Industry Insight: Supergiant Games

 

A look at a reasonably new games studio that has a tiny team but still manages to produce games to combat the industries big budget titles.

Supergiant Games is an independent studio founded in 2009 and based in California, it is staffed by a total of eight people. Five of these work from their studio whilst two of them are based in New York and one is based in LA. While they only have one game out currently, Bastion, a massive success which holds some similarities to that of an indie game. The production of the game was undertaken at Rao’s (one of the co-founders) father house in San Jose, whilst ‘Cunningham delivered his 3000 plus lines of dialogue in Korb’s Brooklyn closet-cum-sound room’. (Edge magazine, issue 240). The key to the games success is down the teams roots in high profile game development. It has won more than 100 awards and sold over 500,000 copies. Another reason for Bastion’s success lies in the team playing to its advantages, instead of focusing on  what they couldn’t achieve as a small team, they worked on a game that would play on the groups strengths.

One thing that stands out to me about Supergiant’s working process on Bastion is how free-flowing it is. For instance, they would have a basic level, write some script, then go back to the level and make the level fit the content. This is interesting as it is what I am trying to do on my current negotiated study brief, and I always expected that with the bigger companies they have a very stricter  way of working to their deadlines. With Supergiant they seem to have gone down the experimental route, allowing for changes at all times.

Following the success of Bastion the team invested on their current studio, stating that even though they managed to pull Bastion out of the bag, it was much easier to collaborate when they were co-located. The actual studio is one that has been constructed with this collaboration in mind; they have no dividing walls in sight, giving the studio a democratic atmosphere. The working environment in this studio is very flexible, in the Edge article Kasavin details how the group get together and talk about what they will be doing that week, then the go off and get on with it collaborating when needed. The in office hours aren’t specified as the team primarily work individually so most work from home.

This look at Supergiant Games has really opened my eyes to this side of the industry, these are the key pointers I want to take from it:

  • There is nothing quite like the experience of working in a high profile game development team. This is how Supergiant differs from some other independent companies who struggle to finish games; they already had “good production discipline” from going through this process numerous times.
  • Play to your strengths
  • Having a line by line way of working is a lot of fun but also a lot of work!
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Industry Insight: Jade Raymond

Jade Raymond has worked on some prestigious titles within the Games industry over the years, ranging from The Sims and Splinter Cell to Assassin’s Creed. Her role as executive producer on the Assassin’s Creed series is what she is best known for due to the online uproar at the idea that a woman could take a leading role on a development team. I found an article within the latest issue of Edge magazine, 240, in which Raymond talks about her time in the industry and her new role as head of a new Ubisoft studio in Toronto.

“I was having creative input on a bunch of different projects and that was great.”, Raymond states as she goes on to explain that taking up her role as studio manager would rule out several of the benefits of working within the dev team. Her career initially started out as a programmer so she has always had some creative input into the games she has been working on. The step up involves a five-year plan for the Splinter Cell series, which involves a new game under development at her studio plus book publishing and motion pictures. I think this is a key thing to note that even though it is a games company, and the original idea came out of a game, the idea and demand of trans-media in current society demand that other forms of media are accounted for. For me this is the one thing that I always forget about, I always think that they are simply making games but in reality they take on multiple types of media for the franchise.

Another interesting point is that as the company grows, Raymond’s current mix of roles become less sustainable. She states “I don’t really hang out or chill”, she leaves the office at 6, giving her two hours to spend with her daughter, then she works from then until 11 or midnight. I already new that the working hours within the industry weren’t great but in Raymond’s case she doesn’t actually have any other time to do anything. This could be due to a lot of different things, possibly it is due to her job role or maybe as she says it is down to the lack of support staff as the company is still getting up and running. This is something that I should definitely consider and find out more, as it would be useful to match up my current working hours on projects alongside those of the industry.

