BCM302 Contextual Essay

Introduction

Background

With the beginning of Semester C, our course in BCM302 gave us an assignment to produce a Digital Artifact(DA) that can help in understanding and helping resolve social problems. We were able to choose the topic we wanted.

After long deliberate discussion amongst our group, we decided that our topic was going to be about Youth Unemployment and our DA is a website where you can visit by clicking here. We then talked about the ideas from our pitch which was also introduced in class. Our consideration in choosing this topic was assuming that we may face potential problems when looking for jobs, and that a few of our group members were anxious as some have never worked before.

Therefore we found this topic to be really suitable for us, which inspired us to do some research at the beginning. Our first findings came from the data from Hong Kong government’s Census and Statistics Department as we found a lot of reliable and professionally compiled data.

As we stated in the pitch which was introduced during class, according to the data from Hong Kong government’s Census and Statistics Department, the underemployment rate rose during the COVID19 pandemic until 2020, but rose again in 11/2021, as you can see from the chart below.

During Dec 2020 – Feb 2021, 35,500 people of ages 15-24 were unemployed, and 10,400 were fresh graduates – the jobless rate was 7.4% during that period, one the highest ever for HK.

Therefore, as we are going to find a job too, our group thinks that we know the situation and the need and feelings of those people finding a job during the pandemic.

Digital Artefact

After we know what we should do, our second objective is to make sure what kind of Digital Artifact we wanted to produce.. As we have a lot of choices, which means there are many options for our DA. We are able to produce many forms of multimedia, such as applications, videos, websites or blogs. However we had to decide what is the most effective way in delivering our message. 

In the final decision, we chose to make a website as our DA, as a website, it could be included and show the finding in many ways, moreover it not only gives us more choice, it’s also more easy for the reader as a digital material. We could also incorporate a video into the website as part of enhancing our DA.

Design language is vital in communicating an effective message, and so we have put a lot of focus on making the website simple to use with big and clear letters. The user can simply scroll to view much of the content with large open spaces without needing to sift through too many distracting elements. We also included a navigation bar as an alternative method of exploring our site, or to help the user find what content they need immediately.

Just like what you see from the screenshot, we are including different sections, and when people click the “Blogs” button, it would lead visitors to the blogs page, and there are the blogs that were written by us.

Our content includes writing, video and four-panel comics. You can take a look at them if you are interested.

Trajectory

Beginning & Pitch

Beginning to the project, because of the data and the finding of news about the employment rate, we thought that Youth unemployment is a huge concern in HK (and everywhere around the world) since it has mental health implications, and many of those affected faced financial insecurity. 

Based on a telephone survey conducted among low & high education respondents, those affected were less interested in consumption, had reductions in savings, worsening mental health, felt pessimistic about the future, and had lower self-esteem. 

What’s even more alarming is the fact that the relationship between the young and their family also worsened and some percentage (6%) of the respondents were contemplating suicide.  

Moreover, this finding is a fact and can’t be denied as they are from a trustworthy source such as the United Nations.

We mentioned those in our pitch presentation, it’s a short and simple present, in our pitch which include background, concept, methodology and utility. 

Most of them we did like what we said in pitch, and just like what we mention in the introduction part above.

However, when we dig deeper, something interesting we find from the data of the schools in Hong Kong.

Processing & Beta

After the pitch, we did the peer review, and according to the advise, we keep going to the datas, we use some time to finding for the employment rate in each of the school, those are a huge number but we still spend some time to study and compare those, and the finding is just like what we said in our beta presentation.

Being simple, it could be sum up like that:

  • The Employment Sector gives limited chances for each school, and student numbers getting more each year, that is the first reason why famous school graduates’ employment percentage is less but some schools are large.
  • In Hong Kong some of the subjects weren’t common which meant less chances for them like the subject School of Science in HKUST which only had 57% employed.
  • Compared to a few years of data, Hong Kong students more and more choose to further study.

Surely, the content we can find from those numbers must be more but it’s too much and we just need those necessary, we are not made to let the audience analyze it by themselves, we should do this job before making it into digital format.

