Unit 12: Research report and evaluation

Unit 12 research report

Unit 12: research report (Unit 12 3.1)

Introduction (Unit 12 2.1/3.1):

My chosen topic of study for this unit will be around how the well-known video game franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog, has changed over the years in the form of a video piece. The main reason I have chosen this topic is because I am already a huge fan of this video game franchise and the SEGA mascot itself since early 2010 and I am extremely curious to see as to how the franchise has progressed to where it is now since the early 1990s. I have also chosen this topic since I hope to carry it on into my Final Major project in the form of a time-lapse drawing video piece, which is why I will also be researching various video formats and styles, how they can tell the same topic and how my desired time-lapse video can be produced.

 

Methodology:

For my research itself, I will be keeping a separate research diary to keep all my findings in one organised and secure document.

(Unit 12 2.1)- In relation to the change in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise over time, I will be using a combination of both primary and secondary research looking into. For my topic, secondary research will involve looking specifically into: how the transition from 2D to 3D affected the franchise; specific games that have made an impact to the franchise (both positive and negative); what made him stand out to be the icon he was in 1991 and today and the Rivalry and interaction with Nintendo over the years has changed the franchise over time. (Unit 12 3.2)- As for my secondary research methods, I will be using various existing sources such as articles online and gaming magazines and other videos discussing the topic. Within these videos, since mine will be a time-lapse drawing piece, I will be taking notes on how different videos can tell the same topic with how I can pick certain elements suitable for a time-lapse drawing. Another idea I had involves how specific games have had an impact on the franchise and consists of a mixture of primary and secondary research. I thought that it would definitely be worth researching what games cover this, reviews and even fan views on them and playing the games for myself to see if there is a relationship between my research, the reviews and if they have changed the franchise in any way. It will also be a fantastic opportunity to see if my views of the games match those of the reviews and other fans and to either prove or not that some people are known to form ‘opinions’ based on what others think.

More secondary research will be towards my video piece I will be research videos of existing time-lapse drawing videos and how different pieces tell the same topic, one average how long each one is (depending on the subject matter) to determine my ideal time length. I will even be researching the production methods for my video piece since I’ll be using a method I have never used before to ensure a smooth, efficient and effective production as possible.

(Unit 12 3.2)- I will be doing all my secondary research before any primary- with the exception of the games’ impacts on the franchise. This is because I can research all my planned secondary information and allow room for new paths to follow and as a result, help me adapt my primary research accordingly and come up with the appropriate methods. However, I will definitely consider carrying out interviews as qualitative research to use within my video piece. I, however, will not be using as much quantitative research (surveys, questionnaires) for this one since I feel qualitative will fit in better with the nature of my topic and a time-lapse drawing. However, I will most likely be using existing figures such as review scores and sales of specific games. But this is why I am doing all my secondary research first, so that I can allow changes for research plans to be made like this.

 

Evaluation (Unit 12 2.2/3.2):

Secondary research findings:

(Unit 12 1.1)- For my secondary research I had to investigate three media products and research in-depth about the period of time it influences, design and production skills, audiences and how products are created for them also including world views and what the information in the product actually means- all in relation to our chosen medium and FMP topic. Because I’ll be doing my FMP on how the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has changed over time, I decided to look at magazine articles, online web sources/blogs and videos that showed the same topic as mine and I looked for information that covered my four main subheadings for investigation: what made Sonic a gaming icon in the 1990s, how the transition from 2D to 3D affected the franchise, specific games that have impacted the franchise and how SEGA’s rivalry with Nintendo played a major role.

(Unit 12 2.2)- Looking at the magazine articles I found, I came across some information that will really benefit my FMP- mainly the voice over script for my animation. For example, one magazine covered the transition from 2D to 3D inside out, starting from competition against other gaming companies and consoles all the way to the first 3D game, ‘Sonic Adventure’ which outlines all the changed the gameplay and character went through for this time period. (Unit 12 1.1)- This article makes clear reference to the other gaming companies changing to 3D gameplay and how the expectations from fans for Sonic made the development of a 3D title very challenging which I feel should be made apparent in my video to show a major change in Sonic’s history. Another vital incorporation I should make in my piece comes from a Retro Gamer article and it has interviews from professionals and developers involved with Sonic the Hedgehog. They mention how 3D games have had 2D elements applied to them and this crossed nicely with what the SEGA Archives magazine said about ‘Sonic Colours’ and ‘Sonic Generations’ having the 2D/3D elements complimenting each other. (Unit 12 3.2)- I know that this part will definitely be portrayed in my animation video, as it would make a nice conclusion to finish and summarise the whole piece. I don’t want to fit it into one subheading since it crosses over and refers to more recent games and therefore wouldn’t make much sense if in the middle of the video.

