Category Archives: History

Guest Blog: Dennou Coil Technology by James Hidahl

One of the major innovations in electronics is Augmented Reality (AR). AR programs work by taking real world information such as through a camera and inserts virtual images and objects in real-time. AR technology is currently used by modern devices such as smart phones like the iPhone and portable games systems like the Nintendo 3DS and has many uses for utility and entertainment.

A sci-fi anime series from Japan named Dennou Coil was aired in 2007 and lasted 26 episodes. The setting was a society in the near future where a commonly used technology was computer glasses that allowed their wearers to interact with the Internet and other virtual systems.

Many programs and other software have forms and behaviors. Some examples these virtual items include tools, devices, and digital creatures such as virtual pets and “illegals” which are leftover data and code from earlier versions of the system.

The glasses the characters of the series not only work as displays to see the virtual objects but also include speakers and work as miniature computer to communicate with virtual infrastructure.

Though the technology of these glasses does seem advanced, I expect them to still be plausible. Most of the components of them already exist and only require miniaturization before they could be combined into a practical device.

Computers are becoming smaller constantly, and I expect the devices themselves don’t need to be very powerful. Cloud technology generally works with smaller, “dumb” devices that mostly run their more sophisticated processes through a centralized system much like the virtual infrastructure in Dennou Coil. If they can’t have computer small enough to put in a set of glasses or goggles, they could still be connected to something like a smart phone on the user.

The lenses are another issue that are plausible. Liquid crystal displays (LCD) are very common and more importantly already mostly transparent. Just sandwich a pair smaller, high-detail screens between pieces of glass and plastic and connect them to the computer system. Images would then be displayed right in front of the eyes with enough difference to create an illusion of 3D. A similar technology is already used in heads-up displays (HUD) which are used in fighter jets and in development for infantry.

The possibility of people practically living in a virtual world doesn’t appear to be too far off. It just takes a bit of time and development for all the pieces of technology we already use in our daily lives to become smaller and merge together.

I would also like to say that though Dennou Coil is a great series, it is only available in Japan. The only DVDs of it that are out are only compatible with DVD region 2 players. If it weren’t for regional lockout, I’d be able to play it here in America, except it would just be in Japanese which I can actually deal with. In the mean time, I’ll just watch it on unofficial fansubs.

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Podcast: The Beauty of Skyrim

Podcast Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most immersive and entertaining role-playing games ever created in the history of video games. In this podcast I discuss some of the reasons for why Skyrim is such an amazing game. Through the use of environment and player choice Bethesda Softworks has created one of the best games in video game history.

The 3 Game Documents

This blog post will focus on the process of creating the initial paperwork necessary to design a video game. This post will primarily focus on the three major documents needed to design and pitch an original video game idea. These three documents will eventually become the same, which is known as the game design document.

The first document in the game designing phase is referred to as the game proposal or the one-sheet. This document is extremely important in the early phases of a game design. This one-sheet is a basic overview of what the game is going to be. The one-sheet is meant to be short, interesting, and informative so that the design team, as well as the publisher, can get excited about the game. 

The second document is a little longer and contains much more detail than the previous one-sheet. This document is referred to as the ten-pager and it is roughly 10 pages in length. The ten-pager is written to layout the initial foundation of the game being designed. According to a game design author Rogers (2010), “The intent is for readers to quickly understand the basics of the final product without going into excruciating detail” (p. 62).

The third and final document is known as the game design document, or the GDD. This document is roughly 30 to 40 pages and is intended to detail every important aspect of the game being designed. In the GDD, the designer will go into the excruciating detail that was left out of the ten-pager. The GDD is helpful for not only the team but also the designer. The designer uses the GDD to not only inform others about the game, but also to have documentation for all the aspects of the game.

Sources:

Rogers, S. (2010). Level Up: The Guide to Great Video Game Design. WestSussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons , Ltd

Advertising in Gaming

Gaming is a business. As much fun gamers have while playing games, it’s hard for some people to think of how lucrative a business the video industry is. With the increasing popularity of video games, businesses in other industries are taking notice and are doing whatever they can to advertise to gamers.

Advergaming is a new buzzword that is associated with the increase of companies advertising through video games. According to the author of http://www.gamesbrief.com Zoya Street, advergaming is when a brand pays a game developer to make a game around their brand. Because advergaming is working for companies, transmedia has also become increasingly popular.

Transmedia is another new buzzword that has spawned from the marketing movement within games. The author Zoya Street states that transmedia occurs when one media property, such as a movie, is promoted through a different media medium such as a game. Businesses have been promoting their media through other media mediums for some time but now these businesses are focusing on promoting through video games.

Companies are focusing on promoting through video games not only because of the gaming industry’s growing rate but also because games can bring in a wider range of audiences than other mediums. With a large majority of the United States interacting through social media, social gaming can be a quick and inexpensive way for a brand to advertise.

The combining of advertising and gaming can bring in a new era of marketing as well as gaming. On the other hand this movement could also lead to more game companies making games for a quick buck.

Sources:

Brackin, A. L. (2011). UTD Computer Game Design. Business of Games. Retrieved from http://www.computergamedesign.blogspot.com/2009/11/if-you-presented-and-want-to-share-your.html

Street, Z. (2011). The Business of Games. Social Games Summit Stats. Retrieved from http://www.gamesbrief.com/2011/12/social-games-summit-stats/

Hargreaves, B. (2011). General Assembly. The Business of Gaming. Retrieved from http://businessofgaming.eventbrite.com/

Stratmann, J. (2010). Future Lab. 3 Ways Social Gaming Can Benefit Brands. Retrieved from http://www.futurelab.net/blogs/business-games/2010/09/3_ways_social_gaming_can_benef.html

Street, Z. (2011). The Business of Games. Transmedia, Gamification, Advergaming. Retrieved from http://www.gamesbrief.com/2011/11/transmedia-gamification-advergaming/

Violence in Video Games

With an increasing number of children catching on to the growing popularity of video games, the subject of violence in video games becomes a bigger issue in our culture. The Columbine shootings became one of the main events in our society that brought violence in video games into the media spotlight. Although the subject of violence in games had already been an issue, it was the event at Columbine that made this subject matter a global issue.

According to APA author Pam Willenz, “playing violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Kombat can increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in actual life, according to two studies appearing in the April issue of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”

Studies such as the APA study are becoming more popular as people begin placing blame anywhere they can after events like Columbine take place. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) assigns ratings to video games to indicate the appropriate age group that the game is intended for and the content within the game. The ESRB sets these ratings to ensure that underage children cannot purchase certain games that are too graphic or violent.

No matter how many times individuals will place the blame of child violence on a video game freedom of speech is our natural right as an U.S. citizen. Video games are an art form and it is ultimately up to the parents to inform their children on what is ultimately real or just a fantasy world.

Sources:

Brackin, A. L. (2011). UTD Computer Game Design. The Good/The Bad/The Ugly. Retrieved from http://www.computergamedesign.blogspot.com/2009/11/wk-1314-business-end-of-games.html

Jenkins, H. (2004). Impact of Gaming. Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html

Elizabeth, A. M. (2011). Health Tech. One week playing violent video games alters brain activity. Retrieved from http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-57335738-247/one-week-playing-violent-video-games-alters-brain-activity/

Willenz, P. (2000). Press Releases. Violent Video Games Can Increase Aggresion. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2000/04/video-games.aspx

Venables, M. (2011). Geek Dad. Violence in Video Games: It’s All Part of Growing Up. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/09/violence/

The Future of Game Design

The video game industry has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. According to the website http://www.experience.com, “The video game industry is a growing, multi-billion dollar field and many of the college graduates want to get their hands on the controller.” With an ever-growing fan base and numerous advancements in technology, the industry is bigger than it has ever been.

But it’s not only college students that are gaining interest in the field of gaming, with the release of the Nintendo Wii, a new group of gamers who had never played games began to play them and began accept the fact that video games are a part of our culture. Older generations of people, and younger generations as well, began to bring game consoles into their household.

With an increasing popularity in devices such as Android phones and Apple products, games are becoming more available to a wider audience. This larger audience and growing market means more developers, large and small, are starting up to meet the consumer demand for video games. An increase in video game developing and publishing companies means more opportunities for students studying in the field of game design.

With games becoming more social and immerging, new gamers are created every day. One of the best examples of the increasing popularity in video games is the amount of commercials for games that are airing on national television every day to millions of viewers around the globe. The future of gaming is now and the outlook for future game designers as well as developers is extremely positive.

Sources:

Rogers, S. (2010). Level Up: The Guide to Great Video Game Design. WestSussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons , Ltd

http://www.adigitaldreamer.com/articles/becomeavideogamedesigner.htm

Brackin, A. L. (2011). The Future of Game Design. Retrieved from http://www.computergamedesign.blogspot.com/2011_11_27_archive.html

Schreiber, I. (2007). Teach Game Design. The Game Industry Wants “Educated People”. Retrieved from http://teachgamedesign.blogspot.com/2007/11/game-industry-wants-educated-people.html

West, A. (2011). Playing The Game: The Future of Animation And Game Design. Retrieved from http://www.experience.com/alumnus/article?channel_id=Entertainment&source_page=additional_articles&article_id=article_1172174572641

Game Interview with a Fashion Designer

In this third interview, I decided to ask the same gaming questions as in the previous interviews to an individual in the field of art. I wanted to see if the responses from an artist would be any different from the responses of the previous two interviews. This is my interview with an artist and a professional fashion designer named Erica Nanno.

ME: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘video games’?

EN: “When I hear the words video games I think of an ever-growing industry that is constantly creating amazing things. I think video games have come a long way. You no longer are limited to sitting in front of your tv for hours; you can now BE the controller. It has become a social event. I love that. It has changed the way people view video games. Older people use the Wii in nursing homes to move their body. It has truly become more than achievements and levels. I am excited to see what will come out next.”

ME: What is the earliest video game you ever remember playing and how did it make you feel?

EN: “I remember playing Super Mario on the N64 in my friends basement when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I distinctively remember the part where you are underwater and a huge eel-like creature comes out and swims around you. Me and my friend would scream every time we saw it. It gave me the chills.”

ME: Why do you play video games, or if you don’t, why don’t you?

EN: “It’s a very social thing for me when I play video games. I love to interact with other people and get competitive. But once in a while, it can be relaxing to play with your loved one on a lazy day and share the experience together. On the other hand, I think video games can  also be detrimental to your life and way of thinking. Many people play rpg’s to escape their reality and lose themselves into a fantasy world where they can control every aspect. It becomes an addiction. Video games give certain people what they are missing in real life. I think it may be a lost cause for a lot of people these days. We are such an electronic/gadget world now, it’s hard to escape it. Every other person and their mom play video games.”

ME: Would you ever consider working in the video game industry as an artist?

EN: “Yes. If I had pursued my first love, I would have definitely considered working in the video game world. It’s such a huge, growing industry, I know I would be able to find my niche in it. It would be exciting to go to work everyday to develop a character or world and see it come to life.”