Posts tagged "Design"
16 Nov 2009Social Media
Hello all apologies for my lack bloggage, things have been terribly busy here at Onteca on my part and the development team with the preparation for the Monsteca Corral release.
For todays blogging insert i just wanted to talk about the Internet and the effects of using it to promote ones products or services. This method of using the internet for self promotion relates to Social Media.
For those unaware what exactly Social Media is, it is a media designed to be disseminated through social interaction. It is created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques e.g. Blogging, News Feeds, Forums.
Social Media supports the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). That is basically the wiki version of what Social Media is.
I am sure those who have followed my blogs you will be aware that i have come to Onteca to help promote their new Wiiware game ‘Monsteca Corral’. Whilst keeping in mind the mass amount of online interaction going down on the web, Social Media engagement is the best promotional tool (and lets not forget its FREE) to use when promoting the game.
Even though the Internet opens up numerous portals when communicating with your audience, it also allows the company to be susceptible to negativity. So rule one (and this one is important), before you chose to publicise your company and their product/s within the all mighty powerful tech channel you must be aware and prepare yourself for the likelihood of negative response.
When you release information/images or even footage about your product what you are doing is displaying a nice big sign post saying “Free for all, come and pass judgement”. And what this means is, you are inviting everyone to display to all their own personal opinion.
A huge gamble you might say but there is nothing wrong with laying some of your cards out on the table.
I have included in the post a small section something i wrote about Social Media and PR, reeking the rewards the Internet can bring whilst baring in mind that lack of control you will have once you message is out there. Enjoy
Social Media – Losing Control of the message
The emergence of Social Media first materialised after the introduction of Web 1.0. The difficulty the PR industry faces today is the adaptation to Social Media practices, this is demonstrated through practitioners’ unawareness that the media and networking have always been social, however the internet has not.
Hence, the internet is catching up with reality, through new capabilities which has come to be recognised as Web 2.0.
In today’s online society the internet plays a primary role in accommodating PR professionals with a market place of conversations, this however interrupts traditional PR Communication models. Cathy Ace, of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, discusses the problematic affects Social Media has on the original communication model,
“Faced with new communication models today, it now has to adapt to new ways of reaching new groups of people. One of the most complicated problems faced by the PR practitioner today is not to get the message out there – but to monitor what messages are appearing where, and what their impact might be”. (Ace, 2002)
The approach PR practitioners take with digital media relations is somewhat different from the approach used in traditional PR; the digital channel is to some extent, eliminating the middleman with online spheres of influence.
The best PR efforts are not only two-way but also symmetrical, allowing the company and the strategic audience equal opportunities to participate in the discussion. (Holtz, 2002)
The Web offers the perfect place of solace for audiences to access and engage with a company directly, this can be done through the means of web sites, blogs, discussion rooms and web forums. However with the beneficial means an online society can provide for a client, it can also present the problematic matters of losing control of the fundamental objectives the company’s PR campaign originally set out to achieve.
Simon Collister (In Green, 2009), leading experts in Social Media, feels professional communicators are facing a loss of control over brand and messages:
“They are no longer the only voice articulating the company/clients message. In fact, passive consumers no longer exist. Individuals are proactively involved in reading or watching media; creating their own content; sharing and criticising your brand or product.”
Millions of network subsets contain relationship webs built from communities in which largely anonymous individuals have shared interests. Within these subsets, individuals and organisations have one or more reputations – some isolated and others exposed, some helpful and some harmful.
Reputations of large companies and well-known individuals transfer from other environments to online because of longevity and branding communications. Reputations of smaller known firms or individuals are built on the internet by what others say about them online.
As the internet moves toward the centre of communication, risks to reputation are greater, even for well established individuals and organizations. Hence, Social Media outlets do not hold the guarantee of a safer reputational haven that the print industry can offer.
Jim Horton, internet and online PR practitioner, considers that reliability over audience impairment cannot overcome human behaviour. “Humans defeat any process when it is in their interest to do so. As a result, reputation systems are never perfect: they work more or less well.” (Horton, 2008: 1)
A recent case study that demonstrates the possible side effects that the internet can have on an organisations reputation, when Social Media tools are not used effectively and monitored is that of British Airways.
The company British Airways learned why online reputation management should be a top priority to their company’s infrastructure, when it appeared a group of employees in London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 create a chat forum protesting their annoyance with the company on the social networking site Facebook.
“Thanks to the power of social networking, the workers’ rude comments about passengers caught the attention of the press.” (O’Hern, 2008) Watson (2009) discusses his experience with regards to the management of online facilities within Rainier PR.
“There is always a risk that people might make negative comments or remarks, but this risk is lessened if the company is offering a good product or service. The internet simply takes the conversations that customers have always been having and broadcasts. If the company had a bad product or service, then those conversations will be negative. Therefore the conversations will be negative online too.”
Social Media tools present organisations with a transparent analysis of their brand, therefore facilitating them with immeasurable exposure through conversations generated by the public on social networking sites. Rather than a company having only one voice, Social Media incorporates the traditional method of publicity through word of mouth, however working via Social Media means.
Further comprehension of the PR industry adapting to the changing towards the Social Media phenomenon was established throughout my placement with PR and Social Media Company, GREEN Communications.
The company demonstrated a clear understanding of the changing communicative market structure and embraced new forms of technological Social Media tools. GREEN interrelated with their clients’ active audiences by association of online conversations – through blogs and social networks. The company showed a clear understand of the problematic areas involved in Web 2.0 technologies, however took the stance of engaging with them and shaping them to accurately reflect their clients brands.
09 Nov 2009New Onteca Training Programmes – C++, Objective C, 3D Modelling
If you own an iPhone, chances are you haven’t come close to unlocking its full potential. Want to find out what the world’s most revolutionary pocket-sized communications and entertainments device can really do?
Developing iPhone Applications is one of Onteca’s brand new Introductory courses that is offering people who are just starting out along the path to be a games developer, or just those want to satisfy their curiosity and learn something new.
There are literally thousands of applications specifically designed for the iPhone to enhance its functionality and course participants will learn how to develop their own Apps so they can later on be released to the Apps store.
Participants will learn about XCode and Introduction to Objective-C, the tools used to build every iPhone application and how to build a simple application which can run on Simulator, iPhone or iPod Touch.
At Onteca we aim to ensure this fast growing digital content industry is recognised as an important component of the economy and the Onteca Training Programmes are a great way to make this training accessible to a mass audience.
Developing iPhone Apps is just one of many Short Courses at Onteca. Other Short Courses include Introduction to C++, 2D/3D Modelling for iPhone Games, Introduction to CSS and many more courses that will put your technical abilities to the test.
These courses represent Onteca’s desire to always be looking for new ways to train people in innovative technologies and unconventional career paths. Whether trying something entirely new or re-training in the latest advances in your chosen field you won’t have to take a week off work to do these courses.
Onteca’s short courses run from one to two days to act as a taster session or for those who do not have the time for a full course.
Onteca based in Liverpool is the only place where participants receive vocational training across a wide range of creative industry-based courses from practising professionals.
02 Nov 2009Indie Game Developers shouldn’t forget the benefits of PR
Sophie here once again, today i thought i would look at how the internet can be utilized as a PR tool to help Indie Game Developers promote their games.
Public Relations in a nutshell: PR is defined as the art of controlling information flow between a company and the outside world. When you are an independent games developer producing a game using your own IP, it is easy for your indie roars to be rendered to a pitiful whisper in the noisy and crowded sea of the internet.
This means the Indies have to swallow their pride and remember they are not an EA or Activision and cannot use the same sort of PR methods they use, therefore they need to maximise their flow of information and utilize the web as much as possible.
The big guys tend to guard their updates carefully, rarely leaking new information about their game. When they do, it’s very controlled and polished. This strategy may make sense when you are so big that even a small leak of information means multiple Digg front-page stories and coverage by news sites everywhere. For Indies though, your carefully packaged press release would likely fall into obscurity.
This means that you need to get creative, experiment, and make noise often. Since it’s hard to predict what will blow up and what won’t, the more insights you share the better your chances are of getting people’s attention.
Remember that the upside is huge and the downside is small. The only thing you stand to lose is your time if you sink hours into a post that doesn’t earn you any recognition.
The good news is that if a PR attempt fails, no one will see it so you don’t have to feel embarrassed (EA doesn’t have this luxury). Since almost everything applies to games, there are lots of different things you can share.
An important part of open development is reaching out to other people in the industry. Contact other Indies, they are your allies not your rivals. You also want to reach out to press contacts and distributors.
Cold emails are always tough, so don’t get discouraged. Meeting people in person is extremely valuable. No matter where you are, you should try to get involved in your local game developer scene. Raiding conferences is also a great way to meet people. I recommend having a box of business cards, an iPod touch with some videos of your game on it.
To a certain extent indie games represent a chance to find out about the next big thing before it hits mainstream so don’t be bashful, say hello. You never know who you’ll meet and meeting people in person turns cold emails into warmer ones.
Building a community
The best way to build a community is to facilitate communication. Create ways for you to talk to fans, for fans to talk to fans and also for fans to talk to you.
It’s easy to think that you might be overwhelmed by visitors to your site if you allow everyone to contact you directly, however this is a great problem to have and most Indies that are just starting out are not lucky enough to have this problem.
Start early. Starting from zero is tough, so get it out of the way now. The earlier you start the more seeds you can plant by launch.
Onsite PR implementation
The blog is your rock and your most effective tool for sharing your development process with the world. It is extremely versatile and all the original content you produce for your blog can be echoed out to your other pages.
Tips: Use pictures/videos, keep it short, encourage discussion, make blog posts often
The forums offer a place for visitors to share their thoughts. Unlike the blog which you have to power yourself, the forums are largely fan-run. They provide a great medium to share information and solutions to problems that may arise. They also allow for the sharing of creative ideas and mods.
Tips: Seed the forums with appropriate topics. Try not to crack down to hard on anyone or you may find yourself in the middle of a flame war.
Offsite PR Implementation
ModDB is a very indie friendly collection of all video games and their mods. It’s a great place to add your game and keep people updated on its status. If the ModDB staff like your news update, they will promote it to the front page. Many people use it as a news site and keep track of gaming news. It is a surprisingly large site and the community is awesome. Some ModDB visitors have already started modding Overgrowth before it is even released.
Tips: Decorate your page to draw attention to it, update often with high quality content to attract people
YouTube is the best place to host your videos. YouTube has HD now and an absurd number of useful features these days. The most valuable thing about YouTube is that people can easily subscribe to your channel and YouTube will funnel more viewers onto your pages by cross-pollinating your video with other related videos.
Tips: Add a link to your YouTube channel in your videos so people can subscribe to you
A Facebook page gives you a secondary location to host your blog posts, pictures and HD videos. Facebook is the biggest social network and is designed to be as viral as possible. Whenever someone interacts with your page, the activity is splashed around to his or her friends. This helps people spread the word organically and can cause pretty substantial chain reactions.
However, a Facebook page needs nurturing.
Tips: Feed your blog onto your page’s notes, upload videos and photos individually to the wall so that they are more conspicuous
Twitter seemed pretty dubious at first. However Twitter is unique from other pages because it offers a good medium for you to meet your peers in the industry in addition to accumulating fans. Twitter is at worst an alternative to your blog’s RSS feed, but at best, it’s a great way to keep people up to date more rapidly and lets you communicate with tons of other game developers.
Tips: Don’t just link to yourself like an RSS bot, use Twitter to communicate with people
Your Steam group offers a great way to introduce your game to the Steam community. Groups have amenities like screenshots and avatars that you can upload to add some flair to your page.
However, the main asset of Steam groups is the chat room that acts like a public IRC channel tied directly to your game. Because most people on Steam are active gamers looking to purchase games, this PR is extremely well targeted.
