Categories: "Work"

Develop 2009: flOw and Flower: Games and Art

 

Jenova Chen

Jenova Chen co-founder of thatgamecompany, best known for Flow and Flower attended Develop and had one of the first talks of the Wednesday. I did actually miss the first five or so minutes of his talk, but from what I walked in on I was entranced straight away. When people discuss entertainment and our opinions we use feelings to express our thoughts. In order to consider games as a form of entertainment people must talk about them in the same way as film. Although when receiving this feedback on a video game it is usually based on technical aspects of the game, feelings don't even usually come into the equation.

Most people will usually think something such as combining genres to make hybrids will make a game innovative, make them stand out above the rest, where as this is not usually the case. Jenova hopes in the future to see a much wider mix of feelings integrated into games, as these types of feelings and emotions haven’t really been addressed as much as they could have. It's hard to find a game that will encourage the player to become emotionally attached to the characters, story or game while having a suitable gameplay experience.

Jenova recommended reading The Visual Story written by Bruce Block, from reading his work he then applied it to games by creating a visual bucket that combines graphics, story, sound and gameplay. Jenova feels in order to have an overall satisfying experience from a game, the levels in the bucket need to be fairly even, and not be missing out too much on some of the factors. As most games will usually focus on one key element such as graphics or gameplay, which will then make a game less attractive.

For example Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Shadow of the Colossus and Bioshock are games that Jenova feels portray a certain quality of life, as many games do not and just exist for a play experience. He does also recommend however playing Passage by Jason Rohrer, which attempts to portray certain feelings.

A lot of what he spoke of in relation to creating Flower can be downloaded off the Playstation Network in the form of a development diary, but there were a few points that I had not heard before, for example before Flower was designed Jenova wished to create a game based around nature, in order to do this he wanted to know what the most popular thoughts were when talking on nature. Through searching on flickr for nature and flowers were the third highest tag at the time, leading him to choose them.

With Flower he wished to create a peaceful harmony inside the game, this is why he had decided against enemies or a chance of death. He feels that NiGHTS was close to creating this experience, but wasn’t quite there. With the flying element it accomplishes this feeling, but from having a small limit on time and enemies that attack you, it destroys this harmony which you gain from flying around. Flower went through many different iterations when deciding on the gameplay, from playing as the Sun and making flowers grow, to throwing seeds in the ground and making them grow up from the soil. There were a lot of silly versions of Flower which they had considered, and I must say I'm very happy they kept with the core concept that Flower can now be seen with.

Currently working on an unannounced title he commented on the fact that, from creating games that work with feelings it means that the game is all about the experience. In order to create the exact experience required, the technology needed will have to be as new as possible as creating feelings for a player is not an easy task, which can then of course make it harder when developing the game using new tools all the time.

Official Women in Games Student Blogger

 

 

Recently on the Women in Games (WiG) blog, Emma Westecott wrote up a post about needing a student blogger for two events, I'd say I jumped at the chance of it, although I had forgotten until last minute before the deadline to actually send my email I had composed. All because I'd been super busy with moving house the same weekend.

 

So I rushed to McDonalds to use their free Wi-Fi (pretty much the only place in Aldershot with free Wi-Fi), as I'm currently without the internet.

 

A couple of days later I heard back from Emma telling me I'd been chosen, which I'm ecstatic and completely blown away by, I never would have thought I would be picked for it, but then I don't really know how many people tried to get the little job.

 

Either way it now means that I get to go to Develop and DiGRA, which I am very happy about, as I originally intended on buying myself a ticket for Develop, and without much money at the moment it may have made living a problem and DiGRA I could have only afforded once I had a job.

 

So keep an eye on the WiG blog as hopefully there shall be some posts up by me soon.

 

Huge thanks though to everyone that had to do with me being picked as well.

Goodbye Newport, Hello Aldershot

 

So it’s finally come to the end of my three years at University and I happily have come out with a nice first like I posted about before. Now my life begins, I’ve moved to Aldershot, Hampshire, as opposed to going back to Chelmsford, Essex, as I felt I would be less productive if I lived at home.

 

So why Aldershot I hear you ask?

