After skipping last weeks Links due to me catching up to work today’s Links are extra meaty. So let’s get to it.
Video: Assassin’s Creed Kinect
An April Fool’s joke, this spoof video from Ubisoft shows a commercial for the fictional Assassin’s Creed Kinect. It’s really well done and I love the escalation of ridiculousness in the gestures.
Link: 8-Bit Google Maps
A funny version of google maps where the world is displayed in a way reminescent of old 8-bit RPGs. Just a pity that it’s pretty much unusable because if you get close, cities render as grasslands. Still a neat little gag
An installation that was present at GDC Super-Game-o-Matic was a set of oversized fridge magnets that attendees could use to build funny game concepts. In the video above some of these were given the honor of being sketched by artists. Even though the results are hilarious this is actually not that bad a technique to come up with useful concepts. It just mainly boils down to the words you put into your pool of magnets. And here I think more (and stranger) is better. I’ve done something similar in the past and I’m still itching to make that Jesus vs. Ghandi Beat-em-Up…
Video: South Park Creators Crash a Writing Class
Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the two minds behind South Park, share a few glimpses into their writing process. I think they present a very simple rule that is genius in it’s simplicity. Watch the video to find out more but the idea is to have all scenes of your story have a causal connection. It’s not a sequence of different events but a chain that leads up to something.
Article: Film Critic Hulk vs. the Hero’s Journey
This is a pretty long article so bring some time, yet it’s worth it if you’re interested in narrative. It mainly focuses on films (with a slight detour to criticize game stories) but it’s pretty valid throughout. The key point Hulk makes is that the Hero’s Journey has become a crutch people cling to because it’s “right” or “easy”, which is why Hollywood nowadays creates a lot of similar, working, but soulless movies. They simply follow the schema of the Monomyth because that’s the way it’s done – without regard whether it’s right for the story or characters.
I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. There’s certain “schemata” to a lot of creative endeavors and learning those is an essential part of understanding the craft behind the art form, yet sticking to them, relying on them removes the spark that makes a work unique. While the article focuses on movies I think that most of what is being said is true for today’s pop music just as well. If you look at Rebbeca Blacks Friday as the worst kind of cookie-cutter result of bland and whitewashed pop-music. A kind of music that I think works well for kids and teenagers but that most people eventually outgrow as they mature and get a better appreciation and awareness of the variety of music at their disposal.
I think as the game development community we also have to fight with this issue. There’s a lot of clones, me-toos or thoughtless First-Person-Shooters (read this as Whatever-Genre-is-In-Right-Now), yet we have the odd twist that many of the consumers (the mid- to hardcore) also educate themselves on the topic and thus a stronger value (and financial success) is given to the more experimental and innovative titles, something that much more rarely happens in music or movies.
Link: Screenshots of Despair
A website that collects images of the sad, hilarious and depressing side of the Web 2.0.
Link: Week 3: Best of A/B Testing – Kabam
A short article giving a good look at A/B testing a landing page. It’s just so damn sad that once again it boils down to pixelated breasts. *sigh
Infographic: Gamers get Girls
Speaking of breasts… A dubious title but an interesting look at the differences (and similarities) between online gaming and online dating. What I found especially interesting is the following: On dating site’s it’s a given that someone who sends you a message is interested in you so the thrill of uncertainity is gone. That uncertainity is needed to generate attraction though. In online games however where people simply inhabit the same space the uncertainty is back on which makes this work. This makes me think about a dating site that is not a dating site – a sort of game with the goal to get people together, without obviously proclaiming to do so. Admittedly a hard sell to investors but hey – you never know.
Video: Quantic Dream – Kara Tech Demo
Another incredibly well done video from Quantic Dream. (here’s the Behind the Scenes by the way). It’s quite a well crafted emotional ride, the character seems incredibly realistic. Much more so than most other games manage to do in their cutscenes but they do so by taking a pretty easy route, using a vulnerable female. This video lead to an interesting discussion on facebook between my buddy Fraser and me.