Fake News Game


The BBC have released a new game, created by Aardman Animation. It is aimed at young people to try and educate them on how to spot fake news and false information in the media.

It uses films and choices to make a create your own adventure style game, so your performance as a journalist is impacted by the choices you make. Decisions have consequences. In my concept, whatever you decide to do results in similar endings. The films comprise of people speaking to the camera to drive the narrative forward. It is formatted like a desktop computer with website ‘pop ups’ and email etc. The buttons, calling, dialling and emails etc all have sound effects, and there is a theme tune playing in the the background. It is the BBC theme tune whichever i a bit suspenseful. I would like to have this in my film, to make the sometimes mundane choices seem more pressure filled. I liked the use of sound effects and the layout of the site as well. This could be helpful once I am at the stage of creating my own site.

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Location Photography

As the next stage in the production planning, I went on an adventure around local areas finding locations that would work well for my film. These are my chosen locations:

  • School library = language library in Edith Morley.
  • Office environment = art office.
  • Family home = St George’s common room.
  • Car = Enterprise car park.
  • Unemployed bedroom = my bedroom in halls.
  • Gallery = art studio, central gallery.
  • Homeless = bench outside art studio (facing Enterprise).
  • Arrest = street in Reading.
  • University = my desk in halls.

I would like to keep the palette rather muted, unsaturated, grey and blue. This is to show the dismal nature of life, and contrast it with the bright, fun connotations of a ‘game’, and perhaps the website. I have chosen to dress the protagonist in a blue sweater, keeping in this scheme, and tying all of the different actors together to the same character. I will need to take this into consideration when dressing the locations, but also in editing in post. I have experimented with editing the hues in the photos seen above.

I have ordered the photographs to show a flow diagram that will be used in the create your own adventure of my interactive website, inspired by the Create Your Own Adventure books.

Printing all of these photographs and arranging them visually has the different pathways, and the probability of different outcomes more obvious. It is clear to me now that there is a high chance of unemployment, and that there are only a few final positions; family, rich, homeless, arrested or famous. These options are seen whichever choices are made, in all pathways. This backs up my point that whatever choices you make, your fate will be similar.

Finding the locations has allowed me to continue brainstorming what I will include in each scene in terms of props etc. I have purchased the sweater and props, and am looking into borrowing other things. The next step, once all the props and locations are ready, is to borrow actors and equipment and start filming!

Third person tracking shots

Tracking shots describe film shots in which the camera follows the subject of the film, in some cases the main character, as they move and react to their changing environment. It is used to connect the viewer to the character, making them more invested in the outcome of the scenes. They are often long takes and are often used in horror movies, connecting the viewer to the character and showing only what the character can see. This builds suspense.

A good example of this kind of shot can be seen in The Shining, or in Pulp Fiction:

I am looking at tracking shots because I wish to shoot my characters from behind, as in a video game character seen in third person. The aim of the third person/tracking shot layout is to connect the player to the character, seeing what they are seeing and in their position at all times.

I will be using a stationary camera, in order to best utilise the theme of having interactive scenes. This is more similar to a game than to a movie. Examples of games which use static scenes include the Nancy Drew adventures, in which scenes are explored to find clues.

However this is a first person view, void of any protagonist. I prefer the third person view seen in game such as Uncharted.

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WordPress Website Experiment


I started working on building the website on wordpress.com. I’m not sure if this is the format I’d like to use or whether I’d like to build it more from scratch, but customising each aspect of the website one at a time seemed to work quite well.

I removed any menus and only added a few widgets. I like that it still looks like a webpage, but I want to keep it simple to just the film, while still having connotations of being an online game. In terms of appearance, the webpage should appear more exciting, though simple; I like the idea of the piece having a lot going on, sensorally. For example, sounds and vivid colours. The colours would be kept to the webpage itself and out of the film, highlighting the contrast between fun, childish games and serious, adult life-choices.

There is nothing to be done to this website until my films are done. It remains to be seen whether this format, wordpress, will allow me to add links over films as I am hoping to.

My website must be able to play films, link to other pages that look the same, have links in different specified areas on the film window, record the choices that are made for the obituary ending. I think I will need to make my own website from scratch to achieve all of these things.

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Obituary Ending

Short obituaries. I would like for my website to record the choices that the players select and then recite them back at the end. The short sentences would result in showing how short and grim life can be.


I thought it could take the format of a newspaper obituary.


Game Shows and Further Thoughts

Through working on my storyboard, and seeking crits from my peers, I have been building on my idea. This blog post is a record of me thinking out loud:

I’d like to build on the aspect of the theme of ‘uncertainties’ and ‘decisions’. I want the game to show a kind of ‘aimlessness’ or ‘pointlessness’ to life, in order to sharpen the contrast between the fun of games and the misery of adult life choices.

It was suggested that perhaps I could put pressure on the players to make decisions, for example, having count-down music, or text pressuring them to make a choice when they click anywhere else. It would make the game more fast paced, and pressure-filled, until they reach the abrupt ending, highlighting the juxtaposition I am aiming for.

There could be text pop-ups when you click with quotes about indecision, or text speech bubbles of pressure-filled comments, such as ‘how much work have you done today?’ or ‘You never hang out with us’. Which may influence their decision. Update: I don’t think I will go with this idea. I am now considering whether or not to make the linked sections visible boxes or invisible. If they are visible sections, it will make it more clear as to what the choices are as well as put pressure on the viewer to choose one; they could flash or throb etc.

The other main development in my thought process was that I should use sounds, effects, references to games and game shows. The electronic music used in nintendo type games would be a great background sound to follow through, or perhaps the music from countdown or similar pressure filled game shows would be good. Similarly, I could include ting and bong sounds when decisions are made (although I don’t want there to be any implication of ‘wrong answers’).

To show the effect of chance and uncertainties, I was thinking I would ‘flash’ the possible outcomes of your choices before one is randomly selected and you are taken to that destination. This could be done with reference to a spinning wheel of fortune, or a fruit machine, both have connotations of luck, and with games and fun.

I am still thinking of having an excess of (invisible) links to pop-up websites. This will help to make the sensory overload which can come with online gaming. I will therefore have to include plenty of objects in the backgrounds of each film that can have links attached. For example in the unemployment scenario there could be a newspaper open to job adverts, and a link to a job search website.

I am thinking of including one object in each scenario which, if clicked, would lead to your untimely death; game over. This brings in the idea that people don’t necessarily get their whole lives to make decisions and get happy endings, it could be cut short at any time. It would be a bit of a shock and alternative way to achieve game over.

Things that could kill you instantly:
Dodgy fuse
Heavy box precarious
Wet floor
Expired food
Broken glass
Skis-extreme sports.

Create Your Own Story Board

For the mid-project exhibition, I decided to make my storyboard worth presenting, unlike my storyboard for ‘VIVID’ which was very rough. I used the format of the Create Your Own Adventure books and created a kind of comic/game layout to the storyboard. It is mostly black and white; I’d like the palette of my film to be very monotonous (but without too much manipulation in post).

It is of course different to how my website/game will be formatted, but I will be using the storyboard aspect of the piece in my filming. The next stage of my storyboarding will be taking photographs of the suggested backdrops, then making a filming schedule and hiring actors/actresses.

In this storyboard, I used a mannequin as the characters, as it could represent any kind of person. My protagonist will be played by a range of different actors, to represent the fact that all kinds of people have to make these life choices, without adding the complication of different types of people having different encounters and opportunities.