Video games have become one of the biggest entertainment industries in the world. But that hasn’t come without controversy. People have debated for years and years saying, “video games are making children more violent” and they blame video games whenever there was an violent attack committed by a teenager who happens to play video games. Then on the opposite side the people who defend video games. There have been studies overtime as the video game industry has developed over the years showing that video games have had good and bad effects on society. My essay is going to show the development of video games and show how they have effected society overtime in both a positive and negative ways, It will give my opinion at the end of the essay and allow the reader to form their own opinion on the weather or not video games have had a positive or negative effect on society, I will also create a website the development of the technology in video games that will coincide with the essay. My role in the project is the author of the essay and the designer of the website.
Why my project is important?
My project is important to me because I wanted to expand my knowledge and develop my skills in web design and user interface and user experience design. I want to expand my knowledge and develop my skills because I want to pursue web design/UX and UI design as I potential career in the future. I also want to explore in detail how the video game industry, how it worked in the past and how it works in the present day. I also have always been interested in seeing how technology has developed overtime going from 8 bit games to full on 4K gaming. I was also interested in informing people on the effect video games have had on society and see if I could maybe change some people’s opinions also. I have always been intrigued by the idea of the evolution of technology. I have become more interested since I have started this course as I have had the opportunity to learn about all aspects of interactive media and all of the technology that comes with it.
For this chapter, I had found all of the secondary research sources that we were going to use for our extended project. Once we had gathered all of our research sources we had to categorise them in whatever way we wanted. I organised my sources by theme. Once we had categorised them we had to analyse and compare sources to each other. I am going to be starting off my talking about what I already know about the games industry I will then go on to analyse my sources. I am firstly going to be looking at my motion capture sources because this is the section that I know the least about. I am also going to be showing the creative requirements for my project.
Media sources, literature search and evaluation
My project is about how the technology in video games has developed over time and how it has affected society. I have a good understanding of how the technology has developed over time with each new generations of video game consoles for example: the PlayStation 1 was the first PlayStation console released in 1994 and then six years later Sony released the PlayStation 2 which was a lot of more advanced, was a lot of more powerful and it had new and advanced technology that was new at the time. If you go back at look at a PS1 game side by side with a PS2 game you can clearly see the differences in the graphics.
This video shows the comparison between PS1, 2, 3, and 4 graphics.
The animation and the quality of the sound are all more advanced on PlayStation 2 than the PlayStation 1. One of the main reasons why the PS2 was a lot more advanced than the PS1 was mainly the processors, there were more processors that in PS2, and they were a lot more powerful which allowed for more RAM (Random access memory) the PS2 has a 32mb system ram and a video ram of 4mb, while the original PlayStation has a 2mb system ram and a video ram of 1mb. This is some of the knowledge that I currently have on how the technology in video games have developed over time so far, I plan to look at various different media products practices and ideas to help me expand my knowledge in how technology in video games have developed over time and how it has affected society. I will be comparing and analysing the different media products against each other to see how they differ from each other and how useful they are as a research source to help me in creating my outcome for my project. I plan to carry out my research thematically starting with motion capture I’m going to compare two sources about motion capture and analyse them.
The first source I am going to look at is a YouTube video discussing the future of motion capture technology. The video starts by talking about Hideo Kojima’s new games Death Stranding. It talks about how Death Stranding is using one of the most accurate motion capture techniques to capture every little twitch and every other facial feature of the actor's face so that the actors can give the most detailed performances in video games today. They mention some of the games that have taken full advantage motion capture technology like Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us and LA Noire. They talk about how Hideo Kojima released an image of a detailed mannequin head with a lot of different stickers on it and how in motion capture they cover the actors face dots so that the motion capture software can track a very specific part of the actors face so that they can capture even the smallest of facial movement. The video then goes on to show behind the scenes footage of Death Stranding by showing the actors performance while he is wearing the motion capture rig on his head with a camera recording his face while it is covered in lots of different stickers so that the motion capture software can capture all of his facial expressions down to the tiniest of details. They then show the comparison between his behind the scenes performance and what he looks like in the game, and the transition is seamless showing just how detailed their high-end motion capture really is. They then go on to talk about another game called Hellblade. Hellblade has its own real time motion capture technology that allows them to capture live performances and then animate and render the live performance into the game in real time. This sources is very useful because it actually shows me behind the scenes footage of motion capture and they somewhat explains how it works and how detailed and accurate it can be.
