The beginning of my final major project

Before we finished university for our second year, we were asked to think of a project that we would work on throughout our third year. This meant coming up with an idea which could stand the test of time by being something that I was very interested in and wanted to produce but that would be something that I was passionate about enough to not grow bored of the idea. After throwing some ideas around, I settled on two keywords, “Horror” and “Theme parks”. Two contrasting things as horror is something that is scary and not to be taken lightly, but theme parks are something that we love from a young age and are full of life and laughter. I decided that I would make an abandoned theme park which would play on the atmosphere and things that would scare a person, but would show a theme park and its previous life. I want the environment I am designing to tell a story but to also show what the park has become after being left for years without any maintenance.

So for the general breakdown of how my project will run, there will be;

  • some presentations: These will be put online too to gain response from people outside of my own studio and also for self reflection purposes.
  • a lot of documentation: this will mean from web, books and from personal experiences on things such as other theme parks, horror films, art, looking into how we as humans respond to things etc
  • A more regular blog: I noticed last year my blogs were not very spaced out so this is something that I want to maintain that little bit better with a wider range of experimentation than last year but to keep this regular so that people can comment on my works for improvement
  • 3D: This is something that was few last year when developing my project so this will be my main focus in regards to improvement. I also want to have a play around with some new software and expand on those which I found very helpful last year. All of this will be well documented on my blog through written works and video.

 

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Theory of ‘Fun’; What is fun and why do we play the games we do?

One of my assignments within my Theory and Practice brief included the following;

‘1.1 – research existing games in both a digital and none digital context, analysing why we play games, what makes us keep playing and why we perceive them to be ‘Fun’.’

I thought I would tackle within this blog post some of the reasons we play games, why we keep playing and why we perceive them in fun. Although this can’t be simply answered in a single blog post, and most likely will resort in an on going research process using numerous posts, I hope to at least begin to break down the reasons behind these questions and gain a better understanding through looking at theorists who have already came up with some answers through research of their own. I hope through this I can gain not only a better understanding for myself, but hope that those who read this will begin to look at games closer and notice some of the elements in which are mentioned and begin to ask themselves  the simple question, ‘why?’.

Recently I have been reading into a lot of material into game theorists so I could develop a better insight into why people choose particular games and what makes games fun. Although simple questions, we really don’t have a clear answer so I decided the best way to find this information out would be to pick up a book. The first book I encountered was ‘A theory of fun’ by Raph Koster; The title seemed to draw me to it as ‘theory’ and ‘fun’ was exactly what I was looking for!.  Within this book, Koster notes that other artists have been trying to determine ‘game’ for a long time but each in his opinion being met with little success.

Those few academics have tried to define “game” have offered up everything from Roger Caillois’s “activity which is..voluntary..uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, make-believe” to Johan Huizinga’s “free activity..outside ‘ordinary life’..” to Jesper Juul’s.. “A game is a rule-based formal system with a veriable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable.” – Theory of Fun, pg. 12

I would like to agree with Koster though, each of these may explain what a game is but doesn’t really make us see the aspect of ‘fun’ and gives us little to no understanding to why people choose to play games.

A few days ago, Paul mentioned about people learning in different ways and at different rates. Within Kosters book he notes there are seven different forms of learning;

Intrapersonal

  1. Linguistic – basically this is someone who learns verbally
  2. Logical-mathematical – this is someone who finds it easier to work with numbers and noticing patterns and tends to use logical reasoning
  3. Bodily-Kinesthetic – This is someone who finds themselves sensitive to the world around you, tends to be hands on with things and prefers to jump in and get involved by breaking things apart and putting them back together.
  4. Spatial – this is a visual learner, someone who prefers to organize information through images and colour and finds things easier to visualize.
  5. Musical – You learn through music, you find it easy to recall emotions and tends to have a good pitch and rhythm. Can help recalling particular memories or things you were doing when listening to a particular song or beat.
  6. Interpersonal – This is a social learner, you prefer to learn in groups. You like to talk your ideas through and listen to how others respond. You also find it easier to understand other peoples views.
  7. Intrapersonal (Internally directed, self-motivated) – You spend a lot of time self-reflecting and find it easier to work alone. you are self-aware and tend to use self-help books or locate information on your own to solve issues. You may spend more time trying to solve your own issue that could have possibly been resolved quicker by talking to someone else.

