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Alan Wake: Dumbest Writer Alive

RND/ To consider the mere notion of Alan Wake – proto / ur-dumbest (/bad / pulp) writer alive:

Part of theorist Robert What’s forthcoming book “How To Stop Being A Writer.”

2104 x 3804, screenshot from Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.

Alan Wake: Dumbest Writer Alive

In which the actual nightmare is the very notion of “Writer Alan Wake.” If any writer capable of generating such ‘misery’ (see what I did there) ever needed a swift typewriter hobbling with a handy sledgehammer, it’s Alan.

It is suggested fellow Researchers try zooming in and out of this image, since Alan’s idiot-salmon style eyeballs rapidly change from ‘dumb textual calm’ to the start realization-horror of “OMFG I’m the very reason potential non-writers should develop writer’s block.”

Example Reference Link

Alan Wake Wiki

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Internet Art

Cosmic Thumper: Psychedelic Gaming OST Remix Video

RND/ to consider a ‘cosmic’ audio remix of the end boss fight in classic rhythm violence game Thumper, using incredible track Legend from 1996 album Fly, Fly My Sadness (Bulgarian Voices Angelite feat. Huun Huur Tu.)

Format: MPEG-4
File Size: 401 MB
Duration: 7 min 44 s
Frame Rate: 60 FPS
Dimensions: 1920 x 1080
Chroma Subsampling: 4:2:0
Audio Bit Rate: 128 kb/s

The result seems a potent brew of impossibly ancient mushroom based plant teachers, the expansive plains of the Mongolian-Russian border, mind searing cosmic horror, ideas concerning spiritual evolutionary ascendency, the birth of a new (‘near future retro 80s’ universe, and hyper-futuristic mind-controlled videogame brain console plugins free in packs of mango bubblegum.

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Internet Art

Manifold Garden: Game Critique and 4K PC Screenshot Photography

RND/ To consider William Chyr’s architectural puzzle game Manifold Garden: a general critique.

0. Manifold Garden works best as an ambient mood generator. At no point in the ‘mood trailer’ are Puzzles even mentioned. This is telling:

Some 4K screenshots (PC version):

Some notes arising:

1. Aesthetically, M.G is pleasing – plain, straightforward and exacting. But the unique appeal of its spectacular pastel landscape fades away too quickly. Developer William Chyr states the game is a first person puzzle exploration game with unusual physics, impossible geometry and ‘crazy architecture’.

There seems little particularly ‘crazy’ about M.G’s architecture. Indeed consider arguing it has no architecture as such, but rather merely repeated geometrical structures within a tightly bounded logic space. In comparison, NaissanceE by Mavros Sedeño more truly expresses architecture. While certainly architectural, M.G lacks the strong sense of place felt in NaissanceE. There’s just no there, there.

The trees don’t feel like trees, the birds do not fly as if around futuristic ruins of some vast abandoned megacity. It’s coldness and abstraction are M.G’s only strengths, and loose talk concerning attempts to place it within the context of ‘traditional’ videogame architecture are highly problematic. M.G seems more of a conceptual space outside of space, than a place. If only this particular aspect of its existence had been developed and emphasized.

2. M.G’s comparisons with, and contextual placements within M.C. Escher’s visionary universe seem to miss the point. Consider that the ‘physics’ of Escher’s classic lithograph print “Relativity” from 1953; while certainly unique, they are not in fact the main philosophical interest. Rather, it’s the radical changes of psychological perspective of the beings who live there, who must be able to process such shifts instantly.

They seem to live in such a world in harmony, without confusion. While M.G succeeds at the job of forcing players to continually (literally) re-orient themselves within the game space in order to progress, it says very little about why precisely they should bother. Progress from one puzzle to the next is lifeless grind with fake rewards.

3. Why does (/such) gameplay even exist? Why does anyone have to ‘solve puzzles’? Why this pathological obsession with logic based rules regarding interactivity? Why do videogames have to be intractable? Indeed who really gives a flying shit about Puzzles when such a rich and potentially strange space ‘exists’? The question of why such a space as M.G would even feature goddam puzzles as core part of its existence is in no way answered. The enforced-fun ideology of ‘Because Videogames’ isn’t good enough, and hasn’t been for a while.

4. A possible key story context for M.G:

You are a freelance theoretical mathematician, working late one night on a strange new theory of conceptual space. Falling asleep at your desk, you dream of a ‘manifold garden’ of unearthly physics based delight and impossible architectural fantasy.

5. As it turned out, Manifold Garden precisely needed no less than a minimum of seven  whole years of developmental struggle. Yet, if only The Real Game was the actual development cycle itself – rather than the dubious end goal of another extremely polished, ‘AAA-Indie’ title. Dubious that is, because it’s based on seven years of crunch, rather than seven years of active, dynamic evolving play. In this new paradigm, “Gamedev” should be the always live, realtime game and not merely the (bone-achingly slow) means by which to churn out another highly artistic digital product, cynically used to sell an exclusive gaming platform owned by war mongering hyper-capitalist billionaire assholes.

6. Rather, consider if Manifold Garden were a set of advanced research and developmental tools for playfully generating (and actually exploring) such delightfully odd spaces. Mere dumb puzzles alone can’t sustain M.G, no matter now cleverly designed – especially when the most interesting thing about it is the ability to simply drop off a ledge and fall, fall without a care. What about a landscape that endlessly changes over time as one soars through the airless digital air? Imagine this game mixed with fractals and Gravity Rush.s

7. A game breaking bug preventing saves stopped one from continuing. I found I wasn’t sad enough to leave. The game also needs VR support and (/better?) Rim Lighting to more clearly identify and differentiate edges (added artificially in screenshots seen above.) There are too few strong emotions on display in the Manifold Garden. It’s initial beauty soon turns out to be cold and emotionally alienating – a little too much like Jonathan Blow’s soulless game The Witness.

8. Puzzles are dead. Balls to puzzles – what are you, the fucking Riddler? ([..] ‘exhibits personality disorders consistent with a fanatic narcissist, egocentrism, and megalomania crossed with severe obsessive compulsion’ – Wikipedia.)

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Internet Art

Explore Interactive Low Poly Dioramas Overland Without Goals

RND/ Oh to explore interactive low poly dioramas overland without goals:

3840 x 2160 .jpg, Overland game screenshot, edited in Gimp

Explore Interactive Low Poly Dioramas

Example Reference Links

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Internet Art

Game Development As Living Death

RND/ to consider streaming for two hours with zero views, all just to get some fucking red cube to appear:

Now that’s some (/seriously misguided) dedication – but to what, inexactly? Some dim, dull videogame that nobody will play – or simply consume whole like Pez candy before casually discarding along the abandoned neon superhighway to techno-blivion and the next-big-entertaining-nonthing?

2484 x 2796 .jpg, screenshot via Twitch

 

Gamedev As Death

In which modern game development basically seems raw living (‘crunchy’) death.

Example Reference Link

// how to play big science