So as this project draws to a close, and I begin the ‘polishing‘ stage it seems like a good time to run into some problems.
After spending weeks learning my way around Unreal Engine and building various rooms of the yellow house, which were mainly blue prints and basic structures, I have come to realise I am going to struggle with applying the artwork from the yellow house on to my virtual walls. Luckily, some pieces of the house can be photoshopped and simply placed on to a material as a texture, but other pieces are not so simple due to the limited access I have. And furthermore, creating new objects within the engine is beyond my capability and time frame at this late stage. Some of these problems and solutions are shown in the imaes at the end of this post.
Having addressed the struggles I’m having in these final stages, I would like to move on to participatory culture, and how something like Unreal Engine has massively contributed to the culture. Gaming is one of the first types of media that have seen mass interaction, or, a participatory culture. Joost Raessens (2006) outlines three areas of participation within games media. “that of interpretation (deconstruction is understood as a specific form of interpretation), the domain of the reconfiguration of existing game elements, and the domain of the construction of new game elements”.
Raessens (2006) best explains these three domains when considering ‘the player’ and their actions within a participatory culture:
“Interactivity refers to ‘‘a distinctive mode of relating to audiovisual representations or fictions. The player is provided with a way of directly taking a leading role in what occurs, given the means to control—at least in part—what will unfold within the scene on the screen’’
“Second, we speak of reconfiguration when a player in this process of exploration is invited to give form to these worlds in an active way by selecting one of the many preprogrammed possibilities in a computer game (this is what Aarseth calls the ‘‘configurative function,’’. Here, a player is ‘‘building the virtual world by selecting objects and actions from a fixed set of system-internal possibilities’’
“Construction, understood as the addition of new game elements, can exist in the making of new games or—and this is much more common—the modification of existing games, described as ‘‘to deconstruct and alter an existing system for the joy of it’’ By modification, ‘‘the users can extend or change the text by adding their own writing or programming’’ in which ‘‘the ability to add permanent components to the text presupposes the demiurgic power to co-create the virtual world’’
While these first two points are directed towards the actual gameplay, the third point refers to ‘moding’ and the re-creation of games, this is essentially what Unreal Engine is used for. Countless successful games have spawned from the Unreal Engine creator, (such as Rocket League, Bioshock, Borderlands, Mass Effect, and Gears of War 4) proving how an open and participatory culture is beneficial to games media.
Below is an update on the various stages of my room and my attempts to replicate the actual thing.