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Oct. 28th, 2009

The collaborative research I found was titled The Impact of Research Collaboration on Scientific Productivity and it examines the productivity of using multiple researchers in scientific investigations.  This asks such questions as, is it beneficial for one person to work with another 10 times, or 10 different people one time.  It's hard to say how productivity changes with regards to collaboration.  It's apparent that some workers work well with one another, and others do not.  Therefore, productivity is hard to be examined. Often times, collaborators become so due to proximity.  As a result, the question is not necessarily that of productivity, but that of the composition of research.

In other words, how to researchers interact with one another?  Is their work done better or could it have been so if it was a single project?  This study examines many different variables that include age, marital status, and profession.  Unfortunately, Lee and Bozeman seem to reach no conclusion.  There is no definite conclusion on what aspects produce better productivity during collaboration.  Instead, productivity relies more on the relationship of the collaborators and their ability to work well with each other,  instead of the independent characteristics.

Player profile

For my player profile, I was assigned to the Cannith server of Dungeons and Dragons Online where I was engaged by some players from outside of the United States, all of whom were European except one.  My strategy for recruiting interviewees was simply advertising in the global chat menu stating I was writing a college paper on transnational gamers. This approach was surprisingly successful, since in prior experiences with gaming chat, players have been less than accommodating to random questions.  However, after speaking with some players who were interested in providing insight on their gaming culture, I decided to interview a gamer from Denmark, aliased Baucker.

                Baucker is a 35 year old male living outside of Copenhagen, the capitol of Denmark, and works in the field of optics, which studies the properties of light. He claimed he’d been playing MMOs since he was 29 and originally started playing after a friend had introduced him to Lineage, a medieval based MORPG. He has been playing DDO on and off for the past year.  When I asked him what his interests were outside of gaming, Baucker said he enjoyed reading, playing football (soccer), and watching movies.  Or, as he claims, his hobbies are essentially “doing things normal people do.”  Although he responded eagerly to these biographical questions, Baucker questioned the topic of my paper.  After explaining further and providing him the course website. After, he understood our desire to explore transnational gaming and therefore agreed to further questioning. In contrast, from my perspective, I felt he was a good candidate to interview, not only since he was relatively chatty to begin with, but because he was old enough to have a good understanding of the real world and had a good amount of experience playing video games, specifically MMOs.

                Following these questions, I asked Baucker about his view on the social and political aspects of Denmark.  However, he was very brief in his description of the Danish government, only replying that liberals held power in parliament and that he supported them.   Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, with a queen as the figurehead but holds almost no power.  I then asked what he thought about the American government to which he was more responsive.  He said he and his friends liked Barack Obama as President of the United States and the fact we had elected a liberal congress.  He claimed “Bush’s foreign policy was absurd and I don’t think his wars were validated.”  Having family in England and Canada myself, I feel that this is reflective of many foreign opinions.  Steering away from further talk on American politics, I inquired about video game legislation in Denmark.  Baucker told me he wasn’t necessarily sure about laws on video games, but did say games could be expensive if you wanted to have them on American release dates.  Years ago, Danes would buy American games in small retail stores prior to their European releases for normal prices, but due to conformance to EU copyright laws, Danes now have to resort to ordering off sites such as Amazon, or wait weeks or months to procure a game.[1]   Although, I feel this has somewhat changed due to global release dates of games such as Halo, I continued to inquire about on the Danish attitude towards gaming.

                Baucker told me gamers were quite prolific in Denmark and that most of his real friends played some type of game but “not so much on consoles.”  Computers are the platform of choice because “everyone has one,” so instead of spending an extra 1599 DKR ($320) on an Xbox, most Danes choose to buy a game rather than a console.   Despite the fact he had gamer friends, he claimed, many of the people he knew played only casually after work on weeknights.  Eager to learn if there was a gaming scene in the city, I found that there are a decent amount of internet cafes in Copenhagen, most of which were advertised as gaming cafes.[2]  Although Baucker plays games at “home on [his] family’s computer,” based on the prevalence of internet cafes in Copenhagen, it’s clear that gaming is accepted in Denmark.  Denmark also recently held a World Cyber Gamers qualifying tournament for Counter-Strike and Warcraft 3, showcasing a professional side of gaming in Denmark that reinforces a Danish acceptance of gaming.[3]  After concluding the acceptance of gaming in Denmark, I turned away from a national examination, to Baucker’s personal interest in gaming.

                At first, Baucker didn’t understand what I wanted to know when I asked, “Why do you play DDO?”  His initial response could be summed up in a few short words, “because I like it.”  In order to coax him elaborate, I asked questions such as, how much do you play? What is the first thing you do when you log on?  Do you solely play player versus environment, or do you also play player versus player?  When following a quest are you attentive to the story line or do you finish as fast as possible?  By providing more specific questions, it was easy to make assumptions on Baucker’s motivations for playing by comparing his responses to Williams’ss article, Who plays, how much, and why?  Baucker’s responses to the aforementioned questions are as follows: he plays under the average of 26 hours a week, only plays PvP, tries to follow the storyline, and evaluates his avatars skills while finding quests when he logs on.  This coincides to Williams’s research that shows playtime has a negative correlation to immersion.[4]  Because he plays only casually, it’s understandable that Baucker tries to follow the storyline of the game, rather than rush through it in order to level up his character or kill other players.  Baucker also implied he played as a way to escape, which was another enumeration as a motivator for playing in Williams’s article.  Following a long day of work and responsibilities, Baucker finds it “relaxing to sit down and play alone” to get away from the drama of outside life.