Tips: Idle in your Steam group’s chat room so you can meet visitors and answer their questions, offer visitors avatars, you can post important blog posts as announcements
Games Press helps us auto feed our content onto certain sites. It has been great for getting our videos onto IGN, Gamespot, Game Trailers and G4. Even if you upload pictures of a pumpkin with the company logo carved in it getting set on fire with a propane torch, Games Press will get it streamed to a few sites.
Tips: just post it; you never know whose attention you’ll get
Game Trailers is the biggest game video site out there. It’s a constant stream of videos that people watch like TV, so when they post your video, it will immediately get thousands of views.
Tips: Upload videos often, don’t get discouraged if people mistake your early work for the final product, they’ll catch on eventually as they see more videos.
What’s more interesting: a finished asset or an entire time-lapse showing you everything from the initial strokes to the final product? If you can see the appeal of a time-lapse, you should also be able to see the appeal of open development.
There is often a PR quiet period for a game between when it is announced and when it is ready for preview. It makes sense that news sites probably can’t entertain their readers with your latest updates. However, such updates are interesting news to your community, so don’t sit on your hands, and keep showing what you’ve got.
Finally remember to stay agile. The gaming industry is already moving quiet steadily and web based PR tools seem to be moving faster than that. As a small agile company you’ll have the chance to be a first adopter on the next big thing
30 Oct 2009Development Blog – Normal day at Onteca
Every office has its own personalised methodology when approaching their day to day work load. Many arrive at the office armed with their double espresso venti cappuccino, set in the zone of hammering out a perfected PowerPoint presentation to the corporate big wigs. Some people even knowingly glue themselves to their poorly manufactured and terribly uncomfortable office chairs from the hours of 9-5, unbeknown to them that they are haven’t seen daylight for over a year. This I am happy to report is NOT the working structure of the Onteca office.
With any job that involves an individual to exert their creativity within their work, environment and habitual comforts are essential. At Onteca it is apparent that the company nurtures a freeform style and its colleague’s creative composition through its relaxed approach to business. The Onteca cluster consists of individuals who specialise in various areas, ranging from graphic designers, computer programmers, visual artists and music composer. All of which make Onteca what it is today, a compressed source of enthusiasm and creativity for the world of innovative technology.
Onteca is defiantly independent and want to make their games with as little external interference as possible. They have grown to their size through doing a variety of different projects but our core passion is the production of Computer games. Emerging more as a games developer, Onteca are happy to stay in the shadows of such a commercially run industry and let their work speak for itself. Their work with new emerging technology screams exuberance, modernisation and eccentricity. Components needed in such a conditioned culture where individuals are becoming harder to entertain, and as a result succumbing to the customs of replication.
Onteca to this day
Multitasking is what Onteca does best; here is a little glimpse into what the company is up to.
Bluecoat project – Bluecoat’s is an award-winning art gallery best known for their continuous programme of innovative exhibitions. Dan, Onteca’s own software and computer programming connoisseur is currently working on the Bluecoat project. Bluecoat are looking to improve visitor engagement on their website, this will be done by developing a 3d map. This may sound simple to us techno proletarians; however this requires precise architecture programming in action script 3.
14-19 Diploma – I am sure you have noticed my last blog covering Onteca’s educatory work with students in Wirral. Max is Onteca’s very own film director and interactive media tutor, is currently working with the on the training programme of the 14-19 diploma. The Diploma is an alternative curriculum that combines theoretical and practical study, providing a different style of learning that will offer young people an alternative route into higher education, apprenticeships or employment with training. Onteca provide training in such up-to-date industry standard software packages such as MAYA 3d modelling, Flash, Photoshop, Web Design and Video After Effects.
Onteca Training Programmes – Onteca believes in educating individuals in the different emerging technologies, consequently the company has proposed a new line of Training Programmes. Whether you’re just starting out along the path to be a games developer, or you want to learn how create a custom Smartphone application for your business Onteca will provide a training course tailored to your development needs. Course materials consists of Programming courses e.g. Introduction to C++, iphone 2d and 3d development and intro to CSS. Digital arts courses e.g. Intro to Photoshop, Flash, Autodesk Maya, 3d modelling and intro to web design. And Leadership courses e.g. Thinking the future.
