Tuesday, 2 November 2010

History of Gaming.. (50's-70's)

I absolutely love the idea of using blogger to write out our game studies, it’s relaxing and eases the pressure of essay writing. Game Art for the win eh?

Moving on swiftly, this blog entry is going to cover the earliest concepts and discoveries of our gaming culture. Way before our massively multiplayer online games and first person shooters, the origins of gaming lie in the 1940’s.  “The origin of video games lies in early cathode ray tube-based missile defence systems in the late 1940s” by Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr. and Estle Ray Man.  This graphics based program uses vacuum tubes to stimulate a missile firing target and contains knobs to manoeuvre and adjust the curve and speed of the missile.

Not exactly Call of Duty is it? Playing a heated game of conkers has to be more entertaining than this.

These programmes were later then transformed and adapted into other games within the 1950’s and 60’s, these games or ‘interactive graphical programs’ were created on the TX-0 machine, and these were:
  • · Mouse in Maze
  • · HAX
  • · Tic-Tac-Toe
Wait, isn’t tic-tac-toe noughts and crosses? Programmers imaginations were either completely fruitless and dull, or more likely, the technology at the time suppressed their massive imaginations into making tic-tac-toe. Poor guys, I’d love to see what they think of technology and game engines in the 21st century.

But then oh boy, things started heating up.

The ‘Golden age of video arcade games’ erupted during the 1970’s, and what kicked it all off? Pong. This bad-boy was as addictive as crack-cocaine and although had a very simple design, it was loosely based on table tennis and Atari had sold 19,000 pong machines. I find this amazing, truly remarkable how only 30 years ago, a black and white game based on tennis practically transformed the concept of video games completely, and more importantly it was addictive and competitive. 

In 1972, the ‘Taito Corporation’ created what was going to be the most instantly recognizable trademarks of gaming culture, as well as gaming as a whole. Space Invaders. It was one of the forerunners in the early gaming industry, and helped turn the industry into a global success. I find that ‘Space invaders’ was one of the most significant points in gaming history, due to its playability and that the pixelated enemy alien has become a pop culture icon, as it represents video games as a whole.

Although, I’ve never played any of these games to the extent I would play Halo, WoW or any other modern day game, I still understand the crucial success these initial games needed to set the foundations, and underpin the basis on which we create our games today.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Alex, alex and some more alex.

Let’s begin things bluntly, my name is Alex Edwards. I’m from Cardiff, now living and studying in Leicester, undergoing a hopefully amazing dream degree. I like to think I’m a quirky lad who tends to live, and I’m not exaggerating, live in my own little dream world. In this world, I have four huge passions.
Gaming, which has had a massive influence on how I spend my time, letting go of reality and immersing myself in game worlds. My second one is illustration and drawing, I guess like most aspiring game artists, we’re an odd smelly herd of creatures who have been doodling fantasy monsters since we were about three or so, but I do obtain real pleasure and satisfaction from creating things from pure, raw imagination.
I’m also passionate about drumming; I’ve been playing for around seven or so years, ranging from various styles such as 90’s funk to heavy metal. I’ve also always been a little torn somewhat between which paths I should invest my time into, drumming or drawing? The latter being the successful (and the most rewarding) But recently, my favourite passion is my girlfriend. I’m completely in love with her, and she is my world. Yeah, yeah, everyone’s going to vomit over how cute and fuzzy this may seem, but she is my idol, inspiration and motivation. She’s the best.

So why am I here studying in De Montfort?

Well, the website is what first struck me, and how the title ‘Game Art Design’ sort of summed up everything I could possibly want from a degree in three words, game, art and design. Excellent. I think if I had to pinpoint the reason though, it is probably due to how sophisticated and very industry related the course is, yet still, keeping an iron grasp on being fundamentally artistic. I know I will enjoy the elements of the course such as critical game studies, which defines the history, culture and relevance of gaming. Awesome, right? Writing about games, dream! Also with visual design, getting your hands down and dirty with the more artistic side of the course, can’t go wrong so far for me surely? But then game production looms over, the 3D side of the course. Don’t get me wrong, the things that 3DS max and Zbrush can come up with look breathtaking, but I have never, ever, been able to grasp 3D in any form. I have been strictly 2D. It’s a fatal flaw that I hope I can overcome with the course, it will be very painful, challenging and exciting. But that’s also why I’m here, learning to develop essential new skills with these very, very scary complex programs.

My dream job would ideally be a 2D character / environment artist, but as I have found out on tuesday, my single point perspective is a little rusty. Man, drawings so good when it’s challenging.  I really hope I can grasp digital painting well by the end of the year, some of the second and third years work makes me want to head-butt my monitor in awe at how professional it all looks.

Moving away was certainly hard as well, I’m a big boy I know, but leaving behind everything that’s familiar and safe and moving into a city you have never spent more than three hours in is rather frightening. But you live and learn, there will be many trials and tribulations to go hand in hand with the moments I will look back on and smile about.