MechYard Let’s Play – Refined for DIGC335

As part of my Cybercultures and Digital Game Culture projects I have been creating a board game, which was the main component of my Presentation a few weeks ago. A quick run through of the game:

MechYard (name still up for contention) will be a passively competitive round based tile laying game separated into two phases: Scavenging and Travelling. The game is inspired by Galaxy Trucker.

During the Scavenging phase players will (in real time and at the same time) pick up tiles, one at a time, and decide whether to add them to their Mech or to place them back in the Scrap pile. The players will need to manage four sides of their Mech (Front, Rear, Left Arm, Right Arm) and try to fit pieces together.

Game Board Prototype

In a previous build, colours differentiated which pieces could fit together. During my pitch I was given advice that that would restrict my game from being playable by people with colour blindness, and I also have to admit that it was a bit complicated regardless. As such, I’ve decided to use lines; Vertical, Horizontal and Diagonal. Vertical attaches to Vertical, Horizontal to Horizontal, and Diagonal to all. A tile needs to be adjacent to at least one other compatible tile to be connected.
Each tile has one set of these lines in the background. The tiles that currently make up the game are Weapons, Shields, Boosters and Batteries. Weapons, Shields and Boosters all require Batteries to operate, and Batteries are single use only. After time has expired and players have scrutinized the other players Mechs (to make sure they only have compatible parts), the Travel phase begins.

Battery DiagRailgun VertShield HorizenThruster Diag

During the Travel phase cards will be drawn which are various challenges/encounters that the Mechs need to overcome, or take damage (Lose tiles). The amount of Boosters at the end of the Travel phase will determine how far players will progress on a game board toward the Drop Zone. After each Travel phase is another Scavenge phase, and new tiles/cards are added.

Card Prototype
A Drone has high firepower and is mobile, but is weak so it would take 3 Shields to take the damage, or 3 Boosters to outrun the drone, but only 1 weapon to shoot it down.

The game ends at the end of Travel Phase 3, and winners are decided based on who has arrived at the Drop Zone.

That is how the game is proposed to function, though prototyping and playtesting is still required. My Digital Artefact for Cybercultures is going to be a Let’s Play of my game. I have been researching various tabletop games and how people have approached filming playing these games. From this, I am planning on having a multi camera set up containing at least a front on shot and a top down perspective. To get the most out of the video I am planning on only having one other person to play against and I am hoping to utilise one of my friends who is quite a board game fanatic, who plays regularly and will be able to offer fun and interesting notes, while drawing parallels between other games and their inspiration and impact upon my game.

Currently I have the cards, board and tiles designed. I need to work with the materiality of the project and find a way to print/present the elements in a way that will come across during the Let’s Play.

Personal Branding Designs

As per usual with this subject, I’ve swapped topics from my original Utopia vs Dystopia in video games.

A lot of people have been giving presentations on branding, and why your online persona is so important, and my mind immediately jumped to ‘Then why does no one want to pay for personal branding if it’s so important.’

Let me give you a bit of background into what exactly I’m talking about. Graphic Design is this sort of non-job in the online market, despite design and aesthetic being such a prominent feature of marketing and companies in the present day. And yet, if you’re not a designer you’re probably not aware of how much of a struggle simply getting paid for the work you do is. Half the people asking for work to be done aren’t expecting to have to pay for this work, because there’s this really old and outdated stigma that “it’s just design”, which is infuriating in it’s own right.

Thanks to this desire for absolutely no one to pay for work they want done online, there’s been a rise in the commonality of the ‘design competition’ form of website. A brief summary of these websites are a marketplace, in which someone asks for a design, and multiple designers throw designs at them in the chance that they might get chosen and paid for their work, but in the process usually lose most of their rights to their work even if their design is not the ‘winner’ that the client picks and pays for.

It’s this sort of unhealthy competition that becomes detrimental to the design industry, because we start to sell ourselves short in the hope of receiving any sort of a paycheck. Websites like fiverr.com have people advertising their services for logo design, within 24 hours, for as little as $7. That’s a wage of less than 50c an hour.

Examples of competitive marketplace websites:

https://www.fiverr.com/

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 10.55.58 am

https://99designs.com.au/how-it-works (pictured above)

https://www.designcrowd.com.au/

 

The issue is that for a entrepreneur designer just starting out, with minimal contacts, your job pool is so minute that this sort of thing may be the most pay you can actually find. Similarly, the only way I built my existing contact list is by offering some smaller services for free at first, and through other friends who have existing contacts with e-sports and journalism businesses themselves, and pass along work if they see any. A good network is essential, if you don’t know people as a freelancer, it’s likely you won’t find work.

When looking for jobs outside of the online marketplace as a designer, however, you need to be able to present yourself immediately as a professional. What’s the easiest way to do that? With a personal brand of your own, in the hopes that they will see it, like it, and think ‘They could do something that looks this good for me.’ Personal branding is what you want a client or prospective employer to see before they even get to your CV/Resume. In some ways, it’s the first impression that determines how they view your application.

