Author: carlottaclaire

Au Revoir COMM-3444

I cannot believe this semester is already over. As we prepare ourselves to a much deserved break let’s take a quick look back at this semester. Here are my reflections on what I have learned through the various assignments this semester.

For my DIY project I created a cloud lamp with polyfill, string lights and hot glue. I had never really been that crafty before. This project thought me how to research and do things on my own, by looking at tutorials and getting inspired by other people that created things similar to the ones I wanted to do. As I said back in September this project was an emotional booster for what was to come during the rest of the semester semester.  Here’s the link to “I completed my DIY therefore I can code

Through the animation project I learned how to express my creativity inside a computer. I familiarized with Adobe Animate by creating my animation called “Spinning on Repeat.” This second project was a good middle ground that lead us into our 1st game.

My platform game, Pigeon Slayer, was probably the most fun and challenging thing I did this semester. I improved my skills in the Adobe Suite as I used Animate and Illustrator to create almost all of my assets, and I also incremented my learning of the basics of visual coding in Construct2. Here’s the link to play Pigeon Slayer on the Scirra Arcade!

My final game, Master of Masters, although created in a short and busy time of the year is what really made me understand that what we have done this semester is an ongoing project. Like for my DIY I tried doing as much research as possible before crating the actual game. As I said in the previous blog post, Master of Masters is nowhere near completed. I am sure that I will go back and not only perfect it but also enhance the platform game and animation created during the semester. There is always space for improvement! Now I am left with three projects that were conceptualized in a short amount of time but that I can always go back and improve during the years. Here’s the link to play Master of Masters in the Scirra Arcade!

The artistic process and sensibility that this class required was one of the things I enjoyed the most. Seeing how everyone approached assignments in such a different way and looking at their creations was really inspiring and fun. I will admit that I struggled many times to understand the more difficult things that this class taught which included programming. I also acknowledge that I could have taken more risks in order to learn more during the semester. Overall, now I feel more confident I think that this class was a great base for other things that I will do in life. In fact, this whole class can be considered an emotional booster! It taught me not to give up as soon as a problem is presents, but rather to approach the issue in different ways until the solution is found. Because much of the material was unfamiliar to me it taught me to ask for other people’s help and opinions. Finally, what the most important thing that this class reminded me of was that the learning experience doesn’t finish here at the end of a semester. All of us have actual proofs of our work that we can and should continue to better sooner or later, and I surely plan to do so. So by for now comm3444!

 