In those findings, it seems like it conflicts with our early thinking. However, the situation is the opposite, they both affect each other, and the employment rate does get down especially for the lower education but in fact the range of the number decreases is about a few percent.

Moreover, when we take a look at the lowest one, it’s still more than 50%, which means more than half, one job for each graduate only being completed by two or even less than two graduates, if we do not consider the situation of the other type of unemployed.

It’s already a very great result in those few years, especially because we are facing many problems like the social event and Covid-19. Although it’s not the best, it’s good enough, and we believe it will get better once the pandemic situation is settled.

Final result

After, another peer review, and we keep working on the DA, and finally just like what we mention on top, we made the DA, the website complete, and there are some blogs, we added the content and so far it’s done, we have visual element and also article or essay to talk about those relate to future work for the students, our audience can choose what type did they want to watch.

In our DA, the home page mainly introduces us and we mainly have two parts:Services and About.

For more attraction, it is cut into 4 sections: Home, Services, About Us and Our Services.

First, the Home section is created by background + few words and a down arrow.

It is the first page when people get in and they will see, and modern people are lazy, we should not give out too much information.

Therefore, by using this kind of design, we got two benefit:

  1. Know our topic immediately
  2. Want to know what’s the content

Then our audience will want to take a look at what is under our website.

Then here the second section, this time is the welcome words, also plus some picture links.

By clicking the picture, our visitor will lead to a related content page, like a shortcut to attract people, meanwhile they can skip it and keep taking a look under the section.

Here will be the about section to introduce us, and the design is simple, just for giving out the information.

In this part, it’s an intro and explains what this website is for, building up the images to the people about us, letting them know clearly what we are doing.

Then the final part of this page will be Our Services. For this section, we made four pictures with words, while giving out the information, we also can lead them to the video made by us.

So far, this page is completely introduced, and the other part will be the blogs page but it’s just a page to put our blogs inside.

And about our blog, our teamwork would be a division of labor, such as Liann and Nikesh Rai are writing simple essay for the audience, Ahmir making the video, and Alan made the four-panel comics.

After Project

Problems

During the process of our project, we still meet some problems, like the time limit. It’s very memorable that while we are working on this project, meanwhile other courses also get some important projects too, those are the times that are very much pressure.

Especially when all of us are running out of time, which makes us never free in those times, nobody can take a hand to the project, and a bad news is one of our groupmate look like meet some trouble in physical about health, which mean we less one of us to make this project.

When we finally have time to work on it, we also need to face many stuff, like at the beginning, research is the biggest problem but with the advice from our tutor, we got the solution, and finish this part, the when we study about the datas we collected, it’s use a lot of time on it because we receive so much, and the job of analyze being hard.

However, it’s worth it. One hand, we have the direction about what we are going to do next, and on the other hand, we learn a lot during this part of work.

Luckily, although it’s a hard time during the process because of many reasons, our team is very effective. We can do most of the job in only a few or even one day from nothing to so manys.

We also got well on dealing with the problems. Maybe it’s because of our topic, the solutions are always easy to think about, and we can solve those problems quickly.

Anyways we did the DA and finished the project, and we learned much in this important experience.

Learning

We learn so much in this project, every problem also makes us improve ourselves. For example, the time limit made us learn about time management.

These are some of the things that we learn.

As it’s a kind of topic that we need to learn about the knowledge of jobs, finding a job is one of the problems we need to face now or in the future. After this project, we know more about the situation of what graduates now are facing in their future work.

Also because of the research, we also learn about the situation of Hong Kong’s industry nowadays, which are easy to find jobs, which are not, and what skills we should have, what we should prepare for a job, and many things like that.

Moreover, during the analysis, we learn that although percentage is more easy to let us understand what happening, but we can not annoy the actual number, in some of the situation, percentage will make the misunderstand, because they are the datas from different school, if school A have 1000 people then 1% will be 10 people, school B have 100 people, than 1% will be 1 people. 

Therefore, those actual numbers are some things that we can not ignore. Like the example just mentioned, the 1% in school A and school B may be a huge difference.

