Rhythm Science

This book was definitely an interesting read. Paul D. Miller made several captivating points but the one that stuck to me most was the idea that nothing is ever really new, regardless of what media source it is, in this case sound. Anything that is considered new is actually just an updated model of the previous thing, at least according to Miller. I do somewhat agree with this idea. We strive to create better and newer media that builds upon the old, and uses it as starting blocks in order to create a more advanced alternative. But there is something about the old that attracts us, we hold a certain nostalgia for it and sooner or later our newer versions very explicitly bring back styles that we refuse to improve on. But I do agree with him when he says that soon into the future, humanity will have technology so immersed in their lives that it will just be something that everyone is expected to have. Even today, some say we are too dependent on technology.

The most surprising argument from this book I would have to say is how Miller defends Dj-ing as a legitimate art form. I never gave much thought to Djs and how they mixed their music, but after reading this I can say that I haven’t been paying as much attention to their music as I should have. They each find a way to express their individuality through the mixes and beats that they combine. They take multiple other products to create one and call it their own. I think my favorite quote from this book would have to be “There’s so much information about who you should be or what you should be that you’re not left with the option of trying to create a mix of your very self.” And it’s definitely true, there is so much already put out there that we are supposed to like or not like and what’s popular and what’s not yet we rarely get the opportunity to try and create something out of it and add our own personal touch to it.

The book itself was also interesting. Its graphics were simple but stylistic and some also made sure to emphasize certain quotes that I believe Miller thought would be the most important for the reader. It managed to tie together a lot of concepts I wasn’t expecting to see but I was able to follow through was Miller was saying. The idea of rhythm science is something I had not heard about before, so all of this was new to me. Now I see things with a slightly different perspective that allows me to realize the process behind media. Because in the end it’s all a big loop that never ends. Something is created, someone else notices it and wants to either create something better or add their own touch to it. After that is created the process goes on and on and a smorgasbord of media is created.

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Iterative Design

Iterative design is based on a repetitive cycle that involves prototypes, testing, analyzing,and refining. The final project is rarely going to look like the first prototype due to all the adjustments that are made throughout the various steps that it takes to finalize it. When discussing video games specifically, the iterative design is defined as playtesting.

When creating a new game, it is played excessively as everyone who plays it comments and critiques on how to improve its concept and design. For example, one thing to analyze would be the play values of the game. These are the abstract principles that were embodied by the design of the game. Prototypes are also never going to be very aesthetically pleasing. The focus is more on the purpose of the game rather than its appearance. The main concern is on making sure the interactions of the game are accurate. It isn’t until all the movements of the game are figured out that the work begins to make the game more visually pleasing.

Another important thing to focus on would be the core mechanics of the game, mechanics that players will constantly and repeatedly use in the game. In analyzing the core mechanics of  prototype, you determine what movements will become crucial to your game and will set the basic rules for creating better versions of the prototype.

The game LOOP is the result of a new core mechanic that was invented that allowed players to interact with the game in fluid gestures that were allowed to sweep instead of the traditional point-and-click or click-and-drag options that were currently available. Only after making sure the coding was correct did the developers focus on expanding the gameplay into multiple levels as well as coming up with multiple variables for it.

The game SiSSYFiGHT was a game that allowed for a new form of interaction, one that merged computer with real time where players chose how to interact with one another. It allowed for online multi-player gameplay but it still needed many improvements. Through questionnaires, testing sessions, and beta versions of the game, developers were able to discover how to improve the game and make it more appealing in its mechanics as well as its purpose. Beta tests revealed how the game’s actions were at times too predictable, or how players would prefer to not fight at all. Through more tweaks and fixes, the final game launch used all the information collected from all the multiple testings in order to create something that people were looking for.

The Lego Junkbot had the challenge of creating a virtual game out of objects that existed in reality while ensuring the game followed the rules of how the Legos could be manipulated in the real world. After ensuring the game held to the rules of real Legos, developers created shortcuts to facilitate gameplay, such as allowing Legos to be moved in groups rather than individually. Again, they relied on game testing to determine how complicated the game should be and if it was able to be understood by the players. Testing is crucial to every step of the process of gamemaking.