The article goes on to discuss the idea of staff diversity within games, as Raymond was the target of an explosion of ‘internet bile’ about her role as producer of Assassins Creed. She states that for her it is important to stay in the public eye because it gives other young women inspiration that they will feel comfortable getting a job in the industry. Which in my opinion is correct, Raymond had a great track record within the games industry prior to her role on Assassin’s Creed, and in terms of the game the company has done a great job on it as a series. It does make me wonder why there was such an outrage in the first place. Included in staff diversity is the idea of idea generation and target audiences, Raymond states “I do wonder if you have a completely homogenous team, how are you going to come up with new ideas?”.

What it takes to be a storyteller.

I have found an interesting industry insight on what it takes to be a storyteller from the Creative Choices website. I previously noted this website in another post as it has a good bunch of industry information for across the creative industries. There isn’t a great deal of bits about game related design but as I progress into my area of interest I have found a very useful article.

The article charters an insight into Donald Smith’s, the Director of the Scottish Storytelling Center, views on what it is to be a good story-teller. Now this isn’t directly linked to my chosen subject but I do feel that the narrative side of the any thing that I do will always take a prominent role, it is why I struggled with the VFX module and pretty much love my current negotiated study.

Key points from the article are:

Storytellers need to flow with the narrative, they need to be able to listen to feedback and often read the audience to make the narrative engaging. This also applies to the ability to redesign the story until it fits perfectly.

Now I’m not saying that I will become a storyteller after leaving this course, infact I think it is completely the opposite personality traits needed as to what I have. BUT it has opened up a new side to my investigative research into how we make a player engage with a game. This is something that I am looking at for my negotiated study but it is also something that I generally find interesting. The fact that a completely non-associated career has similarities within it is quite interesting. It proves that a story is just a story and it is how it is told that allows the audience to become immersed.

EA’s Online Universes

EA is the forerunner of a controversial new movement in the game industry that sees online universes as the way forward. This means that a person can play a game on multiple devices with a single continual save data.

“Imagine a player gets up in the morning, plays an online match on his 360 before going to work,” Ramsdale states. “On the bus, on his way to work, he practices his free kicks on his tablet. At lunch he looks at the transfer window on his PC. On the way home he chooses his kit on his smartphone.”

I am torn half and half on this, part of me thinks this a great idea, you can easily play the same game on whatever devices is most suited to the situation. The other half though kind of thinks, do we need this? and its constant necessity of an internet connection could be a hinderance. I think it is definitely taking a step in the right direction, the ever-growing popularity of mobile gaming devices proves that we are seeking new ways to play. Although saying this studies do state that mobile games get played more on the couch than on the go, so maybe the interest in them is purely due to it being a new and innovative product, instead of being due to its actual capabilities.

Overall I think time will tell whether Online Universes really take off, and it will yet again be down to personal preference.

Advantages for Female Gamers

Prime World is a new MMORPG from Russian developer Nival. The game is going to offer discounts on micro-transactions in games specifically for female players. It will also offer in battle power bonuses for teams made up of both male and female players. the reasons behind this were to try to entice female players that don’t often play ‘hardcore games’.

At first this seems fairly reasonable, giving certain feasible discounts to players will get them to play. BUT there are still a lot of problems with this, it brings to question moral, is it actually fair to only give discounts to female gamers just because the company wants them to play? I’m sure quite a few male players were quite miffed at it! Also, the article goes on to quote “The idea is to introduce the multiplayer online battle arena genre not only to hardcore players who already love it, but to their friends who might be more casual, and of course to their sisters and girlfriends who may not be as hardcore,” said Nuretdinova. If this is the case then I don’t see how the company found it feasible. In a way it is a nice gesture, to try to expand the regions of casual gamers to hardcore, but is it actually bringing in any more money? personally I would class myself as somewhere between a casual and hardcore gamer, I have been tempted before into the masses of MMO out there on the web, deciding to try them out with a free-to-play one. So surely, other casual gamers out there have done this, considering that there is a lot of advertising for these types of games on various websites. If this is the case then the natural intrigue of these games will ultimately claim new fans, so why try to force it?I think money has a lot to do with it!

