The subject I have chosen for my Masters Thesis is “The Importance of Narrative in Video Games.” After watching a documentary on the making of God of War, I was impressed by the amount of effort in developing the connection of Norse mythology and the game’s mythology. I began research on the subject and found various articles for and against the use of nonlinear narrative in video games. Over the past four months, I have gathered multiple sources that will provide defending evidence to my theory that immersive narrative enriches the gaming experience.
There is documentation that nonlinear narrative will bring newcomers to video games. I plan on researching for more supported corroboration that the theory is substantiated.
I am continuing my work on my animated story-based series based in an alternate history, New York. If this show comes fruition, the Nerdz Garage wants to make a video game or board game based on the series.
Next month at Full Sail, hope to pitch a story-based RPG game in my capstone in the style of Dungeons&Dragons.
The two companies that I hope to work, 343 Industries and Larian Studios, have many heavy on the narrative games with multiple player choices. I have always been a creator of stories, and I hope to use that ability at work.
There is a choice of how to be a project manager; you can be versatile or rigid. There is no one methodology to be a good project manager. I learned what worked for to succeed in the current project. My project was to make a PM Plan to get investors for my animated series, Half Note Bridge. These guidelines broke down the timeline and feasibility. I feel like I have started to break ground on an idea that will be a reality. Let me share about my series, Half Note Bridge.
Half Note Bridge takes place in the roaring ’20s of the township of New York in a world where the Revolutionary war was lost. The Half Note Bridge is a speakeasy in Brooklyn nestled on the waterfront beneath the Brooklyn bridge. It is an unassuming storefront of old brick that yields a glamorous, marble pillared, velvet-covered chairs and a long mahogany bar. The jazz records are continuously playing until the band hits the stage. The Half Note Bridge guarantees service and safety.
The two main characters are: The owner is a tall and slim man who is disheveled. His skin is pale, and wavy blond hair partially covers his sunglasses that are always worn. A typical twenties style suit with a vast difference; the button shirt is patterned flowers and designs, his bow tie is undone in two strains, his pants fit well but are wrinkled and paint-stained, and lastly, his elegant shoes are muddied. A shiny golden chain of a pocket watch lingers out of his left pocket. His sunglasses are expensive and clean.
The bartender is a tall slim woman with jet black hair pixy cute and a bit messy. She wears black eye liner and red lipstick. Her suit is well made and pressed. High waisted black suit pants with black suspenders. A crisp white button up shirt long sleeved and a black velvet bow tie.
The bar is long with a polished mahogany top and dark marble front with tall black seats with a high back. Behind the bar is two massive arched pillars, each with five shelves. In the center of the two has two rows, one has wine bottles, and one has liquor. At the end of the bar, there is a coat hanger that hangs the bartender’s black jacket with the inside pocket visible that shows a long blade handle.
This class was instrumental in getting my project from paper to reality. I look forward to giving Lester updates on every milestone along the way.
and team dynamics facilitates team member self-awareness by engaging in
teambuilding that helps people understand themselves and others as they work
Our group project was to make a game. We chose to me make a first-person shooter tower defense game. We were being very ambitious. My role in the group was producer. This role was not by choice, but by default of no one wanting this position, I stepped up. Producer is my goal to achieve during this program, though it was early to try this position, I did want to start the road of learning the skills of producer. My job in the group as leader was to keep teammates on task and be available to assist them when they need it. The system that we used for the game was unfamiliar to almost all the team, therefore most of my time was delegating to filling in the gaps that was needed in hopes to keep the project on track. It was challenging for me to keep the team on track with the deadlines.
the month as my role as producer, I faced many challenges. The first week I had
to familiarize myself with the basics of Level Design and the interface of
Unity. Knowing this I was able to guide the level designer and writer inside of
Unity so when they came across technical issues, we were able to fix swiftly
and then move forward. During this week I used information from chapter six,
communication, Communication Skills for Team Meetings. Levi (2018) to get
communication between the coders and the level designers to a point where they
could communicate the issues, they to each other, about the Unity interface
The end if the second week we hit a roadblock
due to the lack of assets. I pivoted to Unity Hub to find free assets that our
level designer could use. I was unable to find assets needy within a reasonable
price range. I then asked a fellow Full Sail student, whose has assisted master’s
students in similar situations. He made modular units that the level designer
was able to use to make pre alpha layout to then give to the coders to work on
AI and mechanics in Unity.
