Peer Reviews – Progress

Round 2 of peer reviews as the same two people I reviewed last time make changes and continue to build their digital artefacts. Apart from the slight tinge of pain brought about by looking at how much both of you have done compared to myself I absolutely love what both of you are doing. Of my limited number of passions these projects fulfil 2 of them perfectly.

Louise:

As someone who likes to play a game every now and then myself I have also found myself on a fair number of different gaming related YouTube channels with various types of content with a total hour watch count that I wouldn’t want to know even if you told me how to find out. But even with such a wide variety of… I would even go as far to say, EXPERT knowledge, I have never seen anything like your first post for the new DA. Although the glitch style was a little off-putting at first I was over it after the first 30 seconds and by the 5 minute mark I actually think it added to the video, playing into the games mysterious vibe (could be that it was just super suitable for dark souls like games).

The abrupt ending was a bit odd, it’s not even that it was a bad place to stop in the game. More that I was just sitting here enjoying the music and then bam music fade and screen goes black over the course of a 1/2 second out of nowhere. Im not sure if that kind of sudden stop is part of the whole aesthetic and I have no idea what could be put in to make it less abrupt (maybe something like move the game into a small box in the corner and display something else relevant on the screen for the last 10 seconds or so? I really have no idea) but I don’t like surprises, and the ending was a surprise.

Going back to the questions you pitched at the end of your blog post, for a game like God of War (which would be cool), I think it is less about starting at the beginning vs. in the middle and instead just focus on the gameplay aspects rather than all the cutscenes and the like. I guess similar to how in Jotun your video was almost entirely gameplay except for a few seconds of cutscene at the very start (I assume that was because that was the only cutscene encountered so far in the game though).

Serena:

I know firsthand how beautiful both the city is at night and the national park is during the day but how you managed to make these two places look like so much fun to drive through that I almost got up mid-video (in both) to go for a drive myself is still confusing me. On the YouTube the videos are just spectacular, I don’t even know what other word to use when describing them (especially the car audio, that shit sounds mint). The shots and editing used when paired with music that just seems to fit the style of production makes the videos feel less like something I am watching on my laptop sitting at home in my pyjamas and instead become more like an experience. I don’t really think much needs to be said about the Instagram, it was working before you started this subject and it is doing even better now. Using it to keep your audience engaged and interested while you spend more time releasing higher quality videos and also potentially give people a more personal insight alongside the incredible, cinematic YouTube videos.

I think merch and Patreon are both great ways to monetize what you are doing and although it seems that side of things is still in the very early stages I think there should be some caution shown about an incoherent brand image. Since each platform for content is under a different name and the only real reference to “Error Media” is on your blog posts for uni and as the cover image on the YouTube channel.

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Somewhat Edible – Project Beta

As promised in the video here is the link to the YouTube channel. Although I wanted to get at least one video up today I didn’t get the chance to finish editing because it ended up taking much longer than I expected, especially with how many cuts we needed to take and how many times I need to censor myself (bad habit of getting angry when I make a mistake, and when it comes to cooking I make a lot of those).

Since I couldn’t provide any insight about a prototype for my projects and methods I have been using to grow my user base (because I haven’t done any of it) I want to briefly describe some of the things I am looking to do going forward.

I have been deeply scarred by one of the first year subjects in the Bachelor of Communications and Media degree at Wollongong university, BCM 112. My tutor in that class had a love for Reddit that could only be described as unhealthy and having something constantly absolutely shoved down your throat in a way that focused more on why they personally loved it rather than how useful it could be made me instinctively choose to avoid it like the plague (I absolutely bombed that subject with 58%, but hey, P’s get degrees…. Right?). However over time I began to recover from this psychological trauma and now as I come to the end of my third year at university I understand why my tutor was absolutely obsessed with Reddit. Because it is an incredible resource for finding like minded people and shameless self promotion.

Beyond that Nathan, the other bloke who will be appearing in my project, is a part of a whole bunch of cooking communities across various social media platforms, mostly on Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram and so I also plan to use him to absolutely flog the content use these communities/groups he has found to help promote the content since he is at least a familiar face already in these relevant communities.

Learning to Reframe Experiences

I don’t consider myself to be a negative/pessimistic kind of person, but at the same time I could hardly consider my outlook on most things to be positive. If something bad has happened I will complain about it but if something good has happened I am more than capable of appreciating it. The Absent But Implicit is a principle that takes one side of a story, generally the negative, and then makes the listener consider the opposite of the problem or complaint. In essence the concept is all about reframing an issue in a story to find the preferred behaviour/outcome/action from what the speaker dislikes and is something I need to do more often for myself when thinking about my problems whether they be big, or small.