Furthermore, an interesting thing is famous school didn’t mean a more good way to have a job, because the jobs chance that school can provide to students are very limit, but student increase faster than the chance they can give, so if we are not consider about the quality of jobs, compete for job in famous school is much more higher than other schools.

Those are interesting findings, and in this project, we learn so many things through the numbers and dates like that.

We believe that this project will be an important experience to us, and what we learn can be used now or in the future, that becomes practical knowledge for us.

Thank you for your reading and this is the end of this contextual essay. We believe with this experience, we will get some benefit from this project in future.


Reference

https://career.hkust.edu.hk/web/individual.php?iid=59

https://www.cedars.hku.hk/careers/graduate-employment-survey

https://www.osa.cuhk.edu.hk/publication-statistics/graduate-employment-survey

https://www.ee.cityu.edu.hk/current_students/career/students_employment

https://www.polyu.edu.hk/sao/careers-and-placement-section/gallery-and-publications/publications/

https://bba.hkbu.edu.hk/career-prospect/graduate-employment

https://www.ln.edu.hk/osa/career/resources/

https://www.eduhk.hk/en/about/facts-and-figures/graduates-employment-figures

https://www.censtatd.gov.hk/tc/scode200.html#section8

https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/2016/08/global-youth-unemployment-rise/

https://www.mercycorps.org/blog/youth-unemployment-global-crisis#:~:text=Having%20a%20significant%20amount%20of,of%20hope%20for%20the%20future

Advertisement

BCM302 Beta

In this beta presentation, we showcase the numerous progress made since our initial pitch regarding our topic on combating Youth Unemployment.

The video intends to show a steady developmental trajectory where the team’s initial foundational services have thoroughly extended. Our biggest milestones achieved thus far is the successful production of a video that is geared towards our target audience, youths and fresh graduates. Another big milestone is the multiple blog posts that fill the content in our site, making it much more reliable for youths in utilizing its resources.

The evident documentation can be found on our team’s website, which we intend to use as the main gateway for interested people in helping them find a job.

The research that we have found is also very interesting, especially as we are also the stakeholders as students that are looking for jobs. The topic provides a broad outlook regarding the labor market trends with people of our age, and we can effectively prepare ourselves for our own future job searches as well.

Video PSA

If you are interested, this is our video PSA that we have made!

BCM300 Blog Post 2

Royalty-free music used: Khaim – Mad Trick

The gradual development of our game titled “Beyond The Gate” was a very fruitful experience. I’m very thankful to my two other group members, Alan and Liann. Though we have a rather small group in comparison to sothers, we managed to produce something that we can be proud of. Each member has played a significant role in the development of our game, and this blog post will discuss the collective processes throughout the design experience so far from my perspective.

Idea Stage

Me and Alan are both fans of Dungeon and Dragons (DnD), so we wanted to make a dice-based tabletop roleplaying experience for our project as we take on DnD as our inspiration. This concept would be the foundation where we would begin to build our game as we would discuss about various ideas, such as how we would make it into a Sci-Fi setting and also implementing cards that influence gameplay.

We wanted a game where the player can explore various events that appear based on chance. We also ended up making the choices of player characters randomized, as well as their goals. This randomizing element adds to the replayability of the game, where there can be no exact same game with each iteration. We chose the route to produce our idea as a digital program which allows for the behind-the-scenes calculation for our game. These calculations would cover various things immediately, such as determining the next events, the many choices possible, and the combat system.

Combat Idea

Combat is an integral part of the RPG experience, however we were struggling to find the right formula for implementing it into our game. What could be easy to learn, and what could also be easily programmable? I was mainly responsible in considering the formula of our game, and I recalled my favorite online party game which involved the use of dice as well as its simple mechanics called 100% Orange Juice.

Screenshot of my Discord explaining the game mechanics 1
Screenshot of my Discord explaining the game mechanics 2

I actually went out of my way to buy the two of my groupmates the game “100% Orange Juice” on Steam, just for the purposes of our research. However we enjoyed a couple of games and easily learned the mechanics which inspired us to incorporate the ideas into our game.

