Thursday, November 20, 2008

Attentive Momentum Perfected

Neave T.V. is a half-hour long stream of video clips claiming to be a T.V. station. It's a good thing it isn't.

I couldn't look away. This is the stuff of the future, the digital mind-opium that our generation has been trained to salivate over. Memes, sparkling and perplexing in their ____, hold your attention at bay. A perfect speed is maintained, keeping the viewer in a state of not-knowing while peaking interest throughout.

It's almost like a gothic horror scene, over and over and over and over and over. Something is presented, then made to seem not quite right. Incredibly affective. Tasty, addicting, glorious.

God dammit we are so screwed when they make this a 24/7 thing. The Conformists are gonna eat it up.



Wow look how well they have assembled these interesting visual media artifacts into a non-cohesive but affectively similar thread. Way to deconstruct the linear nature of popular media and provide a thoroughly enjoyable experience!

Okay it's cool now, but it'll be dangerous later.

Or will we be ready for it? Is the age of linearity and structure and meaning over? Rhizomatic entertainment?

I rushed this post, gave an unstructured commentary. I want you to go and watch it. Wait. Uh oh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hitting the maya wall

Cs 22, 3D Digital Modeling project, "create a room". got a bit carried away with things going on outside the room (mountains, aqueduct, underground pool, asteroids) while everyone else focused on precise details (watches, chess boards, plants). I guess that's how it goes, I can't stay inside the room/code/assignment. I originally made the waterfall by creating one tiny, crunched up, transparent-blue rectangular polygon and reproducing it several times to represent droplets and experiment with our beloved particle lighting refraction blablabla. Turned on particle lighting effects, final gathering, mental ray ...the computer stopped working; the file became un-openable. The class had a long laugh when our instructor (Lorie Loeb is a legend) turned on the polygon counter: over three million objects (ha,ha,ha). My first test drive with a new technology and I'd already hit the computational wall. Whatever, it would have looked really, really cool.

But my computers aren't fast enough. (YET.)

Modeling a character from "The Assemblage" now, video comming soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Warhammer is dead to me.

It was flashy, funny, and better (better?) at player vs. player combat than any MMO I've played.

But I don't care anymore. The rest of the warjammers are apathetic, and I think I know why. We approached the game as scientists (overly scheduled scientitsts) and tried to force meaning out of a game designed to minimize meaningful thought. Here's some notes from my most recent post on

"I mean YES the game is beautiful and complicated and they insert humor at some choice moments but the overall feeling falls short of my expectations. I started to grow tired of the place, tired of the game. I turned off the Warhammer sound and put on my own music, it helped. Strange.

... SO: exploring felt pretty shallow. RvR/PvP was engaging and fun. The two experiences combined... feel strange. The gap between an un-fulfilling game world and a hugely entertaining combat system makes the overall game experience a fragmented, chaotic blur. I guess we should have believed Paul Burnett: imagination is the goal, immersion really isn't.

So I have to use my imagination to fill in the gaps of disbelief forming between me and my avatar? No, Paul. The game doesn't facilitate OR encourage imagination. It bottles it, making digital hallucination fast and easy. Quick, streamlined player vs. player combat IS the central aim, and they nail it; I appreciate the game for the things it has introduced. Yet to have A+ PvP in a world that can't convince me that it matters feels shallow somehow, repetitive. It's just counter-strike from a third person perspective.

Wasteland, our server, suffered a mass exodus and we have been instructed to transfer our characters to Iron Rock. Doesn't matter too much, just another chip at the magic circle.
It's the right game for certain people. But Warhammer isn't heading in the direction I want MMORPG's to go. It's pulling the genre toward a more easily digestible, effortlessly repeatable kind of play. Bring back death penalties. Expand the game world. Give me an identity. Make things more difficult. You'll impress me, but lose a lot of your market. People like easy things. Especially easy killing."

What I haven't told them:
I signed onto Age of Conan after hitting level 18 in War. I felt: calmed, serene, beautiful, excited. No one was around, which is sad, but my avatar seemed to feel... right? Like a shower at the perfect temperature. (yes really). This game is so much better. Not because the programming is more advanced or the designers any more talented... It feels right mainly because of the way I approached and experienced it. I built a magic circle for it, made the world my own. I'll admit, I like the aesthetics better. Nothing looks as good as AOC right now. I preferred the combat.

Preferred. It seems that Age of Conan's beloved three-button combo system has been replaced with a faster, more simple 1-button system... making things easier for the masses. God damnit.
I'll be playing conan now once microsoft fixes directx 10, (you guys should be embarassed), and I'll enjoy it. I'll play.

We made Warhammer into a job. Play is beyond that sh*t. Harder to get to, harder to feel.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Left 4 Dead

Oh man.

Simply amazing. Played the demo four times with Peck. Simple play mechanics (based off half life 2) and straightforward objectives. There are zombies. You have guns. Up to three friends can play along with you.

It feels like middle school when you'd spawn 99 bots in CS and give them all knives just for the sensation of being overwhelmed. Everyone did that, right?

This game holds some serious affective power. I was scared, by a game. What?! Why? Well JPN 61 tells us that fear of zombies stems from a fear of society at large, of the majority's influence over the individual and the human tendency to conform. With modern society becoming increasingly self-aware and, in my opinion, over-systematized... it just feels good to mow down zombies. You know? I think there's something meaningful here but once again, i need to think about it more.

JPN 61, Japanese Art Horror (great class) also claims that Zombies represent the border between life and death, signifying the inconceivable void of not-death(?). Whatever. The game made me FEEL my mortality, prize my individuality and value whatever social ties i held within the game (thanks peck and mike). If you get pinned down by a zombie your teammate has to free you. Players have to heal each other to survive. The cooperative element really made it what it was: WE were scared.

Counterpoint: In the game I'm not mortal. I'm not individual. I played as a retired army vet. When I left the keyboard for 30 seconds the computer started controlling him for me and my friends didn't notice. Made me feel like...

a zombie?

Holy unholiness this game is good. Simple, fun, and playing off of real societal pressures. A+