                When asked about his experience playing with players from other countries, Baucker told me he often partied with Americans, and occasionally other Europeans.  When he registered his account, he “didn’t know there were European servers” to play on, so he started playing on US Turbine servers.  Overall, he’s had positive results from playing with American’s and other international players, even adding some to his friends lists to play with continuously.  However, he confirmed my view that there are some players who are unfriendly and quit parties in the middle of quests.  This is an unavoidable aspect of any game he said so he could not point out that any specific nations harbored players which he incessantly encountered negatively.  Furthermore, he was compelled by the fact American students were pursuing international players since gaming is a common ground that can help take down “language and ethnic barriers.” While he was supportive of the expansion of transnational game play, Baucker couldn’t provide suggestions for which players and developers could nurture its extension because “you can’t force gamers to interact with players from another country.”  Rather, he implied it is a natural or random occurrence for transnational gamers to meet and play online.



[1]This is reported on a blogger reporting from a Danish computer site http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/denmark-to-conform-to-eu-copyright/

[2] This is a listing of gaming cafes in Copenhagen provided by a travel guide. http://www.world66.com/europe/denmark/copenhagen/internetcafes

[3] Results from WCG qualifying in Denmark. http://www.gotfrag.com/cs/story/44641/

[4] Williams (2008). Who plays, how much, and why? Debunking

the stereotypical gamer profile. 1006.

Sep. 16th, 2009

One of the most interesting things I took from yesterday's exercise, involving note cards and numerous types of games, was the fact that all the game dynamics referred to games I'd never think they pertain to, such as board games and outdoor games.  Whenever I think about game dynamics, I automatically associate them with video games only.  I do this because I feel as though so much time, effort, and ideas have been put into these games, however they are in fact adaptations of other games with added aspects, such as shooting or fighting.  In essence, games like Counter-Strike are a mixture of capture the flag, and hide and seek.  In other words, the bombsites are the flags which only one team defends, while both teams seek out the other in order to kill them.

I also found it interesting, that when a creator produces a game, he must explain it in a detailed yet concise sentence.  Usually, when some one asks the rules of a game or how to play, explanations are often dragged out and confusing.  However, when practicing this in the exercise, it became easier to describe when required to do it as precisely as possible.  For example, Counter-strike simulates the experience of being in a terrorist battle bye destroying and defending bombsites, while trying to eliminate the other team.

Lastly, I was intrigued by how each type of game included many different dynamics throughout its genre.  For example, four square has many different game dynamics compared to tag, and risk has different dynamics compared to chutes and ladders.  I assume I've been very closed minded with regards to video and computer games.  By playing games with similar dynamics and only playing on certain platforms, it prevented me from noticing how game dynamics are different, as well as related, among many games on many platforms.

Wii

This weekend playing the Wii, I played games of many different genres in order to experience the versatility of the Wii's motion controls and game style.  The first game I played was Mario Kart.  This game was by far my favorite, due to the relatively easy play that allowed me to jump into the game right away.  For this game, we used the Wii steering wheels, which provided a semi realistic feel to a cartoony game.  Although some might feel the wheel is harder to control that the Wiimote, I felt that it was easier because it allowed me to spread out my hand placement over a larger area.  This made me feel as if I could reach the buttons more easily, while still controling the kart..

One of the other games I played was James Bond.  I felt as though this was the hardest game for me to adapt to.  As opposed to having two joysticks and triggers which are standard among most systems, the nunchuck and Wiimote control were completely foreign to me.  While trying to move with the nunchuck, I'd become preoccupied with aiming or vice versa, and find myself unable to move or shoot properly.  Plus, the sensitivity of the Wiimote was really annoying to me since I could never hold still enough to shoot straight.  This was especially frustrating while trying to strafe, a common strategy in first person shooters.

However, after playing this with the joystick, I was told of the gun used for first person shooters on the Wii.  Unfortunately, I was unable to play with it (A $20 investment wouldn't be worth it to me either after 4 Wiimotes and nunchucks and wheels), but by viewing it online and through Youtube, it seems much more convenient to play with.  It also seems to add an arcade-type feel, allowing you to be more involved in the game.

