Category Archives: Student Blogs

From Gaming to Electronic Literature

Now we will go from gaming to ELIT, which is the last part of this course (Electronic Literature). We have been trough so much fun this year such as digital art, gaming and now Electronic literature! Now “Elit” isn’t the same as the literature that first comes to our mind, such you find in book stores. “Elit” refers to a work with an important literary element, it utilizes connections provided by networked computers, this developed to become digital literature. There are some terms, which I will talk shortly describe, that can make us understand “Elit” better:

 

// Hypertect Fiction; is a genre of electronic literature that for example choses the outcome in an analog
// Interactive Fiction; something that gets produced, like trans-formative
// Kinetic Poetry; is a form for poetry
// Generative Fiction; choices, language
// Locative Fiction; informative, storytelling – art

 

Electronic Literature is a genre of literature created exclusively on and for digital devices, such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones. A work of electronic literature can be defined as “a construction whose literary aesthetics emerge from computation.” Electronic literature adapts new elements by technology, and it wouldn’t exist without the computer, and by using elements such as pictures, videos and design. These elements separates itself from the traditional books. In today´s society technology is a major part of our everyday life. This digitizes the traditional forms, such as books readable online. The fact that computers are such a big part of our daily lived makes the “Elit” work attractive for the main reason that it suits better. The lyrics on a song you’ve heard is a good example for kinetic poetry because its a cultural representation and the videos are changing and advanced. Some of the videos have more elements than other, but in my opinion I like it with less elements so I can focus on the lyrics.

 

Here is a youtube video with lyrics, basic design, easy to see the lyrics.

 

Here is another youtube video with lyrics on a different song, with more fancy design – which can make it harder to follow the lyrics.

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My first impression of “Elit” is that the design isn’t used so much energy and time on developing. It works good for me when I get a good first impression of a page to get the interest to check it out, and I might have been a little disappointed at the design, and hoped for more exiting elements, and I don’t really understand the design. But this is my first time learning about “Elit” so maybe I’m just not used to it yet!

 

Hope you liked my post!

The Sims

In our class we have had some presentations about gaming and games, and since I am going to talk about a game, I would love to talk about my favorite childhood game – the Sims!!

 

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The video game “The Sims” can be defined as “simulation of daily activities for one or more virtual individuals (sims) in a smaller suburb outside SimCity.” One could say that the player is in a virtual dollhouse. The game is developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. The game is created by Will Wright, who is the developer behind SimCity and SimEarth also! The game was published in 2000, and it was a huge success, it is one of the most bestselling games in the world! Unlike other video games, it doesn’t have a specified goal or a definite end. Instead it focuses on the daily lives of the sims and regular activities like sleeping, eating, reading and watching TV (like our actual life is like). The player has the opportunity to make his own sim (person) but there are also a number of pre-installed sims, such as other sims in the neighborhood.
The thing that I really love about this game, is that its a world of opportunities! You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. You can build your dream house, and decorate it the way you wish, you can build an amazing garden with a swimming pool and a lot of other stuff. There is some difference between the first game and the newest, of course with a technology that is constantly growing the games has better design and opportunities than the first game. I love that you can play the game forever, and pause it when you want. You can also play with the sims, how they should look, their personality, their clothes, and also for pets, and babies.
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Have you played the sims? Hope you liked my post!

 

 

Inverse Midas Touch

In spite of being one of the easiest subjects I can talk about for hours with anyone that shows interest, writing about games is harder than I thought. I’ve tried “reviewing” a game but it felt as a weak blog post and didn’t spike my peak interest in the research stage, I could talk for an extended period about Slay The Spire to a person and explain as we converse the game mechanics, quirks and why it’s a “hidden” indie gem. But as far as reviews go I prefer them in a video format, with real gameplay that shows off the mechanics the reviewer is talking about. Now for the second blog post about games I’ve talked about the rising trend of E-sport with Dota 2 as an example. It’s fun to see the things you played around with for all those years becoming something that people with amazing skills and dedication can compete and earn an honest living off.

