The feature podcast of the website FromTheDPad.com is the DPod. I cohost this wonderfully fun podcast and in Episode #21 some of my favorite guests appeared. Be sure to have a listen!
Released November 18, 2012
Nick & Sharon join Nick & Matt to talk about the Wii U Launch, Halo 4, more ragging on Assassin’s Creed, and Gabe Newell Presents The Gabe Newell Hall of Fame. Also: Zynga stinks!Host:Nick Co-Host: Sharon Special Guests: Nick & Matt from Player 1 Loves Player 2
Also: I am working on making some art for the podcast, here is the first concept sketch:
(Work In Progress!)
Now THIS is how I like to spend a Saturday night.
Got some of YOUR gameplay to share? Post the link in the comments.
Time for another NES game I never played. This time:
Felix the Cat by Hudson Soft.
Felix The Cat is a video game released in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and in 1993 for the Game Boy, published and developed by Hudson Soft. It is based on the cartoon character Felix the Cat.
The game involves the player controlling Felix the Cat as he sets out to defeat the evil mad Professor who has kidnapped Felix’s lovely girlfriend, Kitty. The Game Boy version plays virtually the same as the NES version, but features fewer levels. – Wikipedia Page
A look at (some of) Felix the Cat – with Sharon!
The challenge continues all the time. Submit your pick for the NES challenge in the comments below.
Until next time be sure to check out some of my work over at www.fromthedpad.com
The biggest understatement in regards to this blog and amalgamation of my work would be “I haven’t had time”. There has been so very much happening in my life over the past year, that I won’t go into, that this has kind of taken a back seat. The good news is that I have recently renewed the domain here at myasharona.com and am excited to continue to link you to my work around the web and provide some fun, less formal, content directly.
I’ve been doing a lot of work on the backend of http://www.fromthedpad.com and am overjoyed with the team of writers we’ve developed over there. Our video content goals have slowed down over the past few months for personal reasons but we’re live streaming when we can and working on getting this aspect of the site ready for the new year.
SO what’s new that I can share?
Well my most recent appearance on The DPod was a ton of fun and you are welcome to give it a listen:
As well I am knee deep into Borderlands 2 on the 360, plugging away at Guild Wars 2 on the PC, and every now and then I continue my progression through Persona3 PSP.
Thanks for your continued support. I look forward to bashing you over the head with more gaming related goodies in the months ahead.
It happens to the best of us, the gaming backlog. Whether it is because you are over extending yourself, there was a really good sale, you have too many favorite franchises, or life just got right in the way, it happens. Now you sit with anywhere from three to six games (or more) that you were really excited about but haven’t touched. Games and guilt are piling up and the task seems overwhelming. With the release schedule starting to pick up again, it’s time to consider how to tackle the mounting backlog before it gets any bigger. Here are a few tips to consider to help you make sense of it all.
Previous Iterations: Play or Pass
Yes, The Darkness II just released! But, what’s that, you haven’t played the first one? Well, that may or may not be necessary. Sure, many game franchises continue one large storyline (as with Assasin’s Creed), but not all do. Sometimes, even with a continuous story line, playing all of the previous iterations is not always necessary (as in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim). Take some time to read the reviews of previous title releases; decide for yourself whether or not you are interested in devoting the time to the back story or if you are ready to jump in feet first. Your decision could be wildly based on how many releases are part of the franchise, how inexpensive it would be to invest in the franchise, and if there is any benefit to revisiting those missed titles (such as will the carry over benefits in the Mass Effect titles).
Are you passionate about the Genre
It’s true, Star Wars the Old Republic looks great! The community it has created is fun and all of your friends are playing it. The screens, the memes, the universe itself, is so intriguing that this game has been put on your ‘to play’ list. There’s just one catch, you’re more of a FPS kinda player. MMORPGs have never really been your ‘thing’. This might be the kind of game that can get cut from your backlog team. While it is great to broaden your horizons from time to time, save it for the off season or when there aren’t more interesting things at your disposal.
Multiplayer games are tons of fun when there are other players to play with. A multiplayer title that has been on your radar since before release should probably move up to the top of your backlog. This title should be experienced with other players, and you will have the most opportunity to play with others closest to the release of the game. That’s not to say that there aren’t folks to play with later on, but nothing stinks like jumping into your favorite multiplayer game (such as a racing game or co-op action adventure) and not being able to find folks to play with.
