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  1. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    Has anyone here seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? I don't rank it in the same class of films I've been mentioning. But I don't really dislike it in the way it has been criticized either. I found it entertaining, anyway. I would like to share a specific example regarding that film, and in particular, a specific shot from that film. For that matter, has anyone seen any of the other films I've recently mentioned, specifically in the last two posts I've made? They are loaded with many of the elements I've been discussing. I suspect few here have seen the other films. Regarding Batman v Superman, there's a shot that has a pattern very similar to a shot in one of the other films I mentioned. I call it a slipper shot, although, in the case of Batman v Superman, there are no slippers in the shot. Patterns are where the ideas are. Who has seen Batman v Superman?
  2. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    Nobody has really mentioned character inspiration yet, so it's a good that you brought it up. However, what I've been trying to say is to look beyond content directly, and start looking at grammar, tone, theme, metaphor, and rhythm. And, since Hollywood isn't the best provider of films heavy with those elements, look beyond Hollywood to other cinema, and notably, look at what are considered to be the great films. Surprisingly, The Dark Knight (IMDB lists it very high), and other similar films aren't the great films. I stress this, repeatedly, because once you make an effort to discover great cinema, you land in groups that are discussing many films you've probably never heard of. As an example, I listed six films considered to be great (among the greatest) in my post above. And then, once you've become attuned to grammar, tone, theme, metaphor, and rhythm within film, apply those observations not necessarily to trailers and cutscenes, but instead to gameplay. It will require imagination. Nobody said it would be easy. Nor should it be. This subject is deep. There's more to be mined than you might imagine. I strongly recommend everyone learn the standard film grammar, or rather, how film grammar is taught in courses and books. It's the grammar used in most every Hollywood film. It's also the basis for most all films. However, films outside of Hollywood often augment it with unique invented grammars, and also break many of the standard rules as well. A good subset of the basic rules are: The 180 degree rule The 30 degree rule Matching eyelines Narrowing eyelines as intimacy develops Narrowing field of view as intimacy develops Use establishing shots These rules result in nearly invisible cuts. Start watching other cinema besides Hollywood films, and you'll notice the rules being broken, typically to good effect. And when you notice things, you learn things. But as I said, this subject goes deep. You must be very attentive to what you're watching. You'll see much more. Here are seven more great films: Werckmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr, 2001) The Mirror (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975) The Face of Another (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1966) Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai, 1994) 2046 (Wong Kar-wai, 2004) The Naked Island (Kaneto Shindo, 1960) Pale Flower (Masahiro Shinoda, 1964)
  3. Video Game Writing Preferences?

    Kavik has nailed a salient point right here. I've always called it the stewpot. Let it simmer for a period. If it's not good, nothing will come out of it. But only after a few weeks at the minimum, and sometimes months, you'll see something else that will make it great.
  4. Video Game Writing Preferences?

    I believe it's what works for you, and when and where your ideas come to you. I'm not a game writer. I am developing film scripts for short films with the intention of directing them. In the process, I write the following: Vignettes, snippets, ideas, observations (truisms about life), dialog, outlines, and lots of lists. These often land in a notebook by pen if that's convenient when I conceive of them. I also send myself lots of emails, with the above. For actual script writing, I use Fountain. It's easy and natural. Numerous apps and plugins support it. I use the Sublime Text editor with a Fountain plugin. The purpose of Fountain is to provide a clean, non proprietary, ASCII text file format for screenplay writing. Converters can convert it to industry standard Final Draft and PDF format. You can also include any kind of notes of your own format and making in comments in the file, If you're a programmer, you can write scripts that will extract this info and create numerous supplemental files to go with you project, including such things as prop lists, set descriptions, character descriptions, scheduling, etc.