 

Games that can cure!

Glasgow Caledonian University have developed a game that helps to treat a common sight problem, Amblyopia, in children; this is a prime example of how video games can be used for a much different reason than simply to suspend disbelief.

The game is similar to tetris, were the player has to move blocks around to fit onto one another, with this game though the user has to were special goggles that show a clear image in one eye and a slightly out of focus image in the other. This means that the eye that is lazy has to work harder than the other thus improving the normal sight capabilities of it. Find a BBC News video of the game in action here.

I think this is a great step forward in Video Game Therapy and more importantly it shows that there are more uses of video games than to simply escape for a few hours. The therapy is still in its early stages so hopefully in the future there will be some more advancements. From a prospective designer it is interesting to see a video game that has a higher beneficial value for the player, and it poses the question in my mind: Possibly going down the purposeful games route is better than the games for fun route? You would get a sense of helping others but it could limit the actual amount of fiction.

Decisions!!

China Anyone?

It seems that game development in China is starting to come out of its ‘domestic roots’ and become a more available product. There are of course many attractions for a game developer going to China as the leading companies are out there; EA, Zynga and Ubisoft. The general feeling coming from article found on Kotaku, Develop and Edge state that the new game dev scene in China is smaller foreign studios are springing up to make games that can be played all over the world. The drive for these studios is a mixture of China’s long history as an outsource for art, cheap labour and a cheap cost of living.

For any aspiring game designer these are a few intriguing aspects especially since game dev is so popular within China. What really stuck out to me though was the key differences from the Western game dev scene. Things like: instead of parading your work out to a large group of people during the development process and receiving critical feedback straight up, they have a different approach one that has stemmed from the frre-to-play models developed in Korea. It is where you receive emails about feedback, so that you can still get all the information you need but

“if we use someone’s ideas it gets used and if we don’t no one feels stupid about it.” Christopher M. Pfeiffer the CEO of BW.

For myself I am comfortable with presenting my work, but I think this is a much better way of doing something like this, The only thing that would worry me is the timeframe in which you would receive feedback.

An interesting thought from this has been spurred in my brain. What happens if more triple A title publishers come over to China. Would the cheaper labour bring down the development budget for these games, and would this ultimately bring down the price players pay for them?

Spyro is from our universe?

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is a video game and toy brand released in Autumn 2011, in which a player is the ‘portal master’ of up to 30 characters. The game is promoted on the fact that it is encompassing the idea that character action figure’s can be ‘activated’ to become alive in the game world. It boasts the promotional statement: “Frozen in our world. Alive in theirs.”, I think the statement says it all, you buy an action figure which then allows you to activate the character within the game and play as them, probably unlocking some special powers etc.

The concept of this is simple, but it is a really good one. It not only increases sales through the purchase of the action figures but also the simple fact that it is extending the reality into our world. Just the statement, “Frozen in our world.” makes the player think that these characters exist, it breaks down the barrier between reality and fiction. This especially works well as the target audience is children, who are much more susceptible to believing that these high fantasy world can and do exist within reality; this is due to them being more accepting in their imagination.

The basic concept created in this game, has allowed for an easy way to create a transmedia idea. It has expanded to not only be a bout the characters but also items, locations and even magic abilities that all need to be activated through the portal of power. In its essence this is simply a money-making idea, the company has combined two things that kids are interested in, collectables and the cross-over of fiction and reality. They have made it so that the game doesn’t work within the action figures thus making the players buy into the merchandise.

Milk it while you can…

I have recently become more and more aware of the ‘new’ trend in games that means that the player is expected to pay more money for specific features. I say that this is new, but in reality the basic idea of it has been around for a long time, in the form of DLC etc. Now it seems that it is going further into a more worrying area for the game player, I’d say it was a similar place to the dreaded spike pit of doom!

