Qual Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

second life, in class

talking to people was fine when we actaully had a subject. it actaully was easier not talking about the questions, just talking baout whatever we were currently noticing or what we expected out of the game. it was somewhat interesting when people from outside the class showed up. you take into consideration what the people look like because you know they aren't from this class and probably aren't college students and may not be from this country. its a somewhat awkward experience interacting with people who are actually in this game for themselves. its one thing to talk to other students, others who are int he game for the same reason... but what is the appropriate way to interact with adults who are in SL? I feel as though they wouldn't be too receptive to interacting with us if they understood that most of us were there purely to observe how they participated within the game.
i feel as though it wasnt too different from intereacting with other students within the classroom. it was somewhat strange not being able to know who the other people are in the classroom who are playing the game. it was hard not to look around the room and try to figure out who else was in my group.
there were two specific "outsiders" who entered into our area. there was a very large robot looking guy who was in all black and a cape. he was talking about building things that peoplein SL would want to buy. he explained to us how to do it. then just before he was leaving he said "flashbang" and there was a huge white explosion. i take that as an insult. ha
the second guy was fromt he UK and seemed somewhat normal. he said he knew people who would play the game for three days straight without sleeping. he said he was 34 and spoke about Manchester United being an overated football (soccer) club. he looked somewhat more "normal" but he had a lot of tatoos and a shaved head. he looked more normal than, lets say, the black robot man/ evil villan looking guy.
i think one of the most interesting things will be the comparison between what people say to you and how people choose to portray themselves. they are often somewhat contrasting-- especially in reference to people who arent in our class.

Friday, September 15, 2006

in class - second life

I spent the majority of my time changing the appearance of my person. I had a difficult time with the face shape because there were som many different ways to manipulate it and I didn't always understand the difference. I'm not actually sure that my person looks anything like me but maybe the hair color is close. My person kind of looked like me to start with I guess.
I was a little confused in the beginning walking around. To say the least, it caught me off guard when people were naked all of a sudden. I was surprised that I couldn't figure out how to change my eye color. I also wanted to give myself a heavy 5 o'clock shadow but that didn't really work out either.
I think my favorite part of the game was flying. It might be because we can't do that in real life. It was fun to be in the air above the setting. I liked how you could control the angle at which you viewed things.
I wish that more clothes were available at the beginning too.
I didn't walk around the island that much. I know that you can get off it but I was distracted mostly by changing how I looked.
It seems like I could probably play this for hours and the longer I played the more I would learn. I hope that the area you can hang around in is more interesting than the island.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

observation of a public locale

Location: The Pub
Date: 9/13/06 (Wednesday)
Time: 2:55 PM

field notes:
  • there is a slow but steady flow of people through the area-- serves as a way of passage to the Campus Center
  • small groups and individuals move through the food court
  • there is a small line of people waiting at La Vincita-- they all seem detached
  • there are 2 individuals seated one table apart-- 1 female and 1 male-- both look out the window and are eating.
  • most people are seated in pairs, not eating, but interacting
  • friends of nearly every pair seem to pass through the area, joining the pair breifly
  • most individuals are doing work-- are engulfed by it
  • there are two people on laptops
  • people are occasionally on their cell phones; some individuals have extended convos
  • as people enter the area, they survey the whole room as if expecting to see someone that they know-- most do know someone
  • predominently students-- with the occasional professor or maintenance worker
  • shortly after the hour, there is a rush of students as classes let out
  • groups of friends talk consistently, even if eating
  • unless going to or leaving a table, people do not travel between the table--follow tiled path
  • seems to be an equal amount of males and females
  • tables around the edges of the room are generally always occupied first
  • the tables with only one individual do not really stick out
  • the vending machines are barely used
  • most people who get food do not leave
  • people who are alone tend to sit in La Vincita, which is dimly lit or on the "stage"
  • the majority of people appear to have just come from class or with the intnetion of doing school work
  • most everyone sits, only one or two people are standing and talking to those seated
  • those who are involved in conversations are generally upbeat, those alone are emersed in what they are doing, or are staring off/people watching
personal notes:
  • the atmosphere and set up of the pub allows for the perfect opportunity to people watch and socialize. every student seated spends some amount of time just watching people walk in and out of the area. the continual flow of people allows for friends to bump into one another and have an unexpected meeting. the general decoration of the area also lends itself to the upbeat feeling of the Pub experience. People seem happy when ther are with others here.
  • a group here who should not be overlooked are those who are actually purchasing lunch at almost 3:00PM. Why are they eating so late? Did they have an early lunch or did they simply not have enough time? They could just hate the noon time rush. Studying their reasons for eating so late in the afternoon could be quite interesting.
  • the individuals who are seated alone tend to occupy themselves as fully as possible. I would assume they either do this because they are simply trying to pass time (people watch) or they are bored but don't want to seem it. there is a young woman who is working non-stop and appeared to actually need to get the work done and soon. she almost never looked up.
  • the two individuals seated a table apart from eachother were very interesting to me. I just couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like if that had sat together or spoken-- and why as a whole species we tend to seperate ourselves from eachother, even when we're alone together.
  • i liked seeing how people searched the room for familiar faces as they passed through. They always seemed to do a full scan of the whole area-- their friends could be anywhere and they don't want to miss them. A lot of people end up waving to eachother and smiling without ever stopping.
  • more than anything, the pub is used as a place to socialize when its not during the peak hours for a meal. The people in groups were there simply to talk and just pass time.