Monsteca Corral– This is a project that is growing ever so close to my heart. Everyone at Onteca has a role to play with the development of the Monsteca Corral game, whether it is creating sounds for the Sdompe’ (Jo), perfecting the artwork of new characters (Rich), working on the architecture of the game (Simon), developing the game as a whole (the maker Ben) or my role of marketing the game to the public.
(Ben: The maker) (Rich: Creator)
Day by day the tick boxes are being crossed off and we are getting closer and closer to the finish line. At the moment Jo is currently making sounds for the game and the characters, this is a very peculiar process to watch first hand when it involves banging chairs against the floor to see the types of sound effects they can make. It is however very interesting to see how different sounds can be manipulated and constructed with such programs as Sound Forge SoundLab. I can’t wait to finally hear how the Sdompe is going to sound.
We now have two months to finish the game so to keep you guys updated I am going to try and keep an up-to-date development diary. Watch firsthand the Monsteca Corral game come together.
See you soon
27 Oct 200914-19 Information Technology Diploma
Hello all, Sophie here.
In my introductory blog last week I told you guys that my ground is in Public Relations and how I will be working on Onteca’s new game Monsteca Corral, furthermore Monsteca is not the only thing that should raise some eyebrows. Unbeknown to many, Onteca plays an exceptional role within the Wirral 14-19 Diploma .
The Diploma is an alternative curriculum that combines theoretical and practical study, providing a different style of learning that will offer young people an alternative route into higher education, apprenticeships or employment with training.
The Diploma combines a wide range of elements that aim to develop confident and independent learners with the skills to succeed in the workplace. In addition to a broad range of knowledge therefore, young people will also gain competency in skills such as independent thinking, English, Maths and IT. Although diplomas will give an insight into particular industries and sectors, the skills gained through such work can be applied to all professions.
Originally the diploma consisted of vocational courses such as Hair and Beauty Studies, Construction and the Built Environment and Retail Business. Subsequently the Diplomas are now advancing along with the progression of modern day technology, and no one knows more about advancements in technology than Onteca.
The guys at Onteca are keen to introduce the Information Technology Diploma to their students, covering areas such as:
1.Business: How organisations work and the role technology can play
2.People: How to work well with other people
3.Technology: How to create technology solutions
Plus exploring a cross theme of multimedia, looking at how to design and develop a multimedia products for a particular audience. Onteca provide training in such up-to-date industry standard software packages as MAYA 3d modelling, Flash, Photoshop, Web Design and Video After Effects.
The Diploma represents a huge opportunity for Wirral students of all abilities to develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes to succeed in work and life in the twentieth first century. I personally believe Diplomas like these will help restore the loss of hope many students have lost, by introducing them to totally different form learning.
For more information about the types of Diplomas available go to the Direct Gov website, or feel free to contact me to learn more about Onteca and their contribution to the 14-19 Diplomas in the Wirral area at email@example.com
See you soon
02 Oct 2009MonsTECA character: "Monster-Hunter"
13 Mar 2009Games Design Doc Sites.
This is Surgery Games Design Document Blogging:
Have been looking at different Games Design Document Sites. Has anyone got one they know that they’d recommend.
25 Feb 2009Liberatis – an early alpha version of an MMO produced by a group of Young People
- 3d assets
- design documents
- four months
- genuine talent
- learning disabilities
- mountains valleys
- North West
- playable game
- test stage
- Young People
- young person
Onteca is proud to announce the unveiling of a playable Alpha of our Mediabox Project, ‘Liberatis’ (a name thought of by a young person working on the project). This is an MMO created by young people, for young people. It involves some violence, within a Tolkienesque ‘fantasy’ setting, because that is what the young people called for. It is still at an early test stage, but is playable.
Given the theme ‘Freedom’ this is what a group of 14-19 year olds came up with
Over 50 young people worked for four months to make this game. First the young people planned out an overall story, a premise, a series of characters and detailed paper-based maps and Level Design Documents for each section . Next they had to painstakingly learn the skills they would need: Maya to create the 3D assets; Photoshop to create the mood-boards and textures; the Torque level editor to create landscapes full of trees, mountains, valleys and towns in which the game could be played. Onteca provided support and training at every step.
