IT Investigative Process Essay Sample

IT Investigative Process Pages
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Problem:

The project that I’m developing promotes tourism in Colombia. Nevertheless, it is not an easy task; Colombia has earned itself a bad fame due to a series of problems in the country (particularly violence related). For almost the last half a centaury terrorists groups such as the F.A.R.C and paramilitary groups have stirred up violence throughout the country. These groups are mainly financed by the selling of drugs, another topic that hasn’t contributed to Colombia’s positive image.

This project aims to convince outsiders that Colombia isn’t quite what it’s made out to be, it is these positive characteristics of the country that I intend to make clear. So, why is attracting tourists to Colombia so important for the country? Firstly, it helps restore Colombia’s positive image and secondly the government benefits by attracting foreign visitors to the country. This is because these foreigners go back to their home country with an approving notion of Colombia. This in turn will help construct a cycle that in which more visitors will travel to the country thus stimulating the country’s touristic sector in the economy.

A growing touristic sector will also help develop other services in the country. For example, restaurants, public transport and accommodation will receive more money from outsiders and so be able to improve their quality of service. Also, Colombia’s government by receiving money from tourism can work on improving the country by using this money to aid the neutralization of violence and the fight against poverty among others.

This allows us to conclude that tourism is indeed very important for Colombia now more than ever. With Colombia’s recent improvement in terms of security, other countries are no starting to look at Colombia as an option for touristic visiting. It is important to encourage this new view towards Colombia since it may help to stimulate tourism in the country and so bring along with it a variety of opportunities which will help Colombia improve.

Design Brief

I plan to produce a video game that should be both interesting and entertaining to the player and above all aimed to give a positive impression of Colombia. This leads me to a question: what aspect/s of Colombia are appropriate for this sort of project? In my opinion, One of Colombia’s most notable positive traits are its natural paradises, this should probably be the theme of the project. I’ll refer to these in my project, using them as the basis for my videogame.

As I mentioned previously in my design brief, the characteristics which produce a positive image of Colombia are most probably the country’s natural paradises, and therefore are the ones that deserve to be investigated.

What makes Colombia such an excellent option for tourism is the variety of natural regions that it has. It is divided into five main regions:

1) The Caribbean Region: This is the region to the north of Colombia characterized by the empty golden beaches, the semi-arid area in the Gulf of Guajira and The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta-the highest mountain peak in the world next to an ocean.

2) The Andean Region: This region is divided into three almost parallel mountain chains where the different altitudes give life to an enormous amount of plant and animal species.

3) Pacific Region: This region contains dense jungles with very high quantities of rain and diverse vegetation. The sea just off the pacific coast has an amazing marine biodiversity and has some key spots for divers.

4) The Orinoquia Region: also referred to as the eastern plains, it is an enormous savannah with unique vegetation and wildlife.

5) The Amazon region: Known for its incredible biodiversity, just one square kilometer of jungle houses a greater variety of species than the whole of Europe.

The main tourist attractions in the country are: Old Providence and Santa Catalina, San Andres, Caparguna and Sapzurro, Bahia Solano, Nuqui, Quibdo, Leticia, and Natural reserves like Gorgona, Los Nevados and El Cocuy Nation Natural Parks.

An extensive search on Colombia’s natural paradises is not necessary for this project since all that I need for the game are images. Consequently, a simple list of important places will suffice to be able to search for photos.

The other information that I require to be able to produce a successful final product is information on how to manage the software for making my game. The particular software that I’m going to be dealing with is called Adventure game studio. The following tutorial that I’m going to include concerning Adventure Game Studio, I have tested and written personally based on a series of tutorials on the internet.

To start off making a new game, open Adventure Game Studio and wait for the “Welcome” dialogue to pop-up. Select “start a new game” in a list of options included in the “welcome” dialogue and click ok. You are then prompted to enter the name of your game. Do so and click next.

The game editor opens. You are asked to decide on a game resolution. I personally use a 640 x 400 pixel resolution which offers a mix of reasonable game performance with relatively good graphics. Then you select the “game” menu at the top of the screen and click “change game colour depth”. Again this is up to the user’s choice. I’d recommend 16-bit which is a good colour depth for the resolution being used.

So far you have set your initial parameters.

Next I’m going to describe one of the key basics for an adventure game: The creation of a room.

To create a room is very simple, once you have an image of the room (it can be either a photo or a picture you created yourself on the computer), export it to a directory in the same resolution you decided to create your game with.

After that, go to Adventure game studio editor and select the “settings” option. This option is just under the “room editor” option on the pane on the left hand side of the screen. Then select the “Room” button at the top of the screen and click “import background” to open the picture of the room.