For the last blog post about games I’ve thought about talking about video game history. But that’s an immense broad subject that rather fits in a book or documentary rather than a measly blog post that is supposed to be fast and snippy piece of information or a persons opinion. To put it into perspective, the popular Nintendo company was founded over 120 years ago(!), in 1889 to be precise. Ok then, how about narrowing it down to the golden games in history? Sounds easy at first but video games have been around for a long time and there have been many pioneering and revolutionizing games over the years, writing about that would simply mean I have to exclude some games and that wouldn’t be appropriate, since it only tell half of the story.

So how about flipping the concept of golden games? Let’s talk about terrible games. Well hold your horses, there have been as many if not more terrible games created. Which is one argument a pirate might use for defending piracy, company cash grabs with releasing unfinished games. Well, almost there, how about a game that is almost the symbol of a turning point in video game history?

Introducing E.T the Extra-Terrestrial.

Now why is this game released in 1982 a big deal? Well first let me paint the picture for you, in the 80’s video game industry blossomed into a big business, arcade machines, home consoles. People could and they did play at the arcades, quarters swallowed up by the arcades, consoles and games that followed bought at the store spelled ka-ching for the video game developers. Now that companies got the taste of money, companies wanted in. Now as a company, your only goal is to make money. A memo a certain president didn’t get, so sad. But how does a regular company make money? Make a product and sell it. If you manage to make a product cheap and sell it at the market value, you’re golden. That’s another memo each company knows. But to quote one of the “Mozart” of video game industry “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” – Shigeru Miyamoto.

Now the following period there were a lot of game releases. In these days it’s called shovelware. And of course the costumers noticed, and complained about the amount of games being released with the promise of fun, excitement and whatever you expect a video game to provide. But all they  got were games with bad coding, terrible game design and outdated/non existing  sound. This made the costumers distrust the developers and after a while the “video game bubble” that were established in the 80’s bursted. In the end, the video game crash of 1983 say a decline in video game purchases and the whole industry suffered. Not only the late companies trying to make an easy profit. But also certified and solid video game companies. The year before the hallmark game of terrible design E.T were introduced. Atari expected this game to sell very well considering the golden age of video games, and the success of the movie. But in the end the proof were in the pudding all along. It’s even rumored that Atari buried the games in a landfill.

Now everything I’ve talked about could be explained in more and better details in other sources but here’s the original thought in all this madness, but first another quote. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

The amount of shovelware that you can find at the largest digital game distributor Steam, is immense. Valve, the creator and owner of Steam is trying to reduce the amount of shovelware and at the same time make an plattform where new creative and innovative video game creators can sell their product. Just to name some shameless examples of shovelware, one can write up and down about the “video game creator” Sergey Titov. He has as much credibility in the video game community as the movie community has in Uwe Boll. Both creating fast and cheap products in their fields, playing of the hype that surrounds the subject they made.

So as a closing thought in a rather lengthy blog post, I hope the video game industry stays strong and that there still will be paragons of making good solid video games in the future.

 

Intro to Elit

Hello!

Since last blog post we’ve moved on to electronic literature. Electronic literature are works with an important literary aspect that takes advantage of the capabilities and context provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Under elit there is five genres; hypertext fiction, kinetic poetry, interactive fiction, generative fiction and locative fiction. The two genres i found most interesting was hypertext fiction and interactive fiction.

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Hypertext fiction is characterized by the use of hypertext links that provide a new context for non-linearity in literature and reader interaction. The reader typically chooses links to move from one node of text to the next, and in this fashion arranges a story from a deeper pool of potential stories. This type of elit can also be linked to choose your own adventure books, which Mia mentioned in class. In my blog post about the video game Until Dawn, i mentioned that i thought the reason why i liked this game so much was because it reminded me of these choose your own adventure books.  So when this genre was mentioned in class a fire struck through me, and i knew i had to further explore the genre. I browsed through eastgate.com to see what i could find. I wanted to avoid finding something horror related since that’s the genre i connect with choose your own adventure books (the goosebumps series), and rather try something new. Since all of the hypertext fiction on the site cost money, and i’m a poor student, sadly i couldn’t by any of them. But i wanted to explore the different topics of the many stories you could search for. I found that most of the texts had a dark tone to them, even a story called Figurski at Findhorn on Acid, by Richard Holeton, which sounds funny is actually about a man called Frank “Many-Pens” Figurski who has been paroled, having served six years for killing a professor and is now on a mission. I must say i’m intrigued by the story and would like to try it, so pleas donate money for a poor girl (kidding, hehe). But if you’re not as poor as me, i would recommend trying out one of the texts on eastgate, because choose your own adventure, even if it’s a book, hypertext fiction or a game, is an amazing and more personal genre to read.

