Ever More Paranoid, Ever More Critical

Game Design

In this episode – more paranoia. The swelling continues to the point where my head feels giddy. I sketched out a 3D model of an area the size of Disneyland, with minimal pathways and buildings. I see that I am not considering the spaces between attractions, which I have made tedious to navigate and have no character. A theme park/fair ground is first of all a park. How are parks navigated? Why do the pathways connect and curve the way they do? I called up a map of Central Park in NYC and wondered at how/why the many pathways intersect over 4Km. You could spend hours on the history of this park, and the varied battles over its purpose and design. I looked at London’s Hyde Park, I started to read up on landscape design – it opens up like a bottomless pit.

Meanwhile I followed up on Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind – “one of the best-selling and most popular books of poetry ever published”, sayeth City Lights. What did Ferlinghetti intend by this title? It’s taken from a book Into The Night Life hand made by Henry Miller and Bezalel Schatz, a book so horribly rare and unobtainable that it leads down another bottomless pit. Do I refer to this book or the poems that followed it?


Ferlinghetti’s poems are “a circus of the soul”. It is critical of a soulless society, gawking at bright lights, consuming and feeling very little. It’s lyrical, self-mocking and funny. I’d like to hitch my wagon to either project, calling my work a c21st Coney Island of the Mind, knowing full well it’s a tenuous connection that could break any time.

So that’s how I connected up landscape gardening and beat poetry and got a headache.

I also re-read Jekyll and Hyde which is actually more subtle than its reputation. Jekyll is not a good man, and at no stage becomes good. He is a professional that wants an excuse to act unprofessionally, to be childish, impulsive – ‘let his hair down’ as was once described. His experiment was not noble, it was just that tension between responsibility and selfishness that we all feel at some point. He is surprised by the purity of Hyde, who is not just uncivilised, but sociopathic. This means I am (a) wrong to use it as a diagram of my concept but (b) given a very interesting reason for developing this artwork. I am torn between having a paying job where I pretend to be an academic and running off to play music at goth festivals.


Hello there I am a game designer.

So then, two ‘artistic’ reasons for doing it – self-analysis and a re-appraisal of a reputable older work. I’ve seen worse.

Academia is Academia

I’m now an “Education Focused” Lecturer, which means my research load is about quality of learning (my real research load is the game). My concern becomes the continued worth of teaching sound around 20th century film production. Much of what is current – game, interface, built environment etc. still depends on the skill set of film. E.g. games still have dialogue and Foley, and still need good microphone placement and spatial treatment. But adaptive audio is a whole layer on that.

One week into this new role I missed a meeting in which, apparently, sound has been marked for deletion as a ‘studio area’. I’ve protested of course. Unless silent movies are making a comeback, we still need to cover sound recording – and where is that going to go? Squeezed into moving image? As well as animation? Do we now have two classes frantically teaching sound where there was one? Head slap!

Just being selfish for a moment – why on earth employ somebody in teaching sound design, add on the expectation that they contribute to teaching quality, then mark their area for deletion? “Hey we could improve … er … never mind, don’t bother.”

Alongside this I am tasked with becoming a certified Unity3D associate. I’ve been using Unity since 2013 but that’s like saying I’ve water-skied on a lake for a long time. Doesn’t mean I can list the fish species that live in that lake. I also have the coding skills of a dead cat, so some study is on the table.

More study.

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