Sunday, 15 April 2012

Book Passage Project - Malu's Wolf written by Ruth Craig

Here is the passage I picked out from a book called Malu's Wolf written by the author Ruth Craig. I will try creating a scene using photoshop out of this for my visual design task:

After half a moon Gunto returned from his Hunt of Passage, bending under his burden - his Tribute, the flesh of an elk he had killed. While the women prepared for the feast, he strutted behind the hunting band as they left for his initiation in the Magic Chamber.

Malu watched the procession from the Clan Hall into the passageway that led far into the mountain. They disappeared around the bend, where many smaller tunnels branched off, and then branched off again into even more winding tunnels. Only the hunters knew the way.

Malu and Varda had ventured through some of these tunnels. They only wanted to see where the Magic Chamber was - not to enter it, for to do so would arouse the fury of the gods. Holding torches, lighting one from another as each burned out, they'd followed many twistings and turnings, shuddering at the shadows where the torch suddenly lit up strange rock formations - white towering peaks and shimmering icicles of wet stone.

They'd spoken softly, thier voices echoing back as eerie whispers. They'd heard water gurgling somewhere, and mysterious twittering and stratching sounds.

Then the echo of thier footsteps had suddenly sounded different. Malu stopped and clutched Varda's arm, and when she lowered her torch to look down, there was nothing but impenetrable darkness below. They stood at the edge of a precipice.

They had turned and fled - come to a dead end - turned back again. A wrong turn into another dead end! Would they ever get out? At last they'd stumbled into the main passageway. They'd run to the Clan Hall, but forced themselves to walk slowly inside. No one but Fidday and Talva had noticed them leave or return. "You didn't find it?" Fidday had whispered. Malu had shaken her head, while Varda said, "And we never will."

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Personal review of the second year: Where do you want to go, and how do you get there?

Like how I explained in the earlier creativity and talent blog, I think and assess situations very closely; I try to find better, faster, easier ways of doing things and achieving my goals while maintaining a sharp progressive quality. With that in mind, I still find my motivation affects my time management because I sit there knowing what I need to do, it’s just knowing how to start. I get the problem time and time again and it could truly be the end of me if I don't sort this out.

I need to keep telling myself its ok to take risks and start again if I make a mistake. I also need to produce the work required as quick but as efficient as possible so I have the free time to enjoy myself without stressing and to be happy to carry on teaching myself more using 3DS Max, Photoshop and Unreal Editor. Of course I want to learn extras like Zbrush, which I have barely touched during this year and Xnormal, which I only just heard about and have no idea about.

I came to university to fulfil my desire in gaining the skills and knowledge to get me a job in something I have grown up with thanks to the life I have lived and enjoyed. It is an interest and a passion and my life. I can have moments where my imagination goes wild and I think that would be a good idea that would be new and so on. The fact that I reflect on this too much is my weakness; I need to deliver the goods and show that I am talented and unique else I will be all talk and imagination with nothing to display. Planning, concepting and documenting is what I want to work on the most if I make the third year.

What I want to achieve after three years and what do I expect from uni education? The ability to display my skills with problem solving, creation, design, knowledge of 3D modelling software and the ability to concept certain ideas. The biggest one of them all is of course reflecting, problem solving and eventually producing quality products well enough for commercial use in games that I can be proud of. What do I hope to get? A freaking decent job would be a start hah! That is what universities are built for are they not?? The chance to get a job in my field (or similar), excel, improve and move up to higher roles and higher pay so I can live well the rest of my life duh! :)

Life Changing or Career Building?

Well i don't know how many games companies ask for recruits to have a liberal arts background. It took a while for me to kind of understand what it is because, for me, its definately a first. Like the quote used in the brief for this blog, i only ever see adverts from games companies asking for specifically skilled individuals in their artistic field so im with the Canadian. Liberal arts concentrates on a general variety of knowledge from sciences to biology and history and so on which makes no sense to me unless they mean studying fine arts and old historic artists but that can be integrated into specific courses anyway to relate. The way I see it is, whoever is saying we should study in liberal arts to be part of the games industry is solely down to the fact that they might have studied in that way and only want us to follow suit.