Before I seemed to ignore the idea of DLC, as within the games I play it isn’t exactly thrust into your face, but as I sat down a few months ago to begin playing Rage, a FPS, I was posed with a rather unexpected situation. Practically 20/30 minutes into the game on my way to my first mission, I met an NPC stationed under an abandoned highway. Naturally the inquisitive side of me sought to investigate why there was a man out in the open in Ghost Territory. He gave me the general chit-chat, he has had to stop going into the sewers as it is too dangerous, so he is stuck up on the top. After my chat, I was ready, prepared for what I thought was a side quest, I go over, hit x on the sewer’s door, and instead of a loading screen, I see a box. A box that tells me that I need to purchase some content, talk about in-game advertising!

The above is only one example of how games are changing at the moment. It is no new fact that there is a considerably higher amount of in-game advertising, Rage is but one example. What worries me as a gamer is that DLC and ‘premium’ content is becoming more prominent in games. Both Batman: Arkham City and Dragon Age 2 continually bring up ‘premium’ content when you start-up the game, which no doubt gets very irritating having to click ‘no, I don’t want to purchase the Catwomen DLC, I told you this yesterday!’.

My third and final point on this as a players perspective, is with the issue of Resistance 3. It features online multiplayer that can only be accessed by using a single use redeemable code. This act locks off all of the online content of the game unless you purchase the code, which is pretty strange for  a game that contests itself alongside the big FPS. In most of the blockbuster games, they limit the campaign’s playing time to subsidise it with the masses of online content, so surely locking this off from players who have purchased a used version of the game for whichever price is a bit unreasonable? It is the companies way of clamping down on the pre-owned game trade. This is also in development within the Xbox 720(new console) as they are supposedly trying to make it so it won’t play used games.

On the other side, as someone who aims to get into this industry, I do somewhat agree with it. I think that games have become a platform in which there are so many different areas that the companies see it fit to charge the player for more. Where this is going to go in the future I don’t know but at the moment games companies are clamping down on the used game trade. Which in terms of creative licence is perfectly reasonable; the artists and creatives who develop these games should no doubt have a solid copyright on their work. In the film industry, torrents and copies are illegal, but are used games the same as these?

Creative Choices website

www.creative-choices.co.uk is a really useful website that came across the other day. It has information on the majority of the creative industries including the ones that I am studying at the moment. I think it will mainly be useful as it not only offers advice from industry professionals but also gives case studies and job and opportunities info too. I will probably be posting up a few bits and bobs on the more interesting things I find on here but for the moment I just thought I would share this find, I popped it up on Facebook for the DFGA group in case any of them were interested in looking at it too.

Talk from Distant Animation Studio’s

We had the pleasure of a small presentation from two of the members of Distant Animation Studios last week and quite a few good points were brought up. The presentation was mainly about how they started their own company but it did also feature how to get into the animation industry. This is just a concise version of my notes.

  • Best to get as much varied type of work experience as you can, whether placements or just work place visits.
  • Animation specific advice that there isn’t alot of money within just animation, companies need to sell buy products to gain profit.
  • When leaving your degree don’t get worried or disheartened by the fact that companies seem to ignore you; within the industry it is hard to get noticed.
  • If trying to start up your own business seek out as many business support fairs you can, this will find you loads of help and funding.
  • Office space is always good, separates work from home! Plus it is always good to have a place to bring clients to, someplace professional.
  • Kevin McCloud is a musician who free source his work – good if I need any bits and bobs.
  • Broaden your horizons, throw yourself at the industry!

 

I also noted a few podcasts that I thought I would give a go, as I have gone off the idea of listening to music whilst doing work. Instead of sitting in silence I can give these a go, plus I am going to try out the Playstation podcast that comes to my google reader!

  • Lets make mistakes
  • pixar podcast – fan based
  • Greyscale gorrilla -VFX
  • Spline doctors – pixar
  • Guys with pencils

 

Bizarre Marketing

Twisted Metal is a household favourite of SCE, beginning in 1995 the series has offered up seven installments so far. In 4 days time it is the release of the newest installment in the series and to mark this moment there is going to be a rather unusual marketing stunt. February 14th marks the day when people can shoot an automatic machine gun from the comfort of their computer.

Seem a little odd?  Of course not, as the video states, we are all a little twisted! I think this is a brilliant marketing stunt for the new upcoming game, as it follows all that the game is about; reasons:

  • it disregards the rules of game marketing, generally game trailers give you a shot of all the shiny impressive wow factors of the game
  • it follows the theme of the game = DESTRUCTION
  • it brings the games core mechanics a tad closer to reality for the player, I mean you get to shoot at a truck that features in the game in real life.
  • it is pretty radical, unusual but still good old-fashioned fun.

 

What is this magic!

Throughly amazed at this new development in technology. Exocortex Species 1.0 is a new piece of software that has been specially designed to aid studios and artists to save time on designing unique characteristics. It has built-in models that are easy to customise, a rigging system, integrated sculpting and animation tools; all this and it supports Autodesk’s Softimage. Sound good so far? I think the video does it more justice than words can! Take a look:

This is a really amazing piece of software, that will no doubt be very valuable to a lot of people! The only downside that I can see it that you will lose some of the unique features of modeling from scratch. Plus it would be nice just how far you can go with the character design in Exocortex Species, I mean what is the craziest design you can realise in it? Or is it simply designed for basic humanoid characters. These are the limitations that will drag it down.

Exocortex website.

A little insight into the industry.

Currently within the games industry development teams usually consist of hundreds of people. This allows the company to get things done in a realistic time constraint; which needs to be done especially with video games as they need to stay on top of the console advancements.

Develop recently published an online article about the amount of people working on the new ResiEvil 6 game, stating that it consisted of over 600 staff, which was Capcom’s biggest ever workforce. Hiroyuki Kobayashi, the person in charge of making sure that the game would be ready by the deadline said that in game world will be much more expanded than in the previous titles, creating a ‘deeper experience’. Possibly these developments are the reasons why we have such a big team working on it. Alongside this, there are also changes to the style of the game, as they are mixing more action into the survival horror genre.

I know this only a short post, but it is an interesting insight into the industry and why and how it expands. It is also interesting to know that within the industry you can be part of such a massive team; this would promote specialism and collaboration as essential skills, so I suppose these are what I need to be working on!

The Wilderness Downtown

The Wilderness Downtown is an interactive film by director Chris Milk and Google Creative Lab Technology Lead Aaron Koblin, it is an interpretation of Arcade Fire’s song We Used To Wait from The Suburbs Album. The project was made using HTML5 and acts as a interactive music video/Google Chrome experiment that utilises the browser’s features.

It begins on this webpage: http://thewildernessdowntown.com/ where you are asked to input the address of the place that you grew up, multiple windows open up as the music kicks into beat. From here on out you experience partly film, partly animation and VFX alongside some Google maps and Street View geomapping. All these elements introduce you to a story that is ultimately obscurely related to you personally, thus making for a very nostalgic and emotional experience.

I find this video interesting as it utilises technology to engage the viewer, it is in its essence an experimental product that was intended to test out various functions of Google chrome; but instead of simply being an experiment they have followed the theme of the chosen song and created a wonderful nostalgic experience. The other thing that is interesting about this piece is that it is has an underlying theme of interactivity. This is something that seems to be becoming much more popular within the industry. As the video goes on Chrome seems draw the viewer in by creating windows that show off various different things. These combined with the audio drags the viewer into believing that this is a trip down memory lane. The use and idea of this is quite interesting as I said before, we seem to be getting more and more of the immersive trend within media.

Advergaming

Advertisements have long taken hold of the power of pop culture and new media. Wherever we look nowadays we can find some sort of endorsement; take for example the new Flo Rider song, Good Feeling, it begins as a very normal music video and then bam straight out of nowhere he pulls an iPad out of his GYM bag and covers his face with it as it begins to play a video of his face. Now, don’t get me wrong I have nothing against Flo Rider but seriously, what is the point of this?? Why in the first place would he have an iPad in his gym bag? Secondly, why use it to play a video of himself when he could just have the original video? Un-needed things like this irritate me, and now as we advance in technology we are getting advergaming.