The last game I tried was Harry Potter.  It was somewhat easier to control and become used to compared to James Bond, but I still ran into trouble with controls.  Personally, I find it easier to hit Down+left+circle+X than it is to move my hands around in a certain direction or pattern to have a desired effect.  As a result, I often did not perform the motions properly, which result in different spells/failures.  Despite my misfortunes, watching a more experienced play move the joy sticks is very impressive, as they have great control of movement of the Wiimote.  I think this is the area Nintendo needs to work on.  Games such as Wiisports are easy to pick up, however more in depth games are not.  Since Wii is such a different system, being good at Call of Duty on the 360 or PS3 cannot correlate to Wii without a dedication of more than 20 minutes - after which point I'm thoroughly frustrated from failing.  Overall, I like the idea of motion controls because of the innovation, but I think it needs much refining for the person who just dabbles in Wii games, and I think they need to drop the prices of the numerous accesories which seem to make gameplay easier and more fun.

Sep. 7th, 2009

For this blog post I explore Kataku.com, referred to as "The Gamers Guide."  Kotaku has numerous informational postings about current events in the gaming world among many different genres and platforms, as well as movie clips, pictures.  Kotaku seems to be aimed at the younger gamers, as some of the pictures have half naked women and articles are filled with gamer jargon.

Kotaku does have a search feature on their website which is helpful for specific games or topics, however there is not much browsing ability.  The browsing feature is limited by most recent articles, and reviews but there is no funciton to search by platform or genre.  Because you cannot do this, it seems hard to find topics you could be interested in.  For example, I don't have a Wii, so Wii articles don't pertain to me, but Xbox articles do.  If I casually was looking over Xbox articles, I could see something I like and be enticed to buy the product.

Kotaku addresses the transnational theme we are looking into in class.  On their first page, they have articles about the UK, North America, and Asia.  The editors of Kotaku understand that the gaming community is truly diverse, but similar in many ways.  Kotaku does not refer to region locking on their recent posts, but by using the search tool, they do talk about region locking on Xbox and for digital games.

Sep. 7th, 2009

My name is Evan Harche, I'm a sophomore at Trinity and I'm an accounting major.  My experience with games spans many genres including RPGs, RTSs, and sports games, however I primarily play FPSs.  I've been playing games for since i was in middle school, however I have a habit of not finishing games because I prefer to play multiplayer online, rather than campaigns.  Although I've never played World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons, I have played Guild Wars, which is a MMORPG, in the past.  However, I am interested in experience the 'phenomenon' that is WoW and DaD that has  eveloped many peoples lives with addiction.

Apr. 24th, 2009

One component of the hacker mentality is the ability to take things apart, rebuild them, and make them better.  For my final project, this is the angle I intend to attack.  In some sorts, music can be approached the same way as a car, or computer, in the sense that it can be remixed, chopped and screwed, sped up, or scratched.  In other words, it can be remade into something equally as good, or even better.

Not only can music relate to cars and computers in the ability to be revamped, but technology plays a role in producing music.  Programs like FruityLoops (Now FL Studio) and Garage Band contribute to many amateur musicians creating their own music and beats.  Even more, these simple programs available to amateurs were the medium of creating notorious beats.  Songs by artists such as Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, The Game, and even Jay-Z have been made using FL Studio, and similar programs.  Consequently, despite being user friendly, non-industrial programs, FL Studio and Garage Band are the perfect tools to create, and revamp music.

For my final project, I plan on taking a well known beat, like Dr. Dre's and Snoop Doggs "Still D.R.E.", Notorious BIG's "Big Poppa," or Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and recreating it.  I want to take the most well know part, for example, in "Still D.R.E." the "dun nuh nuh nuh nuh," and implementing that in my beat, and change the rest of the beat, therefore creating my own "hacked" version.

Apr. 22nd, 2009

After messing around with the creation tools on Second Life, I tried making a miniature version of a building.  I used a half sphere on top of a cylinder for the top and sides and hollowed each one out.  For the entrance, i used a cone tilted at 90 degrees and hollowed out so it lookes like a giant tunnel.  The one thing i couldn't figure out was how to make windows unless i turned the whole building into glass.  Another creation was a high jump, including a mat and bars to vault your avatar over.

Mar. 30th, 2009

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/chalkmarrow/369269

This first scratch project mirrors the game "Bejeweled," which is often found on cell phones or media players.  I find this scratch game intriguing because of the clean design and simple application.  Whereas other games I saw were very rough, "Bescratched" justly recreates the classic game with the bubbled scratch characters and odd game sounds.   Although it plays relatively slow, I love the idea behind the recreation, and would like to learn the application behind moving the pieces and replacing them.

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Fractal/407180

The scratch is called MoonMoth.  In this game, you fly up, eating moon stones, which allow you to fly further into the air, and the goal is to reach a maximum height.  I like this game because, although your moth moves very fast, it is very smooth.  I also like the great design of the butterfly, the moonstones, background, and city.  Unlike other scratches, it is very aesthetically pleasing.

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/kaotheroogoncreator/248834

This final scratch is a video featuring 'Pyong' (Whoever that is).  I thought this video was good because of 1. the ridiculousness of it 2. the song and 3. the amount of work which seemed to be put into it.  Just by messing with scratch for a little, I felt as though it would be hard to do anything, yet this creator makes an orange cat dance around to numma numma which I don't think i could ever do.  Brilliant.

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