Every course in the world that would lead to a job in the art side of the games industry is going to be different, some more advanced and future proof than others. If not, at least we have 3 years behind our belt and hopefully the slightest idea of what we are getting ourselves into. We could end up taking an entirely different role to the desired environment or character or concept job we desired so much and end up in graphics or interface or animation. That boils down to the skills we display in our portfolios too. If we show professionalism in our layout, logos, artwork, they may see something in us and offer a different job that could eventually lead us to our desired role. I’m sure most employers know they will be taking in a potential hard worker that they can comfortably mould into their team with time and training.

We just need to be accepting to variety. Also we need to be open to change, something like the games industry is constantly improving and because we use software, we all need to stay up to date and carry on learning, juniors, seniors, and directors alike. Good thing about this course is, we get to do our work in the way we want to enter the industry and all courses should be like that. As long as we meet the current demand for technical skills and show our understanding and ability to solve problems, learning even more in our new jobs should be a doddle with the right support from teammates.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Creativity, the Talent Myth and Craft

We all know that creativity is to have thought up of and made something new to entertain, solve and communicate. I decided to look it up on the online dictionary too which says, “resulting from originality of thought”. So to be creative is to be able to create or make or draw or paint or act out or say something that would be considered original, brand new. It doesn’t always have to be good or bad obviously but it is the definition of creating something. I think if I look too deep into this matter, my head will hurt, as Wikipedia explains how there are almost a dozen definitions and approaches. So which one do I look at for it to be relevant to me?

Looking at one of the given links, trying to explain creativity in general terms but in detail, I like the explanation that says, to be able to VIEW things in new ways or from a different perspective, not just making something. That is where psychology could come in because, say you get a group of people given an object like a roll of foil and you tell them they have 30 minutes to do whatever they want with it, every result will not be the same. Show them a detailed picture or a scene and tell them to say what they see but only record down the first thing they notice, and not every result will be the same. Now relating this to talent, different people in the group will create something based on what they know and have learnt about foil as opposed to saying they are being outright talented AND what these people decide to create could be to get a desired reaction, be it praise or interest or not. So creativeness is based on solving problems or making something to gain a reaction based on your perspective and talent is based on that (perhaps unseen) knowledge you have of the object and what you have seen and learnt from the world around you. I hope that wasn’t too confusing but I think I have this figured out.

Further looking on psychology terms, they say a ‘creative person’ can express unusual thoughts, is usually bright, and experiences the world in novel and original ways. Their perceptions are fresh and judgements insightful and making discoveries only they know about. I say that’s a load of bull and it sounds like they are specifying unnecessary characteristics to these ‘special’ people. I would call it curiosity above anything and everybody has it, they have their own personality and different view on a matter. It only takes one person to discover a new or different invention or display of originality and somebody calls you a creative? I disagree. Everyone has the creative ability.

Wikipedia titles being talented as ‘intellectual giftedness’ and say that it is different from skill, which we all know is acquiring or learning behaviours. They then say it is “an innate, personal aptitude for intellectual activities that cannot be acquired through personal effort”. To blow what I said out of the water it says there is also artistic or creative giftedness so now I question the difference between being talented or gifted. Come to think of it now, no lie, during primary school, I so happened to enjoy all subjects and doing my work, homework etc. Teachers took note of this and I was signed up on the ‘gifted and talented’ list of students and I had opportunities to test my skills, go on science trips with a select few. I was honoured to have that opportunity and it made me think, are others really inferior to me? From a young age I would be deep in thought, I knew what was right and wrong and had great common sense and that’s all I thought it was as during secondary school, I eventually turned down the opportunities given and wanted to be normal, not chased after because I might be able to develop skills faster than others and become a super brain. My motivation was not there, that was all, I wanted to have fun and enjoy the young life and play computer games because of the friends I had common ground with. Looking back and looking at how I am now, my motivation to work is still low as I want to enjoy good times while they last but when I see the way I learn things, if it means anything, I am a very fast learner, I come across shy and not very talkative because I analyse people and situations deeply and don’t want to be in their way. Anyway I babble. What I am getting at is the fact that I sort of agree about talent but only if it means the same as gifted intelligence, the ability to learn and adapt skills fast in certain fields that motivate us as individuals.