Animated GIF

 

 

Also the genre interactive fiction struck a fire in me. Interactive fiction is software simulating environments in which players use text commands to control characters and influence the environment. Mia showed us three different interactive fictions. RedRidinghood, Gelatea and Facade. RedRidinghood is a modern twist on the classic tale where you can explore the different environments and choose which paths you want to take. I think most people have grown up hearing about, or reading the tale of Red Ridinghood, at least i have. I love these modern versions of old stories and think it’s cool to fit them in to modern culture. I also liked Facade, where you play a longtime friend of the married couple Grace and Trip, get to involved in their drama and can ask any question you want. The point is to see how long you will last at their apartment.  I found this elit game to be hilarious because of all the funny things you can say and ask, and Grace and Trips funny answers. I haven’t tried it myself, to little time when you have exams to practice for, but we’ve watched a video about how it works and i’m really eager to try it!

I think the reason i like these two genres so much is first of all that they are so similar, and second that they remind me of video games and my childhood. I like feeling nostalgic when it comes to stuff like this because it reminds me of happy and carefree times. Sometimes as a student, especially during the exam period, you wish you were a kid again and could do whatever you want, in this case playing video games. But for the last of the semester i want to get in to the other genres of elit, for example poetry, which i have never gotten into, but i’m interested in exploring.

Carving in Possibilities

My final blog post will be a review of an electronic literary text. I had a hard time choosing a piece of e-lit and I found that it was because I wanted it to allow a lot of interaction from the user, give options for the user to choose from and have the possibility to co-create it. I find this aspect very appealing and interesting which made it an important factor in finding a piece.

Searching through different e-lit works in the first collection, I stumbled upon a piece that — funny enough — is called Carving in Possibilities (just what I was looking for). Carving in Possibilities (hereafter CiP) is by Deena Larsen with sounds from Matt Hansen. The author description of it goes:

Carving in Possibilities is a short Flash piece. By moving the mouse, the user carves the face of Michelangelo’s David out of speculations about David, the crowd watching David and Goliath, the sculptor, and the crowds viewing the sculpture.

When entering CiP, you are presented a white stone figure in the back with a text saying to click to start. When moving the mouse to “click here to start,” a small text appears over it saying “And remember where you put your ghosts.” After clicking start, the white stone figure is in focus and you can start rolling the cursor over it. By doing this (very carefully), different small lexia appear, but only one at a time.

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When you move the cursor, a new one appears and the last one is gone. As this happens, sounds of carving are playing each time the cursor is moved to a new lexia (though it sounds a bit more like the sound effect from an action movie when people get hit). These lexia all create a momentary poem and as this poem is evolving, the white stone in the back is carved into a sculpture. As the sculpture of David is complete, the poem ends.

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From this, I would define CiP to be a kinetic poem. This because of the interactive aspect where you have to move the cursor for the lexia to appear and disappear again shortly after. I did, however, consider if it could be a fiction of sorts as it can be interpreted as a story as well. Why I ended up with the definition of kinetic poetry was because of the kinetic aspect being one of the dominating ones for this piece.