The second source I am going to look at is another YouTube video show behind the scenes forage of motion capture for Batman Arkham Origins which was released in 2013. The video starts off with them setting up the motion capture equipment like getting the actor in the motion capture suit, the camera recording the actor and the 3d motion capture feed. Since the game has separate voice actors and motion capture actors, for the motion capture sessions they have the voice recordings playing as they are the recording the motion capture so the actors can lip sync to the recordings while doing the body movement’s so that they can get the most accurate performances. They then go on to talk about why they are not doing a motion capture for the actors faces because they don’t want to have photo-realistic faces they want their game to look a bit stylised and a bit exaggerated. But they do recorded the faces of the motion capture actors so that they can tell the animators to try and replicate the emotions they were expressing in the scene. They then go on to show how they do the motion capture for the fight scenes in the game by hooking on of the actors up with wires and then he is thrown in the scene he is sent flying back onto crash pads. Once they have the motion capture performance the animators then make performance a bit more exaggerated to fit in with the style of the game. This source is very useful as it does show a bit more of the motion capture process and how different stunts for motion capture is recorded and the animators edit some of the motion capture for the game. Compared to my first source on motion capture I found this to be a bit more useful than the first source as it does have more footage of how motion capture is recorded and used, while the first source really only showed facial motion capture and only a little bit of full body motion capture.
The next source I’m going to be look at his another behind the scenes video about the facial motion capture process in the Rockstar game: L.A. Norie which was released in 2011. The video starts off with them talking about they had been researching facial motion capture about 5 years prior to using it themselves and the way that people did years ago was by creating a 3d mesh from an optical camera. The video goes onto show the actor sitting in a chair different cameras postponed all around so that they can record every single facial movement down to the smallest detail. The video then goes on to show the actor doing some motion capture and they show the different between the motion capture and the motion scanning. They show how the motion capture gives them the body movements of the characters and were they are going to be looking. The motion scanning is recording 360 degrees around them to capture all of the facial movements and how they convert the recordings of them into 3d meshes for the game. They go on to talk about how the detailed face scanning is one of the main elements of the game as you have to guess whether or not somebody is lying based off of their facial expressions and facial movements. This source is very useful as it shows the difference between the motion capture process and the motion scanning process and explains the different processes and how both of them are useful and how motion capture is the basic movement and the eye lines of the characters and how the motion scanning is the highly detailed process of face scanning and turning that into a 3d mesh which is then put into the game. Compared to my previous two sources on motion capture this video goes into more detail about the motion scanning process and uses more technical terms for the processes and techniques.
(Rockstar Games, 2010)
The first source I am going to look for virtual reality at is an article and how it is about how virtual reality will change the games industry in 2017. The article starts off by discussing the rise in popularity of virtual reality headsets in 2016 and how they are going to be improved in 2017. It then talks about the origin of the virtual reality headsets and they were created for games developers so that they could adapt the headsets to new technologies. Then more and more games developers and companies were interested in the technology and that is why they are making more and more virtual reality games. The article goes on to talk about how later on in 2017 there will be a new function for virtual reality headsets that allows players to interact with each other in VR games. It then goes on to talk about Oculus Rift and how they are working on new technology which would be capable of recreating a 2160 by 1200 image with 90 frames per second. As of right now the limit is 1920 by 1080 with 30 frames per second. It does not state when Oculus are planning on releasing this technology but it will defiantly push the boundaries of virtual reality. This article is very useful for me as it talks about how virtual reality is the future of games technology and is already one of the more advanced types of technology and how they are already advancing virtual reality headsets and trying to make them as possible. Aside from talking about how Oculus are trying to improve the frame rate and image size for their 3D environments it does not really go into the technical specifications of the virtual reality headsets or any of the games that are currently available for them or any of the different types of virtual reality headsets that are currently available in 2017. (Debenham, 2017)
The second source about virtual reality I am going to look at is another article about how virtual reality might impact the future of game design. The article starts off by talking about Nintendo tried to make virtual reality games twenty years ago with the Virtual Boy. The Virtual Boy was a failure, partly due to the technology not being as advanced yet and the Virtual boy was rejected by consumers. It then starts to talk about how in 2016 VR became very popular and how more and more developers are creating VR games. It then goes on to talk about the different possibilities for VR games. It talks about how modern games are now adding support for VR making their games have a much more immersive experience. The next section talks about how some developers are focusing more on atmospheric gameplay by using less buttons controls and allowing the player to progress through the game though exploring the virtual world around them. This article is useful and it explains some the previous attempts to bring VR into the mainstream and how and why it failed. The article has clear headlines that separates it into different sections about VR which makes it easy to follow as the reader, it also has various images of VR games giving you an example of what they are talking about. Compared to my other source I think that this was is a lot easier to understand, it has clear sub headings separating the article to allow the reader to find the relevant information that they want and the images make it clear what that section is about. (Academy, 2016)
