Monday, April 29, 2013

Final post for Class

Review for Class

I'm happy to say that I have learned a lot from this class, including how to actually use social media (something I've never really taken seriously in a professional sense) for business. How to accurately track data about these websites. What to do and what to say, how to go about it and what to do with it once you have it. I never knew this level of complexity went into social media campaigns but I plan to utilize all this in my personal career and in the near future with a camping I am running. My team will need to track all this data in order to know if we are ready to launch our kick starter campaign. By having a dialogue with the fans, we can adapt the game to suit their wants and desires. Also this will allow us to build a level of transparency so they know that their money is going to a good cause.

What I liked about the class is that we covered a lot of material that can be adapted to suit our individual needs. Even though we did spend some time on sites that I still consider useless like Google+, we were able to see that in certain contexts, they still can be useful. Even things like pintetrest which I never thought I would ever get into is actually quite addicting. I can now see why advertisers would want to take advantage of of websites of that nature.

What I did not like so much was the amount of time we spent on the individual sites. I know that it was a ton of material to get through but I felt like Facebook and Linkedin deserve a bit more time than Google+ and other things that may not be as popular. This is of course a minor gripe that plagues almost any class I've ever taken. Perhaps with a little schedule refinement, this problem can be eliminated.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Past #7 For Class: "Art and Copy"

First, let me say that I actually really enjoyed this documentary as advertisers are not among my favorite people on Earth. I've always considered ads a necessary evil that fuels are economy but this movie has opened my eyes a bit to the creative talent that runs through the industry. It's funny how so many of the people that work in the industry approach how to deal with clients and the ads themselves so differently All were geniuses at what they did however, and they did truly change the world in their way that we can still see to this day. How has our group taken some of the advice that was laid out in the documentary? Unfortunately, our group has been quite busy due to other things going and we have not been able to meet for any real length of time. Going forward however, I think we need to use the principle that as creative minds, we cannot let the client dictate the process despite the fact that they are the owners of the product, they must trust us to take the vision to the next level. Or why else would they need us in the first place? It's tough because you want to cater to the client as much as possible but you also know that they may not be making the correct decisions due to their limited knowledge about the market or technology. Then again they know the product the best so that also needs to be conveyed to build trust with the customers. Finding that balance is what the individuals in this documentary must have mastered to get to that level. I personally do not know comic books that well and what exactly a comic book fan is looking for in their store or how exactly to convey that. Working with the clients will be absolutely essential for the project to continue.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"I just made this amazing, ground-breaking, emotional game!" "Who is the protagonist" "A white, shaved head, male!"

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” Ernest Hemingway

(Hmm... picture from IGN)

Why is it that I can remember more about an animate glove from a N64 game that came out in 1998 then I can about Marcus Fenix? Don’t get me wrong, I like the Gears franchise, played all three games and paid close attention but I honestly can not tell you one really distinguishing characteristic about him. His father was important... and he is sorta of dating that girl whose name begins with an A, ummm Anya, I think. My personal problem with that series is that while the world they have created is quite fascinating, the lead does not get me emotionally invested at all in his story. “He’s a badass” is fast losing flavor as the go-to option for a character trait. Long after you forget you’ve played a game, or every twist of the story is lost in the deep recesses of your memory, guess what you will remember? The characters that made the game interesting, the ones who you cared about, that you wanted to kill or protect, to spend the night with or punch in the face. To elicit a GENUINE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE from you, the player.

It’s not enough to like a character, you have be invested in that character, they have to so many sides to them that they will surprise you and make you want to dig further into their past, their families, their wants and needs. While this is by no means required for every NPC or player character in every game the core cast needs to fulfill these requirements or else the story will lose a lot of its punch. How can I care about the giant robot that kidnapped my girlfriend if I know more about comboing then her? Let me end the post with this, who of the following do you remember the most? Please leave a comment with your answer.

Jason Brody

Vaas Montenegro

Hoyt Volker

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blog Intro

On the problem of video game endings (I'm looking at you Mass Effect 3)

(picture from here)

I know it’s coming....

While my first official blog post probably should not be about something that for the most part is done and over but since I know people are going to ask, I’d rather just give my two cents and be done with it. I love Mass Effect, it was my favorite franchise from this current generation of games, I love the style, the universe, the characters, how they go the extra steps to back up everything they do with detail, juicy details. Yes I was not fan of the ending to Mass Effect 3, it was a fumble right before the end zone. Did it leave a sour taste in my mouth when I finished the game? Yes, for a few weeks but you know what? I’m adult enough to admit that the other 99% of the game was amazing, it even made me cry at certains points. So much attention has been thrown at the ending that people forget that it’s about the ride, not the destination. Everything about Mass Effect 3 was top-notch, and the writing specifically was as good as it could get. Never before in a gaming series have almost all of the plot threads been tied up so in such a satisfying way with the only stumble being the ending.

If I do succeed in breaching the world of video game writing then eventually I will face the same challenges of nailing the ending and be scrutinized by the world over. It’s a common problem in the video game industry right now.  How can you wrap up what could have been hundreds of hours of devoted playtime in a way that will satisfy everybody? I can’t say, I don’t think there is anybody alive that knows the secret to it. As far as my observations go, an ending should not cater to the fan-base but should make sense within the universe the game designers have created and try not to pull a surprise twist that late into it. Just provide closure to the people that have stuck with you for so long, they don't have to end on a happy ending but they should feel satisfied. It’s one of the reasons I hate the “woke up from a dream” endings, what that says is that all that adventure and risk was entirely worthless as there was no tangible impact of anybody's actions. Writers of the world have mostly gotten over this trope but new variations have taken it’s place. Until we can get over this type of tying things up too cleany, and take more sensible risks, then people will start to feel bored by the same tired plot points. As for the ending of Mass Effect 3, it was a risk that did not pay off, did not leave most people satisfied, and left a sour note on a great trilogy. Does that ruin Mass Effect? HELL NO!

Spoilers after link! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED