The second idea I came up with was a Nintendo Wii tablet, this was mostly an idea that came about through the Nintendo Wii-U design, but this is solely for the Wii, instead of a brand new console. This tablet has the usual analogue stick and D-Pad of the Wii controllers, but the player can sit back with the tablet and either use the controller or they can use the touch screen to direct the character the same way they would control a character through the Wii Nun-chuck and controller.

The third idea was one that came to me out of nowhere. I was sat thinking about games console controllers along with the fact that gaming seems to be moving away from consoles to mobile phones. I also had the thought that since mobiles are becoming the focus of gaming because of smart phones and the potential they carry in terms of power for games, I came up with an idea for a smart phone that can double up as a console controller. By using wireless technology within the phone, the console could have an updated application that would allow the phone to connect to it. Through this connection the player could then choose the controller option on their phone and the touch screen on the phone would then change, storing all of the phone applications away and bringing the analogue sticks and buttons that could be found on an ordinary controller. Through further development, the player could then also use the wireless technology to project their phone games through the console onto their television, thereby giving them a bigger and better screen to play their games on. Then once they are finished, they can simply disconnect and their phone becomes an ordinary phone once again.

Basic Primitives

Posted: January 5, 2013 in Interactive Communications
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Ok then so in this post, I am showing an image of the basic primitives that I have practiced drawing. They look a little shaky, mostly because my drawing skills are pretty poor at the moment and need to be massively improved. I found it hard to imagine the paper as a 3D plane and not just a flat sheet of paper, but as I got into drawing the shapes and making them 3D I managed to see that by using shadowing and direction, it is easy to actually turn a flat shape into a 3D object on a piece of paper. As can also be seen, I tried to draw a sphere stood up against a wall, but that didn’t go to plan, especially when it came to inking the shapes so that they could stand out in this photo.

I think that through constant practicing and trying different shapes and using different directions for shadowing, I could improve my drawing skills and expand slowly through practice and experience. I just need to keep at this so that I can improve and constantly try new techniques and drawing styles so that I don’t fall into one set style that could prove stale.

As can be deduced from the magazine title alone, the magazine has a target audience of people that play on the Xbox 360. This is good because it can cover content and topics that pertain to the console and will interest the readers; however it is also a bad thing because it means that they are sticking with one target audience instead of offering content that could bring in more readers by diversifying their content within the magazine.

The front cover is typically what a gaming magazine uses for a cover, lots of images with text sprawled round the edges, throwing game titles of up and coming games that are going to be released within the next month or so, drawing potential readers in so that they can see what is being discussed about these new games. The price is also plastered in the top right corner of the magazine cover so that the reader

Within the pages of the magazine itself, the reader will find a collection of reviews for games that have been released along with discussions about the happenings with games that are to be coming out and the publisher’s efforts to make the games stand out and have that extra bit of appeal to players. The type of writing within the magazine is more laid back than in Edge magazine, which was quite formal, the writers within Xbox 360 Gamer try to relate to the readers by using slang that would only be known to the readers, they also put across their own opinions a lot more than they do try to be objective about the games, this can be bad as it can put readers off games because they would be looking for a review and instead they are reading someone opinion on what a game is going to be like or what the game should be like along with the good and bad points that the writer thinks the game has.

The magazine is well laid out inside because it has the game reviews, a couple of interviews with people working in the industry along with some topics for discussion about things that have been happening within the industry, along with a lot of advertising for games that are coming out. Flicking through the magazine it looks like there is actually more advertising than there is actual content, which could explain the magazines average cost of £3.49 instead of something higher because they spend some time talking about games and the rest advertising them.

Overall the magazine is being rated 3/5 because it secludes a large part of the gaming community by being solely for Xbox gamers instead of being a magazine with a little bit for everyone. They also tend to go off on their own opinions a lot more instead of offering a non-biased review so that readers can make an informed decision about the games they are reading, instead they will be going off of the writers views on the game that tend towards either the good or the bad of the game instead of it being balanced. The main reason for the magazine receiving 3/5 though is because of the large amount of advertising within the pages of the magazine, they could pack more information and content in the pages instead of splattering advertisements everywhere to act as filler.

Edge magazine is a success and a good all round magazine for several reasons. First is its front cover, it is simplistic in its layout, with an enlarged in the centre, it stands out instantly from the myriad of other magazines because it is focusing on one image in the centre of the page with a simple grey background with text around it instead of having a collage of images of different games with the titles and sub headings splashed all over in a jumble that could very easily get a magazine ignored. With the name of the magazine at the top, the website address underneath it, the main topic plastered all over the front cover to emphasise that this is the magazine the person wants to read for that one topic on top of everything else that is being discussed or reviewed within the contents. It keeps the look basic and yet it stands out on a shelf among the various other magazines that are all battling for attention using overloaded covers with images of games, catchy headings and dazzling bits of information that they claim cannot be found anywhere except inside their own magazine. Edge magazine is straight to the point with its topics and it doesn’t try to overload the reader with information before they have peeled the pages open. Even the size of the magazine is brilliant, while other magazines are generally quite big and can be a pain to fit into a back pack or a small shoulder bag, Edge manages to be small enough to fit into small bags without losing its readability.

