We’re taking the opportunity National Dog Day provides to remember the dog who called industrial designer Raymond Loewy’s estate in La Cense, France, home around 1935. We may not know much about her, but we know she had a great enthusiasm for humans and a deep-seated suspicion of sheep.
These photos are from 2004.255, Raymond Loewy collection of photos and audiovisual materials, in Hagley’s Audiovisual Archives.
To see more of Raymond Loewy’s home and his designs (in the above photos, Loewy’s the one with the moustache), check out our Digital Archives.
The demo/prototype for M/B is coming along nicely. I’ve added in a bunch of gameplay features and audiovisual polish, though a lot of the character animations and SFX are still unfinished or placeholders at this point. Anyway, I’ll talk about one of the core gameplay mechanics for a bit
As I’ve mentioned before, many characters in this game, including the player character, are fictional or ‘imaginary’. As such, their abilities aren’t powered by your typical stamina/mana/MP resources, but by Suspension of Disbelief.
Suspension of Disbelief (or SDB for short) is what lets a fictional character perform actions that range from the improbable to the completely impossible, while still staying grounded in the reality of its medium. A hero in an action movie repeatedly surviving against stacked odds, dodging bullets point blank and pulling out a huge weapon out of nowhere is something that might *stretch* the suspension of disbelief: is a character like that existing within the setting believable?
In the case of Make/Believe, SDB is an actual quantifiable resource that powers many of the player characters’ abilities. The more powerful and ‘unlikely’ a particular ability is, the more using it will stretch the suspension of disbelief. This means that even though the player character is imaginary, they can’t suddenly start flying around or become completely invincible and immortal (not at first, anyway).
In the case of the included video, SDB is used to power the physically impossible feat of dashing directly through the projectiles without taking damage. In practical gameplay terms it means that dashing in and of itself isn’t limited in any way, allowing you to maintain a constant and high level of mobility. Using dashes to dodge *through* projectiles, however, will tap into your SDB reserves (as it becomes increasingly less believable that a character could just phase through solid objects like that). If you run out of SDB, you lose this ability, and trying to dodge attacks will directly start to affect your Grip on Reality, which is this games counterpart to health: lose enough of it and the character will wink out of existence as it becomes too ‘unrealistic’ to maintain a physical presence.
SDB regenerates over time, but can also be restored by performing groundingskills, which I will talk about in greater detail at some other time. In the case of this video, it’s enough to know that parrying projectiles is a grounding skill, and that each succesfully parried projectile will restore some SDB.
The maximum amount of SDB the player character possesses will increase throughout the game by progressing through the story or completing certain quests, as the character ‘develops’ into something more powerful. More powerful fictional characters can ‘get away’ with more things while maintaining a grip on reality: superman remains relatively believable even while he’s busy blowing up galaxies by accidentally sneezing.
Interestingly, when one wants to learn to make films - to narrate audio-visually -, even though the word “audiovisual” begins with audio, it is always the camera that prevails. (…) it seems like, in order to narrate audio-visually, the first thing you need to do is get a camera. In fact, on a movie set, the place where the camera sits is always important, where you put the tripod… Yet nobody knows where the microphone is! (…) The camera has its own stand and its own place, with people behind it, attending to it. Meanwhile in the sound department you have some guy holding a skinny cane, twisted and hidden away so you can’t see the microphone… People yell “you’re in the frame, you’re in the frame!”, it’s messing up the light, it’s casting a shadow on the scene… The person working sound is always this annoying individual which everyone (including myself, someone who thinks highly of sound) ends up hating because they keep messing up the shot.
The entire pictorial and photographic tradition, the organization of perception (in the West at least) is immensely tied to the visual point of view. (…)It seems to me sight as a means of organizing perception is very strong. It is highly determinant, but, like with everything else turned hegemonic, it invalidates as much as it proposes. Which is to say, the huge emphasis we place on the visual side negates the possibility to actually see. Whereas sound does not have the same solid reference as image. And this ambiguity results in a higher state of alert in one’s perception. In fact when we have to work on sound for our movies, we change everything: instead of horses, they use coconuts, pieces of wood… All of that to add drama, to add effect where it is is lacking. (…) Sound is a less referential dimension. It is extremely evocative, very primitive and less structured at the level of meaning. (…) Out of everything cinema counts on to structure its narrative, sound is the only one that actually physically touches the viewer. Sound is the tactile dimension of cinema. What I’m saying is not science fiction or poetry. We live in this world immersed in a flexible fluid which we call “air”, and sound is the agitation of these molecules which come into contact with our body - not only our ears, but throughout our entire bodies, as vibration. So it’s interesting that something which propose such a direct relationship with the viewer ends up as abandoned and devalued as sound has been, specially in film schools. I think that my relationship with film comes via the oral narrative tradition. The movies i make, everything you experience there was stolen by me from the people in my family - the house, the words… To me, the sound dimension in my family is really quite monstrous (I don’t known what your families are like but I doubt there’s one family on earth whose sound dimension doesn’t possess this touch of monstrosity about it).
A very Happy 100th Birthday to our National Parks! To mark the happy occasion, we’ve animated some of the stereoscopes that P. S. du Pont brought home from Yellowstone National Park as souvenirs. Clockwise, these are the Castle Geyser, the Bee Hive Geyser, and the humbly-named Economic Geyser.
These stereoscopes, created by Frank J. Haynes, are from the P. S. du Pont Longwood photo collection, in Hagley’s Audiovisual Archives.
Hey hey all you great people out there! After my last post I took a little summer break. August is just the perfect month to do so around here and I was finally in the mood for some relaxation! Last week I got these two nice boards in the mailbox. These are midi controllable relay boards with eight 10A 250VAC / 30VDC relays each. If everything turns out fine, these will be the hearts of the final part of my ongoing audiovisual installation project. If you ask me, everything should be MIDI controllable. Cameras, washing machines, toasters, you name it… ;-)
My good friend and amazingly talented being Chris Naum made this audiovisual time travel device from our incredible time in Marble, CO earlier this summer. This trip was a hoot and a half - do yourself a favor and click that sideways triangle. The vibes are present and accounted for with this one!
Huge s/o to everyone along the way who made these few weeks what they were, you know who you are and I appreciate you. Also many thanks to Woosah & Coldsmoke for bringing these plans to life
What do you think are your favorite and/or the most persuasive Swendgame theories/metas ever written?
Hey Anon, thanks for the questions!
It’s almost impossible to answer, not only because there are so many good ones, but because I go on reading sprees and then I don’t necessarily remember what I read where.
That being said, this answer to an ask by the now deactivated
every-heart-has-thorns has a special place in my heart. I think it’s because it acknowledges the importance of visual aspects in audiovisual storytelling. In school we are made to read books, analyze language… We’re very text-focused. We are somehow not trained to think much about visual storytelling, but when you are in that field, you do actually talk in images. You think about what is shown as much as you think about the words. The camera transitions, everything that’s in your frame. Everything talks. It’s not accidental, it’s people’s jobs.
So apart from the fact that I still agree with all the sentiments in that post and it is really how I feel as well, even if it’s from two seasons ago, I really like the visual literacy of it.
Then there is also the Sacred Book of Swen which I devoured and where I discovered that writing analysis and speculation on tv shows was actually a thing.
DID YOU KNOW… there is a rock formation in Taiwan that many people think resembles the profile of Richard Nixon? The formation, made of 18-meter high coral reefs, known as “Sail Rock” (in Mandarin Chinese: Chuanfanshih), “Nixon Rock” or “Nixon’s Head” sits just off shore at a popular destination in Kenting National Park. Here is a vintage photograph of the rock from our audiovisual collections. (Image: par.66.2.3)
Peridot finds an old cassette of Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the 36 Chambers at a yard sale. She plays it on repeat in the barn, introducing Lapis to hip-hop. Lapis comes up with an idea for an audiovisual performance meepmorp, performed under the stage name MC Rapis Lazuli. The only gem who doesn’t think it’s absolutely terrible (it is) is Peridot.