Snapshot of 100% Orange Juice gameplay

It also helped us fully visualize how an online board game can utilize both the use of dice and cards. We ended up making some of the cards have effects that can also be used in battle. For example, a Gun card means that your character has found a gun, and may use it in combat to make their offensive attack stronger.

Story writing, Editing & Translations

In the ideation process, there were many uncertain factors because we were suggesting a lot of various ideas. For instance, we did not know how to really incorporate sci-fi elements in a scientific manner. We also did not really have a name for our project until the end, as we simply were just referring to it as the ‘BCM300 Game Project’ for most of the time. We ended up going with the idea that both magic and technology existed in this world, and from there, I could write much of the prologue story as the lore of our game. I also thought up of several names, and our groupmates decided one among them.

Screenshot of my Discord on the possible names

Similar to how major tabletop roleplaying games have a Player’s Handbook, we have also directed our efforts into making one that is both in English and Chinese. We realized that these could even effectively be great marketing, as we could make use of the two most commonly used languages in the world.

In my playtesting phase of the game, it was mostly a debugging process due to the programmed nature of the game. I played around and performed random tasks to trigger random events, and reported any bugs found in the program back to Alan. We also considered the balancing of the game which involves making the parameters of both players and enemies. These involved changing the stats, and also testing out the in-game combat system with each character and each monster. We decided to give players a lot of Hit Points (HP), which enables enough survivability to slay enough enemies to fulfill their goals. This also prevented players from killing each other too quickly early in the game, as some hidden roles may be assigned such nefarious tasks. Of course, we also managed to think up more elements for the roles of these characters and from the popular game Among Us, it has also inspired some of our game design and introduced the new element of uncertainty and doubt when it comes to trusting other players. Not every game will have a player-killing role either as role distribution is randomized, so that makes it more unpredictable.

I also would remake the text presented in the game for grammatical consistency, and edit many things as neither of my groupmates are fluent in English. But I think that proofreading has been a valuable experience and we can cover each other’s weaknesses while making our own ideas shine within the final product.

Presentation

I believe that each member has contributed to an equal degree when it came to the presentation. Liann came up with the designs, I wrote the story and edited several of the slides, while Alan would find the relevant game screenshots to discuss their part in the presentation. We all also had our parts to say during the live presentation. Even though it is not a full game that we had presented, the message that we wanted to convey was that this was a game prototype full of potential and many possibilities. We also had proven the functionality of our movement system in-game, and the working combat system. There were no bugs present in the presentation, which means our arduous debugging has proven to be fruitful.

Conclusion

Though my group was small, everyone was familiar with games, and I felt that this was one of the factors that made the development process really engaging. I personally also wish to make my own game one day, and having taken part in the various planning stages and behind-the-scenes work with development has been a very educational experience.

BCM302 Peer Review

For my peer review, I have chosen to review Hayden from Group B and Yines from Group C who are each researching the e-waste problem in Hong Kong as well as the mental health problems of 16-19 year olds respectively. As these two issues are directly related to providing contribution to Hong Kong, I believe I could input my opinion as a citizen on how to tackle such issues.

Firstly, I reviewed Hayden from Group B. This is a screenshot of my post on his blog.

Afterwards, I have reviewed Yines from Group C. This is my screenshot on her blog.

BCM300 Blog 1: an autoethnography of DnD

The above video goes over a brief analysis of my experience in having personally tried the game, and found it pleasantly fun.

Dungeon & Dragons, also often abbreviated as DnD, is a popular tabletop roleplaying board game. It is published by Wizards of the Coast LLC, which also produced the popular card game Magic: The Gathering. Known as the fathers of role-playing games, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were the designers of Dungeons & Dragons in the early 1970s.

When it comes to my personal experience with games, I have spent most of my life playing online games so a board game like DnD was very unique. It’s a very open-ended game that comes with fundamental structures and rules, but the Dungeon Master (as in the storyteller), is able to twist and bend these rules to fit the group’s desires in a DnD campaign.

Screenshot from the official DND website: https://dnd.wizards.com/products/rpg_playershandbook

The board game set acts as a framework and foundation for the human imagination by providing the necessary resources such as character stats, levels, monsters, rulebooks and lore. All of these resources can be used by the players and the Dungeon Master in constructing a story together, by having the players roleplay as their characters in building the world around them in an immersive way.

