TDM signing off

Speaking for my team members, I know we all have enjoyed our first year Centre term class. The freedom that was given to us to create freely was a blast. We all gained valuable skills in group work that will help us in future classes as well as our careers in the future. We want to think the class for providing a space that we could freely create without judgment, because we all know how are game could have offended someone. The creation of our game will be something the five of us share for our time at Centre.

We would also like to say how grateful we are to have had the experience to research our own ideas when creating this game. We were not given a restriction to what we had to create. We were given the burden of freedom to make our own choices when it came to our video game. We were allowed to use our interest to create something we thought would be fun for people to experience. All of the groups were allowed to do this. It shows in the final products of our games how not one single game was the same. Some focused on more of a linear story, others gave the freedom of choice. All three of our games have strengths and weaknesses that possibly with more time could have been turned into really good products.

I know that the experiences I have had in this class will stick with me for my time at Centre. All the lessons that we were taught and have learned will help every single one of us in a different way. Not everyone will take the same lessons as everyone else due to us all having different interest, but I am sure we all have taken away something from the class. Just as we all have taken away something from this class, we have all given something to the class. We all have had different thoughts on research that maybe the whole group has not thought of. In all the uniqueness of the group we had provided different insights on all of our research. The individual presentations have also given us the ability to see a different perspective on an issue that we all thought would have been simple, but we turned into a complex idea. With all history, we have learned that it is always complicated.

Thank you all for the joy that this class has brought.

From Sea to Shining Sea Squad: “From Sea to Shining Sea”

Hello Everyone,

Our game, From Sea to Shining Sea, is set in the heat of the Cold War, October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We chose this time because it was the closet the world has ever came to nuclear war. Thankfully the U.S. and the USSR were able to come to terms and successfully avoided a major catastrophe, the question still remains, how would the world look if nuclear war was waged? This is exactly the question that From Sea to Shining Sea poses and using an engaging story line the player is allowed to see the consequences of nuclear warfare. While depicting this awful counterfactual our game also makes comments on Cold War aspects such as McCarthyism, gender roles, and the dangers of an over powered government. This creates a gaming experience that is interesting but also correctly depicts different aspects of the Cold War.

Team Members:

Brenna Rodgers- Brenna has spent a ton of her family time playing video games. She likes to play competitive games like Mario Kart but she also likes playing games like Skyrim and the Legend of Zelda series. In addition, she enjoys games that are heavily story based. Brenna focuses on the creation of the game as well as the introduction and conclusion of the portfolio.

Cole Frazier- Cole enjoys playing sports games like the Madden and NBA 2k series, but he is also a real MLG because he loves the Fallout series. Cole focused on historical research for the most part, studying sources on McCarthyism, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and American heads of state during the Cold War.

Luke Duncan- Luke is from the small town of Danville, KY where he grew up playing sports and video games with friends. His favorite game memories include quick scoping noobs on MW2, Black Ops Zombies, and raging after losing a game of NCAA football. Luke focuses on the historical research and challenges in the game.

Luke Hussung- Luke is from Knoxville, TN and grew up playing Nintendo games with his family. He spent many hours of his childhood playing a Night Elf Druid on World of Warcraft. Luke worked mainly on the creation of the game in Twine and on the games referenced paper.

Nick Alicea- Nick enjoys playing Call of Duty and solo games like Skyrim or the new Spiderman game. Nick worked on the historical research and on the essays in the portfolio.

Recommended Readings and Sources:

Fog of War, directed by Errol Morris (2003; United States: Sony Picture Classics, 2003), DVD.

