Sunday, December 13, 2015

12/7 update and present

Today I presented my piece. Before hand, I had added sound effects and a small opening and closing sequence to the project. Originally I had planned to be in the glass opening next to the plants, but after getting there to set up the plug could not handle the power from my monitor and laptop. I found an outlet in a small alcove next to the entrance that worked much better than I had originally thought. I had also planned on using a school computer but I could not get my file to export as a .exe so I just ran it on full screen using my monitor and computer. As for the desk, I was unable to get a big old one like I had originally intended but we draped a table cloth upon a smaller one which worked better because of the move we had to do. In watching a few people's reactions to the game, the people who played through it all said it was very informative whereas there were a few people who just clicked the first level and left. Overall the event was a success and the game played really well. There were only two times when I really had to go in and fix something, but past that we had it set up to where my on guard assistant could just press a button and take the game back to the beginning so people could start fresh when they wanted to play.

11/30 post

Since all the sprites were already done, I was able to put together both level 3 and 4 this week. As mentioned previously, each character in the Stonewall Inn talks a bit more casual than those previously. If you click on anyone in the bar it will take you to a similar screen where you get to interview them, but you don't get the option to ask them questions.

In Stonewall I also decided to add music that was popular of gay  bars at the time. This piece came from the album Love is a Drag, the song is titled "The Boy Next Door". The vocalist of this piece only recently came forward and the people who put the album together still haven't revealed themselves. This music was super influential for the time because of the subject matter. Since these two levels are done I just need to add an opening and closing scene plus a few sound effects and then the game will be done. 

11/23 update

At this point I have both level 1 and 2 recreated. I moved Byng and Malin over to the second level because they were more important during the 30s. As with level one, each character has a different text box for each thing they say, there are multiple rooms for every item and when you interact with the characters in the conference room you have multiple options to talk to them about. At the main desk if you click on the folder it is different for each character, and the book is different for the 30's than it was the 20s. I have also started getting together the sprites for the final level. In this level you will have to go to Stonewall, which is where the big riot took place in 1969. At that level you will be undercover so no one will notice you as a cop. Because of this, the dialogue for each character you talk to will be more casual and truthful than the previous people. Each character will show a side of normal culture that was for the time.

11/16 post

Now that the text boxes are working I started to assemble the first level. Each character has their own dialogue box for each situation, and you interview two people. Since I'm in game maker and I know how to make buttons, each object is now its own button so if you click on the folder you will view their file, if you click on the book you will get information about the decade, if you click on the phonograph you will get to play and stop music by that character as well. Then, in the interview process of each person you have three options to ask them about and they will respond differently to each one. Since most of this was just plugging in, I also started working on the sprites for the third level. After considering the decades and looking up artists, I decided to skip the 40's and make you go on location to a spot to interview. There are two people in the bar, which was a real location for the time, and each person has some history with the place. One of the patrons is Edith Eyde, she wrote under the pen name Lisa Ben for lesbian magazines. The other is a character I made who represents what drag queens and cross dressers had to deal with at the time. The button on his shirt was something common for the time because they added a new law that could arrest people for impersonation.

11/9 update

This week I did some research and figured out how to make a text box work. I found someone else who had a tutorial on it, copied their code, then spent a lot of time getting it to work. The text appears letter by letter and moves onto the next set of dialogue when you click. The text is in the standard game maker font and is white, but it works against the textbox I made. It also makes the box disappear when the text has finished. With the text there was a lot of trial and error, but I learned how to do a little bit of simple coding out of it. Once I got the code down once, I can just copy it for each set of dialogue and change the text the character is saying. The code took a while to figure out because there were a lot of tutorials that taught the same thing but with different codes, but eventually I found one that worked after I spent more time debugging it. To create the text, I had to make each textbox and object and then each object gets three pieces of code.