 

Well it’s not as expensive as Guildford, Surrey (a key place in the games industry, plus close to London and home) but it’s just down the road, and close to London, along with everywhere else that Guildford is close to, just add or subtract around 20-30 minutes on top of travel time when going in certain directions.

 

I will honestly miss Newport, but there was no real reason to stay in Wales, so I had to leave. Unpacking is almost complete give it another day maybe to get everything nice and neat and tidy. I also need to finish work on Void, send out more CVs and get my business cards designed, coloured and printed all before Develop, which should be interesting.

University student no longer

 

Well it's finally happened, three years have passed and I have now finished University, (I don't actually get my official degree until September though).

I passed with a first which I am extremely happy about, I guess my hard work paid off in the end, I wish I has pushed myself a little harder at times, but I now know how well I can work thanks to Void.

Void is getting close to completetion which is great, got a couple more games lined up to be doing once Void is out the way. Which will be done alongside applying to games industry jobs.

I shall post up my CV on here soon, and it'll be on my website too.

Other than that congratulations to everyone in my year of Computer Games Design for their grades, and everyone else at Newport, I'm sure I'm really going to miss Newport, made a lot of friends here.

Onwards to Aldershot.

University of Wales Newport, Computer Games Design Graduate Show

 

My blog has been a little quiet as of recent, due to a large amount of time being spent on Void, but with that almost being finished I thought I'd do a quick little entry on my graduate show, or at least share a few pictures.
It was a very successful graduate show, loads of people came, we had lovely homemade food, great music and of course lovely people. The pictures are from the opening night, but we were there every other day too to make sure people could play the games.

Daves awesome doodle

Myself and Ian Gouldstone, playing Void

Barry Atkins playing Void

A tired Void team, minus Andrew and plus Charlotte and Harry

click to see more pictures

New website

 

Well the title is kind of a lie, as it's not a new website, it's a modified website, either way my website is now very different and much better from before.

 

website

 

It now features a welcome which changes dependant on the time of day, along with changing images! Plus a twitter feed too.

Oh and you can visit it here the name of the website is simply catmoo.co.uk

Blitz Open day

 

Finally in my third year of University I managed to get a place at the Blitz Open days this year, this is partially thanks to my group for us pulling together such an interesting game.

 

Anyway so on the 13th of March I had the pleasure to head down to Leamington Spa to attend the open day, instead I popped down the day before to have a look about Leamington, which I must say seemed like a lovely place.

 

I stayed at the travel lodge in Leamington Spa (which I must say was the oldest hotel I had stayed in to date) and it was amazing, the image below is a stained glass window on the first flight of stairs. Then there was a mirror the height of a wall on the first floor. Was a bit of a shame though, as the building was old there was the hugest gap under my door letting in lots of cold.

 

IMAGE_381

 

On the open day we sat in various presentations combined with a tour and one to one sessions with our chosen area of games development.

 

The day was all-round great and the best part has to of been going to the pub with various Blitz people, plus the three other games designers that stuck out with me, and especially liking the the few Blitz guys who stayed out still 1ish with us.

 

I would recommend the open days to anyone needing an insight into the industry, especially if they haven't been to any companies before, as a lot of the people attending the open day were surprised with what they saw. Was interesting as the company seems to be structured like most others, with the exception of having so many divisions, which made more sense to me if other companies did that too.

 

Was nice to see people I had previously met before from Blitz, or others that attended Newport University, shame I was the only one attending the day from Newport though.

Moo.com

 

Well as I mentioned in a previous post about my graduate show I recently ordered some stickers and our invitations off of moo.com.

 

The only real shame about the stickers that moo.com prints is that they are square stickers, so what I'm going to do, as square stickers are a little boring is cut them out, similar to Jon Burgerman's stickers.



Jon Burgerman Sticker



 


And here are our stickers!



Stickers





 



So that's the stickers and here is the more important part of what was printed by moo.com



 



Invites



 



If you receive one of these invites, think yourself very lucky to have been invited to our graduate show :). Now we just have to get the posters printed and the advertising and invitational side is all sorted, can't wait to see how the show goes in the end.



 



I shall also be getting mini cards printed off Moo.com very soon, I was going to do it at the same time, but the stickers and postcards came to a fair bit including postage :).



 



Don't forget you can also check out our graduate show's website here

1 3 5 ...6 ...7 8 9 10