Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

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Speed Drawing session

In this lesson lead by our tutor Paul we all played a game he had made himself with involves a randomly generated task of drawing the described item on the screen in the allotted time followed by another, each had a specific time limit so therefore the longer you had the more difficult the drawing was. Examples would be draw a sphere and a cone in 5seconds, or harder would be draw a weapons crate in 30seconds. As i said these were randomly generated and we had to draw as quick as we could as accurately as possible to test our skills. The purpose of the task was to get us to not think so much about the detail final product of a drawing and to just get the quick basics or rough versions down as quickly as possible from memory, being something i did struggle with i thought this would be a very effective task on improving my personal skills in memory drawing im good when its in front of me but memory is not as good. As well as drawing from memory we had to draw in pen so there was no temptation to erase any work, as we are told erasing work is erasing progress as there is no right or wrong drawing its all progress.

Here is my results:

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To start with we had 15seconds to draw basic primitive shapes such as a Taurus, cube, sphere etc. As we moved along it got harder like a bike or a shed in perspective with the same time slot really pushing the basic forms of shapes to portray the image. It moved up to 30seconds giving us drawings like messy bunk beds, weapons crate or a camera taking a picture of another object the extended time slot gave us more time to detail but the focus was to get the prime object across then to add detail roughly not a hard line finished copy just a sketch. Finally 45seconds was given for examples on page 3 like a skip full of doors, a dinosaur drinking tea or a open fridge full of food.

This was the first time around and i really found it useful everyone really enjoyed drawing. So will Paul fine tuning the app and uploading the beta to his website i decided to have another 2 goes using the settings supplied to at 30minutes a piece.

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This was try 2 with was on random times with random difficulties.

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Then third time around which was set to all 30seconds hard difficulty to really test how much better i might have got. Some drawings i did i was really surprised at what i came out with, especially the flying car which looked like a inspector gadget classic mini. Overall this process was extremely useful to my personal skills as i improved my basic primitives, to get it down first then add detail, drawing in bed made me realise mistakes are good as they show progress, and then overall drawing from memory was better towards the end.

If you would like to take this task to test your drawing skills go to the app on my tutors website here.

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3DS Max- Technical terms

The technical language used within my last blog post on texture mapping is something i will have to become versed in. We have been told before that once we know more and more we will be talking in our own language of the work place this will help understanding between our peers when we do group projects it will be very benefitial for future career paths when we finish our degree aswell. That being said i want to research further into some of the techincal language i will be using the sooner i come to terms with it the better for me and my peers.

Here is some terms i have looked up and expanded on where i can:

UV: is Uv mapping in 3d modelling it puts a 2d texture onto the 3d model. You put your texture onto the rendered uv map once unwrapped using a program like photoshop then bring it back into 3ds max and bring it is as a bitmap and apply material to stage selection.

XYZ: This is basically the x axis, y axis and z axis of 3d modelling used to scale, move, rotate your model.

Vertex: is a single point on a model or a point in 3d space.

Polygon: it is a face of a model or a surface, can be made using 3 joined vertexes if you work in tri polys or using 4 vertexs if you work in quads (i work in quads)

Ambient Light: is the general light that illuminates the entire scene. It has a uniform intensity and is uniformly diffuse. It has no discernible source and no discernible direction.

Ambient Occlusion: or AO is a method for emulating the look of true global illumination by using shaders that calculate the extent to which an area is occluded, or prevented from receiving incoming light. Used alone, an AO shader, such as the separate mental ray Ambient/Reflective Occlusion shader, creates a grayscale output that is dark in areas light cannot reach and bright in areas where it can. The practical result is that the AO provides nice “contact shadow” effects and makes small crevices visible.

Anti-aliasing: improves image quality by smoothing such internal image edges. Antialiasing can be either on or off. Turn this off only when you’re rendering test images and want greater speed. Leave it on at all other times.

Axis: uses the xyz, used to scale, move, rotate your model.

Baking: allows you to create texture maps based on an object’s appearance in the rendered scene. The textures are then “baked” into the object: that is, they become part of the object via mapping, and can be used to display the textured object rapidly on Direct3D devices such as graphics display cards or game engine. You can render to textures using the Scanline Renderer or the mental ray renderer.

