Collaborative Virtual Environments- Ark: Survival Evolved

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Ark: Survival Evolved

 

 

What is a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) ? by Ricky Steven

And why am I writing about it?.

I’ll start off by telling you that during my honours year, this is one of my classes. A CVE is a means of creating and sharing work together with one of your peers and doing so with good communication skills and setting out clear goals with the tasks at hand. A simpler form to explain it would be using Google Docs with your chum, where both can edit and have immediate access at any time. Another example would be using Skype as a form of meeting, or discussion on a project. These both provide a great service which is free and should serve as a vital tool for any modern day student/workplace… so long as there is an internet connection!.  

The subject covers the useful methods such as using cloud systems for word documents, saving and sharing data and even social media for communication. But there was also an aspect for using 3D or Game-like software’s. They portrayed the importance of communication, regardless of the environment and they demonstrated a clip of World of War Craft. The clip features around a dozen individuals , one of which tried to create a plan of attack but moments later the plan falls short as a few charge in recklessly to attack an Enemy NPC .

There is a wide range of methods of using a CVE. We will start off with a few examples  which are the obvious ones that are a must!.

Google – If you don’t have a Google/Gmail account then you must still walking around with your eyes shut walking into rakes like side show bob!. Google offers multi-purpose services within the touch of button. They offer the Drive where you can store and create just about anything, create documents,  drawing, spreadsheets, forms/surveys, Control your business analytical and search optimisations. All viewable on any device with an internet connection. And even features Google+ which ties in with Hangouts and Chat, which should really rival Facebook.

GitHUb – Is an Web-based repository hosting service. available online, mobile and desktop it offers several collaboration features such as: wikis for projects, drive space, task management and much more.

DropBox / Other cloud drive service- Easy to use and can be used across many platforms, simply send the link to who you are collaborating with. 

OfficeOnline – Microsoft’s version of Google Docs. Pros -The formatting within other word documents isn’t as proficient as Microsofts and most university’s have office 365 extension for their emails. Cons – People just don’t like using Microsoft products. I use a Mixture of this and Google docs, mainly use this to format my Google docs. 

Facebook – Social Media are a great way to connect and contact peers. Its also very simple for you to create a group and add members to it, this makes it easier to update, inform and its a familiar UI that is very familiar to almost evryone.

Skype – One of the best methods, and now becoming a more formal way of contacting peers or business partners. They offer good cam-2-cam and the more reliable text based or microphone based ways of communication. They are also developing a translation system so you can eventually speak to another person who speaks a foreign language 

Some Early Virtual Worlds (VW)

  • MUD = Multi-User Dungeon – Can be interactive texts based or Vector Graphics
  • MOO = MUD, Object Oriented – The Same as MUD but with the ability to create or program aspects of the world such as (LambdaMOO)
  • Educational/Corporate MUD- Some boast over 50 organisations and 100K users such as (TappedIN)
  • Active worlds – Been around since the 1995 , the same year Ebay started, DVD formats became available and many great movies such as: Ace Ventura, Golden Eye (The game was even better), Braveheart, Casper, and not least Jumanji. But the VW its a 3D active world that is still going on today like many of those classics.

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A nice little reminiscing and a break form CVE, But lets get back to it!

Some Recent Virtual Worlds

These worlds offer a place to explore and be different, although most take these VW seriously and hang out with their friends there!

What can be learned in a CVE?

  • Team building & management
  • Corporations & guilds
  • Numeracy & Literacy
    • A lot of information is communicated in text, and quests/exp is a lot of number crunching!

Many Games offer the chance at collaboration and cooperative skills.

  • World of War Craft – Planing, Communicating, Crafting, Number crunching,optional cooperation (Highly suggested), 
  • Mine craft – Planing, Layouts, Crafting, Number crunching, Communicating, optional cooperation
  • Destiny – Planing, Communicating, Team work (Forced in Raids/Strikes), optional cooperation
  • Ark: Survival Evolved – Planing, Layouts, Crafting, Number crunching, Communicating, Optional cooperation (Highly suggested)
  •  Elder Scrolls Online – Planing, Communicating, Crafting, Number crunching, Optional cooperation, Team work (Forced in some parts)

There are numerous and I simply picked out some of the most popular, and the ones I have had experience with.These were just examples of ways of collaborating out side of the norm, by the means of having the option of doing something fun within a medium like a game.

But the the reason that I have written this, is to emphasis how important these skills are. In the near future companies will need to know who can collaborate efficiently and who can’t, seems trial to many but after years at UWS nothing surprises me. Theres innocence and ignorance, there easily mixed up, but there are still thousands of people out there who know how to use Microsoft word but still don’t know how to effectively use mediums such as Facebook or Google docs. For job applications I would fully expect within the next 5 years for them to ask what ways of CVE are you familiar with and provide examples, I would put it in your CV also!. It could spark a conversation and you would seem up-to-date with being proficient at communicating and being able to produce coursework/ real work anywhere any time. 


