Welcome to my blog
A few words about my path …
I’m writing this very first post to welcome you to my new blog and explain a little bit the significance of opening a blog now.
First of all let me introduce myself, even if I assume that if you stumbled upon the very first post of this blog you might be one of my acquaintances.
My name is Frederic SERAPHINE and I am currently a PhD candidate in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo.
I’m French, but I’m from “tropical France” as one of my friends here at the University likes to say ! Indeed, I’m from a very small Island in the Indian Ocean called, Reunion Island.
It’s in the south-west of the Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar, you can’t miss it !
So, now you know where I’m from, I’ll explain a little my professional and academic background. My speciality here at the University of Tokyo is Video Game, more precisely Game Design. I’m currently conducting a research project about emotions and narration in game design. It’s a vast topic, with ramifications in the fields of semiotics, narratology, musicology and AIs…
My academic background …
Before coming to the University of Tokyo, I did my Bachelor of Arts at the Superior Fine Arts School of Reunion island (École Supérieure des Beaux Arts de la Réunion). There I had the incredible chance to study various creative mediums like painting, sculpture, clay, webdesign, photography – digital and argentic – engraving, print and even traditional bookbinding … Also we had the chance to meet incredibly talented professors. While student at this art school I had the chance to be taught animation directing and storyboard by Georges Lacroix, one of the historical pioneers of 3D animation; and I had the incredible chance to meet Michel Geiss during a workshop about sensors. Michel Geiss is the engineer who was crafting the sequencers for Jean-Michel Jarre in the 70s. Both became like mentors to me from this moment. My cursus from the art school certainly explains the global and multimodal view that I have on art and design today, even if I’ve always been a Jack of all-trades … Let’s say this small school and its incredible energy fed my vice.
It’s after obtaining my Bachelor of Arts that I started to study Game Design. I enrolled in a professional school called ILOI, the Image Institute of the Indian Ocean. There I had the chance to meet legends of the video-game history !
Like Hubert Chardot scriptwriter of Alone in the Dark and Prisoner of Ice; Didier Chanfray, the creator behind Little Big Adventure; Cyril Masquillère, art technical director at UbiSoft or Christophe Nazaret, the programmer who made the 3D engine of Alone in the Dark 2. The training there was very professionally oriented and we’ve been working on a student project called “Parasomnia”, an action/adventure game in which the hero was a young orphan who could jump in the dreams of his friends who were cursed by the magic of Hecate, the goddess of nightmares ! We made a 30 minutes demo with the first level of the game.
In parallel, I was enrolled first at the University of Aix-Marseille II, and later at the University of Paris 8 where I finished my master in Digital Creation and Publishing “CEN – Création et édition numérique”.
It’s during those two years that I started to think more deeply on game design, its methodologies and eventually its limitations.
My professional experience …
It’s also when I was at ILOI that I found my first internship in Japan !
Indeed after sending hundreds of mails to various companies in animation, games, and other connected fields, that I ended up making my internship in a Japanese video production company called Wedovideo.
I’ve been working there as a motion designer, a camera operator and a video editor. It was a very intense experience and I learnt a lot. It was also during this internship that I basically fell in love with Japan !
I returned in Reunion Island and worked there for almost 5 years as an animation teacher in my previous school (ILOI).
I was in charge of pregraduate students and had to teach them the basics of animation. I was teaching Anatomy, Perspective, Biomechanics, Storyboard, Animation theory and Color theory. We had a workshop with the 2nd year students where I had to have them producing a short movie together in 3 weeks. I was also following the work of the 3rd year students’ projects.
It was for me really close to a “producer” working experience, as I had to ensure that the students would finish their projects and organize and manage their teams. It was in my opinion as enriching for me as a teacher as it was for them as students.
How I ended up doing research …
It’s while I was working as a teacher at ILOI that I started to write The Intrinsic Semiotics of Video Games, a very first publication that places the basis of my thoughts on game design. A short thesis that I will try to explain in shorter vulgarization blog posts here in the future.
After publishing this short thesis on Amazon Kindle, I decided to send it to the Prof. Baba Akira at the University of Tokyo, one of the rare University professors specialized in Game Studies in Japan. He showed a lot of interest for my research subject and after passing the tests to enter Todaï, I ended up preparing a PhD at the University of Tokyo under his counseling.
I am now conducting a research focusing on the emotional potential of Gameplay, with specific interests in ludonarrative issues, interactive musicality and AIs.
I will try to post short, vulgarized and pedagogic blog posts here that will help me shape the skeleton of my thesis, and proof test my ideas.
Your comments and critiques on my future theoretical posts here are more that welcome, and I’ll be happy to answer and to create debates.
PhD Candidate at The University of Tokyo