Crowd funding may not be the future but it’s the best solution for small projects

          Crowdfunding is something I’m indifferent to really. I may think it’s stupid to pump more money into projects that certainly will never meet anyone’s expectation at this point (*Cough* Star Citizen *Cough*), but to each their own. Crowdfunding, in my eyes, is really for smaller projects that would certainly never receive the funding otherwise.

          Sadly, the biggest known names in crowdfunding so far are never going to release their products or disappointments. That is the real shame with crowdfunding, as soon as you open yourself up to the public you invite dreamers who probably never released any product into the market before. One game that really did not endear me to the idea was Shenmue 3 which asked for funding from fans… before SONY would provide the rest of the funds.. .on SONY’s stage show about the games the PS4 will have (“Yu Suzuki speaks up on Shenmue 3’s budget, Sony’s support and more”, 2015).

          For comparison I’ll look at two games, Battletech and Star Citizen. Star Citizen is a game being developed by Chris Roberts, who previously made Wing Commander which highly influenced other space based games, since 2012 and raised $102,483,347. What is most worrying about Star Citizen is how Roberts talks about the game, almost never saying “We are finalizing the game and it will be released” but “We want the game to be massive and so are still adding content”. This would not be a problem except that the game has been in production for 5 YEARS and there is still no release date in sight. In other words Roberts is a dreamer who had tried this before but couldn’t do it due to most of the money was corporate and they wanted a released product.

On the other hand we have Battletech, a mechwarrior game, made by Harebrained Schemes LLC. It started on September 2015, raised $3 171 743 08 and, shockingly, will be released late 2017. Unlike in any Chris Robert interview, the Battlemech team all sat down and recorded one video where they said something akin to “We know our fans want to make the game better but we can’t just keep adding content or we’ll never release it” from 6:37 – 7:03 (“STAR CITIZEN: The Hypocalypse – A Rant”, 2015). While the audience for Battletech is a lot smaller and the game did not go mainstream, the fans were happy and the team behind Battletech were realists and not dreamers alone.

 

References:

STAR CITIZEN: The Hypocalypse – A Rant. (2015). YouTube. Retrieved 7 April 2017, from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpyUYDdgxoQ

 

Yu Suzuki speaks up on Shenmue 3’s budget, Sony’s support and more. (2015). Polygon. Retrieved 7 April 2017, from

http://www.polygon.com/2015/6/24/8842103/shenmue-3-budget-sony-kickstarter-yu-suzuki

Donald Trump is a symptom of a larger disease plaguing todays politics

          One topic that was sparely brought up in class here and there by multiple people was Donald Trump. And to me it seemed like most of those people were repeating the same talking points that resulted in the Democratic Party’s low approval rating and cost Hillary the election. The main ones being that he’s racist and doesn’t like Islam (Muslims themselves included). As far as who was the shinier turd within that final stretch it was Donald Trump. American mainstream media, social media included, regularly and actively censored positive Trump coverage and ignored all negative Hillary coverage. Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks in 2006, during the presidential race said “…there was a deliberate attempt to ignore negative stories about Hillary Clinton…” (Engineer, 2017).

          The level of trust Americans have towards the mainstream media has dropped 23% for independents and 27% for Republicans from 1997 to 2015. Across age brackets, people 50+ trust the mainstream media 12%  more than those aged 18-49 year old going into 2015; a major shift from 2001 where 18-49 year old trusted the media 5% more than those 50+. 2011 is when this age demographic shift market Started to happen (Gallup, 2016).

          During the presidential debate Hillary Clinton was swamped with controversies, which really did not help her case. She never should have been a candidate in the first place considering her allegedly shady past of letting rapist go free, even though she herself was convinced he was guilty (Nathan’s, 2017). The better candidate would have been Bernie Sanders if the Democrats wanted to bag a clear victory. On the other hand Donald Trump is solidly fulfilling some of his easier promises despite media and social media backlash against him (Information, 2017). The funny thing is that this pattern of the Democrats losing an election to Republicans always happens when there is great turmoil in the world and/or the working class is sufficiently ignored by the ruling party, consistently after 36 years of uncontested rule (“Making Light: Electoral history, pattern-making, and meaning”, 2008).