 

Our course work was split into two assessments. The First was a small literature chosen by our lecturer , during which we had to show signs of collaborating together using Goggle Docs and Facebook Chat/ Groups, our short literature of the first assessment can be seen here CVE1


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The second assessment which brings us to the title of the page, is about collaboration within a virtual environment.  The lecturer proposed such online worlds as SecondLife, River City Project and Quest Atlantis, however we felt they were abit dated and our first proposal was to use Mine craft and create a village and a learning environment. Then after one of our many discussions on games and tech, we both hit an amazing idea.  Lets create our own Jurassic park in ARK.

More updates to Follow on the play-through, and development of our project.

Don’t work hard, Work smart.

 

DNA Games – First few weeks

So after the first 2/3 weeks of being back at UWS life is good. The old chest nut (my head) has been polished and is ready for yet another year of learning.  So I learned that this year my modules are: Advanced Programing for Mobile Devices  or the choice of a placement, Advanced Flash production , Analyzing Computer games , Law and Legal and of course the Game Project (Zebedee) which is spread over the 2 semesters.

Well for a start I and a few more were miss lead about the placement, me more than others due to a problem with the University not updating the fact that I obtained a grade to get into UNI  never mind the fact I passed the year . So I got in ( without them checking) passed the year and when I should have been getting my information about this year there was a snag and basically had me down as a deferred and non-progression. I so after 3 weeks in University of The West of Scotland I am now a student and enrolled. Any way , back to what I was saying.

We were miss lead and by our course leader , mistakes ? sheer ignorance? who knows. But we were under the impression that there was limited spaces and our class has 30-40 students , also that if you picked Advanced Programing but fancied the placement you could switch in January and vice versa . Wrong wrong and never right. If you picked placement they find you one , also you spend this whole semester gearing up to it. I’m now at a dilemma tho , do I try the placement where I could not have much to offer yet ? even though I am more level headed than my class or do I do the Advanced Programing for mobile devices and learn something where there could be more jobs. Its still early enough to switch and I’ll have to have a think.

What I have learned so far in my Rights And Creative Industries class (RACI) for the likes of games , music, graphic design and so fourth. Is the world is full of “evil bastards !”.

Its all about copyrighting and trademarks and even though when I first seen the module I thought “Another scheduled nap..” Not that i condone such behavior.  But the lecturer has made it interesting , fun and breaks up the class well with video , sound and even searching the web for his examples. Much better way than the old ” read and write” LAZY TEACHING methods. So I have provided a few examples of what we learned in very short form which you can further explore.

  • Batman – The true creator was ripped off by his friend.
  • Star Wars – Tried to shut down their own fans who contribute to the star wars universe (sex toys not included).
  • The Verve – Their song “bitter sweet symphony” is what they are best known for. They don’t make a penny from it because they failed to check out the copyright on a piece of sound they used.
  • Superman – Yet another person ripped off from the original creator.
  • Austin Powers –  They never bothered checking up on copyrights or any other infringements and were sued and put a stop to.
  • Booble – They one their case when Google tried taking them down , as they see there clientele to be on the search engine for a very specific reason..
  • Disney – They chased a group through-out America . Costing them millions of dollars or decades because a small group used to draw their characters in a small comic book.

This is just a little snippet of what we have learned in a few weeks of (RACI) , later we discover the business side of things and how to keep yourself right and in check.

The Game Project – Zebedee

This is the group project which we plan to make a game using unreal engine 4. It’s going to be a very simple exploration game with puzzles in which you have to solve to get parts of your ship back to return home. Through-out this we will learn valuable techniques and have something to show for our portfolio. I shall have a separate blog for this and have others right their inputs on it . Any updates will be posted to DNA Games Facebook page.

thanks for reading and more to follow soon !

http://zebedeetheexplorer.wordpress.com

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email dna.gamesstudio.uk@gmail.com

 

 

 

DNA Games – Glad to be Back !

Alrite Guys!

It’s been a while since I lasted blogged but I am back now. With a new year at University of The west of Scotland (UWS) doing Games Development (year 3) I plan to get back into blogging about projects at UWS and at home.

I will also get back on to reviewing games and maybe even movies ( student budget) if I get the chance .

So from things I develop/make to watching and playing I plan to share with you guys and yous can have a ” wee gander” (look at) and hopefully a read .

Thats all for now  , content will be coming soon !