Onteca then worked on integrating all these elements into a playable game, to the design of the young people and under the direction of their representatives.
Some of the most academically inclined young people on Merseyside worked alongside young people from a local Special School who had learning disabilities. Everyone addressed themselves to the same tasks and were expected to prodice the same results. Sometimes the young people would work alongside each other, sometimes they would split into school and project based groups. Standards were high across the range of schools, with genuine talent and IT ability coming from all groups involved.
Areas worked in were amonst the most economically disadvantaged in the country. That said, the young people who involved themselves in this project were eager, polite and creative. Hopefully, they will learn from being part of the making of Liberatis, and consider a career in the North West’s still healthy Games Industry.
Thanks to all the young people involved, and Onteca hopes you like the game you helped create.
An alpha version of the game is available to download here to install it, just download and run.
if you get an error message mentioning python when running the game on certain versions of vista you will need to run the game as an administrator
24 Feb 2009Of noobs and leets and crossing over…
Being the noob amongst the leet at Onteca has its pros(everyone assumes you know nothing about their stuff)and its cons (normally because you erm don’t).Working with Onteca this year, attending Crossover Kids and working on an MMO created by young people, has been great. Challenging what I know as a writer and pushing me to think about what I need to. This blog is about ‘Crossover.’
So, ‘Crossover’ is:
‘…an extraordinary series of ‘innovation labs’ for creative professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds: game developers, tv and film producers, web designers, animators, theatre practitioners and others. Each Crossover lab is an immersive, five day incubator fostering new collaborations and original ideas for cross platform media content and services.’
Jon and Max put me forward for: Crossover Kids (Dec 1 – 5).‘Crossover Kids’ said it would:
explore the future of children’s media and develop original ideas for cross-platform projects. Based on the knowledge that:
‘Children have always loved TV, but the days when passive viewing was their only option are well and truly over. They’re media literate and demanding more sophisticated, interactive content which is fragmenting the market. So what does this mean for content creators? A decline in traditional TV commissioning and falling budgets? Or a framework for innovation and collaboration?’
I wasn’t sure on the idea of being incubated with a load of content creators. But, on the promise of a paid trip down south,(Thank you North West Vision and Media) a hotel spa and a country walk, I bought myself a nice new networking cardigan, packed my bestest walking boots and swimming cossie and set off to deepest, smartest Sussex to find:
non-stop work and no time for a sauna, or even a stroll around the grounds. But it was jolly good work, planning, pitching and thinking a lot about how multi platforms can be used with a young audience. I spent time thinking about how creative ideas can be best delivered to an audience of children who probably don’t even think about the word ‘virtual’ because to them it just is.
‘Crossover Kids’ comes highly recommended. Over the five days I worked on ideas involving Bluetooth mapping, MMO worlds and erm robot alien ponies. Obviously it was the alien ponies idea that I chose to develop. (See Recon Ponies Blog to follow.) It was constantly relentless, equally rewarding and hugely funny. Mentors were excellent and networking opportunities allowed for me to make some good contacts with lovely folk, specifically:
Friendship and creative seeds were planted in December and as we turn into spring I’m pleased to say they are growing.
Following the Crossover week, I also attended the first Crossover Kids pitching event, which was held at the Princess Anne Theatre, BAFTA, London on Thursday 11 December. We saw a couple of new CBeebies ideas including a great news programme aimed at 4 year olds ‘What’s your news?’ I pitched along -side virtual world creator Kerry Fraser Robinson(Red Bedlam), producer Emma Hindley (Grierson Awards) and animator Sara Quick (Tuna Technology) our multi platform animated cartoon/ website/robot: ‘Recon Ponies’. We’re still looking at developing this idea. Interest and funding most welcome. We thinks it’s got legs (and a nosebag.)
Crossover enabled me to extend the thinking that I had already been doing on my work with Onteca, specifically working story narrative in MMO and developing cross platform ideas. I am still very much a noob but with leet aspirations.