11/2 update

After attempting to fix the buttons and crashing the game several times, I have decided to switch everything over into game maker. I originally wanted to use unity because it would be a new experience; however, I find that putting this game into game maker will still push me to learn more about a program that I already know a few basics in. This week was spent transferring over sprites and getting all the rooms reconfigured. After looking at how much work I have to do, and also looking over all the information I have chosen I decided to split level 1 into level 1 and 2. Some of the characters were more important in the 30's than the 20's, so I wanted to show them in a time which best fit them. Plus, it keeps the levels not too long so the player will be able to get through my game in one sitting. For level one I am keeping Gladys Bently and Ma Rainey as the two suspects you interview. I am still working out how to do text, but I have placed a text box where I want it for now.The white arrow was made so that people can move onto the next room when they are done with the current one.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Set up 10/26

This week I took some time to figure out my setup for the gallery. I want a desk with a computer, a mouse and headphones. I feel that by itself that might not look as inviting, so I wanted to add some props that are related to the game. A police cap can sit on the table, and then next to it there will be a coat rack with a masculine and feminine object on it. They both represent the homosexual lifestyle and the two characters, them selves and public version, that they had to perform to be able to exist without getting in trouble. I'm expecting my piece to be in a gallery type setting; however, I want to go explore around the CFA and see if there is a better location for my work. I have kept working on the button problem of my game with not as much success, I have a few more things I'd like to try and then I will officially give in and use game maker. I have also looked into what other songs I would like to use for each character. For Gene Malin I will use  his song "That's What's the Matter with Me." For Douglas Byng I will use "I'm a Mummy (An Old Egyptian Queen)." Finally, From Ma Rainey I will use "Prove it on Me Blues."


This week I have taken all my sprites and music and have put them into place for the first part of the first level. I am still having trouble with the buttons, and after getting everything set where I wanted when I tried to replace one of the preexisting button sprites, it crashed my game and lost some of the data. After plugging it all back it I am once again at a spot where the player can go to many different scenes and can have options when interviewing the musician; however, I am going to keep elaborating on it. As of right now, I have Gladys Bently started. Later I'm going to add it where when you are talking to her if you push her on the right subjects she will slip up and say something that gives you a clue. I want to do that for all my characters. The song I choose for Bently is her song "Worried Blues". I am still trying to find the lyrics to this piece but if I can't find it soon I will ask my teacher for my music class. If I can't get the buttons up and running soon I will switch everything over to game maker because I am a little more familiar with that and I don't want to get hung up on this problem for too long.

Progress 10/12

This week I got a few more sprites done and I started playing around with the game. I got the pictures done for some of the backgrounds and the objects. The backgrounds that I have done are the chief's office, the desk of level one and the interrogation room. I have started working on how to route everything to the spot it needs to go, and it seems like I will have to have different scenes for everything. I have started writing some of the dialogue as well for each area. I'm still looking at how to get the buttons to work, so for now I still have the default white ones. My goal is to have it to where if you click on the phonograph you can play music, if you click on the notes you can look at the lyrics to the song, if you click on the folder you can look at the person's profile who you are inspecting and if you click on the book you can view some key things to look out for in the music. I have also decided that on the profile for each character there will be a real life picture of them.

Update from 10/5

Since I have started getting the basic outline of the game going I spent this week making sprites. First, I sketched each one, then I put it into Adobe Illustrator and finally colored them in Adobe Photoshop. I know how to do coloring better in Photoshop which is why I moved them to there; however, I feel that outlining them in illustrator allows me to go back and slightly change their poses so I can animate the sprites in the final versions.. Last class we had talked about how I was going to transition between the different era's of time and I decided to have each ear be a level. Level one will be the 20's, two will be the 30's and so on until the 60's. At the end of the 60's, early 70's the Stonewall Riots happened and so I think my game will end with those. Here are pictures of the sketches and final version of the characters I have chosen for level one. There is Gladys Bentley, Gene Malin, Douglas Byng and Ma Rainey. For each of them I will pick one song they were famous for and have information regarding their arrests.

