Production/Design Testing

With Paul as head of Game Design, I started to research ways in which we could implement his drawings into a form of entertainment for the final presentation. Using MockFlow, an online platform that assists with app design and concept development, I used simple shapes and images to represent Campus Crusade/it’s mini games.

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A screenshot of MockFlow – working on representing the mini game”Coffee Toss”

Screen shot 2014-05-30 at 10.57.33 AMWhilst I knew these images wouldn’t be used for the final presentation, this was an extremely useful exercise. In creating these digital images and having the ability to alter/reposition them immediately, I was able to create gifs which brought our ideas to life. By taking numerous screenshots as I repositioned characters and objects, I inserted the images into an online gif maker that did the rest for me.

output_rwqlYs       output_wfMHRD – Orcadia

Mapping Research

Stage one of Campus Crusade ‘mapping research’.

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Screen shot from Google Map Maker (taken 03/04/14)

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Screen shot from Google Map maker (taken 03/04/14)

Rainbow Death Studios initially planned on utilizing the mapping capabilities of Google and running their mapping platform through Campus Crusade. Using Google Map Maker, I marked out territory and attempted to create a map of UOW to run in our app but found that this online platform couldn’t offer us much besides screen shots to use in the design phase. This exercise eventuated in Rainbow Death opting to design the map ourselves – this reduces cost of the production and limits the use of external companies, whilst allowing Rainbow Death to express their vision for the game design.

– Orcadia

Daily Diaspora

I previously wrote a post that included the words of Chimamanda Adichie from her TED Talk, ‘The Danger of a Single Story’. Her work argued that we, on a global scale, often only see and trust one story in regards to people, events and things; we close our mind to other perceptions and possibilities. In an article featured in the Guardian (2013), TMS Ruge suggests that we are no longer living in this era of ‘single stories’ and that “Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media are bringing African voices and new, varied narratives to the forefront”. This is an exciting prospect for Africans to share their culture and in turn, for the world to learn it.

This notion of dispersing cultures can be defined as diaspora. Actually, diaspora refers to the people who have been dispersed from their homeland. Diasporic media can refer to any media that caters to a group, received by a reader that is interested in the news of their homeland. This type of media permeates my home everyday – both of my parents are Scottish, migrating to Australia together over 30 years ago.

Prior to the Internet being a part of our everyday functioning, my Dad would get parcels of local newspapers and magazines from my Grandparents. This gave him a sense of connection to the place where he grew up; keeping him informed about football results and the latest UK political drama. Today however, news is easily disseminated and received from the thousands of miles away via social media, emails and news websites.

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Examples of social media and websites that connect migrants to their place of birth (in this instance, the UK).

A study into the media practices of Australian migrants by Juan Salazar states “40 per cent of the Australian population are first or second generation migrants” (2012). This suggests to me that there are many families just like mine, with ties to their homeland being constantly strengthened by diasporic media.

 

References:

Ruge, TMS 2013 ‘How the African diaspora is using social media to influence development’, The Guardian Accessed at: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/feb/06/african-diaspora-social-media-tms-ruge

Salazar, Juan Francisco 2012 ‘Digital Stories and emerging citizens’ media practices by migrant youth in western Sydney’ 3CMedia: Journal of Community, Citizen’s and Third Sector Media and Communication, Issue 7. Accessed at: http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezpr oxy.uow.edu.au/ehost/detail?vid= 3&sid=c5373eb0-b85c-44ea- b3e5- cc2e901acc61%40sessionmgr40 03&hid=4201&bdata=JnNpdGU 9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db= ufh&AN=79551905

 

Rise of Globalisation.

This semester I was part of a group assignment in which we had to invent a digital game, market it and then pitch it to our class. There were few restrictions due to the hypothetical nature of the assignment (the game would not be physically produced) so our group grew excited for the possibilities.

It soon became clear that communication was a huge factor in our concept; that being a location based activity game that allowed player’s to verse nearby people and for the winner to “own” real spaces. After constructing the game itself there was a clear need to create surrounding platforms that would compliment it and give users a larger community in which to feel a part of. We set up a Facebook profile to disseminate and aggregate game and player content and also enabled a chat feature for user’s to utilize whilst playing. This all stemmed from our understanding that “Electronic media facilitate an increased interconnectedness across vast distances and a temporal flexibility in social interaction” (Kaul, Vineet 2011).

Jerry W. Thomas demonstrates this fusion of new and old technologies (specifically in advertising) in his article, ‘Traditional Media vs. New media’. He outlines that ‘Television Advertising’ actually encompasses much more than just television. “Not only does the term ‘television advertising’ refer to a commercial with colour, motion and sound like those you see on television, it also refers to those same types of commercials you might see on the web, in social media, on YouTube, or on Facebook” (2013). Opening definitions to include new media seems to be recurring and will likely rise with media platforms crossing paths more as technology develops.

