September 2010 Archives

September 30, 2010

Creating fierce & fearless females (and males!)

i-love-feminism.jpgHey Seton Hill - the Feminist Collective "club" is going to start back up this year under the guidance of myself and Stephanie Wytovitch and we hope that if you are looking for something exciting to get involved in that you will join us!

What is the Feminist Collective?
     -> Glad you asked! Our mission is to educate and engage students in issues around equality, sexual and domestic violence and harassment and to raise money for organizations that help victims of sexual and domestic violence. This year we are raising money to benefit The Blackburn Center in Greensburg, PA.

What activities does the Feminist Collective do?
     -> You're asking such great questions! This year since we are just building up the club again, we hope to create a big presence on campus to get more people involved and to realize the issues and want to help the cause. We are hoping to bring the Vagina Monologues and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to campus this year, as well as hold a Spring Lawn Party and host a Guerrilla Girls sighing on campus, as well as do some clever fundraisers through out the school year.

Do you have to be female to join?

     -> Of course not!!! One of my favorite quotes is "Not all feminists are unattractive, loud women screaming through the streets looking for a man to castrate." Which you can take a number of ways, one of which I think means sure, you can be a guy and be a feminist. That just means that you think people should be treated fairly...good for you.


Anyway, if you have any questions feel free to check out our Facebook group, email our club at feministcollective@setonhill.edu or come to our first meeting on
Tuesday, October 5th at 8:30 p.m. in Admin 401


September 29, 2010

Not your everyday trip to the mall

Alright, now that we have Inform 7 projects out of the way and we are starting to move on to HTML and creating websites, now is the time to reflect on what we've done with this section of the course, which I have to say, wasn't as bad as it could have been.

With my Inform 7 project I started with kind of lofty ideas and was really excited because it was about shopping and blah blah blah, my little girl brain got quite the kick to reality once I started working on my project and remembered that Inform 7 is stupid and we do not get along too well. However, I have to say this time around went a lot more "swimmingly" than the last time because I knew how I had to word certain things so the game would understand me....it was kind of like talking to a man. (Low blow...I know.)

After I initially started working though, I began to write background information, further developed my character and really got into the whole process, I realized I need to cut back and the player should be more focused on all the text and not so much on going from store to store. So once I got that understood, I decided to (unintentionally) make the game a little creepy. So the setting was in a plain, old mall and everything seemed normal but based on what items the player decides to get first, depends on how the game finishes. Now granted I realize that at the beginning the player doesn't think that buying the stuffed animal bunny means anything different than the jeans but with the background information about the family the player comes from, they could put the context clues together to realize that they should think of their little sister (and buy the bunny) first and buy the jeans (for themselves) last since their credit card may bounce at any moment, so its better to be safe than sorry and get the essentials first.

I half feel bad for leading my players astray in that way but then didn't really care that much after I watched them play and get frustrated every time they would end up with the "bad outcome" and wonder what they could do differently, which was like a game to me as well and I used it as a teaching tool for thinking of others before yourself.

The piece of code that I was impressed that I actually figured out was being able to make the other characters say things based on what happens previously to the player. So for instance, if the player goes the "right way" the clerks are nicer to them. I don't really know how this happened and if I had to repeat it, I'd probably take just as long doing it again, but when I made one of my testers go a certain way (after she played once on her own) and the tone of the sales clerk changed I was happy about that.

Credits wise, I have to give some props to Megan, because she usually told me I was making things harder than I actually needed to, or had figured out something before I did and was able to help me figure it out for my own game as well.

Overall, I'm decently proud of this project. But I don't want to see Inform 7 ever again in my future. But if anyone wants to go on a normal mall trip, I'm game.  

September 23, 2010

Love, Chels.

For my senior year, I am writing a column in The Setonian each issue to talk about things going on at Seton Hill. I'm considering them love letters, hate mail and everything in between, because although I adore Seton Hill, I do also see it's flaws. This column will address all of that with each issue printed. This is the first for the year.

Dear Seton Hill, Sorry I'm a PC.
Let's get two things straight: I love Seton Hill University (SHU) and I love the new Technology Advantage Program. When I give tours to perspective students, I love seeing both their and their parent's faces light up as I let them know all the ins and outs of yet another wonderful part of SHU; a part that, quite frankly, I'm jealous of.