Advergaming has popped up into all sorts of places; it is a new type of advertising in which companies use games to promote their products. To be honest before we had a session on it, I hadn’t even considered it, even after years of growing up with CD’s of games in cereal boxes. Now even as I write this post, on my youtube tab I find this:

An advertisment for a game that is an advertising game, bizzarre! The game consists of 3 pieces of film, that ask you to use various combinations of the arrow keys to help the athlete to beat the cold weather. Depending on how well you do in the game, you will be posed with different outcome videos, for instance when you do well the athlete will be happy, when you don’t do so well, they will get angry. This game can be found HERE. In terms of a game, this is a very simple one, but there are others that are fully made games created within programmes like flash. I have found a good example of this, it is a game called Impossible is Nothing, which is an advergame for Addidas, in which you run on some rooftops, jumping from building to building. It is a rather boring game as you just move the character to collect some ‘coins’. It is interesting though, that it was made, I am fairly unaware of these sorts of things, so I find it strange that people would actually play something like this, due to its simplicity. I wonder what it is that brings a person to click the link? Maybe it is simple curiosity.

I am split between whether this is a good movement for the games industry or not, I think that it is good to use games effectively like in the Nike one but the Addidas one isn’t so good. There is not really any need for it, at least the Nike one uses elements of gameplay but stays true to the fact that it is an advertisement. It isn’t trying to trick the consumer, it is simply making an interactive advert.

Gamification

I recently came across a video about Gamification by Gabe Zichermann (entrepreneur, author, highly rated public speaker, chair of Gamification Summit) as part of the TEDx Talk. It focused on several reasons as to why gaming is beneficial specifically for children. To me this is an interesting subject area as it is often the general idea that games are simply for escapism from reality, whereas Zichermann is proving that games are overall a very important part of our continuing growth as human beings.

He begins by explaining that studies have proven that games could be linked to our growing intelligence, IQ, by stating that games over the past 20 years have become more and more advanced, in terms of their sensory involvement. This is proven when he outlines the changes in WOW, back when WOW first came out all that was required of the player was to have hand and eye coordination, now we are expected to multitask various things; communicate through text and speech, operate the character, manage the in game missions/tasks/objectives and still have some sensory involvement within the real world. Effectively what he is making us think about here is whether both these advancements have any relation to one another. This is a rather interesting concept as it would appear that this does have a direct link, thus making the actions taken within games and the act of continual learning making people more intelligent.

Zichermann goes on to show an example of how games have had a positive effect on learning maths and english within a class of 3rd grade students. All of this makes me think that maybe games have a much more powerful effect on us than we can even consider. Zichermann is stating that games are so effective at helping us develop as human beings that maybe we should consider applying them to other things. This movement has already begun by moving games into business areas, i.e. training simulators in the army etc. But should we be pushing for games to have a bigger control over our learning experience? Evidence within the talk proves that it would have a beneficial effect on humans, but there is still alot of negative thoughts and feelings about games in general. A lot of the common issues are looked at by Zichermann within the video, for example violence within games. This topic is a very touchy one and is probably the most common negative game comment. Zichermann makes a good point that if games can train kids to be better at learning then they could also train kids about violence. I guess all good things have some bad side effects.

The presentation ends with Zichermann saying that it is positive that the world has changed into a new era, one that fully engages the idea of games and games thinking. As a creative who aims to get into this industry I can’t help but think that this is a really good thing. It is almost saying that games are a massive part of the future, and not only within the general idea of ‘games’, this future will encompass all areas of life. This is a very interesting prospect, as it means that games are going to reach out to every area of human normality and day to day life. As a creative this is a good thing, as I would be entering this industry in its early stages of this development, it would impose a lot of problem solving and experimental gaming thinking; which no doubt would be very interesting to work in. On the other hand on a more personal note, I am already feeling a little zoned out by this current digital trend. I think I am quite old fashioned in some areas of this move, but only due to the fact that I don’t think it would be good if the we lost all sensualisation to the real world. This is already starting to happen as we see the growth of things like the iPad and Kindle grow in popularity. Personally, I couldn’t sit and read a book off of a screen, I much prefer to read a book physically. Like I said before, everything has a positive and negative side.

