Aimless Wonderings

Just another UMW weblog
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What I learned from Alice

Filed under: Uncategorized November 1, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

I had a lot of fun learning how to use the program Alice. If someone told me that I was going to learn how to program I would think that that would be boring, but when you use Alice, you don’t even realize you’re learning.

 I like how simple the interface is so it’s easy to get into making an animation and it’s easy to figure out how to do things. The simplicity of the program makes it easy to see how the programming fits together and how to organize things so that they work properly. It allows you to see the overarching picture without all the confusing writing that accompanies real programming. Because the program has so many pre-made characters and environments, you feel like you are actually making something interesting. If you just had to learn programming from scratch you would probably start with very simple but also boring things. Alice lets you jump right in to making something cool.

 I have a much greater appreciation for professional programmers than I used to. I learned just how much work goes into programming even something very simple. My animation was very short, but it took me several days to complete and it had a lot of code in it. I also learned some of the basic commands and functions that you can do in programming. I was astonished to find out how precise everything had to be as well. In order for the animation to work, there had to be very precise numbers for the distance a character moves and how they move. One wrong number and the whole program would be messed up. Luckily in Alice it is easy to see mistakes!

 I greatly enjoyed using Alice, and now that I have it on my computer I look forward to using it again!

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Game Animation Project

Filed under: Uncategorized October 17, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

It took me awhile to decide what type of animation I wanted to do for this project. Alice has such a wide variety of objects and characters to use, It was hard to decide even on a genre of game. I finally decided on an adventure role-playing game in the fantasy genre.

The game follows the main character, Flit, who is a fairy. Flit has always been restless with her everyday chores and the tedium of life, and she dreams of adventure. She has always felt that she is destined for bigger things then her small village, and wants to learn the secrets of fairy magic.

One day messengers come to her village bringing the news that the fairy princess Sariana has been captured by the evil wizard Darian, who wants to steal her magical abilities for himself. Flit realizes that this is her chance to go on an adventure and become a hero. The other fairies are too afraid of the wizard to fight back, so Flit sets off on her own to save the princess and prove that she is no ordinary fairy.

Darian finds out that Flit intends to rescue the princess and thinks she will be easy to destroy. He sends his undead minions and his troll allies to try and stop her, but she proves to be more powerful than he expected. Along her journey, Flit discovers her own magical abilities and is able to make it to Darian’s castle, where she sees Sariana being held captive, guarded by a dragon and Darian himself. Flit must use all of the knowledge she has learned and every ounce of strength she can muster in order to defeat the wizard and rescue the princess. Will she succeed?

This is the basic outline of the story of my game. I haven’t decided on a title yet, but I have a few ideas that I’m currently trying out. Fantasy has always been my favorite genre, and I was excited to find that Alice has a lot of fantasy and medieval themed objects and characters. I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this project!

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Time in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Filed under: Uncategorized October 10, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is part of the popular Zelda series of video games. The plot of the game is that you play Link, a young hero who is trying to rescue Princess Zelda from the clutches of the evil Gannondorf. During the game, Link has to navigate his way through the land of Hyrule, completing various quests and making his way through themed temples full of puzzles and enemies. The interesting think about this Zelda game is that the game starts off when Link is a child. Part of the way through the game Link aquires the Ocarina of Time, which has several magical abilities. He uses this Ocarina to skip ahead in time by 7 years and the remainder of the game is played when Link is an adult.

Ocarina of Time uses several different kinds of time. It applies repetition/cyclical looped time in the form of repeated animations such as the running animation and fighting animations, which remain the same throughout the game. It also makes use of title sequences and cut-scenes. The beginning of the game shows an introductory sequence showing link riding around Hyrule on his horse and it shows the title of the game. It is then followed by a short introductory sequence showing Princess Zelda being captured by Gannondorf. Throughout the game, especially when Link discovers a new place, the game will switch to a short cinematic sequence that will advance the plot or introduce new characters.

The game also employs Time pressure. During certain quests you have to deliver things to people around Hyrule in a certain amount of time. There are also puzzles in the temples that must be completed under time strain because you will be killed if you don’t complete them in time. The last form of time that is used in the game is game time vs. real time. This can be seen when certain events are skipped over in order to have game play flow smoothly. The biggest example is when Link skips 7 years into the future. The game also has it’s own clock, and the world will slowly go between day and night, but it is much faster then the passing of time in real life. The Ocarina itself can also manipulate game-time. In addition to transporting Link 7 years back and forth in time, it can fast forward between day and night, since certain quests can only be completed at night or during the day.

The use of different forms of time is definitely good for the game. Because time is so important to the game (it is called “The Ocarina of Time“), it makes it very interesting when several different kinds of time are used. Having different kinds of time adds variability to the game and keeps the quests and temples from becoming repetitive. Ocarina of Time is definitely one of my favorite games, and I think that has a lot to do with the variability of time in the game.

This is a picture of Link when he first finds the Ocarina of Time

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Warcraft III

Filed under: Uncategorized October 1, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

One of my favorite computer games is Warcraft III. It is a real time strategy game that takes place in a fantasy world called Azeroth. One of the reasons I like this game is because it has such a complex and interesting story. This is the third game in the Warcraft series, so the world has a lot of history. The game involves 4 playable races that each have diverse histories and interact with each other. As in most real time strategy games, Warcraft III scrolls on two axes and you are a sort of god figure that can control the construction of buildings and the creation of many types of troops to form armies.

