Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Follow the Bouncing Ball

Blah, blah, I'm the world's worst blogger, insincere apology, false promises, la, la, la. Great, now that that stuff's out of the way, let's look at some terrible videos.

Animation is one of those spooky, mystical things that's always amazed me. Throughout most of my life, I've lived with the assumption that drawing moving pictures was that sort of thing that either required the sale of one's soul/first born/voice to the devil/mafia/Sea Witch, or involved direct exposure to a high volume of luminescent radioactive material. I had heard tales of ordinary mortals acquiring the power to draw a set of sequential images, but I never thought it would happen to me.

I'm now three weeks into an animation course and I've learned that animating is actually quite easy. Animating anything that isn't completely awful, on the other hand, would cost me the ability to play Hey You, Pikachu! And I love Hey You, Pikachu!*

So I'm a lousy animator for now. At the same time, being able to make stuff move around on a screen is pretty neat. Here's some garbage I threw together over the last week:

* Hey You, Pikachu! requires possession of a soul. It might also be a good idea to have a young child around if you're the sort of person who feels funny about yelling at a Nintendo 64 controller.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Have Always Liked "Cowabunga!"

After all my yakking about this new thing I'm writing, it looks like I'll be putting off that subject until tomorrow. There's bigger news afoot today.

Edit: On second look, this is actually old news, but if you haven't heard it, it's new to you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Games and Stories: An Introduction

If you've read the title of today's post, it's likely you're bored already, and that bit at the end about this being the first in a series means you're anticipating boredom yet to come. I started this blog as a way of keeping in touch with my friends and family, people generally not much interested in topics like video game analysis. That said, the purpose of this blog is to keep you informed on what's happening in my world. The relationship of games and stories has always held a strong draw for me, and as I advance through school and come closer to professional gamemaking, I find it becoming more and more significant to my life.

So, yeah, this somewhat indulgent (it is a blog, after all). This is for me more than anyone else. I'm sorting my thoughts because it will benefit me to have a concrete guide to games and stories as opposed to the free-floating thoughts that have been bouncing through my head for so long. It's also, believe it or not, for those of you without interest in the video game world. Many agree that we are nearing the point of video games becoming an accepted artistic medium. Movies weren't always given the reverence they enjoy today. Rock 'n' roll was long feared. You're on the Internet right now. You likely log on daily - ten years ago, did you honestly believe the Web would become a routine part of your life?

I'm writing this as a beginner's guide. An introduction. Most of my readers (I have readers, right?) are completely unfamiliar with the link between games and stories. I'm keeping you in mind as I write this, but even if I was writing for the current masters of gamemaking, this would still be a begginer's introduction. No one knows what they're doing yet.

This will be an ongoing series. I may drop the discussion for weeks or months at a time. This is a field that's still in its infancy, so I doubt there will be a definitive end.

If you're still bored now... I can't blame you. If I might break the fourth wall, I feel this is coming across as a bit dry and dull. I think that has more to do with me than with the subject. I'm just a dull person at the moment. Sorry. But seriously, this is gonna rock! Let's get excited! I'm going to list some thesis-y questions! That's awesome, right? How can you not be psyched?

What is a story?
What is a game?
How does story add to/detract from gameplay?
Why tell stories in games?
Are these all the big question I can think of for now?
Then I guess I'll wrap this up?
You do that?
Okay, I will?
Is this going to be boring?
Man, I hope not?
But, yeah, maybe?
Seriously, you guys, just give me a shot with this?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Schoooooooooool's! In! For! Autumn!

Nooooooo mooooore summmmmmer, waaaaaaaaaay mooooooooore bloggggggggggging. Maybe. I mean, definitely no more summer; probably more blogging. We'll see how it goes. I'm not ready to commit to another contest just yet, but I'm trying to give it a bit of effort. Not too much. As you've likely surmised. I'm keeping it boring tonight. Which is fine. You filthy, starving dogs will happily scarf down whatever scraps I throw to you.

I had a thought recently about the word "blog." It's tough for me to take any Internet-age term seriously: blog, vlog, lol, rofl, roflcopter... ugh. The list goes on and on, but that's about as much as I can stand. Yes, we're all aware that "google" is a dictionary-approved word, but that doesn't mean I have to like it (or that you have to keep reminding me).

At the same time, all of these things have become a mostly-accepted part of my life. This may surprise you, but I blogged this mini-rant. Does it bother anyone else that we've been so inundated with stupid terms? Website - no problem. Personal Website - a little irksome, but I suppose it's a fair distinction. Blog - I want to stab a koala in the eye. A baby a koala. A cute one.

So here's the thought - was there ever a point in the past where people raised an objection to the word "novel?" What's wrong with "book?" "Narrative book?" Are we too good for books? Personally, I find the word "novel" a little pretentious.

Alright, that wasn't very insightful or thought-provoking. Pretty forced, really. Gimmie a break. I'm settling back into my groove. Let me try again...

Oh, here's sort of an announcement, though word's already leaked to quite a few people: I'm starting an improv comedy club at DigiPen. That should make the school year a bit more interesting, assuming there's enough time and enthusiasm to keep the club afloat. We will see how this goes. If anyone out there in the blogosphere has ever founded or joined an improv/comedy start-up and has any stories or advice to share, please do!

Monday, September 1, 2008


You know in "Pocahontas" when Mel Gibson tells Thomas to keep both eyes open when he shoots because he'll see "twice as well"? That's really stupid. I'm pretty sure it's been at least five years since I last saw that movie, and I'm still upset by just how dumb that is.