Back to art and games, every member of an art team in the industry is creative but technical restraints do of course hinder your ability to express your creativeness and be able to show off so you have to make do with what you have. Games manifest creativity from the artists providing original sources, writers who provide an original, totally made up story that they believe will work. It takes the rest of the team and the big bosses to agree and approve of it and eventually you see it published. Some work, some don’t but that could be due to time and technical restraints and general feedback. I show my creativity like everybody else and expect feedback so I can improve of my bad points and sharpen my good points. I am talented in that I can learn and assess a situation swiftly and adapt, but I think it takes a lot of practise and repetition for me to be truly skilful and deliver on quality. Time, quality and motivation are the skills I need to improve on to be successful in my field and I believe that is all.

DUDE this is a long blog sorry if you was bothered to read all this HAH!


An introduction to the Game Industry

To discuss specialist job roles in the game industry for brief given, I decided to look directly at current job roles and find as much different jobs asking for specific people. My dad (yes him again) does not buy as much magazine as he used to but he still buys either games tm or Edge magazine. Edge are very slick, neat and abstract in how they lay out and structure their pages. They review games in a very strict manor and offer more pages to the more popular games. They feature old time games or series or franchises and discuss them in depth and they interview industry professionals. A very good feature they have is more towards the end of the magazine, displaying advertisements from universities within the UK looking for students or companies looking for certain professions to recruit into their team which is all game related. Edge even have special one off issues each year where they have a special section or separate magazine which they go around the UK and the world asking and interviewing specialists on what they do, what is required and business and industry in general. Perfect, and perhaps a good read for all my fellow colleagues on this course!

Though with simple advertisements they still do not explain what these job roles require in their recruits as they want you to visit their website and research further. So upon visiting the Edge website only, who give news on the gaming biz, they have a killer section on finding jobs specific to your chosen field. You can also join up, leave your CV with them and even get emails when new jobs come in (the link is provided below). I found this probably last year and it keeps you up to date on what jobs are going and what companies are looking for. It is good to see jobs available in the midlands as I would be happy to stay in Leicester and commute to my job if it was necessary and I was pleased with my job. So the categories and the explanations within pretty much answer the brief but I will look at a few so I don’t look lazy, but I have studied ones I am interested in for myself. They even have career advice articles lower down the page.

So Edge got it going on! They have split jobs into 2 discipline groups, design and development (which applies to me) and Business. So business contains sub categories, to name a few, managerial, development executives, finance, sales, media, marketing, you get the picture. Design and development contain testers, interface, animation, audio, programming containing most jobs, and art in second place. It gives a brief idea of what is required the most in the industry already but looking into available art jobs, we see even more specific roles. These can be 2D artists, graphic designers, technical, environment, character, weapon artists, directors and it goes on. So without being really specific and making a large blog entry about my understanding, I think it is fair to say studying this website looking through jobs then looking for interviews and videos of specialists explaining how they do their role and how it is important to the whole picture, we can find it within ourselves to relate our own skills and find the answers we are looking for.

I notice how some job roles require you to develop further before taking them on. There can be ‘junior’ roles, where you have pretty much left uni and are fresh, then ‘senior’ or ‘lead’ or ‘director’ roles, where you have at least 5 years experience (let’s say 3 at uni then 2 as a junior or whatever else) and a couple of completed AAA games under your belt. Sounds tough to be honest but upon getting that first job, it is all about learning mixing with professionals that help speed up your workload and understanding of software and processes rather than doing what you can in an effort to meet deadlines, please tutors and pass to graduate at uni.