  5. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    Kavik, It sounds like you're making a good attempt to do what I've been saying, but I might disagree with a few aspects of it. For one thing, games aren't films, so how one analogizes what I've been saying about films to games requires some imagination. While your average joe can't often understand or enjoy an art-house film, what makes an artsy game too much for the average joe? Sometimes compromises are the worst thing you can do. You're right, I'm unlikely to wade through 700 pages of material on your project. There comes a point where you know you've got it right, and have the confidence to judge your own material. Fair warning: it's usually not the first time you're confident of your own material. Your first time usually occurs when you really don't know what you're doing. And then at some point, you realize you don't know what you're doing, and you make it a goal to figure it all out. This isn't like programming, where it's a bit more obvious whether you know what you're doing. But even there, I admit the same pitfalls exist. You mostly need to know the domain, and then you know what you don't know, in the case of programming. In writing, or filmmaking, there's no precise definition of what the domain is. It's easier to overestimate how good you are. In fact, this is another argument for why watching great cinema can and does help. A good hint as to whether you know what you're doing or not might be whether you like great cinema or not. If you don't like it, then you're not understanding it, and if you're not understanding it, then you're missing how the pieces go together, and why it's superior. I have about five scripts sitting on deck for entering pre-production, or near completion. Two are essentially complete. Both are great scripts in my opinion. One is truly great, I believe. The other has a great story, but it seems flat in its presentation. I need to go over it again, and do a rewrite. It's just something you feel. Why don't you try watching one of these films, and see what great cinema really is: Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964) Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000) In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000) Yearning (Mikio Naruse, 1964) Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) You might ask: "Why all Asian films?" Because Asian films have a certain aesthetic to them. They have a certain way of presenting the story that is truer, and more artistic. There is more humanity in their films, stronger observations, better metaphor, and less stringent attitudes about adhering to a standard grammar. You will learn a great deal.
  6. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    I understand what you are saying, but you're not quite getting what I'm saying because we've gone off on a tangent debate regarding art vs. commercial merit. In my last post, i made a small error in how I phrased something. I said: I should have said this: None of the things I suggest cost money nor will they hinder sales. However, they do need an investment in imagination. Perhaps those who want to imagine need to also learn to imagine ways to imagine, and that also means you, Kavik.. As mentioned earlier, the naysayers have put themselves in boxes, and are having trouble imagining how knowledge of film and sensitivity to the art of cinema can take game development past its immature state. And you, Kavik have built your own box as well. Have you read all of my posts? In particular, my second post in this thread? I link to the post directly right here.
  7. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    Citizen Kane. No. Anyway, it's been bumped down. Kavik, yes, things cost money. So do films. But that doesn't stop the artistry in cinema. You just need to search farther afield. But you're barking up the wrong tree. None of the things I suggest cost money. However, they do need an investment in imagination. Perhaps those who want to imagine need to also learn to imagine ways to imagine. As mentioned earlier, the naysayers have put themselves in boxes, and are having trouble imagining how knowledge of film and sensitivity to the art of cinema can take game development past its immature state. Did I say immature? Yes, I did. Game development is about where cinema development was in 1910. It's fixated on technology. I'm a tech fan too, and I'm always up for more triangles per second, more sophisticated global lighting techniques, facial muscle simulation, and so on. And with film, I'm always interested in the latest Alexa camera from Arri, or what Freefly has to offer in camera stabilization, etc. But there's more, and it's less. It's humanism, empathy, rhythm, timing, color palettes, grammar, observation, etc. Kogonada. Who's that? He's a film scholar that works for the British Film institute. Essentially, he writes articles, essays and makes video essays on great cinema. He analyzes and distills down great directors' grammars. He's also a huge fan of many of my favorite directors, such as Edward Yang, Yasujiro Ozu, and Wong Kar-wai. He even keeps a blog entitled Missing Ozu. In fact, kogonada is a pseudonym derived from Ozu's co-writer, Kogo Noda. In fact, one of his video essays is extraordinarily enlightening with regard to how Hollywood cuts a film as compared to the different potential aesthetics you can discover outside Hollywood. His example may be old, but it applies equally today. Please give it four minutes of your time. Why do I bring him up? Because he had never made a film. He studies great films, I mentioned. But that knowledge, something I advocate for everyone, allowed him to make a film very recently. A film that has received immense praise. A film that does the great things I say that comes from those directors that will be discovered if you search beyond Hollywood. To your credit, you're right. It only received limited screening, and grossed something like less than one million. But I bet he makes another film. Greatness is recognized and rewarded. On the other hand, Fifty Shades of Grey had huge box office success. Yet we all know it was junk. I haven't seen it, nor would I bother. And I haven't seen kogonada's Columbus yet either, but very definitely will, and I'm sure it's as great as it's said to be. In the trailer, I can see the influences from the directors he admires. See the trailer for Columbus:
