Chromatic Induction Dual Frequency Permutation Lithograph by Carlos Cruz-Diez.
Serie Semana – Martes Lithograph by Carlos Cruz-Diez
Carlos himself in his “Chromosaturation” light installation at the University of Essex (he’s too cool!)For my conference project, I created 10 animated gifs that focus on color, line, and viewer perception. I strived to manipulate viewer perception by creating movement/moire effects, as well as, an interference of colors. This first gif is one that I wanted to be informative, as I am learning about color theory through this project and hope to teach someone else something new as well. The blue lines are above a moving gradient from orange to green. When the gradient passes through the blue lines the wavelength of the blue interferences with the gradient, producing a new gradient from pink to light blue. Blue + Orange = Pink Blue + Green = Cyan I didn’t want the lines to cover the entire canvas so that the viewer could understand what was really happening in this gif. This gif actually came from work I did in analog form. I had silkscreened a print that had the pink, yellow, and cyan interference and here I greatly expanded upon it and animated it! Though one of my more simpler gifs, I like this one the best. Maybe because I get to see my work translated from analog to digital form, which is cool. But I also like this one because it’s informative if you really study it and produces one of the most successful interferences (of my conference) in my opinion. I also noticed that black works best when creating color interferences. It defines the other colors more and makes them more pronounce. The next three gifs were created by overlapping different color tiles that I made. Though I only rotated between 4 different colored tiles (red, orange, green, and blue), dependent on which ones were used and the background, an large array of different effects and combinations were created. This gif was created just by overlapping red and green. Who knew it would produce a yellow color?! It was best executed on a black background. I had made the same gif with a white background but the color interference wasn’t as strong. There are only two layers interfering and just in a horizontal direction but the constant motion makes it feel as if there is more dimension than is actually present. I was pleased that this gif (and the following two) had both interference and a moire effect. I created this gif by placing a green and blue tile over a gradient of red to orange. This combination produced an entire array of colors that feel very 60’s to me but also remind me of Easter morning. Everything is moving at the same speed, but the way the tiles interact with each other feel as if some parts are moving faster or slower than others. Due to the order I overlaid the tiles, some interferences appear in disappear which is neat. This one, for me, is somehow offputting and striking at the same time. The colors are horrendous in my opinion, but there’s just so much visually going on! This is the culmination of all four tiles (red, orange, green, and blue) interacting with each other over a black background and moving in both the horizontal and vertical direction. Here in this gif the two outer boxes reveal what’s interacting in the center. I like this gif particularly because it switches between interferences making you perceive a color and you seeing that actual color. It’s also one of the more dynamic gifs I made that you don’t have to turn away from. To me, it’s quite soothing, though it was the most difficult to make. Each box is a separate gif that I made into that pattern. Some boxes cave in and some boxes push out. There’s variance without it being overbearing. Here I have rows of arrows crossing over a pattern. The interference here is created not by the colors crossing over another or just existing beside each other, but through the movement of the arrows over the pattern. The colors used were magenta, red-orange, and cyan. The best interference is in the middle where the arrow moves over all three colors. Though I will have to say that to see the best effect one should be standing a bit farther away in order to see the full interference. That’s the thing though I guess about the entire project. These interferences work best on a smaller scale. All of my gifs are parts of larger scale work I made that I scaled way down and multiplied! The funny part is the best stills of the gifs are my thumbnails. You really experience the full effect. This gif kind of happened by accident and through the most trial and errors of any of the gifs I’ve made. I think I have 5 other versions of this gif. I liked this one best due to this particular moire effect. It reminds me of a kaleidoscope! It’s a combination of pieces of a gif I made that had a black tile over a pattern of blue, hot pink, green and black lines. When studying more about color theory and interferences I looked into the color additive model. When red, green, and blue (RGB) light intersect one another they produce white (the combination of all colors). I was then super determined to see if I could produce a white pattern and gif just by using RGB. I was sadly, but also thankfully mistaken. The geometric shape I made at the center of the gif consists of several layers of an RGB gif I made. I thought if I could get the lines minuscule enough it would produce the effect I wanted. Instead of white, it produced a rainbow spectrum (which in turn actually makes sense)! I juxtaposed the shape in front of a rotating background of black and white lines. Since the shape is in the foreground and the background is rotating so fast, the lines almost look like they’re producing their own moire effect even though they’re not interacting with any overlapping lines themselves or scaling in size. I expanded more on RGB with this next and final gif. I think it shows both the RGB pattern but also the rainbow interference that is produced due to the moire effect in this gif. This project was both wonderful and hard. It pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I was forced to use color! I don’t like to think I’m an artist or designer who is afraid of color, but there does seem to be a general black and white theme in my work across all forms. This project allowed me to learn about art history, color theory and produce an array of colors in my work, all things I never really did before. It was rewarding to be inspired by analog forms of art, especially as someone who prints and illustrates, and have that translate and breathe new life into my digital work.
The player did not behave as expected.
The playtest did not go as expected. The player elected to resort to violence almost immediately, taking the knife from the house on the first day. They tried to cut down one of the bushes outside their house, an action that I declined, and then went on to murder the convenience store clerk. They then took the gun and used it to murder the only townsperson with the clowns. Because no one but the clowns witnessed these crimes, the player was not immediately arrested. The player then proceeded to kill both clowns and went home. They asked if they could kill themselves, an eventuality I had not anticipated. I declined their request. The police officer arrived at their home, and they murdered the police officer (whom I had neglected to provide with a weapon). As there were no more possible actions, I ended the game at this point.
The player killed every other character in the game on the first day.