Because I'm a senior, I did not qualify for the program. I only have two semesters to go, and the student needs at least four to cover the cost of the technology. However,in the spring semester SHU announced that all full- time students would receive an iPad. (There was much rejoicing!) And although I love my iPad (I named it Isaac and bought a couple covers for it on Amazon.com as soon as I could) I hate doing my homework on it.

Since my laptop would not connect to the SHU network or even the SHU-Guest network, I started off the semester doing all of my homework in my room on Isaac's notepad application and then emailing my assignments to myself and finishing everything in a computer lab. While that method was not too difficult or inconvenient for short assignments, writing research papers on an iPad is not ideal. As a result, I made three trips to the IT Department to see if they could get the problem fixed.

I thought the first trip would be successful and quick like most of my past trips. However, my first trip resulted in my computer being left over the weekend in the IT department. When I got it back on Monday, there was updated internet security, but still no working Internet. I kept getting messages saying VIPRE found another threat and deleted it. Well, good job, VIPRE, I don't know how you're doing that without even being on the Internet.

The second and third trips were made on the same day. Everything was fine when I left the IT Department, but when I got back to my room in Canevin, I had no internet. I walked back over and came back again with no internet. However, later that day, my new savior, Chris Sherman, came to my room to fix the problem at the source. Alas, I have Internet now. Which right after Sherman left I decided it was absolutely necessary to update my status on Facebook status, proclaiming the good news.

So what was the issue? My laptop is a PC, not a Mac. Every time another tech staff looked at my computer, they all said the same thing: "I don't know what's wrong with it." Until one of them stopped blaming the problem on my computer and finally gave me an honest response: the SHU network was really just for the Macs. SHU-Guest picks up the PCs.

Now, please, bear in mind my first sentence as you read my next. I'm not a guest of Seton Hill. During the past four years, when my laptop easily connected to the SHU network, I was very involved on campus through various clubs and organizations. I'm happy to finally be connected, but really a guest just because I'm a PC? If we're not able to get on the SHU network, is it possible to at least get a name change for the guest network, please? It's a little offensive to those of us, who are still here and not carrying around a sleek, little piece of shinny metal.

September 20, 2010

Let's get real here, Chels.

So let's forget about the last post I made about my Inform 7 project, because that was quite lofty. I'm about to get a lot more practical with my goals since, that's kind of important and since I need to have something decent enough to test soon and all I have right now are stores with nothing in them to buy. (Which is the whole point of a mall after all, right?) No one really likes window shopping.

I decided to get more specific too, so maybe people will actually use outside knowledge of what certain stores sell in them while playing the game. I'm using stores such as, Bath & Body Works, Toys 'R Us, Hallmark, American Eagle, F.Y.E. and Champs. (I'm sure there are some kinds of restrictions about using the names of these places but since this is simply a class project that I don't plan on doing anything with outside of class and will make zero profit from the finished product, I'm going to guess that it isn't a big deal. To be honest the game is eventually going to be deleted anyway since I'm a senior and within a year or so my account and information will be deleted. So I think I'm in the clear.

Below is my new map for my game. MUCH easier to do than before. Right now, the mall is set up, background information is in place and all I need to do now is make sure the player can buy what is on the shopping list and finish this sucker up.

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September 14, 2010

Shopping always has been my favorite game.

So, shallow, lame and juvenile....probably. Fun, for sure! While my next new media project is going to be through a program I didn't have too much luck with the last time I tried it out, Inform 7, I'm going to try again this time with something I've always been interested in...shopping.

Although, I'm not sure of all of the little details, I have the overall idea down pretty good. There will be quite a bit of information at the beginning given to the player in the form of a shopping list. The player will have different people to buy for and for different reasons so she (or he, I guess) will go around the mall finding the items in the different stores. Along the way I plan on making the player hungry, tired, find money, need to use the restroom, maybe even get their items stolen and other random things that would could happen to a typical shopper if they spent a lot of time in the mall one day.

Right now, I only have one floor sketched up, but if all goes well, I plan on including more floors, and sales to increase the difficulty of the game and for different "levels." Also, I plan on being able to reward the player by doing good things, like letting a person in a hurry go ahead of them in line, or flushing a toilet that needs it, or returning money to someone that drops it in front of them...basically little things that could happen in real life at the mall and if we're really lucky, we'll even be able to avoid people the player "doesn't like" and meet up with friends if needed.

So the game will go on until the shopping list is completely checked off and/or the mall closes...hopefully that doesn't happen before the player is able to finish shopping, but we'll have to wait and see! Below is a ROUGH draft of the mall map and where some items can be found.

 

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September 13, 2010

Got an itch? Scratch it.

So after only being back to school for a little less than a month, I have already made my first "new media project." Which I must admit is pretty exciting, especially considering that if you asked me on August 13th what Scratch is, I wouldn't know what you were talking about. Overall, I have to say that this course is shaping up to be very interesting and exciting and although I know for a fact that knowing how to make a project in Scratch or in Inform 7 (which is what we will be working on next) isn't going to get me hired at a leading PR company like I one day hope to be, but being able to maximize my level of patience along with knowing how to do some simple, on my feet, problem solving to get a project done is always going to be useful, in any kind of job setting.

When we first started this process, I really wanted to do something more along the lines of a story, rather than an adventure type of Scratch project since I knew that the Inform 7 project would have to be more of an adventure/game type of thing. So even though I knew ahead of time that the content would be different for both of them, I also wanted the process to be different just so I could test my limits (so to speak) and try to make completely different projects, so I looked into the more narrative Scratch projects as inspiration. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I really liked and researched a project made by Nightfire and actually downloaded the project to learn the coding he did to be able to put that into my project as well, which worked out decently, but after reviewing how he made the characters flash from one to the next, I realized that I didn't think that same idea would work for the project I had in mind, so I modified what he did to fit what I needed.

My project, as mentioned before is about the Behold the Griffin campaign that the Seton Hill Institutional Advancement Center is holding to get more attention around our school's mascot, since at the end of the spring 2010 semester, William and Mary, another small college, located in Virginia, changed their mascot to the Griffin...just like Seton Hill, only (as a biased opinion of course) not as good looking as our griffin. So in the Scratch project that I made, you'll see a little bit of that biased opinion...but it's all for the campaign and clearly my love for Seton Hill.

After my usability testing, I was told a few basic things. First was that the title screen changes too quickly to be able to read everything, which sometimes messes up the rest of the look for the project. Second, one (out of three) of my testers said that the screens that describe the Griffin move to quickly as well, but she was also my eldest and least experience tester, so if I decide to continue with this project and make it into my final project, I will have to do more tests to see if that is a real problem for the entire work, or if it's just because of the age of the user and amount of time that target group has devoted to a computer screen during their lifetime. Also, while the project always worked smoothly (and how I imagined it would) inside the Scratch project page, the same is not always true for the actual page on the Scratch website. Sometimes it starts without being told and sometimes it skips a vital part of the interactive section where the user is supposed to type in a word to move to the next screen, so again, that is something that will need to be fixed if I decide to work with this project further for my final project for the course.

Overall, I'm pleased with this project and was glad that I was able to download the project that Nightfire made, because without that it probably would have taken me a lot longer to bring this project to life.

September 7, 2010

Scratch that...let's try something new.

Well, it's that time of the year again, back to school, I guess it is about time that we turn our brains back on and start to learn a few more things. Let's start with this scratch business.

When our New Media Projects class first looked at these stories/games/things I was a little skeptical about if I'd actually be able to do anything with the program. (I'm not really a computer programmer. Sorry for the letdown.) However, scratch really isn't that hard to use and is actually pretty fun. Even though I did have to re-start my project because there is no real "undo" button in some cases...lame, it's pretty easy to make everything that I plan on doing with this program so although, kind of challenging because I've never worked with anything like this before, still fun to be able to get started right away in a new semester with learning something new that I've never seen.

For my project I am going off of a video I found on the Scratch site called "JOIN WARRIORS OF THE ISLAND RPG!!!!" made by the user Nightfire. I liked how the video flashed each different character on the screen and then said the message it needed to and I wanted to try to do something similar for the Behold the Griffin campaign that Seton Hill is doing right now. So, I'm in progress of that, but still need a little direction in how to make the image flash on the screen...working on it :)