Archive for January, 2012

in-game camera

Paper Mario is totally different when you switch the camera angle

I found Manovich’s idea about how moving the camera in video games to be just as important as the ability to move the character to be shocking and revealing. It occurred to me that the ability to move the camera is an enormous change that video games underwent and it is one that is significant and frequently overlooked.

One game that this idea brings to mind is Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64. Most people in my generation look back at that game as innovative and incredibly well done. However, once people sit down and try to play it today they realize how primitive the camera controls are, and how difficult it is to run and shoot with only one analog stick. It seems that players underestimate or even forget that in the modern era of FPS an entire analog stick is devoted to guiding the camera.

I also find it astonishing that every single person experiences a game differently just based on where the look and how they use the camera. One example of this that I find most intriguing is World of Warcraft. In the game you can watch your character from a spectrum of perspectives ranging from one that is zoomed out and from above to one of through the eyes of the character. In film, books, and other forms of traditional media the shift from 3rd to 1st person or vica versa is infrequently made, and if it is can be very tricky to pull off. In video games such as WoW you can not only pick between either view but also switch quickly and fluidly.

images and history

I found the most thought provoking idea of the myth of photographic truth was the paradox that images are so easily manipulated and yet we still look to them as objects that can provide proof. I never really thought about what makes an image authentic before, and it seems to be a strange divide between what images I inherently believe to be factual and which immediately make my mind jump to terms like “fake” or “shopped”.  As technology and users get even better at adjusting images the line between reality and imaginary will become more difficult to differentiate. History is already written by the victors, and if they can not only write it but also alter or generate images of history to match then who will be able to prove that something happened differently? I believe that because editing for tv, movies, etc. is becoming so flawless that people are becoming less aware of media manipulations, and by using things out of context it will only take a matter of time for those in charge of distributing information and coverage of events to be able to essentially shape the present, past, and potentially the future.

New Media advances

I found the modularity section particularly interesting because it made me realize how many tiny components go into new media. I always knew that that things such as sound and image could be broken down and separated but it never really occurred to me that they can load from different places and all sync up in order to create a single work that is complete. “Islands of Consciousness“ really made me consider this because the sound and images are randomly generated each time and yet they can consistently create a provocative experience.

“Bb 2.0: A collaborative music / spoken word project” accomplished a similar task by allowing the user to mix instruments through the use of videos. Traditionally, multiple instruments can only work together if organized to play specific pieces of music, however this project takes that old idea and demolishes it. Not only can a random assortment of instruments sound good together but they can also start and finish at different times. I believe this is exemplifies just how manipulable new media is and how we are discovering new and different ways to incorporate aspects of media together.

1/19/2012 media immediacy

I find the concept of ‘the wire’ incredibly interesting because it begs the question of where the line between simulations and reality ends. It is truly the medium (TV/Internet) that holds us back from being able to experience media as experience, and if something where to come along that could simulate an event or experience with 100% perfection is it really any different than reality?

I really liked how The Wilderness Downtown incorporated different ways of interaction, and I found that the birds bridging the gap from window to window made me feel as though there was nothing stopping them from popping off the screen and flying around the room. The effect they achieved through this made me forget that I was just watching a screen, and that seems to be the ultimate goal of new media designers, and thus I thought it was very successful.

I recently have been listening to binaural audio or 3D sound ( and are great examples) and I believe if it was incorporated with 3D television that the next step in immersive media experience could be achieved.

McLuhan pages 92-End, and Wesch Youtube video

“The environment as a processor of information is propaganda. Propaganda ends where dialogue begins. You must talk to the media, not to the programmer. To talk to the programmer is like complaining to a hot dog vendor at a ballpark about how badly your favorite team is playing” (McLuhan/Fiore, 142).

I found this claim interesting in light of the Wesch video. At the beginning of the video Wesch explains that the internet and Youtube in particular essentially remove the programmer of media from the equation. The new process involves user driven content, distribution, and discussion. One would imagine this system would be beneficial for dialogue because it removes the filtering process of mass media that often involves silencing or spinning content to make it advantageous for the small minority that provides funding such as owners and advertisers.

However, McLuhan/Fiore appear to be wrong because they did not predict the variable of anonymity. On youtube, one can watch and comment without any repercussions. Unfortunately this seems to inherently spawn an opportunity for hatred and attack. Youtube combines a public outlet for people to share their intimacies and vulnerabilities with an open forum that allows for personal attacks anonymously, and I find this reveals a sad truth about human nature.

The Medium is the Massage 1-92

“A new form of ‘politics’ is emerging, and in ways we haven’t yet noticed. The living room has become a voting booth. Participation via television in Freedom marches, in war, revolution, pollution and other events is changing everything” (McLuhan/Fiore, 22). I found this statement to be incredibly accurate, and I feel it is even more applicable to most form of modern digital technology.

Television allows the masses to view politics from certain perspectives. Every new station on television is inflicted with a bias, and coverage of an event by different networks can change the viewer’s understanding and opinion drastically. This is where contemporary digital technology trumps television.

The internet is great for primary sources, or in other words, direct accounts without bias. Rather than only having a few channels to learn about current events there are limitless web pages that can deliver information without the hidden agendas subtly forced upon the viewers by owners and advertisers. Also, sites like twitter allow for such information to appear almost instantly. For instance, in recent public uprisings in the Middle East twitter has been a great tool for exposing what has been occurring without going through and getting warped by major cable news outlets. Also, because cell phones are so common, pictures and tweets from these events are easily accessible globally.

Finally, contemporary technology improves on television because one can express their own opinions. Blogs and micro blogging gives everyone the chance to be heard unlike television.

IMS 171 first post

This is a test post for IMS 171