Friday, 29 October 2010

Memento – The melancholy tale of Lenny the goldfish.

Protagonist's wife was raped and murdered giving him a sweet-tooth for retribution. However he took a bit of a tumble and is now incapable of creating new memories. A typical revenge plot, but with a twist!

     It's like a normal boring film, except the protagonist is a little slow. Think Bruce Willis' character from Sin City; just with alzheimers. To be fair it was highly original, well-executed with a non-linear progression to break it up and then bring it together at the end with a few unexpected twists to leave you satisfied.

     Personally, it wasn't one of those 'Ohhhhhhh, you cheeky bugger!' kind-of-twists that leave you smiling on the inside for days after watching, like Usual Suspects or Sixth Sense. Though this was likely due to the running time compared with my preference toward the amount of cramp my legs can take before I stop giving a shit. Consequently the Care-o-meter was dwindling. However I did manage to concentrate long enough to appreciate the ending despite being somewhat perplexed in what my feelings toward the protagonist should now be, given his sudden role change.

All in all, it's worth a watch. Nothing terribly exciting though.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A tale of boredom, and how one man tried to kill it. - History of Games, 1950-1970

     The title is somewhat misleading as this is not much of a tale on how we, as humans tried to kill boredom - no, more so a boring story on the history of computer games and trust me, it's a corker! So with the godfathers of modern entertainment shamelessly slandered, let's get started.
     In 1952 a British computer science professor by the name of Alexander S. Douglas created the first form of electronic entertainment, or 'graphical computer game' (because apparently calling it a 'video game' is heresy) which was called Tic-Tac-Toe. It was designed and created on this bad boy. 

     Interesting to note, that the systems all early computer games created in the 50's were developed on equipment originally designed for military use. Specifically missile trajectories. This included the first VIDEO GAME created by a man called William Higinbotham called 'Tennis For Two' which was created and played on an oscilloscope. 

     At the turn of the decade, in 1962, a young man from MIT who went by the name of Steve Russell created the first game intended for computer use called Spacewar! The game was rather simple: Two men enter, one leaves... or more or less. The set-up was two spaceships circle a planet with the intention of shooting down your opponent before you ran out of fuel.

     In conclusion to all that, the first computer game was created by A.S. Dougl-- wait a minute! It wasn't because someone else thought of the idea first, and then several years later patented it therefore legally making him the creator and pioneer of the concept. This man was Ralph Baer, a Television Engineer. He created the first game to be played on a television set called Chase in 1967, fifteen years after Douglas created his game. There is some controversy about who was the real pioneer behind video games because of this. Baer held the patent because the ones before him didn't bother, seeing as the equipment needed to play their games cost over $100,000 voiding the point of a patent as none could afford it. To add further argument to this, Baer first conceived of the concept back in 1951 (a year before Douglas created Tic-Tac-Toe) when his boss asked him to make the 'best television set in the world', apparently an 'easy task' for Baer, he wanted to make a TV that could play computer games however his boss, being a dozy plonker, refused the idea.

      Therefore, it's hard to say who was the first man to create a video game. It depends on what your definition of a video game is I suppose. I for one am with A.S. Douglas, ok, so it couldn't be enjoyed by the family as you'd need a massive hole burnt in your pocket and a football field sized living room to play it in but it was still entertainment created and played on a computer. Pity about Baer's idea being refused, but we can't just let history be re-written out of sympathy.

      Something else worth noting is that computer games, at present, are often seen as brain-drains offering no benefit toward intellectual progression. Yet it was scientists and professors, all academics working with equipment meant for military use, that can be found at the source of it all.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

You talkin' to me?

My name is Scott Bennett; I’m twenty-one years young, born and raised on the verdant plains of Glou-cester-shyeeerrrrr (Gloucestershire) however I don’t have the fahhrrmerr ahhcent, regrettably mine is boring and ordinary. My father was a wolf and my mother was a beard. I have four brothers I’m aware of.
After many a pilgrimage I decided to setup shop in urban Leicester to settle down with my love, game art. A forbidden love: one which is frowned upon in many cultures. Bullshit aside, the reason I chose game art goes way back to when I was but a young lad of fifteen years; gazing upon a specific piece of art amidst the Warcraft 3 manual – I could not believe this kind of drawing was possible: the shading on the armour,  detail of the fur,  glean on the blade. Was all so inspiring, and at the same time, disheartening; to think I’d never be that good. At that point I knew that I wanted to be a game artist.
From that day forward I took up this mighty quest, to traverse peaks and seas, lands and skies so that one day, I would leave my mark on game... or at least that was the plan. I kind of screwed up a tad in the start by not taking Art for GCSE, instead going down the ICT which meant, consequently, that I couldn’t do Art for A-level BUT ask me to do a database or a spreadsheet and I’m your man! Oh yeah, handy stuff.
After wasting a couple years on academics I finally got into an art course at my local College.  Hated the two years I spent there but at least it got me into Uni. Waaaaay!
Now that I’m FINALLY on a course that suits me I can get started on really focusing my attention on what matters. Hoping to have improved vastly in the first year in regards to both 2D and 3D ultimately leading to a highly polished style at the end of the third year. Just got to get my workin’ boots on.
Well there’s my life story. I thought I’d miss out the part where I served in Normandy getting my arm blown off or the time I kicked a mountain in half – good times.
Other then that I enjoy walks down the beach, playing the spoons and clubbing... as in baby seals.

This is my dream, there are many like it but this one's mine

The idea of this post was to go searching about yonder tinternet for my 'dream job' typically, however, the internet security in the library must see Blizzard as a threat to the average students mind and as such, has locked it away in a vault somewhere disallowing my entry. Fiend! Same goes for Lionhead Studios, another company I’d love to work with.
Space Cowboys and Slavedriving aside my dream job would have to be working for Blizzard Entertainment as a Lead Art Director. Although that’s being about as ambitious as Alexander the Great. So for now my goal is somewhat watered down. ‘Somewhat’ being the operative word here as I’d still like to work for Blizzard, just as a 2D concept artist instead. However, having read up on this a couple years back, the odds of me getting a job would be slim, even slimmer would be my weeks spent working on a game.
Therefore I’m obligated to learn 3D as C++ could well give me an aneurysm. Though it’s not so straightforward as to just turn up with 2D and 3D knowledge; maybe for other companies, be that as it may, Blizzard require that you have at least TWO years industry experience. They’ve listed ‘knowledge of 3D’ as a ‘desirable’ skill. Now I disagree, I’d have to say that knowing 3D and 2D are ESSENTIAL. How else am I going to get a job, gunpoint? Additionally, software knowledge such as Photoshop, 3DS-Max, Z-brush, a keen understanding of human and animal anatomy would all be advantageous.
            Fundamentally, I just need to work incredibly hard not just to get into industry, but to be better than my competition – this is the hard part. Here’s hoping style wins over raw skill. Since looking at myself now I’m nowhere near what I need to be, at any rate, that’s why I’m here on this particular course. Bring it on.