Referring back to Kaul’s theories of globalization, he also mentions in his article that “the digitalization and convergence of the media offer new possibilities for increasing cultural diversity, such as… the greater possibility for subtitling or dubbing and the new routes for the distribution of contents”. From my point of view, having seen the benefits of new technologies and the way they can impact our global relationships, Globalization is a fantastic prospect. “In sociological and cultural analyses of globalisation, media such as satellite television, the Internet, computers, mobile phones etc. are often thought to be among the primary forces behind current restructurations of social and cultural geography.” (Kaul, 2011).

For something to not only foster global relationships but also cultural understanding, is a very rare thing. In this seemingly materialistic and isolating digital age, I think we can all stand for a little more acceptance and connectedness.

 

References:

Kaul, Vineet 2011 ‘Globalisation and Media’, Mass Communication and Journalism, Vol 1 Issue 1, p.1-6

Thomas, Jerry W. 2013 ‘Traditional Media vs. New Media: Advertising’, Market Research Bulletin. Accessed at: http://marketresearchbulletin.com/traditional-media-vs-new-media-advertising-research-jerry-w-thomas/

The media and it’s ‘single-story’ attitude.

This week I was moved by the TED talk given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘The danger of a single story’. Adichie suggests that we as humans are extremely impressionable, often clinging to singular perceptions, making us blind to other possibilities. She uses anecdotes from her childhood, providing examples of times in her life when she or other people have been limited by only considering ‘a single story’.

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Immediately after hearing Adichie’s speech, I drew comparisons with Evelyn Alsultany’s article (2013), which states that, “In just the first weeks and months after 9/11, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and other organisations documented hundreds of violent incidents experienced by Arab and Muslim Americans and people mistaken for Arabs and Muslims, including several murders.” This demonstrates the mindset that US citizens had of Arabs immediately following the September 11 attacks.

Whilst there is part of me that sympathises with the immense hurt that Americans were feeling at the time, mourning is no justification for murder or crimes of hate.

An example of the American media's one sided story - making it easy to understand why many citizens felt compelled to acts of violence/war.

An example of the American media’s one sided story – making it easy to understand why many citizens felt compelled to acts of violence/war.

Referring back to Adichie’s TED talk, she reflects, “The single story creates stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but they are incomplete; they make one story become the only story”.

This is exactly what some Americans at the time, were guilty of. Immediately after 9/11 and even in the decade following (Alsultany, 2013), Americans clung to a single story when perceiving Arabs. This was one of terror and riddled with hate. The example headline from the Daily News on September 12, 2001 gives us insight into how betrayed and angry the country was feeling at the time, going as far to declare war on an entire race for the actions of a minority – more shocking headlines can be found here.

Adichie recounts a visit to Mexico during a time of US media debate about the state of immigration, especially legalities surrounding Mexicans illegally immigrating, essentially stealing the jobs of US citizens. Having heard this argument and not much else, Adichie recounts her feelings when seeing Mexicans in a marketplace smiling and laughing. “I remember first feeling slight surprise and then I was overwhelmed with shame. I realised that I had been so immersed in the media coverage of Mexicans that they had become one thing in my mind – the abject immigrant. I had bought into the single story of Mexicans and could not have been more ashamed of myself.”

It is with the abandonment of the ‘single story’ state of mind and gaining acceptance towards others, Adichie suggests, that we can “regain a type of paradise”. Whether or not paradise is involved, in abandoning the constant flurry of one-sided media arguments, we can learn to absorb a person or event in its entirety, and not just accept a “single story”.

 

References:

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi (2009) ‘The Danger of a Single Story’, TED Accessed at:http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story

Alsultany, Evelyn. (2013). ‘Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11: Representational Strategies for a “Postrace” Era’. American Quarterly, Vol. 65 No. 1. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ame rican_quarterly/v065/65.1.alsulta ny.html. Accessed 30 January 2014.

Huffington Post (2011) ‘9/11 Newspaper Front Pages From the Day After the Attacks’, Huffington Post. Accessed at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/september-11-newspaper-front-pages_n_940867.html#s343465&title=New_York_Daily&zoom=huge

Batman and army pants [don’t] make you gay.

On my 5th birthday, my aunty and uncle gave me a Batman costume. I was ecstatic. Never one to don a frilly dress or anything pink, I stood out as a little girl. I played soccer, wore baseball hats everywhere and was never interested in shopping, to the slight dissatisfaction of my mum. This is not to say that she was by any means disappointed in the choices I made – in fact, it’s probably clear at this point that I was encouraged by my family to embrace my interests (hence the batman gift).

