SQ14: Decision Making Tree

Through all the different assignments we’ve done this semester, I feel like an overlapping theme has been decision making. With the podcasts we have to choose which path to take in talking about the game, with home-tasking we have to decide on an interesting but yet doable task, etc. The constraints of “normal” writing have been uplifted in a sense and we’ve really gotten the chance to let our mind and decisions run loose. In games and in writing, we’re constantly faced with important decisions that may shape the future of our experience, and in this side quest I’ve attempted to pick apart that decision making process (mine, at least). Our decision making may sometimes seem irrational on the surface, but I believe it’s always rooted by some combination of rational thoughts. I thought the most picturesque way to express this was through a tree of thoughts buried underground, and only one decision, the product of these thoughts, rising to the surface. Please excuse my mediocre drawing of a flower, and I hope you enjoy/relate to the tree!

The Lion King: Quarantine Edition

When I first saw this side quest, I was sitting in bed next to my quarantine best friend: my life sized bear toy. I was instantly inspired to recreate one of the most iconic scenes in film history. I hope all of you recognize the scene and enjoy watching my rendition of it. Here’s my video:

The Trousers Shot

For this side quest, we had to do something interesting with a pair of “trousers” (this sounds ridiculous to me… they’re called pants). The first thing that came to my mind was a trick shot. If you’re wondering why the video cuts off at the end, it’s because the ball bounced out of the cup right after. I cut it off at that point so you could easily inspect the final frame and confirm that I made the shot. This shot took many, many tries, so I hope that me revealing the fact that the ball bounced out doesn’t take away from its exceptional nature. Here’s the video:

Kitchen Ping Pong

I decided to turn my kitchen into an energetic ping pong stadium. I’ve been playing a lot of ping pong games with my sisters during quarantine, and describing them as exciting would be an understatement.

Chess Podcast Reflection

I, along with Will and Sadie, recently completed a podcast analyzing Chess (https://eng101s20.davidmorgen.org/ready-set-game/chess-the-game-of-strategy/). The conception of this podcast was rather unorthodox given the circumstances. Usually, podcasts are recorded with everyone sitting around one microphone, but that setup would have required an extreme violation of social distancing. Instead, each person recorded their own lines alone, and then someone compiled all the recordings into one project. Since each person was limited to their own recording software, the voices don’t blend as well as they did in our first podcast. I tried accounting for this while editing the volumes and EQ in the project, but there wasn’t much I could do to change the natural sound of each recording.

One of our main goals for this podcast was to make it less monotonous than the last. We tried to make it sound more conversational and easier to listen to. We included a few clips from songs and movies in effort to make the podcast more entertaining. They’re supposed to give the listener’s mind a little break from the deep analysis of chess moves, in case they’re losing focus. Keeping the listener’s focus is obviously very important, and we faced a big dilemma in trying to do so. We weren’t sure about how much we could assume the listener’s previous understanding of chess. Chess is a very intricate game with many different pieces and moves, and we didn’t know if it was fair to assume that the listener already knew the basics. In the end, we decided to give a brief explanation of the rules in the beginning just to be safe.

One thing I felt good about was our balance of explanation and conversation. I felt that our first podcast was a little hard to listen to since it was too informational. I, and my group members alike, am more accustomed to informational writing, so naturally that was the path our first podcast took. In this one we made a conscious effort to make it more conversational, with light jokes and arguments, and less explanatory. With the style of these podcasts, I feel like I’m improving at finding the middle ground between casual writing, such as texting, and the professional writing I’m used to. With this style, I feel more connected to my writing, as if my writing is more “me” now, if that makes any sense.

Getting Bored of Home…

These past few days and weeks (maybe even months who knows) have been pretty uneventful. All I do is sit around with my family, do work, play video games, and sleep. Every day. Same schedule. So, I saw my suitcase laying around and decided I’d make my camouflage side quest a bit metaphorical. Sometimes I dream about purchasing the first flight I see, no matter where to, and gloriously leaving my house to actually do something interesting. I do know, though, that there are people who have it worse than me, so I’m also trying to make the best out of my quarantine experience. I hope you enjoy my video.

Bar Mitzvah Flashbacks

Attached below is the video of my rendition of a night club/venue in my bathroom. I apologize for the shakiness at the end of the video; I was unable to contain my excitement with my 7th grade sister jumping in my living room bathroom. Jumping around with 7th graders to classic bass drop EDM songs reminded me of the times when I’d attend Bar Mitzvah parties all the time in 7th grade and engage in this exact activity. I know my take on this side quest wasn’t as creative as some of the examples you’ll see, but I think the energy in my video is unparalleled. Energy, at least in my opinion, is the most important factor in a fun Friday night out.

Steph Curry Makes His Return

Here is the link to my shot: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kHncQh8CWhn192kCiyTCd4qsbkQAIZlE/view?usp=sharing. To honor the Coronavirus induced NBA suspension, I decided to shoot my paper ball like a basketball. Steph Curry had just returned to playing in games after his hand injury in the fall, so I decided to honor his return as well by taking my shot from 3 point range. This task turned out to be more difficult than I’d expected, but the only irritated person was my sister, who was forced to record my 50 consecutive tries in NJ’s 40 degree weather. This assignment was a blessing in disguise because I went outside for the first time in days, and I also got to relieve my quarantine boredom for a few minutes. I think this shot is easily one of the most interesting so far, but I’m curious to see the rest of my classmates’ performances.

A Very Impressive Train

As you can see, I 3D printed the locomotive piece from monopoly. I’ve always loved monopoly, and when I was looking through the linked game pieces I picked the train because I found it to be the most intricate. In a way, I wanted to test the 3d printing center and see how accurate their printing of such a small train would be. I didn’t have much trouble getting it printed; I just gave them the file and let them work their magic. Quite frankly, I find 3D printing really interesting and wish I was more involved in the process. The only issue I ran into was being too low on Eagle Dollars when they asked me to pay. I spent 5 embarrassing minutes of silence at the woman’s register before I finally figured out how to replenish my balance. They printed the piece with more detail than I had expected, so this side quest was a success.

Risk Podcast Reflection

I, along with Will and Sadie, recently completed a podcast on analyzing the game titled Risk (https://eng101s20.davidmorgen.org/ready-set-game/risky-business-a-deep-dive-into-the-game-of-risk/). Due to the tremendous strategy the game requires in order to win, it has always been a favorite of mine to play. Risk requires a lot of critical thinking, so playing is always a challenge I look forward to. Considering my thorough enjoyment for the game, I thought it would be fun to review it in a podcast. Since we were just a three person group, we collaborated for every part of it.

The theme and style of the background music was something we decided to adapt from previous podcasts. We initially had some trouble determining what style of music would work well with what we were creating. It can be difficult to choose a sound that compliments the voices speaking, but also isn’t distracting. After listening to past podcasts, we realized a calm but playful track would fit well. In addition, only being able to explain concepts verbally caused us some issues. I never realized how reliant I was on visual aid until having to explain Risk without any. For instance, there was a point where we wanted to demonstrate the exponential relationship between the amount of land the player has and their power in the game. A graph or hand motion would have demonstrated this well, but instead we had to put it into words and hope our audience would understand. 

Our primary goal in creating the podcast was to keep the audience engaged. In order to keep it interesting, we attempted at finding the right balance between talking about the history of the game, its relevance and meaning to the world, and strategy within the game itself. We found this balance by making connections within all of our information. For instance, we tried to make the meaning of the game transition and connect to different strategies players could employ. Along with frequent transitions to prevent boring the audience, the connections made the podcast easy to follow and compelling. 

Intuitively, one would think that writing in the form of a conversation between people would come easily since everyone converses. I realized while writing the script that recreating conversation is pretty difficult.  After we finished the script, I noticed that it sounded a lot less like a conversation than I was expecting. This was presumably due to my experience in writing being purely formal or scholarly. When writing my next podcast, I’m going to try to be more conscious of how conversational it sounds in order to make it more engaging for the listener.