Analysing My Experience With Calligraphy

Digital Asia

Two weeks ago I blogged my first serious attempt at Japanese calligraphy. As mentioned by Ellis et al (2011), I must compare and contrast my personal experience from my previous blog post with already exisiting research. The main point from my previous post is that I found it much easier using a brush, ink and a piece of paper than using an app to teach myself the different strokes and techniques that are needed to learn how to write Japanese calligraphy.

I think this ideal correlates directly with how I, as an individual, learn. I’ve always been a very kinesthetic and spatial learner. Audio books and people talking directly towards me when they’re trying to teach me something new is completely useless. I’ve found that I always need something to follow along with, or a book to take down notes. The physical act of writing something down has always…

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Learning Japanese calligraphy with an app vs a brush and ink

Digital Asia

image2 書道, shodō

While on exchange in England I decided to teach myself how to hand letter and write with brush pens (just one way to entertain myself while I burrowed inside, out of the cold). I found the experience really enjoyable and even though I wasn’t very good, it was fairly easy to learn. Because of this, I’ve decided to focus my DA on learning the art of Japanese calligraphy (書道, shodō) while looking at the popularisation of brush lettering.

I studied Japanese for a year in high school but I honestly can’t remember a thing about kanji and hiragana. This will be an almost entirely new experience for me. While searching on Google for any and all information about Japanese calligraphy, I came across an app called ‘Shodo Expert’. I thought it would be interesting to compare my experience of using an app to learn calligraphy and using a…

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Autoethnography: My Understanding

Digital Asia

The concept of autoethnography makes me challenge almost every ideal I’ve been taught during my school years. As a journalism student, we are taught to avoid bias and remain as impartial to the research and ideas explored in every article we write. We have to, to the best of our ability, provide both sides of every story for audiences to make up their own mind. Autoethnography allows me to challenge that notion and explore how I perceive particular experiences and instances. As mentioned in Ellis’ Autoethnography: An Overview, authors often find it therapeutic to write personal stories as it helps to make sense of ourselves and our experiences (Ellis et al, 2011). By taking an auto ethnographic approach, authors are also able to question themselves to improve and understand relationships and promote change (Ellis et al, 2011).

The first time I saw the term autoethnographic, I was beyond confused…

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My First Godzilla Experience

Digital Asia

gojiraGojira (1954). Photo credit: The Focus Pull

I think this was the first black and white film, and first subtitled film I have ever watched from start to finish. Being a 21-year-old Australian, I tend to only watch films and television shows that originate in the US and Australia; sometimes ones from the UK sneak their way into the mix. Being exposed to a film that is as culturally diverse as Gojira, and as far from my comfort zone as can be, really opened my eyes.

While watching the film, I tweeted “what a cinematic masterpiece”… I’m not going to lie when I say I was being a little sarcastic at first but as the film went on and we were exposed to the film maker’s use of model work and post-film productions, such as the siren that alerted the city of Godzilla’s appearance, I really did start to…

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Let’s Play: The Plan

 

As someone who hardly plays video games, I thought I would begin this journey by playing the most basic of basic games – a game that claimed to be a short story game… One that took under 10 minutes to complete. I present to you: The Plan.

A fly ascends to the skies, pondering the pointlessness of its brief existence.

The Plan was developed by Krillbite Studio in 2012/13. The developers describe The Plan as a small side project but it has received a lot of positive attention throughout the years. They describe it as being a short, experimental game about self-discovery. I definitely noticed how calming it was to play.

The Plan offers players an eerie, yet stunning backdrop to fly along the path of life.  The game can be summed up as a simple yet striking metaphor about the circle of life. The picturesque scene is also accompanied with a slightly haunting score that was performed by Oslo Camerata.

Joseph Burnstein from Buzzfeed summed up the experience of The Plan to a tee. He commented “… Here are the emotions I experienced during the three minutes it took me to play The Plan…: confusion, frustration, boredom, fear, amusement, delight, joy, enchantment, and regret.”

Steam categorises The Plan as indie, atmospheric, short and casual. Basically four words that sum up this video game perfectly. Krillbite have developed this game for Windows, Mac and Linux.

As for the rules of this game; they’re as simple as you think. You control the fly with four little buttons. [W] to go up, [A] to fly to the left, [D] to fly to the right and [X] to go down. The objective? Just keep going up. You’ll see what happens. Mobility is a key mechanic in The Plan – the whole point of it is to move around and get through an obstacle or two.

The Plan received very little initial advertising. Krillbite notified the media with a brief mailer and sent a newsletter to their friends. The rest happened through the power of the internet. Let’s plays started popping up all over Youtube and sites like Eurogamer and indiegames started writing about it.

According to the Krillbite website, The Plan was named the 10th most important game of 2013 and has been downloaded just under 800, 000 times. I downloaded my copy from Steam in the ‘free to play’ section. It is also available as a free download from their website.

Screenshot from The Plan. Photo credit: Krillbite Studio

Reference:

Krillbite.com. (n.d.). Krillbite Studio Presskit – The Plan.

Krillbite Studio via steampowered.com (2015). The Plan, two year anniversary!

Game Designing (2017). The Beginner’s Guide to Game Mechanics.

The Safe Zone Prototyping

Play testing became an integral part of the game design process. The first couple of play tests focused on testing whether the rules I had decided on fit in with the game and the mechanics. The later play tests revolved more around testing out the finalised rules and design with different size groups.

Play test one & two

This was the first time I had anyone else play the game and look at the design. This play test was with the minimum people allowed to play (two). I still didn’t have a board that went with the game so I borrowed elements from board games that I have. In this first play test it was determined that thirty health was too much and that rolling the set of four dice up to three times was too many. We had both completed the game with health levels in the mid-twenties and the game was over in fifteen minutes.

Set up for play tests 1 & 2

Play test three

This game was again played with two people. I used this to test out what had been discussed in the previous play test. This time, three dice were used and we were only able to re-roll once.

Play test four & five

These two play tests took place during class time and were the first I had done with the maximum number of players (six). Play test number four was played with three dice and play test number five was played with two. Two dice worked much better with a larger group of players and the game lasted longer and players were able to move further on the board. During play test four, players were only able to get to the second or third column on the board, whereas players were able to complete the board during play test five.

Set up for play tests 4 & 5

Feedback during these two play tests was to have two different dice systems for the different number groups.

Two to three players:

  • Two action dice: these two dice both have numbers 1-3, an infectious attack, a direct attack and health on them.

Four to six players:

  • One action die: contains two infectious attacks, two direct attacks and two health sides.
  • Number die: numbers 1-6.

These different methods allow the game to take place similarly, even though the number of actions is different.

Play test six & seven

These two play tests were more about narrowing down the different dice methods for the different groups of players. This time three people were playing. The first play test took place with the number/ action dice. The second was with two action dice. Both methods worked for the smaller group but feedback showed that the two action dice was more enjoyable.

Set up for play tests 6 & 7

Main changes:

  • Being allowed to roll the dice up to 3x down to only rolling them once.
  • Introducing a safe area onto the board (black zones). Landing on this means that players aren’t impacted by the actions on their dice.
  • Rain symbol on dice impacts everyone in your column.
  • Lower health from 30 to 15.