The first source that I am going to be looking at about sound is article listing 10 inventions that changed the history of game sound. The article starts off by talking about mechanical music boxes and how they were a big part of arcade machines and how games companies got around the gambling laws at the time. The second invention that they talk about is the solenoid. The solenoid is what creates the knocker noise in a pinball machines, the first game to use solenoid sound was Rock-Ola’s Big Game of 1935, and it used the solenoid to drive a hammer to strike a plate to simulate the sound of a gunshot. The third invention that they talk about is sound synthesisers, they talk about how early arcade games used analogue synthesisers. The next invention they talk about is sound chips and sound cards. They talk about how dedicated sound chips/cards were introduced in the Atari 2600 and the Commodore 64. The next invention is MIDI (Musical instrument digital interface). It was developed 1983 7to help with the fact that everybody had different sound cards and MIDI would make it easier to get sounds into the game. Number 6 is the list is DAW (digital audio workstation) and sequencers. The Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW, is a way of visualizing sound files to record, edit and produce sound and music. This goes hand in hand with midi as it you can use midi to create the sound and then use the DAW to visualise and edit them. Sequencers will let you store information about music played in a sequence the notes playing with and before/after each other. Number 7 on the list is interactive music. Interactive music responds to what the player is doing in the game. The first time interactive music in games was used was in 1977 with ‘Space Invaders’. Number 8 on the list is surround sound. Surround sound makes the sound appear to be coming from different directions making the games that you are playing feel more immersive. Number 9 on the list is Middleware. Middleware is the software that sits in the middle between the game’s composer/sound designer and the programming code. It is similar to interactive music but with interactive music only the music changes, but with Middleware it is the same piece of music but different elements added or taken away depending on what the player is doing. Number 10 on the list is Real time DSP’s and Procedural generation. DSP (digital signal processors) is when the sound changes depending on the environment the player Is in. For example if the player goes underwater the sound will change. Procedural generation is when the game can generate sounds depending on what they player is doing. For example is you are playing a motion control game on the Wii and you swing a sword it will generate the sound for as long as you are performing that action. Each number on the list has an image showing what they are discussing.
The second source I am going to be looking at is a website about the history of digital sound and music in computer games. They separate into different sections the first section is the pinball era, the second section is the analogue endeavour, then mainframe gambling, then digital arcade, then home invasion, then big pong, little pong, sound success, Atari vcs, arcade smash hits, Mattel intel vision, Pac mania, colecovision, Altair, Apple, commode pet,TRS-80, Atari 400/800, commodore vic 20, commode 64, IBM pc, enter Nintendo, commodore Amiga, NEC, Gameboy, Sega mega drive, more handhelds, Nintendo SNES, 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Sega Satern, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2 and Xbox. There are a total of 36 different sections and each of those sections have 500 words minimum most of them being a lot higher. Each section does have a corresponding image to go with the section. The article is very detailed and because there are a lot of sections there is a navigation bar at the side of the screen so that you can go straight to the section that you want. I think out of both of my sources on sound that the second source is better. This is because it is very detailed and it really does go in depth in each section and it is also arranged in chronological order, while my first source was not in chronological order. While the first source is more modern and is more aesthetically pleasing is the second source is more relevant to my project and is has a level detail that is a lot higher than my first article.
In conclusion I have compared a list of my secondary sources that I have organized by theme and have compared them to each other to see which one is more useful to me. This task allowed to gain a lot more knowledge about each area for my project and splitting my research into themes allowed me to evaluate each section helped me organise my research and it allowed me to work more clearly as I was working on one specific section at a time and work my way through all of them. I have learned about some the specific ways that sound has developed and how developers got as much of the technology has they could. I now also have a better understanding of the process of motion capture, how it is recorded and then how they make that performance and put that into the game. I am going to use this information to help me create my timeline of technology in video games when I talk about how sound has evolved and when I talk about motion capture and the technology involved with it. Overall I am a lot more knowledgeable in each of my different areas and comparing and analysing the layouts of different sources will help me when I am creating my project.
Requirements for my creative media production project
I am going to look into my chosen industry and research how they are structured and organised. I am also going to discuss how my project would fit into the industry and how it is relevant to my chosen industry. I also am to talk about what type of organisations in the industry would be interested in my project and what type of audience my project is for.
How is your industry organised/structured?
