Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The History of Computer Games (In a Nutshell)

Right, it's about time I got started on this. I've been too busy trying to keep myself on target in regards to completing Heather's and Chris' tasks on time, so I must apologize for this delay, Lord Darth Powell. (lol)

Anyway, as the first weekly task assigned to the course, we were asked to review the early history of computer games and find out some interesting facts, such as who first decided to use computers as a means of having fun, what their background was and how this strikes as significant.

Well right off the top of my head, I can say the the very first computer game I recall, was the legendary Pong, which was made by Atari back in the 1970's. Now after scanning the task we were given, it mentioned that the first computer game was in fact brought into existence, 20 years prior to Pong, and it was known as Tennis for Two, which was pretty much a 'Umpires' view of a Tennis match. Now I don't want to bore you with all the information that everyone else has probably wrote about this, so i'll quickly make some notes just to show that I have actually done the research.

  • Tennis for Two was made by a man known as William Higinbotham.
  • William was a physicist from the USA and was known for creating the very first 'computer game' back in 1958 using an analog computer to stimulate a game of table tennis (ping-pong), on a oscilloscope.
  • An Oscilloscope is some type of equipment that is used test electronics, by allowing voltage signals to be viewed on a screen, as a two-dimensional graph, sort of like a radar.
  • William Higinbotham was one of the first men to create an electronical piece of entertainment that uses a graphical display, allowing the user to fully interact.
  • Tennis for Two was created in an attempt to try and cure the boredom of visitors to the Brookhaven National Laboratory, where William worked, but was only ever brought out twice, which was on 'Visitors Day'.
  • Hardly anything was known about Tennis for Two until the late 1970's, (After Pong's release) where William had to attend court and testify against Magnavox and Ralph Baer. (For reasons I cannot find out)
During the time between Tennis for Two and Pong, there were several other computer games, made by other people and companies, some of which include:

  • Spacewar! (1961) - A new game on a new computer called a DEC PDP-1 where two players took control of a spacecraft each and had to battle it out against one another, using missiles to blow one another up, while avoiding a large blackhole in the center of the screen.
  • Chase (1966) - When England won the World Cup, Ralph Baer was able to create a game that could be played on an ordinary television set, known as Chase. He also helped build the first ever Light Gun in 1967.
  • Galaxy Game (1971) - Similar to Spacewar!, this was the first coin-operated video game which used a DEC PDP-11/20 computer. Only one was ever built.
  • Pong (1972) - The first highly successful and widespread video game. Pong is a 'bird's eye view' version of Tennis for Two. The creators, Atari, managed to sell over 19,000 Pong machines.

So that's about it for now. I'll continue on with more up to date computer game history, leaning more towards the 80's and 90's in my next blog entry, so until then...


Monday, 6 October 2008

The Canal Project

I'm going to have my rant here because I've got no one to talk to at this moment in time so maybe even if I get what I want to say, off my chest, via typing, it might make me feel better. Or maybe it won't. We'll just have to wait and see.

Now I doubt this isn't going to look very professional, but with Chris Wright's Canal Project, where we had to draw 12 sketches and then one final piece of some location along the Canal, near Newarke Point, is really getting on my nerves. I normally love drawing and wouldn't ever complain about drawing, but there is something about this project that just makes my blood boil. I'm having a serious lack of muse, or motivation in my sketches and I hate to see what'll happen to my final piece. Let's just hope that I don't create something too crap that I won't be able to use it to work on, or over, in future projects.

Really, really am in a terrible mood right now!!! I'm so tempted to throw out a half asked final piece and say hell to it, and move onto the next project, which is the one we are going to be doing at Bradgate Park on Tursday (well, that's today to be exact =P It's 12:17am)

Maybe the late nights aren't helping?

Such a good start to the year this is. I hope I don't mess everything up in the next few projects and start to question my career path.... Nah, that's just foolish. I really want to be a Game Artist so I guess i'm just going to have to knuckle down at the end of the day and get on with what I have to do.

Blah.... whatever. Rant over.


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

First Blog Entry.... ever!!!

Hello there!

As the title suggests, this is the first time that I have ever had to do this blog making, or writing thing. So I hope i'm not the ONLY one here on the Game Art course who hasn't done one before, because then i'd just feel out of date and old. Anyway this is a requirement for the course right, so that's the reason we all have to do one of these? Right? Wrong?

Anyway, who cares. I've started it now so I might as well stick at it till the end of the year, or to the end of the course, depends which comes second. Sound good? Good.

Right, that's that then. So err... nice to see you all and hope you enjoyed reading this tiny blog entry. Oh, and thanks for reading it, if you managed to get this far without falling asleep or dieing of boredom.