The “future of work” and specifically workplace automation is something I have taken an interest in previously while I was at university looking at many different angles of the affects technology is having on the workspace both as a tool to aid people, and as a replacement for them. My most recent piece of work on the topic can be found here. Although I won’t be getting into the topic of workplace automation here I wanted to mention it since it is relevant to a story from my own experience in work that I want to share. If you won’t be reading everything I wrote on the website linked above (there is a fair bit I know) I’ll summarise it for you in 26 words:

The nature of jobs is changing dramatically and even experts in the field of workplace automation can only largely speculate as to how it is changing – Me, 2019

And now for my story:

I got my first job when I was 16 (almost 17) years old while still in high school and I have kept it ever since. I work at a tennis centre operated by a school in Sydney that also allows the public to use the courts. My job, although listed as a receptionist, has many aspects such as the normal tasks associated with a reception based job, maintenance and running a small cafeteria. When I started my work there everything was done “manually”, I don’t mean pen and paper but whenever people wanted to make a booking or the school wanted to use the courts I would fill out all the details into a spreadsheet which had different sheets (tabs) for court hire, sales, hours, invoices, etc. After about 6 months of working there they finally got in software designed to manage everything that needed to be done. Although organisation and various other industry specific software has existed for some time and it is a far cry from the doom and gloom I briefly touched on earlier (in the thing you probably didn’t read) I want to really stress the point writing this that even small changes can have a massive impact within an organisation, especially when technology is involved. With this new software there was no real training on how to use it and although a lot of the functions were self explanatory and relatively straight forward there were just as many things that I didn’t understand. After almost 4 weeks of working with the new system I ended up messaging my boss to try and get some help and when he had no idea either (since no one had taught him), I had to get in touch with the school. By this point I was pretty unhappy with the whole situation, mostly because of how nobody had bothered to really teach any of the staff, or even give us a manual or online help location on how to use the software so when contacting the school itself the conversation went more like me turning the person on the other end into my personal punching bag then actually looking to fix the problem. The conversation ended after making almost no progress and instead of suggesting what could of been done better, or should be done going forward the most I managed to get across was that something needed to be done about the situation. Although it may sound simple and relatively obvious to anybody reading this (myself included), if I had calmed myself down at the time and considered the problem I, and others, had with the software I could of found the opposite of what was going wrong and been able to tell the people at the school what could be done to help solve the problem, in this case, getting somebody in to walk everyone through how it works. Simple right? But at the time I was too caught up in the moment to even come up with such an obvious solution.

Peer Reviews – Project Pitches

For context about what either of these two projects I am reviewing are about click the headings/names to be redirected to the original project pitch… Otherwise what follows will be pretty confusing.

A quick note to both of the people I review below. Love both of your ideas and I’m looking forward to being able to follow along with these projects as a hobby rather than seeing it as preparing for an assignment in the second peer review (which I’m pretty sure I need to do on the same people).

Louise

I’m 100% guilty of acting in the spur of the moment when it comes to university assignments often picking a project which strikes me as interesting in a moment of clarity and then spending weeks just trying to get it off the ground as I run into countless walls. I really appreciate the passion and love you have for the content of your project (the three times you mentioned loving project management and once you mentioned loving gaming was what gave it away) and I’m looking forward to seeing that passion translate into an interesting project which has the potential to give useful insights into even planning, the university and the world of gaming.

YouTube is almost always one of the best platforms for releasing content due to its well established nature and absolutely massive community with more interests then I could ever care to try and count. The only real potential issue with YouTube is actually connecting that audience with your content in a sea of similar already established content creators. Perhaps trying to maintain some sort of social media or online forum presence would help to make sure people can find your videos.

I’m not sure whether it would work better/be easier but another thing definitely worth considering is releasing the content in a purely audio format making it more accessible to people as they don’t need to be sitting down and watching when interacting with your content, which, by the sounds of it, may not require visual prompts?

Serena

When I saw a DA about cars I got really excited… 30 min later I still am. It is honestly impossible for me to give “feedback” on your concept because I:

A) Already believe it is exceptionally well put together

and B) Love anything motorsports related and by extension already love anything you will be posting for your DA over the course of this semester.

Instagram and YouTube are a great combination as they specialise in shorter video content/images and longer video content respectively the best (for now) of all platforms offering similar services. Adding to that is how Instagram is a great tool for being able to promote your content and get it out to the people who it is most likely to be relevant for. I don’t think you should be doing three platforms of posting at the same time but one thing to consider is using Facebook (I know, who the fuck uses Facebook for their DA?). I’m not sure which one of the others you would drop to replace with it but there are so many avid car fan communities on Facebook it is mind boggling, some being specific enough to be for a certain model, from a certain year sometimes even in a certain colour. At the very least definitely consider joining heaps of those kinds of groups to subtly promote yourself.

Supposedly we are also meant to give feedback on the quality of the presentation itself… I was honestly so impressed that you managed to fly through all that stuff in well under the 2 min time limit, but with that being said re-recording it and talking just a little bit slower would of still kept you under the time limit but also made the video a bit easier for my slow brain to follow along with.