  8. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    While I appreciate that you are not disagreeing with me, let me point out that you are disagreeing with me, and in turn, I hope you can appreciate why I am disagreeing with you. To begin, your advocacy of keeping up with current films is a subset of my advocacy of discovering cinema, past and present. Discovery vs. keeping up are two different concepts. The former can be enlightening, the latter, merely falling in line with pop culture. Colonel Deering is new to me, Rey is not. More in line with my point though is the fact that if a hypothetical member here was passionate about Deering, rather than Rey, they will put their heart and soul into such a product rather than stooping to the lowest common denominator of pop culture. I strongly recommend to go the heart and soul route, and not the lowest common denominator route. Directors considered to have auteur status typically write or co-write their own scripts, and thus are more willing to pour their heart and soul into their material. I used to run a filmmaking group, and I occasionally ran into those who only wanted to write scripts. I strongly urged them to learn the art of filmmaking and proceed to make their own films based on their scripts. I certainly did not want to make them. If I was somehow coerced into such a thing, my heart and soul wouldn't be there for the making of the film. I'm interested in making films from my own scripts. One such short film is currently in pre-production. Additionally, the reason I didn't want to make films from the scripts from others was because their scripts were terribly unoriginal, and obviously their inspiration for their scripts only came from a limited exposure to cinema. Lastly, you've concocted an example in which the hypothetical member is taking content (a character) and placing that character into the game, whether as an homage or as fan based content. I don't necessarily discourage such a thing, but it's not part and parcel of what I'm encouraging. My second post in this thread explains in pretty good detail exactly what I'm encouraging, and it has little to do with older films vs. new films (which you might claim are more relevant). I point out that the type of films I recommend actually provide more learning. more food for thought, and more diverse grammars, where I argue the ideas are.
  9. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    My post above was truncated, and I cannot edit it. Below, is my post in full. Forgive me, but my curiosity gets the better of me. To whom are you addressing your post to? You mention someone is referencing Wilma Deering. I searched the whole page for the name. No mention of the character. I had to google the name to see who she was. A Buck Rogers character, apparently. The correct spelling is Wilma Deering, actually. With regard to your point though, in a sense, I'm glad you made it, because I'd like to share my viewpoint. One of the great sins of story development, filmmaking, and I would have to say, game development, is to let your passionate ideas be diluted and changed because of the potential audience. It's called dumbing down your material. Hollywood is one of the great sinners here. When I say Hollywood, I'm referring to the studios. Studio meddling is the act of making sure what might have been art becomes something which meets the least common denominator defining the audience. Stories don't begin that way. They end up that way for purely monetary reasons. Artistic intent is lost. Are you familiar with auteur theory? It is the idea that a director's signature style is identifiable within a film. If you are in general familiar with the director's work, you could walk into the middle of a film by said director, and not knowing of the film before that moment, and identify the director. Obvious ones are Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson, and Quentin Tarantino. They're rare in Hollywood precisely because of the studio driven system and Hollywood's general methods. Other great directors that hold the auteur status are Bela Tarr, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Andrei Tarkovsky, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wong Kar-wai. That's where the learning starts. Their films. And other auteurs. Nobody is really saying this. Or perhaps they are. It sounds like you're trying to take the meaning and intent of this thread to mean that developing your game like a Hollywood screenwriter might is not something to do. I'm not saying that. Yet there is some merit to it. I have described in more detail than others here how to approach game development with a better knowledge of cinema. I enumerated specific examples. Boxes. There are a lot of boxes here, and the naysayers have placed themselves in those boxes, in this case of their own making. One must think outside the box. As an example, it appears one of the boxed methods of thinking is to apply cinematic inspiration strictly to cutscenes or trailers. It starts with a greater scope of cinematic experience. Your eyes will open.
  10. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    Forgive me, but my curiosity gets the better of me. To whom are you addressing your post to? You mention someone is referencing Wilma Deering. I searched the whole page for the name. No mention of the character. I had to google the name to see who she was. A Buck Rogers character, apparently. The correct spelling is Wilma Deering, actually.
