Week Three – Walkthrough & Reflection

A lot has happened in this third week, the most notable of which being I have decided on which of the four interesting terms I came up with during this and last week to take forward into much deeper research. Introducing – Trepidation!

It was quite a journey to get to this point, so you might want to settle in as this is going to be a story.
It all began at the start of Week Three, where I was wading through the sea of intriguing avenues I had found while looking into my initial subtopics. Last week I had successfully selected two of the four words I needed to take forward (Oppression and Existentialism) and so it was the task for much of this week to find the final two. The first four subtopics I looked into (Overpopulation, Escape Velocity, Apocalypse, Colonisation) didn’t present too difficult of a decision, as I found Colonisation far more interesting as a topic than Overpopulation, and far deeper in terms of a research avenue than Escape Velocity and Apocalypse. It had a pretty easy win there.

Oppression however was a little trickier. Of the four topics I was researching (Oppression, Inequality, Ruin, Morality) I found almost all of them interesting, casting off only Inequality initially as it didn’t stimulate me intellectually as much as the others did. Ruin I found interesting but concluded it didn’t have the same amount of research potential as the other two, and so a stalemate of sorts then occurred between Morality and Oppression. It took a little while but I eventually then decided on Oppression, as I found it slightly more interesting post-research and I reckoned I could get more out of it. Like with Mental Breakdown last week I had my heart set more on Morality before I began diving into each of the topics, and so it was surprising that by the end I found Oppression more appealing, but then I suppose that is the point of researching; finding aspects of topics that you didn’t think of before.

With the last two terms then selected, I finally had my four words;
Existentialism, Trepidation, Oppression and Colonisation.

The task then was to create a presentation of sorts that I could use to present my four words to my fellow Games students, essentially trying to sell them on how interesting I found the terms. They would then give me additional research avenues that I perhaps hadn’t thought of yet as well as vote on the topic they thought was the best or had the most potential.

Before I began work on the presentation however, I took part in a somewhat useful workshop with James. As I mentioned in last week’s post we were supposed to select a particular game mechanic or idea to learn more about for the semester, and the one I had chosen was the interactive throwing mechanic from The Last Of Us 2. In order to get to that area however, James suggested we all take a few beginner lessons in calculus. Now I must admit, I didn’t like that idea at all (I hated Maths – both at GCSE and A Level) but I accepted it would more than likely be useful, and so off we went. As I mentioned, this week’s lesson was somewhat useful – Calculus was shown and explained to us, and I got the gist of most of it. It did however serve wonderfully at bringing back those horrible Maths memories from college, so that was also great. Hopefully though once we get through it I will have a better understanding that I can then use in improving my coding skills.

With that then out of the way, I set about crafting my presentation for Friday. I knew I didn’t really want to speak much, as I’m not much of a public speaker and I reckoned a presentation could probably sell my four terms far better than I could anyway. I decided then to make a video – compiling clips and images from each of the four words’ research I had conducted. For Existentialism I added music and a clip from Interstellar, as well as a few existential-style images. Oppression was a little easier – I added images from Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia (along with a few quotes from each) along with a clip from Star Wars with the First Order. I then added the Imperial March as backing music just to hammer the idea home.

Trepidation was a little trickier, so I used the Main Title from Alien to add that element of mystery while explaining the word’s meaning through text over some ominous looking background images. Finally, I added a clip from an episode of Doctor Who that I found post-research that really captured the essence of Fear of the Unknown, so I just had to include it. Colonisation was less tricky, although I did have to present two different sides to it (the lighter space colony side and the darker African invasion side). I added a series of images and quotes from both aspects, along with an interesting clip from a documentary about the colonisation of Africa entitled Uganda Rising to finish up. You can view the finished product here:

With the presentation all set, it was time to use it (I finished it on Thursday evening – it took a surprisingly long time to create). On Friday, I was the first person to present (which I was very happy about as you can probably imagine, but hey ho) so I walked up to the front, said a few words and hit play. After it was all over, Adam then asked me which of the four words I preferred. If I am honest, I hadn’t really thought about it that much, as I had been too busy painting each of the four equally well in the video. I was on the spot however, so I picked the word that I thought stood out the most while I was watching the video with everybody else; Trepidation. The images and particularly the Doctor Who clip had stuck out to me more than the others, and at the time I found it more exciting than the others. It seemed then that the rest of my classmates agreed with me, as the support from them was overwhelmingly in Trepidation’s court.

The notes by my fellow Games students (hearts represent votes):

It seemed then that the decision was settled; I would be taking Trepidation forward. While sitting afterwards and reflecting on the presentation, I found it quite interesting that while on the spot I had selected Trepidation over the rest. I reckoned that the knee-jerk reaction I had told me which one I found the most interesting deep down, and so the one I really wanted to take forward. The support from my classmates was really useful too, as I found their suggestions quite intriguing – particularly the dependency on religion one above. I thought about it for a good while, weighing up the other topics with Trepidation but I found myself leaning far more than before towards it, and the others suddenly didn’t seem anywhere near as interesting.

I then had a quick chat with Adam afterwards, and he suggested perhaps moving away slightly from the fear aspect of Trepidation and instead looking into the unknown factor i.e. what makes different aspects of areas or topics unknown – snow, oceans, space etc. It was an intriguing suggestion, and one that I will definitely take forward into the much deeper research I will begin next week. That is of course my next task; to really dive into Trepidation, and then present my findings in two weeks again to my classmates. Should be fun.


Reflection On The Week

Week Three was overall a bit of a rollercoaster. It was very busy; research to find the final two words took up much of the first half, and then crafting the presentation video and choosing what images and clips to best represent the four words then used up the rest of it. It was all worth it however as I found the presentation on Friday incredibly useful. The “on the spot” decision for Trepidation gave me a good indication of which word I should choose, and then that combined with the support and ideas from my classmates as well as weighing the word up with the other three and finding far more ideation and interest in the first really sealed the deal. Not only did the presentation really sell Trepidation to my fellow Games students, but while watching it with them it really sold me too. By the end of the session I not only had my topic to take forward but also a fair amount of ideas for research too, and so that should make the next couple of weeks something to look forward to. Indeed, I can’t wait to start diving into Trepidation. All-in, Week Three has gone really well, and I inch ever closer to a final game idea.

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