Budget of Time
What kind of games are in your backlog? Are they the kinds of games that require 3-4 consecutive hours at a time? Do you have that much time to dedicate right now on a regular basis? Do you commute to work? Is there a game in your backlog you can play for short amounts of time more frequently? Carefully look at the time you are able to allocate to catching up. If you have an hour break each day for lunch but only use 15 minutes of that for actual food consumption, that might be a great time to pull out the laptop and grab a few quick levels, achievements, or quests. Perhaps you can take that handheld with you on the commuter train. Whatever games are in your backlog, understanding how they can fit into your budget of time without interfering with what caused your backlog in the first place, will go a long way in helping you to reduce it.
Whether you are trying to catch up before the newest iteration of a franchise drops, working through games you bought while on sale, or are just now getting to titles you always meant to play, the inevitable gaming backlog can seem like a daunting task. Examine what you have, the time you can allot, and how excited you are about the game(s), and your backlog should seem more like a plethora of unexplored adventure, rather than a race to catch up with the masses.
What games are in your current backlog?
What helps you through your mounting library? Don’t forget to leave us a comment below.
If you are a student of game design or art and you intend to work in the games industry after graduation (and you live in Scotland, India, China, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, or Sweden), this is a competition you will not want to miss out on! Run by the University of Abertay Dundee, Dare to be Digital sees hundreds of students every year competing to become one of the 15 teams to build a working game prototype in just nine weeks.
At the end of the competition, the prototypes are displayed at talent showcasing event Dare ProtoPlay. The general public and industry experts get to play and vote for the games. At the Dare awards ceremony, three prizes of £2500 will be awarded to the three highest scoring teams based on the criteria of innovation and creativity, market potential and use of technology (none of the three will be specifically attributed to any particular criterion). Seven months later the winning teams attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted “Ones to Watch Award”. What better way to spend your summer semester than kicking down the door of opportunity with other ambitious students?
The competition is open to all Universities and Art Colleges in the UK and to sponsored Higher Education Institutions outwith. Be sure to visit the official site for details.
There are a specific terms and conditions for applying but I don’t want to leave you in the lurch so here they are:Terms & Conditions(as per the official site)
- The closing date for applications set out on this website is final. Entries received after this date will not be considered. (April 10th)
- Dare to be Digital (the Competition) is open to undergraduate or postgraduate students studying at Universities or Art Colleges.
- Entry for teams must be 5 members except specified countries sponsored by the Scottish Government, namely China, India, and Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Teams from these countries must be 4 members.
- Those teams applying from the island of Ireland MUST have a mix of team members (a minimum of 1) from institutions (further education and 3rd level colleges) in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
- Teams with members graduating in 2012 are eligible to apply.
- A maximum of 2 members in a team of 5, similarly a maximum of 1 member in a team of 4, can be graduates of up to 2 years as long as they are not currently employed in the games / interactive entertainment industries. The rest of the team must fit the normal entry criteria as set out in (2) above.
- A maximum of 2 members in a team of 5, similarly a maximum of 1 member in a team of 4, can be studying at a Further Education college as long as the remaining 3 team members fit the normal criteria as set out in (2) and (5) above.
- Applications from individuals are not permitted.
- No applicant should have had any extensive (more than 6 months full time) work experience in the games industry as a graduate or study break. Part time relevant work, internships or placements undertaken during consecutive years of study are permitted. Please refer to the Dare team if you are unsure.
- Applicants who have previously taken part in the Competition are not permitted to apply. This includes applicants who were successful in securing a place in the Competition but who later withdrew from the Competition either prior to its commencement or after the Competition had started.
- Applicants who have previously applied to the Competition can re-apply. This includes applicants who were successful in getting to the interview stage but who were then not selected to take part in the Competition.
- The selection dates announced by the organiser will be the sole dates for selection. No other date will be set with any team.
- The Competition will be hosted at Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland between 11th June and 12th August 2012. Each Team Member is required to work on the Team Project at the host centre for a minimum of 35 hours per week during Normal Working Hours and attend the public showcase event Dare ProtoPlay from 10-12th August 2012.
- You are not permitted to take any time off (Monday to Friday) during Dare, unless it is under exceptional circumstances, of which the Competition Organiser will be sole judge. Any time off will be deducted from your weekly stipend.
- All Team Members will be present during Normal Working Hours (9am-5pm) on Compulsory Attendance Days (comprising the first and last two weeks of the Competition).
- No Team Members are allowed to engage in any form of paid employment during the course of the Competition other than work outside Normal Working Hours which has the prior consent of the Competition organising team, and which does not impinge on the Team Project and has the approval of all fellow Team Members.
- A judging panel involving industry and funding representatives will determine which teams will be selected to take part in the Competition. The judges’ decision is final and not open to negotiation. No correspondence will be entered into.
- All works and ideas submitted must be original, created specially for the Competition and not infringe any copyright.
- All Dare participating teams can start the preparation work for their game idea as soon as they are informed that they will be entering the Competition. Any work done prior to the start of the Competition will need to be declared when the Competition starts.
- All successful candidates have to make their own travel arrangement to arrive Abertay University, Dundee before the starting date of 11th June 2012.
- Accommodation will be provided throughout the whole Competition period between 11th June and 12th August 2012.
- Successful applicants will have to abide by the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) conditions set out in a formal contract before they start the competition. The contract sets out that Dare to be Digital will own any generated IP until proposals are made by any team to explore exploiting their game IP after the competition finishes. Post-competition IP agreements will protect team members from each other and allow freedom to explore non-commercial and commercial activities. Dare to be Digital will not require any payment for post-competition exploitation until a team creates profits and, even then, the payments are currently planned to be limited to £1,800.
- Each Team/Team Member shall consent to taking part in the filming of a documentary film of the Competition for the Competition period. The Competition organiser shall be entitled to use any such film for any purpose at its sole discretion. This will be used in the promotion of the Competition.
- The above terms are subject to change.
- You must complete all fields and submit your application no later than 5PM (GMT+1) Tuesday 10th April 2012.
- Each team member should have registered on the Dare to be Digital website using the same email address.
- every applicant has to provide a reference from your university – preferably your lecturer. The reference can be the same for all applicants. Make sure you seek prior consent from your lecturer before you put his/her contact details on the form.
- Team members must have a good level of the English language: written, spoken, listening, reading. If your team is selected for interview, each team member MUST provide a copy of their IELTS or TOEFL certificate, Level 5 or above is acceptable. If any member of the team does not have a IELTS or TOEFL certificate they must be able to provide a similar certificate or a letter from their lecturer confirming that their command of the English language is of a good standard.
- All applicants MUST have a valid/current passport.
- In order to provide you with a better opportunity to pitch your game to the judges, Dare 2012 is requesting teams to provide a video of up to 5 mins to explain your game. Please make the best use of this 5 min to explain clearly your game concept and the strength of your team. You should try your best to include the following elements in the video:
- Game Play
- Game Mechanics
- Storyline (if any)
- Unique Selling Point
- Target Audience & Age Profile
- Project Plan; Briefly outline the key milestones to demonstrate how you are going to complete the project on time
- Visuals: artwork, storyboards, design diagrams of core mechanic features of your game to help the judges see what you want to develop.
- The video must be in the MP4 format, with *.mp4 extension (You can use HandBrake for transcoding videos)
- The file size of the video is not allowed to exceed 100MB
- The video should be a maximum of 5 minutes long
- Ideally all 5 team members should be present on the video, however if this is not possible, a minimum of 3 members are to be present
- Make sure that your video can be clearly understood
- All team members must introduce themselves indicating what skill set they will bring to the team. If there are team members missing, make sure their skill sets are also mentioned
- All material used on the video must be the work of the team applying
What are the benefits of entering such a contest? Well I am glad you asked. Dare to be Digital’s website explains the benefits very concisely:
- Enhance your CV
- Get mentoring from the industry
- Produce a demo to take to interviews
- Hone your skills and get the experience that employers are looking for
- Expose your skills and work to games industry luminaries / potential employers
- Experience working as part of a team
- Weekly stipend of £150
- Team budget of £200
- Free accommodation at Abertay’s halls of residence throughout Dare
- Build industry contacts
- Work with friends and make new ones from across the globe
- Opportunity to start your own games studio
- Work on your own ideas
- Exhibit your game at Dare ProtoPlay where thousands will play it
- Chance to win one of three £2500 prizes
- Chance to win the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award
BAFTA-nominated Sophia George from Dare 2011 said: “I think people should enter Dare to be Digital because it is a great opportunity for people who are keen to break into the games industry. I feel the experience was priceless and I met so many wonderful people.”
Elaine Russell, Dare to be Digital project manager, said:
“Taking part in Dare to be Digital is a life-changing opportunity for many young game developers, giving them incredible experience and access to leading industry experts from companies like Rockstar and Sony. And the experience of seeing thousands of people play your game at the Dare ProtoPlay games festival at the end of the competition can be life-changing for students looking to enter the games industry. With the many innovative release channels available in the market, we are particularly keen to see how the students can use Dare to be Digital as a platform to launch commercially in the gaming market.”
Still not sure? Check out these links to find out even more about the competition, past participation, details on budding teams, involvement, and how to apply.
sources: http://www.daretobedigital.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/DareToBeDigital Gamasutra
In just about every corner of the internet where gamers come together to talk about their favorite games, you will inevitably find the age old discussion of whether or not video games are art. For years I’ve been voicing the advocacy that, yes, video games not only contain art but are art themselves. This year, from March 16th until September 30th, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will be supporting my personal cries with a new exhibit (and events) The Art of Video Games.
From The Smithsonian American Art Museum:
“The Art of Video Games will explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium. The exhibition will highlight how new technologies have allowed for increasingly interactive and sophisticated game environments while staying grounded in the traditions of each game type. It will feature games with striking visual graphics and recognize some of the creative individuals who have made significant contributions. The exhibition will also explore the many influences on game designers and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video art, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training. The Art of Video Games is not about the most popular games of all time, nor is it about the individual games themselves. This is not a historic review that seeks to capture every memorable moment in video game history.”
The exhibition will not only include a national tour (below) but will also be host of an opening weekend you will not want to miss.
Exhibition tour includes:
- Boca Raton Museum of Art (October 24, 2012–January 20, 2013)
- EMP Museum in Seattle (February 16, 2013–May 13, 2013)
- Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY (February 15, 2014–May 18, 2014)
- Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, Michigan (October 25, 2014–January 18, 2015)
- Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee (June 6, 2015–September 13, 2015)
“GamesFest is a three day festival celebrating the opening of the ground-breaking exhibition, The Art of Video Games, with insightful talks by video game pioneers, panel discussions where you can meet designers and artists, movie screenings, costume photo-ops, and hands-on play.”
Check out the PDF schedule for a FULL list of events that will be occurring during GAMEFEST. Events like:Friday, March 16, 2012
- 3–6 p.m. – Evolution of Video Games – Panel Discussions
- 7 p.m. – Nolan Bushnell: Video Games in Retrospect (advance registration required)
- 8:30 p.m. – Film: TRON
- 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. – GameFest! Day 2: Open play, craft activities, live action gaming with Spontaneous Art and dj MKO, and musical performances by 8 Bit Weapon and Triforce Quartet.
- 5 p.m. – It’s All in the Design with Robin Hunicke
- 7 p.m. – Film: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
- 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. – GameFest! Day 3: Open play, craft activities, live action gaming with Spontaneous Art and dj MKO, and musical performances by ComputeHer, 8 Bit Weapon, and Triforce Quartet.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum invited the public to help select the video games to be included in the exhibition. The 240 games on the ballot were selected by Chris Melissinos, who worked with the museum and an advisory group consisting of game developers, designers, industry pioneers, and journalists. The games were selected based on a variety of criteria, including visual effects, creative use of new technologies, and how the game fit into the narrative of the exhibition. Voting took place between February 14 and April 17, 2011. More than 3.7 million votes were cast by 119,000 people in 175 countries!
Want to know which games will be featured and under which categories? You can read THIS pdf to see all of the winners and runner-ups for each era and category.
Still not sure why The Smithsonian would take a stance on this, for some reason, controversial embrace of video games as art? No need to guess because they have addressed this directly in their exhibit FAQs.
“Why are video games being featured at an art museum?
Art is beguiling. Much like a great novel or film, you can become engrossed in the world created by a video games and the Smithsonian American Art Museum wants to celebrate the designers and developers who create these worlds. Video games are an emerging medium for creative expression and we’re very excited to explore their artistic evolution over the last forty years. All video games include classic components of art—striking visuals, a powerful narrative, a strong point of view. What’s new is the role of the player. Of course, contemporary games have taken this creative expression to a whole new level, so the museum decided that this is the right moment to look at this popular global phenomenon.”