Monday, September 28, 2015

progress 9/28

For the past two weeks I have spent my time learning Unity. At first I was looking into different programs that make visual novels, so I wouldn't have to learn coding from top to bottom. I found one called Vinoma, which has been very useful so far. It works out most of the coding for you but is very simple. I know that later on I will have to start to get into it more and make some of my own changes manually. This last week I spent learning unity and how Vinoma works with it. I watched quite a few tutorial videos just to get me started, and then began making a test of my own. I came up with some sketch graphics as place holders until the real sprites are done, and I wrote up a quick script that is also not final but just for testing purpose. In my demo there is a start menu, which I have not figured out how to change yet. From there you go to the first scene where the chief greets you and tells you to go to your desk. Then the options appear on the screen where you can choose where to go. Most of it is click based action so far, but I'd like to look at what I can do once I have the mechanics of the game figured out. My next steps are to watch the more complex tutorials and start making the real sprites and script for the game.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Update 9/13

For the past two weeks I have mainly been focusing on research that I will be using for my video game. The research I have done has given me a good idea of when and where I would like to place my game, which will make it easier in the upcoming weeks to start creating artwork and game mechanics. In my research I have looked at several articles and artist to figure out what I would like to do. After looking some of my sources, I would like to place my game in a 1920-30's setting. At that time, homosexuality in America was starting to be defined, and become illegal. People could be arrested for charges such as "loitering" when truly it was that too many effeminate seeming people were hanging out in the same area. At the time however, there were a lot of homosexual artists who were able to perform because they pretended their life was just apart of the act. There are a lot of good acts, both male and female from America and Britain. For my game, I want to use real world examples, but I want to set it in a fictional place. In Papers Please the atmosphere is well presented even though it is a made up country. I don't necessarily want to be limited to just the information from the 20's and 30's, but if I mix other examples in I can make it seem natural. I also would like to use the different terminology, specifically anything that never says anything that we would refer to homosexuals as today. Throughout time different words have been used to describe gay people. (inverts, faeries, queens, pansies, ect) I feel these will help create an atmosphere, but also give people a different mentality to those who they are looking at. I tend to use examples such as Gladys Bentley and Douglas Byng for audio and visuals. As mentioned in class, I wanted to use polari in my project. While the language has been around since the 17th century, it got very popular in the 1960's as a radio joke. If I make my own world in the game I can use it without it seeming out of place. For the game itself I wanted to make the main character a cop who has to sift through different media to try and find if someone is gay or not, and present enough information to back it up. I did some research into it and Unity has a graphic novel maker which helps you put together stories and such. I feel using this will be a good start for me, since I'm very new to unity, but I can start with the basics and edit it after I've gotten more use to it.

Attached is the story bored I also came up with this week. It features some ideas for the game. I would want it done in a pixel style, so thats why everythings drawn more with squares. The first frames are the police chief who you'd be reporting to. Then the next two panels are what you would be presented with as your gear. Files for looking up codes, a phone for calling either the chief or the accused, and your badge. The next frame is your desk you will work at. The game will be in a first person mode. Next is the process where you are given a file on someone and some background information. The bottom panel shows how you would listen to the audio, and from there you can view things such as the lyrics sheet and the case information. The last panel is an interview with the person being charged where you can ask them questions or not. I want to leave it open so you can end up sending an innocent person to jail or also not send the correct guy. After I get working with unity I will know more about what is or is not possible.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Art 451 Project

For my Art 451 Project I want to make a video game. I am very interested in learning Unity and I figure since we have an entire semester to work on the project, it would be a good time for me to learn the program. Because I am taking a few gender and identity courses this semester I wanted to relate it to that. After thinking about it for a while I decided it would be interesting to make a game based off of my Gender and Identity in Music course. In this course we are looking at homosexual music and the history of it. One of the most interesting topics we will be discussing is how some music use to have code words in it to talk about LGBTQ people without others knowing. I want to make my game similar to Papers Please where you get information and you have to decode it. I will be using a mix of music, art and dialogue depending on what I find in my research. In the past I have made games using Game Maker, so I think learning unity will be a fun experience.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jackpot Grant

