For my conference project, I mapped a recording of Nina Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares For Me”. My initial goal was to bridge the sensory experiences of visual art and music – why do we restrict our experience of different art forms to a single sense, when a song teems with visual energy while a photograph or a sculpture can rely on the viewer’s sense of sight, touch, hearing, and sometimes smell? Also, I was fed up with the misconception that music can only be fully appreciated by musicians, as I am constantly surprised by the aural perceptiveness of non-musicians. I suppose I wanted to make this project as a gift to people who may not read or play music, but have very visceral and complicated reactions when certain songs enter their ears. My process was relatively straight-forward. I listened to the song, and tried to capture the individual instruments (piano, drums, bass, voice) as simple wave forms. I then traced these waveforms onto a long roll of paper, and began to individually color and texturize them. First, I watercolored the regions of each instrument, which immediately differentiated the regions from each other. They were no longer being expressed as uniform, solid color-filled waves, and had each begun to take on a different character. As I hand-drew on each region, I tried to harmonize colors with textures that would give each instrument its own visual purpose. Though the drums and bass are not at the forefront of the song, they still provided essential rhythmic direction and add to the “consistency” of the song. I hoped to capture this in a visual manner. I suppose this project does emulate a bit of the “visionary” philosophy. It sees relationships and access points where they are not usually apparent. It creates a playground where there was previously a patch of grass. I also made the last-minute choice to rotate the whole piece counterclockwise. This had the effect of expressing the song’s movement as a tree growing out of the ground, rather than a race to the finish. It preserves the linear nature of the song, but offers an alternate perspective on how a song begins, grows, and ends.
So after coming up with the initial idea of “Come and Play,” I sketched a few more ideas in my sketchbook: I decided to make my monster, an arc instead of a circle, and to use the draggable item/particle system mechanic from my Magic Wand game to make it breath fire from its mouth. I also made my monster draggable, and game him a red eye. My new Monster with a mouth: and my new Monster when pressed and dragged: I also decided to add a face to my moon, so that when you hover over it, it has eyes: To add more player choice, I’ve decided to change the feed monster mechanic – instead of feeding the monster resulting in the monster turning red and shooting fire, the monster instead grows, until the player releases their hand, at which point the moon is moved offscreen. The growing works really well, except for one problem: The eye doesn’t grow with the monster. I’m also trying to code in some fireball/village collision, and I’m struggling with that. Hopefully I can get some fireball collision and eye growth working soon!
As I continued with development I started thinking more and more about a name for the game. Eventually I chose Euclid’s Dream, drawing the connection between the shapes and his role as the ‘father of geometry’. This made it far easier conceptually to think of the design elements and so I chose a set of colors with the help of Adobe Kuler. I also looked at Google’s Material Design framework to see how their guidelines could help me. It turned out that they were using very simple colors in concert with flat but carefully stratified layers. The idea is that different layers are like different pieces of paper laying on top of each other. Paper is thin and maintains a distinct look to it. I tried to emulate that somewhat with the shadows which simply consisted (in the case of a rectangle) of another rectangle offset and black behind the original shape. This created the illusion of shadow and offered depth. Playing through it at this point I was feeling as though it had become too easy to play. Thus I needed to institute a real means offering challenge. However all I could think of was creating more rectangles as aggressors or altering the speed the rectangles moved. One unexpected aspect of implementing wrapping was that it made the game actually feel quite different. It no longer felt as restrained and was somewhat illusory as it made it seem that there were more objects on the screen. My original plan with difficulty was to add another rectangle when one circle was eaten. However this had its own set of problems as my collision code was linked to the draw function and thus registered multiple collision hits per frame. It meant that the arraylist I had made to hold the rectangles would generate a vast amount on the screen. I tried to use boolean flags to guard against this but I was not so successful. Second I attempted to simply add another rectangle following a ‘win’ by incrementing the total rectangles spawned. In the end I was able to make it work by linking it to mousepressed in a similar fashion to the vehicle code. The mousepress resulted in a single rectangle being added but then either would not stop adding more with each mousepress or would not add more with each successive winning round. So It still annoys me that that part is still so buggy. However, the game looks and feels quite a bit better due to the more carefully considered design this time around.