These fundamentals include common medieval fantasy RPG tropes such as having character classes, such as being able to become Wizards that are focused on weaving magic, Fighters who are close-ranged combatants and Rangers who are specialists in using the bow and arrow. Not only that, the players can also decide on what race to play. The game offers a large variety of racial choices by default, such as playing a human, elf, goblin or dwarf. Often times, many DnD campaigns involve a party of diverse characters that embark on a grand quest such as slaying a dragon which terrorizes a kingdom.

It is also worth noting that adventures similar to Lord of the Rings, or existing popular franchises are possible within the scope of playing DnD. This allows people to immerse themselves in their favorite series as a character in such a world, and that kind of freedom is also what makes Dungeons & Dragons attractive. Many different themes could be played in Dungeons & Dragon’s framework, even sci-fi if the Dungeon Master provides the custom-made rules for it. This makes the game have a very strong replay value as the players can expect different experiences each time.

Image of a DND game from Roll20’s online virtual tabletop website: https://roll20.net

Since the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented many people from meeting up in social gatherings, it is a game that has steadily become popular in an online format which shows an interesting evolution from its initial board game debut. Online DnD allows for players from all over the world to arrange a game and even conduct either video calls or even through text. As this article suggests, Dungeons & Dragons is also able to provide great inspiration and practice in storytelling for writers. Wikipedia also lists many instances of popular media which references Dungeons & Dragons as inspiration in their work, which leads me to believe that it is not only a fun game, but an effective means of improving one’s storytelling and literary skills.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE3yq2GQQmk
https://www.pexels.com/video/playing-a-board-game-of-monopoly-5151176/
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS logo belongs to American Publisher ‘Wizards of the Coast LLC’.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_in_popular_culture
https://www.pexels.com/video/flag-of-usa-855121/
https://www.pexels.com/video/people-crossing-on-a-pedestrian-lane-6648153/
https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-silhouette-during-sunset-853168/
https://www.pexels.com/photo/photograph-of-men-having-conversation-seating-on-chair-1015568/
https://www.pexels.com/video/a-mother-teaching-her-baby-to-walk-3196464/
https://www.gamingtierlist.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/maxresdefault-10.jpg
By Diacritica – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14585648
https://www.pexels.com/video/video-of-a-rotating-dice-7102266/
https://www.pexels.com/video/an-open-book-2268807/
https://www.pexels.com/video/kids-listening-to-an-elderly-man-7788816/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0xM_vLtaqg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ3DBS_SQDA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7mZjDmjFew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCaJLE2wYEA
https://www.pexels.com/video/mixture-of-smoke-with-different-colors-2025634/
https://www.pexels.com/video/close-up-video-of-a-person-rolling-dice-5835633/
Viacom owns the SpongeBob franchise, including multiple copyrights and trademarks to the SpongeBob character.
https://theglowingfool.com/dnd/player-tips/dnd-table-etiquette/
https://www.pexels.com/video/young-man-writing-in-the-office-3248273/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF5gdvMyuOs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtkjKvG9EnQ
https://www.pexels.com/video/tired-man-sitting-at-the-office-8468477/
https://www.pexels.com/video/view-of-city-in-timelapse-mode-1654216/

BCM312 Idea Blog: The ‘Adpocalypse’ – what potential problems can arise from too many online advertisements ?

Advertisements aren’t particularly new, they’ve been around since the days posters were plastered on walls during thousands of years ago. However, they’ve evolved from being a concurring sight outdoors into appearing in almost every website you visit. This begs the question, is the omnipresence of online advertisements really okay?

Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/18143/us-internet-advertising-revenue/

According to Statista, there is a clear inclining trend of online advertisements since 2003 to 2018. Judging by the trend, we can assume how the ad market has likely surpassed even more upwards. From Marketing Charts,

There is one particular thing I’ve noticed when growing up. When I used to watch YouTube videos as a child, there weren’t unskippable video ads in many videos. Sure, advertisements are definitely a way to promote and get one’s products across – especially online. There are many businesses that have found great success in having catered their ads to their target audience due to online advertising, especially with the use of ‘ad profiles.’ These profiles are developed based on the online behaviour of users, and businesses can use them for refining their marketing algorithm to certain users.