Next it is important to define your room’s “walkable areas” in other words the areas where your character is allowed to walk. This can be achieved by clicking on the “areas” option just under the “settings” option on the left hand pane. Next is to select “walkable areas” in the combo box near the top of the screen as shown in the image below:

You will see some buttons to the left of the combo box which give you options like line, freehand and so on. What you must do is set a perimeter in which your character can walk and then use the fill tool and click in the middle of the selected area. You have just finished defining your character’s walkable area. Your screen should look like this:

Note: To draw “walk behind” areas (areas which the character walks behind an object) simply follow the same procedure as with “walkable areas” but remembering to switch the combo box to “walk behind areas”.

The last most important skill for basic adventure game making is learning how to create hotspots. As the tutorial in bigbluecup.com properly describes, “A hotspot is an area of the background image that the player can look at, interact with, and so forth”. To create a hotspot you begin by following the same steps as when setting a “walkable area” with the only difference that you switch the reading in the combo box to “hotspot”. After selecting the area that you want to act as your hotspot, click the “interaction” button and you should be confronted with a screen as follows:

Dealing with hotspots depends on what each user is looking for, Hotspots have many different functions. Here is a simple hotspot that can be set up:

-Click on the option in the Interaction editor labeled “Look at hotspot”. A window titled Configure Action should pop up.

-In a combo box near the top currently reads “Do nothing”. Scroll down it and select “Game – display a message”

-Now click the “Edit message” button and then click the “New Message” button.

-Write your message and press “Ok”.

With this information I finalize my investigation phase. I have the sufficient information to begin designing my image database and to start managing the game production software.

Information Sources:

http://gosouthamerica.about.com/od/colregions/a/nationalparks.htm

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geograf%C3%ADa_de_Colombia

http://www.turismocolombia.com/newsdetail.asp?id=4567&idcompany=127

The Wikipedia article approaches the topic in a neutral, informative manner. It provides concise, key information concerning the natural regions of the country. On the other hand, the sites “gosouthamerica” and “turismocolombia” have valid information but are also slightly bias. This is because they are sites that try to promote tourism in Colombia and so only include information attractive to prospective tourists. Nevertheless, it is important to include the information from these two sites since it gives me ideas to help me promote tourism in Colombia. None of these three sites has obsolete or outdated information.

Game tutorial sources and images:

http://www.bigbluecup.com/acintro1.htm

http://www.bigbluecup.com/acintro2.htm

http://www.bigbluecup.com/acintro3.htm

The “bigbluecup” tutorials contain some of the most important information for the project. They accurately teach a user how to manage the basics of game making with the software Adventure Game Studio. All information on these pages is useful for the development of my project and up to date.

Design Specification

I’m going to create a simple adventure game that includes the following characteristics:

-Convey Colombia’s natural beauty to the audience.

-Use a variety of photo’s from different regions of the country.

-Make the project visually impacting by assuring that the photos included are breathtaking examples of Colombia’s wildlife.

-Make the main objective of the game a “journey through Colombia”.

-Demonstrate my ability at managing the computer game software.

A way of possibly testing if my final solution satisfies these characteristics would be to make a survey. In this survey I would show the characteristics I initially planted to the people being surveyed and I would ask them if my game fulfills these characteristics. This way I could analyze by popular vote, which of the points lacked development.

Survey Format:

Game enquiries

Yes

No

Aesthetically pleasing?

Visually impacting?

Demonstrates skill in using the software?

Does the project give the player a virtual tour of Colombia?

Conveys Colombia’s beauty?

Comments:

Note: The “yes” and “no” columns of the survey format will be used as a tally chart.

The survey is an important step to help me test my product because it allows me to see if my project was lacking in any way. From the results of my survey I can observe the area of my project which required most improvement. Also the survey allows me to see if the general public agrees that I have fulfilled the general aim of my project or not. I will analyze the survey particularly focusing on the areas on which the general public believes I should improve. Those people who think that my project has not fulfilled a particular characteristic can write the reason for this in the comments box. The importance of the survey is for me to understand and reflect upon any errors or deficiencies the project may contain.

Plan

Here I’m going to expose a couple of different designs that I could apply to my project:

The characteristics of the design plans written in blue are to remain the same in all the design plans.

Design plan # 1

This design concerns a simple adventure game where the idea is to be a tourist and explore the Colombian natural resources. This game would probably not be targeted to entertain an audience but rather to expose Colombia’s nature and simultaneously demonstrate game developing skills.

-Images: I would use mainly internet photos of Colombia’s natural paradises.

-These photos of Colombia’s natural paradises will be used as the ‘rooms’ for the game. The amount of rooms in the entire game should be between 15 and 25.

-It is also important for me to create a new game character, animating his movements using a series of images.

-Music: Typical Colombian music. Hopefully, the music should represent the region of Colombia in which the character is currently in.

This first design plan meets the requirements of the design specification due to the fact that it gives me the opportunity to demonstrate Colombia’s natural beauty through a tour around the country. The only problem is that this particular option may not allow me to demonstrate all of my game making skills and knowledge since the theme of this project is extremely simple and straightforward.

Design plan # 2

The main idea of this design is a futuristic journey round Colombia in a time machine. This project would most probably fulfill the same characteristics as the previous design plan mentioned.

-Images: Mainly internet photos of Colombia’s landscapes.

-Due to the topic in this particular game plant it would be necessary to carefully elaborate individual images of a time machine.

-These photos of Colombia’s landscapes will again be used as the ‘rooms’ for the game. The amount of rooms in the entire game should be between 15 and 25.

-I also intend to create a new game character, animating his movements using a series of images.

-Music: Typical Colombian music.

This design plan also goes according to my design specification since it gives me the opportunity to express Colombia’s natural beauty by presenting the audience a variety of images of Colombia’s landscapes. This design plan allows me to demonstrate more skill when using the game making software due to the fact that the character has to now interact with a time machine in the game.

Design plan # 3

Create an adventure game where the player is to search Colombia for a lost treasure. This gives me the possibility to create a parallel and expose Colombia’s natural beauty at the same time. This project design would probably result more entertaining that the previous two design plans to those who play it.

-Images: I would use images from the internet to illustrate Colombia’s natural beauty as well as images of houses (both inside and outside) in which the character can enter to search for the treasure.

-The photos shall be used as the game rooms. The total amount of rooms shall be between 15 and 25.

-I plan not just to create images of one main character but also of two or three other characters which I will place in the game to help the main character find the treasure.

-Music: Typical Colombian music.

This design plan meets my design specification because it allows me to explore and demonstrate my skills with the game making software to a greater degree than any of the other design plans. The character will also have to interact with other characters in the game and make use of objects such as keys to find his way to the treasure. As with the previous product plans, this project will allow me show Colombia’s beauty through the use of exotic nature images as game rooms.

Design plan # 4

Design a trip along the Magdalena River. This idea would give me a very simple way to expose Colombia’s natural reserves since the Magdalena River, being the longest in the country, goes through most of Colombia’s important natural regions.

-Images: I would use mainly only photos of Colombia’s landscapes with the River Magdalena passing through.

-I intend to make 15 to 25 rooms for the game using the images mentioned previously.

-I will create images of a main game character and also detailed images of a boat which the main character will use to sail through Colombia.

-Music: Typical Colombian music.

This final project plan fulfills the needs of my design specification by including images of Colombia’s natural beauty in a casual and creative way as the character travels down the River Magdalena. This project also allows me to show my knowledge when using the game making software since the character also has to interact with the boat in which he is traveling down the river.

If I had to select a design, I would rather choose design plan # 3. I make this choice because a treasure hunt throughout Colombia will undoubtedly create a more exciting game experience than any of the previous design plans mentioned. Also, it gives me more space to experiment new skills when creating the final product. As I had mentioned previously, this design meets the requirements of the design specification by introducing the audience to Colombia’s natural beauty through a number of landscape images. It also allows me to demonstrate my ability to use the game making software effectively.

Project Plan

1) Download images from the internet of Colombian wildlife and possible rooms for the game.

2) Use a 3D rendering software (either Reallusion Iclone or Poser) to export a series of realistic images to create my game character.

3) Use Adventure Game Studio to import my new 3D game character.

4) Use an image manipulation program (either GIMP or Macromedia Fireworks) to edit and resize the images that I downloaded in step number 1.

5) Use Adventure Game Studio to start creating the actual game.

-Import internet images as rooms.

-Import characters into the game.

-Set walkable areas and hotspots.

-Create dialogue between characters.

-Create game objects.

Resources list:

-Internet

-3D rendering software (either Reallusion Iclone or Poser).

-Image editing software (either GIMP or Macromedia Fireworks).

-Adventure Game Maker

Planning-Timeline

My plan contains all the necessary steps to start developing my project immediately. More importantly, if by any chance, modifications concerning my design plan were to occur this shall not halt the game development process. This is because the first four procedures of my project plan will always remain the same. No matter what changes I decide to make, I will have the game character and images for the project constantly available. This means, that even if I decide to change my entire design, I will not have to start from scratch since I will already have the character and the necessary images for my game. Due to this, I can afford to make changes to my design without having to waste much time.

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