Posted on December 30, 2012 by altug isigan
The Final Cut
In The Final Cut, you play an actor who is performing on a film set. Your goal is to deliver the required acting performances in as little “takes” as possible. If you forget the script for the particular scene or perform bad for any other reason, the director asks you to perform again, so long until he gets the shot he desires. Unless you perform in all scenes as is being demanded of you, the film remains incomplete.
The game ends when a) the crew runs out of raw film, b) the shooting schedule is violated (there is a limited number of shots that can be made per day), or c) when all scenes are completed within time and raw film constraints.
Your acting performance will be evaluated based on a “cutting ratio”, that is, the amount of shots you wasted with your bad performances compared to the minimum number of shots that were required to complete the film.
The interesting thing about The Final Cut as a game is that it points out the similarities between film-making and successfully completing a sequence of actions in a game. Whereas in a game like Medal of Honour: Allied Assault, failure sends us back to the previous save point until we succeed; upon failure in a film shooting, the director asks us to perform again, until he gets what he wants. This makes me think that we can liken the repetitious gameplay in certain games to the shooting action on a film set.
One thing that is highlighted through this, is the wrong idea of many game scholars in regard to the “linearity” of movies. It becomes apparent that it takes a lot of effort from a film crew to achieve what game scholars criticize as linearity. During shooting, the film is as undecided as a game. The second thing that is highlighted is the opposite: that games may look quite undecided, but that in a lot of them, we re-play in order to make possible (cut together) an “ideal story”. To me this is an important blurring of lines which renders the divide between games and narratives ineffective.
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Posted on December 28, 2012 by altug isigan
I’m very happy to announce that I received today my PhD degree in game studies, after a succesful defense of my dissertation titled “Interaction and the Problem of Video Game Narrativity”.
I’m thankful to everyone who contributed in this process, first and foremost my thesis adviser Prof. Dr. Beybin Kejanlıoğlu, the members of my thesis observation committee Prof. Dr. Mutlu Binark and Assoc. Prof. Sevilay Çelenk, and my jury members Prof. Dr Uğur Halıcı and Assist. Prof. Burcu Sümer.
Many people have given me support without even being aware of it, but they took their times to read or comment on stuff I wrote or they inspired me to write stuff that was directly or indirectly related to the content of my thesis: Kerem Yavuz Demirbaş, Assist. Prof. Levent Kavas, Hakan Karahasan, Dr. Gabriele Ferri, Dr. Tonguç İbrahim Sezen, Prof. Dr. Veysi İşler, Assist. Prof. Güven Çatak, Sande Chen, Darren Tomlyn and Richard Terrell (aka Kirbykid).
I’m grateful to all of you!
I dedicate my thesis to Kayhan Önal, Magister Ludi and friend for a lifetime, who is the most passionate player I’ve ever encountered on this planet. Keep playin’!
Now it’s time to celebrate ;)
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Posted on December 14, 2012 by altug isigan
Time for a new game idea! My new game idea is inspired by a discussion on the nature of images and language. Letters are often considered as two-dimensional graphical elements, not capable of three-dimensionality. On the other hand, they are seen as a different representative system, and not associated with systems of visual representation, although they use the same basic graphical elements such as lines, dots, planes and even volumes. Therefore I like the idea to make a text adventure whose world is visually constructed through letters and words, a world that maintains the illusion of depth and can be navigated, something that uses in its representation of its world the words that are associated with objects, rather than depicting the objects themselves.
This is not a Word
This is not a Word is a “text-world” adventure. Its world is visually represented by letters, words and sentences that are discernible as objects. The way in which these letter-objects are displayed, changes, as we approach such object. For example if we see a “tree” and approach it, we start to identify the many “branches”, and if we get closer we see its “leaves”. Or we see a “river” in a distance, and as we approach it, we see the “water” flow, and the “fish” in it.
By eliminating from or adding to the world certain letters, the way we perceive the environment changes, since without certain letters, certain “objects” can’t exist.
The game makes use of color, font families and other aesthetic parameters of typography.
The title “This is not a Word” is intented to be a pun on “This is not a World“, since I want to draw attention to the “artifical” character of any type of representation. It is also a reference to Magritte’s series of paintings titled “This is not a Pipe”, which approached the question of representation from the “other end”, yet being about the relation between images and language.
The game will be available in several languages, including dead ones. Having the game in several languages is a funny aspect, because it somehow seems not to make sense at all, but then I believe that it makes a difference because we also would look at different visual styles of representation and not merely of objects that have a same shape regardless of what languages have been used to give them their shapes. And I’m very intrigued by the idea to use dead languages, especialy cuneiform. I somehow like the idea to see people recognize letters and words of dead languages as objects rather than text, because it seems to show how the representative values of certain combinations of lines and dots can shift culturally and historically, questioning our ways of seeing and the way cultures maintain or “forget” about distinctions that decide whether graphical elements qualify as “text” or “visual representation”. A Quipu version that uses “real” threads would be also highly interesting to use.
If we lose all letters in the game, what would we see? The world “as it is”, or “nothing”?
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