According to the OAAA 2021 survey, 74% of adults in the US had mentioned concern over privacy when questioned about their view on ads. This makes roughly 3 in 4 adults who had expressed their worries on their data being used by businesses.

Other than the concern of data privacy and our information being sold, what does this all mean for the future for humans when we grow up under this online environment? Will people of the future become desensitized and no longer care about their privacy and information? Will malware become more concerning because they could be mixed in with pop-up ads? Do they tempt consumers to spend unnecessarily, or to make bad decisions? Finally, online advertisements also contribute to producing too much information on websites, which may even possibly be linked to the decrease in global attention span, roughly 8.25 seconds as a recent study would show.

There is a wide range of potential issues that I would like to explore and identify regarding the psychological effects with the existing online environment with many advertisements. My project about raising awareness about this would be to compile a list of how these affect us and may affect our future generations growing up in such a world.

References:

https://www.statista.com/chart/18143/us-internet-advertising-revenue/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/16/got-a-minute-global-attention-span-is-narrowing-study-reveals

BCM302 Group D Pitch – Youth Unemployment

For our project, our group is interested in producing a digital artefact in aiding against the youth unemployment crisis that is currently present throughout the globe.

Starting small, we’re hoping that our messages through blog posts & PSA video can help our local community in Hong Kong in discovering jobs. For our research, we may conduct a few interview with labor department or job counsellors locally in order to learn a thorough analysis from professional perspectives and also help their messages get across to unemployed young adults who are looking for jobs.

We hope you see value in our project, as we from Group D personally believe this is a problem that should be tackled on – as it quite literally means the future for us! Thank you for watching.

Video References:

stock footage: https://www.pexels.com/video/fired-frustrated-man-in-suit-sitting-at-stairs-with-belongings-5125962/ https://www.pexels.com/video/a-sad-man-sitting-on-the-floor-while-holding-a-placard-with-message-9830167/

stock music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eWIffP2M3Y

BCM215 Critical Self-Reflection 2

“Reflective thinking turns experience into insight.”

John C. Maxwell.

In this blog post, I’ll be looking over the comments I’ve received from my classmates on my digital artefact. There are several comments, but I will go with analyzing a select few.

Firstly, I noticed Shivu’s comment bearing very positive feedback with praising the introduction. I started off my final digital artefact by introducing the audience about the history of Battle Royale games. This is as recommended by Marco Ho’s feedback in my pitch when he mentions that I should bring my focus on exploring the roots of the genre as it is relevant to the game.

I believe that cultures are built when people inspire each other to invent new things. The way how PUBG became a game inspired by the Battle Royale movie is a very good example that I introduce in my project, especially when you see the similarities in concept between the different media.

The second comment comes from Sonya, who praises my editing and my research findings first. I put a lot of emphasis on delivering a coherent message with accompanying visuals, so I am happy to know that people appreciate the effort put in my video editing. It makes me feel that it was an effort well worth it.

The cultural references about the similar clothing that Sonya pointed out is basically about the subtle design of the PUBG mascot’s businessman outfit. When we look at how the highschoolers in the Battle Royale movie had been sent to a battlefield, they were still in their school uniform and also unarmed. This is also something that PUBG respected and incorporated in their design, as their mascot was just a businessman who suddenly sent to a battleground. These are very subtle messages that convey that these characters are just ordinary characters who lived a normal life, but were suddenly brought into a completely different world of survival and combat. These designs can also actually help become relatable to the player, because most of us are ordinary people who want to experience the thrill of combat by playing the game.

The third comment comes from Nikesh, who kindly praises my research and reference connections. This comment further validates my frequent use of clips as it is proving that it’s a helpful way to convey my intended messages. Since there is a time limitation on the duration of the video, I added a couple of fun facts to my blogs that the reader might find interesting. I was glad to see Nikesh noticed and learned something new from having done so!

In conclusion, I believe my digital artefact has been a success based on the positive feedback from my peers. It was also a fun learning experience, as doing in-depth research certainly helps in making you learn more unexpected things and facts about the game. I’ve played PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds before, but I never knew too much about it until needing to do this research project.

In the end, this has all been a fruitful and valuable experience.

BCM215 Final Report

Ideation & Concept

One of the biggest phenomena to hit the gaming scene has been the 2017 debut of the battle royale genre, with PlayerUnknown BattleGrounds (PUBG) pioneering this new craze in gaming. To briefly explain, Battle Royale is a genre which mixes survival elements with being the last-man-standing. In a battle royale game, you are expected to fight hundreds of other players in one area. Usually the player starts with minimal equipment, and scavenges for loot (such as weapons & armor) with the final objective to become the last one standing.

I found it interesting how the development of this new game concept had caused a boom in the gaming industry, scoring millions of active players worldwide nowadays. For instance, let us take a look at the figure below.

Source: Newzoo Annual Gamer Sentiment Study

Consider how a new game concept from 2017 had led up to the impressive statistics where almost half of US gamers have become actively involved in Battle Royale games in 2019. There is an evident popularity which attracts many players to try out these games. With such a large playerbase, subcultures and communities can form as part of the game’s ecosystem.

This project’s aim had intended to investigate the cultural phenomena involved in the introduction of this unique genre, and what other cultural impacts had followed. We notice that ever since PUBG’s release, there has been a plethora of Battle Royale games that is extremely popular with gamers back in 2017 and up until the present. Several of these examples include: Apex Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Garena Free Fire. Although these games follow the same battle royale genre, there are distinct cultural connections between each other. They also tend to have an impressive player community which continues to provide user-generated content for their respective favorite battle royale. This indicates evident contribution in the model of participatory game media culture, and a thorough analysis has been applied for the investigation of this topic.

Methodology

The main methodology applied to this project was by second-hand research. This research method initially involved looking up online about the history of the Battle Royale genre, as history plays an important understanding of the foundational culture surrounding the genre. The forming of new concept and ideas such as the application of Battle Royale themes in video games has been inspired by a prior media influence. Further details on this research will be shared in the background research section of the report.

Secondly, the next methodology involves being involved in online gaming communities which are formed by their respective Battle Royale games. As my group project treats PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) as the primary focus amongst the genre, I have mainly examined its culture as my digital artefact. This methodology was effective in understanding the general feedback about different Battle Royale games and also to observe what kind of user-generated content are attractive to making players form a community.

Background Research

In tracing the origins of the Battle Royale genre, we can look into what inspired the development of PlayerUnknown BattleGrounds(PUBG). Referring to Wikipedia, it mentions: “The game is based on previous mods that were created by Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene for other games, inspired by the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale

This tells us two important facts. Firstly, the developer claims that their work is inspired by the Battle Royale action-thriller film. The premise of this film is about 42 highschoolers that are abducted and transported into an island. They are then introduced to a gruesome game, where they must kill each other and become the last one standing. This island has many resources such as weapons, food and maps which aid the characters.

These are very similar elements which are present in the popular Battle Royale games of today, and most especially PUBG. Just like in the inspired movie, PUBG starts off with unarmed and emptyhanded players being sent to a deserted island full of resources. The main objective is also to become the last one standing. These are appear to be very fundamental concepts to the genre, as it can be seen in other Battle Royale games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, and CoD: Warzone.

It is interesting to note that the Japanese film Battle Royale which premiered in 2000 was not released in America and many other countries due to its controversial nature. It was until 2017 that a game (PUBG) finally popularized the concept, which bears interesting cultural understandings.

Could foreign concepts and ideas contribute to the development of a cultural hit phenomena such as Battle Royale? Did media censorship prevent unique ideas from being incorporated into other forms of media? There is a 17 year gap between the release of the banned Japanese film, and the release of the first Battle Royale game PUBG.

From the figure below, we can see how the introduction of this inspired element had become a phenomenon in the gaming industry.

