Thanks to digital technology, today we can mix and match different forms of media that were previously separate. An obvious example of this would be visual novels, which use images, words, and sounds to tell a story. But when you think about it, there are really endless opportunities to create new media - interactive novels, comic books with sound, and so forth.
Here are just a few examples of recent media that have mixed media elements in unusual ways:
But here's the big question: If you were working on something, a story, for instance, and you could use ANY kind of media at ANY time, what would you pick? What are the benefits and drawbacks to all the different forms of media? Why would you use animation instead of still images? Why would you use text instead of dialogue? Why would you make something interactive?
That is why I am doing this project - to serve as a guide for everyone who is currently working in the creative arts. My hope is that people who read this will better understand they different elements of media, and be able to use them more effectively.Tentative Table of Contents:
The game will be broken down into several sections. Once the player has read through a section, other ones will be unlocked. I have an outline made up, although it might be a little confusing:
1.) Introduction2.) Elements
A.) Introduction3.) Interactivity (or "Applications of Elements")
A.) Introduction4.) Sample Media
A.) Sample Instructional Material1.) Credits1.) Options
A.) Sample Story
A.) Sample Game
I tried to number and color code the list to make the order in which they are unlocked clearer. For instance, the main menu will display "Introduction," "Elements," "Interactivity," "Sample Media," "Credits," and "Options". However, when you start up the program for the first time, only "Introduction," "Credits," and "Options" will be unlocked. The rest are unlocked in order. For instance, "Elements" is unlocked after reading "Introduction". And then "Interactivity" is unlocked after reading "Elements." I really hope this isn't as confusing as I suspect it is...
Here is a hypothetical partial mock-up of the menu screen. It still requires illustrations in the right side of the image:Elements of Media:
Let's start off by clarifying the different main elements of media. These are the basic building blocks of media that you can mix and match.
These are probably all obvious, but I'll go ahead and give some overly-long descriptions for them:
These elements are coded information that are meant to be deciphered in the mind of the audience
- Written - These are images that convey a coded meaning.
- Spoken - These are sounds that convey a coded meaning.
These elements use the audience's sense of hearing to convey meaning.
- Sound Effects - These are sounds that are arranged with the intention to seem like believable noises.
- Music - These are sounds that are arranged WITHOUT the intention to seem like believable noises. Usually they are arranged with some kind of pattern or structure to them.
These elements use the audience's sense of sight to convey meaning.
- Still - Still images.
- Kinetic - Moving images.
Okay, this might be getting a little complicated, so let's give some common examples:
Hopefully this helps clarify the different basic elements that are used to create media.Interactivity: (or "Applications of Elements")
There are a few ways that you can apply the elements listed in the previous section. Basically, these methods deal with interactivity on the part of the audience. Let's take a look:
This means that the element cannot be changed, no matter what. For example, all the elements in a movie are static - the audience cannot influence them, and they are the same each time you see them.
This means that the audience has some influence on the element.
This means that the audience can intentionally influence a media element. For example, in video game a player actively and intentionally has some control over various elements - mainly the visuals.
This means that the audience can UNINTENTIONALLY influence a media element. For example, a video game may be designed to change its music based on a player's reactions. Or an even more subtle example would be a live play where the audience's reactions may slightly influence the performance.
This means that the element is designed to be different each time the media is played. This is rarely used since it allows neither the creator nor the play to have as much control. But it is possible, and it is used sometimes.
Some media uses a combination of these methods. For example, a video game may have dynamic visuals (gameplay), but static music. Or a game may have some randomized visuals, and other dynamic visuals (such as Diablo
, which has randomized dungeons, but normal gameplay).
[Questions and comments are welcomed]