Bitmap: is a still image produced by a fixed matrix of colored pixels, like a mosaic. You can use bitmaps as textures for materials, as backgrounds to viewports, and as rendered environments.

Boolean: combines two or more objects by performing a logical operation on their geometry. The objects typically overlap, but they don’t have to. The original two objects are the operands and the Boolean object itself is the result of the operation.

Parent->Child precedence: causes joints closest to where a force is applied (the end effector) to move less than joints farther away from the force. This is the opposite of Child->Parent precedence. Parent->Child precedence assigns the highest precedence to the base object and the lowest precedence to the end effector.

Compositing: The Composite map type is made up of other maps, which you layer atop each other using the alpha channel and other methods. For this type of map, you can use overlay images that already contain an alpha channel, or employ built-in masking tools for overlaying only certain parts of a map. (noun) A still image or a motion picture created by overlaying one image or motion picture with another. (verb) To combine still images or motion pictures by laying one over the other. Compositing often makes use of an image’s alpha channel.

Co-ordinates: The Coordinate Display area shows the position of the cursor or the status of a transform and lets you enter new transform values.

The information in these fields varies, depending on what you are doing:
  • When you are simply moving the mouse in a viewport, these fields show the current cursor location in absolute world coordinates.
  • While you are creating an object, these fields also show the current cursor location in absolute world coordinates.
  • While you are transforming an object by dragging in a viewport, these fields always show coordinates relative to the object’s coordinates before the transformation was started.While you are transforming an object, these fields change to spinners, and you can type values directly into them. This is an easy alternative to using the Transform Type-In dialog.
  • While a transform button is active and a single object is selected, but you are not dragging the object, these fields show the absolute coordinates for the current transform. See “Interface,” below.
  • While a transform button is active and multiple objects are selected, these fields are blank.
  • When no object is selected and the cursor is not over the active viewport, these fields are blank.

DOF: Depth of field is a multi-pass effect. You turn it on in the Parameters rollout for cameras. Depth of field simulates a camera’s depth of field by blurring areas of the frame at a distance from the camera’s focal point (that is, its target or target distance).

Extrusion: It moves your polygons in or out dependent on the value you set, i use it alot in modelling and is very useful for modelling in general especially buildings. here are the methods for extruding multiple polygons at once:

  • Group Extrusion, takes place along the average normal of each contiguous group of polygons. If you extrude multiples of such groups, each group moves along its own averaged normal.
  • Local Normal, Extrusion takes place along each selected polygon’s normal.
  • By Polygon, Extrudes each polygon individually.
  •   Extrusion Height, Specifies the amount of the extrusion in units. You can extrude selected polygons outward or inward, depending on whether the value is positive or negative.

HDRI: The Radiance image file format is used for high-dynamic-range images (HDRI). Most cameras don’t have the capability to capture the dynamic range (the gamut of luminances between dark and bright regions) that is present in the real world. However, the range can be recovered by taking a series of pictures of the same subject with different exposure settings, and combining them into one image file.  Also they have an accurate white balance that will bring convincing and colorful lighting into your scene

Material: Found in the material editor, can give many different effects to a model by applying a material, but to have it in a game engine you need to texture it apply the texture into the material editior as a bitmap then apply to model.
Quads: 4 vertexes joint together form a quad which is a quad polygon. used mainly in modelling as when you import your model into a game engine they like to convert models into their own specfic form of tri polys.
Tris: 3 vertexes joing together form a tri which is a try polygon. you can model in tris but game engines like to have there own coversion of tris so its easier to model in quads.
Mesh: is a type of geometric model of a 3d object in which the basic shape is made up of points, or vertices, connected by edges. The renderable surface of the mesh object is made up of faces or polygons that connect the vertices and edges. Examples of mesh objects in 3ds Max are primitives such as Sphere and Teapot, as well as Editable Mesh and Editable Polygon objects.In 3ds Max you can edit a mesh by transforming, adding, and deleting the various elements, or sub-objects: vertices, edges, faces, and polygons. You can also apply various changes with modifiers.
Tiling: The Tile option in the Material Editor is on by default, repeating the image along the U and V directions. You can use the Tiling values to scale the map image. Setting negative Tiling values increases the size of the image. You can also set tiling values in the UVW Map modifier. These settings are in addition to the tiling values you set for the map in the Material Editor. If the map’s base tiling parameter has a value of 2.0 and the UVW Map modifier has a tiling value of 3.0 for the same axis, the net result is 2.0 x 3.0 = 6.0. To avoid confusion about where the tiling is coming from, you may want to set the map’s tiling in its base parameters or with the UVW Map modifier, but not in both locations. The Mirror option is a variation on the Tile option. Tile repeats the image side-by-side, while Mirror flips the image repeatedly.
This is just handful of technical terms but i could add to the list massively with the world of 3ds max being ever expansive, my tutor paul has been doing it for 13 years and still doesnt know all the program which says alot. most of the definitions i got was from 3ds max help an extremely useful website that i will definately be using in the future if i have a enquiry on 3ds max.






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History of Gaming- Iconic Games Timeline Survey Results

Previously (blog 1, blog 2, blog 3) for my history of gaming work i had been given the topic of “Icons of gaming” as my research focus to then formulate into a adobe flash timeline using my results. Icons of Gaming could we interpreted many ways it could be mascots, iconic games, iconic characters, iconic designers and so on so i had to narrow it down to get a real focus on my work which i chose iconic games throughout the generations. The choice of the generations you give my timeline alot of range to it so its not neglecting a generation of gaming by just saying ionic games from 5th gen onwards.

Obviously i had a few games in mind such as mario, sonic and space invaders but my own personal preferences may be included in this timeline which would result in a bias and personal timeline. To navigate away from this problem i decided to set up a survey and asked a group of my friends and peers to answer the questions i had set using a tick box choice and if i had missed a game they believed was iconic there was a “other” box to type in an answer. like this:question

This worked very well i got a wide range of results which ultimately show how different people have different tastes in games not everyone was all for the same ones. This was followed up at the end by a comments box which i asked them to type a little bit about there most iconic game to them and why, some great responses also came from this. i will now make some infographics of the data i collected and then show the personal comments in relation to them. I had 49 responses to my survey shame it wasnt 50 for a nice found figure but 49 was excellent.iKGG6VYaNu720B7d

This was the first question in relation to the 1st generation, pong came out the winner with 30 votes and space war! behind with 21 votes. Feedback i got for this one was that some people didnt even know what these games were and did tend to pick randomly. the specified other got 2 responses one of asteroids which was a 1st gen game made by atari in 1979 so was a educated response that others may have forgot including myself, but the second response was crash bandicoot with is a 5th generation game so didnt belong there being a wasted vote.

QZ7cZxwcdjJTFodQThe second question was related to 2nd generation games, 1st with 33 was unsurprisingly pacman closely followed by spaceinvaders at 26 votes another very iconic game. This was how i expected these results to come out.ROxYUr44K4cjTsvEThis being 3rd generation was bound to be debatable as personally im not a big player of zelda and never was being born in 1995 i never really got into the later installments of zelda which could be the case for some people i asked aswell. 1st was super mario bros with 33, with tetris 2nd at 25 then zelda 3rd at 15. Despite these results i know zelda is an iconic game and i did expect it to be very close with mario. between the other results it was fairly close but street fighter took 3rd with 17. no other for this section aswell which make me think i chose well.

ZPfXAmJYCeAlyCEy4th generation, sonic was the obvious winner for me and others with 30votes but others didnt do so well and fifa footballs first installment was 2nd with 20votes. When i viewed the other responses i realised i had missed a big game and a personal favourite of mine the Prince of Persia games maybe the results would have been different as it only got 2 votes from people who noticed but i dont think prince of persia is as iconic as other games so wasnt a fatal miss.

21zCNdvd06k0g0nH5th generation was bound to be a debatable one with so many good games in there and dependent on when you were born this could be very different for you, i personally was born in 5th gen 1993-2001 being 1995 and my favourite game of all time is crash bandicoot close second with spyro so childhood hours and hours of gaming played a factor there. Pokemon was 1st with 31 votes, 2nd spyro with 28, 3rd grand theft auto with 27, 4th crash bandicoot on 21 with rayman close behind in 5th at 19 votes. As you can see this was very debatable and had alot of different views on it see i like oddworld but only 5 thought the same as others opted differently with there 6 choices. Not quite how i expected but gaming icons are up there so thats pleasing. the other section included a game i cant believe i forgot to include which is an iconic game definately for feminism of Tomb Raider.