(Unit 12 2.2)- I have also analysed online videos and documentaries where I did find some useful information relating to how the first Sonic the Hedgehog game differed from other games at the time regarding style and gameplay and what went into the development of Sonic’s creation from the early stages of his development. (Unit 12 1.2)- Despite the vast differences f these sources regarding content and subtopic, they have both influenced many ideas for my FMP piece regarding methods of portraying the information I intend to feature and investigate further. For instance, the unofficial video piece I came across gave me information in a quick but simple way which allowed me to actually take in it better as well as more engaging features, which included music clips from the actual games/levels which accompanied the suitable information and made the video a little more engaging and fun to watch. This is an element I will definitely be adding as it would add more engagement and I would add the most suitable clips for the information being given and animation being shown. This could also apply to in-game sound effects like the rings, item boxes and leaping sounds.

(Unit 12 1.1)- One last medium I looked at were online sources including websites, blogs and online game review sites. I decided to look at online sources because I knew that they would have a substantial amount of personal views which I balanced out with professional reviews of the most impacting Sonic games. Although the game reviews always tend to have personal opinions in them, it was still interesting to see the trend in what they had to say about Sonic ’06. From researching these, there was an overall negative trend of glitches, severe camera issues and long loading times. (Unit 12 2.2)- the research into this one apparently appalling game has given me ideas for both primary vox pop interviews and ways to show this impact in my animation using these responses. I have devised the vox pops so that all answers and opinions will not take up too much time in my voice-over script and saving time for the remainder of the topic to be discussed. (Unit 12 1.1/1.2)- A lot of websites I came across talked about Nintendo’s mascot, Mario, and he had which Sonic didn’t and vice versa. I felt that this was a perfect way to introduce my video piece since it would only make sense to start with what made Sonic famous to begin with. One of this reasons is having what Mario didn’t in his gameplay!

Secondary research findings:

(Unit 12 1.1)- Alongside the research for my FMP topic I have also researched my chosen medium to show my topic, production methods and skills and the technologies and equipment involved producing it. I looked up my initially planned time-lapse method of production, animation techniques using Adobe software and used these to determine the best method of production for me. (Unit 12 2.2)- After watching the three videos there was something about all of them that made this decision so hard to make. For example, I wanted to do the time-lapse because it was something I have never done before and would take my creativity to the next level. However I realised that all the equipment would have to be set up in one place at all times which would make doing the main production at college impossible, not to mention the lighting would change each time this way too. This would make my piece at risk of being a poor quality or finishing it too early. This is when I decided for sure to do an animation since I have experience with the Adobe creative suite; I could do around 95% of the production in college and I can still use my love for art/drawing and count animation as something I’ve also never done before.

(Unit 12 1.1/2.2)- One video showed something majorly helpful for me to use when producing my animation which was how to work out the number of pictures against the framerate I’ll need. Using the maths given to me in the video I devised my own triangle to separately work out the number of frames, framerate and duration of my video when needed.

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Primary research findings:

For this research project I also carried out some primary research where I went out and gathered the findings from scratch. I initially planned on conducting an interview with one of the games development tutors who may know some of Sonic the hedgehog’s history and games and conducting some vox pops with the students about the game Sonic ’06. However, during the planning of these interviews the games development students were planning their yearly games festival and my tutor strongly advised me to go down there and see if I could interview anyone there about Sonic the Hedgehog and how it’s changed. I did this the first day it was on but I didn’t find anything related to it. But this was excellent preparation for the next day so that I could prepare myself for what I planned to ask students and games lecturers there.

Although playing this wouldn’t really be of much use for/after my research, there was an original SEGA Mega Drive available at the festival and it was so fascinating to see not only how it varied aesthetically from the modern consoles but to see that they still physically exist.