The meaning of this piece is created by the user. It will, because of its affordances, have a different meaning each time you make your way through the poem. In this kinetic poem, it is almost impossible to make the exact same poem twice because the smoothest motion of the cursor will result in going to a new lexia. Also, you will have to remember the exact spot of the lexia because it isn’t given where they are on the sculpture surface. There is furthermore many, many different lexia — they are presented in different colors, sizes and fonts — so it won’t be easy to find the same ones. As I tried to, I found that there were different lexia right next to them. At first, I thought the lexia changed and, therefore, you couldn’t create the same ones. They don’t, though, it is simply because there are many and it is hard to guide the cursor so slowly and in the exact same way that it is very hard to create two completely similar poems.

From this, it is clear that the text positions the reader as the main drive for the poem. You, as the reader, have to go through it, create it and keep going until it ends. It allows you to take the lead, but still only offers the same lexia to create the poem each time — though it isn’t cheap in these.

Speaking symbolic meaning, this piece can be read in different ways. For example, the lexia appearing is actually speculations about David, the crowd watching David and Goliath, the sculptor, and the crowds viewing the sculpture. For each time you go through the poem, different speculations are connected to each other, creating different opinions. It allows the reader to create new meaning throughout the poem each time. This awakens a notion of “don’t let others speculations stick to you as everyone will have different versions and you yourself should make your own interpretation” — for me at least. I think it is because of the very different outcomes of poems that you can be left with.

The text “And remember where you put your ghosts” kind of builds to this understanding for me. When leaving the piece and rolling the cursor over “exit here,” the text is replaced with “leaving all the other ghosts behind.” The ghosts would be symbolizing the different speculations — remember where you put your ghosts would be: remember which speculations you put together and interpret the piece from. Leaving the speculations behind would be leaving all the other interpretations behind, all the other meanings the piece/you could create from it.

My experience of this piece is very positive. I found that I wanted to start over, try different paths with the cursor, try to make a context of the different lexia and see what I was left with. It is dependent on the interaction of the user and it, therefore, lets you be a great part of the poem. The window for the piece itself is quite small and the almost fragile poem that will change by the slightest movement of the cursor makes it quite hard to make your way through it without glipping a lexia or two. However, I found it very enjoyable and fascinating with the different outcomes and the different speculation that was to be found.

The sculpture stays the same through the kinetic poetry that is created before it — maybe the picture is worth more than a thousand words.

 

Computer problems and e-lit

This week (last week) blog post comes a bit late. I’ve had problems with my computer, and it has been a pain in the ass. Haven’t managed to fix it, and it is driving me crazy. Had to find one of my older computers to write this blog post, which is not as good as my other computer. It’s slower, noisier and all in all bad. Hopefully, I will get to fix my other computer soon. This week we had about electronic literature (e-lit).

 

The lectures last week were about a lot of different kinds of electronic literature. For example hypertext fiction, kinetic poetry, interactive fiction, generative fiction and locative fiction. It was some interesting lectures, and I felt that a lot of things became clear. Some of the things that got brought up were things that I didn’t know were e-lit, even though I had heard of it before. My favorite was interactive fiction and the game Façade. I remember this game from when I was younger. I haven’t played it a lot, but I liked to watch people play it, especially Pewdiepie. This week I have tried the game «Façade» myself, and I think it’s an entertaining game, although the concept and graphics are a bit bad. One of the reasons I think that the game is entertaining is because the result of what you write is different from time to time and you can sometimes get hilarious reactions. I read that there are some “bugs” in the game. The words “hard on” are taken as a boner. If you then write: “Don’t be so hard on Trip,” you will get a reaction, and a face like they are thinking: “Wtf are you talking about?” If you write “melon” or “watermelon,” this will be referred to as boobs. The reaction you get if you say this is that they will get angry and throw you out.

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The storyline in this game (if you can call it a storyline) is about a couple that has seen better days. The whole game is about you visiting them, and you are going to take a side in the discussion. While playing I tried to stop the fight, but it seems like it is impossible, because it gave no reaction. The game itself is fun and entertaining, and it is nice to play if you want to kill some time, although this is a game that could have better graphics.

 

That’s it for this week

Literature review and an attempt to make some #elit

I can’t believe that this already is my tenth blog post. It is getting close to the end of the semester and this subject has been interesting, different and educational. I have learned a bit about digital art, video games and electronic literature and I have got a better understanding of video games; this was something I knew very little about. It has been exciting to have my own blog with weekly posts and to get involved in Twitter, which has been our open network forum.

