CGAMES2011 > TRACK
Animation and the Art of Game Creation
A panel of four distinguished speakers will present a talk on 'Animation and the Art of Game Creation' which will include sound, moving images, aesthetics, language and narrative within it's reach.
In considering the place Animation plays in game design this panel will explore the wider aspects of visualised non-linear narrative for game-play. The aesthetics of any game tends to be focussed on the visual and the literal where mirroring the real-world offers easy accessibility through familiarity. Why should game-play be so readily understood, with known rules and strategies? Where is the virtual space for the human attributes of intuition, serendipity, loitering and mischief? What if the visual was not as prevalent as sound, or if the literal was only a signifier for the abstract? This panel therefore extends its reach to encompass sound, abstract forms, serious content, immersive experience and even the language of the game construction software itself. It will approach a critical understanding of the accepted, and offer animation as a form of expanded practice towards generating advanced gaming and the aesthetics of game creation.
- Prof Dew Harrison, Professor of Digital Media Art at the University of Wolverhampton - will show her Shift-Life project with animator Sam Moore's work re AI and a real-world game scenario.
- Ross Winning, Divisional Leader in Digital Media at the University of Wolverhampton - is interested in sound and and film within animation, which impact upon game design.
- Brian Cattell, Senior Lecturer in Computer Game Design at the University of Wolverhampton - will present on art metaphors and language within the software used for game creation.
- Dr Denise Doyle, Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the University of Wolverhampton - will talk about narrative and identity within virtual worlds, which could inform game design.
- Dr Maggie Parker, Senior Lecturer in Computer Game Design at the University of Teeside - will present her work and research on art aesthetics and abstract form within a game environment.
The core of my thinking and practice since 1995 concerns the synthesis of the semantic associations apparent within both Conceptual Art and Hypermedia and has largely focused on the transposition of the ideas of Marcel Duchamp into interactive multi-media pieces. Current art works now materializing are experiments in animating Duchampian digitized objects, by attaching 'flocking' behaviours to the data items and allowing them to herd into appropriate families of similar personalities, new understandings of Duchamp's work are made apparent. However, within the 'Shift-Life' project the content has moved from Duchamp to exploring the 'Big Idea' of Charles Darwin. This collaborative work still involves giving animal-like behaviours to digital objects but in this case to a virtual world of animated fantasy creatures and plants in a trophic relationship then projected into a real-world box of hidden sensors, surrounded with everyday objects with which to interact. The hands-on installation is playful and game-like but yet articulates an understanding of the complexity of Darwinian adaptation and environmental change.
Dew Harrison is a practising artist and Professor in Digital Media Art, with a PhD from CAIIA (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts). Currently working as the Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Studies at the School of Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton, she is also the Director of CADRE (Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation). She has expertise in online curation, collaborative processes and art-sci projects, with knowledge of the artistic place of computers in art history, critical theory, new media theory, gaming and the museum and heritage sector. With over 50 publications to date, she is invited to present regularly at conferences concerning Consciousness Studies, Curation and Archiving, Digital Art, Art History, Interactive Gaming, and Museology.
Her practice is often collaborative as exampled in her most recent installation work 'Shift-Life' where she worked with two programmers and an animator. This piece was commissioned by Shrewsbury Museum Services for the International Darwin Bicentenary, and funded by Arts Council England.
Dr Denise Doyle
Narrative, Aesthetics, Virtual Worlds, Artists, Emotion, Heterogeneous Space.
In the creation and exploration of new imaginative spaces in virtual worlds (and game spaces) it is often artists who are exploring these spaces that are pushing the boundaries, exploiting the potentials of these mediums, and are demonstrating new ways of thinking about virtual space. The analysis of the imaginative (and emotional) effects of artworks in virtual worlds such as Second Life demonstrates a mode of artistic exploitation of the particular combination of user-generated and avatar-mediated spaces. Focusing on designing the visitor (player) 'experience' that enables space to be seen as heterogeneous this paper will present the work of artists that create immersive narrative experiences that draw on this potential of virtual world space rather than forcing a homogeneous virtual experience. The creation and exploration of meaningful emotional experiences through narrative suggests that new languages (and constructions of experience) are emerging. Consideration will be given to how the virtual world aesthetic contributes to (or otherwise) to these immersive and meaningful experiences.
With a background in Fine Art Painting (BA Hons) from Winchester School of Art, and Design and Digital Media (MA) from Coventry University, Denise is an Artist Curator, Researcher, and Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the University of Wolverhampton. She recently completed her PhD research in 2010 at SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, University of East London, under the directorship of Professor Lizbeth Goodman. Denise's research investigates the Artist's experience of the Imaginary in Virtual Worlds, and she has developed a new framework for the Imagination that incorporates experiences of mediated spaces created through interdisciplinary research in Art and Technology. Denise has recently guest co-edited a Special Issue on the Imagination and Virtual Worlds for the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, where she also sits as an editorial board member. In 2010 she participated in an International Research Workshop in Denmark that brought together 45 researchers from around the world to consider Making Sense of Virtual Worlds and User Driven Innovation. Denise recently joined the editorial board for the International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media. Her research interests include: virtual worlds, interactive film, philosophies of the imagination, practice-based research methods, digital narratives, and multiplayer games and virtual learning environments.
People have developed a faculty to appreciate beauty which reflects a universality of human behaviour - giving objectivity to beauty. We can still make our mark with brush and canvas, or chisel and stone, but we also have a plethora of software tools available, to create work without any constraints, other than imagination. Not every artwork, novel, photo, or digital product is creative or aesthetic, but broad access to powerful tools expands the potential to produce revolutionary breakthroughs.
Creative people often benefit from advanced technology to raise their potential and explore new domains. It has been pointed out that a computer "is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about. Imagination gives one a sensory manifold enabling the capacity of objects to stimulate this beauty within us".
Could more artists working as game designers bring an alternative aesthetic to game design, maybe something gentler, more relaxing and seductive, or even wilder and more violent, to the world of computer game manufacture, creating alternative aesthetics in virtual spaces?
'Star World' was my response to the possibilities of using software as artistic interpretation and an alternative method of game-design. This realistically-conceived environment contains wholly imaginary, aesthetic elements to experiment with alternative texturing. It became a virtual-environmental empirical test bed, as well as an art piece, based on personal interaction and engagement.
This double functionality is a function that, I argue, game studies scholars and computer-game designers should take into consideration, in the future.
Each culture expresses itself in its art and culture. And the early philosophers of the aesthetic recognised that "a great many natural phenomena - flowers, minerals, waterfalls, landscapes, forests and the song of a nightingale among them also gave rise to an aesthetic response unrelated to use, price, necessity, or whatever".
Maggie lectures and researches in the field of game studies and digital art, drawing and animation for computer games. She has achieved international success, exhibiting her fine-art work in galleries and alternative art spaces. Maggie showcases both computer game industry concept art work, undergraduate and post-graduate work, has served on several advisory boards and assisted in judging the International First Lego League Robotics Championship Tournament hosted by Teesside University, winners of the 2009 Times Higher Awards "University of the Year". She is a programme committee member for the CGiV10 - 7th International Conference in Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualization, and has written several articles for publications and organisations including Futurelab and speaks about the future uses of computer games. Having organised and chaired the art and computer game panel at WIG2007 and co-organised the WIG2006 conference, Maggie has opened up a dialogue between artists and the computer game industry.
Developing the art of sound: the confluence of Animation, Games and sonic ambiguities.
A model of sound design borrowed from animated film and live action cinema presents a ready made scheme for sonic additions to the visually dynamic and interactive environments that computer games inhabit. The audio-visual design in both disciplines, aims to work with narrative, movement, space and time. This condition would therefore seem to encourage opportunities for similarities in the sonic design to naturally migrate between forms.
This loose relationship has grown as games have become more allied to visual spectacle and narrative. Increasingly, sonic forms in games are also continuing to be borrowed from cinema origins. In those gaming environments that inherit the visual language of a specific film genre, the design of the sonic terrain can also be introduced for mood and atmosphere. This wholesale importation of sound design from existing film genre would further seem to be the natural cornerstone upon which to build sound design in virtual game-play.
However In a medium that seeks to portray and represent spaces and the human body with increasing realism, additions of sound and music need not just support the actuality of game play but also encourage sonic ambiguities to enhance the imagination and form a counterpoint to the highly specified visual sensations.
This presentation explores that notion comparing developing ideas in the practice and theory that surround animation, film and game sound. In doing so, there is an additional aim to question the validity of the accepted relationship between those areas and make a proposition that new compositional approaches and soundscapes could be exploited.
From studying Sculpture at Norwich School of Art and to post-graduate level at University of Newcastle upon Tyne, I have sculptures and other art works located in private and public collections in the UK, Scandinavia and Japan. However, I have since developed long-time interests in film animation through further postgraduate study at the National Centre for Computer Animation at Bournemouth University. Subsequent projects have included freelance work for commercial broadcast T.V.
Former work as a musician has helped me focus on sound as a way to commence research in animation. This facet reflects in a current study that asks questions predicated on the specific relationship in animation of the sonic and the visual. The conjunction of sound and image, its musicology, implementation and performance in animated media, form themes that are now informing that research.
Currently engaged in PhD study at The Animation Academy, LUSAD, Loughborough University; I also lead the Division for Digital Media and teach Animation at Wolverhampton University.
Creativity in Games
Viewing video games from an artistic critical perspective can result in sideways glances being aimed at the critic from players, the anti-game lobby and from art-critics alike. The game art critic has to delve much deeper into games than other media to find artistry, art reference or artistic practice.
We see art (and Art) already being moulded by myriad social forces, not least technology-mediated communication. Digital creativity, and specifically video games are at the forefront of these social forces. Digital creativity is being positively affected by technology-mediated production. Advances in technology are providing the digital artist with enhanced brushes and canvas to work with. The status of the artist in games is in dire need of enhancement - one look at salary levels for 2d or 3d artists in game production teams compared to those in other roles gives the picture. Yet the frequent and ever increasing online communication regarding game production techniques and processes gives another picture - that the levels of creativity and problem-solving are just as high in game art practice as in any other field of game production or design.
The video game art-worker is therefore a participant in social action, the democratisation of game production - you don't need to be mystified about how effects or artefacts are produced. Many computer games allow the player to move from player to editor then to creator, with the ability to create new levels and introduce new gameplay elements. Now console games are allowing this. To have Little Big Planet allow anyone in the family to create while playing will only extend the process, making video game creativity broader and more deeply expressed. No need to wait for Art to catch up with life, go and investigate, create, practice, play and watch how artists are created, and how skilled technicians are providing tools for would-be artists. Now pick up your Red Builder Brush (Unreal Development Kit space creation tool).
In his mid-forties, Brian Cattell has been involved with playing video games since Space Invaders was a coin-op, sometime in the seventies, breaking in the eighties for Fine Art degree (no fees to pay!), restarting during a Masters in Electronic Graphics. Continuing during gainful employment as a freelance multimedia designer and software trainer, with a dwindling amount of gaming hours caused by starting a family, and teaching Computer Games Design at the University of Wolverhampton since 2004. Play has turned to playful creation and editing. He loves what they are doing with software at the moment.