References:

Engineer, C. (2017). Home. World. Retrieved from

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/750019/Julian-Assange-media-bias-wikileaks-Hillary-Clinton

Gallup, I. (2016). Americans’ trust in mass media sinks to new low. Retrieved 3 February 2017, from

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx%C4%87

Nathans, I. (2017). Clinton’s 1975 rape case. Retrieved 3 February 2017, from http://www.factcheck.org/2016/06/clintons-1975-rape-case/

Information, C. (2017). Trump making good on campaign promises, Gingrich says. Retrieved 3 February 2017, from

http://dailysignal.com/2017/01/25/trump-already-making-good-on-campaign-promises-says-newt-gingrich/
Making Light: Electoral history, pattern-making, and meaning. (2008). Nielsenhayden.com. Retrieved 25 March 2017, from http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/010722.html

Play testing Vs Focus testing

          Play testing Vs. focus testing for me is a question of convenience rather than does it produce a better product in the end.

          One pitfall that developers who aren’t experienced enough with play testing face is how they collect data. Most people on their first time around would take the answers at face value without factoring in any other aspects of how the player played their game. To put it simply they are focus testing but gave it a fancy name. What most teams who play test actually neglect to observe how the test subject reacts to what they are shown in the game through things like their movements, sweat and eye movement (“What is play testing and why do devs screw it up?”, 2013). The best way to define play testing is to find any contradiction between how you believe your game should be played and how the player believes it should be played.

          On the other hand, focus testing is a lot easier to do but doesn’t usually create an experience that will be remembered as a classic. It is far simpler to ask people how they feel and move on to make changes rather than observe every aspect of play that a human being is experiencing (“Hollywood Endings”, 2013). This method is often used for the most popular games like Call of Duty, because those games require a massive return and have sold their souls to Satan in return for money already anyway. On the other hand this method can work if the person in charge is highly experienced and even then the process could or actively does harm the end product like with Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us (“Cite a Website – Cite This For Me”, 2012 & “The Last of Us focus test had to be made to include women”, 2013)

 

References:

 

Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. (2012). Wired.com. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.wired.com/2012/12/bioshock-infinite-box-art/

 

Hollywood Endings. (2013). YouTube. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckb3BxJEkAY

 

The Last of Us focus test had to be made to include women. (2013). Destructoid. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.destructoid.com/the-last-of-us-focus-test-had-to-be-made-to-include-women-251127.phtml

 

What is playtesting and why do devs screw it up?. (2013). VG247.com. Retrieved 8 April 2017, from

https://www.vg247.com/2013/07/26/understanding-usability-and-the-focus-test-misconception/

Fan collaboration shows that an artist has matured past his insecurities

          I was told in class once that inexperienced artists that don’t yet have an audience are most afraid to collaborate with fans. And true to form, during class most people, myself included, came up with consequences of collaborating with fans rather than finding any positive perspective. Since that day I have been thinking a little more about what it really means to collaborate with fans. The answer that recently struck me was that people grow a thick skin to criticism, strong conviction for their work and get past their insecurities all together. After that I began to think of all the ways an artist can collaborate with fans. I’ll only talk about two though.

          For literal artists, the best solution that I could think of was creating a space where your fans can actually try to perhaps make their own interpretation of the artist’s own work. There would have to be some kind of security though so perhaps any work that is intended to go within that fan area could have some kind of watermark or signature. This idea would need some work though since most people who follow artists closely, are most likely not artists themselves; or at least not near the same level of skill.

          The second is something every artist does now and then but it’s effective and so continues to propagate. Fan art is not only a way to show your fans that you at least appreciate their support but also that you look at what they comment. Often at this point of the artist’s career they are already communicating with fans so it may only add but it carries a special sentiment. What fan wouldn’t like to have something made for an artist they admire? Well, there is Alan Moore who actively resents any popularity his work may attract and hates all adaptations of his work.