The game is fun because each race has different strengths and different types of troops. Also, each mission is varied and has diverse objectives so the game doesn’t get repetitive or boring. The game is challenging intellectually because it requires the use of strategy and planning in order to complete the mission objectives successfully. If you fail, you will have to start the mission over again.One of the nice things about Warcraft III is that while there is a complex story going on, you don’t have to know all the back story to be able to understand what is going and and to be able to enjoy the game. On the other hand, those who are familiar with the story will take pleasure in watching the epic story unfold and meeting old characters from the previous games. The story unfolds during the missions and through in-game cut-scenes and beautiful cinematics.

Warcraft III is also great because it has good replayability. There are multiplayer modes where friends can build their own separate bases and fight each other on teams or individually. You can also go online and play against people all over the world.

Warcraft III was a successful game because it had a superb balance of replayability, an interesting story that wasn’t too complicated for new players, good variation in mission objectives, and variation in characters and abilities. I still play this game today even though it came out several years ago!

This is a picture of a Human Base; Humans are one of the 4 playable races

This is a picture of a Human base; Humans are 1 of 4 playable races

This is a picture from an in-game cut-scene

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Second Life Event

Filed under: Uncategorized September 17, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

For my second life event I attended an NCI class entitled “Avitar Makeover.” It took place int he Caledon Highlands and was taught by a teacher named Honeydew Hilite. The class lasted for one hour and started at 4:00 (Pacific Time). I found the class to be very informative and helpful. We learned about the basics of changing appearance and we even made our own shirts using the appearance editor. There were only two other people in the class so the teacher was able to help each of us individually. I also learned how to resize clothing pieces that didn’t fit properly. This was very useful because I have gotten jewelry and belts before that are too big or too small. Since the class was so small, the teacher gave out several freebies including, skin, hair, and clothes that she had designed herself! I got a pretty blue and black polka dot dress. In addition to this there was a contest to see who could make the best shirt, and since she couldn’t choose a winner, we all got L$25, which was very nice.

Overall, I enjoyed the class and i found the teacher to be very generous and helpful. I would definately consider taking more classes because i learned a great deal and got a lot of free stuff!

Here is a picture of me during the class making my own shirt!

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Second Life Groups

Filed under: Uncategorized September 10, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

I am now a member of three groups in Second life. The names of the groups are World of Warcraft Players, Welfare Presidents, and Harry Potter Book 7 Chat Group.  I joined these groups because they had to do with my interests. I joined the World of Warcraft group because I play that game and i wanted to see if there were any groups on second life devoted to this MMORPG. I even found an island where they were building replicas of some of the building in WoW. I joined the Welfare Presidents because someone mentioned it in class as an easy way to make money. Lastly, I joined the Harry Potter group because I am also a huge Harry Potter fan. The most active group is by far the Welfare presidents. I have talked to several people in that group and I had to be invited in by someone already on welfare. Once you join the group you can stand on welfare island in certain places and cry, and you will make money. Unfortunately, the other two groups are much smaller and less active.  It seems like no one in either of the other groups is on when i get on, as i found out when i tried to introduce myself in the Warcraft group. I think the Harry Potter group was probably more active when the book first came out. I would join a different Harry Potter group, but the only other good one required money to join, which i don’t have. I did however find some cool Harry Potter themed islands that had all sorts of Harry Potter items for sale. I’ll have to revisit them once i get more money from Welfare. I’m going to continue to communicate with the other two groups and I will continue to use Welfare whenever I can. I might try to join other more active groups as well. But for now, thats a summary of my secondlife group activity!

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Filed under: Uncategorized September 2, 2007 @ 10:33 am

I found this documentary to be very informative and interesting. i never really knew very much about the history of video games except that pong was the first game (and i didn’t even know about all the controversy and lawsuits associated with pong). I found it fascinating to watch the progression of the videogames and how the graphics kept improving. I also didn’t know that gaming had origins in many different countries. I usually associate videogames with Japan and computer games with the U.S. but i realize now that of course other countries must have been involved too. It was especially interesting to hear that tetris was created in Russia while the iron curtain was in effect. Most people don’t think about anything else that happened in that time period except the war, but technology was improving and games were being created! I don’t know when the documentary was created, but i wished it had talked more about modern computer games. It didn’t really talk about advances in technology that allow for the completely 3D and almost lifelike graphics in todays games, and it didn’t talk about other important game companies such as Sony and more modern game systems. Other than these few things, i thought the video did a good job of giving a nice historical overveiw of gaming.

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Why I took this Seminar

Filed under: Uncategorized August 28, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

I decided to take this class because it sounded interesting. Video and computer games have been a part of my life for a very long time thanks to the influence of my brother, who has always been an avid gamer. I’ve never been quite as much of a gamer as him, but i do enjoy watching and playing them. I thought it would be interesting to study computer games from an academic perspective, and this type of course has never been available to me. I am especially interested in the effects computer games have had on society, since they have revolutionized entertainment and so many aspects of life. People in this day and age can’t imagine a world without computer and video games. I am especially interested in the topic of whether violent computer games lead to violent acts in real life. I personally don’t think that they do, but i was curious to see what others think about this subject, since it is an ongoing controversy currently. I also hope to meet other people interested in computer games during this class, and I hope to have fun!

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Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized August 28, 2007 @ 9:15 am

Welcome to UMW This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!