This week, I had the pleasure of viewing the artwork of Jennifer Watanabe. When I browsed the galleries on Thursday, Jennifer’s artwork seemed to “pop out” as a very distinct web-comic esque style, a style that I believe is emerging online. Most webcomics, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, seem to be drawn as if it was used by an advanced user of photo-shop, creating a very human style that can be related to by the common non-drawing masses. With drawing of so called “imperfect” characters, you can create an art style that will draw an audience, and allow them to focus on the dialouge between characters. In webcomics, sometimes the most minimalist styles such as Dinosaur Comics and XKCD succeed the most for this very reason: The art style is simple and somewhat deliberately imperfect, thus allowing the reader to focus on dialogue. I applaud Jennifer for mimicking this style so well, whether it be deliberate or accidental!
This week, I had the pleasure of chatting with what was essentially my polar opposite!
Rachel is a human development major commuting from Cypress. We started talking for a bit, and the conversation of sports came up. I jokingly asked “does chess count?”, and she talked about her time playing soccer in high school. We then talked about TV shows, and she enjoys things like Grey’s Anatomy, and has somewhat started watching the netflix series “Orange is the New Black”. I mentioned how I enjoy sci-fi TV shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Galatica.
It was somewhat amusing meeting my polar opposite! She’s a fun loving person, whereas I’m somewhat reserved and quiet. She’s has an athletic history and likes popular TV, and I’m a basement dwelling geek!
I wish her the best of luck in her endeavors!
This week, I met Kevin Nguyen, a fun computer science major who lives in santa ana and works at McDonalds. He’s a Sophmore, like myself, and and has been taking a few classes like CECS 277 this semester. His coolest program, in his words, is a tank game made using jpanel and jframe. He decided to get into computer science since he wanted to learn how technology advanced, and wanted to become a part of the action. Although he doesn’t really have plans for the future, he wants to learn archery over the summer with his friends!
Although we just met, I wish Mr. Nguyen the best in life! I hope he finds his passion, because if he does, I’m sure he’ll go far!
This week, I’ll be analyzing the impressionistic artwork by Yireh Elaine Kwak. According to the artist, painting came as a “natural instinct that emerged from a hobby”, very much similar to how I started my love of programming. She’s a lovely person, who was rather thrilled to answer questions about her work and her life.
However, the piece you find beside her, a landscape of Fullerton Hills, in all honesty I find to be okay. It isn’t the best of the best, but it certainly isn’t bad. Maybe I would enjoy other pieces by this artist, and maybe… once again… I don’t “Get it”.
But I find this piece only to be okay. Maybe I don’t like how the reds clash with the blues in the bottom of the painting. Maybe I’m just comparing to the masterpieces made by people like Van Gogh . But for some reason, I only think this piece is okay. This just goes to say that art critisism is perhaps a rather difficult thing to put into perspective, because art in its entire is mostly subjective. Its not like a film where you can dissect the CGI, or a book where you can analyze the writing style. Art by definition, will not please everyone to the fullest extent. Myself included.
Well, I didn’t see anything limiting the extra credit opportunity to non-developers, so I thought I’d give some insight in the development process for some sweet sweet EC points!
But then I got bored.
I started twiddling around with this engine called “Game Maker” made by YoYo games, and here I am now with a pretty decent demo for the game!
Now, the main puzzle mechanic in this game involves “mirroring” your position in the world. For instance, if you are at the end of the array of tiles in the level, you travel to the other far end, whereas if you are in the center, you travel to a position near the center.
Now, this is never ever explicitly told to the player, since I left it the instructions for Mirroring at “Press “. I wanted to make the player have to “feel” the mechanics, rather than turning the puzzle game into an equation. So, I forced them to experiment with the mechanics in the second level, a 2 part level with a very simple puzzle, but one that forces you to “feel” the Mirroring both ways.
In my game, the elements are introduced gradually. Movement, Mirroring, Crates, Switches, Doors, etc. This is because any good game designer will tell you to NEVER front load your tutorial. If you gradually introduce new concepts as you train your player, they will enjoy the game more. Also, it has been proven that “learning through play” is a better way to teach players your mechanics instead of a wall of text. Unfortunately, many designers often coming from different fields, such as movies and board games. In these fields, you are FORCED to front load your “tutorial” either by making a script all at once or making a rule book for your board game. This often leads to instances of sloppy design, and will make your player less likely to enjoy your game.
Now, because this is merely a tile based game, the mechanics were not hard to implement in the game maker engine. For instance, for the “Mirroring”, the game merely keeps track of a number of steps it has to teleport forward or backward based on its position. Near the center? Teleport very few steps forward. Near the end? Teleport the entire stage length. However, one of the harder things to implement were doors that “felt” good. In this game, a switch moves ALL doors. I quickly found out during early play testing that if the doors moving in different directions (some up, some down) confused a lot of players, so to make it feel natural, I changed the position of the doors based on whether it was open or closed. For instance, a doors that starts open starts off with a open/close range of Below and In stage, whereas a door that starts off closed has a open/close range of In and Above. This means that doors feel like they are all “shifting” together vs “Jumbling Incoherently” and confusing players.
Overall, this game has been a fun experience to design. So far, one of the hugest criticisms is that “The game is too short!”, and if that is my biggest problem, I at least know I am doing something right!
Here it is! Yet another algorithm that I followed! The algorithm went as followed:
1)Using a ruler, draw a straight line on a blank piece of paper
2) Draw an other line, making sure both lines touch at any point.
3)Continue this, each new line touching the last
4) Stop drawing lines once the page looks evenly covered in lines
5) Open Pandora Radio- choose shuffle station
6)Start to study for Nutrition 132 quiz
7) Every time you choose to skip a song, fill in a random shape with circles
8) Every time a song plays that you like, shade in a random shape completely
9)Repeat until you finally remember all of the water-soluble vitamins
Alright, so I followed this algorithm… and as usual I tried to break it. Why am I breaking people’s algorithms? Because I enjoy finding exploits. I enjoy finding little things that can make a piece of code break in two. I enjoy experimenting with the absurd to see exactly where an algorithm falls apart. And this is where the following algorithm fell apart:
Notice how I followed the algorithm EXACTLY: The lines are spaced apart evenly, they are all connected, and yet… they do not create enclosed shapes. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing to fill in, and thus, the desired result is not achieved.
This series of extra credit goes to show exactly how important debugging/QA is, since if your logic is flawed when you write and algorithm or a piece of code, the results may surprise you!
If you want to check out this person’s blog, you can find it here:
So another algorithm I followed this week for art 110 was an algorithm generated by Hoc Nguyen:
1) Take your favorite book.
2) On every page of a single chapter, use the last word of the page.
3) Create a poem or image using the collected words.
4) Extra words may be used to tie in collected words together.
Alright. So I took my favorite book:
“A Million Random Digits Normal Derivatives”, a book that was written before computer randomly generated numbers, this was a book made for scientists. It is still being sold today on Amazon, with quite hilarious reviews such as “I hoped for an audiobook version, but I was quite disappointed” and “I especially liked the imagery on page 37”. This book is my favorite book of all time since it is just so hilarious to think that someone compiled a list of random numbers, and actually sold this list of random numbers to people, all with a completely serious face. I took this book, and decided to make a poem using this book. The poem turned out as follows:
71834 18234 19304 02410 15393,
14958 25923 4o594 93280 29394 29384,
29194 03827 95489 23949.
I guess this algorithm fluctuates in quality based on the book being used.
If you want to try the algorithm yourself can check it out here: