Unique Application Controls

The application that I am going to talk about is called Army Builder. It is used for creating and calculating armies in miniature wargames. How this application works is, it lets you select what miniature wargame you want to play and select an army from that wargame. You can then choose what kind of units, war gear options and capacity of models will be in your army. As you select units and war gear, army builder will calculate the points cost. Besides working as a calculator, Army Builders knows rules for all of the miniatures of many wargames. It will even tell you when you have made a mistake building your army and something is not legal within it. I find this a very unique application as it keeps track of a huge amount of rules, units and games; not to mention it is all community built. A large amount of selective and input controls are used within this application. Once you are done, you can print your army list off and you’re set to go. If you want it to be more visual, you can even upload pictures of your units, which will be posted on your list. My video example of this application is quite long, but you should get the just of it after a few minutes.


Interface Controls

An example of imperative control is, selecting icons on your desktop. Another example of imperative controls would be hitting the “exit” button of a program to quite the program. The last example of imperative controls is, being able to select a character in a video game. All these examples produce an action (clicking the button) and getting an immediate result. That is imperative control.

An example of selection control would be, selecting an item from a checkbox. Another example of selection control is, being able to select notes in a music program and place them in a bar. The last example of selection control is using the folder options on your computer. All of these examples allow you to select and choose specific choices. This is selection control.

An example of entry control would be, moving a slider to alter a specific thing. Another example of entry control would be entering information into a text field. The last example of entry control is choosing from a selection in a drop box. All these examples allow the user to alter specific parts to a program through manuel input and choice.

An example of display control would is, having a pop-up tell you something important. Another example of display control is having a measurement bar, to show you a measurement, in an application. The last example of display control is having a progress bar let you know the progress of a download. All these examples tell the user information, visually. That is display control.


Choosing Appropriate Levels of Interaction

For the first topic on the MySiast website, I would make a system that could hold the information of all patients registered in it. This system would also work as a memory bank for medical information. It would be updated every so often to remain valid with the currently changing diagnostics of today. The different levels of interaction I would use would be, control of the sequence and control of the media. Controlling the sequence is necessary, as it will allow doctors to go through the list of medical conditions and/or patient information. Controlling the media would also be necessary for controlling the audio on videos and being able to change the view of the system. This level of interactivity justifies the cost of production because it will become the “go to” tool for doctors, helping them further to treat sick and save lives.

For the second topic I have to make an electronic record and web archive of family history and photographs. The levels of interaction I would use are, control of the sequence. You would need to be able to control the sequence to go through all the family history anyway you please. There isn’t going to be much for volume, video or anything else, as this is just a web archive, so there wouldn’t be much need for other sources of interaction. The work on this justifies the cost because while you may not be getting paid, this is for family and as a plus, someone famous may take interest in it.

For the last topic I have to create an application that will train miners for work. The levels of interactivity I would use are, control of the media, control the variable and manipulate objects. Control of the media is used just to regulate volume and view of the application. Since it is a training application they will not get to control how to go through it. Controlling the variable can be used to test the miners, allowing them to input data and get an outcome. Manipulating objects can also be used to teach the miners in a more visual way. The level of interactivity would justify the cost of production because it is for the miners safety and that is worth any amount of money.

Describing Interactivity

To describe interactivity we need to look at all of the levels of interaction. The first being the control of sequence. Control of the sequence involves navigation controls that allow a user to select topics in any order they desire. This basically means the user can explore the website without limitations of having to go through the site in a particular order.

The next level of interaction is control of media. Controlling the media basically allows the user to control other aspects of the website, such as the audio and video. It may allow the user to control how they  view the site, through scrolling and zooming. It may also include a search bar. This will further engage the user into the application.

Another level of interaction is control of variables. This is the users ability to enter in choices which will affect certain outcomes. This will include things like being able to change the age of a character in a story or picking the date of time for a specific setting.

Making transactions is another level of interactivity. This allows users to enter data into the system and receive feedback based on the data entered. This is useful as it allows users to store information, so it works as a bank for specific things. This is apparent for online transactions (for example.) as it will keep a list of your purchases.

The last level of interactivity is manipulating objects. Manipulating objects allows users to alter the course of events. This is good for creating simulations, such as in training videos, (visual representations are good for teaching.) or for video games.

All that being said, using these levels of interactivity in combination, together, can be used to increase the positive experience for the user.

Writing for an Audience

Writing pieces of work, such as for a screenplay, require certain consideration before jumping in. Key things I think would be worth considering when writing for a screenplay is, first and foremost, the audience. Who will be viewing your play and who is the play going to be written for. This will include things like what language is used and may determine certain aspects of the plot. (After all, you can’t have a violent sword fight in a play targeted towards children.)

Another thing to consider may be how your screenplay will be written. As screenplays are different from novels the layout in which you write something will be different from just straight out writing it. Realizing how you will organize the parts to your play, such as dialogue, major action and change of scenes, will determine how smooth your play will run. Here is an interesting layout idea for a screenplay. http://www.writersstore.com/how-to-write-a-screenplay-a-guide-to-scriptwriting/

You should also have a good detailed list of your characters, because you will need to know when to transition them into your story. Having a sort of timeline and character list can allow you to more easily add your characters into vital parts of your story. There’s another thing you will want to include, a timeline. That will help your story to flow the way you want it and also help get you out of writers block.


Creatively Writing

Writers use an innumerable amount of resources to draw on when writing fiction. Given the fact that fiction is made up, a writer simply needs an idea to start his fictional story. This doesn’t mean a fictional writer will never get actual facts for their writing. (Actual facts found through the internet, interviews and other books or biographies are all used resources.) This just means that fictional writers can draw on sporadic ideas that will present themselves at any given time. They may see a sign on a street and get an idea for a story, or a specific person walk by and gain an idea for a character. Fictional writers can draw on their own experiences for their works, or on the experiences of others. Sources for fiction can come from anywhere. They may be inspired by real events, or take cues from other stories that the writer has read.

I think a writer needs to be able to withhold some of a story or not reveal the full truth to things, to be a maker of artifice. I think it takes a lot of patience not to tell the reader all of the story too quickly. I also think it takes quite a bit of craftiness to be able to make the reader think something else, than what is actually present in the story. There must be an urge to capture the attention of the reader.

Possible sources I could use for my creative writing would be other authors stories. Stories with topics, settings or themes that are related to the story I want to write, could be used as sources of direction with which to take my story. I could also these stories as ideas to how I will write my story. What point of view will I use? What writing direction do I take?  Other stories could help answer these questions. As for ideas, I’m not short of original ideas. I don’t know where I get them from, they just sort of come up out of nowhere’s, particularly when I’m listening to music. (The internet is also my biggest source for factual information.)

Writers write for many various reasons. Some to express themselves, others to entertain and many to show their ideas too the world. I write to express my thoughts and tell stories. It helps get out all the crazy things I have trapped inside my brain. What I like about creative writing is that I make my own obstacles and use whatever means to clear my own path. I control the characters and I determine how they behave and interact with one another. I love character development, it is my favourite thing about writing stories. Being able to tinker around with my own characters and change their moods and interactions based on the setting I have given them is always a thrill to me.

Interactivity Levels

For this blog I am assessing the interactivity within this interface. http://bear71.nfb.ca/#/bear71

I found this interface to be very engaging. It starts off with a video and then throws you head first into a sort of live map that the story takes place around. Within this map you can move “your character” ( Which is labelled as Human (You) ) around. Just aim your mouse in any direction and you will go that way. Upon the map there are many points you can click on. The whole premise of the story is that there are camera’s set up everywhere’s and you, being the human, can access any of these cameras on command. It makes sense and allows you to see exactly everything that is going on within the area. When you click on a point a video will pop up, showing you what is happening. These videos will always remain the same, so there really is no point watching any video more than once. That is the one unrealistic thing I found about the interface.

Travelling on the map is easy. In the top right of the map there is a secondary mini-map that will allow you to travel to other sectors with a click. So discovering the whole area is simple. The story itself is twenty minutes long. There are clips that will pop up throughout the movie to keep you entertained, but for the most part you are listening to the narrator and doing as you please on the map. You’d think looking at a rather non graphical map would get boring, but the interface held my attention for all of the twenty minutes. I think it was the narrator. She played her role perfectly. If I had nothing to interact with, I would still be fine just listening to the story she told.

Another great thing that was done for the length of the video was making a pause button. Given the whole interaction is twenty minutes long, a pause button was a great idea. The music continues and you can still use the map while paused, but the main story does not go on until you are ready. In the top left corner of the map there is also a “story” button which brings down options to skip or go back to certain chapters. While writing about this I also had the music going on the interface. It got kind of annoying after a while, but thankfully there is a mute button.

Another few things I should mention are a fullscreen button, which wasn’t exactly necessary (The screen was quite full screened as is.) and the many options to go to sections of the actual NFB website; in case you got bored or decided to access other things and leave the interface. Overall this interface was engaging, interesting and interactive. The story was creative and a little touching. I thoroughly enjoyed it.