Z3PMpLP8b6rTVadL6th generation was a tough one with clear favourites of Call of Duty on 35votes, 2nd halo with 28 and 3rd ratchet and clank with 18. this one wasnt as close at the top but the bottom people were undecided as nothing really jumped out for them clearly showing these games are not seen as a big deal to them but i cant forget this group is only a handful of people if this was worldwide id have a much fairer test and wider view which im sure world of warcraft being a huge mmorpg would be alot higher. The other box was Tony Hawk with his skateboarding games which im afraid whoever that was doesnt really cut it good games id say yes but not iconic.

XYhnRUrZlbtWwqDjFinally was 7th generation, with this one i felt i had to include alot wider range of games as currently the gaming market is everywhere and games i could really play like angry birds as my phone isnt brilliant are massively popular so the recent rise in apps and mobile gaming had to be considered here but it was hard as being so recent can you list it as immediately iconic well i believe so with assassins creed series being fantastic and educational in a sense. Assassins Creed was 1st with a clear 31 votes, 2nd was GTA V i know i had grand theft auto before as orignal 5th gen release but gta v has broke alot of records so i felt it needed to be included with 25 votes, then it was close 3rd skyrim again i had elder scrolls in 5th gen which didnt do so well but is 3rd here so you can see games over the ages in some cases in series have improved in view of the public with 19, then 3rd killzone with 18 being a playstation exclusive i was surprised it was so high, 4th The Last of Us a massive recent success and surely a iconic game if any for recent times but being so recent and playstation exclusive with 14 votes, then 5th was angry birds a mobile game with 12 votes. so a wide range of views there. the other option was labelled Rome:Total War a strategy pc game which is a very good game to be fair but im not sure its iconic but will be some personal favourites which also started in 5th generation but has a recent installement in 7th so its valid.

That concluded my results most popular being: Pong, pacman, mario, sonic, pokemon, call of duty, assassins creed in each generation. Being a debatable one i will now have to decide which should be considered iconic despite my results as some where missed or not everyones favourite who did the survey but are to the gaming community.

As for the most iconic games personal choice comments box here are the responses:

  • Killzone Shadow Fall: i recently bought myself a PlayStation 4 and if you can call any game a “next gen game” it is definately killzone, not only a visually amazing game but it also uses the majority of the ps4 new features such as the touch pad is your drone. love it.
  • Killzone, recently played on ps4 Killzone: Shadow Fall most impressive visually and gameplay shooter I have ever owned.
  • I think PAC man has to be the most iconic game of all time down to sheer popularity, fun and status, I’d say it’s a legendary and iconic game
  • Favourite Game: Pokémon Yellow The amount of time I spent on that game trying to complete the pokedex and level all my pokemon to maximum was that of a large number. The personal connection I made with my starter pokemon is a connection im yet to make with any other game other than pokemon.
  • Tomb Raider is Bossssssss!!!!!!!!
  • Pokemon just coz pokemon
  • Fifa
  • Crash Tag team Racing, due to that me and my friends used to have a great laugh playing it and beating each other with different characters like cortex and crash.
  • kid chameleon for sega mega drive amazing gameplay and loved the multiple abilities and level design
  • Prince of Persia!!!
  • Dead Space, personally for me it was the first horror style game i ever played in depth. Even though it scared the hell out of me i was gripped to the game and the story line.
  • Fifa – Pro clubs so u can shout at your friends when they miss a sweaty goal (Nathan)
  • GTA SANANDREAS, becaues it was my favourite game growing up and I still play it now
  • Total War from Shogun through to Rome 2. Well researched and immersive experience. Balanced mix of strategy and real time action. A bit let down by Rome 2 though. I think it crosses over your generations starts in about 5th I reckon.
  • Pokémon Red – It’s just brilliant okay
  • Dragonage: origins
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time. The game is just a landmark in gaming terms, it is possibly the most popular game to date and continues to be a benchmark against which other games of the same genre are measured. For me it was just such an intense adventure with a well driven story, strong characters, interesting game play and a really cool open world to explore. You could dip into and out of quests and missions as and when you wanted and even though there were points when you had to complete something to progress with the story, for the most part it was left up to the player in which order they completed their quests, which is something that has only recently been seen in other games such as Skyrim and even Fable.
  • Halo 2 as it was the game I bonded with some of my old friends the most
  • need for speed underground 2 because like racing and customizing car
  • SPYRO- Really fun game
  • Difficult one, but personally my all time favourite game has to be between Star Wars Battlefront, and Star Wars Battlefront 2. They were just amazing
  • GTA V , I love the murder violence, robberies and gang rape.
  • Oddworld, it was such a good game series.
  • Streets of Rage Though it’s design is simple, there is something magical about moving through neon lit backdrops in fictional cities and beating up a series of identical looking bad guys under the strange premise of “Justice”. The Characters are colourful and in a way it was one of the first games that allowed you to play the vigilante minus the skin tight outfit… except for Axels jeans, they are proper tight, but it’s like the late 80’s or whatever so fair enough. I wish we could see more games in this vain, the next one released on the next console was Fighting Force, which was renamed from Streets of Rage because the company disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The only one I can think of next is the remake of Final Fight: Streetwise… that was pretty terrible. I guess everyone else is sticking to 1 on 1 fighters or mass slaughterfests that is Dynasty Warriors and there ilk.
  • I think my favourite game has to be mass effect 3, mostly because you can make so many different decisions and they all effect the way the game plays out.
  • Pokemon, because no matter how much the evolution happens with the franchise millions of people still remember and love the original
  • Assassins creed something different and its enjoyable
  • Just dance 3. its awesome.
  • Spyro as I grew up playing it.
  • Call of Duty, most players.
  • GTA because it has so many missions, levels, so much to do and explore and has very good graphics.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – First 3D Legend of Zelda game, ability to explore the world, groundbreaking graphics, classic story.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time because the graphics and gameplay were far beyond any other game of that generation and it’s a timeless game that is still better than other games in thay genre.
  • Gears of war due to it being a primary building block in me and my best friends relationship

