This week I played Angry Birds. It’s a very interesting game, very individual when it started, not anymore of course. The way they slingshot functions with the different kinds of birds means that the game focusses very little on the solid ground in the levels, but instead it focusses on what moves about. And an interesting and very key part of completing each level in angry birds is the birds, that love to dance about next to the slingshot. The order that these birds line up is how the game presents the tools the player has to complete the puzzle. But while angry birds is different, it still presents a space meant to mock a battle ground, with your side and the pigs side. Each level presents the level to you and if you know what you’re doing you can check for weak spots and find where to target.
As the game progresses it introduces you to new birds one by one. Each new bird comes with a collection of levels that will steadily teach you how to use the birds abilities to deal with new problems and how they can work with other birds. This is a really good presentation of the levels and their construction must be very interesting. I think if I were to make a level for Angry Birds, I would probably start with a structure of the level, ignoring the type of blocks used but paying attention to their shape. After it is structurally sound and interesting, I would begin choosing the birds to be used in the level. This list of birds would decide the block types being used, so that there can be obvious or not so obvious weak points. Things like the blue birds would mean more glass blocks, yellow birds would mean more wood, and stone would be suited to bomb birds. This would create levels that suited the presented birds while appearing interesting and fun.
I’m interested to discover the methods that Rovio use for creating their angry birds levels, I’m sure they have a very clever and simple method for creating those strangely addictive and intriguing levels.
For this project I needed to have a user interface to display some variables for the player. For this part of the project, i could have simply gone with a simple user interface, but this is very difficult when working with virtual reality. This is because it can make the player lose their immersion and can make them feel more claustrophobic because something is attached to their eyes.
So, to solve this new problem, I decided to place the UI in the world, using 3D text. However, being new to most of unity’s parts, I needed to learn how to use these 3D text gameObjects. With some quick searches and a few moments filtering through forums, I found the solution. With a reference to the 3D text object, if I get its textmesh component, I can alter the 3D text’s ‘text’ value.
So great, now I can show the player their current wave, lives, and score. But there’s just one problem, I can see the text through my hands.
Well, this certainly was a new problem for me. So I gave it a quick search and the solution was not as simple as I had hoped. To stop the text from appearing over the top of everything, I had to create a new shader. How on earth was I going to do that.
With some searching I found a few different solutions(find them here and here), however they were all from old versions of unity, so I was concerned these shaders may not work. I steadily stumbled through the process of creating a shader, making mistakes here and there and needing to restart to fix the issues I created. But I got there. I created this new text shader, after finding a new font file, I could create 3D text that would be hidden behind other objects in the world! Creating a more reasonable user interface for VR. Hurray!
After having read most way through the SAE blog post about Social Media in careers, I felt like using social media to create a better industry presence was something that I could do. I felt that i could put myself out there and that I would have a reasonable chance to be recognised by the right people to get me where I want to go in the games industry. But then I watched the video about Phil Fish. I then began to consider if I wanted to even risk the backlash of putting your whole self freely onto the internet for all to see and judge.
Phil Fish’s story, while a rare occurrence, is a truly terrifying one. Having to close off your entire internet life because you are openly and widely hated would be awful. While it can be argued that he instigated the aggression he received, the backlash was quite ridiculous. His connection and activity on Tigsource brought him his fame but then brought his downfall. So how much interaction is enough? Or is it the way you interact that is important. I feel that there is no perfect ‘cure all’ for interacting with the community, because no community is the same. The SAE blog post mentions the OKCupid ratings and how more approachable people got harassed less, but were also given less ‘5 star’ ratings. This demonstrates the difficulty of dealing with a community, there is no perfect way to become recognised without receiving backlash. But anonymity also brings aggression, the ability to hide who you are comes like a rush of blood to the head. You can get overconfident and start picking fights. This can be alright when no one knows or cares who you are, but if and when recognition comes, the overconfident people start to turn on you. Using your overconfidence to slander you while justifying yourself. This all happened to Phil Fish, he became overconfident when his name was small. He got into fights and he angered a lot of people. So when his work became recognised, they fought back. Phil Fish did what most internet users do, but the fame just happened to land in his lap when he was doing it.
I hope I can learn from this. To learn what I can from the story of Phil Fish to prevent me from having to shut out the internet the way he did. I can’t guarantee my success in keeping a community pleased, I can’t even count on there being a community for me to disappoint if I couldn’t. But to try and learn something; There’s something I can do.