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Master of Masters

Game Design Document: Master of Masters 1.0

  1. Overall vision
    1. Summary. Master of Masters is an art history trivia game. It allows the players to test themselves and their knowledge on the great masters of art. The player will be able to admire works from the classic to the more modern and contemporary masters. The game purposefully defines masters all those who have contributed in creating big and innovative statements (for their time) through their art.
    2.   Genre.  Master of Masters falls into the trivia genre. It is an art history quiz game, which asks the player to identify the master of the work he is presented with, through one simple question: “Who is the master of this artwork?”.
    3. Target audience. There is no particular target audience. Most presumably people that enjoy art and like to test themselves could be considered Master of Masters’ ideal target audience.
  2. Mechanics: Rules of the game world
    1. Character goals. You are your own character. The game is designed as if player was inside a gallery/museum and no plaques are next to the artwork. Therefore, he/she has to guess who is the master of the artwork.
    2. Abilities. There are no characters presented on the screen, as the players themselves are the characters of the game. Therefore, the player is simply required to respond correctly to the answers. Also feedback with the correct answer will be displayed after the answer is given, to reinforce the players’ knowledge or show them the correct answer. Fun facts are going to be added in the future version in order increment the learning experience while playing Master of Masters.
    3. Obstacles. The only obstacle that the player has to overcome is his/her own memory and knowledge. In fact, most of the art pieces displayed in the beta version are really well renown. The player has to decide among the four options which one is the right answer, some are trickier than others.
    4. Resources. Lives are called attempts in Master of Masters. For now, out of the 20 questions the player has 3 attempts to get wrong. After that the game over page will be displayed, and the player will be offered the option to play again.
  3. Dynamics: Interaction between player and the game
    1. User interaction. Master of Masters is a touch or click based game. You can play it on your laptop or on your phone. There is no tutorial page as the game results pretty self-explanatory.
    2. Proficiency. The player is asked to develop his artistic sensibility as he plays. Memory will be refined as well.
    3. Gameplay data. The gameplay data used in Master of Masters consists in points that are collected into the “score” UI, and health showcased by the “attempts” UI. Both are changing text variables that are able to store the information during each play.
    4. Controlling the game. There is a “play” button in the splash page and a “play again” button in the game over page. Because there were not many questions we at Master of Master decided not to insert an escape button for this first beta version, surely one will be present in the second version.
  4. Aesthetics
    1. Overall. The aesthetics of the game should immerse the player in some sort of gallery or museum where all the great masters are represented through their art.
    2. Game art. The art appears to be realistic as the setting calls in mind a gallery.
    3. Sound. There is an engaging background music that plays throughout the whole game.
    4. Plot. Master of Masters is able to create an ideal setting where the players can view and admire famous art pieces by challenging themselves and responding to questions. Fun fact some of the paintings are not the most famous by that artist. Some in fact are my personal favorite, like Danae by Titian was one of the paintings I got to analyze up close at the museum of Capodimonte in Naples where I interned in this summer. The artworks that are not the most famous works of there masters, are still recognizable thanks to their style.
    5. Emotional state. The emotional state that the game is able to provoke in the player is of extreme gratification once the player gets the answer right. Most of the paintings are well renown in the visual imagery but not always we are able to connect them to their masters.
    6. Fun.  The gratification that Master of Masters is able to generate comes competing against ourselves and our own memory. As the title suggests you can become the master of masters by getting all the answers right. For now, the game has no congratulation page as getting only 20 paintings right cannot fully define you master of masters.
  5. Credits

Master of Master did not include many assets that were taken from other sites. The majority of the assets, such as the titles, the various texts objects and the splash page, were created on Photoshop and Animate. The images of the artwork are all to be considered public domain. The engaging background song was curtesy of https://freesound.org

  1. Reflection

Master of Masters was purposefully thought out to be realized during finals where I knew I would not have much time to do something with a bigger scope. I also decided to realize this game because it can be easily incremented. As an art history major I am required to memorize artist, date and name of a lot of artpieces I study in my classes. To memorize all this information, I usually use Quizlet. I thought that a trivia game based on really renown paintings would be of large appeal. As soon as I decided what type of game I was going to develop for this final project, I went online and found some very useful tutorials.

Probably the biggest issue came when I had to figure out how to call through code the image that I wanted to display with the question. I definitely plan on incrementing the game. I think I should add a congratulation page at the very end if one is able to get all the answers right. The more I play it the more things I think about adding in the future. Surely, I plan to have more questions than the ones that are displayed. So each time one players he/she is confronted with new questions. I am aware that this game could be much better, but as I said I am viewing it as the beta version that helped me understand what works and what doesn’t. Overall, I enjoyed choosing this format, as it gives me the opportunity to really develop Master of Masters fully over time. In fact, the more I think about it the more options I want to add to it. I plan to improve this game and my previous one during the course of next semester. Once I figure out other types of questions to ask during the game, the next thing I want to learn on Constryuct2 is how to randomize the types of questions throughout the play.

(note: the screenshot was taken in safari where the text of the question doesn’t always change. As a consequence the text results cut out as the full question should be “Who is the master of this artwork?”)

Click here to play Master of Masters 🙂

Pigeon Slayer

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 5.22.03 PM

Pigeon Slayer Level 1. In the foreground you can notice a pigeon ready to attack. The player might decide to escape of jump on her enemy. 

Game Design Document: Pigeon Slayer

  1. Overall vision
    •  Summary. I was inspired to create this game because the thing that scares me the most in life are pigeons. I thought it would be therapeutic to have a game where my character could defeat my sworn enemies, so I created a game where the main character (that looks a lot like me) has to kill pigeons.
    •        Genre. this game falls under the category of ‘Hero slay Monster’ (= Carlotta slay pigeons).  
    •         Target audience. This game is mainly targeted towards those who are affected by ornithophobia, even more so towards those who are terrified by pigeons. People who are also interested in defeating flying enemies might enjoy this game.
  2. Mechanics: Rules of the game world
    •         Character goals. The player’s main goal is to kill pigeons. In the first level, you mainly focus on escape and can only kill the pigeons by jumping on them. In the second level, you can use the axe that you collected previously to kill the pigeons and eventually defeat the boss pigeon.
    •        Abilities. The character can stand, walk, jump and use her axe.
    •         ObstaclesThe main obstacles of the game are the pigeons. They follow you as soon as you enter in their line of sight, which is quite terrifying, if you don’t kill them they will kill you.
    •        Items. The only objects you can collect are flowers that have been blown off the trees in the far bottom, if you collect these objects you get a point for each one. You can also collect an axe that you will use in the second level, and a potion that will change your size and help you defeat the final ginormous pigeon.
    •    Resources. You have only 5 lives and each flower gives you one point. If you pick-up the potion you grow in size and are able to defeat the final pigeon.
  1. Dynamics: Interaction between player and the game
    •         User interaction. There is no tutorial, so they player will have to discover on his own how to play. Thankfully it is pretty straightforward as the arrow keys are used for movement and the spacebar is used to operate the axe.     
    •    Proficiency. Practice is one of the proficiencies you need for progressing in this game.
    •         Gameplay data. Texts display gameplay data like lives at the right of the screen, score at the left and in the first level there is the ‘survival objects’ box at the bottom.
    •        Controlling the game. Conveniently, you can stop the game anytime by pressing Esc. There are also handy keys that you can press to restart the level (R) or (P) to start the 1st level.
  2. Aesthetics
    •         Overall. In no more than two sentences, describe the style and feel of the game.
    •        Game artThe feel of the game is fairly realistic, but with cartoonish graphics. All of the colors are pretty bright and there aren’t many shadows as the game is primarily 2D.
    •         Sound. There are different sounds played during the game. Only one ambient sound is present at the winner page: Since it is a serene tone (sound of nature), it helps reinforce the idea that you, the player, as a winner of Pigeon Slayer, have made the world a better place now. The other tones are a yell, which occurs every time a pigeon touches my character, and a gentle plucking tone that occurs when the character picks up the flowers.
    •        Plot. The backstory of this game is the hard truth that pigeons are evil and chase you while you are simply walking past them because of their sadistic nature. This game will teach you to never trust pigeons.
    •         Emotional state. If you are easily impressionable this game can be an emotional roller-coaster. The emotional states that this game provokes are: anxiety at the beginning as all the pigeons are suddenly following you, and then relief when you finally defeat both levels.
    •         Fun. Gratifications like destroying your enemies and competition are provided in this game.
  3. Credits

I created most of the things I used in my game, such as my character, thanks to separate assets I found on Kenney under the name “Modular Character”. Using pre-existing assets that I ‘simply’ had to modify was a r

 

eally good compromise, as I wanted to create some of the game art myself but also did not have that much time to do so. Using the vector files of premade arms, faces and body shapes. I still probably spent too much time on creating my character and all of its movements. I also recycled some of the assets I created for my previous animation project “Spinning on Repeat.” All the other assets I found by searching on google sprites for the objects I wanted and going to the image’s sites. I found the pigeon in chapmanworld.com . The backgrounds are simple images from google and the little crates I found in this great game packet on opengameart.com. The sounds is courtesy of the site  www.freesound.org and some also come from the same opengameart packet.

  1.  

    Reflection

The hardest part of creating Pigeon Slayer was probably making the pigeons follow my character. I will admit that I did not budget my time well enough for this game. I spent too much time on the graphics and on the 1st level. Also at the beginning, I was trying to build the second level vertically. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so because the 

 

window options are the same for the whole project and not for the single layouts. I will try to discover if it is possible and I might integrate this feature in my final game.

Finally, thanks to this project I have discovered and learned a variety of things that are useful in construct 2 just by experimenting. For example, the most exciting thing I found is that if you use different layers and alternate their parallaxes’ you can create depth in your game. This really enhances your game’s aesthetics. I will surely use this technique for my final project, and many other things that I have learned simply thanks to trial and error. I am incredibly excited for what is to come in the next month! The next game I would like to do would be a story based game. Another fun option would be a multi task game where every level the game asks you to do something different in order to reach your final goal.

 

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UI You Win Page of Pigeon Slayer. After playing such a strenuous battle the game offers  to the winner a quite rewarding final page. 

 

Here’s the link: http://transmedia.trinity.edu/~cdebelli/PigeonSlayer/

PS: I wasn’t able to export the debugged version. Every time I tried Construct would freeze and I had to do “end task.”

Also, if you are thinking that this is not a real phobia here’s a post by another person who’s affected that proves that this is a REAL phobia!

 

 

 

 

Spinning on Repeat

My animation is called “Spinning on Repeat”. The project is the story of a cherry blossom that morphs into multiple objects: an origami bird, a kite, and finally a book. While morphing, the object crosses the world, and finds itself traveling from the east to a more ‘western’ setting, a metropolis where the book is found by a girl who is just sitting in a square. The girl opens the book and finds a very familiar scene: a mountain with a cherry blossom, there’s a close up to the book and from there the animation starts again by repeating the first two scenes until the flower spins around. The circularity and how things cross cultures and the world, and in their essence are always the same although they differ slightly (e.g. the flower in the book is not colored) could be part of the animation’s meaning.  I did not start from a definite story but rather I listened to what the song transmitted to me. I was inspired by the Young the Giant concert that I attended the weekend before our storyboards were due. While coming back from the concert I was talking to my two friends Loretta and Mariale about various ideas that would look cool with one of the songs that we listened to the night before. I chose the song “Repeat,” and just by talking on our way back from Houston many ideas came out, and this one seemed both the best and the most accomplishable with my limited experience. One of the hardest parts of this project was that I wanted the final product to be somewhat aesthetically pleasing.

I was able to give the whole animation different degrees of intensity by alternating close-ups and long shots, through motion tweens, to give importance to the various objects. Morphing consisted of a lot of shape tweens and I also used many nested timelines for the objects that moved while moving across the stage. Type font “Tw Cen MT” is the sans serif typeface I used, since it’s pretty minimalistic. I decided not to include any credits at the end but to instead write “thank you” with a paint brush, as if it was hand written. If I were to do this again, I would probably attempt to draw the backgrounds as well.

The key characters of my animation were: the cherry blossom tree and more specifically the detached flower and the book, the final object it became. Secondary characters were the girl, the bird and the kite that appeared only briefly on the scene.  I don’t know if it truly came across, but the character of the girl has some oriental inspiration in the hairstyle (which has also some pink in it to recall the flower itself). Overall I hope the animation has  consistency in its style since I chose a pretty simple structure.I drew everything in my animation except for two backgrounds: the ocean and the city square. This was a decision mostly dictated by the lack of time, but later transformed into a stylistic decision. Meaning that as the animation progressed so did the realism within it. This gave my animation a sense of subverted realism which enhances the idea of change within circularity. I know I am overthinking it and I’m probably just going insane after viewing the animation so many times!

The animation itself has a certain openness to the viewer, in fact he/she can read multiple things out of it. There is surely the concept of repetitiveness, but overall I feel that the interpretation, if any, is free to the viewer. I would say that each symbol took about a full hour or more to complete.

At first it was hard to let go of realism, and it took me way more time as it probably should have. Additionally, coloring in the symbols I drew was quite a hassle because the lines did not fully attach while drawing them. I had to zoom in and try to find the unattached lines and “cement” them with the brush tool. As a consequence, I colored all of my symbols the day before I finished my animation. The color palette was dictated by the colors of the cherry blossom, each of my symbols had the same colors in different patterns that all morphed into one another. The tones were purposefully pretty dim and pastel.