Thing i can take from this although zelda didnt do aswell as expect its regarded some peoples most iconic game with the Ocarina of Time game in the series

“Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time. The game is just a landmark in gaming terms, it is possibly the most popular game to date and continues to be a benchmark against which other games of the same genre are measured. For me it was just such an intense adventure with a well driven story, strong characters, interesting game play and a really cool open world to explore. You could dip into and out of quests and missions as and when you wanted and even though there were points when you had to complete something to progress with the story, for the most part it was left up to the player in which order they completed their quests, which is something that has only recently been seen in other games such as Skyrim and even Fable.”

That says alot for the game itself, i know its an iconic game already but this is a brilliant comment on exactly why. i also noticed the need for speed games mentioned which for racing games is definately iconic its just not in the overall picture gran turismo would probably take that if any.

Id like to thank everyone for there involvement in the survey as its been very useful to my studies in this topic area. i will now go onto make my flash timeline using my results i have found here and other gathered research that i initially had for iconic games.


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Dead Space and Outlast Psychoanalysed.

The two video games I will be comparing by using psychoanalysis will be “Outlast” and “Dead Space” on the characters of Miles Upshur the reporter on Outlast and Isaac Clarke a space engineer in Dead Space both are the main protagonists.

Outlast is a first person horror game set in a mountain asylum, you the player are a reporter who has received a tip of suspicious goings on at this location anonymously. By the time you realise to abort this case it’s too late your trapped and have to find a way out through many jump scares and monsters or crazy people running around. The story behind it is contextual to the real MKUltra experiments conducted by the CIA in the 50s, 60s and 70s in the U.S. and Canada. Those experiments, which are still shrouded in secrecy and that some think continue to this day, dealt with drug use, torture and some form of mind control. Instead of a narrative to the story the game is run by individual investigations throughout by the player using his video camera which engages you in the story to try solve the madness. It’s purely designed to make the gamer suffer as you only have three options told to you at the start of the game “Run, hide or die” no combat skills or weapons to assist you which just fuels the fear. The “Walrider“ is the main antagonist of the game who causes the sacrifices of the mental patients and worship as it is all powerful apart from the machine which allows it to live and host a body.

Dead Space is a 3rd person futuristic horror game set in space on a malfunctioning mining ship called the usg ishimura which is used for new resource gathering planetary methods called “Planet cracking”. Isaac Clarke a space engineer is sent to fix the ship, to find the ship is thriving with an undead species called the Necromorph. Isaac is also looking for his girlfriend Nicole who is assigned to the ship, he received a confusing message of “I wish it didn’t have to end this way”, throughout the battle of uncovering what’s behind the Necromorph he is also going through his own battle with sanity as the “marker” which controls the Necromorph also causes Isaac’s hallucinations and visions which constantly freak out and confuse the player. The psychological battle with the church of unitology the cult behind the Necromorph’s and his nightmares are the driving force of the plot. You fight to fix all this and your own problems it’s a truly on edge game with plenty of jump scares.

I have chosen outlast and the main character Miles Upshur as I want to analyse how the character is used to make you feel as a player like you are in the game. You never see the face of the character you instantly place yourself due to the 1st person view as the character despite the name which is easily overlooked. “That’s the thing about survival horror: if you’re empowered, then the threat is not as big…you feel you have to be proactive to fight back. But if you know there is no way you can fight back, then that’s when I think the horror is most effective.” This is a quote from co-founder of Outlast Philippe Morin describing the mindset behind the mechanics of the game, I read into this further and found out they got inspiration of this from a game called “Amnesia” this game released in August 2010 was a clear inspiration for outlasts game play style of a huge focus on psychoanalysis and how they can engage the player into the world of horror, with quotes like this “I think it is safe to say that Amnesia is the most successfully frightening game to have been made.” – Rock, Paper, Shotgun so basing the game on this was a solid bit of context for a successful horror. With that in mind it really helps assist the player’s engagement with the character, you feel his vulnerability, his fear and his desperation throughout various escapes and pitch black navigations. The feature that supports this the most effectively I feel is the 1st person view, this places you immediately in the mindset that you are Miles Upshur, you experience and consider all the notes and video clips he records throughout the game like a detective to try figure out where to next or what’s around the corner. The use of 1st person is supported by the camera you use to record the happenings of the story, but the battery life on this camera is reliant on you finding batteries which are scarce causing missed clues and some scary no night vision glowing eyed enemy moments. Its features include whilst running away you can look behind to see how close your pursuer is, if you approach a corner your hand will rest on the wall so you can peak round and the options to bust open doors or be silent in your stealthy movement depends on the situation its truly immersive and slowly engages your connection with the characters physicality as the game goes on, not forgetting the increasing audio of Upshur’s breathing if people are spotted or noises are made which automatically engages you to do the same. “While there’s rarely any let up in the tension, it always feels like you’re in the hands of a developer at the top of its game, revelling in making the player uncomfortable, but never forgetting to delight at the same time.”- Edge review online. This quote from edge’s review rated 4.5stars of 5 sums up the intentions of the designer they love making you believe it’s you but don’t neglect some breathers so it’s not overwhelming tension. Although everyone around him is mentally unstable with signs of dementia and insanity miles manages to keep mental stability until becoming the host of the antagonist the walrider in the end when he disconnects its original host’s life support system causing Miles to be in the end the cause and reason behind his investigation so you the player are essentially mentally stable but end up the cause of the insanity through digging into something you shouldn’t have. The player never loses touch with the game as there are no cut scenes in the game so you are purely playing and stopping the take notes then back to the madness, no breakages in the plot means smooth game play that doesn’t disengage you at any point and never reveals the appearance of Miles.

