New text adventure!

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

I tried out Playfic.com to write a text adventure game that’s quite a bit different from one made using the Twine platform. In the playfic games, players are presented with different areas and objects to interact with and they have to a) choose which direction to travel in, b) collect items, and c) type commands to let the game know what to present next. When I first started using it, I used the tutorials on this page. They didn’t give you a step-by-step, you just had to look at “game source” to figure out how to create rooms/objects/etc. It was confusing to me, especially when I wanted to do something that wasn’t described in the tutorial, like give the player the choice to drink something instead of eat it. The concept was really interesting, though, so I struggled through and created a short game called The Surprise....

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Cinderella Twine Game

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

I’ve created a short interactive story using Twine to test it out before using that program for my final project, and so far so good. The only problem I had was hosting it directly on my domain, so I used a site called http://www.philome.la, where you can upload the HTML file from your computer and it does the rest for you. Then I just put that link into my sidebar. There’s also an option for them to tweet about your game on their twitter, so that’s good too. My only complaint is that you can’t edit your game after you’ve uploaded it, so that’s kind of a bummer. I’ve already started working on my final project, and I got some good ideas in Digital Studies the other day about how to structure things. I think I’m going to have less alternate endings now, because I don’t want to confuse my readers. Anyways, here’s the link to my new...

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5 Reasons You Should Use Twine!

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

For anyone wanting to make an interactive fiction story, I would really recommend using Twine, and here are 5 reasons why: 1) It’s free! It costs absolutely nothing to download the program, and as an added bonus installation only takes a few minutes too. 2) You don’t have to be a programmer to operate it. You don’t have to know how to use JavaScript or Python, like some people recommend for creating interactive text adventures. All you need to do is type in your story, add links between different passages, and “build” your story–Twine puts everything in an HTML web-page layout (which looks very nice, in my opinion). 3) It’s easy to use. Once you’ve downloaded it and opened the program, the instructions are pretty simple to follow but they are a bit lacking if you . And there are a lot of people out there who have written more elaborate instructions on how to utilize Twine to its full potential, like this and this. These explain how to add images, links, backgrounds, change the color, etc. Once you’ve built your story, you can edit it basically like you would HTML, so if you have some experience in that, then it will be easier for you. If not, you can still figure out how to make it work through the guides available. 4) There are versions for Mac and PC. I’ve heard that the Mac version can be kind of buggy, but it is available for those who have Macs. As a PC user, I can say that I haven’t ran into any problems yet. 5) The layout is really easy to edit and arrange. When you create a story, it puts your different chapters into little boxes, which you can drag around the screen and order in whatever way is easiest for you. Also, whenever you make a link from one post to the next (that is you have a word that you can click that takes you to a new chapter), a little arrow appears between the 2, so it’s really easy to keep everything straight–especially when you have a really extensive story line with several chapters. And if you decide to link a chapter to something else instead, no problem! You just change the link path, and the arrow is redrawn for...

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New Project

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

What I am planning to do for my final Digital Studies project is make a text adventure game. I’ve been reading different blogs and forums trying to figure out the best way to create a game like this, and most people have suggested using either JavaScript or Python, but I’ve been going through the early tutorials for both on Code Academy, and they’re pretty complicated. Another option that I’ve heard of (but haven’t really looked into yet) is using PHP in addition to HTML, which I already have some experience with. If all of these prove to be too difficult, I can just use HTML and create clickable buttons or links to take the player to different stand-alone pages. The main challenge will be figuring out how to structure the game. The tentative titles for the game are “The Art Thief” or “Van Gohing Going Gone.” The plot is going to be centered around a mysterious series of art thefts. Players will start out with a general description of the crime, and they will have to choose what step to take next–which person to interview, or what crime scene to visit, etc. There will be a few alternate endings, depending on what the player chooses at each step. There will be about 4 or 5 characters who will be suspects and a few of them will end up being the culprits in the different endings. The game will be hosted here on my webpage, like my Reading/Playing/Doing project. As for the rubric, I think it could go as follows: Coding– (60) how well the site is put together, how well it’s coded Face — (30) how the front end of the website looks–how well it suits the purpose of a text adventure game Interactivity — (40) how easy it is for players to interact with/understand the game play Content — (20) does the plot make sense, and is it...