References:
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Social Media may not be as great as many people seem to think

          The  most peculiar development of the last few decades to me will always be social media. It never really gelled with me as I don’t particularly care about how many “friends” I have and keeping up with everything that goes on with social media is a pain. That opinion however is a minority opinion in today’s world (Lenhart, 2015) where social media may even determine whether you might get hired or fired in case should someone find something you post “offensive” (Ryan Broderick and Emanuella Grinberg, 2013 & “14 Canadians who were fired for social media posts – Workopolis”, 2015). In other words within the last decade or so, mass social media adoption has caused a sharp increase in nihilism among what are now adults who will vote and shape the future among the world (“MercatorNet: Does modern technology promote pop culture nihilism?”, 2015). To me personally that doesn’t sound like the recipe for a successful future.

          There has been a drastic decrease of shared pain worldwide after World War II. The issues that would in the past have been solved by spilling blood, are solved by the United Nations through and the European Union by contract deals. While this did indeed makes Europe a safer place, in the long run it robbed the Europeans of their teeth as all of them significantly reduced their militaries and solved a majority of their problems through laws instead.

          Consequently social media rose out of the ashes but as of recently has been acting very authoritarian. Censoring any positive conservative news, banning people who have conservative viewpoints and manipulating their users emotions without consent BECAUSE SCIENCE! (“Forbes Welcome”, 2014). What we see in the coming rubble though is smaller sites like minds and vidme that, for now at least, have learnt the harsh truth of forsaking the free speech for a place where no one will be hurt and everyone will always laugh and smile.

 

References:

 

14 Canadians who were fired for social media posts – Workopolis. (2015). Workopolis. Retrieved 6 April 2017, from

http://careers.workopolis.com/advice/14-canadians-who-were-fired-for-social-media-posts/

 

Forbes Welcome. (2014). Forbes.com. Retrieved 7 April 2017, from

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/06/28/facebook-manipulated-689003-users-emotions-for-science/#32309474197c

 

Lenhart, A. (2015). Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved 6 April 2017, from

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/

 

MercatorNet: Does modern technology promote pop culture nihilism?. (2015). MercatorNet. Retrieved 6 April 2017, from

https://www.mercatornet.com/connecting/view/15479

My Future Plans

             For the future I hope to complete the CIU unit with high marks. While I’m somewhat pessimistic when it comes to my marks I am optimistic that people will find what I write somewhat fun to read. This is big improvement to how I used to perceive my work altogether. Recently I decided to schedule my workload to make it easier to work with 1) my essay can be done i a few days if I write a some 100 – 200 words each day and 2) searching for sources before I got to sleep for a few minutes. That would greatly improve how stressed I feel daily. With that being said it won’t be easy and my natural defense against over-work will most likely kick in. That defense is a headache so long as I am stressed which makes working on projects quite hard because I’m in a hurry to complete them then.
             To avoid that I plan to get more sleep by exercising in the evening two or three days a week. When it comes to sources however I will have a hard time as the topics I chose to talk about is not easy to describe in the google search bar. Because of that I will have to get multiple sources and form my own conclusions which will take far more effort than simply finding already existing conclusions. It won’t be easy but Ill power through it somehow and come out a better person at the end.

My strengths and weaknesses

             My main strengths are that I am a kinaesthetic and visual learner. The best way for me to learn is by being very hands on with anything which makes me very good at emulating what needs to be done most of the time. I will need to see how something is done beforehand though. As the saying says “practice makes perfect”; so I need to actually be behind the scenes setting the stage before i get good at doing anything by myself. If I must do research as well I will try my best to find credible sources but since it’s not always possible at times I need to create my own explanations from multiple sources. My dedication to my work can sometimes get the better of me though and I will do what could be considered over-time. Even When I know Its not good for me, It very easily keeps me busy so I usually can avoid thinking about how much I’m doing.

             The one thing that I can definitely improve on is using pro tools as I’m still baffled as to how some professionals in the industry know exactly what to do. What I could definitely do more with is time as I have Three big projects alongside one that is overdue since i totally forgot it existed. This was before I got a moodle account and projects started pilling which triggered another weakness of mine. I tend to forget things and confuse things when I get too stressed and don’t do them for a few days.