I chose Isaac Clarke the main character in dead space as I want to question the player’s engagement into another person’s journey of both mentally and physically how they use realism of the story and backstory with cut scenes to emotionally attach you to this character. Isaac had previously been living with Nicole Brennan prior to her assignment to the usg ishimura 2 years before the blackout of communications, so when assigned to go fix it the mission became much more personal and also engaging as despite a alien outbreak there is focus to be achieving that “epic win” that Jane McGonigal talks about in her TED talk on “gaming can make a better world” as you the player want Isaac to succeed. Only to be dragged along his path of insanity when he contracts dementia, you are witness to this man’s mental torture which the ‘marker’ uses Nicole to haunt Isaac despite the actual truth being she died at the start of the outbreak taking her own life which is the end of the video clip that he is sent, so the marker uses her to try destroy him and you which several frightening hallucinations and very eerie voices in his head. This powerful narrative really drags you deep into someone’s mental instability and you connect the protagonist Isaac strongly creating your own mistrusts and views on other crew members when separated who also seem to use “We will find Nicole” to manipulate Isaac further into helping them. The key to Isaac’s recovery was acceptance and letting Nicole go after the shocking realisation of her suicide, you the player witness all this as a 3rd person party this gives you the opportunity to derive your own theories on what has actually happened and what hasn’t, in some cases you are wondering what is a hallucination and what isn’t, this psychological journey is of Isaac’s mentality but also your depiction of the actual events. By designing the game in this way you the player naturally try to predict what is coming next or who did what, as soon as that kicks in the writers grip you with many twists and shocks you never saw coming like Kendra a crew member betraying Isaac trying to escape on her own to her own peril. As the 3rd person view with many means of killing these necromorphs it gives you chance to appreciate the world around you more you pay more attention to the finer details in the scenery for example in one of the elevator hallucinations where Nicole’s eyes look like they are beaming right through you the effect you can see on Isaac really immerses you in his feelings of what horror he must go through and how you have to get him out. Also 3rd person allowed me to see the physical exertion going into the character when taking hits or dealing damage, he hobbles on low health grabbing his stomach breathing heavily that engagement of visuals supports the emotions you are supposed to feel for the protagonist further supporting his cause. But they do not give him a voice “the original which features no voice acting for the character and is only seen out of his helmet at the very beginning and ending of the game” ( article) so by doing this you the player make your own assumptions on his personality and all of his features due to the majority of the game he is just a suit.

I want to contrast the differences between the user experience of 1st person in outlast to 3rd person in dead space and how it makes you feel. This is a much debated topic in gaming culture of which is better for a horror genre game 1st person or 3rd person. Multiple blogs I have sourced have different views here are some “First person, hands down. Instead of being some bodiless entity floating over the left/right shoulder of main protagonist, you ARE the protagonist seeing what he sees through his eyes.”- ( that is in support of 1st person but on the other hand “I feel third person would be better because you can see your character, which makes you more immersed in the game and feel the horror that the character is experiencing. Also, you can see yourself get attacked”- ( reference question) but then there is the middle ground of “I think that 3rd person tends to emphasize the player’s sense of vulnerability via the visible exposure of the player character, whereas 1st person emphasizes the sense of viscerality by situating the player as the direct recipient of attacks. 3rd person horror = exposure, 1st person horror = enclosure. Each perspective has its respective strengths, but given that ‘horror’ tends to encompass a range of emotions, it’s hard to say any one is better than the other.” ( Walter). Many views can be taken on this from let’s say quote 1 the capitalised “Are” emphasises his point that you are the character you see through his eyes so you experience his fear. Whereas the contrast quote 2 references to having a connection to the character and seeing pain through emotion or physicality it’s like you’re on a journey together. Then quote 3 sums up the differences and how you pick specific ones to portray specific styles of horror game exposure or enclosure. My personal view is that 1st person is lots more engaging so I was alot more scared of outlast than i was of dead space purely down to it felt like I was the main character throughout you could be stood still in a narrow corridor thinking im not going down there and have no idea that a 8ft hulk like monster is behind you towering over your body that’s the mindset I was in. Yes I did feel a connection to Isaac as a protagonist and that I was there to guide him with weapons but I can’t think of anything more scary than 1st person realistic horror with no means of fighting back relating back to outlasts co founder quote of “That’s the thing about survival horror: if you’re empowered, then the threat is not as big…you feel you have to be proactive to fight back. But if you know there is no way you can fight back, then that’s when I think the horror is most effective.”


The comparison of the two games I would have to go down the path of the usage of mental instability to drive or coincide with the storyline. Outlast uses it alot being set in a ‘mental asylum’ but it did have some contextual reference to it as explained before in mysterious CIA conspiracies of mind control and dementia. Whilst your character isn’t mentally unstable everything around him seems to be crumbling all of which you are trying to get to the bottom of with many scary obstacles and strange sacrificial occurrences going on. I feel the use of mentality in outlast is key to capture it correctly in the game if they hadn’t have possibly gone over the top in some cases with the doctor taking a few of your fingers you might not have believed the scale of the madness which then loses interest.

Whereas in Dead Space not only is Isaac fighting a alien outbreak you are being affected by the ‘marker’ which caused the outbreak and is now making Isaac lose his sanity taking the form of Nicole his loved one in hallucinations a side effect of dementia. It’s a real exhausting journey for you and Isaac slaughtering countless necromorphs and dealing with what is real and what isn’t as his condition escalates. This is vital in the storyline you really gain connection with Isaac it’s like you are on this journey together but you’re not sure what is what or who to trust as nobody seems to be trustworthy as they use Nicole as a driving force for Isaac to keep going thinking he will find her and repent for telling her to take the job here in the first place. Most people said on the blogs I read for 3rd person horror vs. 1st person that the 3rd person narrative does sometimes heavily rely on strong narrative and dead space really pulled it off “An incredibly atmospheric and disturbingly gruesome deep-space adventure that will haunt your dreams and leave you begging for more.” – (LarkAnderson on October 13, 2008 review 9/10).

So in both games this feature is a key factor of the narrative and has been pulled off successfully enough to make the different interpretations of dementia and insanity believable for the player so that they can truly engage in the game.

In conclusion the topics I have discussed behind the psychoanalysis of main protagonists of Dead Space Isaac Clarke and Outlast Miles Upshur is that both games have different styles of engaging the player into the horror by means of either game play realism or gripping narrative throughout. If I have to pick my choice of which did the better job of getting into my head it would have to be outlast purely on the basis of the 1st person view I can’t help but feel that when the character Miles is attacked that I sit there and say “that monster just hit me run!” emphasis there on ‘me’ whereas with Dead Space it was “Isaac run keep going its behind you” or “he’s dead” not im dead so it was more a personal engagement to believing it’s me that made it more scary. But to keep it neutral ground for their different but also similar styles of horror game you can’t say either one had done a bad job at making the player engage with the game in some way that would grip them to the screen begging for more.



Butler, M. 2014. Interactive Nightmares: A History of Video game horror. Kindle ed. Amazon.

GameSpot. 2014. Dead Space Review. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014]. 2014. Isaac Clarke (Character) – Giant Bomb. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014]. 2012. First Person vs. Third Person?. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014]. 2014. Horror games, 1st person or 3rd person? – Video Gaming – Idle Forums. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014].

Krawczyk, M. and Novak, J. 2014. Gave Development Essentials: Game Story & Character Development.

Official PlayStation website. 2014. Outlast. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014].

Official PlayStation website. 2014. Outlast. [online] Available at: %5BAccessed: 30 Mar 2014].

Outlast Wiki. 2014. Miles Upshur. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014].

Polygon. 2014. Outlast is a stealth horror game designed to make the player suffer. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014].







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Skype- My week of Skyping into lessons.

From Friday 22nd November until Friday 29th November I spent the week in my house under doctors orders due to tissue damage in my knee. But the main argument with my doctor was I don’t want to miss my college work or fall behind as I want to be as successful as possible in my course. After much debate he told me I had no option the more I walked on my knee the worse it would get and the more permanent the damage might be.


Luckily for me Phillip Maclennan owned an iPad with Skype on it as we had skyped a few times previously when playing on the PlayStation, the idea I had was that if Phil was ok with it and the teachers was ok I could use his iPad to Skype into lessons so therefore I wasn’t missing out on anything by using Skype’s free video call (webcam) feature. This was a success everyone was ok with it and I continued work as normal (well my head on a screen being carried around) my tutor Gareth was particularly impressed and told me so when I returned in my 1 on 1 tutorial.

“That initiative and thought to not miss a lesson even if you are unable to come in is exactly the right attitude as it shows you want to be here”- Gareth’s words to me.

This pleased me very much as that’s exactly the impression I wanted to get across, Gareth actually video recorded me at one point on my first Skype lesson as he wanted to show people it as I imagine it’s not been done before. A few people laughed and was quite fascinated by the idea but warmed to the idea and considered doing it themselves if in a situation like mine. On occasion at lunch times I turned my camera around and some classmates watch me play Crash Bandicoot on my PlayStation to keep them entertained, or put myself in Rome in relevance to my adaptation lesson using dell’s webcam central control.

Although there was sound problems and picture pixilation’s on occasion I still managed throughout the week to keep up and be involved in the lessons activities, even the 3ds max lesson which I struggled a little on due to the sound going and me missing a step but Phil and Paul assisted me back on track and I did complete it. So if in this situation again (hopefully not) I will be sure to do it again. Massive thanks to Phil for letting me use his iPad to see the lesson (also carry me round and rotate me for viewing purposes). I will try get the video/pictures off Gareth to show you what it looked like for everyone.