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January 29, 2007

Videogame Interactivity

I played two games for this assignment, one which I thought was a good example of Interactivity and one which I felt kinda sucked. The good game was on the computer; it is the Hoyle Card Games, from the Hoyle games series. This game, upon opening, immediately enters a full-screen mode on the computer. There are several options for game, player, and sound settings, all of which is navigated with a mouse. The game can be set on different levels of competition based on skill, and there are several different games one can play. The character can be chosen from a set of pre-created characters, OR the player can create their own character (visually) using a feature called "Facemaker". This allows a player to select everything about their character from body types to face shapes, hair styles to eye colors, as well as any fashion accessories. During gameplay, which is mouse-activated, a menu is present at all times on the bottom of the screen which allows users to control the sound and play settings, as well as options which allow users to go to different games from pop-up menus. Overall it's very easy to navigate and control. The only part that I feel could be changed is the character selection; once a player is "created" in Facemaker, it is somewhat troublesome to get back to the character create/edit screen.

The example of the game that I thought could use some work is the Howard Lederer "World Championship Poker" game for the Playstation II. Upon opening, the main menu is simply that...a menu with about 4 options on it for game type, skill level, gameplay settings, ect. Once a game is selected, it merely shows all the players in the game on the left side of the screen. the player who's turn it is to act is shown from a front or side view. When placing a bet, the only option is a single menu with a left/right scroller showing the amount to be bet. No "chips" are ever actually used, which in my opinion makes for some rather boooooooring gameplay! I guess I was disappointed with the overall look and feel of the game...it's not very interactive, it isn't visually stimulating, it isn't even very fun to play because of the lack of interactivity. It's hard to explain but I know I'm not that fond of it!

In other notes, I'm disappointed in the student design competition...school just started, i just started to get into the swing of things, and the deadline for the student design competition is already past!! what gives, where's the fire??

January 22, 2007

Week 2 Journal Terms

INTERNET: an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.

WORLD WIDE WEB: a part of the Internet accessed through a graphical user interface and containing documents often connected by hyperlinks -- called also Web.

WEB SERVER: A computer that delivers (serves up) Web pages.

HOST: A computer system that is accessed by a user working at a remote location. Typically, the term is used when there are two computer systems connected by modems and telephone lines. The system that contains the data is called the host, while the computer at which the user sits is called the remote terminal.

WEBSITE: A site (location) on the World Wide Web. Each Web site contains a home page, which is the first document users see when they enter the site. The site might also contain additional documents and files. Each site is owned and managed by an individual, company or organization.

WEBPAGE: A document on the World Wide Web. Every Web page is identified by a unique URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

WEB BROWSER: a software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

PODCAST: allows subscribers to subscribe to a set of feeds to view syndicated Web site content.

CACHE: Pronounced cash, a special high-speed storage mechanism. It can be either a reserved section of main memory or an independent high-speed storage device. Two types of caching are commonly used in personal computers: memory caching and disk caching.

HTML: Short for HyperText Markup Language, the authoring language used to create documents on the World Wide Web.

XHTML: Short for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language, a hybrid between HTML and XML specifically designed for Net device displays.XHTML is a markup language written in XML; therefore, it is an XML application.

XML: Short for Extensible Markup Language, a specification developed by the W3C. XML is a pared-down version of SGML, designed especially for Web documents. It allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

JAVASCRIPT: A scripting language developed by Netscape to enable Web authors to design interactive sites. Although it shares many of the features and structures of the full Java language, it was developed independently. Javascript can interact with HTML source code, enabling Web authors to spice up their sites with dynamic content. JavaScript is endorsed by a number of software companies and is an open language that anyone can use without purchasing a license.

IP ADDRESS: An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. For example, 1.160.10.240 could be an IP address.

URL's: Abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator, the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.

DOMAIN NAME: A name that identifies one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name microsoft.com represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages.

HTTP: Short for HyperText Transfer Protocol, the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. For example, when you enter a URL in your browser, this actually sends an HTTP command to the Web server directing it to fetch and transmit the requested Web page.

FTP: Short for File Transfer Protocol, the protocol for exchanging files over the Internet.