I have also made a note of this link for my current research on game narratives in relation to gameplay for my critical and contextual studies essay plan.

Gabe Zichermann, TEDxKids Brussels, Gamification.

A call of ethics.

Upon hearing the news that Battlefield 3 had been criticised for containing animal cruelty, I immediately looked further into who, what and when? It turned out that Peta (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals) had a bit of an issue with a scene in the game where the player has the option to kill a rat with a combat knife, only to throw it aside and leave it. Even though the idea of animal cruelty within games is a very bad thing, my main aim of this blog is to find out why exactly the developers decided that this act was necessary to include in the game. I haven’t actually played the game and don’t intend to, so I will be finding out all information via the web.

When I first read an article about this on Edge online, the phrase used by Peta to explain the scene in the game didn’t quite sit right with me; they said “The game gives players the option to kill a rat with a combat knife in the back in order to then lift it by its tail, then toss it away.”. Now reading that out of context actually sounds quite bad, it comes across that just in a general level in the game the player stops and kills a rat for no reason. In actuality the player finds themselves trying to hide from quite a lot of enemy soldiers, so they are creeping through trenches and tunnels trying to stay alive and correct me if I’m wrong by the looks of the gameplay, you are unarmed; so the players only option is to sneak. As you progress through the level, staying unnoticed, the character begins to crawl through a tunnel, in which they encounter a rat that begins to bite them. If left alone the noise created from the rat biting the character alerts a guard that just happens to be stood above where the player is. So the outcome if the rat is left appears to be death, as seen in this gameplay footage I found:

Personally I find this rather interesting as it appears to have been used as a barrier within the level. When playing the game you can choose to leave the rat but in doing so the character dies. So, for me if I was posed in that situation I would leave the rat, then see the game over screen and keep trying the level until I found a way around it. This is because I see Battlefield as a fairly serious game, in the terms that it is about a war and it is meant to be seen as if ‘this could be happening in real life right now’. So, the concept of Battlefield is a very realistic outset. Saying this does this mean that the act of having to kill a rat for the character to stay alive reflects a realistic choice that most likely occurs to soldiers every day. Not in the sense of killing a rat, I’m referring to the act of killing another human being. Is this little part of the level instilling within the player’s head the fact that the reality within Battlefield relates directly to a reality that is happening within society. Does it make them realise that every bullet counts?

The reason that I find this such an interesting topic is due to the fact that the relation to the real is often what FPS’s lack, or avoid. Which in my opinion creates a game that you cruise through shooting enemies without relating them to being human, even though they appear human. Your immersed within the hyperreality.

Helping out at Leeds Digital Festival

I recently followed up a lead on some experience based in Leeds, Helping out set up an event for Leeds Digital Festival. Overall the day was quite productive, we were asked to help the organisers of the event with a few last minute touches. It gave me the opportunity to meet similar minded people within the industry which is always a good thing. this was conducted as by helping out I was invited to go to the actual networking events taking place at the festival. This was a good opportunity for me eve though I wish I had had our lessons with Bridget earlier as I would have been less awkward when approaching people to talk about their work. Even though the outcome of this was a good thing as it has given me valuable experience of networking, I believe that it did come at  a price. The only things we actually did to help were simple mundane tasks, so I did end up getting behind both  my Critical and Theoretical studies and my Creative Practice lessons, as I missed that day.

I suppose what I need to consider more when these opportunities arise is how much it will effect my coursework and whether that is a reasonable amount in terms of what I get out of it in the end.