  11. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    You're right, in a sense, but it's counter productive. There's an opportunity here to share how film watching can benefit the game developer. In your example of how some can benefit, you've only touched the surface of total potential. In my original post in this thread, I hinted at the potential. The key is to understand cinema, watch better cinema, and learn how to interpret cinema. That process, which has a learning curve, is also one which aligns to some degree with the art of filmmaking, which gets you pointed in the right direction. Notice, in your post, that you're thinking in terms of cutscenes. Forgive me if your examples go beyond that. For all other readers here, please follow along. I made a more specific post regarding application of these ideas in this thread: I need inspiration from my fellow writers. My post is the second post in that thread. Note, however, that I did not illustrate to what aspect of a game said techniques can be applied. That thread was about writing, and I was sharing how the ideas can be applied to writing. But there are many other ways to apply what is seen and discovered in cinema. The key is, as I noted above, is to learn what you're seeing. I enumerated several examples from the post in the other thread. There are other elements that I did not mention. So, how and where might we apply such elements? I'll say they can be applied to not only cut scenes, trailers, and writing, but to gameplay, the feel of gameplay, the tone of gameplay, the art direction of gameplay (color palettes as one example), the rhythm and timing of gameplay, the ambience of gameplay, the genres of gameplay, metaphor within gameplay, methods to get players to feel empathy for game characters, puzzles for gameplay, designed ambiguity for gameplay, out of left field elements within gameplay, noir like elements in gameplay, etc., etc., etc. We can get more specific, and the possibilities are endless. I think anyone might be a fool to not dig deeper. Cinema has about an 80 year head start on computer/console game development. The problem is, I can guess most game developers (certainly there are exceptions) have a sole experience with cinema that is Hollywood centric. That's to be expected, because most here haven't the experience of exploring cinema further. Hollywood's marketing muscle drowns out everything, and appears to offer a lot. However, Hollywood only offers a small subset of what cinema can be, and it's all very much the same. Let me bring up the kitchen analogy. You have a kitchen, and in the pantry is sugar, flour, vanilla, chocolate, food coloring, and a few other items that will let you bake cakes and cookies. Your chef only uses those items and bakes you cookies and cakes, and that's all you've ever tasted. That's Hollywood. Another chef comes into your kitchen , opens the refrigerator, and sees produce, cheeses, meats, sauces, and beer. In the wine cellar he sees wine. In the back of the pantry he finds pasta. Suddenly, he's making you lasagne, prime rib dinners, stir fried vegetables, protein drinks, salads, soups, tacos, salmon dishes, and so on. Up until now, all you've had were cookies and cakes. And now your world has opened up big time. That is the discovery of great cinema, past and present, domestic and foreign, art-house and so on. Learning starts there. Some films coming out of Hollywood are verging into the realm of true cinema, but they aren't common. Two recent films I've seen recently have a slight art-house feel to them. They are Dunkirk and Bladerunner 2049. Of course there are others, but your best success will come from looking farther afield. Let me move on to a specific example. Do what you want with it, but the point is to illustrate how tuning one's perception to cinema can lead to new ideas to apply. In most of Ozu's postwar films, notably his color films, he began establishing a rhythm and tempo that seemed to alternate from mild comedy to mild melancholy, scene to scene. As with his prior films, pillow shots showed between scenes, and often scenes ended with a camera angle looking straight down an empty hallway. I have written much on the meaning of Ozu's empty hallway shots, but that's not what I'm focusing on here. I could go on, because Ozu's films are loaded with wonderful and often unique aspects often not seen elsewhere. But let's focus on the alternation between mild comedy and mild melancholy. This is subtle, and many would never notice it. It could be applied to gameplay in a way, where each successive level switches from the tone of the prior level: mild comedy to mild melancholy and back to mild comedy. How one establishes a tone that has that feel is of course up to the developer. As mentioned above, the possibilities are endless, if you broaden your scope of film viewing, and learn how to watch films on a deeper level. I could write a hundred pages right here on this topic. By the way, I venture to guess most here haven't heard of Ozu, the reason being due to Hollywood's marketing drowning everything else out. For the record, directors worldwide voted one of Ozu's films the greatest film ever made. Critics worldwide voted the same film the third greatest ever made. Critics worldwide voted another Ozu film the 15th greatest film ever made. Great cinema is out there. Go find it, learn from it, and find new ways to make games more rich.