So no matter which side of the video-games-are-art debate your opinion falls, The Smithsonian American Museum of Art is about to open its doors for some fantastic exploration, discussion, and retrospect on the genre and its development. If you live in the Washington, D.C. area, or can get to it with ease, and have an interest in video games I encourage you to check out the Smithsonian exhibit, The Art of Video Games, or the GamesFest opening weekend events. Don’t forget to share with us your experiences at the exhibit or panels. We would love to hear from you.
Visit the official exhibit page at The Smithsonian American Museum of Art for more information.http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/winninggames/ http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/taovg_faq.pdf http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/winninggames.pdf
Today’s entry is not a press release, it’s not a review or top ten list, it’s not even game assets. Today’s entry is a rant, a tangent, a bit of inspiration, and a chance to open this discussion to other artists, gamers, and readers.
Read at your own risk! 😉
As some of you are probably aware, I have been working as a freelance illustrator (with varying degrees of success) since 2002, after graduation from Sheridan College’s Illustration program. During my time freelancing (and working for corporations) I have had the great pleasure to acquire work as a sculptor, a graphic designer, a graphic artist for print and web, a children’s book illustrator, and an atelierista.
Over the past few years I have managed to have two children’s books published and a third is about a stone’s throw away from publication. While this is all very exciting it is also a very shaky way to make a living. There are a lot of very talented people out there all trying to make a name for themselves and carve out a career as professional artists. These are peers that I need to not only learn from, but compete with. Because of the stiff competition, and my desire to continually improve, I have taken to continuing education throughout the course of my career. My professional development has lead me to local classes in storyboarding, online classes in creative writing, and most recently online tutorials for concept art (environment and character design).Whether you are learning new or looking to refresh, there is a vast amount of teaching tools online if you take the time to explore.
Unlike many of my peers I have no aspirations to marry my love of art with my love of gaming. I have no delusions of large company employment or desire to ‘break into’ that industry. My goal, rather, is one that betters my skill and provides me with the opportunity to provide for myself financially.
My recent dabbling in concept art tutorials has lead me to a plethora (yes i said plethora) of digital painting techniques that are helping me get closer to effectively creating, digitally, what I have been creating with traditional media for years. There are a lot of concepts, ideas, techniques, and principals that go into every piece of concept art and it is something worth noting.
Which brings me to the long winded point of this blog tangent.
After some recent discussion with fellow artists about whether or not video games should be considered an art form, I ask you to consider, if you will, the amount of creativity that goes into all stages of this craft. Within the ideas of concept art alone, it is difficult to dispute that games are art. A concept artist may be required for nothing more than preliminary artwork, or may be required to be part of a creative team until a project reaches fruition. While it is necessary to have the skills of a fine artist, a concept artist must also be able to work to strict deadlines in the capacity of a graphic designer.*
As an artist who has considered herself “just starting out” for almost a decade now, it’s time to get real about it. It’s easy to get into the trap of doing work for friends or family, or even colleagues, for free because you are ‘just starting’ or because ‘it will be good for [your] portfolio’, but the harsh truth I’ve learned is that this practice weakens the freelance market for everyone (and is never worth the inevitable trouble it will become). My artistic goals in 2012 will include defining/developing my skills further, publishing my 4th illustrated children’s book, obtaining steady ongoing work to help me with the financial realities of life, continuing to work only with teams who are passionate about their projects, continued implementation of work agreement contracts, and finally (and most importantly) no more working for free.
Artists are a valuable creative force in entertainment and communication. Concept artists are helping others communicate ideas into the entertainment vehicle we all enjoy so much. This is why, when we enjoy games, movies, music, comics, magazines, or even television (in some cases), that a lot of artistic talent is working side by side with the technical talent to communicate, to you, the idea as a whole.
And so ends my blog tangent for today. Appreciate the work, the talent, and the dedication that goes into all of your forms of entertainment kids, for every successful artist out there, there are a slew of struggling ones who may or may not ever accomplish their goals. And if you are someone who is passionate about your work, remain so! Set goals, be tenacious, seek the help and guidance of others, and always continue to learn.
Best wishes to all of my artist friends!