• Roger Matthews

1/10-1/29 Research/Experimentation Summary

Story Research

Kafka

I was the most intrigued of the potential of using Kafka's The Trial and its film adaptation by Orson Welles as inspiration. In particular, the story uses a fictitious parable called Before the Law.


The parable is intentionally ambiguous, with no clear meaning. A man from the country seeks access to "the law", but spends his entire life waiting outside the law's guarded entrance, endlessly hoping the guard will allow him in, and tries to bribe the guard with his material possessions to the guard in the process. As the man starts to die the guard closes the door, and explains that the door was meant only for the man to enter.




The man dedicating his life to waiting at the door leading to "the law" is often interpreted as a representation of an individual's futile search for rational meaning and answers to the unknowable governing laws of how our world works. The parable itself is structured not to provide answers, but to instead encourage the reader to analyze the story from multiple angles. Did the guard deceive the man in telling him there was a way the man could have entered the door during his life, or was he stating the truth? What would have happened if the man walked through the door, ignoring the guard?


I'm seeking to portray the world as unknowable and mysterious, using unpredictable elemental forces and various doors as forms of passageways, and the story very much supports that concept.


The OA

In the show The OA, the protagonist is trapped inside a glass prison/lab where she and other captives are used for research experiments. She and the subjects are gassed repeatedly in a way they do not understand.

Visually I am referencing the gas being used, and the image of a glass prison feels fitting with the themes of Kafka's The Trial regarding its protagonist dealing with being pronounced guilty, and futilely trying to escape his sentence, psychologically becoming a prisoner of his mental deterioration and isolation as he struggles to change or accept the world's illogical behavior towards him.



The difference is that in The OA, the characters develop and grow. They come to the realization that they aren't prisoners, but ultimately made choices that led them to being where they were on some level. Rather than fight their captivity, they eventually accept it, and in the process develop an ability to "transcend" briefly to another dimension that gives them new skills. In the end, they are able to escape the lab/prison, and come out with a new transformative wisdom and strength they could not have gotten without their collective lab/prison experience.


Metereology

Finally, I did some research on how meteorologists predict the weather. I was intrigued how accurate weather predictions could be with so much science behind them, but also could be rendered inaccurate very easily when trying to predict 1-2 weeks in advance.

I read this inability to predict the weather in advance boils down to the butterfly effect - any smaller change in the environment could have a complex and long lasting chain reaction that affects the weather ecosystem (inspired by this mathematical model that resembles a butterfly)

While it has been disproven that something as small as the flapping of a butterfly's wings could affect the weather, there is still evidence of the bigger picture concept that smaller weather changes can have a long term compounding effect that is still unpredictable (and compounded by climate change).

This idea of a highly sophisticated system that is ultimately limited in being able to control, understand or predict the behavior of the world felt like a perfect metaphor to sum up some of the ideas mentioned. Instead of lawyers and clerks working with "the law" in mysterious chaotic circumstances in The Trial, meteorologist work to better understand the relatively mysterious and chaotic nature of the weather.

Ultimately, I intend on drawing from The Trial/Before the Law and The OA's mentioned themes and imagery along with concepts of meteorology mixed in. How I tie them together will be the next step.


Duck and Cover

I decided to abandon an earlier idea inspired by the 1950s "Duck and Cover" films that centered on the ambiguous unseen danger present in an empty school (and the associated inherent unseen danger in life in general). The intent was to tie in the unpredictable elemental forces by having them enter the school, but ultimately felt like this was becoming its own separate project that was becoming too unrelated.

This was due to the fact that the large and open layout of a school competes with the large and open layout of the fog world. This goes against the idea of having the real world location being small and claustrophobic to make you feel trapped. This could end up being a different project where there is no fog world, and you stay in the school. Sneaking around the school, and even having to "duck and cover" in VR to hide from an antagonistic force, could be part of a separate idea as well.

In general, over time while researching I became very conscious that I was getting too unfocused, and shelved a lot of ideas that were increasingly feeling like new projects that were adding instead of building on my foundation. Catching myself was very helpful in refocusing on the concepts mentioned earlier that I felt better supported the core idea of the "Fog World".


Went through VRE System's other mechanics I haven't tried.

Mechanics that I'm not using for now -

- Arm Swinging mechanics (swinging arms to move in whatever direction arms are pointed) made me nauseous!

- Running in Place couldn't work for me.

- Gesture system is interesting, where I can draw gestures. However, cannot find where this is access in Blueprints, and not sure how it would fully fit in currently.

- Spline/Slider system looks interesting, but can't find how to create it like video I found, and not worth it currently

- Slicing looks interesting, but seems glitchy.

- Being able to setup controllable cameras is interesting, but requires custom coding, and not worth it currently.

Mechanics that seem worth using

- Intend of making use of being able to grab on to moving objects using climbing mode, and move with object. Could be handy for grabbing onto flying tinyHome.

Maintenance

I tried updating the plugin, but I don't remember the difference between the binaries in Games/UE_4.25 and the binaries in the project. Seems I need to update binaries in project.

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