The games industry has a lot of different sectors but the main sectors are development, publishing, distribution and retail. Within the development, there are different types of developers they are: A first party developer. A first party developer usually only release games on one platform exclusively and are usually patterned with the company that created the console and example of this would be Nintendo as they internally create their games for their own consoles. Another example of this would be the partnership between Sony and Naughty Dog as Naughty Dog release games exclusively on PlayStation. Another type of developer in the games industry is a second party developer. A second party developer is an independent studio that is contracted by the owners of a platform to create a game for their platform. The game is funded by the owner of the platform and is exclusive to that console. Another type of developer is a third party developer. Third party developers are approached by a publisher to create a game for multiple platforms. The final type of developers is independent developers. Independent developers are very small studios sometimes they are just a couple of people, and they publish their own games. The publishers are responsible for the distribution of the game they responsible for the marketing and the retail of the game. They are responsible for marketing the game which means creating and releasing trailers, creating adverts and any other marketing material for the game. The publishers work with the developers and they sometimes fund the development of the game. Distribution and retail do fall under publishing but they are such a huge parts of a game's success that they can be considered its own sector The Distribution is responsible for shipping the games to all of the stores making sure that the game can be downloaded digitally and if people can buy it online.
Figure 1 Industry Structure
How does your work fit within this organisational structure?
My project fits into the development of in the games industry. My project is about the development of the technology in video games and how it has evolved over time. My project could be used as a research tool for developers who want to look at the development of the technology that they are using and how that has evolved to this point. If they are developing a retro game they could look at my project and look at the development of the technology at that time so that they can be accurate and faithful to that period in time. My project could also be used for educations purposes in the games industry. It could be used for people who are trying to get into the industry and want to learn more about the development of the industry and all of the technology and all of the techniques and processes that are currently being used and techniques and processes that were used in the early days of the games industry. It can also be used just to research a specific process like motion capture and how that has developed. They could be using this to see how the technology might develop even more in the future. My project could end up predicting future innovations for the games industry. For example, if I give some predictions possibly somebody is already working on something similar or maybe somebody would look at some of my ideas and predictions and be inspired to start designing that themselves. Maybe a games developer looks my project as is then inspired to design some concepts based off of my work. My work could also be featured on various gaming websites like Edge or Kotaku as they write an article that could highlight my work and get it more exposure in the games industry.
Explain whether your work is independent or mainstream. Why is this the case?
I think that my project is an independent project. This is because I am presenting my project in the form of an essay, and essays are not really mainstream in the games industry. It is an independent project because I am the only one working on the project and in the games industry almost all of the independent studios and developers are a really small team of maybe 5 or 6 people and in some cases just one person. The mainstream games which are referred to as triple a games usually have hundreds of people with an extremely high budget working on triple games. My work would be mainly used as a research and education tool and would like to be published on a website and it could be accessed by mainstream and independent people in the games industry but I believe that it would be more useful for the independent side of the games industry.
Provide examples of organisations that would:
Produce/publish your work and why (consider specialist production houses/publishers)
Since my project is going to be presented as an essay it probably wouldn’t be published by a games publisher because they only publish games. My project could be published by a book publisher like Rolenta Press as they have published a book about the history of video games in November 2016 and they could be more likely than other publishers because they have a published books about the history of video games before.
How/where it could be distributed and why (online, hardcopy, exhibitions, festivals etc.)
My essay could be distributed in many different ways, for example, it could be posted online on a blog website, or on another type of website. It could also be published as a hard copy book which could be sold in bookshops and sold online as well. It could also be presented at different games exhibitions and game festivals at a stand and people can look through it and look for the development. It could also be used as an educational tool and can be very useful for students who maybe use it as research for their own work.
How it would be regulated? By whom?
It would have to be proofread and looked through to make sure that there is not any offensive content in my essay. If I was having it published then it would be regulated by the publisher as they would have control over the distribution of my work.
Whether it is for a niche/mainstream audience. Why is this the case?
I believe that my project is aimed towards a more a niche audience than the mainstream audience. This is because, not everybody in the games industry or people who play a lot of video games and are interested in them, might not be interested in how the technology of games have developed over time. Most of the people who play video games especially young teenagers don’t really pay attention to the technology in the video games when they are playing them. That is why I believe that my project is for a niche audience more than a mainstream audience.
In conclusion, I have looked at how my chosen industry is structured/organised, what type of audience my project would be for, what type of organisations in the industry would be interested in my project and why. I am going to use all of this information when I am producing my project and appeal to my chosen audience. Overall I have looked into my chosen industry and this has helped my inform some of the creative decisions for my project.