The purpose of a digital artifact is not only to solidify an online presence through various digital mediums but also a way to share and produce content for an intended audience. Moreover, a challenge was imposed to address the objective behind the Game Media Digital Artefact challenge. That being said, I chose my focus of study while closely relating its functionality to three critical concepts within the subject. The analytical framework utilized within my DA implemented three essential ideas; Technology, Structural Comparison, and Fandom. This shaped and dictated the type of content I posted in order to reach my target audience, as well as an extended demographic using other platforms. My digital artifact centered around the 2006 online-multiplayer game Roblox and the trajectory of the fashion world. Through my Instagram and TikTok pages, I established a link between the two by diving into how Roblox’s virtual world is influenced by real life, and in this case, digital fashion. In the early development stage, I began brainstorming potential concepts for my DA to revolve around. I went through various phases where it was difficult to even formulate a focus of study.
With my analytical framework in mind, I began using my main Instagram page to establish different polls to see which game media text they would like to see content on. After a week of results, Roblox was the game chosen.
An executive decision was made to go with the fashion pathway, as due to previous success with my other fashion Instagram DA @southsidevintage, I stuck with what I was passionate about. Moreover, I began implementing my analytical framework into the content I produced, also mapping out key components I needed to consider in order to produce the most effective content for my audience. Furthermore, my DA did not undergo any revolution in terms of its central objective and genre of content, however, it did experience rapid prototyping in relation to the type of content I was making as well as the aesthetic of my page.
For example, my old page did not follow a format that fit the aesthetic I wished to elucidate to my audience. , Here is what my old Instagram page looked like from the first couple of weeks of the development process to now. After looking from an artistic standpoint, a decision was made to shift the overall atmosphere to fit the high-end, simplistic, and ‘expensive’ expression my content was following.
In terms of the analytical framework, my DA followed three essential concepts which shaped my digital artifact into how it connects with my audience more efficiently. Within this subject, the role of technology has been essential in both the control and influence of different social/digital media platforms. The notion of hyper-realism in the gaming world and how technology has become a driving force in making video games more realistic for the individual has been the center of this project’s objective. In relation to Roblox’s gaming experience, its realism is not only limited to its graphic designs and scripts but also to its virtual economy. Roblox introduced a feature where talented members of its community were allowed to create hats. This was known as UGC community items, and it reached high levels of success due to the fact that graphic designers could use technology to 3d generate any hats they want. This allowed more fashion creators to make pieces influenced by real-life fashion, therefore creating a sense of realism in the Roblox metaverse. Through my content on my IG page, I showcase this concept by comparing different UGC items and clothing that were directly influenced by other real-life fashion brands, as illustrated below.
Moreover, Roblox’s new development of layered clothing created a sense of realism, as this was the first time Roblox had introduced 3D-generated clothing pieces. Technology enabled Roblox to function these items on your avatar, which was basically unheard of in Roblox’s early stages of development. This is elaborated through more content on my Instagram, where I showcase these 3D layered pieces in my posts whilst also comparing them to real-life pieces in addition.
Technology has served to be the primary catalyst in the contribution of hyper-realism in Roblox’s virtual reality, where the inclusion of new features, UGC, and layered clothing, are closely influenced by real-life pieces and better assist me in producing content as well as driving the DA’s central objective across to my target audience.
Through my second key concept structural comparison, my DA furthermore demonstrates how Roblox fashion has evolved through the use of real-life influence. In doing so, I compare how Roblox’s catalog options have changed over the years as time goes on, and how some catalog items compare to real-life ones. Through this, I showcase how not only UGC items are influenced by real-life fashion, but also Roblox clothing group items and layered clothing. My content sheds light on it through the following posts.
All three of these community-generated contributions to Roblox’s virtual economy drive my objective even further, which is how Roblox fashion creates a more realistic metaverse for the community, as well as how it’s evolved from its early years. This is seen in how Roblox’s GUI and catalog style changed from blocky to a more modern and simplistic look as time progressed. The type of fashion and clothing from its early days to now has changed drastically, due to fashion evolving within reality as Roblox’s virtual fashion is influenced by what the community perceives as stylish. My DA makes reference to this through the content post, showcasing Roblox’s fashion then vs now.
In retrospect, structural comparison serves an integral role in comparing how fashion has evolved in Roblox’s virtual reality, as well as elucidating how fashion has been influenced by real-life, furthermore propelling the notion of Roblox’s growing realism in relation to its gaming experience.
When met with the Game Media industries challenge, at first glance I had an original key component regarding the textual analysis, which was Post-structuralism. However, when undergoing more research on the game media, as well as providing insight on the community involvement within Roblox’s fashion niche, I changed my key concept to Fandom. This is due to the increasing community involvement after the introduction of community-created items, as this moreover birthed multiple Roblox fashion influencers and content creators. My DA showcases a multitude of Roblox fashion YouTubers, as I have posted slideshows promoting their pages.
Moreover, the absurd amount of Roblox groups established by its player base community has noticeably increased over the years, as a large percentage of these groups are fashion/clothing groups. For example, Fashion Famous which is a Roblox fashion group holds the most active members, peaking at 1M group members. This illustrates the Roblox community’s involvement and love for the catalog and fashion aspect of the game, considering the avatar function is what differentiates you from the other millions of online players. Within one of my DA posts, I showcase a multitude of different Roblox groups that share a variety of clothes and accessories.
In conclusion, Fandom plays an integral role in the majority of Roblox’s virtual economy, as now that the game is headed toward a community-based store, Roblox’s fashion followers are creating more external content as well as new accessories and clothes for individuals to equip on their avatars.
“One way of analyzing game media is to focus on how players engage with the text and consider how they make meaning of the text.”(Moore, C., 2021, ‘Textual Analysis’, lecture, BCM215, University of Wollongong, viewed 15 September 2022.)
In the final analysis, my DA’s analytical framework involving the three primary concepts of Technology, Structural Comparison, and Fandom, furthermore assisted in the establishment of my Da through my different social mediums. In doing so, I created an online presence and through its development process, I underwent different iterations as well as changes to better interact with my audience. The central theme of how fashion has evolved within Roblox’s virtual world and how the community has interacted with it is illustrated through my different content posts on the social media platform Instagram and TikTok. The research process alone provided insight into how Roblox’s experience has differed over time, and how through its evolution, allowed high-end fashion brands to collaborate and make Roblox’s virtual reality better for the players.