Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cobra Club as ouroboros

This is a post detailing my process and intent in making Cobra Club. It has SPOILERS; if you care about that kind of thing, then you should probably play the game first.

(Again, SPOILER WARNING is in effect. Last chance!...)

Cobra Club is a photo studio game about taking dick pics. Ideally, lots of them. As you take dick pics, you also chat with NPCs and potentially share / swap dick pics. It breaks with my previous three gay sex games (Hurt Me Plenty, Succulent, Stick Shift) in that there's little control of the character himself, there's a complex interface, and there is no visual innuendo. In this game, a dick is a dick.

But it's not just a dick, it's your dick!... Well, kind of. To me, that ambiguity is what elevates it slightly above a mere dick pic generator.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pardon the interruption

Haven't had time to write lately -- it's finals week here in New York City, so it's been pretty busy with grading and making sure students turn things in. If you happen to be in the area this month though, I encourage you to check out the student shows at two of the departments where I teach:
  • Parsons School for Design MFADT Show Reception. Monday, May 18 at 6 pm. 6 East 16th St, 12th Floor, around Union Square. Wide variety of technological / conceptual / commercial projects, from experimental VR installations to new apps to future fashion to performance.
  • NYU Game Center Student Show. Thursday, May 21 at 6 PM. 2 Metrotech Center, 8th Floor, around Downtown Brooklyn. All kinds of board games / physical games / digital games, mostly by the MFA students, but with a few undergraduate projects on display too.
See you around maybe.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Lighting theory for 3D games, part 3: the heresy of three-point lighting

This is part of a series on how I approach game lighting. Part 1 was about light fixtures, and part 2 is about light as a formal material.

In part one, we began by thinking about light culturally -- light has meant different things to different people across history, and you must consider that meaning when lighting your spaces. But in part two, we observed that much of our everyday relationship to light is more immediate and less intellectualized, that we often use light to help us do things. Theoretical frameworks about light help us articulate what we think the light is doing.

One of the most common theoretical frameworks for lighting is the three-point lighting system, used mainly in photography and film. As I argued in part 2, one of light's most important jobs is to allow you to read the surface or topology of an object. The three point system helps us formalize light source in terms of how to "read" an object. (I also argue that it has some serious weaknesses for 3D video games, but we'll get to that in a minute.)

It's called "three point" because there's at least three light sources involved: