November 28, 2006

Media Lab: The Culmination

This is a time of change. For most of us, a time of great change, and as the ultimate culmination to that change approaches, many more things will come to an end. This is the last Media Lab Portfolio of the semester. With it goes a great writer, friend, and editor-in-chief. Amanda is moving on into greater things, the next stage of her life, this is the end of the paper under her reign, but what it has become is something priceless.

The Setonian and I, one last time, as is.

The Report

During this leg of Media Lab, and issue of the Setonian, Lori Rupert had many successes. Valerie Masciarelli, news editor, assigned Rupert an article relating to Christmas on the Hill. Specifically, Rupert was supposed to find out the details of the Mass that occurs after the Christmas dinner. After Rupert had determined interview times with sources Cindy Boland and Father Stephen Honeygosky, Masciarelli requested that Rupert do a different article. "I told her that I had already determined interview times and was on a roll with the initial article," Rupert said, "She said it was okay and that I could continue to do that article but would no longer be a part of the center spread."
"Lori's mass article was very good. We ended up not doing the center spread it was meant for...but she had it in on time," Masciarelli said. The article ended up not being in the paper at all, but Rupert still felt that she produced a well-written article. "I wasn't able to find out much about the plans, since there really weren't any yet, but I established a great connection between Cindy Boland and Father Honeygosky. They both stressed the "community celebration" factor of Christmas on the Hill and I think it made for a heartwarming, holiday article," Rupert said.
Rupert also offered to help Evan Reynolds with online production. "Lori was an eager presence in the online production," Reynolds said. According to Rupert, when she got there, there were only four photos to be posted, but she did look them over and play with lighting a little bit to make them look better and she also was given the option of choosing other photos to place online. "Evan just had me look over everything and fix it if I thought I could, and he also gave me the opportunity to add other photos, but we decided the ones we had were quality enough and we didn't want to crowd up the website with too many photos," Rupert said.
Masciarelli also noted Rupert's assistance with online production, "[Lori] also helped Evan with online photos, which I know he appreciates...," Maciarelli said.

The Review

For the peer review, I chose to examine Jeremy's idea. Jeremy, although an infamous "newbie" to the blogging community and to several other things that most of us have been acquainted with for the majority of our time at SHU, has risen to the occasion, so to say. I think it is excellent that a new face, a new student, is getting so involved with the Setonian. Jeremy, not really knowing or being involved in the Setonian community prior to Media Lab, has taken one of the biggest projects under his wing: A Journalism contest. It was excellent to see his reported progress in exercise four. I think it shows great initiative that he called several of the schools to give follow-up details. From what it sounds like, judging from his blog entry and the discussions in class, Jeremy has the situation under control and the only thing left to do now is wait for submissions.

I also give a heck of a lot of credit to Tiffany as well. She is in much of the same position as Jeremy, but yet, has volunteered to take on one of the largest projects: the Journalism contest.

The enthusiasm of both of these "newbies" has surely rocketed them to a new status. The learning, the development, the dedication, and the responsibility the two have undergone, despite so much new information being thrust at them, is amazing. I cannot wait to see the final outcome of the project and I look forward to hearing more of each of their ideas relating to the judging sessions and the "prize".

The Revision

My original idea is still the one I am working with for the Class Action Item. It has been a continuing process, developing between each portfolio. I have almost a complete draft of the item, which I plan on typing up in a Word document. I have included lead ideas from Val, along with facts she thought it was important for a first time writer to know. Also, in the "sports" segment of the leads section, I will be posting, or posting a link to, some information that Leslie came up with. I asked her for her assistance with this section because she is the sports editor. I figured that there were key things she wanted writers to know, especially writers who choose to capture sports. I am going to talk to Amanda about titles, and once I have that determined, I am going to produce a mock-up of what I want the online page to look like. Once I have the mock-up produced and edited (I want Amanda, Dr. Jerz, Val, Stormy, and whomever else to look over it), I am going to start putting the document into HTML to form the webpage, which I will present during the Final Exam time slot.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 1:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2006

The Click of the Lightbulb: A Project (3) Proposal

I have been a victim of "Little less talk, lot more action". To me, this means bomboarded with projects. Not necessarily a bad thing, or something I cannot handle, but it does momentarily disable the "creative idea producing" gene. Whatever. I have an idea now. I already suggested it to Rachel and she thinks it would be a great idea. I want to make a website...for Interactive Fiction. Now, what new Interactive Fiction element is this going to bring to the web? Assistance. I know that in my first trials with IF, I was frustrated and hated the thought of Inform 7. Now, I love it. I love doing the coding, feel comfortable enough with it to offer help, and am obsessed with troubleshooting my own problems. I figured out what worked for me when i was stuck (seeing someone else's coding, and then doing my own) and the methods I have used to help others seem to work. I want to be of assistance to every struggling Inform 7 user out there. I figure that by using some of my coding as examples and also providing what coding the "player" would see, could maybe help others troubleshoot their problems as well. I think that the Index and documentation within the program are a little too technical for someone just starting out. So, to a student (or number of students), I would like to write a tip/tutorial type website. I figured that I could have different pages with different elements that I struggled with or that I have seen people struggle with. I wouldn't be describing IF, I would be explaining it...on the level of a first timer. Inform 7 is fun, once you get the hang of it..and I want to attempt to help other's realize that.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 9:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2006

Little Less Talk, Lot More Action

In the itsy, bitsy space of Maura 334, nustled deep inside the Seton Hill campus, there lies a video gaming culture. In this video-gaming world, it's portfolio time again.

Previously, my portfolio was filled with commentary. From myself, from others, agreeing, disagreeing; written responses were the meat of my blog. If I was pushed before, well this time I've been shoved and am falling, because this chunk of New Media Projects has sent me full throttle into a tougher unfamiliarity. I have been victim of "little less talk, lot more action". Projects replaced reading assignments, thus we began to do, rather than just learn and absorb. Dr. Jerz pushed us to demonstrate that we had learned and developed in the bursts of video-gaming technology that we had been exposed to. We, as college students, were expected to start applying what we had learned and to start forming something of substance and finality, rather than just a segment, during which we had done all of our learning, and was more than likely left unfinished.

It was a journey, and while I'm still no expert, I'm better than I was.

The Journey (of the Catholic Social Teaching Project(s))

  • The Idea Initially just a proposal, but I did end up following through with this idea, as you shall see.

  • The Content And how it is (hopefully) going to teach someone about Catholic Social Teaching. I also mentioned my growing ability to troubleshoot my own problems and actually solve them. I was pretty excited.

  • The Expansion I don't feel that the experience I hoped a user would get from my game is an accomplishable task with just character scenario in place. To really finish my game, I feel that more is necessary. Thus, for project 1 and 2, I've decided to make one reeaallyyy long Interactive Fiction game.

  • A Point of Progress I have finally finished! But really, I only finished a segment of my game, not the whole darn thing. I promise, there will be more (of my game).

The Journey of Praising Words and Moral Support (with all of the stresses due to video-gaming software)

  • Comment Verbal. Okay, so I should have blogged about it, and commented on the blogs, but I did comment several people on their games. I verbally expressed to Stormy, Karissa, and Amanda, how great I thought their Project 1 finished products were. Playing them and getting the different experiences each person had in mind was a great experience. I think they, as well as the rest of the class, including myself, have done a great job of applying the skills we are learning. The learning is fast paced and the material isn't easy, but I think we have all stepped up.

The (Magical) Wildcard

  • A tribute, if you will As a tribute to the first class and set of humans I had to experience IF with, I present my richly linked blog entry on none other than Interactive Fiction.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 6:34 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

The Second Stage: A Point of Progress

My ability as a teacher of the Catholic Social Teaching is developing. Rather, my game, expressing the words of the CST, is developing. I will not, however, be posting it online just yet. My Project 2 is going to be an expansion of my game. The whole point of my game was to have at least two different personas for the player to experience. Right now, for project 1, I only did one, at the suggestiong of Dr. Jerz. To truely get the experience and understand the methods of CST, I think that my game needs another persona, so I have chosen to develop this for Project 2. Thus, my game is not finished I really don't want to post it. But I have reached a point, a point of progress, I like to refer to it as. I have finished the development of one character. I have an entire scene, or series of scenes if you will, coded. I am stuck right now with the player transition, but Dr. Jerz found me a place to look for help in the Inform table of contents. I feel that I have reached the top...of one to push through to the end...I have to say, this is going to be one long game. Hopefully it's one, long, good game.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 9:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2006

Informative Information Nuggets: A Collection of the Portfolio 2 Persuasion

I feel as though my education here at SHU is coming to a culmination. I say this because I am beginning to connect everything I am learning. That concept, on top of all the new things I am actually physically and mentally learning, makes me really feel like I'm...well..growing up. Opening up. Living. Take it how you will.

Another hunk of informative readings and knowledge-increasing learning experiences is what you will find inside. My blog continues to develop as my writing style develops and my knowledge of internet-related tools develops. Repeat occurences with certain softwares (Interactive Fiction), and more relations and connections involving communications represent the "information nuggets" the enticing title brags about. (Please suppress your groans) Thanks. :)

With that said, I have one question: Are you ready?

The Gang's all here. It's all inclusive, literally.

  • A Message About Memes. An overview of Meme and Conduit, in the eyes of Dawkins and Reddy, respectively. Of course, a splash of Lori is also thrown in.

  • Along with the authorship of our first individual websites came usability testing. While Karissa related usability testing to the writing process, I related it to communications. Lately, this has been a common occurence on my blog.

  • A word Toggle. Tog Toggles his words. (And ideas).

  • There was a time in our class when a little Wikipedian emerged from every student. Along with the Wikipedia exercise was our own usability test, conducted on another class member's website.

  • After working my way through one session of Inform 7 and Interactive Fiction, I was introduced to it again. And again, I compared it to communications. I took Scott Adam's speech and focused on the interpretation aspect of Interactive Fiction in relation to communications. On a more in depth level, I again relate Interactive Fiction to communications, along with a mention of two popular IF games, Galatea and Photopia.

  • Dr. Jerz released us upon Baf's Guide to the IF Archive with strict instructions to play a game with a partner. Cherie and I chose to play Ad Verbum.

  • My own personal Interactive Fiction playlist.

  • A magical collaboration of my IF experiences.

  • I wouldn't say that I was fond of Nonlinear Storytelling...more or less...just indifferent.

  • Although I didn't develop an extensive transcript, an idea is in the works for my first EL236 IF project.

Communicating on a Deeper Level

I have been having fleeting thoughts about posting an entry drawing all of my communications entries together; since all of the communications related entries are deep, and there were quite a few this time, here is a little preview.

  • Memes made me think. I really got into depth wth some of my own thoughts and connections. Warning: This may be the only in depth entry that doesn't relate to communications.

  • To me, Usability testing related to communications. While there were no outside links in this entry, I am beginning to further my education by bringing all of my knowledge together.

  • Mind Magic: What Stems from Personal Interpretation. Scott Adams attends to his audience and works for them, much like a communications professional must work for their client. In order to properly satisfy a target audience, one must gain an extensive amount of knowledge about that audience; Scott demonstrates this communication tactic.

  • After all of the Interactive Fiction run-ins I have had, I finally communicated with it. Er. I interpreted it on a communications level.

  • This one's probably my favorite. Pretty much for the fun part at the beginning. The assignment: A richly-linked blog entry about Interactive Fiction, with links to all of our IF reflections. My reaction: It was purely magical.

Check OOuuttt These Links

Interacting (More with Fiction than my peers)

  • Admittedly, I wasn't very "interactive" this time around....blame IF and Inform 7, they sucked up all my "interactivity"....but I did post a lengthy entry about Rachel and Karissa's individual websites. I was attempting to help in the best manner that I could by testing their sites for usability. Within this entry, I linked to a few of my peers and I do try to link to my peers or relate their quotes to my own within my entries.

Discussing (Which was rather sparse....I played a part too though...)

  • The Drudge Debate. Karissa and I agreed that Drudge was a "fisker", but Mike put up a bit of a defense. His argument was well supported, though.

  • My second first experience with Interactive Fiction: Erin and Diana, newcomers to IF, share their thoughts while Karissa and I reminisce.

  • Although I didn't specify which parts of her entry, I kindly disagree with Karissa and express my desire to further discuss the subject in class so that I can understand her point as well.


As I previously mentioned, comments seemed to be sparse...this portfolio 'round....this entry may not contain them (comments), but it was posted prior to class...this portfolio 'round...and I liked it...

  • I interpreted Scott Adams, and related him to communications.

Lending a Hand

  • I used (tested) Karissa and Rachel's individual websites and offered thoughtful, informative feedback.

Wild, Wild Entry

  • My favorites, which are the ones I include as my wildcards, seem to have a pattern of being my richly linked blog entries. However, I really enjoyed doing the IF richly linked entry. I had tons of links, and I was excited about the risks I took with formatting (the blockquote). I have also started using bulleted lists more. I feel that as I learn more and connect things more, I am becoming more organized in my entries. I am becoming more efficient with using formatting and I am also putting that into practice more.

    Posted by Lori Rupert at 1:47 PM | Comments (0)

Seib: Continued Contradictions in Chapter 7 and the Afterword

Several times I have discussed Seib and stated that he speaks in a contradictory manner, one that often makes me feel as though my job is being jeopordized, which is along the same lines of what Leslie wrote. Seib seems to be conducting the entire chapter slowly, as a comfortable dive into a new area for the reader. Seib is taking the changing face of news, and explaining it in a manner a reader can understand, but he is explaining it gently, as if not wanting to let anyone down. As he states on page 169, "Some years will pass as patterns of news consumption evolve. In the meantime, broadcast and cable news organizations have an obligation to improve their standards and content regradless of what they think the future will bring. " The way he has stated this makes me think that he believes this wholeheartedly and has not announced simply for informative purposes.

Throughout the rest of the book, Seib presented scenarios and then wrote about them, but we were able to see some concrete examples that he then explained and expanded on. It was sort of like Seib wrote previous chapters much like one writes a research paper. This chapter however, it seems to me as if Seib is voicing his opinions. Yes, there are some statistics thrown in there, but the rest doesn't seem like researched, backed up material. The quote I liked and appreciated from this chapter came at the very end and was one of very few that defended Journalism and the importance of keeping its' original means in mind. "As important as the public's obligations are, they do not diminish the responsibilities of the news media in the real-time world. The women and men of the news business must use the new media to achieve the traditional goals of journalism-to provide, fairly and accurately, the information the public wants and needs to know. The speed and impact of real-time news should complement, not dominate, that mission. The technology of communication may change, but the task for news professionals is what it has always been: to act in good faith, doing journalism well and passionately."

Here, Seib is defending journalism and its' original matters and concerns and saying that the online news world must compliment, but still complete, these original objectives. I believe this too. People mustn't get caught up in the whirlwind of "fast news". Accuracy, timeliness, credibility; these are all important aspects of journalism and they should be preserved even if the means of presentation has changed.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2006

NMP: Project Expansion

In lieu of project two, I have decided to go with a suggestion made by Dr. Jerz and expand my first project. Currently, the player has an encounter with a girl of a different class and race; a girl with many issues. Upon this encounter, the player is thrust into the girls' life, complete with all of her emotional drama.

When I first proposed this idea, I wanted to have two diferent scenarios that the player could particpate in. Dr. Jerz suggested this may be too much to do at one time. Considering the scenarios would be completely different, it would be the same as developing two games. For the importance of variety and experience, however, I feel that it is important for the character to experience two different peoples' lives.

For this reason alone, I have decided that for my second project, I want to expand my first project. I want to have two developed scenarios that the player can choose from; each one will take the player through different hardships and rewards.

I'm not sure what I want the second person to be yet, how I want them portrayed. I know it is going to be a completely different viewpoint from that which the player experiences with the girl. It may not be a guy either, since the player is role-playing a guy. Really, within my game, a single person is doing two sorts of role-playing, so maybe they will be able to experience three points of view, if you include that of the player in the game. I want my game to open peoples' eyes to things they don't want to see or aren't familiar with.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

November 7, 2006

Nonlinear Storytelling: The Name Explains it All

First, the name in and of itself is a contradiction. By the context of the article, what I grasped was that IF is supposed to be direct, without much description (prose)? But storytelling is descriptive. Or linear if you will. So storytelling can't really be nonlinear. I don't know...I don't think the title for this technique is appropriately matched. Anyways, on another title wave (haha), I thought Interacitve Fiction was named so for its' inclusion of fiction in the game? How can one interact if there is no fictional characters or things to interact with? Besides, I like the text. I like knowing where the things are. I like having the option to do many things rather than no options and no idea what to do. Sometimes there is too much text, but sometimes it is necessary to the story. Ok, I guess maybe sometimes it isn't, but I do personally like it. I don't really think this kind of thing can be determined as correct or incorrect. I think it is a matter of personal opinion. Who likes what? I like both ways of IF. I think I have experienced the non linear kind. It is the fiction that makes Interactive Fiction what it is. You need the fiction before you can have the interaction. My game has a lot of text in the beginning. But you are still able to figure out who the character is by his actions and his comments. Is the fact that there is still a lot of text in the beginning a bad thing?

Posted by Lori Rupert at 6:01 PM | Comments (0)

An IF project...for the third time

Not that I'm complaining, because by now the repetitiveness should have helped me to understand the software (and it did), but coming up with a game transcript is going to be easy. Well, putting the transcript into coding is going to be easy, but the game...I"m not so sure. I"m not quite sure what I want to do. I have been thinking about it... For the first game, I just messed around and it was called "elevators", a lame name I never quite got around to changing. It was about a guy who goes up this elevator to different floors of a hall. He is looking for something...but you don't find out what it is until the end. It was okay. Hey, it was my first try. The second one was a choice; for my project for New Media Projects, I decided to use Interactive Fiction as my means of developing a game with Catholic Social Teaching as the basis.
For the third, I was thinking something scary. Or at least weird and twisted. I was thinking about using a story idea I had. A friend once asked me a really interesting question: "What happens when there is no more room to bury all of the dead people?" I want my game to be about that. Not particularly what happens, no zombies, I don't think. Karissa is already on that track. I was thinking more along the lines of this. The world is running out of burial plots. You must die soon in order to actually be buried in the ground. But there are rules. One of which is that you absolutely cannot kill yourself. You lose your privelege to be buried. Other than that, I dont' know. I'm not quite sure about developing that into a game....the idea is growing and progressing though and I would like to think about it a little bit more.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 5:19 PM | Comments (0)

IF and I: It's Really Quite Magical

Seton Hill

Upon your first encounter with this room, you were introduced to a word fairy (or an English teacher), who waved their magical wand over your head (shared their knowledge of the online world with you), and POOF you were IFed. Now that you have been Interactive Fiction-ed, which is really more of a process you go about against your will, much like any magic spell or curse, you will be forced to think in simple, commanding phrases. So then, it is much like punishment until you unlock the puzzle, then joy and excitement may emerge.


Interactive Fiction is a puzzle in and of itself. The simplicity with which it must be written and the concentration that must be applied in most all cases of playing an IF game; until one is actually used to this kind of thinking and writing, IF may present a challenge. My first encounter was a little rough. I began to understand more after just looking at other people's code and seeing the context. Seeing it helped me understand what I had to do, and soothed my need to know why.

I am becoming extremely interested in Communications. Unfortunately for my classmates, this means I compare pretty much everything to the subject matter. With IF, I did it. Twice. One direct reference, one indirect reference. Oops.
Three, if you count the mention of the software in my Communication Revelation.This entry also relates IF to an exercise I did when I was younger. Also, in New Media Projects, I remember several members of the class comparing it to Choose your Own Adventure books. In Writing for the Internet, Rachel used the Choose your Own Adventure comparison as well.

My next experience with the software occured again in my EL405 class, New Media Projects. For my first project, designing a game that features Catholic Social Teaching, I chose IF as my medium. I was feeling the best about this software as compared to The Games Factory 2, which is pretty much the only reason I chose it as my medium. Then, I looked at my next week on the syllabus and found out Dr. Jerz was introducing it in Writing for the Internet.
Since I was using this software for my project, I was a little bit more familiar this time and managed to get somewhere when I played the first IF exercises Dr. Jerz had linked to.

I can see my IF knowledge CST project is moving along. This is where I make the reference about my comfort level once I got to look at someone else's coding.

The latest: Playing games for homework. Four different games. Check out how I did.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 2:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 6, 2006

Taking Action: For the Class Action Item

I had initially proposed a class action item in my last portfolio of redoing my high school's website, however there had also been talk of revising the NMJ site. For our last class, Leslie posted a blog about her ideas for contributing to and improving the NMJ site. I thought that she had some great ideas and said so to her.

The comment I left:

"This is a great idea! If people can have one source that they go to that has separate links for individual topics that they have questions about, it would make things alot easier. I think that it would make it easier on the writer of the article and also on the editors who may not have the time to explain the conventions of AP style. Plus, I think it is more beneficial for the writer to learn the techniques on their own. I think they will be able to absorb these things more."

I explained myself to Dr. Jerz and said that I think the most beneficial thing to a freshman would be to have one page or site where they can collect tips written by the Setonians for the Setonians. He really liked the idea, and so for my class action item, as part of the NMJ revision website, I'm going to make a document stating what I think first time writers need to know. These are going to be simple common things that the editors will be free from explaining if I make the document user friendly enough. I also suggested the idea of emailing a copy of the item to new writers. Dr. Jerz and I discussed the fact that a link would be easier to give them, because they could just click and have a site or page with hot tips. Dr. Jerz suggested that instead of making another site that wouldn't have a different name and address than the previous, that I just make a page. So, I"m going to develop a document and put it into HTML to be included within the website. For the inclusion of this document, I want: the number rule, proper punctuation surrounding quotes, a little bit of leads, as Leslie had suggested, and I'm not sure really what else I want to include. I just want the necessary, proper information of the specified things that have to be done a certain way. Certainly, Leslie's resources that she linked to were excellent, but I think that for someone who had never experienced these rules before, a student-written document would be best. Dr. Jerz said that he thinks I have the right voice to do something like that; and I think it would benefit editors and new writers alike.

Does anyone have any suggestions about what else I can add to my document? I just want it to be one page on a website but I want it to be simple. I plan on using lots of chunking and bolding for emphasis and easy reading.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

Media Lab: Third time's a Charm

My last portfolio discussed my difficulties and time constraints, which I can thankfully say have become a little bit easier to manuever this time around. First off, my class action item, which doubles as my group work update also. I have decided to make my group work my action item since I plan to do something extensive for the website. I want to contribute a whole page of tips, and I'm going to code it myself. I had thought about doing something for my high school website, for my project/action items, but something relating to the Setonian would be more beneficial to a larger group of people and would more than likely be of more use. Also, we returned to Seib just in time for this portfolio. Chapter 6...was...a doozy. Matt Drudge is a pretty shady character as Seib describes him.

For my lab report...

