YSDN 2005: Project One

Video Games: An Exploration of a New Media Phenomenon

by Sammy Fung


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Rationale

Out of the initial five medium ideas that I came up with, I decided to work with video games. The reason for this was because of the fact that I myself am already quite knowledgable of the concept of video gaming and I myself have experienced the playing of video games since I was little. As well, this is a personal hobby of mine that I and many people around the world have. As a popular form of media entertainment, it has come a long way in the way we have approached new technologies, particularly in the aspect that video games themselves are an interactive form of new media. The game player interacts with the central-processing unit (or CPU) of a computer or game console and is subsequently simulating a new experience. Be it through a narrative (story), gameplay, visual display, sound, and personal input through a device, the user emerses themself into a multimedia phenomenon.

For this concept map, I decided to go with an 'ecosystem'-type structural aesthetic. My reason for this is the fact that in many of today's video games, actual movement within a 3-dimensional environment is non-linear and there is a lot of area to explore and discover. Hence, the layout of the information on the map is rigid, free-flowing, and semi-organic in transmission. The reader can begin from the centre and then "branch off" into the separate realms or components which constitute the world of video gaming as a new media experience. While at the same time I wanted to incorporate the "retro" feel of earlier generation of games, particularly that of platforms. 2-dimensional sidescrolling games such as Metroid (1986) and Super Mario World (1990) are a few examples where I have appropriated this concept.

Research Summary

Besides from the general information on video games that I already knew, there was actually quite a lot to cover for this topic. Hence, it was all a matter of finding the right information from some good sources and they have generally been websites. Some had timelines while others had a lot of images and text. I decided to cover the ideas of corporate structures of video games, video gaming culture, the effect it has on people, and what actually constitutes as video games. Eventually, I came up with a lot of nodes and connections for the concept map development process.


PROCESS WORK: Visual References

Still image references

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Ref 1: Screenshot of the pause menu in the game Assassin's Creed (2007). I used a relatively similar style displayed here for the overall layout of my concept map.


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Ref 2: Gameplay functions in Assassin's Creed.


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Ref 3: Loading screen from Assassin's Creed.


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Ref 4: Standard colours on a PS3 Sixaxis controller.


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Ref 5: The simple oval shape of the Nintendo logo which I really like.


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Ref 6: Screenshot from the game Arkanoid (1986). I like the visual style of the paddle and the top-down approach of this game.


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Ref 7: Screenshot from the game Metroid (1986). I took my influence of the oval-shaped nodes in my map from this particular style of level design.


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Ref 8: Screenshot from the game Tetris (1988). Again, much like Arkanoid, my maps were influenced from a top-down approach of visual aesthetic.


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Ref 9: Screenshot from the game Rez (2001). I really like the 3-dimensional aspect of this and the lines that flow around on the screen.


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Ref 10: Screenshot from the game StarCraft (1998). The typeface and layout style is what caught my attention in this one.


Video references

Ref 11: MIDI Animation "Rètro Game Medley". I really like the free-style scattered flowing aspect of this video game musical video.

Ref 12: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Music Video 'Nate's Theme'. Footage from the game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007). This video captures the essence of exploration in a video game environment.

Ref 13: Athens 2004 Torch Relay Presentation. This has nothing to do with video games, but I really like the design of the Athens 2004 torch relay that captures a motion that I used in my concept map. Just skip to 3:25 in the video to see what I mean.



Bibliographic references

Blow, Jonathan. "Game Development: Harder Than You Think." ACM Queue. Feb. 2004. 16 Jan. 2008 <http://www.acmqueue.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=114>.

"History of Games: Interactive Timeline of Game History." The Video Game Revolution: The History of Games. 2003. PBS. 18 Jan. 2008 <http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/history/timeline_flash.html>.

MobyGames. 14 Jan. 2008 <http://www.mobygames.com/>.

"Welcome to PONG-Story." PONG-Story. 20 Jan. 2008 <http://www.pong-story.com/intro.htm>.

"Video games." Child and Youth Health. Government of South Australia. 21 Jan. 2008 <http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=243&np=295&id=2375>.



PROCESS WORK: Preliminary Concept Maps

Please click images to view them full-size.

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Map 1: To start off, here is a tabloid-size sheet of my initial video game concept map with general areas I wanted to cover.


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Map 2: Here is another one, albeit much larger and expanded onto several sheets. The general size of the sheet is indicated by comparing it with the PlayStation 3 (PS3) controller which measures 6" lengthwise.


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Map 3: Here I begin to digitize the map by putting it together in the Cmap Tools program. The general layout of this map is non-hierarchical and is generally read from the centre and expands outwards.


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Map 4: Same information as above, but realigned in a hierarchical order (top to bottom).


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Map 5: Non-hierarchical map with more information and data added to the various hubs.


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Map 6: Reorganized information with a change to general spacing between nodes and text. Now resembles a New York City subway map.


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Map 7: Same as above, screenshot from the Cmap Tools program.


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Map 8: Same map as above, now with colour coding of sections.



PROCESS WORK: Designing Concept Map Aesthetically

Please click on images to view them full-size.

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Random 1: Basic aesthetic sketches on paper.


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Random 2: Playing with colour coding, shapes and text.


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Digital map 1: Initial design put together in Adobe Illustrator. This image was discussed in-class and is generally the beginning concept of the design aesthetic portion.


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Digital map 2: Illustrator screenshot, shifting information around to see what can or can't fit.


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Digital map 3: Adding lines and text, see what feels right with the design.


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Digital map 4: Illustrator of a PS3 controller added to the centre as the "heart." I initially wanted the lines coming out from the centre going to the hubs to sort of resemble a heart, but I eventually changed this idea.


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Digital map 5: Lines and arrows from main central hubs moving in an organic flow. Straight lines used for attaching information from hubs to smaller nodes.

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Digital map 6: Added a stylish dark grey background to liven up and contrast with the lines, text and imagery. More verbs added and still tweaking it.


THE CONCEPT MAP - completed final version


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Click here to download fullsize image in JPG format: 2005m_pro01_08_sfung.jpg

Click here to download image in PDF format: 2005m_pro01_08_sfung.pdf