Friday, September 08, 2006

in class: mini-zork

mini-zork is definetly a game. it is odd in that it has no visual aspect to it. i realized quickly though that by commanding the program to look around, it would give you a description of what was around you and what direction you could move. it was frustrating when it wouldn't allow you to move in a given direction.
when i was inside the house I had a difficult time trying to figure out exactly what I was supposed to do. the program certainly hinted at negative aspects... like the dark areas or the door that was nailed shut.
i liked the simplistic nature of things such as picking up the sack that smelled of peppers and eating the lunch or drinking the water from the bottle. it was interesting in that you had to tel the program everything, ie pick up the sack, open the sack, eat the lunch.
the forest was even more confusing because there were multiple paths, some well-lit and others not. when i reached the canyon bottom, i felt like i hit a dead end. i wanted to go into the river that i thought was there but it said i could not swim in the dungeon. i didn't even realize i was in a dungeon.
i am a much more visual person but i see how the non-visual aspect makes this game interesting/different. you have to speak the language of the program and more often than not you are not going to use a word the program doesnt understand. i think when i first saw the screen i was immediatelt turned off. i was never a fan of the old computer programs and entering code to get the computer to do what you want. it reminded me of computer class in like fifth grade where they made us try to understand the code. needless to say that teacher go fired and then next year we were taught word.

before class post

The Goat in the Grey Fedora was a game. There was a set purpose to what the detective was doing and the different locations around town almost served as "levels". You were in control of the interactions that the detective had and you needed to come up with the right responses to get the information you needed. It had really good music while it was loading, too.

Endora's Dream was not a game. It was more of an activity. There was not overall point to the website; no way to win or advance. It was merely changing aspects about Darren's face for your own amusement.

I could not figure out mini-zork for the life of me. Even though there were directions and then instructions on how to "move", I could not get it to work. From what I could tell, even though there were no graphics, there was the possibility for it to be a game, if what you told the program to do had an overall point and you could advance or win. It wasn't nearly as fun to play around with because I felt like I was just trying to enter code into a computer and not actually play a game.

Pash was a very interesting game. you had control over where you character went and what she picked up and who she spoke to. I think Pash was a game for those reasons and also because it was leading up to solving the "problem" of the story line.... getting the night club back. What was really cool about this game was how the different locations were pictures of actual real-life places. This game also allowed you to control your character's dialogue and thus the outcome of what the other characters in the game responded.

While Mr. Picassohead was fun, I do not think it was a game. Even though the overall purpose was to "paint" a head, it didn't really matter what you did and you could decided to be finished whenever you wanted without really accomplishing anything. This was certainly more of an activity than anything else.

A videogame to me is any game played on either a console, computer, or arcade like machine, that has a set purpose and that purpose can be acheived, allowing the gamer to advance or to win the game.
My definition is different than the article "Death to Videogames" in that I don't really feel as though only games that actually contain the element of video should be called videogames. I think at this point, the word videogame is so engrained in our culture as any electronic game that is viewed on some type of screen, that there is no point in trying to reverse the use of the word. What I did find it interesting though, is how it is true that words like "video game" get translated into "videogame" without any real reason.
I think my definition is very similar to that of the author's in "A Short and Simple Definition of What a Videogame is." I agree with his simplistic definition and generalization. Videogames encompass such a large range of games that it is often better to simply group these games together based on genre or type of play or something. I also liked how the author discussed the need for quantifiable outcomes and conflict for the "activity" to actually become a game.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

definiton of a game

videogame definition:
should have some overall point or goal that is eventually attainable.
there should be a character or fixture to the game that you act as or for
it can be competitive but doesn't need to be

the first game we played was not actually a game... all you did was rearange his face... you couldn't technically win.
the detective game was a game. you could move from place to place and there was a way to beat the game. it was very interactive, you could chose your responses.

what is qualitative research?

qualitative research:
-concerned with properties (state and character) ie the nature of...
-there is an emphasis on processes and meanings
-produces a large amount of detailed data (careful description)
-not measured in terms of quantity, amount, or frequency

Friday, September 01, 2006

in class 9/1/06

today we played pong, space invaders, and pac man. pong was clearly the easiest and required mastering one simple skill, returning the pong ball. Once that was understood, the game becomes somewhat repetative. Space invaders was the most enjoyable probably. With so many aliens to knock out, I found myself trying new methods to hit the red spaceship. Pac man was the most difficult, with the ghosts changing from edible to killer within seconds. It was hard to stop going after the ghosts even when they began flashing as a warning of their regaining power. It was also the most frustrating in that it gave the fewest lives before you had to start over. Also, pong didn't have a clear victory point, where the others others gave more a sense of accomplishment when you completed a certain task. I would say they all qualify as games, its just that space invaders and pac man had more specific "points" to them (measurable points).

con't hw for 9/1

In their initial phase of research, they observed five groups of three volunteers, using x-box live for one hour in a laboratory setting. All of the groups were experienced gamers, however none had experienced x-box live. Users were encouraged to engage in "free-form" play with other competitiors not aware of the study. The interation was observed and recorded on video.

Homework for 9/1

The researchers were trying to observe users playing games involving computer supported cooperative play, focusing on specific data, such as identity, sociability and communication medium, and their relationships. Essentially, the researchers are attempting to study groups of videogamers who take part in cooperative gameplay with other gamers, instead of merely playing alone or with "the computer". Through cooperative play, the gamer is entering into a type of social scene, while taking part in the larger activity of the game. Researchers used focus groups to study the gamers sociability and communication with the videogame.