The Kennedy Tapes, ed. Ernest R. Kay and Philip D. Zelikow (Cambridge, MA, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997)

McCarthyism, ed. Thomas C. Reeves. (Malabar, FL, Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company Inc., 1973)

Steinberg, Peter L., The Great “Red Menace”: The Prosecution of American Communists 1947- 1952. (Westport CT, Greenwood Press, 1984)

Carmichael, Virginia, The Rosenberg Story and the Cold War. (Minneapolis, MN, University of Minnesota Press, 1993)

McNamara, Robert. In Retrospect. ( New York, Time Books, 1995)

Hilsman, Roger. The Cuban Missile Crisis: The Struggle Over Policy. (Westport, CT, Praeger Publishers, 1996)

Hachiya, Michihiko. Hiroshima Diary (New York: Van Rees Press, 1955)

 

From Sea to Shining Sea Squad had a an awesome time researching, creating and playing the whole term. Everyone in our group would agree that this Centre Term was one that we will look back on and cherish because not only did we get to participate in one of our favorite hobbies, we got a taste of what goes into creating the games that we enjoy. We will never look at video games the same after this term because now we are aware of the story telling, history recapping and thought provoking potential that exists in games. Not only are video games a medium in which history and many other topics can be discussed, they are also an art form if done with care, and it has been a pleasure to create our video game this semester.

Sincerely, From Sea to Shining Sea Squad

 

Centrenauts Game Demo

Fellow Classmates,

As the end of CentreTerm approaches us, we had our game demo today in class. We got the chance to check out the other group’s game.  We also got the chance to show everyone else in the class our game that we have been working on for a while. We also got our part in the group presentation assigned tonight, so that we were prepared for the presentation tomorrow.

We had fun testing out the other groups games today in class. I really enjoyed how each group made a good game out of twine. The reason our group didn’t pick twine as a software for our game was because we thought it would be boring to play. It turned out to be really fun to play both of the groups games. The idea of just reading words and making choices seemed boring to me, but it turned out to be fun.

Our group also had to show other group members how to play our game when they got to our station. We explained most of the dialogue and how the goal of the game relates to the dialogue. After we explained how to play the game, people seemed to like the game and how it played out. My guess is that we had used RPG maker for the software of our game, and was the only group to do it so everyone wanted to see how it turned out. For the most part though, I thought game demo day was a good day to see how our game would do in the fun compartment.

All in all, the Centrenauts had a successful day today. After trying every game out as everyone knows, we played smash bros and had a blast.

From Sea to Shining Sea Squad: Close to the Finish Line

Hi Everyone!

The From Sea to Shining Sea Squad has been hard at work for the past three weeks in order to create a fun, interesting game based on the Cold War. We’ve been working almost nonstop for our last few days in order to make our portfolio and our final product of our video game. Who needs sleep when you’re a video game developer? We met for an 2 hours after class and then 2 more later in the day to finish the game and put some finishing touches on our portfolio. We felt like it was super important to make the portfolio as good as we could possible make it while also maintaining the focus on our game. We also, despite not being able to finish all of what we wanted to finish for the game, gave it our best effort to bring the game to an ending spot that we were proud of. If anyone tells you that it’s easy to make a game in three weeks, they’re lying! However, it’s still tons of fun!

Today in class was Demo Day where we got to display our game to the others and vice versa. This had me and, I think, the rest of my group pretty nervous. It’s a little scary putting so much time and effort into something and then finally have people get to play through the game. It was really exciting getting to see everyone enjoying our game as well as being able to enjoy other groups’ games. I know Luke and I were a little apprehensive about putting so much detail and visualization into the game since we were the ones in charge of making the game. However, it seems like that was a high point about our game in other people’s opinions. It was interesting seeing how everyone in the class decided to create their games based in the 20th century and seeing how each group brought that to life through Twine and RPG Maker.

Though we were faced with a few challenges throughout our process like keeping our game historically accurate while still focusing on our counterfactual, we had so many successes that are worth highlighting. We all got along really well and right from the beginning had a clear idea of what we wanted to focus on when creating this game and really the pieces just started to fall into place. We all had a good idea of what each of us wanted to focus on throughout the process of making the game and the portfolio and we were able to get it done in a relatively short amount of time. We found researching to be and easy and constant process. (We were literally researching until yesterday.) However, this did make for our best possible version of From Sea to Shining Sea. I think I’m justified in saying that all of us had a blast making this game and are really proud of  it.