Our tutorial discussion this week featured a few comments about the television series, Sex & the City (women’s rights etc. etc.). What intrigued me about this discussion is that many of my peers mentioned the characters that these women played and how they had a role in empowering women. However, as a fan of the show I know that the most empowering stories stem from the actresses real lives.

‘Miranda Hobbes’, for example, played by Cynthia Nixon, “is a career-minded lawyer with cynical views on relationships and men”. In 2004, Nixon’s real life character began dating a woman, Christine Marioni (Daily News, 2010). This came a year after Nixon ended her 15-year marriage (to a man). She describes the resulting flurry of tabloids as “an enormous temperature spike, where I was on the front page of two daily papers, there was paparazzi outside my house…they almost put me on the cover of People magazine. And then it died. Because there wasn’t really anything to say.” (New York Magazine, 2006). It’s interesting to note that this woman had been a successful actress in six seasons of a hit TV show, and it was only when her personal life surprised and outraged the media, that she was considered for the cover of ‘People magazine’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2162452/Cynthia-Nixon-wife-Christine-Marinoni-opt-twin-look.html

Miranda Hobbes vs. Real-life Cynthia Nixon

The panic surrounding Nixon’s personal life is reminiscent of the perceptions people had of me when I was younger. Eventually I grew out of army pants and over sized boys T-shirts, however I still have a slight aversion to the colour pink. The point I’m trying to make here is that there were people who worried about my sexuality or the type of person I would become and what role my parents lack of intervention was playing. The media and popular culture had conditioned those people to think that girls wore pink and boys wore blue… however, hopefully everyone reading this knows that things aren’t so clear cut.

Nixon describes her transition to dating a woman, “I never felt like there was an unconscious part of me around that woke up or that came out of the closet; there wasn’t a struggle, there wasn’t an attempt to suppress. I met this woman, I fell in love with her, and I’m a public figure.” (New York Magazine, 2006). Cynthia’s actions were in opposition to what her on-screen character, Miranda would do – but for a woman who was part of a TV show with the foresight to embrace all sexuality’s (e.g. Stanford Blatch, Carrie’s gay best friend, who featured throughout the entire 6 seasons), the public reaction was quite embarrassing.

For me, all worry was unnecessary – fuss over a phase that was extremely short-lived. And for Cynthia, fuss over something that was just part of her everyday life. This week’s topic and class discussions made it clear to me that in removing moral panic and certain media outlets from a situation, things that were once confusing or hard to understand are made extremely simple.

 

– New York Magazine, 2006 ‘Educating Cynthia’ http://nymag.com/arts/theater/profiles/21647/

– Daily News, 2010 ‘Cynthia Nixon describes fiance as ‘a short man with boobs’  http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/cynthia-nixon-describes-fiancee-christine-marinoni-short-man-boobs-article-1.447585

– Wikipedia, 2014 ‘Cynthia Nixon’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Nixon

A response: The disruption of old media by new.

This week I enjoyed two videos that explore issues surrounding the future of journalism. The first was a discussion with respected media academics David Carr and Andrew Lack, the second was a TED Talk by Tom Rosenstiel, an author and media critic.

The beginning of Tom Rosenstiel’s address at the TEDxAtlanta struck me. He began with a question that he is frequently asked: “Is the disruption caused by digital technology to journalism, making the world worse or better?”

My attention was grabbed immediately, the sound of that particular word, disruption, leaving a funny taste in my mouth.

Since I began my studies into Communication & Media roughly two years ago, the word disruption has never had a place in describing the relationship between new and old media. There are instances when often it seems as though new media might pose a threat to traditional sources, however, more often than not, both instances work in conjunction with each other, using each others strengths to improve. It is my belief, and as Rosenstiel soon goes on to say, that new technology is permitting an old medium to grow and develop with the times.

We undoubtedly live in a world of instantaneous communication and information. If we want to know something, we find out at the touch of a button from home, our workplace or when we’re out at lunch – everything we need to know is as mobile as we are. This is the main strength that I feel new media is bringing to journalism. Rosenstiel goes on to talk about the fact that previously (when traditional media like newspapers reigned supreme) we had to adapt our behaviour to get news. We had to be up early to catch the morning news breakfast banter or be home by 6pm to watch the nightly news. But today, the news (and any other information we desire) is accessible wherever and whenever we have a need for it.

It is with these points that I feel strongly about the use of the word disruption in this instance. New media hasn’t disrupted the way we gather news – it has ushered and helped traditional media grow into something much larger and all round better than it was before.

 

References:

Rosenstiel, T 2013, The Future of Journalism, TEDx Online Video, YouTube, Accessed 18 April 2014 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuBE_dP900Y&gt

bu, 2014, NYT’s David Carr on the Future of Journalism, Online Video, YouTube, Accessed 18 April 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WPlazqH0TdA&gt

Creative Cities…we’re in them!

