April 19, 2005

University of Maryland Tuition Hike

In a lovely nod to all those dissertating students at the University of Maryland, many of whom are taking only 1 credit of 899 (dissertation credits) to keep Stafford loans at bay while staying enrolled, campus decided to increase ABD students' tuition by nearly half [PDF]. ABD students, starting Fall 2005, will pay a "flat" rate of $650 per semester in-state ($1200 out-of-state), rather than $371.

Hello inflation.

That's right. A targeted tuition hike, hitting the people who for years provided nearly free labor, at a University that has raised tuition so many times in the past four years that they are almost keeping pace with the DC-area housing market. A University that is one of the most expensive public universities in the country.

What the hell?

If you want a taste of irony, this news item falls right under the one highlighting Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

Posted by Jason at 2:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Using HL2 as a "Canvas"

Interesting story on slash-dot. The comic Apostasy isn't bad.

Nearly six months since its release, Half-Life 2 is not only making ripples for its being a great game, but also for the works being made from the game itself. Garry's Mod (aka GMod) is a extremely popular and fun "sandbox" modification for Half-Life 2, that allows you to play with the game's exceptional physics engine as well as pose characters, create Rube Goldberg-type devices and other physics phun inside of HL2. Taking advantage of GMod's character posing, the compelling and professionally produced Apostasy is an online comic that follows 3 characters from the HL2 universe and is interwoven within and around the game's original narrative.
Posted by Jason at 7:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DIGRA Done... for now...

Misc. has been pretty quiet the past week or so, as most of my waking moments not spent at work were dedicated to finishing my DIGRA conference paper. Here is the revised title and short abstract:

Game Fiction: Playing the Interface in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Asheron’s Call

Videogame play requires the negotiation of multiple synchronic points-of-view enabled through the use of cameras, avatars, interfaces, and vignettes (the cut-scenes, dialogue, and other attributes normally attributed to the “story”). Concurrent mastery of these points-of-view contributes to the game field of play and enables a greater possibility to complete the game’s goals. Using Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Asheron’s Call as examples, this paper examines the interface as one of the various mechanisms that establish and control the player’s point-of-view in videogames. By understanding the use of point-of-view as one of many components that establish game fiction, we can theorize the imaginary inventions that shape games, even those that do not resemble more traditional narrative forms.

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Faux-Asian Language in Jade Empire

A fascinating story in the New York Times (registration required) about a Ph.D. student in Canada who created the false, but Asian-inflected, language for Bioware's new title, Jade Empire.

The language Tho Fan sounds ancient and distinctly Asian. Its "sh" sounds come from the back of the throat, as they do in Chinese. Its "r" sounds are made with a tap of the tongue, echoing Mongolian.

But Tho Fan comes from Canada and was invented only last year. Created in four months, for just over $2,000, it is a real language spoken by unreal people in the Xbox game Jade Empire, released this week. Perhaps it is a sign that, these days, languages are not so much discovered as invented.

Posted by Jason at 6:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 5, 2005

Sell Your Soul for E3

The Xbox.com Apprentice Contest

Your essay is due by April 15. How can you pass up the opportunity to fetch coffee during the industry's hottest floor show? I really like how they appeal to women candidates by suggesting that you can spend your free time "ogling booth babes."

Posted by Jason at 5:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Games, Learning, Society Conference

The Games, Learning & Society Conference [is] to be held June 23-24, 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin ... Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education and the Academic ADL Co-Lab, the GLS Conference will foster substantive discussion and collaboration among academics, designers, and educators interested in how videogames – commercial games and others – can enhance learning, culture, and education. Speakers, discussion groups, interactive workshops, and exhibits will focus on game design, game culture, and games’ potential for learning and society more broadly.
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New Herder

As I just announced on the wordherder blog, we have a new herder among us - Claire MacDonald is blogging at still just writing.

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God Of War Designer Blog

David Jaffe, game director for God Of War, apparently has a blog. For future reading.

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April 4, 2005

Comment Delays

Apologies to those of you who commented on recent posts only to have it held up in the moderation process. I haven't had time to update my customized MT 2.6* templates to the 3.* format, and so I'm getting some quirkiness in my commenting moderation.

If you don't see me respond within a reasonable amount of time, please feel free to nudge me by emailing: jcrhody [AT] umd [DOT] edu

Posted by Jason at 8:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack