(Cool Britannia, Brittania cools the waves)
Create Britain – an initiative created by The Guardian, and terrible attempt at phonetic onomatopoeia – is a project, where in I will have to create a supplement to The Guardian’s newspaper, showing what Britain is the world leader in; this can extend both to the past and potential future, as well as the present.
My Inital Ideas:
With a project as large and broad as this one, it was a difficult task to even know where to start, during this time however, I discovered several facts that didn’t even cross my mind – many of which struck me as both impressive and inspirational for basis’s.
First off, was the architecture of Britain. Being invaded by so many various cultures through-out history has given Britain a unique architectural stance, in that most of it’s buildings came from elsewhere and to this day, holds the most variation in all architectural styles. I have touched on this already in this piece, where I mention that every western seat of power is inspired by the Parthenon, with the exception of Westminster.
Next was Britain’s innovation in medicine and medical advances, ranging from Alexander Flemming’s discovery of Penicillin in 1924 to how Britain is the leading pharmaceutical provider for the whole world.
I was also going to go with inventions and their inventors, however, I feel that this topic is over done. Despite this, I still researched various examples – ranging from steam boilers, to Raspberry Pi’s, brits built it all.
Eventually, I settled on Britain and it’s forefront during the 1980’s ‘homebrew’ era games development, as well as it’s influence in more recent times.
My – initial – Final Idea
First off, the piece will take the form of a collection of plastic cards, similar to flexible whiteboards. With information on Great British games throughout history, as well as an A2 poster, with a group of clear plastic sleeves. On one side of the card, there will be a short history on the game, as well as its influence on the industry – on the other there will be one small section of an image that will be made complete by storing all the cards.
I will first produce a mockup to show the feasibility of my idea; which should be found below
Firstly, and fortunately, I managed to find an old Dr Who card book laying around which I could salvage for the mock up:
This could also be used as a form of ‘modular system’, where The Guardian could release additional cards for various subjects, made in a similar format – For Example, architecture – could take the form of several informative cards on various British architects and their famous works, with a section of a silhouetted London skyline in the background
My Refined Final Idea
In order to actually appeal to an sort of demographic, I have decided to switch my idea up, instead of it taking the form of a poster, the cards will be used in an interactive, online, digital trading card game.
This will be done by making slight edits to the existing cards – adding serial numbers to them – and letting people upload their cards digitally to an online profile – from which a library can be set-up, showing which have been collected, as well as a trading ‘market place’ where collectors can trade their digital cards.
These cards can be printed out and scanned with a QR scanner and be used to either play a mock up of the game, or watch a short video on the game. An Alternative will be available on the PC’s which could allow PC owners to still play the games.
The other side will still contain a short piece of information on the game.
The initial card design looked something like this:
However, this design proved to be a little TOO basic, as such, the design was refined.
This was to keep within theme of each game, to add authenticity to the cards, as well as the project.
A full list of the cards can be found here
Starting with what I know, I utilised the research of Dr Stuart Ashens, British youtube personality, and reviewer/’re-discoverer’ of ‘terrible old games you’ve probably never heard of‘ and looked into their histories.
He also reviews products and old technology, including systems which can be used to find and run old games.
The British Homebrewing games industry was one of the things that were attributed to saving the games industry during the video game crash of 1983 – while America was reeling from the near collapse of the industry, Brits in their bedrooms stayed awake and began to produce their own video games, many of which being sub-standard – others, going on to become legendary…
(Game titles lead to transcripts of the games authors)
The first, was Manic Miner – a game made in under 6 weeks on a loaned out ZX spectrum by a 17 year old; Mathew Smith. It captured audiences with it’s surreal Monty Python-esq humour, going as far as to include a foot which falls and crushes the player on death.
A year later in 1984, David Braben and Ian Bell worked together to create Elite – the space trading and RPG game which first wrote the rules on Open ended RPG games, was created while the pair were waiting for their finals exams. It was also the first US#1 game from outside the US.
Later, in 1989 Peter Molyneux became god… By extension, making everyone god, by releasing his first game, Populous. Allowing players to create vivid landscapes and inflict horrific disasters, leading to the creation of a whole new genre – simulation – as well as being one of the first game genres to attract a more female audience.
Post 90’s brought 3d graphics and with 3D graphics came one of the most iconic games of the 1990’s – The Playstation’s Wipeout series. 1995 saw the first flight of the zero G racer, developed by Psygnosys. This brought revolutionary fast paced serious racing game to the public.
