Category Archives: Research

FYP Ideation – Update THREE


For my Fyp, I’m looking to simulate an immersive experience of isolation in an oppressive and terrifying environment. The story revolves around a man who wakes up in the middle of a facility, only to find that everything around him does not look right. I’m looking into lovecraftian or Eldritch horror-style survival genre that is explored in games like “amnesia” and “penumbra”.

Before any of these concepts can even be considered, however, I’ll have to figure out if the scope of the work is even feasible, or artistically coherent and consistent enough to reach out to people. As someone who is inspired by the artworks of Gustav Dore, Edward Gorey and David Macaluay, I feel that my strength is in rendering with crosshatches. However, when translated onto a game engine, a few issues begin to emerge. First of all, crosshatching looks fantastic on print, but scales rather poorly when ported to other monitors with their respective screen resolutions. The main reason for this is because the renderer interpolaties between pixels, causing blurring or aliasing . The remedy would be to arrange the scenes as tilesets. However, the issues start to compound on the design side, as tilesets are extremely time consuming to align, and would take away from any programming that I would have to be involved in. Diagonal tileset pieces with a resolution of 126X126 are also very hard to get right in a short amount of time.

The second method would be to simply paint with the default brush tool in Photoshop, and then import them into Unity before rotating the individual pieces. The issue here would be to solve Z-fighting, which is a flickering effect caused by two intersecting 3D planes that are in the exact same Z axis position. To solve this would require a lot of 3D modelling and optimization, which also takes up a lot of time.

Another thing to note is that I was considering to make a point and click adventure game. Although this genre is niche, it has also managed to remain relevant throughout the years, with games like Franbow, Dead Cyborg and Machinarium making considerable sales figures. ( check steam sales for listed games) The downside here is that point and click games are not only story intensive ( I would be extremely busy getting Game User Interface, Raycasting and Physics2D to work), but would also require a lot of animation time, which is something I calculate to be in extremely short supply.

This is where the genre of first person survival horror shines. Not only will I be able to increase the level of immersion ( due to the fact that you are in the shoes of the main protagonist), but I would also be able to cut the animation time of the main character entirely. There are a few major issues with making the game this way, however. The first being that the art style for the FPS game has no unifying art style that I feel stand out. (I’ve looked into Art Deco, Brutalism and the Bauhaus school. However, art Deco has been used in games like “Prey”, and “Bioshock”) The only art style that isn’t used as much in video games is German expressionism , something along the lines of “The cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. However, the risk in doing this art style is the fact that surrealist/ expressionist environment design, if done wrongly, would downright look incoherent, and could potentially mess around with the enemy AI colliders and NavMesh.  Games like “we happy few”, “dishonored” and “NaissanceE” have managed to use the unique art style as a selling point to their concept.

I shall continue to do my research on the kinds of art styles I can use, and how I can fix optimization issues.

inspirations from Neverending nightmares, Penumbra, Amnesia and Bioshock respectively.

Thoughts about Emergent visions: Heidi Rae Coolie

Heidi Rae Coolie

Thoughts on the koi exhibition

  • App development functioning in conjunction with Geo-fencing technologies
  • Art piece to emulate human interaction and provide a platform for behavioural analysis
  • Interpretation and retrospective take on things like institutions and community and offer momentary insights
  • Perhaps even change habits
  • Discusses human interactions with one another
  • Reflective on habitual actions
  • finding, navigating and accessing
  • challenging conventions on human interaction and community.

Potential applications

  • Can be used as an application for therapeutic purposes. Eg. for people who have PTSD
  • Potential to talk about the different kinds of social structures
  • Humanitarian, ethnocentric. Etc. (Refer to JASSS study that was conducted)
  • Obstacle would be in generating the interest to interact
  • Instead, we could automate the process by translating human positioning and movement to generate art


  • why would people use this app instead of actually interacting?
  • Possible Answer: in offering proxies/avatars/analogies, helps facilitate alternative perspectives for self-reflection
  • Perhaps the app could be used to bring strangers together via the application.

Joejoe martin The Koi Pond

  • Large scale interactive installation light sculpture.
  • Does so with the use of projection mapping on a flat surface on the ground

fyp ideas

  1. so my general direction for fyp would be to make some sort of metroidvania sidescroller. i’d like to do something that is puzzle driven and slightly combat driven. i would also like to do a story that is a little more scattershot and obscurantist, and let the player put the pieces together.   Continue reading

Cinerama Review: AK47 vs M16 and Zsa Zsa Zsu

Zsa Zsa Zsu is a music video that was done by a Bandung-based music band called Rock N’ Roll Mafia(RNRM). For the music video, the members of RNRM uses buttons and beads to create a stop motion animation to pair with the music. The lyrics of the song depicts the experiences when a new love interest appear, explaining from both the male and female perspective. The phrase “Zsa Zsa Zsu” first appear in Sex in the City and were used to describe the “lovely, butterflies feeling” when you are with the love interest.

a bloody gorgeous man pours bloody mary into my glass
he asked me a couple questions of courtesy
and for god’s sake he stunned me
his voice so sweet like the mellow sound of saxophone
I bet he’s good at sex on the phone

she’s a happy maiden liberty, she got no wrong in her life
twist your head to change your point of view,
I give you my deepest condolences
and who the hell is she? real thing in front of me,
oh I just only see, but my heart is agree
and who the hell is she? real thing in front of me,
oh I just only see, perhaps you’ll find your zsa zsa zsu

we are a perfect match, cause we will become a featured cast
I suppose, I suppose, we supposed

The use of buttons and beads were no coincidences as well. It were meant to be a tribute to Bandung, the centre for garment manufacturing and Rock N’ Roll Mafia’s hometown. The blend of electronic music and stop motion animation with buttons and beads created a rather strange yet fitting video

Zsa Zsa Zsu is a stop-motion music video by the band RNRM (Rock-and-Roll Mafia). The director of the video goes by the alias of Tromarama; which is actually an art collective consisting of Ebie Babyrose, Herbert Hans, and Ruddy Hatumena. All of whom (Both the band and the collective) hail from Bandung, Indonesia.

The video itself is made entirely of buttons and beads depicting the members of RNRM performing the song. Stylistically the video harks to Tomorama’s style of low-fi and use of the everyday. However the resulting visuals speaks to the collective’s ability to create a polished product no matter the medium; creating a work that invokes a sense of nostalgia and of days past. The buttons and beads also pay tribute to their hometown of Bundung; renowned for being a locus for garment manufacturing.

The second work that we chose to talk about was the AK47 vs M16 installation by the propeller group, a collaborative work between art collectives from Ho chi Minh and Los Angeles. The founders are Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Matt Lucero and Phunam Thuc Ha. In this ultimate video edit, we see footage of assault rifle use from movies such as The american sniper, the lone survivor, jarhead, black hawk down, lord of war, children of men, apocalypse now, full metal jacket, platoon, we were soldiers and many others.

In each movie, there is a different telling of the frontlines, and the nature of war itself. In the movie, we were soldiers, we see the Battle of La Drang unfold, and watch as the weight of the Marine corps’ hubris collapse like a deck of cards. Interestingly, the vast military superiority of the united states was undone due to its outdated “search and destroy” doctrine, which was a new variant of attrition warfare. Instead of strategically capturing positions and routing the enemy, the soldiers would go on search and destroy missions in the aim of fulfilling a kill quota. Anyone well versed in the art of war by Sun Tzu would immediately see the flaw of such a strategy. Firstly, numbers alone don’t confer victory, secondly, the VC would often use the tunnel networks and the cover of the forest to redefine the front, evening the playing field.

Technologically, the newly issued M16 weapon initially suffered from what was referred to a type II malfunction. This meant that the shell casings would remain lodged in the chamber. The cause of this was eventually determined to be an inferior grade of gunpowder which was not tested properly. This crucial second would be the difference life and death, as shown in a sequence in the movie “full metal jacket“, where joker gets the drop on a female Vietcong sniper but lost the element of surprise as his weapon jams. (These problems would eventually be addressed in later iterations) Inversely, production of the AK47 still persist to this day due to its low production costs and reliability.  It can be dropped in mud, sand, snow and water, and even fire reliably (However, it should also be noted that there was also a high rejection rate in the production of the receiver). The 7.62 mm caliber round also outperforms the 5.56 mm round in terms of penetrating power, although its slightly shorter barrel means that overall accuracy is affected in distances longer than 400 meters. This “impediment” wasn’t seen to be an issue as the Russians deemed through experience that the range of 100-400 meters is where most combat usually occurs.