Fun Fact #1: From Sea to Shining Sea came about kinda on a whim and ended up fitting our game really well as the protagonist is from California and is forced to travel to Washington D.C., from west coast to east coast. It’s also pretty ironic which is fitting for the humor of our group. Our game is touches on the idea of cruel and unusual punishment and the “witch hunt” of McCarthyism. From Sea to Shining Sea is a lyric from an American patriotic song about freedom thus creating some irony with our title and our game.

Fun Fact #2: Throughout the game, the protagonist encounters many different people as they go through their journey in this “post-apocalyptic” counterfactual. Some of the characters’ names are a reference to each of the developers’ names. It’s a little silly and we thought of it kind of last minute but we thought it was a fun easter egg to have stuck in there.

Team Decision Makers Demo Day

As we go into the final days of our Centre term class,  we are wrapping up our portfolio and have completed a final version of our game Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt. We met after class today for about an hour to put the final touches on our presentation tomorrow and for our portfolio. We plan on meeting again tonight to practice our presentation as a group as well as discuss how we will showcase our game in the presentation.

Today in class, we had a Demo Day where each group’s games were on display for the other groups to play. I enjoyed seeing the work other groups put into their game and how it translated into a functional play-through game. It was also cool to watch people play the game that my group made and observe the pathways through the game that each player took. The original time settings of each of the games made were all relatively close ranging from right before World War II to a few decades after. While we played their games, we also were able to discuss what they were intending to create for a certain portion of the game and how it translated digitally. The RPG maker game was the only one in the class that did not use Twine so  was interested in playing the game with a different software than my group. To my surprise, the game was still a very dialogue heavy and text based game. I discussed why with one of the team members and we agreed that for all of the games, we did not have the capability to create videos as a backstory, instead we had to set a basis for the game in text. Despite using different softwares that changed the gameplay experience dramatically, we still faced some similar challenges.

Today was our second to last day of class. This Centre term inside the classroom and out has been very enjoyable. My group along with the class has established a new understanding for the appreciation for the video games that we play on a weekly basis. We have also met a new group of people that enjoy similar hobbies and have established friendships around that commonality. The group work experience that we gained during this multiple week long task has benefitted us all with working as a team. The multiple presentations also allowed us to gain some comfort with public speaking. I along with my team members have enjoyed this class and look forward to the finale of our video game tournament tomorrow!

Centrenauts

It is almost the end of Centre Term. Our video game production is coming to an end with our final demo to be displayed tomorrow. Throughout this whole term, I have been responsible for thinking of other video games that could impact our’s. So I’m here today to talk about a type of mechanic in a few video games that led me to use them in our game. The mechanic, I call it, is Chain Dialogue.

Chain Dialogue is when the user interacts with an FPC who will display lines of dialogue as a response. Usually there are two or more options to choose from. Depending on which answer, the conversation or interaction can so good or bad. Each specific choice will have a great impact later on in the story. The two main games I referenced for this were Kindergarten and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Kindergarten is a PC game where you’re a child at a school trying to solve a mystery. Each little student has a quest to do. Interacting through dialogue is the only option so it has to be read carefully. Usually if a wrong answer is chosen, the FPC will say an excuse and try to give you another chance. A youtuber by the name of Ohmwrecker does the series for this game on Youtube and its quite entertaining.

Black Ops two has the more personal choice options of dialogue. In Kindergarten, if the wrong path is taken, the game will possibly need a restart. In the Black Ops 2 Campaign, you have many times during the story where a decision has to be made. This decision will affect the future outcome of the story, but won’t restart the game. Basically the main difference is Kindergarten has one single outcome while Black Ops 2 has multiple endings. I loved using these games a references because I went back and watched vide0s on the games. Overall the project was fun to work on with my group. I met some new people and made some memories this Centre Term. Cant wait for future ones to come.

 

The Countdown For Team Decision Makers

Hello everyone,

 

This will be my last blog post as a member of Team Decision Makers as we are winding down Centre Term, so I will be recapping the work put into our game and portfolio today. Because we were given more time to work on the final touches of our game, we all decided to run over the library as quickly as possible so that we could get a quiet workspace along with some other factors. I personally needed to reassure myself that I had used the correct pages in the books I was using for sources, as well as get my groups approval that I had cited those novels correctly in my section of the portfolio. Fisher had to work on adding a couple more words to expand upon his topic of reference games. We also explored the internet for a decent amount of time wondering how to cite video games and if that was even possible. (It is.) Edward Lee and Kaden worked on adding the home screen to Twine, which took videos on videos to teach us how. Will was dying from a stomach bug.

 

Our main focus coming out of this past weekend as a group was to focus on the portfolio. Today, we all finished our individual parts. The only thing we really have to do on the writing portion at this point is critique one anothers so we can have a strong, well put together group portfolio. We finished the concluding comments the day before yesterday as a group, and left all other 5 pieces of the portfolio for individual work. We should have the portfolio pieced completely together with every section read carefully by our group members by tomorrow, so that it is ready to submit.

 

Edward Lee has been running the creation of Twine on his computer for the entirety of this class, so we needed to figure out how to plug in a home screen, as asked of us. Every video game has some sort of loading screen where you can click “play” or other options with some sort of background photo or video that is relevant to the game. Although it may have taken a lengthy amount of time, Kaden and Edward Lee helped one another by tinkering with Twine after watching several educational videos, which finally resulted in our loading screen. We also are thinking about throwing in one last hidden picture within the game within the next day, possibly for taking the least popular pathway. However, before we show everyone or have them locked into our game, we need to verify with Prof. Harney that we can use these photos in our game legally.

 

We are very excited as a group for the next two days as we finally get to show off all the hard work that went into making our game. Tonight and tomorrow night we will be getting together as a group to practice our presentation, and have each person present their section by themselves, then we will all come up and try to nail that twenty five minute mark. Thank you everyone for following along through this journey, the final product comes soon! Cannot wait for you guys to see and play it!

 

Extensive meetings: From Sea to Shining Sea Squad

Good evening everyone! This Centre term has been a journey for us all, with extensive amounts of research, readings and watching interesting YouTube videos on history, we have all done a great job in pulling our own weight. We as a group understand that not one person can carry more weight than others. So as the course unfolded these past few weeks, we have carefully been splitting up the work evenly so that everyone in the group always has something to work on. Our deep understanding with the configuration of group work gave us the push we wanted to thoroughly complete our assigned work with utter finesse.

Over the course of this past week, our group (as the title states) have been having longer and more frequent  meetings in the library to make sure we get everything done effectively and on time. There has been a lot of thought we put into what our next moves are, and with the hours spent in the library together, we have a solid amount of ground covered. In doing so, we have ran through our process in completing the video game portfolio. Even though we have not finished the race yet, we are damn near done and we are not getting tired. There is a lot we have covered over the play out of the week. With most of our essays nearly complete, we are extremely satisfied with our progress.

Brenna and Luke H. have made a hell of a lot of progress in the video game, from fixing up many pages in the video game to getting through a lot of the content we wanted to include in it as well. They have been carrying the video game process on their backs for miles. Along with that, they also help edit and create some of the essays in the portfolio. Their focus into the video game has been essential in completing it before the due date because the video game is one of the most important products we have to turn in.

Aside from that, Luke D., Cole and I have been doing a lot of research into the history of the Cold War and surrounding topics we want to include in the video game from cruel and unusual punishment to the affects of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along with that, we all have been working hard on completing our portions of the portfolio and editing each others work so that it can be done to the best of our ability. We want this game and portfolio to be amazing but in order for that to happen, we have to indulge ourselves into the work we produce.