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Drawn-on-Film Animation

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

For my Digital Studies project, in which I have to analyze something using various digital media, I’ve been making several GIFs of the Spider-man cartoon that ran on television from 1967-1970, and spending so much time taking the show apart frame by frame has brought a few things to my attention. 1) Spider-man is a doofus who gets himself into trouble about 900 times an episode. 2) 1960-1970′s animation is more interesting than I would have previously imagined. Before animated movies were created and designed by artists on computer programs, a technique called drawn-on-film or direct animation was used, in which artists would hand-draw every single frame of a cartoon or film. When I first started watching Spider-man, I had a good laugh at the seemingly shoddy animation, with the drawn-out, over-dramatic jumps and fight scenes and often jumpy frames, but after realizing just how much work went into each episode, I have a better understanding of why certain choices were made. Also when you consider the fact that each 30 minute episode had 2 parts, and they were coming out once a week, you realize that the designers and artists really didn’t have a lot of time to finely polish each and every detail, like we can do much easier today on computer programs–and there’s no “undo” option when you’re drawing or painting a frame by hand either. When I was making the GIFs, I noticed a lot of duplicate frames, where two consecutive frames would be exactly the same. I wondered why they would do this, and thought it might of been a mistake until I realized that it might be in order to draw the moments out and make the episodes long enough for the TV slots. A lot of the scenes where Spider-man is on the run (or a certain villain is doing something stereotypical like laughing maniacally or pointing angrily) are used episode after episode as well, which also makes sense if their goal was to save time and focus on the other tasks they had to complete in order to get the episode out on time. As for the jumpy frames, it’s understandable every once in a while for one frame to be slightly different than the one before it if they’re all being hand-drawn. When you look at the frames side by side, it’s nearly imperceptible–unless you’re spending all your free time scrutinizing the show like I’ve been doing for my project. It doesn’t happen all the time, but if you’re looking for it, it’s hard to miss. Although it’s comical now to see the kinds of design choices the artists made, especially when animation has come so far since 1967, I...

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Musings of Frobert Rost

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

I’ve made a twitterbot that replaces certain words from the first two lines of Robert Frost’s poem ”Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” (In case anyone is wondering what a twitterbot is, it’s an automated twitter account that is programmed to update regularly with randomly generated tweets.) The original lines read: “Whose woods are these I think I know/ His house is in the village though” and the words ‘woods’, ‘know’, ‘house’, and village’ are changed out for an assortment of random words I’ve...

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Adventures in HTML: Act IV

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

Colors, fonts, and sizes, oh my!  Today in Codeacademy, I learned how to attribute different colors, font types, and font sizes to my text when writing HTML. In order to do this, I have to add specific tags such as style=”color: blue” for color, style=”font-family: Garamond” for font type, and style=”font-size:12px” for font size (the px stands for pixels). Here is what it looks like from the HTML side of things:   And here is what that HTML translates to on the actual website that is visible to the public:   Here is a list of fonts that can be used in HTML. Here is a list of colors that can be used in HTML.   Right now, I’m working on learning HTML and CSS so that I can build my own webpage with HTML written entirely by me and host it on my site. So far, Code Academy is teaching me a...

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How to Make a GIF in 6 Easy Steps–with pictures!

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in DGST101 Blogs |

Making GIFs is a process that can be irritatingly elusive and complicated, but here I’ve attempted to disentangle the process a little and make GIF making easier to understand. And bonus: all of the programs I use to make GIFs are free! Step 1 You will need to download 3 programs in order to make your GIF. VLC Media Player–This program is used to play the video you want to use, and it can “record” the short section you want to GIF ffmpeg–This program is used to separate or split the short clip you’ve recorded into individual frames. GIMP–This program is similar to Photoshop (except it’s free!), and you can use it to animate the frames you’ve collected and edit them how you see fit. Step 2 Now you need to find your video. It doesn’t matter what you choose, but you need to have it downloaded onto your computer. For our purposes here, I’ve chosen a batman cartoon from the ’70s. Now open VLC Media Player and under “View,” click “Advanced Controls. Four buttons should appear above the bottom-most row of buttons. Play your video in VLC and when it gets to the portion you want to GIF, press the button with the red circle on it (the record button). Your recorded section should only be a few seconds tops, but don’t worry if you get carried away and record more than you need–you can erase the parts you don’t need. Step 3 Now go check your video folder and you should have a file that looks like this, with the same type of title: If you don’t find the file in your video folder, you can just search your computer for “vlc-record” and it should turn up. Now this is where ffmpeg comes in. Open a Command Line prompt (search CMD on your computer) and when it comes up, type “cd ffmpeg” then hit tab. Then type in the following: cd bin [tab] ffmpeg.exe. Then start typing in the name of your video file and press tab to make it auto complete. Then type in -r 12, then img%03d.png. Now your frames should be in the Framer folder. Step 4 Now moving on to GIMP, go to File –> Open as Layers and open all of the frames you just put into your framer folder.   Now on the right-hand side of your GIMP window, you should see all of your frames in a box. If you do not, go to Windows –> Single Window Mode, then hit CTRL + L and it should pop up. Step 5 Now you need to edit your content. GIFs need to be in indexed color, or else the colors will look...

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