Percussive Maintenance

I’m going to pre-text this blog with something that anyone who has met me will know. I am a complete perfectionist! So when I finally decided that despite the unfinished software I was finally going to actually ‘Play my Place’, I knew it was going to be a few hours of my new favourite term- Percussive Maintenance, which simply means hitting something till it works.

I decided a topic by going through Southend’s local online newspapers, as well as looking back at peoples comments from the Village Green game launch. After a while I saw the same topic cropping up, people wanted to keep their high-street full of independent shops. Mainly they just wanted it full of open shops and not just empty space but the idea was there!

So I’d created a location (ok, I may have forgotten that the background of the game had to be grey scale) and now I had to have a story to fill it with!

The Location of my first game!

The Location of my first game!

After a lot of scribbled drawings and digitising and running around to try and find my glasses because an hour of staring at the screen was doing nothing for my eyes, I’d come up with 5 different shops for the player to collect items from and the bad guy (somewhat thinly veiled) Rainforest.com.

Next came the part I had been hoping would run smoothly. Uploading all my pictures onto the website to use. Here are 5 key things that I learnt from this experience:

  1. Yelling at the internet connection can sometimes just close down Firefox all together.
  2.  If the file is too big, making it smaller and then enlarging it in game leads to the software crashing.
  3. No matter how many pictures you have drawn, you will always realise once you’ve closed your editing software that you need one more.
  4. Google is your friend. I give credit to clker.com for some of the clip arts which I used for outlines i.e the books, meat, fruit and sewing equipment.
  5. When it freezes, ringing your boyfriend for IT help when he is 60 miles away is only helpful in the fact it stops you damaging your PC.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is the fault of Play your Place, it is well known that your game will require attention and dedication and should not be attempted in just a few hours! Also once I started actually reducing the size of the pictures I was uploading, and saved after each insertion rather than after 20 mins it worked fine!

And I actually made a game! Which you can play here! (just click the play button!)

Something that has made me think about the way we shop, and who are the good guys and bad guys in this situation. By making this game I’ve had to simplify an extremely difficult socioeconomic problem into little pictures that a person can grab. As this was only my first game, there’s nothing too difficult in it yet. You just jump on platforms to grab items (which sometimes doesn’t work as I haven’t managed to work out the settings yet) instead of the more complex things like traffic lights in other peoples games.

Perhaps next time, if I read the tutorials and spent more time on it, I could make a great game. But isn’t that the problem? People had time to take a picture with their idea, or even to spend half an hour doing a picture board at the game launch. But who can honestly say they easily have 3 hours to spare? Is this the ‘glitch’ in digital art- that people just don’t have time?

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2 thoughts on “Percussive Maintenance

  1. HI Emily,
    I liked the reflection of your experiences, yes in general life is frustrating but it’s what we learn from that that makes us grow. The challenge you now have is where do you go from here, how much time do you have to develop the game and how will you persuade others to give it a go & score it? Also will a large chunk of your “Target” actually be familiar with playing on-line games? I look forward to reading how you get on….keep going & like you I will continue to shout at my pc when it won’t do what I want!

  2. Hi Sue, familiarity with online gaming is something that I’m certainly going to write about in my dissertation, the demographic of people participating in this game is skewed towards young people and therefore the wants reflected by the game are also skewed. How this will affect the game in the long term is yet to be seen. The scoring system is another key thing that I need to look at, but as it hasn’t been used much yet (to my knowledge) I think I will ask if hit counters could be added or just page visitation measured, because as you point out, people having a go and getting involved is primarily what my dissertation is about!

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