Tag: Vol.4 No.1 (2021)

Concept Art: The Essential Part of Visual Pre-production in the Entertainment Industry

ABSTRACT: The study defines the role of concept art in the process of creating big visual projects. It intends to fill the gap in the academic field and to describe the process of creating concept art from start to finish, considering its theoretical as well as practical outlines. The theoretical part of the text is based on various concepts and lines of thinking, including analysis and synthesis of the obtained knowledge, as well as comparison of differing scholarly opinions on the discussed topic. Concept art as an art phenomenon of the 21st century is one of the most respected creative activities in the visual entertainment industry. Creating concept art has become one of the best paid work specialisations within the various processes of artistic and media creation. The meaning of concept art lies in the creation of ‘blueprint’ images and designs, based on the given concept’s purpose. Concept art serves a whole team of creative individuals as a reference allowing for the further development of a creative project. It is mainly used in projects based on key visual features such as unique environments, characters, design and fantastic stories. Therefore, each individual part of the given complexity must be ‘brought to life’ by properly trained artists.

KEY WORDS: concept art, design, digital games, entertainment industry, fantasy, image.

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Difficulty as Aesthetic: An Investigation of the Expressiveness of Challenge in Digital Games

ABSTRACT: Difficulty is the personal experience of a subject facing resistance that prevents them from reaching a goal or desired state. It is an experiential part of everyone’s existence. In digital games, difficulty is strongly linked with designed challenges and obstacles that must be overcome by physical effort, manual skills, coordination, and dexterity. But this widespread perspective is a reductionist categorization of the expressive possibilities of difficulty. Because as experiential, difficulty is aesthetic expression and therefore it is much more than the mere skill challenge. The difficulty experience that emerges from an opposing force between object and subject, between game and player, can be interpretive, poetic, narrative, ethical or atmospheric among other expressive forms. Understanding difficulty from these broad parameters, we pose it as an aesthetic expression, which forges multiple experiences at the intersection between mechanics, fiction, and the player’s performance. This study analyses, drawing from philosophy, postphenomenology, and game studies, some aspects of two contemporary games, The Last of Us Part II and Death Stranding from the view of difficulty as aesthetic experience perspective, considering the significant and discursive tensions beyond purely ludic and mechanical elements

KEY WORDS: aesthetics, difficulty, digital games, emotions, experience, challenge.

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More-than-Human Game Design: Playing in the Internet of Things

ABSTRACT: The design of objects requiring human interaction often revolves around methods such as Human Centred Design (HCD). Whilst this is beneficial in many cases, contemporary developments of technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), which produce assemblages of interactions, lead to the view that human centred approaches can prove problematic leading to the proposal of adopting more-than-human perspectives. This study discusses the creation of a novel board game designed to explore a more-than-human design view for IoT products and services by addressing problematic issues in relation to user data privacy and security within the IoT which arguably arise from the application of traditional HCD approaches. By embracing Object-Oriented Philosophy, The Internet of Things Board Game creates an ontographic mapping of IoT assemblages and illuminates the tiny ontologies of unique interactions occurring within these digital and physical networked spaces. Here the gameplay acts as metaphorism illustrating independent and interdependent relationships between the various ‘things’ in the network. The study illustrates how critical game design can help develop potential new design approaches as well as enabling users to better understand the complex digital/physical assemblages they create when utilising IoT products and services in their everyday lives.

KEY WORDS: board game, design research, game design, internet of things, metaphorism, more-than human.

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Good Practices for Indie and Solo Game Developers: A Survey Based on Online Videos

ABSTRACT: Although the most established model of digital game development is through funding from publishers, there has been a major boost to independent game development, especially after the 2000s. This production context has specific challenges, particularly for lone developers. Some indie developers share their experiences and tips with the community using videos, and these videos illustrate the challenges and mindset around indie development of their time. This article presents a survey of good practices for lone (solo) indie developers compiled from twenty-nine YouTube videos. There are thirteen content creators who shared various tips about tools to use; ways to improve the game design of a product; ways to improve production process management and how to avoid pipeline failures during the development; recommendations on how to handle and how to manage marketing, focusing on fanbase management; advice on how to stay healthy during the process and mindset changes that are required for the development of games. The tips are compiled and a discussion is made on how they outline a dimension of the indie context and mentality of their time, and how they illustrate what are considered good practices among community members.

KEY WORDS: game development, good practices, indie community, indie game, solo developers.

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Motivation with Game Elements in Education Mediated by E-Learning Resources

ABSTRACT: We present a report from our preliminary research, which focused on the possibilities of implementing game elements into e-learning at university. We were interested in the attitudes and preferences of the students on the introductory course for the study of culture, where a questionnaire survey was conducted. We asked students what potential they see in the application of digital technologies in e-learning, what motivates them to study online and what advantages and limits of the educational principles of games they see in e-learning. Here we offer a description of the preliminary results that led to our next research steps. The questionnaire was distributed among students of two runs of the Introduction to the Study of Culture course at the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University, who completed it after the final test. A total of 188 students submitted a completed form. These were bachelor students, usually in the first year of study, mostly women. We chose a freely available online tool for the analysis, our approach to data processing was non-mathematical at this stage. Nevertheless, we believe that it has enabled us to gain a direct and unmediated insight into the subject of our research. Mixed methods pragmatic rationalization of the research process traditionally refers to the complementarity of datasets and greater validity. Based on the findings, we recommend to educators and developers of the online learning environment how they could improve the design of e-learning in accordance with the needs and different learning styles of students.

KEY WORDS: digital games, e-learning, flow, game-based educational principles, gamification, learning objectives, motivation and self-determination theory, online learning systems, teaching model.

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Contextualizing Dark Patterns with the Ludeme Theory: A New Path for Digital Game Literacy?

ABSTRACT: So-called dark patterns are widely discussed in game design. This phenomenon raises
concerns for gaming education because numerous dark patterns trick players into real money transactions or gambling. A major obstacle to the practical assessment of the severity of a ‘dark’ pattern is the very definition of ‘game patterns’, basing solely on action-oriented structures. In order to take into account not only abstract expressions of the game system, but also the experience of the player, as well as the diverse contexts in which games are played, this article proposes to use the semiotic model of the ‘ludeme’. A ludeme is a minimal element in game design consisting of a grapheme, an acousteme, and a motifeme. We begin by explaining and situating the conceptual framework of the ludeme theory, with a specific interest in its application to repetitions of the same game element over time and through different digital games. Then, the theoretical framework is applied to SimCity BuildIt and particularly to the ‘dark patterns’ in it. In the last part, paths for further developments of the model of ludemic analysis are discussed, with regard to its
relevance for media education and digital game literacy.

KEY WORDS: dark patterns, digital game literacy, game analysis, ludeme, ludoliteracy, SimCity.

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