For this game I was using the code base of the race to the finish group game I completed with Giles. As such I already had much of the game mechanics fleshed out. This meant that when I went to complete the game further, I looked to more aesthetic changes. Thus in my sketchbook I set about creating a different look through the use of shadows. At this point I was looking to create a more three dimensional look to the quite simple geometric shapes and also utilize a more fully featured palette. The previous design incorporated total grayscale elements which now seemed limiting. Therefore there was scope for improvement. In this early stage I wanted to use quite bright colors with a shadowed look. In addition, I wanted to incorporate a few other gameplay features such as wrapping, greater difficulty and clean up the gameloop. Also the original name Chameleon did not really fit the original grayscale game and so I decided to change that too.
So once I added an extra obstacle to the game I had successfully finished the “build it” phase of my game cycle. I like to condense a game making cycle into three main phases; build it, break it and fix it. The build it phase is the most straight forward, make your game. The break it phase is when you add new objects or functions to the game that probably won’t work well. That’s where the fix it stage comes in, you make this new code with the new function work, and before you know it your back at the build it stage. I completed the first build it stage of my game by the time of the hider seeker turn in, for conference I focused on the break it and fix it stages for my conference project. Here is my break it list I almost didn’t post this image since it isn’t your standard word press post as it isn’t very visual. However I have found that in the break it phase a change list is the most effective to get your ideas down. Once you have the break it phase done, the fix it stage is the most technical just get your code to work. For attendance the build it break it fix it process was really great for adding a new challenge to the game. I already talked pretty in depth about the process of adding a challenge to the game, but the other big thing was trying to find a way to improve the aesthetics of the game to make it feel less like a novelty game. I found that the music was what made the game feel the most tacky, so I really wanted to change the sound in the game. After adding a challenge, this was the biggest point on my break it list. Luckily adding new sound isn’t too hard so my fix it stage turned out to be pretty short.
After a while I worked with the code, I made the necessary changes for standoff to be a better game. At first I changed the color. The background is a dark grey bluish color and the cop(player/triangle) is black while the vigilante(square) is red. The hostages are still white at the meantime. Secondly I fixed all the mistakes that made standoff not to run on a tablet now it works. It was a mistake with “init()” function that wouldn’t make it run on a tablet and it was fixed while I discovered after I attentively read the printouts. Last thing I adjusted was the shooting line. I’ve created a line when the cop(player) hits either of the targets. I have made its “strokeWeight()” big so it looks like he kind of caught him with a whip. There was still something I could not figure out. I used loop to make different cases so it would restart the game. The RESTART level worked so the start page would come back again after you tap it but the game would not restart it would just the bring the old game screen wherever its left from the previous time. I feel accomplished a lot with this game so far but I think it can still be better.
For my conference project I decided to continue working with my hider seeker group game. The main reason I did this was that given this was my first experience with programming I felt that my most recent work was my best. However there was still work to be done to improve the overall experience of the game. The first thing I knew I had to add to improve the the game was adding an extra obstacle. I knew that simply racing against the clock wasn’t the most fun mechanic and I needed something else, a new choice for the player. So I toyed around with a couple of ideas for an extra obstacle in my game. The first idea I had was to have a door that opened and shut so you would have to time when the students would cross, but you couldn’t take too long because the teacher was coming. I liked this idea because it really put the timer in the players hands. If they chose to rush through the door they ran the risk of getting caught and losing, but if they made it they would have more than enough time left on the timer to reach the desks. On the other side if the player is too cautious at the door they run the risk of not getting to the desks in time. The downside of this design was that even though it added some player choice, it was still pretty one dimensional choice, “go” or “don’t go”. While I liked the opening and closing door idea, it fell short of really substantive player choice. So I went back to the drawing board to try and come up with an idea that would add even more choice to my game. The idea I had was a principle who wanders the halls attempting to catch tardy students. So I gave the idea a rough sketch I really liked the idea of not just the teacher but the whole school trying to catch these students being late. That concept was definitely the take away from this sketch it added a great game feel of an us against the world mentality. My only concern with this design was that it was too easy to just dodge one obstacle, even if it had free movement. I know that more doesn’t mean better, its one of the basic rules of design. But for this specific game I really wanted to bring out this us against the world feel in the player. So i think in this circumstance having more did improve the overall feel of the game So here I added multiple obstacles and changed the name from principle to hall monitors. This I think was the perfect obstacle for this game, it provided the player with multiple pathways to victory and a go don’t go decision as the timed the monitors movements. I really think that this design allows players to say “oh that didn’t work let me try this way”. Which I think is what every game designer should want their player to say while playing their game. Here is a screenshot of the game with the hall monitors