 

The Final Stretch

Hello again everyone. As I’m sure you all know, the release date for our game is coming up soon, and so I think it is important to use this blog post to reflect on how far we have come as well as discuss what more we need to accomplish. First off, I want to give a brief overview of our story again to refresh everyone’s memory. Our game focuses on an ambiguous character who is a school teacher charged with spreading communist ideas during the cold war. While this is going on, the U.S. engages in a brief nuclear exchange with the U.S.S.R. that results in some but not total destruction. Our character is then sentenced to fight in the war as punishment for his alleged crimes against the country, which is now a very pro-McCarthyist society.

 

One thing that I find fascinating about our game is how far we have come with the idea that we initially started with. On the first day of class when we were still really into the brainstorming phase of ideas, the idea for this game started nowhere close to where it is now. When we first started, I was thinking about a game that was based in an alternate reality of the cold war, but it was more widescale and open world, similar to how grand theft auto works. The group generally liked this idea so we started working on it more and changing things up and adding more. Luke H. brought up the idea of how the game Starcraft uses prisoners as soldiers, and we all really liked this idea and wondered how to incorporate it into our game. Over about a week, the group did research and discussed where we wanted to go and that’s how we settled on making the game into what it was.

 

Luke H. and Brenna have carried the majority of the weight in writing and developing the game, whereas Nick, Cole and I did a lot of the historical research involved in making the setting for our game. While we have made a ton of headway on the game, there is still a ton of work left for us to do in the next couple of days. The game developers still have a ton of goals that they want to accomplish before the release, such as a playthrough of the court conviction. As far as research goes, and as Professor Harney always says, we plan to still be researching until the last day. The research department still needs a few sources for our portfolio writings, which are starting to be finalized for turn in day.

 

Lastly, I would like to reflect on what all I have gotten out of this class. The homework we have been reading and the videos we have watched have really opened my eyes up to how important the topic of history is in the discussion of video games. It has also made me think back to multiple games I have played in the past and the relevance of history that was used in the games. Thanks to everyone for following the progression of our game thus far, and I look forward to our audience getting to play it.

The Centrenauts: Progress update

Greetings class,

This is the last week of the Centre term, and that means the deadline of everything is coming. The Centrenauts has been through multiple challenges during the development of Espionaut, and it is proud to say that they were all solved perfectly. Everyone in the Cemtrenauts group was working hard this past weekend. Each individual was focusing on their assigned parts from the portfolio. On the Sunday night, the group members held a 2-hour meeting in the library to work as a group. We shared our thoughts on our own parts, and confirmed with each other if this part went right. High efficiency while we working as a group, and boost up the speed of the final portfolio.

While we were working on the parts, the game itself was being tested as well. Right now the game is running fine, but not so smooth. It is really funny to see our spy can only “sprint” in the game instead of “walking”. I think Alex is going to fix this problem. Also, we were discussing something else about the game: What are we going to show the people when the demo is over?

Maybe the spy is going to sleep, who knows. Someone said. Well, let’s just let the players explore the map by themselves. Another one said.

It was stressful to write the portfolio, however, it seemed much better if the group members meet together.

For today, we went through the agenda for this week. Finishing up the portfolio by Tuesday and meet together in the evening. We will go through them together and make sure that every part of the portfolio connects with each other. So now, everything is on track. People will keep correcting their drafts for the portfolio and makes sure the game is going to run smoothly (without bugs)on Wednesday.I am working on the introduction part of the portfolio. I am in struggle because it is a HUGE project for an English-as-second-language student. Connecting each sentences makes me feel panic and what’s more, my poor grammar is my weak point. I am going to show my introduction part to the ESL teacher in order to get some help before something more terrible is going to happen later.

I still look forward to the group presentation day, and I am certain that this class will be memorable to me.