Our third week I tried alleviating
some of the stress from our tech lead by learning how to set up walkable floors
in Unity. Those five hours of coding lessons were enjoyable and eye opening,
however that would be the last time I would be team leader because my decisions
threw our team into turmoil.
team disgruntlement paralyzed any further development in the game. Our team was
fractured beyond repair. Levi (2018) Chapter 8 Power and Social Influence, I
had been using the Passive Power style to that point, which is polite and deferential,
but then a team member used the Aggressive Style which is, forceful, critical
Going forward I am going to learn more on how to effectively be a game producer in the industry. My current focus is inner team communication, which was my weakness link this month. I will never forget this month, not because of the negatives, but for what I learned. I have heard that failure is the greatest teacher. I learned a lot from the dynamics of this past month and know I can do much better next time. I understand that taking the leap to leadership this early and learning on the fly was a risk, but it was well worth it, despite what can be considered a less successful outcome. I will carry these lessons with me on my journey through the master’s Program and continue to learn. Levi, D. (2017). Group dynamics for teams. Los Angeles: SAGE.
The Emmy Award-winning sportscaster and radio personality Dan Patrick partnered with Full Sail University for the Full Sail University’s Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting.
The inaugural students of that program graduated at Full Sail the same day as my program. Our commencement speaker was Dan Patrick. His speech was brimming with witty stories and knowledgeable advice. His last words to us explained how he decides who with or where to work and it resonated with me.
This is where I get to work.
That is now my mindset for this coming year and when I am seeking a place to work.
My final class for this degree was, The Project and
Portfolio VII: Computer Animation. This course uses progress monitoring to
evaluate my discipline topics by reinforcing production deadlines and
constraints. The course encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create
quality assets based on compiled reference material for use in their student
The DemoReel required three assets. I continued to add
textures to the ScyFy hallway scene, and I am pleased with how it turned out.
The CityScape was my most praised scene at the Portfolio VI
My third scene was a Valley. It received positive comments at the viewing and they thought the scene was reminiscent of, Lord of the Rings. In that scene, I focused on Color Correction.
Below is a link to my Art Station and DemoReel.
Thanks for the support and taking the time to read my stories. Graduation is on Friday at two, and I am number 91 in the walking order.
There is a live stream link on the Full Sail website.
Been busy so here are my last two months reflections.
PROJECT AND PORTFOLIO VI: COMPUTER ANIMATION The Project and Portfolio VI: Computer Animation course combined hands-on learning experiences. This encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets, with a focus in compositing, based on compiled reference material for use in a student portfolio. This was my best learning experience at Full Sail. I started by filming a hallway at a Disney Resort, hoping it had enough tracking to use for my project. Unfortunately, it did not have enough tracker points on the wall. My concept was to take a present-day hallway and turn it into a Star Trek hallway with 3D models. Entirely CG for walls and doors. My teacher found a hallway that had defined corners, lights, and tracking. I worked for hours and hours to create CG elements. I had my friend, Adam, create a Star trek Turbo Lift that I added and textured. The tracking proved to be difficult to complete correctly. I went in off-hours to get guidance from my teacher, and it seemed that I had learned the hard way to fix things, and he showed me the easy to do everything. I feel pretty good about how it turned out and will continue to work on it for Portfolio 7.
The second-class this month was ANIMATION PRODUCTION. The Animation Production course develops the ability to plan, coordinate, and study assets, using traditional methods to demonstrate my strengths as 3-D artists. Working from a photograph and video reference, I learned how to develop characters, environments, vehicles, rigs, and animation ideas. I had a verbal prompt that was 6 seconds that I had to build an animated scene to match.
This class was fine, and teachers were helpful, it’s just that animation is not in my field, and it was taking time away from my Portfolio project, which goes on my demo reel.
Last month I had MOTION CAPTURE learning techniques to digitize motion, edit sequences, and develop an understanding of simulated motion. I explored motion-capture setup, shooting, data tracking, skeleton retargeting, and animation correction and enhancement. I loved this class, this teacher and wish I had taken it sooner because I love working in Mo Cap. We designed a scene that included three actions, then filmed it in the Mo Cap room, (my teacher was my actor) then I take the data from the performance and clean it. Once it is clean, I assign it to a skeleton, then a rig which is the character and then animates it. This could only be done at school in the motion capture room on their computers. Did I already say I love this class??
Also, this month PRODUCTION MODELING which course is making model development as it applies to production in the animation industry. I explored a variety of topics, including developing surface flow, anatomically correct models, and pipeline techniques. It was a long, tedious process using a completely different workflow then I am used to. All and all, it was fun, and the people in my class were amazing.
Next Month Last Month! See you at the end of the road! Dylan
The Historical Archetypes and Mythology course introduced me to the connections between history, mythology, and iconic archetypes and the influence these relationships have had on classical and contemporary cultures of the world. Color symbolism was also explored to better appreciate folklore, heroes, and monsters of various cultures.
This month was incredibly
interesting. I love mythology, and I thought I was versed in the subject;
however, this class had about seventy-five percent new material that I did not
know. Specifically, the Egyptian mythology I had learned about in high and had
done my own, but I never knew it was so censored in high school.
I feel that I have a clear perspective on how to find and describe the Hero’s Journey. In fact, I cannot stop seeing it when I watch TV. I think that my paper on The Magicians was very thought out and my favorite essay I wrote this month. The paper on spiritual creatures was adventure into Japanese folklore. I love everything Japanese so picking a creature was difficult because there are so many to choose from. I ended up writing about the Tengu. He had an interesting evolution going from villain to hero over the centuries of verbal legends. Someday I hope to go to Japan and see the statues of Tengu in front of temples.
I did watch the required
video on The Journey RA and then binged every video they offered. I found them
This class had made me
curious again. I have been so focused on the art that I have not read or
watched anything for just fun on my own. I will remember to take time in the
next months to do that because it was good for my mind and soul, like therapy.
This course has helped me delve deeper into the back story or mythology of the series I am writing. I have made myself a goal to write the Hero’s Journey for my show “Half Note Bridge.”
The Compositing and Scene Finishing class broadens the base of my knowledge by offering insight into the process of combining computer-generated imagery (CGI) with video and film elements. By learning what happens when rendered representation is integrated into the post-production process, I will better understand the core principles of proper compositing and finishing practices. I continued to node-based compositing systems, 3-D camera tracking tools, and common rendering methods used in current post-production pipelines.
Final Pass Turned below.
This is all the passes I made and had to make a CD render in Nuke. I was given all the pieces required, separately and the goal was to over four weeks put all the parts to together to match in an organized workflow.
It was much trial and error to get it to blend. The lecture videos were beneficial because they offered a step by step process. This was my favorite class so far. I was fun as hell.
See you next month when I will be making a scene of my own design. Dylan
This month was The History of Visual Communications
which taught how people have used the visual arts to communicate stories and
concepts throughout history and across disciplines. From cave paintings to
digital media, students will explore how visual techniques have been used to
convey emotions, break sociocultural boundaries, and share new ideas.
The first week was focusing on nature. We went to the
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which the central theme was
Tiffany glass work. I was tasked to find a favorite piece of art in the Museum.
I chose a vase that was delicately painted with cherry blossoms and fish. I
We had to make concept art that related to our
spiritual traditions and nature or landscapes.
I have always been drawn to the works of Vincent Van
Gogh and Japanese Art. To me they there are many similarities. They take
inspiration from the landscapes and transform them into fantastical or
whimsical. The colors are bold and not necessarily the natural color for the
Their landscapes which are described as mystical, lend
themselves to the thought of Buddhism.
My arts foundation so far has been more towards the
fantasy, mixing real worlds with my imagination. I believe that my art of
nature has connections to Buddhism.
My piece was inspired by Vincent Van Gosh and his
mixing of the environment around you and the twist of color and textures.
I went to the park and took pictures and videos of
many things; flowers, clovers, trees, and birds. My original thought was to put
the night sky in place of the clear blue sky. However, this did not work due to
technical limitations. I then tried our pool water at night with waves in it. I
liked the way it contrasted and matched. I ended up lightening up the water to
give it more vibrant.
Next was Wabi Sabi art. The Japanese tradition of
wabi-sabi offers an inspiring new way to look at your life. I drove to the
Winter park to look for flowers around the lake, but when I walked around I was
drawn to this tree because of the striking contrast of living, bright green
leaves and dead, the hanging moss. I played with colors and framing.
The next weeks’ focus was Imagination. I had to create a deck of our own design and style. I chose to base it on the Series I want to make, Half Note Bridge, set in a bar in otherworldly New York.
The third week was all about art and propaganda.
The last week was about Imagination.
The main project was Abstract Music Visualization,
which was picking a song, listening to it and then describing it through art.
Character Animation The Character Animation course focused on my animation skills by exploring methods for creating a movement that is entertaining, appealing, and clearly driven by the characters’ emotions and personality. I worked with classmates to act out and analyze methods for creating solid choices that are unique and interesting. Through discussion and analysis, I was introduced to the importance of evaluating my own work as well as the work of my peers. In other words, being critiqued. This month was very different from other classes because, though the critiques could be harsh, there was no information on how to improve the animations. I sought out clarification from lab teachers and fellow students.
The assignment was to animate to the audio clip and add the lip sync to the dialogue. This was my final turn in pass. I thought adding the lip syncing would be very difficult, however it turned out to be much easier compared to the basic walk. This basic walk had about 20 keys and brake downs for this four second animation. Then there is the addition of ears, tail, foot, hands and emotion. I thought it turned much better than the first project of just the walk and emotion. I fell like I have better understanding of animation
This was the first project and it was to animate a basic walk and an action. I am not really pleased with the final result, but there is never enough time….
This was the first brake down of the animated lip sync. This shows where I started.
This month was much more difficult then the other months so far. I am not sure if the teaching didn’t click or the amount of work in the time given.