I felt there was really something to Eclipse as soon as I threw it on the tablet. I spent a good half hour playing it, seeing how tiny the circles might become. Some other people also played it, and they also were quite motivated to play for a while. However, some concerns were expressed. First, the “random” probably wasn’t quite right for the game. (If one kept the circle in the middle long enough, the roamer would almost always find its mark.) Along with the centering issue, multiple people commented that it became more and more frustrating as you played and the circle got smaller. While it led to an intuitive goal, there was no end. One could perceivably go until the the roamer was but a pixel, but that would take an inordinate amount of patience and effort, and wouldn’t be fun in the slightest. This ended in people suggesting to give the game an end, and to have some sort of scoring. That proved difficult, however, so first I worked on the randomness of the roamer, and thought about adding things such as a timer, some sound, and some color. The timer felt cheap, though, and I couldn’t find good music or sounds to go with Eclipse, so I focused on color. But it turns out that the overlapping wasn’t as easily coded as it seemed in my head. Not to be discouraged, I decided to add some more features, hoping that something would yield new insight into how to make this a more fun game. After I added some extra circles for the sake of of adding colors, though… I came to realize that I probably should have just kept things simple, and perhaps started a new game for conference instead.
My inspiration for the game “A Cup of Rain” comes from my window in a rainy day: small rain drops were sliding slowly, and when they ran into other drops, they would form a flow . Besides seeing this beautiful process taken place naturally, you can also use your finger to connect raindrops and create a flow . I had this idea of simulating rain from very early on, but I did not think of turning it into a game. During the most part of this semester, I have been working on other games and prototypes. The only thing that came close to this idea is a game I wrote at the beginning of the semester called “Color Rain.” Though it is also a game about rain, the concept was very different.
Color Rain, version 1
Color Rain, version 2When I started conceptualizing this game, the playing mechanics was totally different. I imagined the play drawing lines from drop to drop, and, through color matching, create some special effects. When actually coding, I became interested in other forms of interaction, so I gradually changed the mechanics. Now tapping is the major game play mechanics, and through tapping, several different effects will take place.
I decided to look into Beads for audio generation within Processing. From the early stages of prototyping my seeking particle system (shown below), I found that I craved some sort of sound-representation of the particle motion onscreen; rather than designing sound first and then adding visuals, I decided I would generate audio based on visuals. I had the initial idea that I could use Beads to generate individual sine waves (and a series of harmonics) for each particle onscreen, and map the frequency of the sine wave to be based on the position of the particle from left to right. This ended up being less musical than I was hoping. Lots of different frequencies generated together sounds like wind or surf (and synthesizers use noise generators to accomplish the synthesis of these sounds). I was hoping for something a bit more musical, and I was hoping to be able to distinguish pure notes. I brainstormed a bit and then realized if I divided the screen up into sections, I could form a musical keyboard over the screen, and if I tweaked the harmonic relationships of the sections, I would be able to generate harmonies between the particles, even if they were far apart. This ended up working better than I expected! I began at this point to tweak what I had in order to obtain a game feel I was happier with. I was also playtesting from the perspective of wanting it to be a viable instrument… An instrument you could play with and get lost in, or that someone might want to sample from.
After some hard programming we finally have a functioning game that we will go to playtest in the class. So we have that interface I posted in my last post, but now we have an official lose state and win state. And we figured away around circle to triangle collision. For each vehicle we have a circle that travels with it. That circle interacts with the in place circles so that we could do circle to circle collision. For our win and lose states we had a little fun and had our teacher be Angela. If you won the game, Angela would come out and say “Glad to see you’re all in your seats.” But if you lost, Angela would come out and say “This will be reflected in your evaluation.” With these states we also added a win sound and a lose sound. For some fun as well we added the Benny Hill Theme Song as our background music.
