STRESS STRESS STRESS

Production week has finally descended on our small group of four, and as anticipated, there have been several moments within the past two days where I have wanted to take the University owned laptop I was working on and throw it off the top of the Minster.

The reason behind this irrational thought, Photoshop. Before this week I had naively thought that our short crash course in Photoshop would be more than enough to cover the Photoshopping we would need for our game. I was wrong. So very, very, wrong.

Monday morning I had a great time working on the CSS for the game with Tara, which basically consisted of changing the colours and making the game look pretty. CSS was something I felt confident with, I knew what I was doing provided Tara was next to me the entire time in case I messed up! However, this is a group project and so my stress-free morning did not last as I took up the new task of using Photoshop to edit one of the images we needed for the game.

After I had opened up the image in Photoshop, something I did with great ease, I

A image of the Twine software, and mechanics of our game.
A screenshot of the mechanics of the game in Twine.

knew I had misjudged what I was getting myself into. It was in that moment as I stared blankly at the screen before me, I had no idea what I was doing. What followed was what I can confidently say one of the most frustrating and painful experiences of my life. Whenever I stopped to look at how Hayden was managing to do everything that I couldn’t, I imagined running away from King’s Manor very quickly and never returning. Somehow though, I managed to remain in my seat and through what can only be described as a miracle I managed to muddle my way through and edit the image to something we could actually use.

Tuesday morning dawned and all I could think was that if I had to use Photoshop ever again I might actually just break down on the spot. My first job was indeed to use Photoshop again. Tuesday was off to a great start.

However, to my surprise and probably the surprise of everyone else, I quickly managed to crop my image and resize it to the correct dimensions. In hindsight, it’s no surprise I managed it as it was probably one of the simplest jobs I could possibly need to do. The next image though was definitely going to test my meager abilities, but thankfully Tom from the University’s IT department was in and managed to explain to me exactly what I needed to do in order to sort out my image.

Ironically, this afternoon I cruised through the rest of my Photoshop work, and to my immense disbelief even managed to enjoy myself. This was an unexpected turn of events, and I’m convinced I must have hit my head at some point, either that or Photoshop isn’t as bad as I thought, but I’m not convinced.

Mission Malton

On the day of the meeting, the museum had been thoughtfully closed so that we would have the opportunity to have a full, in depth discussion with the volunteers at the museum. Myself and Emily strolled down, what seemed to be a busy road in the heart of Malton, in our search for the museum itself, which was identified by the two banners hanging on the outside proclaiming the word ‘Exhibition’. Our time keeping skills were slightly lacking and we were the last to arrive for the meeting, entering the building with slight trepidation hoping we had definitely got the correct building.

The first part of our meeting at the museum, introduced everyone and allowed the museum volunteers to give us an overview of the museum as a whole. The four volunteers who were present at the meeting were Anne, Margaret, Jenny and Roy who represented both the education side of the museum and the collections side. It was then I began to fully understand both the history of the museum, and also the issues and problems which it is currently facing, with funding and visitor numbers. It was hearing this history that instilled in me a great want to put all of my capabilities into making sure the game we develop will meet all of their hopes and expectations; and in an ideal world provide the museum with a longevity that a greater use of technology might provide.

Following a whistle stop tour around both the museum itself and the stores, it was time to get down to business and get to the heart of what the purpose of our visit was. To question the volunteers on what their hopes and aspirations were for the video game and to collect a solid basis of information in order to head back and develop our pitch. A tool we used in order to help with this was using post it notes to create a visual representation of their priorities.

Board which depicts the ideas we came up with at the meeting in Malton
The final product, from our meeting at Malton Museum. (Photo: Sara Perry)

Already I can feel my abilities being pushed by this course, and I hopefully am rising to meet them with the best I can give. All I can say is that our first time at Malton felt like a success, and I am excited for the journey ahead of us.

By Isobel

The Power of Pottery

The rain clouds had drawn in when we set foot on the excavation site for the first time early on Monday morning, and there was a steady downpour as we were talked through our initiation into archaeological excavation. It was my first time on an excavation, and at that point, the weather was a perfect match for my mood. Field archaeology had never held much interest for me so the prospect of early mornings and long days didn’t fill me with much joy. To top it all off my group happened to have the only site that hadn’t been machine dug beforehand meaning the hard graft was left entirely in our cold, damp hands. Within no time at all I was intimately familiar with our small 10 x 2 meter  trench.

De-turfing the trench.
Trench D, as we began de-turfing. (Photo: Isobel F. Christian)

 

Trench on my final day
Trench D, at the end of the third day. (Photo: Isobel F. Christian)

Throughout our first day the weather continued to improve and with it so did my mood, my body was aching and sore having not gone through such physical labour before.but the satisfaction when our patch of grass slowly evolved into a trench you might find on Time Team, was not something I had expected to feel. Despite the fact I only spend three days in the on the dig; my entire view of field work definitely did a 180 degree turn.

My first find!
Me with my first archaeological find. (Photo: Jessica Cousen)

The key moment for this I think was the fact that during the first 2 hours of our hard work we found no finds, no pottery, coins, or anything else other than a few worms and some interesting looking stones. But at the end of the first day while cleaning the trench ready to mattock down to the next level I spotted something in the ground. A small insignificant piece of pottery, but honestly in that moment I felt so elated and excited, that the idea of spending my day in the mud and rain didn’t matter anymore because the moment you discover something untouched by human hands for hundreds of years is so enticing I knew I’d had a change of heart.

Despite my unexpected new found love for excavation, the course I have chosen to study at university is Archaeology and Heritage, so my time on the dig was only short as the heritage students began our own digital field school. The idea of studying Heritage is one that I have been wanted to pursue since I was 16 years old, and had my first guided tour around Kings Manor, the archaeology campus at the University of York. History as a subject has always been my favourite, as a child I devoured all kinds of books, tv shows, films to do with anything historical and my parents were constantly taking me on holiday to visit historical buildings, and sites as well as Museums. The one thing I never enjoyed though was the endless displays with boring fonts and language which were inaccessible to anyone who wasn’t well educated and well-read in all areas of the historical and archaeological spectrum. Whenever I found a museum which I could enjoy, it excited me so much; places like Jorvik were my haven. I think my want to study heritage stems from wanting history and archaeology to be something accessible to everyone, as a subject it interests me so much I want to be able to create things which will allow others to experience that same joy and excitement.