In this subject Mia has shared some sites we could use to get our creative side started and to get some learning outside the lectures. What she shared was #NetNarr twitter feed, #NetNarr visualization (TAGS), #NetNarr Daily digital Alchemy which is a daily twitter prompt for a quick creative activity, #NetNarr Youtube channel and #NetNarr make bank which is creative activities related to digital culture, digital art, gaming and electronic literature. It has been interesting to be involved in #NetNarr with the community of learning.

 

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Electronic Literature Review of Façade

I have explored through the three collections of electronic literature, but decided that I would write about Façade from ELC vol.2 because it seemed most interesting to me. I mentioned Façade in my previous blog post after Mia talked about this #elit in lecture. What I think is interesting is how you as a player can play with serious and unpleasant situations from reality.

Anyone who has been in a relationship can recognize themselves somehow in Façade. What also interest me is that they have used artificial intelligence as part of the art, and this makes the situation even more real. That you can test different reactions during conflicts and play it again to redesign the situations and the reactions so that it can be better or different is quite exciting. You can play with unpleasant and sensitive subjects and test out different issues and conflicts that you can recognize yourself in, but it is fortunately not real. It’s exciting to be able to sit on the ”outside” to play with the awkward situations. I think many have experienced being the person who is visiting their friends who is married or in a relationship and then they begin to argue and everything is getting weird and awkward. This can trigger feelings and reactions of the player.

Facade pushes boundaries of gaming and AI. I get to experience the emotional lives of digital characters and the ability to provide a close simulation of human interaction. Façade allows the player to type sentences to “speak” with the couple, either supporting them through their troubles, driving them farther apart, or being thrown out of the apartment. Incorporating elements of both interactivity and drama, Façade takes advantage of voice acting and a 3-D environment, as well as natural language processing and other advanced artificial intelligence routines, to provide a robust interactive fiction experience. The player can take an active role in the conversation, pushing the topic one way or another, as in an interactive stage-play.

 

This week I have also tried making some #elit by trying my hand at a piece of generative fiction by creating my own Twitter bot. I followed the instructions of how to make a twitter bot and made a copy of a spreadsheet in my own google drive. Then I followed the setup steps and made a twitter application with the name “Twitterbottest14”, I typed in text, used the hashtag #NetNarr and included some people. But I could not make it work; I don’t know what I did wrong. I am going to ask for a little help to setup my Twitter bot, because I want it to work. I think it is fun to make things like this, but it is not that much fun when I don’t get it to work. It is so frustrating to follow a recipe and don’t make it work.

 

Have a nice day! And I hope some of you will manage to make a Twitter bot even though I didn’t. 🙂

Game mechanics and aesthetics

Blog 6:

In this blogpost I will be talking about Gameplay aesthetics and Mechanics. I will use the game I play every day to present how game mechanics can make or break a game, and how the aesthetics is really important for a game to sell.

First of all, in my opinion the game mechanics of FUT18 is broken. This is based on the thousands of games i have played on this game. But there is something weird when it comes to Fifa and that is that a casual player will not see the broken game mechanics that Fifa has. On the forums online and on videos on YouTube there is heavy discussions on the games broken mechanics. And to start of this post I will give an example from FUT18 that explains exactly what I talk about.

When FUT18 came out they had implemented a new shooting technique called «low driven shot». This is probably the most broken mechanic in this game. To find out how broken this shot is you have to around or inside the opponents 16yard box. Then you hold down the shooting button and quickly press the shooting button again. I do not have statistics but for me I will say it is a 90% chance to get a goal. And as a reader of this you may say damn, that cannot be the case, but indeed it is. The reason for this is that when EA implemented this new mechanic they did not give the goalkeeper a new way to stop a shot. So, every time they get a low driven against them they just stand still.

