My name is Bethany Ward and I’m from a tiny town no knows in Tennessee called Louisville. It’s about a half hour south of Knoxville and has no outstanding features other than cows and trees. I was born and raised there and haven’t been away for more than a single month until I started school. Needless to say, moving to Murfreesboro was a bit of culture shock from a town where you could live your whole life and never actually meet your neighbor. Still, the change is nice and while I miss not being able to see the stars as clearly at night due to more light pollution, I do not miss living out in the middle of nowhere next to a cow farm.
I came here to MTSU to pursue a degree in animation, though I’m not exactly sure where I want to end up once I get out of college. My best guess as to my future career right now would be character design and/or modeling, as both the 2d concept art and 3d realization of characters are interesting to me. If I had my choice I’d go into video game production, and the reason why ties back into why I decided to take this class. I think of all media as progressively more efficient and immersive ways to tell stories. That’s all art has been since its inception. In one form or another, it’s a way to tell a story. Video games are just the natural progression on that path. It continues to be the most immersive form of storytelling we have, and its ability to allow people to alter storylines by the decisions they make and decide the fates of the characters within those stories is unparalleled. That’s why video games have the ability to impact us in the way that they do, and I would love to be a part of that process.
I’m especially excited to see where VR takes us in the future. Its application right now is mostly just gimmicky or an afterthought of an existing game, but I see real potential not just in fully utilizing 3d spaces in games and movies, but being able to open up whole new worlds of opportunity in training professionals, remote exploration, or even providing a new space for those who are disabled or stuck in hospitals or nursing homes. I don’t think VR is at all being utilized to its fullest potential right now but I hope not just to see that change, but to actively help change it.
When I’m not working on my animation courses or my general education classes, as you may have guessed I love to spend time playing games. Story heavy games tend to be my favorites, so of course Telltale will always have a special place in my heart. With The Walking Dead Season Four and The Wolf Among Us Season Two on the way next year, I had better start saving up some spending money now! I’m also very excited for The Last of Us 2, and am always hoping for another Bioshock game as well.
As for my other major hobby, it ties into the fact that my mind goes into withdrawals if I don’t have animals around. With both my parents being vets and having grown up out in the country, I’ve spent my whole life with pets of all kinds. Once I got to college and had to leave them behind, it was just too lonely to come back to a dorm with nothing waiting or depending on me, however, my options for pets whilst living on campus were limited. So I did about the only thing I was allowed to do and go a fish tank and immediately fell in love with fish keeping. I’ve now been keeping aquariums for two years and can’t see myself ever not having them. There’s nothing more relaxing on nights when my insomnia takes hold than just turning on the tank lights and watching my fish do their thing. It’s about the only thing I’ve found that really lets me shut my mind off for a little while and get some peace on those nights when sleep clearly isn’t going to be happening. Most people think it’s a boring hobby, as did I before actually getting into it, but if you have any interest in keeping fish at all please don’t hesitate to talk to me. Not only do I not mind talking endlessly about these fascinating animals and how to keep them, but I would gladly do so for hours on end.
Honestly, my interest in animals and video games sums me up pretty well, I’m not a very complicated person. I’ll leave it there for this time and just say I’m really looking forward to meeting you all and to the rest of this class! Have a good labor day, everyone!