Here is the link to the Jackpot Grant I wrote:

Final Paper

With art, I feel there should be craftsmanship behind it. I enjoy a piece when I can tell that a lot of time and skill was put into it. If there is a piece that is more on the minimalistic side I feel that it has to evoke thought, otherwise it comes off as lazy. In my art I try to show craftsmanship, but time constraints do show. Describing my own artistic practices can be difficult, because I feel like I have two categories which is Music and Art. I tend to blend the line between those two, and most of the time music gets more of an emphasis because it is what I know best. My own practices usually involve things I already know how to do, but when I try something new it is related to something that I have always been interested in. To put it simply, I make art that I know how to make and I make art that I like.
    Recently, I have been really into the styles of stop motion animation with 3d printed objects. I love making 3d objects because I feel like while drawing is trying to figure out what lines can create something, 3d is what shapes can create something. The work that really got me inspired to do 3d modeling with stop motion is the “Bears on Stairs” piece. It has a very whimsical nature about it, but I love how fluid the motion of the entire piece looks. After doing research, I found the artists behind it are a set of studios. DBLG and Blue Zoo made the project together, but DBLG is the one most credited for it. Their works and business model is something that I am interested in. Their piece “Bears on Stairs” was made as a fun project, to test out what they could do with animation. The fluidity of their animation is what I aimed for in my piece with the cello model. In the piece I’m working on for the final, I got the idea for 3d printing the animals because of this piece. I wanted to try and print out several models of one animal, such as they did, and use it to make a stop motion video. My favorite part about their project, something that I would like to focus more on in the future, is the fact that it was simple, and made for fun. The bear did not have any significance other than it was a model they had reused off an animal planet add, and they wanted to try something new. While I do appreciate the value of a project back with concept and thought, sometimes it is nice to do a project for fun sake and not have a deeper meaning behind it.
    This last semester has been a mix of both good and bad in regards to projects. The Heidger project was perhaps one of my weakest pieces, mostly due to time constraint and not having a clear idea of the project soon enough. My work on my cello piece really opened me up to works I would like to continue in the future. I found stop motion to be time consuming yet rewarding in the end. I also enjoyed 3d modeling and printing. I had made things in 3d modeling programs before but never had I printed. The use of color key was also a new technique to me. I have known about it for years but I did not know how video editing software actually did the technique. I found it simple yet frustrating at the same time. It made me a lot more aware of the lighting that was going on in the piece. This semester has been an exploration of new projects but I have not improved on one of the ones I wanted to work more towards. I enjoyed working in game maker, but I also really enjoy working with electronic music. While I can easily provide music for any of my projects digitally, I wish I had worked a bit more with sound this semester. I felt the grant writing was really helpful. While I myself might not continue onto doing gallery art or needing a grant for artwork, as one of the organizers of the Reno Video Game Symphony we have to write grants every year for our organization. I feel now I can help our one grant writer to make our presentations look much better.  I am glad that I got to discover my enjoyment for stop motion animation though.
    In the future there is a lot I would like to do with art. In my free time I usually draw, and I would like to continue working on that to become better. Most of my drawings are for commercial reasons or entertainment. As far as the fine art world goes, I know next semester I will still be in art classes but after college I do not think I will be continuing as much. I will keep drawing but I’m not sure if I will do much else. I hope to get a job at a company where I can work with digital art though. Someplace that uses 3d models would be fun, but I would also be interested in any sound job. If I do continue work in the fine art world, it will probably be more on the music side of things. I enjoyed making electronic music and I hope to continue making it. After seeing Rioji Ikeda in class it made me want to start doing works similar to his. I greatly enjoy the sounds he is making and I feel his visuals complement his work very nicely. I already know how he is making his electronic music, so the next step would be exploring in video editing and trying to make visuals that complement the sound. If I make any works after college it will more likely be for fun though, and not for a gallery.