The main target audience for the magazine would have to be anyone that is interested in what is happening within the gaming industry because it doesn’t just review games, it opens up discussions about topics that are being taken into consideration within the gaming industry in today’s world, an example of which would be the topic of the decline in female game designers within the industry and what can be done to bring the numbers up again. One of the most important reasons for the success of the magazine is that its contents have something for everyone, reviews for teenagers and adults that want the reviews of games that are coming out or have just been released, game designers that want to brush up on the hot topics of the industry and discuss them in the work place or even young and fresh designers and developers that want to learn the secrets of the industry by reading the interviews with current designers that are bringing about new ages within the gaming industry and changing it in ways never before thought possible.

The contents of the magazine are also broken up quite nicely throughout the pages as well in order to keep the information interesting. Instead of having review after review and interview following interview, the contents are broken up nicely between topics, reviews and interviews with advertisements for other products spread throughout the pages as well so that the reader is always kept interested and their curiosity is constantly fed, making them read on until they have become hooked to the magazine.

I’m going to score this magazine a 4/5. There are two small problems I find with the magazine. The price, because even though it offers such superb information, I think it is a little expensive for a magazine at £5. The other problem I do have with the magazine is that even though the writing is readable, it still tends to be on the small side and that could seclude and alienate potential readers that have sight impairments.

Ok so recently I was looking into what kind of game I would like my game ideas to fall into and the main types of game are Linear and Sandbox or Open End as it is sometimes called. I’ll break down what each one is a little bit first so that you readers out there that aren’t familiar with the terms know what I’m talking about.

Linear:
Sandbox or Open End:Linear games are pretty straight forward, they are broken down into a structure held together with levels. The player controls a premade character and have no say over what they look or act like.

A good example of a Linear Game would be Devil May Cry. The player takes control of a character called Dante, a premade character that they can’t change. The only changes they can make to him is how he fights and what he uses in fights. Other than that they have to travel through a preset level structure, complete puzzles in certain places, fight bad guys in certain places, fight a boss at the end of each level and then move onto the next one. That is the basic structure of a Linear Game.

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Screenshot of the character in action in Devil May Cry 3. There is a Life Bar and Devil Trigger counter in the top left and the number of souls the player has collected in the top right. The more you collect the more you can spend on upgrading and buying new items and skills for more powerful attacks and combinations.

 

 

 

Sandbox or Open End Games:

These are the more open games, they allow extensive character manipulation and creation, giving the player the experience of creating their own unique character to play with.

An example of a Sandbox Game would be Skyrim. It opens up with  you being a nameless character, then you are given the chance to alter your characters appearance along with the race of the character. This game is different to most games that allow character customization because instead of the player choosing a set path for their character, they can choose how to shape their characters class and skills as they play through the game, meaning they can create a completely diverse and unique character that suits their playing style.

Skyrim-Character-Creation

This is a screenshot of a player choosing to create their own half cat type character.

 

 

 

 

Ok so those are the rough outlines of the two game types, now to discuss some of the advantages of each type and why one game type will suit certain games while it wouldn’t work for another.

Advantages of Linear Games

  • The areas of the game are small and often have a lot happening, such as a puzzle or an area full of enemies to overcome.
  • There is usually an extremely rich experience of play for the player as they have to focus on what they are doing instead of where they are going.
  • Linear games tend to look better as they require less time on the creative side of things, the designers can spend more time on the graphics.
  • The action is better paced and better choreographed.
  • They tend to have a dynamic and significant storyline. This usually has only one ending, whereas Open End Games can have multiple endings.
  • There is a clear narrative sequence. The game play follows the storyline and leads the character instead of the character choosing how the storyline develops.

Advantages of Sandbox Games:

  • The player has more freedom and can do a lot more within the limits of the game.
  • They can provide multiple endings based upon the choices of the characters.
  • The narrative is a lot more flexible.
  • Because of the multiple endings and the freedom to explore more, there is an increased re-playability level.
  • Instead of having a defined character, the player chooses how the character develops.
  • No matter where the player travels within the game there is always something going on.

There is no one game type that is better than the other, they are both equally compelling and expansive game types. Some people would argue that Linear games are better than Sandbox games and vice versa. There is no one correct answer to the argument, it really depends on the type of game you are trying to create, if Skyrim was a Linear game, with one set character, it would be boring and there would be way too many levels for the player to complete and they would get bored and the game would be a failure. If Devil May Cry was turned into a wide world Sandbox game, it could potentially be a disaster, there would be a need to let the player create their own character instead of playing a defined one like Dante or Nero and they would not know what to do first as there would be puzzles and enemies all over the place and the world would be much smaller and it would be completed rather quickly.

It is all about finding which game type suits which type of game. Linear games tend to be First Person Shooters and Platformers while Sandbox games tend to be Role Playing Games and “casual” games like the Facebook game Farmville or the PC and Xbox game Minecraft. It all depends on what style of game the designer is aiming for and is always something that should be taken into consideration before they proceed with the design of their game.

5 Star Review

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Interactive Communications
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Ok then so yesterday we did our 5 Star Review presentations and it went a lot better than I thought. I showed my presentation, the criteria that I was basing the reviews on and I talked a little bit about the games that I would be reviewing.

The criteria I decided to review the games by were:

Graphics

Gameplay

Soundtrack

While these were suitable criteria for the reviews, I do need to change the criteria a little bit and broaden it, such as adding HUD (heads up display) to the criteria as well as some more such as replayability and add a compare and contrast page to the end of the review showing which game came out on top overall in their scores.

I also need to move away from a subjective review and move more into an objective review, so I may need to take a look at the criteria and change it up so that I have less room to put forward my own opinions of the games I review and instead look at the game from a designers perspective and offer a more balanced review, this should hopefully be reflected within the scores of the games once I review them again.

I shall presently put up the reviews I have completed.