  12. I need inspiration from my fellow writers

    You may have heard the saying: "Want to write well? Read good writing." Another variation: "Want to write well? Steal." Don't literally steal. In fact, here's how to steal well, and it's hard. Read great writing. Then through lots of reading, get a feel for what astounds you. Then analyze how you feel. You might be experiencing strong empathy for a character. Or wonderful rhythm. Terrific ambience. Whatever it is, try and understand how the author does it. Dissect it. Discuss it with fellow readers. Propose methods to conceive of similarly great material. Why is this author great? What is she doing? I don't recommend reading "How to write" books. I tried that with screenplay writing. I consider most of that stuff garbage. What I consider garbage is three act structure and all the basic things such as conflict, climax, twists, and so on. Yes, some conflict is necessary. But that's obvious. Bear in mind conflict isn't always fighting. It can be inner turmoil, family disagreements, and so on. Less story, more observation. Consider the difference between bestsellers vs. literature. I mostly see one level in bestsellers: the story. I see three levels in literature. On the surface in literature is the prose. In the middle is the story. Underneath it all is the observation. You may call it the theme if you want, but I prefer the term observation. You're making an observation about something. Hopefully it's about the human experience, sometimes referred to as the human condition. There are many observations. It's up to you to find them, live them, etc. Examples: you don't always get what you want; feeling as though you are on the outside watching others live their lives; The universe is beyond our comprehension; We live in our fantasies until reality must be confronted; etc. There is much to be gleaned from film, as in writing. That is my direction. But just like reading good writing, you must watch good films to really grow. As explained above, in the case of bestsellers vs. literature, the same applies to film. Hollywood films are the bestsellers. They mostly have one level: the story. Go beyond Hollywood. You'll discover three levels which analogize to the three levels in literature: On the surface of literature is prose, and on the surface of great films you'll find a unique and stylish grammar. In the middle of both literature and great films is the story. And underneath both is the observation. A film's grammar is its sequencing of shots, its rhythm. Most all Hollywood films use what you might call the standard film grammar. It's nearly invisible, just like the prose is nearly invisible in bestsellers. Authors of literature typically develop their own unique prose which has a certain style. Great films have unique grammars unto themselves, or more accurately, unique grammars unto their directors. It's identifiable once you've seen it, and thus the director is identifiable. There are exceptions in Hollywood, but it isn't the norm. By watching better films, I have become more attuned to their great components. Of course we all know how to read a book and watch a film, but you can become a better reader, and a better film viewer. Some of the elements I have discovered in film (better films) can be helpful to your writing. The are: Getting the audience to feel strong empathy for a character or characters Character goals are typically unfulfilled The use of repeating motifs Book ends ( a term I use for a film to be symmetrical with regard to beginning and ending). Think of coming full circle. Rhythm and timing at multiple levels Scenes or shots out of left field. As the author or director, do not consider it your responsibility to explain these scenes to your audience. People want to naturally connect the dots. Let them puzzle over it. Metaphor Things don't wrap up perfectly in the end. Ambiguity Let's look at a concrete example of what I've been saying above. As you may know, director Barry Jenkins' film Moonlight won both Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2017 Academy Awards. Jenkins co-wrote the film and directed it. Co-writing and directing is one aspect of auteur theory. Anyway, the point is Jenkins' process. Jenkins was taking inspiration from filmmakers the same way I was, and the following video resonated with me, because I was taking inspiration from the same filmmaker before I ever knew of Jenkins. What I'm asking you to take away from this is how Jenkins explains that it was seeing new and different things in cinema that fired him up, and that's where I say true learning starts. Jenkins inspiration was Wong Kar-wai, and although he doesn't mention it in the video, another inspiration to Jenkins was Hou Hsiao Hsien. Hou and Wong are both incredible filmmakers. In fact, one of the two films Jenkins discusses was voted the greatest film of the 21st century by critics worldwide, and voted the same by They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? VIdeo featuring Jenkins discussing two films:
  13. Why watching movies is a necessity for games

    The answers here are a bit of a knee jerk reaction. Inspiration lies everywhere. Watching films can help you, but knowing more about cinema as opposed to less about cinema will help you more. If you know about as much as the average IMDB user, then you're not going to have a leg up on your competition. As an example, The Shawshank Redemption is not the greatest film ever made among those who know cinema, although IMDB might have you believe The Shawshank Redemption is the greatest film ever made. The reason The Shawshank Redemption ranks as number one on IMDB is because it polls the cinematically illiterate as well as the literate. If you step outside the boundaries of the cinema you're familiar with, and really start to explore cinema, a discovery process begins. And learning begins. When learning occurs, ideas are generated. Never shrug off opportunities to let ideas form that wouldn't have formed otherwise. In short, watching great cinema can give you a leg up over your competitors. Choose as you will.
  14. US badly lags developed world in wireless

    The US does not have the density of many other nations, and it has an existing infrastructure that works very well for 99.99% of the population. Cost vs. added benefit is part of the underlying reason. A small country with bad telephone service to begin with has a lot more to gain for a lot less money to deploy an effective cellular network.
  15. my problems...

    Quote:Original post by vNistelrooy 15 is a good age for programming, nothing wrong with that, only you need to be able to understand math quite well for 3D game programming. And if you aren't good at math, I suggest studing math. School teaches math wrong. Or they did anyway. Study programming and 3d programming. Suddenly you'll be good at math because it will be a priority. It's called goal directed learning.
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