Concept in 60 – The Connectivity of Gaming

(So, it’s a concept in 59 at the moment. YouTube added an extra second to my video, so I re-uploaded with a slight edit to account for this extra second, and now they took their second back. So this is apparently a sweet spot you have to aim for that’s more difficult than winning a game of Plinko. Is that still on the Price is Right? Oh dear, I’ve gotten off topic again…)


Well, here we are. The final project of the class. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The first thing I’m going to address is my audio. It’s a good starting place. Four tracks went into this piece. Assonance” and “Cornered” from the game Don’t Look Back are layered on top of each other for the first audio section of the video. The second song is “Blinded By Light” from Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy. The final flair is “Chaos Victory Fanfare” from Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Now, getting the sound for Don’t Look Back was simple enough, as creator Terry Cavanagh was kind enough to put the four tracks for the game online for free. The other two were obtained via YouTube downloading, as I own the games but not the soundtracks for them.

Now, as Jo Koster noted in her copyright presentation, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act means that you can’t just take a song and throw it on your video. While my video says it’s for nonprofit, and I’m giving credit here, it still may not count. So I’ve remixed the audio tracks. I changed the pitch of every song I used, and applied different filters in my new favorite sound editing software, Audacity. Through pitch changes, bass and treble modification, phaser, “wah-wah,” and fade changes on the tracks, they’re now different from their original forms, and free of copyright because I’ve remixed them. Never let it be said I wasn’t listening to you, Dr. K. And if that wasn’t enough to make the audio count as a remix, by combining them all and sampling different parts for my “New Media Remix,” they’re certainly a new work now.

Continuing with audio, I noted previously that I was going to use voice recordings for part of my explanations in this video. Obviously, that was not added to my video. In Brian Stelter’s piece, “On Web Video, Captions Are Coming Slowly,” the author notes the slow arrival of captions to Web Videos. While I would have liked to include some voiceover instead of text screens to give the video more time, I did not want to risk Youtube’s “mostly accurate” captions alongside my music. As the video mostly relies on visual examples anyway, I decided to just use the text examples instead.

So, onto the video itself. I wanted to bookend the game with Final Fantasy Online clips. The first clip, with the man on the mountain, I thought was a lovely opening scene with a man alone. The examples that followed were from single player experiences. The commercial with the man playing a game alone I hoped would emphasize the single player experience of these clips. Once the slide saying “We Are Connected” goes, I hoped that the man in the woods being “led out” would show an example of interactivity. The next examples are Borderlands 2, inviting a friend into my game and a “fast travel” shot just for effect, then showing the extra player. Then I showed a character appearing in Minecraft, an opening of the friends menu in Games for Windows Live while playing Dark Souls, and I showed the process of hosting a game in Mercenary Kings. These were to demonstrate just playing with friends. Then, I showed a few screenshots of web forums to show the examples of games with communities outside of the games. Finally, I used large multiplayer games to illustrate the example of playing with a large number of people, usually strangers. It is my hope that these video clips and screenshots will properly convey my point when the text inserts preceded the different collections of video clips.

In the article “Social Media – Sharing, Theft and the Fine Line” by Christophor Rick, Rick notes that in Youtube’s terms of service:

“10.1 When you upload or post a User Submission to YouTube, you grant:
2. to each user of the Website, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display and perform such User Submissions to the extent permitted by the functionality of the Website and under these Terms.”

So while most of my clips came from my own gameplay, and gameplay videos are generally allowed (While a company can request these videos are taken down, most companies have no problem with gameplay being shown of their games, allowing for “Let’s Play” videos of games to be shown and for online streamers to play games to a web audience. Streamers can even interrupt their streaming with commercials to receive money), Rick’s article confirmed that I can edit clips from other YouTube videos for my own project. My clips from Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, Battlefield 4, and the Game Boy Commercial were used in this fashion.

While there wasn’t a solid example of videos in the readings for the class, at least to compare to my concept idea, there were examples like This Is Scholarship, which had the pictures with text overlay example that I liked. It did use voiceovers, but I actually found them distracting in this video, further assuring me that leaving voice out of my video was the right choice.

So what have I learned about writing for electronic publication? There’s a multitude of ways to go about it. While there is the formal, academic style that I am constantly exposed to in a university setting, reading The Yahoo! Style Guide has shown me that electronic publications are more accessible at a lower reading level. In addition, there are different ways of deciding the formality of voice on the web. While this assignment is for a college setting, it’s also a blog post, leading to my usual informal style of speaking to match up with all of my assignments throughout the semester. I’ve also learned a bit about nontraditional readers, which is why I try to always have descriptive and proper Alt-Text on any pictures or links that I have in my blog posts. Informality does not mean I should be inaccessible, after all. But I haven’t succeeded in lowering my level of writing. Everyone has flaws.

I do hope that’s enough for now. Please, feel free to have a comment and give some feedback on both the narrative and my video, because I need to engage my audience somehow for a grade I welcome the discussion and feedback!


Works Cited:

Barr, Chris. The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World. New York: Yahoo!/St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010. Print.

Braun, Catherine C., & Gilbert, Kenneth L. This Is Scholarship. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 12(3). 2008. Web. December 5, 2013

Rick, Christophor. “Social Media: Sharing, Theft and The Fine Line.” ReelSEO RSS., 2 Sept. 2009. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

Stelter, Brian. “On Web Video, Captions Are Coming Slowly.” The New York Times Online. The New York Times Company, 10 June 2010. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.

Concept in 60 Update

Well, admittedly, I haven’t done very much, but I have shifted the focus to the evolution of gaming, and linking it with new media shaping its advances.

My current plan is to start with a current generation game character, alone, pretty much like what I have now.
Then move into 8 bit games in single player, and then show a picture of a lan party and some multiplayer games.
I’ll keep my current shot with the random green digital lines, hopefully overlaying it with text in a different program to show the internet, and a shot of a random web forum.
Then I’ll move into MMOs, and shots of multiplayer, while also showing games like Dark Souls or White Knight Chronicles – Single Player games with Massively Multiplayer Elements.

I have a shot from Dark Souls recorded from my computer with Fraps, as well as a recorded clip of Minecraft and Mercenary Kings. So clip wise, I’m reasonably close to having it all done.

Musically though, I’m planning to remix my current song, something from a 16 bit game, and a piece from some MMO with a nice soundtrack.

Concept in 60 Draft

This is the video i have so far. My original concept was “How advances in new Media have shaped gaming,” but I think that was slightly too far off topic. So at the last minute, I’ve made this, which is going to be how new media as created a more connected environment. Unless my original topic is worthwhile.

The video is short so far, but the ideas currently present are just people doing isolated things, like a book and one player games, and then cutting to MMOs, forums, smartphone usage, etc. But my main focus remains gaming, so I’m kinda at a standstill right now in what to create. I also plan to use a voice over with music in places, so that the audio will assist.

Experiment in Nonprint Presentation – Podcast on making a pot of Chili

My presentation was a podcast, in which I informed the listeners on my recipe for making a pot of Chili to eat.

I did not use a script, per se, but an outline of things to touch on as I went. These included an introduction, a “thesis” if you will of what the podcast was about, and then the directions for preparing the meal (list of tools and ingredients, preparation instruction).

I used two audio files beyond my own voice recording. The first is a song that plays throughout the video called “Technorider,” part of the PlayOnline Viewer OST. It can be heard in it’s unaltered form here:

Using Audacity, I remixed the song by adjusting pitch, looping the middle part of the song multiple times, and fading the volume in different places to allow my voice to be heard over the music, but ensuring I had no moments of actual silence on the file. The second audio file that I’d used in the piece can be heard at 1:14, which is just a sound of something sizzling (meant to represent meat browning on an oven, but in actuality, the clip was just of water drops on a frying pan). By remixing the first track and using my own audio clip, I believe that my two samples are copyright cleared.

I believe that my podcast could help its audience, which would just be anyone looking to make some chili for dinner or wondering about a different recipe to use for a meal.

When making the podcast, I chose to do a podcast because the first sample of audio recording I’d done for this class was challenging, and left me unsatisfied overall. I wanted to try again with audacity beyond just recording my voice. I chose to remix “Technorider” as my background music because it’s distinct, but not intrusive. It served very well as loading screen background music for a video game service I’d once used, and I liked the melody. Plus, it starts strong, and I wanted an audio entrance to my podcast, following the example of other podcasts I’d listened to in the past.

Technically, I found few surprises, other than the challenge of using parts of Audacity I’d not tried in my previous usage. Artistically, I didn’t realize I’d get so involved with the background audio track, remixing and altering it just a bit more trying to retain the sound of the original but being distinctly not the same piece of music. While I could have gone further in my changes, I believe it is distinct enough now that I have at least changed something.

I discovered when making this podcast that I drag my words out, especially when hesitating. It was very jarring to hear my own voice stretching or drawling a syllable out when thinking of what should be said next, and then having to go in and delete miniscule bits of the recording away to make my voice satisfactory. I also learned how important it is just to have SOMETHING in front of you when you go to speak about something alone, as it’s very easy to hesitate to try to decide what to say next, only to be eating away at the time on the file and making dead air. Just with a simple outline, it was much easier to record myself.

Dark Mail, the new form of secure e-mail?

So, people may or may not be aware about Edward Snowden and the NSA whistleblowing.

Well, one of the things that happened in the fallout of the Snowden event was the shutdown of secure email provider, Lavabit. Apparently, Lavabit felt the only way to keep the information of its consumers safe was to shutdown the company, as opposed to turning over their encryption keys to the US Government.

Well, the founder of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, is back with a kickstarter in partnership with Silent Circle in order to bring his secure email system back, while also encrypting metadata sent with your emails. Normally, your attachments and so forth are not encrypted, though your message can be. Levison hopes to change that with this new initiative, no doubt spurred to keep people’s messages private in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

Interested in more secure email practices? Start following this, and donate if you can. Lots of us have nothing to hide, but you still act differently when someone is watching. Maybe with the dark mail, your messages can be confidently be sent as your own words, without duress.

Peering Into the Future of Media

For my last reaction to a reading for 501, today I’ll be looking at Peering Into the Future of Media by Eric Pfanner.

So. Old Media. New Media. Everything’s converging in today’s world. In Pfanner’s future, we sleep in branded pajamas where corporations will ask if we’d like their product restocked, and we look at entertainment and news from around the world as if it were local.

America’s head start is disappearing. Did we get too lazy, and think we could coast and maintain superiority? Did we get too bogged down with governments setting rules and trying to control the internet? Did the rest of the world just understand and come at it with a fresh approach?

Things are going international, more and more. Perhaps that’s exciting. Perhaps it’s terrifying. I’m not sure. But technology moves on, quicker and quicker in our age. I don’t have a personal television. It’s just a monitor for me and my computer. Occasionally I will go online to catch up on Shows like Agents of Shield, Game of Thrones, and so forth, but I’m watching them as I demand, without advertisements. I don’t read a newspaper. Word of mouth and the internet let me know enough about what’s going on in the world. Music is something I hear about through the internet, and I’ll buy my music directly from the band if they come near me to put on a show, or digitally if it’s directly from the artist.

A few years ago, I would have been a radical anomaly in the world. Now, I’m just part of many people doing these things as media changes. Some thrive, some die. Pfanner notes the success of Psy. I would never have expected a K-Pop star to be playing on Top 40 radio stations in America. But through the internet, and the shifting international stage of media, it happened.

And as the physical stage for media changes to new markets, I wonder if corporations and consumerism will dominate these new areas, or if their values will challenge our own. Western and Eastern have always been two big schools of thought in the world. Will we see the clash of culture spilling over to the digital playing field?

Even language can barely hold us back anymore, as things get fansubbed and dubbed in other countries so other people can see them.  Pfanner is right to note that the language barrier will soon be gone for media.

I’m intrigued, because I want to know. I want to see what the future of media, and by extension technology, will bring. Good or bad, the seeds of our digital futures were planted long ago, as we’ve noticed through our readings over this semester. And soon, we’ll see what has grown from these seeds that have mingled and joined across the world and are preparing to bloom.

But Pfanner is right at the end. “Clearly, the media revolution could veer off in different directions. Despite digital convergence, it will be marked by diversity.” Together, but diverse. And media will be battling for dominance in this new world. We don’t have the prophets of old to guide us. We can only face the future and move into it with cautious steps and reckless leaps. Either way, we’ve no choice but move forward or be lost in a world that speeds ever onward.

Keep up, my reader.



EDIT: Flagged this post as a response as well, as this week’s response was to Kevin in my comments below.

Caption! From the eye hole comes the mean! – A Reply

Now, here we have someone who is discussing the current state of captions of YouTube with surprising accuracy. Or so I thought.
I went to YouTube to look for a video with captions, eager to confirm Kevin’s post and my own experiences.

Granted, it took a few videos, but then I found one for Phonebloks. And while I was ready to make fun of it, the captions were mostly correct! An occasional spelling error, and a word was missed here and there, but most of the captions worked really well! So is this a credit to the speaker in the advertisement, or have YouTube’s captions grown better?

So I clicked through eight more videos, until this popped up in the side bar. And my theory was obliterated. Captions are still pretty bad. It looks like the problem though, is just because the captions are automatic, they’re trying to make sense of all sound into words. So in this video, a panel at ComicCon, all the background noise over the speaker could be messing him up.

So, while captions work for some videos, others not so much. And with so many videos being uploaded, the current automated system is the only feasible one for the videos now, unless captions become a creator-side concern. I’d love to see that, but not everyone is going to do it.
I don’t have a witty suggestion for this one. Caption tech just needs to improve, I guess.