Although Lori Rupert has been struggling with finding time for outside work on the Setonian, this issue things came together a little bit easier for her. “I just figured out the best way to work around all of my other responsibilities,” Rupert said.
Even though Rupert wasn’t assigned an article this time, she did help the Setonian in another way. “It has been such a complicated situation,” Rupert said, “Last time I had an article that I couldn’t do for lack of information and this time I didn’t get assigned one at all.” Rupert did not let these things bring her down. She referred to the third time as being “the charm” and it seemed to work out rather well. “I attended a layout lab with my Media Lab class and I have been interested in layout since last year,” Rupert said.
Although the paper was still in the first stages, Lorin Schumacher had assured Rupert there would be something for her to do. Schumacher and Rupert set up a meeting time when they were both actually free. “Lorin was really great about the whole thing. She understood my time constraints and rearranged her schedule a little bit so she could be at the office when I was,” Rupert said.
Rupert got to the office at the scheduled meeting time and Schumacher was there, along with Valerie Masciarelli and Mike Diezmos. The computer wasn’t logging on properly so Schumacher asked if Rupert would just copy edit.
“I told her that I sort of had my own way of doing it and wasn’t really used to the AP marks but I would try my best to get them correct,” Rupert said, “I edited quite a few articles and stayed for about 50 minutes and then we all had to leave for class.”
An accomplishment was made and Rupert had successfully found a way to get outside Setonian time. For the next issue, Rupert wants to learn a little bit about layout. “I was intrigued by the workshop even more than I already had been. I wanted to do it this time, but the computers weren’t working and other things needed done. I’m going to try and set up a meeting with Lorin like that again,” Rupert said.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 1:02 PM | Comments (0)

My Homework is...Fun! (Gasp!)

The phrase I use as my title is probably not one a professor wants to see publicized on a student blog...for various reasons. I must argue though, that Interactive Fiction, much like everything else this year, is teaching me something. We all know that I have been relating various assignments (okay, everything) to Communications and Interactive Fiction is included. I. Am. Learning. I am just really enjoying the atmosphere in which I am doing so. For homework, we had to play four IF games and respond about them on our blogs...

I played:

  • Ad Verbum. I probably should have played this one last...because I played it for the longest. And I want to keep playing it. I really liked this game. The puzzles intrigued me. They were so riddle-like. So very obvious that it took a long time to generate coherent thought about. It took a little while for me to catch on when Cherie and I played it, but by the end of our (somehwat short) playing session together, I wanted to know more. I decided I had to play it for this exercise. Then, I would have a reason to be playing it and it would be part of an interesting IF discussion.

    When I sat down to play it, I couldn't wait to zip through the discussion and the beginning and get to that damn nifty nappy! However, my intentions were not carried out. I couldn't remember the exact path Cherie and I had taken. I went to the north, where there was a door, expecting to be able to get out. Well, good thing Cherie had discovered this part during her first trial of the game, because when the game told me, "The difficult difficult difficult door seems to be stuck closed" I knew exactly what to do. I typed in, "Open difficult difficult difficult door." and poof. The game said: "Your difficult labor pays off. You open the difficult difficult difficult door." And I also earned two points! (Cha-Ching!). PS: I solved the "West" puzzle on my own with "win wooden weapon" and earned 5 points!

    Interesting things to note:

    • Another fun aspect was I got to play a game with a little boy named Georgie where we had to list dinosaur names back and forth. The fun part, I got to make them up. As long as it had "saurus" as a suffix, Georgie was happy. He was puzzled mind you, but happy. Some such names: Puppysaurus, pinkosaurus, Georgiesaurus, and for all the bloggers out there, blogosaurus; it was fun to come up with stuff off the top of my head.
    • The entire time you are naming dinosaurs with Georgie, his little electronic puppy dog is yapping and throwing out Yo' Mama jokes. The one I found the most interesting:" I hear everybody's got random access to your mama." And the one I found most amusing: (Again, to the bloggers) "Your mama's so stupid , she tried to give hypertext Ritalin."

  • Acid Whiplash. This game was....weird. I didn't hesitate to think that it was made while under the influence of a certain hallucinogenic, but then again, maybe these two just have a really twisted mind and very odd sense of humor....and video gaming quality. Either way, I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to be doing....The titles of the rooms and the descriptions were rather weird. And they didn't seem to make sense, neither on their own or as a whole.

    Some examples:

    Room Titles

    • Womb with a view

    • Serpant's Tooth (yes, you are literally inside the tooth. He describes the enamel and the embedded sand, which is how we know we are crawling into a sand serpant's mouth

    • Puzzle One. Why is this one weird? Because all the description tells you is that you are in a "tiny little room the shape of a burning credit card" And when you push a button a door opens up where the expiration date is on a credit card. What is so puzzling about that?

    I ddin't get much further past this point. After the tooth beaver I couldn't figure out how to do anything. I walked away. I came back. Same results. Nothing made enough sense to even attempt to connect it into some kind of logical puzzle answer. I don't even think I was aware of the nature of the puzzle!

  • Congratulations. This is a simultation of having a baby and the description said that pretty much all you had to do was handle the responsibilities of a child. However, the description also said you have the option to blend your baby. Which, as much as I think this is gross, still wanted to see if I could actually do. So I picked it. I started playing it and picked up a bottle. I tried to feed the baby and it said I had to drop either the baby or the bottle. I tried to drop the baby. (:/). It said, "You think....and put the baby down softly. The baby crawls away!" I was like, damn, softly, then I got mad because the baby crawled away. Realistically, a baby cannot crawl as a newborn. They can't even hold their heads up. So I lost the baby. I still had about ten more minutes of required I started over. I figured out how to blend the baby. Rather quickly actually. I had to. I just wanted to see if I could. And I could feel the tension mounting with each phrase, wondering if I was actually going to be permitted to do such a thing. I lost the game. And got reprimanded for killing my child. Then I moved on. I figured out what I wanted, the rest of the game couldn't have been more interesting than that.....(sorry....this is just really amusing to me.....sick and twisted, I know, I know...) But maybe the game maker is the sick and twisted one....who made the option available?
  • Photopia. The last time I played it, although I didn't understand the beginning or the various story lines, I still managed to get three or four colors into it and was really enjoying myself. Then, I hit a wire and the screen went blank. So I decided to try and play again for this exercise. No avail. I didn't get past the first color. I couldn't remember the various directions I had manuevered myself to obtain the seed pod the first time. After 15 frustrating minutes....I stopped this one. I suppose I'll have another go at some point....because I really do want to see what happens....but for now...I'm taking a break.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 1:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2006

Interactive Fiction, Oh my!

Not only did we learn about IF in New Media Projects, now we are learning about it in Writing for the Internet. And on the top of my IF sundae, more IF. I have chosen to do my Catholic Social Teaching Project using the Interactive Fiction program Inform 7. I am still going with my initially proposed idea of a game instructing kids to accept others as equal. I wrote up a little bit of a story line describing who the character is that the player impersonates and I also decided to more than likely only develop one separate identity for the character to experience. Dr. Jerz made this suggestion. He suggested that I may continue to develop it for the second project but for the first, one experience would be enough. If i did write a second experience it would be pretty much the same as writing an entire other game. I started putting the story and the written transcript into coding this week. I'm not really having any major problems and when the minor ones arise I try to troubleshoot them myself. For me, relief in EL405 with IF came from looking at someone else's coding. Just seeing an example of what I wanted to do was enough for me to grasp the concept. As far as this game goes, so far so good...but I'm sure it is going to turn out differently than I had planned because the finished product is always a surprise, I think. I just hope that the finished product fulfills the requirement, but above all, I hope I do a good job of teaching someone about CST through a medium that is new to me. Understanding and realization are what I want people to draw from my game, and maybe more of an open, accepting mind. We'll see. I like what I have so far...except I'm having a small problem which I am working on fixing. My game is also a bit more descriptive than my first IF game and maybe a little bit more fiction than an IF should be, but I think that description is a necessary element aiding in the understanding of my game. Certain demographics of the characters need to be realized without me coming right out and saying what they are. I want people to get the feeling in their heads about my characters based on their words and actions. I want to show...not tell...I think that will have more of an effect on my players.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

A New Kind of Word Puzzle

Of course Cherie and I decided to be partners for the IF exercise of choosing a game a playing it. In my prior experiences with IF, when we did this exercise, I had all kinds of trouble finding a game: some wouldn't download, some weren't interesting, some lost my interest; this time, it wasn't so bad. That's probably because I told Cherie I would kind of like to play one of the word puzzle games and she agreed it sounded like fun. She asked Dr. Jerz and he suggested Ad Verbum. Cherie and I sat down to play the game. It took me awhile to grasp the concept of the word puzzles within. They reminded me more of riddles really. You are at this old house and a contractor tells you to collect all of the "treasures" and put them in the dumpster. The object of the game is to go through the house and collect things but in order to collect them you have to solve a puzzle. The puzzles are often plays on words and navigating in the game takes skill, thought and concentration since most of the recognizable commands to us as players aren't recognized in this game. Say the wrong thing, and you will get yelled at. For example, the first and only puzzle Cherie and I got to together was the nursery. The "nice, nondescript nursery. noticably neat" nursery, that is. There, we had to "nab" the "nifty nappy (diaper)" and then "navigate not north." While in the nursery, which was to the north, mind you, we had to say all of our commands in "n" words. We actually opened up a thesaurus to help us out with this. Initially, we couldn't get out of the nursery and Cherie suggested typing "NEW" which magically transported us out without our possessions. Gone was the "nifty nappy" we had worked so hard to "nab". We went to hints and realized we had to "navigate" south and Cherie made a comment about "n" words. I suggested "Not north" and the hints revealed we had solved the puzzle of the nursery. That was as far as the two of us got together, but it was enough for us to catch on to the game. Working together was great because we had two different minds and managed to come up with much more words than would have been likely on our own.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

November 1, 2006

Interactive Fiction in Relation to Communications

It seems to me that some of us seniors, at least those I interact with on the blogosphere, are becoming particularly good about relating learning experiences to each other. Karissa has compared and related several things to grammar and argument, which are her passions, Amanda is relating all of the issues of Catholic Social Teaching to each other and to the Setonian (and Journalism), which are her passions, and I keep relating things to Communications, which is my minor that i happen to be learning so much more about this year. I keep repeatedly discovering how much Communications really plays a part in all of the aspects of people's lives. Although usually the experiences I relate it to are different ones and therefore relate to Communications in different ways, all of the relations make me think and they also make me proud that I am applying what I am learning.

Anyways, there are a few different topics I wanted to discuss in relation to the readings and also the class discussion. I suppose my first order of business would be to relate the IF experience to Communications, since that relation is pretty much where my topics stem from.

A view of Communications as transactional means that parcipants in the communication process influence each other and are influenced by their interaction context. In easier terms, it explains how a person's surroundings and experiences in life influence their varied reactions to things as well as the notion of the person( or person's) influence by their peers. An example of this has occured to me while revisiting Interactive Fiction for a second time, only in a different class. The two classes are different in topic, one involves alot of exposure to new software and the other involves molding my internet voice. It was in my New Media Projects class, the one involving the software exposure, that i first encountered Interactive Fiction. My experience wasn't a pleasant one, which i reiterate in my first entry after my second experience with the genre. This time, however, i have so many new thoughts about the genre, especially after hearing the reactions of my classmates. The different reactions of everyone based on their different experiences, has given me a different perspective. Thus, my perspective has been varied because of the different environment.

Interactive Fiction

  • In relation to the class exercise Dr. Jerz asked us to write about Interactive Fiction and the thought of skimming. In Interactive Fiction, one cannot exactly skim until they find an interesting enough place to begin reading, interpreting and understanding. If in Interactive Ficion, stress on the word interactive, you could skim ahead and do things at your own pace, than the text wouldn't exactly be interactive. True, due to the mechanics of the game one is able to move at their own pace, but there is still a specified order to things. This specified order acts as a restrictive agent that forces the reader to slow down and take the time to interact. The reader has to think, to write, to interact, in order to move on in the game. The reader actually becomes a part of the game, emerging as a player rather than just an observer (a.k.a. reader). Unlike fiction, Interactive Fiction doesn't exactly give us everything we need to interpret the story and often there can be more than one ending depending on the choices made. In order to "win" at Interactive Fiction and to get anything out of it, a reader must work to gain understanding and develop an interpretation or sense of the story.
  • In relation to Photopia and also puzzles and games. To me, Interactive Fiction isn't really a game. I find it most comparable to a riddle. When dealing with a riddle, all a person has to go by is the riddle itself. There are the words and the limited explination but the entire logic puzzle must be solved by trial and error. Photopia reminds me of this. It is what causes me to make this analogy. Within the case of this specified game, IF is a riddle. Photopia is work; it is an interactive puzzle which gives the audience no direction and makes them test their strategy skills. The audience must analyze the situation and make an informed decision which may or may not lead them in the right direction. Complete trial and error. *On a sidenote, back to Communications, this is why it is important to determine your audience and study them, and also the reason Usablility Testing is a good idea. In order to make a good Interactive Fiction game that people can actually relate to and interact with, the steps must be followed. *Sidenote 2: Making Interactive Fiction can also be related to a riddle, Communications and Usability Testing. You have to determine what your audience will say (Communications and Usability Testing) and this may in and of itself be a riddle for the author (Who really just has to pick a direction and go with it although it may or may not be right).

Just a few more things.

  • One: Rachel related Interactive Fiction to Choose your Own Adventure stories and I mentioned how that topic also came up in our previous class when the genre was first introduced. I was interested to see how people would react, already knowing how a certain group, and myself, reacted to our first IF instance. It was neat to notice a similarity among the various (interesting and discussable) differences I noted.
  • Two: I was having a great experience with Photopia. I believe I was going in the right direction; I found the seed pod, the thing I needed, headed back to the ship and then trouble started. I seemed to be following through the story correctly but I still didn't understand the beginning. My thought was that there were two different stories going on. Obviously. They existed in two different worlds but I was not yet sure how the different worlds collided. I had gotten to the beach and was wondering through the Crystal Labryinth when my restless feet connected with the wrong wire. The screen went blank and I could not get it to come back on. Everything was plugged in, and I tried turning the screen on and off, but no go. So, sad as I was, I decided that it was time to stop playing the game and finish my homework. I vow to replay. Half the reason I didn't was because I didn't remember exactly what I did to get to where I was and would have probably ended up on an entirely different adventure. It was in my best interest to save this adventure for another day.

    As far as Galatea goes, I already played it and stated my feelings in my Command Line Interface entry The second time around didn't do much for me and I didn't spend as long on it. I was still kind of...bored? Irritated? Confused? by the first experience.

Posted by Lori Rupert at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)