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FIT3095 Creating narrative in multimedia - Semester 1, 2011

This unit aims to develop the students knowledge of the concept of narrative structure, and its importance in the development of their understanding of how to create, and implement contextually appropriate narrative forms for multimedia products and systems, with a special emphasis on the game environment.
Topics will include: linear, visual and non-linear narrative, historical perspectives on the evolution of the narrative forms, and concepts such as representation, characterisation, point of view, genre, closure, the role of the user, interactivity, immersion and engagement.

Mode of Delivery

Caulfield (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk

Workload

For on campus students, workload commitments are:

  • two-hour lecture (including review and question time)
  • two-hour tutorial (or laboratory) requiring advance preparation
  • a minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.
  • You will need to allocate up to 5 hours per week in some weeks, for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Off-campus students generally do not attend lecture and tutorial sessions, however, you should plan to spend equivalent time working through the relevant resources and participating in discussion groups each week.

Unit Relationships

Prohibitions

MMS3403

Prerequisites

FIT2012

Chief Examiner

Tom Chandler

Campus Lecturer

Caulfield

Tom Chandler

Tutors

Caulfield

Tom Chandler

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this unit students will:

  • understand the concept of narrative structure and a range of techniques employed in the construction of traditional media;
  • appreciate the main forms of narrative construction which might be usefully employed in a multimedia environment;
  • understand the key areas of research and development in the creation of narrative structures in multimedia environments;
  • appreciate the importance of narrative structure to the users experience of multimedia environments;
  • appreciate ways in which narrative forms might be adapted to the contextual diversity of different media;
  • appreciate narrative techniques appropriate to the multimedia environment;
  • appreciate the goals of multimedia production in relation to the input of narrative structure;
  • integrate and further develop skills acquired in previous studies to create multimedia for business, entertainment, education and social environments;
  • analyse and identify the key elements in the narrative structure of a variety of media and technologies;
  • create narrative structures appropriate to both context and user;
  • evaluate the ways in which narrative structure contribute to the user experience of the multimedia product or system;
  • learn from, adapt and transform narrative models from other disciplines to multimedia environments where appropriate;
  • understand that they produce meaning through a language (visual, audio, written etc) and that this language manifests in multimedia representations in order to exchange meaning and to communicate;
  • understand the nature of the developing trends in narrative structure within the context of an historical perspective.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

    Assessment Summary

    Assignments: 100%

    Assessment Task Value Due Date
    Assessment 1: Archetypal Character Creation and Description: 30% 30% Week 5
    Assessment 2: Visual Narrative Project and Analysis: 30% 30% Week 9
    Assessment 3: Game Narrative Prototype: 40% 40% Week 14

    Teaching Approach

    This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.

    Feedback

    Our feedback to You

    Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
    • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
    • Graded assignments with comments

    Your feedback to Us

    Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

    For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:
    http://www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/directions.html
    http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

    Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

    If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to
    https://emuapps.monash.edu.au/unitevaluations/index.jsp

    Required Resources

    No particular software titles or versions are especially required for this unit, though students will need to be able to create digital graphics and link them together interactively.

    It is likely that students will use a combination of software programs with which they are familiarand have been introduced to in previous units (for example Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Flash).

    For 3D image creation, this unit will introduce the straightforward editor Google SketchUp, which is free to download at http://sketchup.google.com/. Students are also free to use AutoDesk Maya. All of these software titles will be installed in the computing labs

    Unit Schedule

    Week Date* Activities Assessment
    0 21/02/11   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
    1 28/02/11 The Role of Narrative No Tutorial
    2 07/03/11 Storytelling Structures First Tutorial
    3 14/03/11 Genres and Narrative  
    4 21/03/11 Myths, Legends and Archetypes  
    5 28/03/11 Narrative and Visual Design Assessment 1 Linear Narrative Analysis and Presentation 30%
    6 04/04/11 Sequencial Images; Graphic, Sign and Symbol  
    7 11/04/11 Sequential Images; Frame and Text  
    8 18/04/11 Sonic Spaces and Moving Images  
    Mid semester break
    9 02/05/11 The Architecture of Non-Linearity Assessment 2 Visual Narrative Project and Analysis 30%
    10 09/05/11 Theories of Interactive Narrative  
    11 16/05/11 Interactive Narrative Environments  
    12 23/05/11 Writing and Scripting Interactive Narrative Final Tutorial
      30/05/11 SWOT VAC Assessment 3 Non Linear Narrative Project 40% (Due Week 14)

    *Please note that these dates may only apply to Australian campuses of Monash University. Off-shore students need to check the dates with their unit leader.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass a unit which includes an examination as part of the assessment a student must obtain:

    • 40% or more in the unit's examination, and
    • 40% or more in the unit's total non-examination assessment, and
    • an overall unit mark of 50% or more.

    If a student does not achieve 40% or more in the unit examination or the unit non-examination total assessment, and the total mark for the unit is greater than 50% then a mark of no greater than 49-N will be recorded for the unit

    Assessment Tasks

    Participation

    • Assessment task 1
      Title:
      Assessment 1: Archetypal Character Creation and Description: 30%
      Description:
      Brief: Students are to graphically prototype/create images of five archetypal characters for a fictional game. These images will be integrated into a written report of no more than 1000 words which describes each of the characters concisely and details the way in which they visually express aspects not only of the character archetype they purport to represent but also of the genre in which the game is cast.

      Each student will give a short presentation on their concepts to the class in week 5.
      Weighting:
      30%
      Criteria for assessment:

      Please refer to the Assignment 1 brief for details of assessment criteria

      Due date:
      Week 5
    • Assessment task 2
      Title:
      Assessment 2: Visual Narrative Project and Analysis: 30%
      Description:
      Brief: This assignment focuses on the development of a condensed visual narrative (i.e. a storyboard) that integrates still images and text and is at least 20 images/frames in sequence. The environment and characters, all of which should ideally be sourced/modelled/composed in 3D, need to demonstrate McCloud's full range of sequential image transitions.

      A short report of 1000 words will analyse and explain your use of image transitions, framing, and the rationale behind the structure of your visual narrative.
      Weighting:
      30%
      Criteria for assessment:

      Please refer to the Assignment 2 brief for details of assessment criteria

      Due date:
      Week 9
    • Assessment task 3
      Title:
      Assessment 3: Game Narrative Prototype: 40%
      Description:
      Brief: Expanding upon the visual narrative proceddures in assignment 2 and some of the theoretical considerations in assignment 1, this assignment involves creating a graphical, interactive expression of the monomyth. Using interactively linked images or game prototyping software, you are to construct a story in which all the steps of the monomyth are present, though not necessarily in sequence. Essentially, this is a prototype which functions as a vastly pared down version of a game narrative.
      Weighting:
      40%
      Criteria for assessment:

      Please refer to the Assignment 3 brief for details of assessment criteria

      Due date:
      Week 14

    Examinations

    Assignment submission

    Assignment coversheets are available via "Student Forms" on the Faculty website: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/
    You MUST submit a completed coversheet with all assignments, ensuring that the plagiarism declaration section is signed.

    Extensions and penalties

    Returning assignments

    Policies

    Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University's academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash's Education Policies at:
    http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

    Key educational policies include:

    Student services

    The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at www.monash.edu.au/students The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash portal for more information. Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis

    Recommended References and Reading

    A list of recommended internet references (url's, PDF's, online articles) will be made available as required during the course of the semester. Additionaly, the following recommended texts are available from the library;

    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Scott McCloud, Harper Collins Inc, 1993

    Film Art : An Introduction David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson,  McGraw-Hill, 2010.

    Designing Virtual Worlds Richard A. Bartle, New Riders, 2004

    On Game Design, by Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams, Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams New Riders 2003