Immersion

April 23, 2012

So for this blog I found this article

It’s about the next level of gaming and the immersive possibilities of the future. It got me thinking about the immersion in games and the attitude towards immersion thanks to this evil thing known as casual gaming. I don’t normally mind casual gaming on its own, but its casual gamers and their attitude towards gaming in general that annoys me.

Casual gamers are of the opinion that all games should be more like mini-games. That any game longer than 5 minutes per session are devil-sent influences and sociability murderers.
The thing that surprised me about this report, though, is that the author, DocSeuss, wrote about a modder who thinks immersion is evil. This is why I tell modders to learn real game development, learn the terminology, and gain a respect for other game genres BEFORE even trying to become a game developper. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be working on a project you necessarily agree with and you won’t jump straight to the lead role in game development. Just a respect, you don’t have to LIKE it.
I really like how the author of the article delves into the definition of immersion, the applications of it, and examples of its uses. He gives some great examples at that and tells how it could be furthered in the future through game development in itself, not little toys and gimmicks. I wholeheartedly agree, although I think little gimmicks are fun personally. 😉

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Oops

April 23, 2012

Ok, so this last week we were supposed to make a blog post about sources…
I couldn’t find any sources for my topic. I tried for a day or so before I gave up. I really wanted to stick to that topic, but now it seems I’ll have to change ^^’

There just aren’t any good sources for what makes someone a gamer. They’re all about the various levels of gamers, which is by no means what I want.
Aww well. So, new topic possibilities…

 

PC Gamers are more mature.
Video games kill sociability.

And inspired by today’s blog topic-
The importance of immersion in games

 

I think I like that last one. I read some interesting things in the article I just read. But that’s a topic for the NEXT blog post. Coming up in a few seconds

Topics

April 12, 2012

Possible topics:

1) What makes someone a gamer?

2) PC gamers are more mature.

3) Video games kill social activity.

TOPIC: What makes someone a gamer?

A ton of people think they’re a professional gamer for playing one game for their entire life, and there are others who know a bunch of different games, but have never beat one and claim the same title. Who has the right? All over the internet, you can easily find arguments and rants about what makes a gamer- from playing platform to game type to difficulty and skill. Many also online fights have to do with ignorance about a popular game or dislike of similar genres.

Personally, I have my own opinion that sits in more of a middle-ground. A ton of “gamers” only play one type of game or have no idea the immersive possibilities of games. If you don’t think games could be an art, or lack the ability to see the appeal to see another person’s interest in certain games despite their own disinterest. To be able to dissect a game within your own knowledge and not stretch beyond that to be an ass and try to look like a know-it-all. Those are just my opinions at this moment, they might change after some research- actually, they probably will.

So, some questions to look into:

1) Variety –vs- hours?

2) Opinions on skill level?

3) Do game ratings matter?

So both articles that we are supposed to read for Composition class are very repetitive.

One of them is 8 myths about video games: debunked. It’s more like two- Video games make people violent and Video Games make people dumb, but reworded and restated multiple times. I have to say that I agree, video games only affect those who let them affect you in such a way- as in parents who allow their child to become violent and use video games as a medium to project their violence through. My little brother, for instance, has always had anger issues since he was a toddler; nothing changed when he first picked up Halo: Combat Evolved. He remained just as violent, the game didn’t make it worse: if anything, it made him a bit better because he relieved his anger in the game. That said, we HAVE had to explain to him multiple things about why he can’t do certain tasks with guns like in the games, but then he could also pick those up from a book or something.

 

The other article has to do with mostly the effects of video games on the brain. It is also very repetitive and boring, but for the most part makes excellent points. Although, I have to add that it is up to the person whether or not they gain any information of use out of a game. If they just unwillingly sift through puzzles in a game they don’t care about, or mindlessly shoot the heads off of zombies without a single focus to improve, then they gain nothing. I know a TON of people like this, and I tend to avoid them because they’re annoying, mindless zombies while they play a game. Yet again: my little brother fits here. He gets nothing from a game, doesn’t want to put any effort into anything. He wants instant gratification and omnipotence in a game, thus uses cheat codes and sucks horribly at online games. *cough*CallOfDuty*cough*

March 26, 2012


So… After a miracle with PayPal and some other things, I managed to get ahold of QUBE for the PC. (LEGALLY)

QUBE is a first-person puzzle game where you use… cubes. ^^’  Left-click retracts them and right-click extends the cubes. Cubes of different colors do different things- Blue cubes launch you when retracted and you touch them, yellow cubes extend in varying patterns depending on where you click on them, and red blocks just extend in whatever direction it’s facing. There are other blocks, but those three are the fundamentals.