The cheap price, interchangeability, simple production doctrine and universality of the weapon was what stood as the antithesis to the symbol of the american dominance, with the AK47 being sold in over 100 countries. Recently, Anti-Assad forces fighting in the region of northern Aleppo and Idlib have had the support from the US in the form of armaments shipments. (according to documents released by the US’s Federal Businesses Opportunities)

Proxy wars or state sponsored terrorism isn’t new, however, as there has been a long history of the United states sponsoring militant/rebel groups in an effort to destabilize governments loyal to the Soviet government, which is also understandable given the dark history of failed marxist policies and Dekulakization. What I find interesting is that the weapon of choice in which to supplant them was still the AK47, further associating the image of the weapon with tyrannical governments, revolutionaries and power vacuums.

Another technological advancement was the use of helicopters in the field of combat. Although the Bell UH-1 was able to quickly deploy marines in thick jungle and redefine the front uncontested for the most part, the loud noises of the single turboshaft engine rendered the charge useless as they had lost the element of surprise. (as seen in Apocalypse now, Full metal jacket, and we were soldiers) Vietnamese soldiers hearing these sounds would flee in time before the ensuing conflagration, hiding in the forests or retreating to the safety of the underground tunnels. Although there were tunnel rat divisions in charge of flushing these people out, they would often run into punji stick traps and anti-infantry mines, some of which were disarmed and recycled from american mines.

At around 1947, the army had done some study on kills on the battlefield and found that only 2% of the army were intentionally shooting to kill. Interestingly, the analogy used in the movie The american sniper summarizes the army succinctly using religious allegory, stating that in war, there are three types of people: The wolf, the sheep and the sheepdog. The wolf represents the psychopath that cannot process human empathy in others and thus has no compunction in killing. The sheepdog represents the minority of people who kills out of love of his comrades, and possess natural leadership skills. However, the “shooting to kill” percentages of remaining troops had also recently increased to 95% in the gulf war. The reason for this is just as interesting.

B.F.Skinner, who was well known for the introduction of behavioral reflexes, was later referenced, with his ideas serving as a template for training new recruits. Instead of using circular targets, as had been done in previous wars, the army had decided to use human shaped targets. The idea was to condition recruits to reflexively shoot targets bearing the silhouetted profile. This idea worked. Unfortunately, no training was given to help veterans deal with the post traumatic stress of killing someone.

The “PlayStation” generation had also raised a new age of people who get into the front lines knowing exactly what to expect. They are no longer the naive dough boys who’ve only heard secondhand anecdotes of trench warfare, but are already well versed on the nuances of urban combat through combat simulators and realistic virtual reality games.

As someone who was once trained with an assault weapon, I can understand the appeal of the AK47 and the M16. I don’t see this sadistic romanticism ending anytime soon, and it’s not like I’d want to anyway.

Exhibition trip:win zaw


Though not mentioned in the list of the Exhibitions, I was fascinated  by the video footage report of the Short cruise which took place near Balboa, Panama on the 30th of April 2015. The expedition was a site survey to gather data about the region, and was done conducted in an effort to better understand biodiversity in the Benthic communities in the Abyssal plain.

As someone who grew up reading about the adventures of the Trieste and its journey into the Marianas trench, and the journey of Alvin and Jason Jr into the wreck of the Titanic. I was interested in seeing the presented footage, and was yet again reminded about how difficult it can be to document things in the ocean, due to the unpredictability of the weather.

The exhibition feels more like a documentation of the scientific expedition organised by Geomar to document the Ecocide of the region, no doubt caused by human actions. However, I felt that the video as an art piece feels a little more obscurantist and clinical in parts, due to the limited information that is presented.

The chief scientist, Pedro Martinez Arbizu has been involved in other projects, studying the deep-sea mining of polymetallic nodules (Aka manganese, which is used with aluminium for corrosion resistance, and as a catalyst) in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone in the pacific, which I found to be interesting, notably because I’ve read about deep sea mining as a kid, but only as a footnote in an extremely old textbook (1970) about the vision of the future. At around the period, the UN had begun to develop international treaties that did away with an older version of Internatinal sea laws in favor of defining rights and responsibilities of countries in their use of the oceans.