Unsure as to what constituted a ‘creative city’, I was led to the UNESCO website by Andy Pratt’s article, “The Cultural Contradictions of the Creative City”. Pratt states, “we need to appreciate the diversity of objectives and practices that constitute creative cities, and for this diversity to become the foundation of a learning process. One way to encourage this process and outcome might be to become a member of the UNESCO creative cities network” (2011).

After researching UNESCO and the work they do I was quickly impressed with their principles and resulting feats. Founded during a time of great physical and political turmoil, 1945, UNESCO was created to establish peace “on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity” (unesco.org, 2014).

The solidarity between global cities is something that UNESCO strives for; the same aims are evident in the ‘Creative Cities Project’, which operates in central European countries. The initiative uses creative industry workers who have “high, but often unrecognised potential” (creativecitiesproject.eu, 2014), and implements them to work for the betterment of themselves and their community which then impacts their employment opportunities for the better. Aims of the project include: ‘improve their external visibility through transnational marketing and networking’ and to ‘exploit potentials in the development of decayed urban areas through the allocation of creative industries in those city districts’.

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An image I took of a building being used to canvas projections at Vivid 2013.

This last aim conjured memories of June last year when I braved the cold with a friend and visited Vivid Sydney: Light Music Ideas. This festival uses buildings as a canvas and splashes light and colour in a series of installations, transforming the city into a colourful playground. “It is a summit, forum and playground for the world’s creative industries –a time to celebrate, collaborate, experiment, conduct business and showcase how creativity changes everything” (vividsydney.com, 2014).

 

These initiatives celebrate the ingenuity and potential of creative industries, including job creation and cultural diversity. And until now I was unaware of the abundance of projects that bring together artists, industries and the community. It’s exciting to think that these initiatives are only going to grow, continuing to innovate and expand our perceptions of aesthetics.

REFERENCES:

– Pratt, A 2011, “The cultural contradictions of the creative city,” City, Culture and Society 2 pp. 123–130

– Creative Cities Project 2014, Accessed at: http://www.creativecitiesproject.eu/en/output.shtml

– UNESCO 2014, Accessed at: http://en.unesco.org/

 

Campus Crusade

ImageThe crux of our concept marries real space and the cyber realm, with the outcome of a mini game resulting in the allocation of real territory. This isn’t like an ordinary game that relies on points and coins – the winner gains status with their name/avatar being displayed on the game map, essentially ‘owning’ those real spaces. The more territory you own – the cooler you are! With no real score-based system displayed to the players, the game awards territory to the winning player…but also takes into account their number of previous wins to losses. 
To win, the current ruler of a space/territory, the challenger must move into that area and play a mini game against another present player. This fosters social interaction between players and also prompts them to move to new areas in order to gain more territory. Initial brainstorming saw our game ideas skyrocket, but to bring the concept back down to earth, we’ve decided to make it available only at UOW.

The Future of Journalism

Adopting new technology and evolving with the rise of citizen journalism, the scene of news outlets has incurred a massive overhaul from its traditional beginnings. The public now realises that information is abundant – anyone can report news and publish it to public forum. Whilst there is a growing trend for people to gather their news from multiple platforms, the fact that there is such a copious amount of information makes it essentially worthless.

In today’s day and age, news can be gathered anywhere, anytime and just as easily be published by anyone. For this reason, the authenticity and fact that traditional media must adhere to censorship guidelines makes the public more trusting.

An article by the American press institute (also referenced above) on how Americans choose to get their news, states that it all depends on the story. Whilst computers and mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular to gather information, people still turn to print media for coverage of certain topics. “Peoples turn to newspapers, whether in print or online, more than any other source specified… But they are most likely to turn to newspaper media for news about their local town or city, for news about arts and culture, and for news about schools and education” (American Press Institute, 2014).

It’s interesting to note this theory of audience trust issues. John Pavlik discusses in his article, ‘Innovation and the Future of Journalism’ the gradual take over of print news that followed the rise of online media. He outlines four techniques that he theorizes will help news media grow and develop:

creating, delivering and presenting quality news content; engaging the public in an interactive news discourse; employing new methods or reporting optimized for the digital, networked age; and developing new management and organisational strategies for a digital, networked and mobile environment” (2013).

So, whilst new technology plays a part in how we gather and utilize news, it is its it’s symbiotic relationship with traditional media that engages a trusting and satisfied readership.

 

References:

Pavlik, J 2013, ‘Innovation and the future of Journalism’, Digital Journalism, pp. 181-191.

American Press Institute 2014, ‘The Personal News Cycle: How Americans Choose to get their News’ Accessed at: http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/personal-news-cycle/