Using these colored blocks, you have to navigate through a series of puzzles and mazes with no explanation outside of trial and error.

The gameplay is solid if you’re used to shooters, but you’re screwed otherwise. The graphics are amazing- it runs on the unreal engine, but there are the eventual black blocks from objects not rendering and a few other minor issues that are negligible.

The difficulty: steadily increases as it is supposed to for a puzzle game. It is incredibly fun to catch on and the variety of puzzles throughout makes it hard to give up. I had to finish the game in a single sitting- or at least I tried. The game is incessantly glitchy to a point where correct puzzle solutions don’t work. I actually had a little robot that isn’t supposed to stop moving stop on a retracted blue block that was supposed to launch it. The physics-based portion of the unreal engine often messes up puzzles beyond repair- at one point blocks moved away from magnets, out of their reach, and I couldn’t fix it. I had to reload the level multiple times to do it. That aside- The game is amazingly rewarding and fun. If it weren’t for the glitches, I daresay it would be amongst my favorite games, but the glitches sorta’ ruined it. And the game itself is short- having only a very minor story that is only made apparent at the end of a few quick puzzles.

It is very visually appealing though- as you can see from the pic above. There is no HUD, except for the gloves that you can see when you hover over blocks, which made it look so much more appealing and unhindered.

 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed QUBE and would play it again, were it not for the glitches. I applaud the indie team who made this game! I hope they manage to fix it.

Judging Criteria

March 19, 2012

First person puzzle games have become increasingly popular recently. Older elder scrolls games had some puzzles and the first Half-life game featured a fair bit of puzzles, but the genre never really rocketed until Valve released Portal, then more puzzle games were released emphasizing the first-person puzzle aspect following portal’s example. With this newly popularized genre, how do you judge which games are better than which?

  1. Reward. Progressing through the show should feel rewarding without being too much so. Especially in puzzle games, there must be some reason for wanting to continue.
  2. Difficulty. The puzzles should be realistically difficult to where they can be completed with enough focus and should progressively become more difficult. This can also add to the sense of reward
  3. Mechanics. This is a definite. Having some confusing rules that work when you grow accustomed to them could make or break a puzzle game.
  4. Dynamics. How the player interacts with the world is largely important in puzzles. Having multiple possible solutions to a single puzzle can make it far more fun.
  5. Graphics. They are first-person, which generally means 3D. Graphic quality can also contribute to clarity of the puzzles and the inevitable feeling of reward afterward.

Those, in my opinion, are the top five qualities to a first-person puzzle game, in order from greatest to least. What do you think?

Arcades

March 5, 2012

What’s happening to all of the arcades? Why are they diminishing? Are consoles to blame?

Yeah, yeah. Consoles are stealing from arcades simply because of price. You make one payment for a console game and get it forever. Arcade games require constant repeated payments throughout.

That aside- this past Tuesday I went to Dave n’ Busters with our composition class and saw a ton of awesome arcade games you couldn’t experience on a console. At least not to that extent. One such game was a combination of a flight simulator / dog fight / tank game in which you took a suspended helmet and rotated it to aim as you fend off enemy troops or battle other air-borne enemies. Another game was the popular Monkey Ball we all recognize from various consoles, but this one had an actual ball as a controller! You rotate the ball to navigate through the zig-zagging obstacles of the monkey-ball world. The faster you spin the ball, the more you accelerate! It was amazingly addicting.

Then, there were some touch-screen games that you could purchase for a tablet or other device, but because they were on massive touch-screens, the experience was considerably better. And the fact that you got tickets towards prizes for playing them! Ugh! So much fun stuff. I should never have gone, because now I’m tempted to return! It’s ad that true arcades are dying out, though. I know where they’re going, I think. My friend invited me to go to a console-hub with her this coming weekend. It’s like an arcade, but instead of the massive machines we’re accustomed to, it hosts well-known consoles locked behind glass cases with dozens of popular games up for play. The hub has an entrance fee, and a per-game fee that you pay to swap out games, but aside from that it doesn’t cost that much. I’m actually looking forward to going.

Spyro

February 26, 2012

Despite the constant raves about the series, I never touched the games about that small purple dragon who never seems to age.