Source: Research Firm SuperData

I believe the censorship of content are restrictive of the human imagination, and it took a very long time for people around the world to get the idea of making a Battle Royale game. Just the application of this once-censored idea has become revolutionary in blossoming a new culture amongst gamers, and changing the e-sports scene entirely. Though the original movie tells a gory tale, when applied in video game format, it becomes a genre with great popularity around the world.

The next fact derived from the PUBG Wikipedia article is how PlayerUnknown BattleGrounds was originally a mod in a different game called H1Z1 developed by the same person who made PUBG. Mods are the abbreviation referring to game modification, which is the act of changing elements of a game, particularly its code. This means that the developer of PUBG was strongly attributed to the Construction element of the Participatory Media Culture model.

The Participatory Media Culture model

When applying this model to expand upon my research surrounding Battle Royale games, I’ve noticed that these games have many communities in different sites such as Steam Community, Reddit, Youtube and Twitch. In Reddit alone, the PUBG community numbers to 1.9 million members. Even outside of the game, there are players who participate in the media culture of their favorite Battle Royale games and consume or produce user generated content. These user generated content include fanart, memes, cosplay and music videos. I have also noted that a majority of these content are clips from the game itself, highlighting the fun moments of the individual user to share with other people.

Utility

The digital artefact hopes to aid readers in identifying the contributing factors in how video games are able to popularize or create related subcultures. This information can be valuable to studying video game culture, and can also be utilized by aspiring game developers that are interested in turning their ideas into a video game.

The digital artefact aims to understand how participatory media culture is essential in bolstering the popularity and the longevity of a video game, and that the promotion of user-generated content relating to games can serve as both an effective and cost-effective strategy of marketing the video game to people around the world. According to this article, user-generated content is vastly more effective than branded advertising which indicate that more people generally trust the word of others than advertisers.

Responses to feedback via DA Pitch & Final DA

The feedbacks received in my DA pitch & final DA number to 3 and 5 comments respectively. There is generally a very positive feedback when looking through the comments, which is reassuring in letting me know that my digital artefact is helpful.

I’ve adopted a visually appealing digital artefact format which involves numerous video editing, with a focus on clarity in my audio message as I provide the related visual cues in the DA video. This helps even non-gamers understand what my project is about. This format has been effective when noticing the praise in the comments.

Overall Trajectory

In the pitch, I initially wanted to explore the fun parts of a game community where I could discuss about how user-generated content creates and encourages user engagement that ultimately leads to building a community. However as I’ve researched further into the topic, I realized the value of user-generated content especially in being able to construct a loving community of fans. It’s incredibly effective in marketing as well, especially when interesting content by players are being made about their favorite game without any bias.

It acts as great marketing strategy, especially because the game does not need to invest in making their branded advertisements when it is already done by the players. Thus, I discussed this point in my final digital artefact. Whether or not the information provided by my project is helpful to others, it has taught me new interesting things at least.

Project’s Success and Limitations

Taking the positive feedback from my pitch and final DA at face value, the project seems to be successful. I still believe it could be further polished, but the main limitation that I’ve faced is how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected my planned schedules and my motivation. It was difficult to spend a lot of time on this project when taking to account the issues caused by the pandemic in one’s personal life.

Some more things I wish that could have been improved on was establishing a proper group communication. There were overlaps which are caused due to the lack of coordination, and each individual focusing on their own work. Unfortunately as an asocial introvert, I find it extremely difficult to bring a group together to work on a project cohesively.

Finally, despite PUBG being the pioneer of Battle Royale games, I found that there is not that much interesting content to discuss about it nowadays because other Battle Royale games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends have become more popular with a lot more cultural topics to discuss. Thus, I think it would have been better for my topic to discuss Fortnite as there are many headline articles about that game.

References

https://www.vg247.com/h1z1-a-battle-royale-game-that-playerunknown-worked-on-before-pubg-is-free-to-play-this-week

https://screenrant.com/behind-the-scenes-making-of-battle-royale/

wccftech.com/fortnite-1b-revenue-battle-royale/

https://www.adsmurai.com/en/articles/user-generated-content-ugc-more-effective-sales