I am sticking with my original idea of conference project, doing a series of sticker labels. My first sticker project of IKEA is to deliver the message of using forced labor in major companies. It was sort of serious and political. So, for my second attempt, I want to do something closer to my individual life. After reading Wodivzko’s Strategies of Public Address, he characterize the strategies of public art has very little to do with social practice. Art in public places want to protect the bureaucratic aestheticism, separate the artist practice from critical public issues, and then imposing the purified practice on bureaucratic exhibitionism. I feel like his description sort of fit in to my idea of my sticker label project. I focused more on things that are closer to my daily life and the autonomy of art. I consider my project as an example of liberal urban decoration. Here are some sketches of my initials and labels:
Here are images of the materials I have added to my project. I chose these lights because they are cordless and create a calming atmosphere. I am in a bit of a waiting game now because my hula hoop has not yet come in the mail. I’m going to use the tape shown to cover the hoop. and the other materials will hang from the hoop. My current plan is to install my project on monday (dec 8) because my hoop is supposed to arrive on friday. It is somewhat frustrating to not be able to put together the project just because I am missing an integral piece which is central to its construction. After our discussion before the break about the Beach Beneath the Street I have been thinking more about what my project means in the context of the situationists. This is important to me because I have always conceptualized my project in the context of creating a unique situation through the engagement of passersby with the space I have created with the tent. It is important to me that it is not a purely visual piece because the ‘situation’ is created through the experience of being inside the tent and moving from one, very static, bland space, to one of relaxation and creativity. To this end I have been thinking about how I can make my tent an inviting space. One idea I have about making this space accessible is to hang a sign over the entry which might invite people in. I have been thinking about how to relate it to the community in light hearted ways for example a sign saying ‘conference-free zone’ or something of that nature. Once I have installed my project I will have a better sense of whether it appears inviting or not.
Bug Spotter has been going fairly well since I laid out the initial concept. I will likely have to simplify further as I get deeper into coding, but I have been focusing primarily on getting the visuals right (as that tends to be the most pain-staking process for me). The flower, the bee, and the bug are all looking good so far! I’m trying to keep the visuals very simple, almost like a little kid’s crayon drawing come to life. To achieve that end, I stuck to simple round shapes (even the bee’s stripe isn’t rectangular), and washed-out primary colors.
This is a sketch for my infographic – I chose the information that seemed most interesting from the data I’d gathered, and drafted a few rough layouts. Then I made sure that each segment, or chunk of information, had a visual representation. After that, I played around with fonts and colors, and decided on a red/black/white color scheme. For the left column, which is dedicated to newspapers, I’m going to use a newsprint colored-background and Typewriter font. For the rest of the infographic, which focuses on digital, I’m using a modern Sans Serif font called Trench, in three different weights. I’m worried that it still looks a little text heavy, but I’m hoping that it’ll come together with the charts and logos and different colors and fonts. Chip Kidd’s book has been really helpful to me in the design process. The next step is replicating my sketch on Illustrator. After that, I’ll test out the printing on transparency and regular paper.
So I’ve been working on my audio intervention project by pursuing a couple different parallel threads – – The Physical aspect -My project will need speakers to work, small, portable speakers that can be placed underneath tables and on walls easily. I have a few options, and while i would prefer that the speakers be as hidden as possible–the aesthetic of the project should be determined by the audio, the physical shape of the audio vessel is of minimal importance. -Audio aspect 1 – I’ve developed a few tracks that specialize in Atmospheric narrative. These are essentially test-runs, running these would achieve a basic version of what eventually i hope to do with this project. here’s what the WIP looks like in ableton I put a focus on modulation and decay for these tracks ^This affect is called Tape Hiss, and it digitally imbues the sound with the quality of decaying tape. I use it on my synths to increase the atmospheric narrative, it rises and falls with each note played on the synth. Modulation of this and other effects is essential to the project. -Audio Aspect 2 -Once i have my tracks finished, I’ll break them up into stems, which will then be edited to interact with one another separately and evolve independently, in different areas of space. Imagine one of these tracks with all the instruments coming at you from different places and with different, evolving textures.