Blokes Exploring NSW – Project Pitch

Since my video pitch went a little over the limit Ill try to cut down on how much I write here. I just very briefly want to cover the utility to myself for this project since it is something I think is important but would of put my video well above twice the 2 min limit (if I had included everything I said for utility of the project). I think this project will greatly benefit me career wise going forward because as a marketing student it is important to learn that marketing goes beyond products/services, campaigns and PR, but also covers things like experiences which is what tourism related content is all about.

I also only realised how terrible that thumbnail photo looks when it is blown up like this

Monetary Struggles of the International Student

I remember learning about public transport costs for International Students back when I was still in my first year of university and thinking about how ridiculous it was that they were unable to apply for concession travel fares on public transport and instead had to pay full fare. Although I can somewhat understand why international students shouldn’t be able to receive the discounted rate when attending a university such as Wollongong unless they are staying in the immediate vicinity of the university the cost of transport to and from university over even a few days a week would really start to grow (Around $12AU per day assuming the student is living in Sydney).

But apparently it only gets worse. During my second week in BCM 313 – The Future of Work the class brought up how the government now measures the success of a university (and presumably any other tertiary education institute where the government has some kind of debt system in place) and how it makes no specific mention to measuring the success of international students. Of course when it comes to debt, this makes sense. Since international students are unable to apply for loans from the Australian government to help pay for their degree the government does not need to worry about potentially making a loss even if these international students never meet the requirements in employment to pay back the debt owed (because they can’t borrow the money in the first place). But what really struck me during this conversation was the absurd cost associated with studying in Australia as an international student.

During our week 2 class one international student who I recognise from other classes has been studying in Australia for at least two (potentially more but I never saw them) years at the University of Wollongong and they told the rest of the class that they are required to pay around four times the amount that local (Australian) students need to pay for the same subjects. For example if I had to pay $1000AU for a single subject in a semester where I did four subjects, I would be paying $4000AU. But for an international student that $4000 becomes $16000 and over the course of a three year degree that comes out to $96000 compared to the $24000 I would have to pay. I love the university for its amazing campus and facilities along with great teaching staff and well structured subjects (although I have no other point of reference for this) and also think Australia is an incredibly beautiful country but, at least in my opinion, I can’t imagine any quality of education (for a communications degree) or the beauty of a country that warrants paying nearly $100000 to attain a degree.

The game which doesn’t have a name yet because I really suck at naming things and everything I think of is either really generic or just sounds awful. That being said I really need to get onto choosing one soon.

During my recent trip to China I planned on putting aside some time for idea generation for my individual assignment, making a game. Of course once I was in holiday mode and doing things most days I made absolutely zero progress on this plan which left me in an awkward situation after getting back of scrambling for an idea that I could use. It wasn’t until the evening before I was expected to have my idea that I realised what better source for my idea than something from my recent trip away?

My initial idea was to create a game about trying to sneak contraband through customs at an airport. I love this idea because it allows for a heavily deceit based game which is something I find fascinating with regards to player interaction in any game. But with these two things in mind I wasn’t able to get another board game that already exists, Sheriff of Nottingham, which was available to play during the first few weeks of this subject (although I did not personally play it) that uses pretty much exactly the same concept and so every time I tried to consider mechanics and rules for the game, I seemed to keep coming back to what already existed for this game.

Because of this I started to think about a new concept for my game. Sticking with the travel theme I came up with a VERY basic sketch for a story driven game about sitting on a plane for long hours. I wasn’t really sure how the game would be played, what the win conditions would be or just about anything else about it. But I had images like trying to get away with farting in your seat, or having to wait for the toilets on the plane when you desperately needed to go amongst many other frustrating aspects of air travel going through my mind when I had the idea.

After speaking to my teacher for the subject we decided the best thing to do would be “take inspiration” from Sheriff of Nottingham while putting my own original spin on it. I was very happy to do this since I already had a good grasp on the way I would of wanted to make my original version of the game and I honestly just preferred the concept to begin with.

The game would be played out with one player acting as the customs officer and the other players as passengers attempting to ender the country. These other players would be trying to acquire as much currency as possible over the course of the game by sneaking in goods within a set turn limit before a new round begins and the customs officer changes. The opening phase of the game would mostly consist of gaining cards and trying to build up some currency for the mid-game where the interactive nature of the game appears and people have the options of negotiating and interacting with each other to improve their own chances of winning. This game, at least in its current version, does not really have an end phase since it will always end after a predetermined number of turns by each player. That being said, the way the game is played will most likely change significantly as people reach the last few turns as players start trying to generate maximum income in as quick a time as possible in order to win, disregarding the associated risk with high reward actions.

Here I have a link to a Google Docs file which has my current version of the rules that players would follow.

Below are some photos of what I have done so far:

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Even though the prototype still isn’t finished the game is playable in it’s current state.