On the actual interviewing day I set myself to do the vox pop interviews I had very mix emotions about it at first but looking back, there’s so much more positivity to it than not. At first I did let my nerves get the better of me a bit and was either hesitant to approach people or kind of rushed into my vox pop question which did seem to intimidate the interviewee a bit, especially if they didn’t have the knowledge I desired. However, all of this did pass when I got some answers from people who I knew had knowledge and experience with Sonic ’06. One moment of joy arose when I introduced my project ideas and desire to another student to ask my question and he immediately got another student who he knew would provide me with the information I needed for sure which was a real highlight of the whole process because I knew I had made the right choice with interviewing my target audience and the students genuinely cared about my project research. Because of this I had no hesitation to ask some of my more detailed questions and I ended up with some brilliant answers that briefly outlined some historical and modern contexts of the franchise.

More success came with the interview I had with one of the games development tutors where I was able to ask the questions I planned last week. Although this interview didn’t go as expected either, I still ended up with some really useful information to apply to my FMP and even then, distractions such as background noises and gaming audio were minor and didn’t prevent much of the information from being blocked by it. When it came to asking the questions, I did get away with skipping a few since some answers I received tied in perfectly with other questions and so, the interview went quicker than I thought whilst still gathering the information required.

In spite of everything turning out positively, I know well the area I need to consider next time if I was to reverse the clock such as confidence with approaching people and even adjusting my questions slightly to not make the interviewee feel pressured to answer something they may not know entirely about.

Copyright:

During a debate with the class about my project concept and ideas, the issue of copyright was brought up by one student; since I am basing my project on an existing character and franchise via a video animation I was warned that I will need to investigate what I will/will not be allowed to do with SEGA’s character. I know from what another student told me plus what I researched that the games company Nintendo are known to take strong legal action against any fan-made games and material (Lamoruex, 2016). To see whether SEGA have the same copyright laws or how they differ I have researched news articles and existing sources that state SEGA’s copyright policies and what I will be able to get away with within my FMP. To ensure the most up-to-date and absolute certainty for this aspect of research, I have only used sources no earlier than 2015 to the present date.

 

https://desk.thecontentcloud.net/inspiration/take-leaf-segas-policy-towards-user-generated-content#.WLgkDPnyhPY

This source here, which is a website source explains the fact that SEGA has approved the creation of ‘one of many fan-made video games’ (Content Desk, 2016). The main piece of evidence supporting this information is how the official Sonic the Hedgehog account commented on the video: ‘Brb. DMCA time. Just kidding. Keep making great stuff, Sonic fans.” (Content Desk, 2016). (Unit 12 2.2)- This official comment from the video posted on YouTube (Content Desk, 2016) couldn’t really be better evidence that SEGA is encouraging the work of fans for their characters/ideas and is reassurance that mine project is no exception either.

 

http://powerupgaming.co.uk/2015/02/05/sega-youtube-videos-being-targeted-with/

(Unit 12 2.1)- This website here explains how certain YouTubers were being targeted with copyright claims (Mawson, 2015) with mainly Sonic the Hedgehog Videos- both classic and modern series’ being affected (Mawson, 2015). One piece of information here which caught my eye was that one YouTuber was hot pretty hard with the copyright claim in over 10 of his videos for using a 5 second snippet of Sonic Music (Mawson, 2015). However, after reading through about the intense copyright claims, I saw that, ‘In response to one fan’s email’ (Mawson, 2015) SEGA’s statement said: “In North America and Europe we typically will not take action on YouTube videos or similar content. Monetization of YouTube videos is not something we consider, but we will demand the removal of any leaked footage as well as content that uses our properties in a malicious or inappropriate way.” (Mawson, 2015).

(Unit 12 2.2)- Overall, this source doesn’t convince me as much as the first one because the date in which the website page was published which was early 2015 so circumstances for copyright here may have changed slightly to greatly. However, I am reassured that I will be able to carry out my video piece, especially since it will not have any inappropriate footage of any kind.

http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/

(Unit 12 2.1/1.1)- This source also comes from an online web page and it compares the aggressiveness Nintendo and SEGA have with their mascots when it comes to fan work of any kind. Looking at Nintendo firstly, they are known to be ‘very consistent in shutting down anything they don’t like fast and hard’ (McGlone, 2016) with the shut-down of a fan-made Zelda movie (McGlone, E, 2016) and ‘an unofficial Pokémon MMO fan-made project, Pokenet’ (McGlone, 2016) both being hit one year between each other. However, looking at SEGA’s approach to this matter, they have been ‘more tolerant than Nintendo when it comes to letting fan creations slide’ (McGlone, 2016). For instance, the Sonic the hedgehog twitter accounts are known to contain fan-art in the most ‘funniest and absurd’ way (McGlone, 2016) as well as being a ‘meme fest’ (McGlone, 2016).

