WoW, GW2 Beta Action, Updates & College Stuff

There haven’t been as many posts happening as of late, I know. Being in college does have its drawbacks, specifically when it comes to side projects, such as this. The blog is not abandoned in any way, and I have a few ideas in my head just waiting to hit the digital page. In the meantime though, I’m working on a variety of designs and trying to update my own site.

As far as video games go, I’ve been sticking to WoW for the time being. I am happy to say that my guidelines that I’ve established are more or less holding up. My Draenei Paladin is level 25 (I had to stop XP a couple of times so I didn’t outlevel Erik,) and I just recently finished both Bloodmyst and Redridge. We also took it upon ourselves to 2 man both Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, with relative ease. But now that Erik is stopping WoW, I may have to resort to joining randoms, or…dare I say, soloing dungeons?!

Also, there’s a lot of buzz going on around Guild Wars 2’s beta registration. I have not signed up for it, and I have my Mac to thank for that. I just won’t be able to support the game on my current machine, Bootcamp or otherwise. Hopefully I’ll have a new gaming system before the game comes out, but here’s to hoping.

Speaking of GW2, Mike Ferguson, a designer working on the World vs. World component of the game, is doing an AMA on Reddit today. For anyone who isn’t already aware and following, I’ll link it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/q45rm/iama_guild_wars_2_game_designer_ama_about_world/?limit=500

That’s all for now. I’m off to keep designing/gaming!

-Joe

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Quick Thoughts on “Mobile First”

The mobile frontier is something that hasn’t really been explored until the emergence (and resulting popularity) of the smartphone. Since then there has been a lot of different ways to design for them, including responsive designs and app creation. While it has been around for a while, it has not been fully integrated and become a standard. As a student studying this for the first time, I am starting to pick up a lot of new information and it’s all genuinely exciting, from a design standpoint anyway.

I should mention first that I was introduced to this concept from my web teacher, as well as one person who popularized Mobile First, Luke Wroblewski. I haven’t gotten to read his book yet, unfortunately, but I will once I get my hands on A Book Apart. Happy Cog brought it up when I attended their presentation in Elizabethtown, PA a couple of months back.

So what are the gains of Mobile First? For some sites they can cut down on the visible information and allow on-the-go users to quickly access the parts they need, which as a result makes it a lot more focused and immediate. The sites provide instant access to the parts of the website that they think visitors will want the most and put it up front. It creates very effective hierarchy that should in turn be applied to the desktop versions of sites, in my opinion.

Does this mean that all websites should be designed for mobile? No. There are some that have an audience who browse primarily on the desktop, and since they are more likely to spend a longer amount of time on the site there really isn’t as much need to get to the necessary bits as quickly. However, I think that it is still important to design with it in mind, since that philosophy means that your users will get the information they need quicker, and in the end I believe that is one of the most important aspects of web design.

Reference & further (better) reading:

Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski, http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?933.

Design and Beauty: My experience.

JoeI’ve only considered myself a professional designer (that is, print/web design) for about two years, when I was deep in my major and could actually produce good work and defend my reasons as to why it was the right choice.

During that time I learned that for all the time I have spent worrying about how a design looks, I’d get past the point of having a purpose for my decisions which led to a design that wasn’t as exciting. Sure, you can craft a solid composition with decorative typography and color, but without any solid concept it’s just going to come across as superflous. Don’t get me wrong though, I think that plenty of designs can look good an convey a message well, but I’m saying that when a person hires you they’ll likely have a vision in mind already, and even if they don’t they’ll more than likely want to change a couple of things.

Ultimately every person in business doing creative work has to make compromises to be successful. This doesn’t mean that you canot be creative with your work, it just means that you’re thinking about other people (specifically the client and their target audience) over yourself, which is our biggest marketable trait. As a designer, I’ve learned to think outside of the box and really enjoy doing so. I don’t mind not being able to blow their minds with the best-looking design ever, I’m way more interested in pitching a concept that they would likely have not thought of. Otherwise they wouldn’t be coming to me.

To me, design isn’t about just giving you something nice to look at anymore, it’s more of a philosophy. A philosophy that extends way beyond your Adobe Creative Suite and across multiple careers. Whether it’s magazines, the web, games, home interiors, fashion, engineering etc, if you’re thinking about user experiences and the best way of conveying a function naturally, then you’re a designer. Congratulations! You’re one of the great thinkers of your time, here to make life more efficient and better-looking for the rest of us, but more as a byproduct than a catalyst.

-Joe

Learning HTML 5 and C++ for the holidays.

Joe‘Sup Erik,

So my goals for the winter break are piling up, between personal undertakings and professional jobs, it’ll definitely be hard to keep track of them all, let alone find the time to finish them between Christmas and New Year’s parties. I’ll be trying my best though.

Right now I’m picking up HTML 5 first. I know, it wasn’t part of the original plan, but in the short run it’s what I need to learn the most. I’ll toss in some C++ action along the way, and my current plan is to swap tutorials/lessons on the web every hour or two, take a break with some games, then hit the books again.

I know that I’ll have a lot less to tempt me since I haven’t gotten Star Wars, but I hope we can both accomplish something this break, no matter how small it is.

Anyway, I am just posting this after learning about Attribute Selectors in HTML 5. It is pretty neat, since you can essentially name an element anything and give it specific characteristics that can be repeated.  It’s sorta like how classes work. The way I learned it was this:

See the Code

Code Academy

This website teaches JavaScript as if it was literally walking you through it step by step. You earn “achievements” as you progress, and it’s pretty neat so far, though there are only three courses so far from the looks of it.

http://www.codeacademy.com

-Joe

192 RPG Clichés You Should Know

 

The Grand List of Console RPG Clichés was a powerful list (for its time, it’s been left alone for a few years, but still powerful nonetheless) of just about everything that went on in a Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger or pretty much any other JRPG before 2002. Worth the read, especially if you’ve played those old games. If you haven’t, you’ll get the idea of what it was like pretty quick.

-Joe

 

Pokémon LEGOS!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39134527@N04/5312349865/

Came across this a little while ago but thought I’d share it anyway. Filip Johannes Felberg created a whole series of impressive Pokémon LEGO sculptures and pretty much all of them can be seen on Flickr. You should definitely check them out when you get a chance.

-Joe

TheNewBoston

JoeI know I’ve posted this on facebook already, but this is going in the annals of history, dammit. I always approve of free self-education tools, especially quality ones. If you want a general understanding of a specific program, he probably covers it. Also, web development. It’s nothing but win!

http://thenewboston.org/

-Joe

Want to work in the Games Industry? Well…

.Joe..so do I. And so do a lot of other people, actually. Which is why I figured I’d post this insightful lecture on the subject by Ubisoft creative director Jason VandenBerghe. Erik and I were present (we’re in the front row, on the left side), but I’ve already watched it again, and I suggest you do it too, since it provides some excellent motivation.

Anyway the entire presentation is around 80 minutes, so enjoy!

Establishing a Career in Video Games by Jason VandenBerghe