ISP: hort for Internet Service Provider, a company that provides access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider gives you a software package, username, password and access phone number. Equipped with a modem, you can then log on to the Internet and browse the World Wide Web and USENET, and send and receive e-mail.

IPP: Short for Internet Printing Protocol, an Internet protocol that allows universal solutions to users trying to print documents from the Internet.

MODEM: Short for modulator-demodulator. A modem is a device or program that enables a computer to transmit data over, for example, telephone or cable lines. Computer information is stored digitally, whereas information transmitted over telephone lines is transmitted in the form of analog waves. A modem converts between these two forms.

CABLE MODEM: A modem designed to operate over cable TV lines. Because the coaxial cable used by cable TV provides much greater bandwidth than telephone lines, a cable modem can be used to achieve extremely fast access to the World Wide Web.

ETHERNET: A local-area network (LAN) architecture developed by Xerox Corporation in cooperation with DEC and Intel in 1976. Ethernet uses a bus or star topology and supports data transfer rates of 10 Mbps.

WIRELESS: In networking terminology, wireless is the term used to describe any computer network where there is no physical wired connection between sender and receiver, but rather the network is connected by radio waves and/or microwaves to maintain communications. Wireless networking utilizes specific equipment such as NICs, APs and routers in place of wires (copper or optical fiber) for connectivity.

CSS: Short for Cascading Style Sheets, a new feature being added to HTML that gives both Web site developers and users more control over how pages are displayed. With CSS, designers and users can create style sheets that define how different elements, such as headers and links, appear. These style sheets can then be applied to any Web page.

BLOG: Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

MP3: The name of the file extension and also the name of the type of file for MPEG, audio layer 3. Layer 3 is one of three coding schemes (layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3) for the compression of audio signals. Layer 3 uses perceptual audio coding and psychoacoustic compression to remove all superfluous information (more specifically, the redundant and irrelevant parts of a sound signal.

JPEG: Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and pronounced jay-peg. JPEG is a lossy compression technique for color images. Although it can reduce files sizes to about 5% of their normal size, some detail is lost in the compression.

GIF: Pronounced jiff or giff (hard g) stands for graphics interchange format, a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web, CompuServe and many BBSs. GIF supports color and various resolutions. It also includes data compression, but because it is limited to 256 colors, it is more effective for scanned images such as illustrations rather than color photos.

GUI: ronounced GOO-ee. Acronym for graphical user interface. A program interface that takes advantage of the computer's graphics capabilities to make the program easier to use. Well-designed graphical user interfaces can free the user from learning complex command languages.

PHP: Self-referentially short for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, an open source, server-side, HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages. In an HTML document, PHP script (similar syntax to that of Perl or C ) is enclosed within special PHP tags. Because PHP is embedded within tags, the author can jump between HTML and PHP (similar to ASP and Cold Fusion) instead of having to rely on heavy amounts of code to output HTML. And, because PHP is executed on the server, the client cannot view the PHP code.

January 17, 2007

Journal

Blog Title: Lars A's blog

Location: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande3717/interactive1/

Week 1

Blog Title: Lars A's blog

Location: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande3717/interactive1/


WEEK 1 ASSIGNMENT:

1.) What is Interactive Design?
-Interactive design is any form of design that requires the user to manipulate the design in order for it to fully function; that is, it requires the user to navigate the design using whatever means necessary...a mouse, stylus, touch screen, ect. "Interactive" means there are two things that are interacting with each other...in this case, it means a person interacting with the design of something else.

2.) What do you want to learn in the course?
-It would be helpful to learn more about what the design of something (a website, for example) can do for the viewer's experience. Up to this point we (okay, I) have been creating websites that are content-based and do not focus as much on the aesthetic values. Also, i would like to learn about some practical applications of Interactive Design, aside from the Web.

3.) What applications / programming languages do you know or want to learn?
-I would like to gain some good knowledge of Flash 8, for one. Also html/CSS languages seem to be a skill that many employers look for. I did some very basic html stuff way back in my freshman year, so a refresher/expander lesson or two would be very helpful! No exposure to CSS or anything else though, this would probably be helpful! I have designed a couple websites already, nothing I'm too happy with though.

/a