3 Things of Interest: Collaborative storytelling, No Man’s Sky, Franchise Animated.

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Since the advent of the internet users have been appropriating messageboards, comment threads and reply formats to act out their own narratives in an activity known as ‘RP’ or RolePlaying. These narratives may be plotted out in advance or created as improvisation based on the interaction between the characters being portrayed, which could be a well-known name from a TV show, book, film, webseries etc, or a created ‘original character’ or OC.

Storytelling has been a part of human culture since we first began to daub pictures on the walls, and this type of collaborative storytelling has longstanding roots in improv theatre and make-believe games, but this willingness to create a single persona which a player returns to and develops over an extended period is a fundamentally modern concept, as an escapism from the fast pace of contemporary life and an alternate body in which to play out our anxieties, fantasies, and acts of violence (Marshall McLulan) without these encroaching on our functioning lives.

no mans sky shot

Similarly, the growth of immersive video games is indicative of our modern need for a sense of escapism in a world that is always ‘switched on’.

No Man’s Sky is an entire galaxy of unexplored planets and star systems, allowing individual players to set out on a voyage into the true unknown, as every world in the millions of planets included in the game has been procedurally generated by algorithm. In theory, every player is connected to the same servers and is playing in the same gamespace, but due to the epic scale of the project the chance of meeting another player in-game is slim to none, so most of the interaction a player will have will be with the freighters and merchants that periodically fly past like the proverbial space truckers.

No Man’s Sky is doubly impressive due to the size of the studio developing the project, Hello Games, which is a micro developer of only ten individuals.


The project to animate David Weathersby’s ‘Franchise’ typeface, on the other hand, was the work of 109 artists and animators, each tasked with bringing a single glyph of the font to life under the direction of project lead, Jeroen Krielaars. They were constrained by the use of the same four specific hues and maximum size in order to maintain continuity, and each consists of around a second of animation (25 frames).

This font is open source, and is available from Animography.com.

Tools also exist to create your own font directly from your handwriting. The one I have used in the past is http://www.myscriptfont.com/

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