(Unit 12 2.2)- Looking at the vast contrast between the two companies and their copyright policies, I know for a fact that if I was creating a Nintendo or Mario based piece, I wouldn’t get away with it at all. But since mine is on how the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has changed overtime whilst using existing facts and non-inappropriate/leaked footage, it looks like I will be able to do what I intend to do for my FMP successfully. Even more reassurance from this source relates to the upcoming release of the ‘2D genesis-style’ Sonic Mania (McGlone, 2016) and how ‘former fan-game maker and long-time Sonic fan’ (McGlone, 2016) is now assisting the development of Sonic Mania after being brought on by SEGA to recreate a Sonic CD for last-gen consoles using his own engine (McGlone, 2016). Overall, this proves that SEGA clearly acknowledge and encourage their fans’ work- as proved with the Sonic Mania development and Twitter pages. As a Twitter account holder and a follower to the page, I witness some of the creativeness yet insane work that goes on there!

In spite of this research I will make the audience watching my final piece aware that I have taken copyright into account and state that all the original concepts, ideas and (possibly) music clips belong to and are owned by SEGA/its rightful owners.

Bibliography:

Content Desk. (2016). Take a leaf out of Sega’s policy towards user-generated content. [online] Available at: https://desk.thecontentcloud.net/inspiration/take-leaf-segas-policy-towards-user-generated-content#.WLkzePmLRPZ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].

Content Desk. (2016). Take a leaf out of Sega’s policy towards user-generated content. [online] Available at: https://desk.thecontentcloud.net/inspiration/take-leaf-segas-policy-towards-user-generated-content#.WLkzePmLRPZ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].

Content Desk. (2016). Take a leaf out of Sega’s policy towards user-generated content. [online] Available at: https://desk.thecontentcloud.net/inspiration/take-leaf-segas-policy-towards-user-generated-content#.WLkzePmLRPZ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].

Lamoreux, B. (2016). SEGA Mocks Nintendo’s DMCA Policies While Encouraging Sonic Fan Projects. [online] Gamnesia. Available at: https://www.gamnesia.com/news/sega-mocks-nintendos-dmca-policies-while-encouraging-sonic-fan-projects [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].

Mawson, C. (2017). Sega YouTube Videos Being Targeted with Copyright Claims | Power Up Gaming. [online] Power Up Gaming. Available at: http://powerupgaming.co.uk/2015/02/05/sega-youtube-videos-being-targeted-with/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2017].

Mawson, C. (2017). Sega YouTube Videos Being Targeted with Copyright Claims | Power Up Gaming. [online] Power Up Gaming. Available at: http://powerupgaming.co.uk/2015/02/05/sega-youtube-videos-being-targeted-with/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2017].

Mawson, C. (2017). Sega YouTube Videos Being Targeted with Copyright Claims | Power Up Gaming. [online] Power Up Gaming. Available at: http://powerupgaming.co.uk/2015/02/05/sega-youtube-videos-being-targeted-with/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2017].

Mawson, C. (2017). Sega YouTube Videos Being Targeted with Copyright Claims | Power Up Gaming. [online] Power Up Gaming. Available at: http://powerupgaming.co.uk/2015/02/05/sega-youtube-videos-being-targeted-with/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2017].

Mawson, C. (2017). Sega YouTube Videos Being Targeted with Copyright Claims | Power Up Gaming. [online] Power Up Gaming. Available at: http://powerupgaming.co.uk/2015/02/05/sega-youtube-videos-being-targeted-with/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

McGlone, E. (2016). While Nintendo Fears Fan Creations, SEGA Uses Them as Strength. [online] Twinfinite. Available at: http://twinfinite.net/2016/08/where-nintendo-crushes-fan-made-projects-sega-lets-them-flourish/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].

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Unit 12: Research report and evaluation

One thought on “Unit 12: Research report and evaluation

  1. Outstanding work that demonstrates very clearly all the requisite criteria for this unit to a very high standard. A lot of this can be transferred into the FMP package allowing you more time to focus on the creative side and then the evaluation, which is very much your strength.

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