DNA Games – Ricky Steven

 http://dnagamereviews.wordpress.com/  For Game Reviews

email  dna.gamesstudio.uk@gmail.com

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Nevrax & DNA Games

Alrite guys!Buginator3thick

There has been a new team project undergoing at the University of the west of Scotland (UWS) / (ofof).

It has been undergoing for the last few weeks but only recently has it being in proper development.

This time we will be making a game rather than just designing the document for a game.

The choices we came up with were simple and they had to be as we only have 10 weeks to do this in.

The choices from the brief were to either do a report or make a game. Its pretty obvious that a lecture / lab full of Game development / Game technology students were going to pick. Well if ye didn’t pick a game/software your really not in the right business.

Like I said we made the decision to make a game. The choices in which followed by that were to make a 2D game and something a little different and the best choice was to make a 2D Top-down view of a turret defence game.

I had been chosen to do the graphics and designs of the games assets like the sprites of the bugs,turrets and the games user interface (GUI) as well as the logo.

I then went about throwing together a quick game design document to get the ideas rolling… Game names , themes, enemy’s , mechanics and things of that nature. It looks ugly but its still good to get things started .

https://rickysteven1.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/td.pdf

 

Out of the ideas the team voted for Bugs/Insects to be the enemy and what turrets we would like in the game. The Name BUGINATOR seemed fitting and that’s what were rolling with!.

To begin with our initial idea is that there will be 3 enemeys and 4 turrets. And the enemy’s will attack in waves. This may tweak as things go on but its what our initial game will have.

The game will be made with ( Construct 2 ) by our programmers of Game Tech (Christian + Sean) , and the sounds by another Game Dev student (Jordan) under the banner of Nevrax.

We also plan to put  Buginator to Facebook !

The next blog I will show off what enemeys and turrets I have came up with.

Thanks for reading .

also check out http://dnagamereviews.wordpress.com/  An  honest opinion on “Elderscrolls online” is due this week. Plus “Tomb Raider” and “South Park the Stick of truth” !

email  dna.gamesstudio.uk@gmail.com .

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UWS Project – Imperial Crusade-map concepts /ideas

Alrite Amigos
Q {-Which side of a chicken has the most feathers ?-}
A {-The outside-}.
What is the relevance to do with this blog ? None!
Now that’s over with The other weeks task was to come up with a map. This took longer as expected as there were other University actives to take care of like passing assessments ” wooohoo”
 So the process of coming up with a map was daunting as there was so much freedom my mind did what it does best under those circumstances and draws a blank while sticking out its tongue at me! “na na na na”
 I started off by looking at maps of the world and then as an Idea I though of cutting out country shapes and doing things like.
1) Sticking them upside down
2) Inverting them
3) intersecting them with each other
Placing them randomly almost creating it into an alternative earth.
You get the picture. So I then decided to search and see if there was any map creators out there and by luck there was a few.
This particular one I found was a bit rough around the edges. There was a vast amount of options and settings and by the elimination process your map came out in various and numerous sizes and shapes.
The program which I used you have to pay for so I quickly found a few suitable maps in my opinion for concepts before the trial ran out .
We as a group also had a few slight changes to the game document as it goes with certain mechanics, gameplay and exactly what countries there are and why there at war.
The original Idea was our Team were going to pick 2 countries each (6 total) and write a little about there culture and why there at war with the other.
But now we are thinking of changing  them so its like there emerging from 3 different empires which are breaking apart. This isn’t final yet as this design keeps having twists and turns each day.
I will keep you’s posted.
By the next blog I will have selected 1 map and Named it and show off the 3 Old empires and will also link them into a small story line so it kind of makes sense .. “I hope”
-There after that I take the maps further into detail showing provinces , Key Point Locations and areas of trade.
-Also a small description on units and explain there differences – I.E why is a guy with a Katana better than a guy with a bread knife .
These are the main goals for the next blog , maybe the next two blogs as the document is getting typed , shortened , expanded and re-typed every other day so its hard keeping up and quite fatiguing.
As always thanks for reading , like , share , comment , subscribe and don’t hesitate by dropping an email if any idea you like or don’t like or even have , all is welcome…
Thanks for reading Guys ! Kind Regards Ricky

UWS Project – More Design info – Everything relates to Skyrim in the end.

Alrite Amegios

Last weeks task at hand was the creation of a map which our game is set and takes place.  And also for all members to come up with two playable alternate countries and say why they are at war.

As simple as a task it sounds there was so much of an explosion in terms of ideas and also a loss of how I would develop the concept map.

