Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Fun PT2

I jave to give Rock-Ray serious props for this drawing, even though he see,s to be angry with me.
He doesn't post anymore. When is the last time we've seen him here?
but anyway, drawing this level of detail, to render different textures the way they should look is a very good pointer at the sheer talent this man has.

Last time, I said that I would talk about what is fun and what is not.

Let's first consider that mankind likes challenge.
I'm not talking about a specific wrestler, I'm talking about a each individual that we are.
Overcoming a challenge is fun.
Video games so far, have found two principal ways to challenge those that dare to play them.
I would classify them in two categories.
Challenge of wits, and challenge of ability. The former, has the player rely on intelligence to get further in the game.
The later forces the player to rely on dexterity, and execution skill to get further in the game.
That's why games no matter how you classify them, will almost always have one of those two challenge categories.
As an example, Street Fighter and Devil May Cry, both rely on hability at maneuvering the character. (they also provide puzzles and riddles, but in a smaller measure)
on the other hand, Myst and Stella Deus, are the types of games that will have the player rely on intelligence and force induce them in using strategy and wits to go further.

Yes, the mother of all principles in a game. The one on which all games are based, is progression.
The first reward in all games, is to allow the player to go further, and furthermore, it cannot be otherwise.

Thus, the first element of fun in a game, is challenging the player in certain ways.
There are things that game should not challenge the player with. (Patience is just one example)

Another principle is the reward. A game should always reward a player for going through it with sucess. The reward is there to congratulate the player for having done certains things correctly.
Rewards also help the player to feel like he's growing better or more powerful.
Most players play a game to have fun, but also to beat it, and get more powerful in the process.

There are many more aspects to cover about fun and games.
For that reason, I will soon write a Fun PT3.
Hang on until then.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Talk Shit

It says....
''Les images stéréotypées d'hommes asiatiques présentés comme des guerriers pratiquant le kung-fu ou encore comme des victimes a la peau jaune sont courantes dans plusieurs jeux vidéo a succès, affirme un dîplomé en sociologie de l'Université de la Colombie-Britannique, Robert Parungo.
Richard Smith, professeur de comunications a l'Université Simon Fraser croit que l'Industrie du jeu vidéo a du retard sur les autres médias au chapitre de la sensibilité."

This is one of the biggest talk shit I've heard in a long time.
Video games are racist because they depict asian men, dressed as martial artists, and performing Kung-Fu.
Well I got news for you.
It wouls so seem that all medias are racist. Why restrain the the critic to video games?
Movies, books, radio, internet, television and magazines are racist under these conditions.
Asian victims are depicted in video games.
Well, I guess history itself is racist.
It would mean that the movie Shindler's List is racist towards the jewish people, because it depicts them as victims of the holocaust.
What about the tsunami hitting Asia last year?
Was the Tsunami racist?
Or were the news channels racists for depicting asian victims?

As for Kung-Fu. This would mean that asians studying the said martial art are racist against themselves. ???
what about boxing?
Is it racist to depict a black boxer?
And hockey. Is NHL 2006 racist because it depicts white people playing hockey?
Oh I forgot. Racism towards white people doesn't exist.
Racism only applies to non-white people.
And sexist applies for non-female people.
It's kind of hard being a white guy nowadays, working in the video game industry, to hear those irrelevant pointless illogical critics.

Stereotype, is one thing. Racism is another one.
Remember when I said that videogames were attacked because they were recent and not totally established? (as in older generations don't understand them)
Well, this is what I meant.

Of course video games are late in developing their sensibility. They are a newborn media still.
And, they adress the public that is not in power yet.
It will come in due time.
But asian doing Kung-Fu= racist. Lol. Come on. Don't make it too apparent that you hate for free.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Fun pt1

Cartoon strip by Rock Ray.
It gives you an idea of what the rest could be if he finished the whole thing.
The concept was also very nice. He spent time explaining it to me one day. Would be great to see the book published one day.

I promised I would talk about fun.
(Note that I haven't yet read the book ''A theory of Fun'')
I will soon hopefully.

In my opinion, fun is mainly knowledge. (Or if you will, experience)
One cannot have fun with no experience background.
(or rather, cannot yet in theory)
Well, fun is in part anticipation. Anticipation is not found where prior experience of the said enjoyable moment or thing doesn't exist.