2 years later, one of the most famous and most influential games in modern times came into being. Made by Rare interactive, Goldeneye 007 took the world by storm. Along with Doom and Wolfenstein, Goldeneye revised and rewrote the rules for the First Person Shooter, and was the first multiplayer first person shooter ever made. It was also the first of the movie tie in games which was actually good!
Later, still in the month of October, came the great re-definer, not only for a genre but perhaps the entire industry – Grand Theft Auto, developed by then DMA Design. Taking inspiration from Elite in terms of a free roaming, sandbox game – Grand Theft Auto started life as a game where players must escape from police, however, due to a bug, the police officers would be relentless in their hunt for the player – sparking the idea of Grand Theft Auto.
In 2001, there came the, now, world famous; Runescape – made by Jagex. The first browser based MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) to grace the, now broadening internet. Jagex was founded by Andrew Gower and his brothers. Gower himself, was a Cambridge University student at the time – during January 2001.
While it had existed since 1996, Tomb Raider in 2001 became one of the first – as well as one of the few commercially successful – game adaptions to the film world, with Angelina Jolie playing the part of the titular, Lara. This however, was not to last for developers; Core Design, being a subsidiary of Eidos, they handed the task over to Crystal Dynamics, a second Eidos subsidiary. In April 2009 – the IP was sold to Square Enix.
2008 – A London-based company, known as Mind Candy released an MMO aimed at kids: Moshi Monsters. Moshi Monsters is a game that allowed kids to socialise with each other, solve educational puzzles and adopt and care for their own pet monster. at 2013, over 80 million people were playing, with all sorts of merchandise built around the IP, ranging from shirts, models, toys and even had a film deal.
2008 – The dawn of a new console generation. With it came Sony’s spearhead, Little Big Planet. A puzzle-platformer, developed by Media Molecule. Created with cheerful, family friendly style, a unique aestetic and voiced over by none other than British National Treasure in his own right; Stephan Fry. The game also featured a unique level editing system, as well as allowing group of people to work together to build levels.
2012 – The old chestnut, DMA design returned with yet another groundbreaking design. Despite being renamed Rockstar, and gathering a large, near global company, they were still being led forward by The Scottish branch of Rockstar. Costing over £170 million, Grand Theft Auto 5 was the fastest game to ever make 1 billion dollars – this figure is continuing to climb.
2014 – Ustwo – a studio based in London – noticed that Britain was lagging behind in the mobile games department since the advent of Moshi Monsters. They released their creation, Monument Valley, into the world in April, to raptous praise and acclaim for almost every critic which played it. Relying on optical puzzles and perspective, the game was praised for a mechanic, rarely seen – but much loved.
Right now, The British Games industry to still growing strong, yet remains mostly underground, hiding and waiting for the next big British Game to be noticed.
The Cards and research for them, while important, wouldn’t hold up on their own merit and I knew this from the outset, so I also began work on a 3 page spread, including an Interview with one of the most influential, as well as successful games developers in the business; Rockstar. The interview would be pulled from here, and it’d would be my job to format, illustrate and theme the pages, including a leader, cover and possibly advert page.
Starting with the cover, I thought about the history of gaming and how it all stemmed from simplistic Pixel graphics that almost everyone could recognise , then used them to make the Union Flag.
I also purposely omitted grammar from the title, to allude to both the place; ‘Great Britain’ as well as ‘Great British Games Design’, creating an ideal double meaning that’d implant the thought in the readers head even at a glance.
The next page was a simple spread explaining what I’d be looking at.
Initially, it looked much like this:
Before text was added, making it like this:
Which, while informative, seemed far too ‘floaty’, so the final iteration was to ‘lock it down’.
Leaving one box floating, I bound the other in a box and added some more stylistic choices, like the line leading from the E to the text box.
Another page was used to provide the main body of the article:
Which went through several design iterations in order to reach the above stage, including one that had a flat orange bar along the bottom of the page, which while attracting the eye, seemed far too static.
Even the above image got a make-over, becoming:
Which involved lining up the text and the bottom, decreasing the height of the paragraphs and adding a quote from the interview to the top of the page, as a way to attract the eyes, as well as to show the gist of the interview.
As a test, I decided to print it!
…I used the wrong page print size…
On the plus side, this did prove to me that 9pt font that was reccomended was appropriate, as I did have my suspicions about it.
However, after I sorted out the printing size, it looked like this:
Which I am extremely pleased about!