Syncing the sound was a bit of a long process. I has to measure exactly what parts of the song I wanted to use and transform them in one track in Auditions. The track I composed was about 1 minute and 20 sec. I checked how many seconds each of my scenes lasted and they added up to 40 seconds. From there I had to add many frames to every scene in order to have the words and the graphics coincide. Overall my biggest frustration came when I was publishing the animation. I had some issues with inserting the sound because I decided to use scenes for my animation. When I saved it, the sound would work only on my first scene. I also tried assembling the visual and sound components separately in Premiere, but it did not work for my animation, as it compromised the graphics.  Surely next time I will try not using scenes, as they created multiple problems while publishing. 

Link to my animation: http://transmedia.trinity.edu/~cdebelli/final-animation/animation-SpinninOnRepeat-final.html

CREDITS:

Music “Repeat” by Young the Giant. You can stream their songs from their site. Here’s also the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tchv0PkUtHo   

Backgrounds links:My 2 realistic backgrounds were made possible thanks to these great databases of images:

City → wallpapercraft.com https://wallpaperscraft.com/download/violinist_city_square_music_violin_77466/3840×1200

Ocean +sky= wallpapershome.com https://wallpapershome.com/nature/clouds/sea-5k-4k-wallpaper-ocean-sky-clouds-5257.html?page=126

 

I Completed my DIY, Therefore I can Code.

When we were given this DIY assignment, my mind started spinning with a variety of different things that were out of my comfort zone.  It was so hard to choose what I should do for this project. To be completely honest, I think that taking this class is more out of my comfort zone than any DIY in the world. For example, learning how to play an instrument was one of the first things that came to my mind (apparently my musical learning capabilities = 6%). But, unfortunately (or should I say fortunately for the class), learning how to play an instrument is a skill and not DIY. So I ended up building a light that looks like a cloud.

I decided to do the cloud light because at the beginning of the semester I saw it in my friend’s room and I really liked it. Although she said that it wasn’t that hard and I should try doing it, I thought I would never be able to do something similar. She is an art major, so I assumed I would never be able to do something like that. I will admit that I have never built something before with my hands. However, the project itself wasn’t incredibly difficult.

I guess that the best word to describe myself is: indifferent. In fact, while answering the learning style quiz I never used the extreme parts, and consequently, had interesting results that, I believe, are not very precise.  Unquestionably, I am an interpersonal and intrapersonal learner and not musical at all. I would say that for this project, the learning styles I used the most were: bodily kinesthetic (building) and visual-spatial (design).

The suggestions I followed and found most helpful were my friend’s and a short YouTube video by Tiffy Quake.  To find the right videos and blogposts I searched primarily on Tumblr and Pinterest “cloud lamp” and then opened the linked pages. Before starting I got to see pretty detailed layout of the whole project thanks to the web based instructional guide that I found on LEDNEWS.com, it was also a great resource to have.  Most importantly, I had a wonderful teacher; my friend Katie was extremely helpful in explaining how to do everything. She was able to show me how to make a slip knot in real life (an explanation that all my online resources did not provide). Having her as a guide made the whole project more pleasant. I found that it fortified my visual-spatial learning more than any video tutorial would have.  A hot glue gun, paper lanterns, battery operated LED lights, poly fill, fishing line, creativity and patience were the ingredients for this DIY. (Pro tip: if you are planning to do this project not in the summer, order paper lanterns well ahead of time because “they’re not in season” after August).

This project I think worked as an emotional booster. At the end of the day, I understood that it doesn’t really matter what I have built/constructed etc. But simply going out of my comfort zone was enough to make me understand that I can do many other things, like taking this class or maybe finally learning how to play an instrument. (Solely) For the purpose of this class, we might have just improved Descartes’ famous dictum: Cogito, Ergo Sum. Now, we can successfully say: I completed my DIY, therefore I can Code!

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