Another example of a broken mechanic in FUT is that some players in this game have different run styles that infects the way they play the game. An example of this is one of the most played players in this game, Alessandrini. Alessandrini.jpgHe is an 82overall rated player that plays almost on level with the likes of Ronaldo who is rated 99overall. This goes to show that if you don’t know the deeper stuff in this game you are in a harder position than your opponent, even though you may have higher rated players.

But how come people still play FUT? The reason for this is that they have no real competition. The closest one is PES18. This game has got better mechanics, but they lack so much in the aesthetics department that your eyes will start burning when you play it. This goes to show how important aesthetics is in a game. Game aesthetics are so important because it will generate massive sales witch gives the company huge income. Here EA have hit spot on with FUT18. Here is a picture showing the differences:

Fifa vs pes

Peer game showcase, and my thoughts on some of the games

Blog 5:

This time around in class we had some student that presented a game for class that they loved playing. This was really interesting and in this blog post I will give a short preview of the games for you guys and give my comment on whether it is a game I would like to play or not, and why.

So, the first game that was presented is City skyline. This is a sandbox that is similar to sim city. The game is free to play but as always there is premium content available for download. The basic content from the DLC is always free. This is nice because it is not something all games do. When playing this game, we got recommended to download mods, or else it could get boring. These mods can contain different stuff like buildings, or just get rid of error messages that pop up. When it comes to the gameplay there are people that have jobs and destinations.

There are many creations in the community, like a full recreation of cities, to recreations of game maps like GTA V.

For met his sound like a fun game to try. I love games where you build towards stuff as iv1e been a fan of Minecraft for many years. So, this is a game I will give a try once i get my first gaming computer.

 

The second game that was presented in class was world of Warcraft, aka WOW. This game picks up the story from the original Warcraft trilogy. The game has got around 7 expansion packs. Each of the expansion raised the level cap in game. A funny thing with WOW is that many players say you don’t start the game until you hit max level. The game is so intuitive that it may take up to a month to learn the basic mechanics. There are different roles in this game. Damage dealer, healer and tank.

Under the presentation of this game I immediately drew lines in my head to different games. The characters you can chose in Wow is the same as in a game called Hearthstone. When it came to the different roles I drew lines to a game called League of legends. When I could connect this game to league of legends I found it insanely interesting and made WOW a must try game for me.

 

There were some more games that where presented but there was one game that was really interesting and that was Civilization: one hour, one life. The basics of this game is to rebuild civilization. You spawn as a baby, so the first 6 minutes of the game you are dependent on other players for you to stay alive. The concept of this game sound really interesting, but the thing that made me shy away from wanting to try it is that you only have one hour per life, and then you lose all progress.

 

So, from this game showcase from peer student I have definitely found out that I will try WOW. The only thing that sets me back from trying it is the cost of the game. So, let’s hope for a sale in the near future.

Game genres

Blog 4: Game Genres:

 

In the gaming industry we see loads of different games. The genres go from action to puzzle games. In class we talked about what was the most important thing in each genre. This was very interesting and is the topic of this blogpost.

Adventure games is the first one. Adventure type of game involve deep thinking. When you play, you have to do different puzzles and you need great patience. The things don’t come without time in this genre. When it comes to this genre I am not the biggest fan of it and have no patience to play this type of game.

The second genre we covered was strategy games. Now this is a more fun genre because it involves a conflict and you are the general. Real time strategy games such as Warcraft challenges you in the quickness of the game. There is no long pause like in a game chess.

Another game genre we went into was process oriented games. Here the player plays with a system. It could actually fit the definition of a toy to play with. There is a lack of consistent criterion for success. A game that was mentioned for this genre is World of Warcraft, aka WOW. This game is huge and has an insane number of players. This is a game I would love to try but it is just some damn expensive.

 

Game genres are difficult. Many games can be linked with more than one genre, and people tend to disagree on what genre a game might be. When it comes to the choice of a genre, it is very business oriented. There are some genres that sound more appealing than others. There are many examples to this such as action which sound fun compared to puzzle. All of this has to do with income. When we look at the gaming industry it has money spelled all over the owners faces, and that is why a genre need to sound good and appealing.