So this past Tuesday in Composition class, when we had the gaming day where we brought in new games, I watched someone playing “Spyro: The Dragon” on the original Playstation. (I would’ve played, but it’s a single-player game)
The game looks like a general action-adventure 3D platformer with an interesting art style and some very original animations. You can glide, breathe fire, and charge into enemies. It has some interesting mechanics for the time that it came out.

I would like to try the series a bit more. I have heard some fair ratings about it, though they were mostly from long-time fans who love the nostalgia aspect of it. I have, however, heard that in the later games, the creators became a bit greedy and started making players pay for large portions of the game after their initial purchase, which highly besets me from any potential purchases and I don’t like pirating or emulating, so that’s not an option by any means.

Spyro could become my sort of game after growing up with Mario 64 and other such 3D platformers, but only a test-play will tell!

Research Log 1

February 20, 2012

So my overarching essay topic is:
“How could virtual reality be possible in video game?”
First Research Log:

Notes

Durlach, Nathaniel I., and Anne S. Mavor. Virtual Reality : Scientific And Technological Challenges. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press, 1995. 247-56. Print.

– Possible organization of VR technology is into separate modules for each sense where each module has its own processor. P248

– Focuses more on the visual module. P248

– Visual module requires high frame rate to be indistinguishable from reality. P249

– VE for non – entertainment purposes relies more on computations and less on the visual appeal and frame rate. 8-10 fps. P249

– For true VR, all systems must interact repeatedly within a single cycle, to check and cross-check possible ranges of motion and effect. Beyond current tech. P250

– Total optimization requires things to be programmed in assembly. Pain in the ass language. Hard to maintain. P260

– Truly realistic environments are said to be 80,000,000 frames within a rendered scene. Beyond present computational ability. P251

– Discusses theories of z-buffering and shaders. P252 – 253

– Bandwidth limitations in network-based operations. P254

– Data compression and enhanced seeking algorithms may speed up processing and possibility of Virtual Environments. P256

Reflections

This is an older book that discusses “theories” currently instituted in 3D graphics pipelines.

Many of the ideas of how to create a realistic VE lack other theories in-use today, such as bump and normal-mapping.

Much of the ideas of various modules are sound, but unexplained. The authors focus way too much on the visual module due to the lack of capabilities in general.

Much of the earlier ideas are still beyond current technology.

Ideal FPS for then no longer pertain. 30-120 fps are ideal.

Process optimization still lacks, but is better. Assembly is still a pain today, but still the most low-end and powerful language.

Bandwidth limitations still prove to be an issue.

Methods of data-collection and processing are still under theoretical review. Massive cross-check loops per update won’t be possible for years.

Essay Ideas

February 13, 2012

What could I potentially write about?..

  1. What is virtual reality and how can it be used in gaming?
  2. Which console is superior?
  3. Does video game violence have a negative effect on children?
  4. Can video games appeal to certain emotions? (Joy, sadness, anger)
  5. Why are games that are “interactive movies” popular?

Hmm… I think I’ll go with the first one! 😀
Now…. What could I write about ABOUT that?… ^

  1. What is virtual reality?
  2. How could it be possible to make?
  3. How could game developers use it?
  4. Are there any examples of virtual reality today?
  5. What are the pros and cons of such systems?

So… Yeah, virtual reality! I’m a total Otaku (anime-nerd, plus all of the insults that coincide with the title of Otaku) so much of what I already think about virtual reality comes from… You guessed it! Anime. Shows like .Hack//Sign and Fractale show amazing capabilities between virtual reality and augmented reality (computerized objects seeming to be part of the real world, but not.) For instance, .Hack is a show about an MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role playing game) that uses virtual reality to its fullest. Full 3D environments, 100% customizable avatars, first-person action, your brain IS the controller as you send input through electrodes in a special visor to do ANYTHING you want in the virtual world.
From what I can tell, virtual reality is placing your mind into a virtual world through as many senses as possible with as few hindrances as possible. No controllers, no distractions, total control of what you do in the other world. I think it could be a great tool for game making!

I’m studying to become a game developer / graphics programmer, and I’m excited enough about augmented reality, let alone the possibilities of virtual reality. I even bought a kinect to play with and attempt to program my own forms of virtual reality and augmented reality for. It’s amazingly intricate but fun to mess with. Luckily microsoft made the Kinect SDK fairly straight-forward and easy to use at the lowest level.

I think virtual reality has its potential, even with the technology we have today, it’s just a matter of making the most use of what we have, which I doubt anyone has done so far.

What do you think about VR?