The most striking lesson from this playtest was undoubtedly the tendency of players to test the limits of your system. I expected the player to behave within the bounds of normal social behavior, and expected them to resort to violence only in the later stages of the game, if ever. In retrospect this was an unbelievably foolhardy assumption. That being said, although I was taken by surprise and unsure of how the system would respond in a couple of cases (killing the only spectator in front of the clowns, for example; do the clowns call the police? I decided no), overall I was able to extrapolate a response from the rules I had laid down for the world. The fact that an unexpected narrative emerged from the system I had created feels like something of a triumph, and, in my opinion, led to this iteration being feeling much more “alive” than the last where the player’s actions were much more severely limited.
I also realized a short way into the playtest that I had not given ample consideration to the tendency of players to experiment with any interactive game object they are presented with. I expected the player to take an initially non-violent approach, but the only obviously interactive objects I provided them with were implements of violence. If I were to do a third iteration on this game, I would be tempted to hide the weapon objects from the player somewhat and provide them with interactive objects that might encourage them to explore other avenues.
It is also worth noting that the bed object did not give any indications as to its interactivity, and although this issue did not impact the playtest, it would likely have proved to be a stumbling block for any player that did attempt a nonviolent approach.
The beginning of the game.
My first paper prototype was based on the flash fiction piece War of the Clowns. The piece tells the story of two clowns who carry out a mock argument and battle in a public space in a city. Eventually their conflict inspires so much sentiment in the spectators that the community self destructs and they make off with the townspeople’s money. My game allowed the player to take on the role of one of the clowns, choosing from a set of three actions for their character to carry out. By choosing the correct actions, it was possible to gather spectators and eventually cause them to fight each other. More chaos resulted in the spectators dropping more coins, which the player could collect. The game ended when all of the spectators were dead or had fled the scene.
The player throws a pie to gain spectators.
Visually, I wanted to communicate the emotion of the story from the clowns’ perspective. I attempted to visually distinguish in show their importance both through their size and their level of detail compared to the faceless spectators. I opted for a simple, superficially friendly but distorted representation of their facial features in an attempt to communicate their jubilation and appeal from the perspective of the spectators while also indicating the distorted nature of their personalities.
The playtest itself showed the design to be successful in that the player seemed to be able to grasp fairly intuitively how to play the game, although the nuances of how the player’s actions caused a reaction in the spectators could have perhaps been clearer. The player showed a tendency to choose the “bat” option fairly early, causing the spectators to kill each other before they had fully amassed. The player also showed in interesting an unexpected tendency to attack the spectators directly.
The end of the game.
In retrospect I feel as though the options provided to the player were overly limiting. In attempting to remain faithful to the source material I ended up restricting the player to a narrow range of actions and outcomes. Given that the player seemed to express destructive tendencies even beyond what the clowns did in the story, it would be interesting to leave the player with a few more options and a little less guidance, and allow them to stumble upon the destructive outcome of the game naturally. Ultimately, I feel that increased player agency in this game might have functioned to create a more empathetic understanding of the situation from the clowns’ point of view.
The Gumiho title screen. I wanted a font that was elegant but unpretentious.
One of the biggest challenges of creating Gumiho has been learning all the skills and tools necessary to realize my vision for the game. Creating the game involved work in Animate, Photoshop, Unity (and Unity C#), Audacity, and Garage Band, all tools I was completely unfamiliar with before starting the project. Learning to produce the results I wanted using these tools and my rudimentary art, coding, and sound design skills has proven to be quite challenging and has involved a lot of trial, error, and reference to tutorials.
Gumiho’s first scene. The environment in this scene ended up changing quite a bit from the paper prototype. Ultimately, I felt as though the “shrine” setting fit the narrative better than the more mundane rural setting that I had originally planned on using, and created some interesting ambiguity in the relationship between the PC (left) and the NPC (right).Creating the art assets was one of the most time consuming aspects of the process. Most of the art was created using flash, and it took me some time to figure out how to achieve the aesthetic I was aiming for within the program. Ultimately I’m fairly happy with what I achieved, although the majority of the sprites, with the exception of the PC in the first scene, are currently lacking animation. Although the PC’s animation is functional, it lacks the fluidity I was hoping to achieve.
The game’s platforming sequence. I had some difficulty with this scene. I knew how I wanted to present the narrative through gameplay, but I couldn’t figure out what the platforms should look like. Ultimately, I decided to borrow from Buddhist symbolism. The lotus flowers, representing the potential for an individual to attain purity despite murky surroundings, felt like an appropriate visual accompaniment to the teardrops that lead to the “PC death” ending.
Unlike the opening scene, which proved to be fairly straightforward to code and was primarily challenging from a visual perspective, the platforming sequence was something of a technical challenge. Originally, my intention was to make the heart and tear holding platforms spawn in “sets,” with the higher platform being smaller and holding a teardrop, while the lower platform was larger and held a heart. The platforms were to be placed at varying heights. This design proved difficult to implement, and I eventually settled on a simpler solution in which most of the platforms spawn at a fixed height close the the bottom of the screen, and the tear platforms spawn at a second fixed height close to the top. They no longer spawn in sets, and the rate of occurrence is simply randomized based on a variable the determines how often they will spawn.
The first time the player kills the NPC, as evidenced by the single filled in heart in the tracker in the upper left. This scene loads after the player has collected enough hearts in the platforming sequence.
The “PC death” ending. Art not final.
Overall I’m fairly happy with the state of Gumiho, although it will be difficult to know to what degree I succeeded in achieving my original goals for the game until I’ve successfully linked up all the scenes (some lingering issues remain with the code that controls fading from one scene to the next) and tested it on fresh players who are unfamiliar with the narrative. The project has proven to be quite challenging in almost all aspects, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot and can’t wait to finish this game and move on to the next one! Thanks to all my classmates for providing great feedback on my game throughout the development process, and to Angela for teaching such an amazing class!