One can find a thing fun the first time it is experienced, but then again, it is by comparing the thing with other similar experiences, and anticipating how it will be.
For instance, if you give a ball to a newborn dog for the first time, the dog will first sniff it, walk around and look at it. Later the dog will make the connection between the ball and fun, for having played with it.

Fun, everyone will agree, is enjoyable.
Thus, one will always seeks it. It is a fundamental law of nature. A need that comes right after the vital ones in priority.
That's why we, humans separate our lives into three parts essencially. The needs, the chores and the leisure.
Work, and then weekend or vacation.
Why isn't a chore fun?
Because it is not an activity humans recognize as pleasant, and because it is done against one's liking.
But why is it not pleasant?
Because the body might be hurt or might strain, because one loses his (or her) freedom temporarily while performing the activity.
Because the mind doesn't recognize that activity as one that provided pleasure in the past.

Anticipation. You anticipate going to work when the clock rings. Having to leave the comfort of the bed is a pain, and moving all the way to work one is as well.
The same way, you anticipate playing a game, because it was enjoyable last time and because you choose to do it.
The rarer the pleaasure, the more intense.
Because all that is rare, takes value.
I can't explain it, but it's the way. (it must be within our code as humans to give worth to the rare things)

But, how can fun be generated, or shut down?
We'll see that in Fun Part 2.
You have enough for now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The apologies

First and foremost, let me apologize for not talking about my theory of fun. I know I promised, and rest assured I will.
I just got out of a stressful period of intense work to complete a milestone.
(in which I established a personal record of 21 hours worked in a row)
From 9 in the morning, to 6 the next morning.
That is all behind now, and I'm left with a certain satisfaction.
but I'm tired these days, and don't feel like being on a keyboard in my free time.
but that issue about fun will come soon.

Let it just be said that I enjoy particularly my job in these days.
We're starting a new project that really drives my inspirition and motivation.
As you mitght guess, there's not much I'm aloud to say about it.
It will be a fun game, that's all I can tell for now.
why am I interested?
Well, the game is more my style, and will allow me to have creative ideas, and use my skills at concepting.

Above is a concept drawing for practice in a LDD sketch for a fictionnal game that El Mirando would recognized for having worked on it.
Don't look too long to guess what it is. It's simply an industrial lift for containers that is hulled up with the mechanical arms. (The hero would use it to sneak into a a well protected chemical plant)
He also had to operate the lift from inside with a remote. Doing so was gonna be presented as a puzzle where the hero had to find how to operate it.

Sofy, you made me laugh about my actor's face on the previous blog.
I have so many of these pictures, but I won't show them since they freak you out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Crush

Big Milestone at work coming. Beta version.
We're all working hard on the project, doing crazy hours.
It's well worth it. We'll see what it turns out into.
We're going gold in less than a month, and we sure fill the stress taking a grip on us.

I felt like posting a photo of myself in a more serene moment. It reminds me of a less stressful time of my life.
I really like the levels how they come into place.
I surprise myself having fun playing it.
Which is always a good sign.
However, one must always endeavour to keep an objective point of view, to not have a favorable judgement.
I'll make sure to let you know, how we progress ever closer to our objective, and when the game is finally realeased.
Next time, we'll talk about fun.
what exactly is fun, and what are the keys to generate it.
Fun is not a mysterious thing randomly triggered. It is a logical and predictible human response to a stimulus.
There is so much for me to learn on the subject. And I better learn more, because my job is all about that.
Au fait.
Pour ceux qui causent Français, il ya une traduction ici du blog le plus populaire.
Elle est hillarante, et est fournie gratuitement par google.
Vous pourrez voir vos commentaires.
Putain, ça sait pas parler french ce monde la.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Holding court in the screens

First drawing, representing, an acrobat for the Marearka project was nicely shaded by Rock-Ray, who I admit always does a perfect job.
Original drawing from me. I sometimes get lazy and don't finish a part of the drawing.
For instance, here the left leg of the character was left in the void of the white paper. Rock-Ray getting angry at me for not finishing it, did. So he drew the lower part of the leg, and left it in a blur to suggest it rather than to illustrate it flat out.
The second one on the other hand, I did entirely myself and shaded it by pencil. Since it seems something must always go unfinished, I didn't shade the bow, because perhaps, I didn't find it detailed enough. And bows are boring to shade.

The last one (Gattling Rabbit), was born from the twisted combination of both Yannin's and my brain. It do seems like cambodian and Canadian minds are a good match. If only you knew the ideas that come out of that fusion. this original idea was mine, but I couldn't find a way to put it on paper. it took Yannin about five minutes to do so. I kept the pose and then added lots of details. If you wanna see more of this serie, you just have to ask. There are lots of cool ideas like this one. It was made along with the creation of a Level design document, and a pitch executed for fun and good practice.

What follows is for the ones interested in the fate of the video game industry.
You have been warned.

I remember quite well a long discussion I had with Greg at the end of last winter.
It all comes out to this in the end he told me. ''Video Games are not taken seriously as both an artistic expression, and a media.''
It couldn't be more true. The problem I think comes from the lack of recognition that it is a self fuelled (autharcic) form of expression.

What are video games? A form of interactive communication which is made for the purpose of entertainement. The problem is that it's new, and uncanny to the older generation, currently to whom power belongs. Video games are basically 28 years old. The conflict itself comes from within the word itself. Video GAMES. A game serves the purpose of entertaining, it is light, of no consequence, and does not vehiculate messages. Are they so far appart from movies (which are taken seriously? Let's examine.
Movies were around when the older generation was in place. They are familiar with them, they have seen them grow, have witnessed their evolution. They are known, and thus not considered as potentially harmful. By nature, men are scared of the unknown and hesitate as to how it must be apprehended.
Movies. As they evolve, they tend to represent reality as faithfully as possible. In parralel, the games do the same. However, the movies have borrowed video game technology to achieve it's goal to attain photorealism. All that is unreal, all that is not of this world, is no longer made of latex. It is made with the very same technology used for creating entirely artificial worlds.
But, such special effects as common as they become in movies, are not allowing the client to interact with them. They do not give freedom. They do not allow freedom nor decision making.
They are passive.

Video games, are immersive, and give freedom to a player in a given setting. That's what is so dangerous. That's why video games are so often offered on the altar of good will and responsability. With freedom come shackles. The freedom of one, is the threat of others.

Video games do contain messages. They have a content. A story. A morale. They realte a story the same just like movies do. They should not be accessible to those they are not intended. End of argument. Movies also often present reprehensive ideas and content. The accusations targeting them back in the days, have simply found a new scapegoat. Younger and more vulnerable. And so violence in our society is now explained otherwise. Because, an explanation must be given. A responsible must be found. It can't be firearms. Their lobby is too powerful.
What video games need, is a lobby.
What also must be attained is a sense of responsability. ESRB, must start gaining credibility. their standard must be respected by retailers just as well as movies are presented.

It makes me laugh when I hear Hillary Clinton outraged about a sex scene watchable by a very small minority of hackers in San Andreas. It's not like no porn Movies have ever been filmed in the U.S. It's not like U.S. is not the largest porn producer in the world. It's not like porn is not available on the web.
It's not like San Andreas had not the Mature label on it's front cover is it?
What is the difference between a mature video game and a mature movie?
The video games are not taken seriously.

Let it also be said that video games are one of the leading industry in the world in terms of making money.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The white cream

Drawing done by Lord69.
It was executed by contrasts and lasso on Photoshop.
Simple but effiscient.

A Pigeon shat on my arm the other day. (And I don't find that very cool) (Unpolite even)
I mean, why do they have to relax in mid-air like that?
It's a total lack of respect, and something should be done to correct these offensive manners.

First reflex, grab the pigeon, submit it into a a chokehold, and defecate on it as well.
But things being as they are, the pigeon was already gone. (It was a fly by) and (Evil triumphs sometimes you might aknowledge)
And Murphy being as he is, I wore a dark toned T shirt that day.
I heard Pigeon Schiesse is toxic if inhaled. That's a good thing to know, because I was going to inhale it!!!
Actually, more like sticking it up my nose. (and eat my Tshirt afterward.)
Anyway, I don't want to bother anyone with my (legitimate) fits of humour. I wish you all a good day, and as little dodging as possible.