Somewhere under the sea…

Well, I’m back to working on my Communication and Interaction module properly today, and I’ve spent most of it looking a trailers for games. So the word ‘working’ isn’t entirely accurate…
I got feedback for my submitted coursework last semester. I got a high A for my actual static visuals (such as the squid attack scene shown above), but my sketchbook majorly let things down, as I only got a low B for the research part of the submission. This means that for last semester I’m irritatingly graded at a high B. Apparently I didn’t put in enough influences for my game, so I’ll be making sure to stuff my sketchbook full of everything I so much as glance at this semester.

So what am I looking to produce at the end of this? Weeeeell, the idea I’ve got would be suicide to try and code part of, especially considering how much trouble I typically have with making simple functioning buttons on Flash… so instead I’m opting for a minute-long trailer, that effectively sums up how my interactive novel will work. Easier said than done! It might only be a minute, but it’ll require full storyboarding and animatic production. Though that’ll make for interesting blog work.
Secondly I’ll be working on a general promo video, demonstrating what the actual app will look like on iPad.

So I guess that first bit is my excuse for scrawling through trailers all day. I’ve been focusing on game trailers only, as film trailers are free from the need to explain mechanics or functions, they only have to establish story and setting. And for Michael Bay they don’t even have that to do deal with, BURN!
But even then it’s hard to find game trailers that explain their mechanics, as most games nowadays are first-person shooters or platformers or already established, therefore simply seeing some gameplay shows the games technical side. You have to look at high-concept games in particular, whose selling point is a specific game mechanic to get a trailer which explains how it’s subject works.
A perfect example of this is Braid.

[Courtesy of Number None Inc.]

It gives an impression of setting, story, and mechanics really effectively. Another decent trailer (that focuses more on setting) is for this year’s indie hit Bastion.

[Courtesy of Supergiant Games]

It makes really effective use of a voice-over, which I’m not totally certain I want to include but I’ll certainly keep it in mind. I’d best get to sketchbook-ing these things as well, to try and make up for the slightly disappointing grade this time around. I’ll work on a list of things that needs to be explained in the trailer and start work on some rough storyboards tonight. In the meantime it’s off to the dentist. You didn’t need to know that, just thought I’d throw it in there. Enjoy!

The 10 of ’11
3: Days by Real Estate

2011 was a frankly incredible year for sophomore releases. We saw Remember Remember, Vessels, Battles and many more bands break the myth of an band’s second album being their hardest to produce. Each one broke away from any potential conventions formed on the debut, bringing a fresh perspective on what the band established in their debut.
But Days, Real Estate’s own second release, is, at first glance, very similar to their self-titled first release. The most noticable change is more polished production, which in theory would remove some of the garage-born modesty that made thee first album so charming. But somehow Days is an infinitely more satisfying release, as whilst other bands this year were frantically worrying over how to reinvent themselves Real Estate were focused purely on perfecting their style. And by god have they done it.
The album as a whole feels more thought-out as a whole, as if there’s more of a unifying message to every song, one of contemplative nostalgia, a retrospecive musing on youth in the suburbs. It’s a subject that’s been touched on by countless bands already in recent years, but few bands quite embody that message as well as Real Estate do. Shimmering chorus-tipped guitars, all held together by a backbone of sleepy cyclical basslines bring to mind West-coast surf rock, with the volume turned right down. This is a great album to sit back to, and get lost in it’s melancholic drift.
That’s not to say the band is at all lazy or uninvolved in the music. Most songs end in a jam that recalls that charm the first album had, of this music being not much more than a group of friends banding together and jamming out in a parent’s garage. It’s an album focused entirely on that ideal, and on the age-old phrase: those were the days.


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