So while I want to focus on these issues, and why and how they’re a problem to designers, I also want to help myself for the future, so for my final project I’m going to give myself a personal brand. Unlike a few other people however, I’m focusing on the design aspect, not so much an online persona, but an actual physical personal brand that I can use for the future, while also giving those unfamiliar with the design industry an idea of what the field is like.

The final submission will either come in the form of a research report, with visual evidence, or some sort of a digital artefact, although I’d love to hear some feedback, suggestions or questions about this subject, even anything you think I should consider while doing this!

Cyberbullying 2.0

Sasha Hall

Carrying on from my last blog post, I have had a few changes in direction for what I am going to make of my Cybercultures Research Project. I am going to write a report and convey all the information and the hard facts in an impactful way that I hope will allow anyone who reads it some insight into the hard truths of cyberbullying.

One aspect I really want to hit hard on is how cyberbullying is seven times more common between people who used to be friends, than those who had never been friends. It’s situations like these, where two people have had a fight, that a computer or a phone is used as a shield, and the people involved use these platforms to say negative things to and about each other. More commonly involved in situations like this are teenage girls. I have, on many occasions, had a…

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Catchya later Cyber bullying…

Sasha Hall

Bullying. What is it?

Bullying is defined as the ongoing misuse of power in a relationship through verbal, physical or social means that results in the victims feeling helpless, alone and vulnerable. It is most common in the school grounds as children are yet to accommodate for influences that they don’t understand. However, bullying does progress into the world of adults.

One particular form of bullying that doesn’t seem to have enough published information or preventative programs is Cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is bullying, but through the means of technology. It can be online on your social media profiles, via email or text messages, it can be in the playground, in the work place and even in some cases, at the gym or in the grocery store, and the main offenders of cyber bullying are those who don’t appear to be dominant in day to day activities and seek stability…

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VR Education

You’re probably think “We get it Jess, VR is becoming bigger, but you can shut up about it.” I know I know, my obsession with VR is getting a bit much. But I promise, this ones exciting and relevant to you in the best way.

VR has always been thought of more of an entertainment system which I think creates this idea people have that it won’t ever really be revolutionary, but thats so far from the truth. And this company I found while doing some research is going to help prove my point.

Welcome to ImmersiveVREducation who specialise in trying to make VR in education become prominent and have been doing so for years. They have literally simulated lecture halls in order for students to be apart of their lectures through VR. This doesn’t just mean they get to do a lecture in virtual reality, it means new effects are added. Special effects that wouldn’t be able to be accessed through regular means. Imagine learning about animal care and suddenly the lecture room becomes a vets office. Imagine learning about NASA and suddenly the lecture room becomes a space shuttle. Its important to remember that 90% of what we see and do is remembered. This seems to get lost in the system of education. But we can bring this back.

 

This truly can evolve the way we educate. And if you think back – this all started somewhere? This started with smart boards that your teachers refused to use. Which is another topic to discuss in itself. Why do teachers reject these new devices? Why do they deny the new generations of these incredibly exciting new ways to learn?

In Keiden and I’s podcast, “The Future is Now, The Future is WOW” we discuss these very points. Will VR in education happen smoothly or will there be a lot of rejection, and why?

I do think there will be rejection, we can see that even by comparing this to the era of smart boards. My teachers never used them and Keiden and Riley agreed in the podcast. The worst part was, they just used it as a whiteboard. Its like getting given a jumper when you’re cold and putting it around your waste. WHY?

The core reason honestly is probably that they just don’t know how to use them, which is fair. Teachers aren’t getting taught how to utilise these new technologies, theres no wonder they’re not teaching their students.

Terry Keick made a very interesting article about why teachers are rejecting technology in Education. An interesting point he makes is that technology is just lumped together and this is a problem. The iPad is lumped together with Youtube and Youtube with Mobiles and Mobiles with Facebook instead of acknowledging each for their own. So when we think technology, we think social media, basically. I think its this stigma that needs to go that will eventually allow for a real chance for VR in education. Its not all about entertainment.

Feel free to go through the website of ImmersiveVREducation – http://immersivevreducation.com

(https://touchstoneresearch.com/the-top-10-companies-working-on-education-in-virtual-reality-and-augmented-reality/)

These topics are all discussed in our podcasts that have been recorded however some technical difficulties in getting them up have come up! They will be up and running to show you guys during our presentation.

Week 7 : DA Update

bigdreamsgrowingexperience

Here we go, this is the latest update for my DA. I was supposed to film  vlog this time, but on the day of the concert I was too busy and then after that I managed to get sick from being surrounded by a bunch of people in a tiny mosh pit and couldn’t film this video until yesterday.

Great, considering this was due on Friday.

After this vlog, I’ve decided i would rather not do anymore vlogs. Which leaves me with little to work with in terms of informing people of what it is that I do and how to do it. It also requires a lot of time and the correct lighting/ actually caring about my appearance. There’s also a lack of anonymity which is something I would rather have.

The podcasts were okay; honestly a good idea for when I’m not unwell and have a quiet place…

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