When looking at these, I find myself slip into multiple categories; Spatial, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal. Being both Interpersonal and Intrapersonal naturally has its complications such as being a social person yet preferring to deal with a task by yourself, yet by having spatial learning capabilities I am able to present my ideas in a Interpersonal setting using visuals in hope to resolve issues that I have not been able to resolve myself. I tend to find myself in books yet willing to offer a helping hand or discuss information I found which could benefit others. It is important that I am aware of how I learn so that effectively the information I need to learn can be taught to me and that I will remember it. It is also important to consider who I am wanting to display information to, as likewise they will need to have it presented in a way which will be useful to them.

Looking at this, I have noticed that this may reflect why some people choose particular games over others as a person who finds themselves a Intrapersonal learner may direct themselves at games or puzzles which they can tackle on their own such as solitaire while individuals who see themselves as Intrapersonal may find games that require a group such as Payday 2 in which you need to act as a team to effectively complete a match so communication would be important.

Asset consideration: My intensions regarding my designs

I have decided that I would like to look into assets for our whitefriargate project so I thought the first thing at hand would be to research into a list of assets then looking at the 60’s equivalent. It is important that during my research I make sure that not only the assets are historically accurate and were around in that time period but also that they are designed so they fade naturally into the street. I thought the best place to begin my research would be to look at David Perry’s Game Design a brainstorming toolbox. Within this book he gives lists of different assets which may appear in a street ranging from homeless people to vacant lots. He also gives a list of objects with cultural meaning, which I feel would be good to this project as we can add influences from Hull to give it some history. From this list, I have made notes of objects he has mentioned within this book so I can use this as a guideline to explore assets that I may have not previously thought of, the asset ideas he mentions (and that I find relevant to my project) are as follows;

City street objects

  • Street signs
  • Advertising signs
  • Street vendors
  • Street performers
  • Bicyclists
  • People going to and from work
  • Homeless people
  • Loiterers
  • Animals
  • Lit area (various kinds of lamps)
  • Accident areas (flares on road/repairs/special vehicles)
  • Lamp poles
  • Drains and grates
  • Benches
  • Cobblestone streets
  • Brick streets
  • Trash
  • Trashcans
  • Newspaper kiosks
  • Storefronts
  • Land marks
  • Graffiti
  • Construction sites
  • Street sales
  • Bicycles/scooters

Objects with cultural meaning

  • Flowers (in general)
  • Roses
  • Formal suit?
  • Daises
  • Forget-me-nots
  • Lilies
  • Ribbons (in support for causes)
  • Flowers in hair (can mean different things in different cultures)
  • Flags
  • Musical instruments
  • Animals

I thought I would also note some assets from the top of my head which would likely appear in a typical street although at this moment in time I am unsure if they are all historically accurate as I’m unsure of the time period they appeared but for now I thought I would note them;

  • Bins
  • Benches
  • Litter
  • Signage
  • Street lamps
  • Drains
  • Odd plants/weeds
  • Pipes
  • Flags
  • Traffic signs
  • Cigarette ends
  • Trees
  • Clothes rails
  • Bikes
  • Bike rails
  • Telephone box

I think as this project continues I will be able to add more to this list but for now I feel this will be enough for myself as a starting point. What I will do now is research into each of these things to find the 1960’s variation of that asset and begin to make sketches and art work of that particular asset, then when I’m comfortable with how the design process is going I will bring it into 3dsmax and build it in which I can present it to the group in order to get criticism and to correct anything that needs fixing.