Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer

Find me a PC – Ponderings

So the university are currently looking into an on-line tool to help students and lecturers find available PC’s and Mac’s within the university mainly the Library and such. My thoughts immediately go to where could this be expanded and what are issues the users themselves have, simply knowing if a PC is free is not always enough cause it needs to be free but do what is required as such a system of filtration maybe allowing users to select requirements such as does PC have Photoshop on, it then displays these systems with the software installed and then if they are available or not. Also knowing a PC is free does not mean that by the time you get there it still is so maybe a remote booking system could be used maybe for a max of 10 mins to give people time to get to the machine before it is taken. This made me think ALOT about my project last year and the one I am doing for Industry and also for a planned proposal in near future involving mobile notification tools you may know it as the Linc-ON project.

Identifying which PC’s are on and connected is also a great help in regards to my audience aware project and if a working filter can be produced fr find me a pc then in theory this can be adapted for the audience system.

As part of my developer role I have to post updates and findings to IT department and here is a post I made today:


Project Anarchy – Considerations and learning new stuff… Maybe

I have decided to take a bold new step and basically learn a new engine or rather mobile version of an engine and chosen to have ago at Havok’s Project Anarchy engine which is built with mobile development in mind. They are currently running a challenge which IF I can get a team together will be taking part in as have an idea and such.

It is essentially a cut-down version of a game I am working on for a project. IF I decide to use this I will write up a follow-up post.

Next Generation Gaming

Every-time a new generation of consoles comes out a little piece of my childhood dies and that saddening urge of “I cannot afford you” leaps to mind, If you didn’t know I make some YouTube videos and so far have being using my PS3, 360 and PC to do these videos but my computer is slowly dying, my wallet is bleak and prices seem to ever-sore as such as a sign of slight moodiness on the subject I am going to post some annoyances I have with this and next generation of gaming.

Games used to be a very isolating experience before multi player was introduced and even then it tended to have to be local and involve social interactions and human content, games were not as scared to push the boundaries as what worked and did not were not fully established at this point, games were luxury something I would delve into when I had a spare moment or too but over the last few years what with rising costs and buggy, rushed and DLC-centric games becoming more and more common I began to get more cynical, no longer would I risk £30+ on a game to see if I liked it instead I became reserved missing out on some of the games my peers boast about such as Final Fantasy and Silent Hill 2 etc, the PS4 and Xbox One (btw PS4 wins in my opinion will post why maybe another time) it marks the end of care free chance taking with games costing £50-60 +, big companies like EA rushing out games and content seeming short with heavy visual focus. Each console as with each generation focused more on its gimmicks and somewhere down the line I fear much of the game-play has suffered, yes it is true there are still gems and mainly this is due to the indie market where budgets are more restrained and game-play IS the core selling point. I would love to get a PS4 however my priorities must be uni, own development of games and getting a new PC.

As a designer / developer I focus on story and game-play as the figureheads from which a game must stand upon and hardware is simply the means to an end, a console is to play games and once this is forgotten problems arise. I will return to this matter maybe next week once a fully formed argument and evidence can be amassed until then I simply ask this: Are games still games or are they turning into interactive experiences…

Current games I am making / working on in free time: Declivity (A TF2 style FPS), Project Sense (An ethical moral puzzle / challenge game) and a slot in card game that is interesting to play say the least.

The ethical morality of audience aware systems and GPS devices

The modern day person is typically never far away from an electronic device with some form of internet access and an increasing number of users are engaging in more location based and audience aware systems. Today I am going to essentially write about audience aware systems, these are systems that are designed to detect audience groups and display content that is deemed suitable to them and interact based on either there actions or sensory values. It can be argued that to some degree devices such as the Kinect are audience aware but in regards to this post I am speaking about audience aware systems in regards to marketing and direct communication displays.

As part of my 4th year Industry project I am exploring and developing a proof of concept based around the idea of audience awareness and screen content targeting based on a percentage of users sharing a common set of values to display content deemed of interest to this market group as such is dealing with people on a value basis rather than a one to one direct detection, in order to achieve this the system is going to read and filter users based on logins in an environment filtering via course and interest to display content that meets the highest percentage within that area content including room changes and updates from external sources. Ethically dealing with people as values i.e. numbers means that data wise they are not seen as individuals rather values however in order for system to work the system needs to know who’s on-line and as such this raises an ethical moral question: How comfortable are we in having people aware of where we are and what we are in essence doing?

GPS devices are increasingly common with games and social media tracking users without users typically giving much forethought, morally treating people as values is essentially safer and technically better but at same time its impersonal and to some degree questions the audience aware nature they tend to follow, these are in essence tools and are used mainly in the field of Marketing. Remotely changing content, making content relevant and making the user feel that they are appreciated tends to be the goals perceived but to be honest the real goals tend to be more for record purposes and to reduce wastage and create a positive outlook upon the developers themselves. Are audience aware systems really that aware? Are they considering the emotional and ethical unease some users may feel being ‘monitored’. I would argue that if done correctly audience participation and awareness is a source of good and can encourage involvement and expression of feelings and technological prowess but sometimes at the back of my mind that suspicious side of me thinks what is my data being used for and am I being monitored and for what end. I know this sounds silly, but can any system really be fully aware of is it making presumptions based on programming constraints, I may revisit this topic in future as I work further into audience aware system development as a student atm all that really concerns me is whether or not I will get a job and when my next meal is landing.

As always post your thoughts and feelings, do you feel monitored, do you mind being treated as a number or do you prefer the more personal approach and finally is remotely delivered content always for the right audience. Thank you.

Trans-dimensional Gaming from gaming student – Project Sense

As a Games production student the idea of trans-media transgression is one that vividly interests me with the blurring between what we perceive and what we feel becoming less defined. As part of my university degree I am working on a socially aware game that challenges the idea of disabilities in video games by placing the player into the role of someone or something that is facing real world impairments be they physical or neurological. It is designed to evoke a response from the player and as an avid fan of Augmented reality and trans-media strategies any chance to cross boundaries is one I jump upon, games can evoke responses that other forms of media can only just simulate, they actively encourage the player to proceed however rarely do they cross the threshold in the big world stage.

The game I am making simply called Project Sense at the moment is designed to cross these boundaries and give life to an otherwise simulated world, players can physically interact with the world and emulate struggles that people face in daily life. I feel that it is only by pushing sometimes can progress be made and linear development can only go so far, we see examples of games that have made it into books, films and even rarely television spaces however often the message is lost and the feeling tainted by the lack of understanding that it is not simply enough to create a world sometimes you need to feel the world you have spun and engulf the user into this fantasy, games should not end once the machine or device is switched off they should using gamification methods spread into daily life making the virtual feel that little bit more real.

I find it hard sometimes that in my course we are told a game is defined as one way of thinking to provoke a response from interactive engagement but sometimes I feel a game can be more important for the message and long-standing message that is subtly delivered. Trans-media is linked via media methods and approaches but can it really deliver the impact on social level that can change actions and thoughts without even being realized? Does tans-media  therefore transcend media itself…

I hope to write more posts here including one on an audience aware project and the pitfalls and research concluded and one on mobile augmented communicative delivery.