Archive | September 2015

Celebrate The Small Things: 18 September

Since I’ve been feeling a lot better recently I’ve been making more progress on the game prototype. I’ve actually just about finished it and need to add a few menus and fix some bugs before I’m ready to get some feedback. This is the one that is based on another person’s idea, and they intend to help in promoting it afterwards. It’s a really simple tapping game, but that’s also why I can spend more time on making sure that everything is put together as well as I can. I also made a list of ideas and it’s surprising to find that even with simple mechanics you can still think of a lot of different ways to implement it. My excitement to start a new project use to cause me to jump into ideas very quickly and needless to say they didn’t always turn out well, hence why I’m now considering the process as one where I refine it over time. I’m experimenting and discovering different ways to implement parts of the game.

I’ve also discovered a couple of interesting courses on Future Learn Mindfulness For Wellbeing and Peak Performance and Logical And Critical Thinking. The mindfulness one started this week and I’ve been taking the time to meditate a couple of times a day. It seems to be helping slightly with becoming more relaxed and sleeping better. I have a book on mindfulness too and it seems like a really interesting area.

I watched the final episode of Under The The Dome (based on a Stephen King book) – it’s finally concluded, yay! I really enjoyed the show at first, but then it felt like they were dragging it on a bit. Like a lot of shows, I enjoy the mystery behind them, but can lose interest later on if it goes on for too long without any answers. I told myself it’d be the last time I’d watch a series of the dome, and it’s turned out to be the final one. I also watched the entire first series of Digimon as we discovered the whole lot is available on Amazon Prime. I know it’s a kids show, but it’s actually better than I remember it being and has gotten me looking back to the games based on it. My boyfriend got me a copy of the old PS1 game Digimon World. Oooh, and I also got a pre-purchase of SOMA by Frictional games. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a good while now – I’m 3 parts excited and 1 part terrified.

Another thing to look forward to: Our shower broke and I’ve had to make do with this rubbish one that you attach to the taps. A guy came round to check it this week and told us that we needed a new one, but they’re not as expensive as we thought and will include free fitting, so could be worse. Here’s hoping that we’ll have a new shower sorted out over the next couple of weeks.

Oh, and I’ve just been informed that apparently I’ve written 200 posts on this blog.

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Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

Horizon: Are Video Games Really That Bad?

I got home to catch Horizon last night and it happened to be about video games; covering the negative issues that games are known for, such as violence and addiction. It turned out to be a fascinating delve into how playing video games can affect our minds. You’ll usually find people sat in one camp or the other, with either what feels like a vendetta against gaming, or being on the defensive; What I liked about this programme was that it gave a more balanced viewpoint and didn’t jump to any assumptions. It may disappoint those looking for a definite answer, but games are still too young for us to fully understand the impact they have had on our lives. Research will always be ongoing and new answers supporting one claim or another will continue to crop up. Part of what I find interesting about game development as a field is the fact that we’re still learning about how we can untap the true potential of video games.

I obviously lean towards wanting to believe that games can enrich our lives, but I also try my best to keep an open mind to anything on the contrary. I believe that most things have a good and a bad side, depending on how they are utilized. You get bad games, just as you can get bad films and books. I guess that’s why it bothers me when it’s usually only the darker side of gaming that we hear about in the mainstream media – it overlooks all of those games that have had a positive influence on people’s lives. It’s also important to understand the good and the bad so that better games can be designed around that; If games do indeed have an influence on our emotions and behaviour, then this too opens up the potential for games that can promote traits such as empathy (see ‘How Can Videogames Make You a Kinder Person?‘ by PBS Game/Show and ‘A Question of Empathy‘ by Extra Credits.)

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Do You Need To Be Good At Maths To Build A Game?

It seems to be a common notion that maths is something to be dreaded. Maths use to be something that I had very little confidence with, but I don’t think I had particularly good teachers in this area. Some of them were very strict and would ask you really hard questions on the spot; Just the thought of attending class would fill me with apprehension. Others covered material that was too basic so that I wasn’t learning anything new by attending. I got placed in the 2nd to highest maths group, which resulted in me missing out on the opportunity to learn a lot of additional material and capped the grade I could achieve; My parents didn’t agree with this and believed that I was capable of doing better in the subject. Nonetheless, when I realized that my lifelong dream of wanting to build games required maths skills I was a little distraught.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 11 September

I’ve been struggling over the past couple of weeks with a mild lingering bladder infection, which is obviously not a very pleasant problem to have. I don’t really like having to go to the doctor, but I eventually decided I had no choice and got some antibiotics that have helped a lot. I was feeling really run down with it, but now I’m a lot more optimistic. I’ve also learnt a lot about how to prevent this in the future (sometimes we need to go through something to learn about it,) such as to drink lots of cranberry juice – I happen to really like it anyway.

I decided to go out for a walk to the shops today as the weather was warm and clear (it seems to be changeable between that and cold at the moment.) I’ve been noticing these adult mindful colouring books being sold in a lot of places recently and they seem to be really popular. I wasn’t sure If I should get one – I feel a bit silly considering that I spend a lot of my time drawing anyway – but I loved colouring books as a kid and some of the pictures in them are amazing. This woman noticed me looking at them and started talking to me about how much she loved them herself, convincing me to treat myself to one (not that they cost much anyway.) It’s really cool that us adults can now get back into colouring-in again. It always puts a smile on my face when I bump into friendly people too, especially when they just want to offer a cheery ‘hello’ and share what they’re passionate about. A lot of us are too shy to approach people that we don’t know, even if they appear to have something in common with us that we’d love to talk to them about.

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The Creative Mind

There are a few creative people in my family with an interest in subjects such as art and photography. As such, I always felt like I was encouraged to be creative too, even though I later realized I had a strong interest in computers. When I studied game programming I found that it was actually quite rare to come from such a background and most of the people I talked to were better at subjects like Maths and Science. When they noticed that I was able to create decent looking sprites to put in my games they would comment on how creative I was. One of my closest friends would always put himself down, claiming that he just wasn’t capable of being creative. I always remember one of the things I learnt as a kid from a book about drawing animals, that you should never say you can’t, but that you’re learning. I believe that we restrict ourselves by forming such strong beliefs of what we’re not capable of. As such I would try to encourage my friend whenever it was required of us to do something more creative.

A lot of people seem to link creativity to skills such as painting or writing, but it’s actually beneficial in other areas too. To be creative is to be able to generate lots of ideas and then eventually hone in on a solution to a problem. Creativity isn’t a talent, but something that all people can posses. People that are considered to be creative however, tend to be more curious and inquisitive in nature. According to The Bedside Book Of Psychology by Christian Jarrett and Joannah Ginsburg (Cognition, creativity, p 64-65) people that rank high on intelligence test are usually less creative because it requires a different mindset.

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