Work Cited
"CR Blog." CR Blog RSS

Monday, May 4, 2015

Natural Trash

For my final project in Digital Media we had to create and work and present it as a grant. I used the concept of beauty as the basis of the project. Using Nevada landscapes, I wanted to recreate the environment out of trash relating to the environment itself. My piece should bring up the question, is something still considered beautiful if it is made out of something that is not. I used different news papers from all over Northern Nevada to make the foundation for the land scape, then using magazines advertising UNR I made the branches of the tree. The tree itself was made from card board from an Amazon box. The plastic in the river was the packaging from Nevada made candy. The animals were 3d printed to help them stand out from the environment. The entire project was shot using a stop motion animation technique. The end result feels like a camera was placed in the landscape to observe nature and took several pictures, making it into one big time lapse. The sounds in the video are a recording of the Carson River. Overall the project should make the viewer think about the concept of beauty and the trash that we as Northern Nevadans leave behind.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

3D Printed Stop Motion Narrative Assignment

Aging of a Musician

My piece is about all the changes in life, but the one constant of playing an instrument. The person and instrument were stop motion animation with a green screen, and the background was a mixture of footage filmed and found by me. Early on in the project I knew I wanted to print an instrument, but I did not know what kind of narrative to put to it. Originally there was going to be a busy street in the background, but I picked my story about the life cycle and decided the street didn't match as well as I had hoped. Throughout the piece three stages of the one person's life can be seen. First, child, then young adult and ending on adult. During the child portion of life the background is that of a more playful room. The character also plays a little more hastily and pauses more than in the other stages. The young adult section has a more serious room about it, but still a bit messy to show the person isn't fully grown up yet. This person plays a little more smoothly. Finally, the adult stage is in front of a concert hall, showing the goal of a musicians career. He plays a bit slower and smoother than the others do. To create the entire thing, first I did my 3d model and printed it. Then, after coming up with the concept I did the stop motion. That took a very long time to get all the pictures, but I did reuse footage. My inspiration for this partly came from La Jette, because of the romantic feel of that piece. Every time I kept trying to think of what to have the narrative be, I imagined the feeling of that and I knew I wanted to have a romantic air about it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Heidegger Response Project

    For my project relating to Heidegger I chose to make a music box out of found materials. My original thought was to get a bicycle and use that as the turning mechanism; however, once I started working on that I found there was no way to implement that practically. After digging around for materials I had my first version of the project made. It consisted of a sound board made of wood from one of my little brothers old projects, a crank made of pvc pipe from one of my last art projects, and a sheet of metal found at my inlaws house. The pvc pipe crank also had door stops that were left over from a home renovation project we did a few years ago.
When presented in class there were quite a few flaws that showed through. The original project was unstable, the crank mechanism would come off, and the metal just made noise. So, in the revision process I decided to see what I could fix about those. In version two of this project I used a lot of the same materials but changed the design. The wood still came from my brothers project and we used the same pvc pipe and part of the crank off the first one. The things that changed however, were the design and the noise. We found two small pieces of thing scrap metal at my inlaws house which we nailed to the bottom, giving the new piece a percussive sound. Then, we found an old toy bell kit from when our nieces were young, and took the keys off that. We suspended them using fishing line we had around the house. The crank was put in a new fashion so that it is stuck in the middle and cannot be taken out. The bass also has been stabilized a bit more so that it does not move as much when played.
    In response to Heidegger, my piece is a response to his statement on the use of materials. He talked a lot about how with the silver chalice, the silver was chosen as a material, and once it was made the chalice would have its purpose. In my piece, I took things that already had a purpose and repurposed them into something new. All of my pieces were things that had originally been used for something else, or had their own functions and I rebuilt them into a new chalice with new purposes.