How to Research – Skateboards (Unit 12 2.1, 2.2)

Recently we have been recapping on how we conduct research to prepare us for when we start researching for our final major project. we started going back to researching, by starting with a topic chosen by our tutors, Skateboarding, this was chosen as it was a neutral topic for all of the classes in the media department and a topic that only a few of us would have major knowledge on. So to find out what we knew already, we were placed in too groups of 5 (Except my Group which was a group of 3 people) and we all wrote down what we already knew about skateboards. The image below is the final mind map that came out from our knowledge of skateboards.

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The Skateboard Mind Map – What we knew already.

Once we had wrote down what we already knew we watched a documentary called “Dogtown and The Z-Boys” that talks about the origin of skateboarding and the rise in popularity, then the fall and the rise again. As well as some of the most popular skateboarding celebrities of the past known as the Zephyr Skateboarding team (The Z-boys) and how they grew up with skateboarding. From this documentary we took notes to further what we knew about skateboarding and then continued to research into a specific area of the topic to create a new list of what we had learned.

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The Skateboard Mind Map – From Our Research

Our second mind map is a lot more detailed than our first as it goes in to those areas that we all looked in to like the Bones Brigade and the materials used to create a skateboard and how that has changed over time. While conducting the research, we used different research techniques like Boolean operators, truncation symbols and wildcards. The screenshots below show me using those different techniques.

Boolean Operators

boolean

Boolean Operators are the simple words like and, or and not that are used to combine or exclude keywords when searching to make the results more focused and productive.

Truncation

truncation

Truncation symbols are used as a way to make sure that the search would focus on results that would work more towards my needs. It sets it up so that any word that has an asterisk at the end of it would have an effect on my search. From my example, I can get the results of “skateboarder” and “skateboarding”.

Wildcard Characters

wildcard

If there was a chance that I wanted to specify my search to either “skateboarder” or “skateboard” without getting any results for “Skateboarding”. I would use wildcard characters to make sure that anything from my search that has been specified to talk about skateboarders and there skateboards and not skateboarding.

Evaluation

From this task, I have learned new ways to conduct research using search engines as well as the new researching techniques. This will help me conduct my research for my final major project to make all my research relevant to my focus area.

How to Research – Level Design (Unit 12 2.1, 2.2)

Recently we have been looking at new research techniques and how we could apply them to our research when we start looking at our final major projects, to continue to improve our research we will be starting off by looking in to our final major project. I will be looking at Level design in hopes of furthering my knowledge on level design and looking at new areas that I haven’t looked at before.

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I started off this task by looking at what I already knew about level design and creating a mind map showing that off, while I basically only listed a few areas that I knew about there are still some particular parts that I believe I should still look in too, as an example I believe I should focus on what level design is, and some key events within the history of level design.

Level design is a specialised area of games development that focused on the creation of video game levels to determine how it looks, how the missions will play out, where the locales are set and how the stages will progress. Level design is done mostly by using a level editor software like Unreal engine, RPG Maker and Game maker to create digital environments. This is extremely important to a game as without the level you won’t have anything to do, even the earliest of games like Pong have a level design, even if it’s just a few lines of collision.  Level design has been with games since the beginning starting with the Magnavox Odyssey which used Plastic sheets which would be attached to a TV with a small cartridge that would change how the block lights behave and how the game would control.

Ever since then Level designs have evolved tremendously from just a black screen with two dots to hyper-realistic environments that you can explore just by moving your head, it’s definitely has progressed since then. Level design started evolving with arcade games that would have a level you could see all of on one screen in games like Pac-man, Galaga, Space invaders and Donkey Kong, that only changes once you finish that level. Games later started to involve larger levels that takes up fields outside of the screens view, this started on the Atari 2600 with games like pitfall but didn’t start to pick up and become popular till the release of Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. Once 2D games were mastered, 3D became more popular but started off only creating the illusion of 3D in games like Starwing and Wolfenstein 3D but didn’t become true 3D till Doom which became one of the most popular games due to how the levels were designed. This was later furthered with the release of consoles like the Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn and the PlayStation which start using polygons to design large environments that have a 360 design and from there levels just became more detailed as the technology grew.

Furthering this I have decided to look at the first dungeons of The Legend of Zelda (1987) and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991) to see how they have evolved along with the systems hardware. In the first Zelda the dungeons were just one floor with different screens for each room, while a link to the past has larger rooms that follow links movement around the area while each room is hidden away till you enter them, a link to the past also has two different floors in a few rooms to add a new layer of depth to each room. another major difference between them is the colour schemes between them being alot more vibrant in a link to the past compared to the first zelda due to the hardware limitations of there respective consoles. a similarity that both games have is the attack range against flying enemies like bats that can be hit from the ground.

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Evaluation

From this task, I have furthered my knowledge game design and how it has evolved as technology has evolved, using this new found knowledge I will be able to apply it to the creation of my final major project and would also let me consider some new areas of level design to look at while getting my final major project ready.

Sources

Techopedia (2017) Level Design. Available at: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/88/level-design (Accessed: 20th January 2017).

http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Level_1_(First_Quest)

http://ian-albert.com/games/legend_of_zelda_a_link_to_the_past_maps/

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