At first I was going to just take the map of Europe divide it up and move bits here and bits there .. end up with Italy putting the boot into Finland – “my moneys on the Fins”

But its hard to be creative that way so I looked around and found a few programmes in which to do it and used 1 of them . If the worst where to happen I was genuinely going to use Sid Miers Civilisation 5 editor . Like I said its just for a concept map and there are no rules for showing off an idea.

And as for the playable Nations at war. So many ideas which can be spun off this. Religious war/ holy land , succession to the throne in a joint union (moan the Scotland) , claiming land / resources . Even just different cultures creating alot of border friction.

The idea I have  is to have 1 country which gives of an Imperial  Empire Status like the Romans or who am I kidding for Skyrim terms the actual “Imperial Empire” . And  in the Red corner have the rebellious nation who is joined by smaller weasels. And yes I did revert to smaller countries as weasels. The rebellious nation I will try and base this off will be almost like the Barbaric Viking type . Or Nords for the Skyrim geeks .

I am so tempted just to blog about Skyrim now … starts off as a semi related joke ends up with me creating a new character and setting chickens on fire all day….

If you guys managed to get this far reading then thanks very much . Yous are awsome !

always remember to leave feedback via twitter , email or comments bellow !

The map will be posted next week at some point but al be back .. unless I take an arrow to the knee …

email =    dna.gamesstudio.uk@gmail.com

UWS Project – Game inital idea pitch-

(AA) – Alrite Amigos

After the last few weeks basically consisting on hours upon hours or endless dribble slebbering from chin to chin, or arse tae arse ( Scots lesson 101) its now time to see and ask the question . Are we getting anywhere ? . well its up to our lecturer to deicide that.

If you have been following up on the Bloggs then you’ll know the game which we are making a design document for is a Grand Strategy game which incorporates alot of ideas from , Europa universails , Crusader kings and Rome total war 2.

That is a very brief summery for more information please refer to an older blog !.

So as you can imagine and wee all have been in this boat where you’ve got an idea , you came up with it you’ve created it to you it exists and is a thing and when someone shares a different view ( Everyone has an opinion .. and an asshole..) it can be hard to take .

Were big boys but we can handle criticism , especially the guys i work with .. there bound to be used to it through there life’s . As for me al get over it … check ma face am not bothered anyway !

In al seriousness though were more at the point of . If he doesn’t like it what do we change , adapt or even drop and to be frank ( hey how are you ? am Frank ! ) I wouldn’t know where to start as for me I had a strong commitment behind my ideas for this game.

We sat down and drew up our plan a very simple plan of our ideas on … game play , mechanics , character , story, background and U I’s and decided that we were fine and to go pitch it ,

Well the pitch might have been a little rocky round the edges and even though our real pitch is 6 weeks away  in front of a crowd of potentially over 100+ this 5 minute talk was a little uneasy  – But he loved it !.

He loved al aspects on it especially the part having in real historical battles story’s  into our game to educate the players. The only negative thing was to cut the number of country’s down but its better to have to much and be ambitious than to have to little !

We have yet to come up with a name for the game . This is my task for this week as well as coming up with a concept of a map for our game . if any you guys have any ideas you would like to discus or have an opinion about please comment or mail , What is a good name for a game like this ?

Thanks for reading ! Kind Regards from El Ricky Romance

email =    dna.gamesstudio.uk@gmail.com

 

DNA Games Studios UK -original name – reflection on university

Alrite Amigos (AA)


A great start from me and the guys Ryan Anderson and Mark De Folco-McGuire (more like De fecto).

Our enthusiasm and combined whit got us off to a flyer !!

With the ideas pouring in to what our game could be . Like a big  melting pot … typically of cheese….. but hey I like cheese..


The great thing about My team is wee already know what our roles will be when coming up with our concept as wee all know our strengths and weaknesses , wait no  I mean lesser strengths ! Boom man-chat !!


So its already taking shape with crazy yet rock-face beautiful ideas flowing, 

but that will be finalised in my next blog on our UWS project for DNA Games. 


Also the idea of DNA Games which I supplied seemed fitting and original . What is  your thoughts on the team / company name ? .


also a little moment of reflection … I had to do some work with sound waves and involved such things as drawing them , always a buzz … and doing equations and all I could think of is ….. I actually  miss physics it is Awesome or as I say WOWSOME .


Another was a small chat via lecturer and class .. simple he asked what music do you love which inspires you ? .. loads of Elvis and Hendricks flying about with Mozart(wolfy)  etc. .. me just prior to leaving the car Biggie smalls was playing its all i could think of ha ! 


what do you guys think of the team name … or of the phyisics or song remarks ? 

If you wish interact comment or leave or just plain wave to the screen ..


A’ll b back …….. 

email =    dna.gamesstudio.uk@gmail.com