Games Design @ Hull School of Art and Design


Year 2

Interactive Environments and Level Design – Lesson Notes


Part 1 – Discuss game interaction within society. E.g. Harry Potter tour, people had tours using tech devices and headphones. Research into levels.

Part 2 – Teamwork – Heritage Project – Split into games design sectors. Research what makes games interesting and history of area. Go to museums and history center etc.

  • Research, presentation sheets/portfolio of all findings via interim presentations, group meeting, shared project management resources and creative blogs.
  • Use the Oculus Rift if possible but also make a secondary output.
  • If you don’t want to use your blog you can create a professional project design document which is expected to be professionally printed and bound, should be 100 pages plus.
  • Paul will manage first Semester.
  • Teams to be split equally. Not joining via friendships. Learn to manage the project, no complaining.
  • Don’t just consider the environment, consider people, vehicles, animals.
  • – Games Designer.
  • Ask 3rd years for advice.

1930’s Queen Victoria Square

1642 Beverly Gate

Games Design Sectors – Research, 3D, Game Engine.

Maritime Museum, Barclay’s Bank, Empty Building/used for music sessions, Cafe Nero, Princes Quay, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull City Hall, Statues.

C.A.T.S – Notes, Ethics (19/09/16)

Semester 3

Ethics Essay = 30%

2 X Seminar Reports

Ethics within the gaming industry

Submit notes from class

Need to reference and have a bibliography


Words to think about

  • Good – Having the right or desired qualities.
  • Moral – Concerned with the goodness or badness of human characters or behavior.
  • Ethics – A set of moral principles.

Personal or Society?

Controlled by the church, the state, medical establishment, the law, philosophy, the individual.

Game Theory – Discuss Flow, Categories of Play and Hierarchy of Needs in Relation to your Favourite Game


Learning about the theory of flow within our game theory classes we have been tasked with answering the question above. The question requires us to choose our favorite game and discuss it using the methods from Mahaly Csikszentmihalyi, Roger Caillois and Abraham Maslow. My chosen game is Bioshock, for many reasons, I have decided to discuss the game series as a whole as all of the games have reasonable links to these famous theories.

All three of these theories are quite different but yet still share some similarities; these theories are quite unnoticeable whilst playing the game as you start to engage in the state of flow, however, when thinking about each theory it is quite noticeable as you progress further in your chosen game. I believe that some games may not have some features such as vertigo and competition when speaking about the categories of play whereas when talking about the hierarchy of needs it is incredibly difficult to get to the self-actualization stage and only you can know for yourself when you have reached that stage. Also before I knew about flow theory I was unaware of what was keeping me so interested in certain games whereas I had less interest in others.

Flow Theory

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

The quote above really helped me to understand flow theory as you look at the flow theory chart he made you can see that being in the state of flow is when we are truly happy. We are not happy when the challenge is too high as our anxiety becomes a problem and we then start to feel alert as well as stressed, we don’t like to be too skilled as we like a bit of a challenge so that we don’t become bored or depressed. Being in a state of flow is what keeps us interested in playing a game. When we become so immersed in a game that we ignore the world/reality around us. Mahaly Csikszentmihalyi is a pioneer of the scientific study of happiness; when he was younger he was intrigued by a lecture presented by a man by the name of Carl Jung, after World War II Csikszentmihalyi searched for the answer to how people managed to find happiness after the war and what causes happiness so he looked at religion, art and philosophy. When you are in a state of flow you engage with your creativity and you are completely focused on the activity present.

To test this state of flow Csikszentmihalyi used students as test subjects by giving them a beeping device; this device would beep randomly throughout the day and the student would have to record their current state, thoughts and feelings. He discovered that when students became mainly focused on one task they happened to be happy and in a state of flow, whereas when they had no activity and no one to speak to they became bored, relaxed or in a state of worry or anxiety.  This was named the Experience Sampling Study (also known as the beeper study). Csikszentmihalyi was a strong believer of our consciousness being a part of this theory; he thinks that if we learn to control our consciousness that we have more of a chance of being in a state of flow also he believes that power and judgements can have a negative impact on the state of flow. Many people react different to the state of flow; some people are almost always in a state of flow which can depend on religion and their way of life. Buddhism and Taoism are two religions in which feature being at peace and finding enlightenment (also known as being an ‘Autotelic Self’).

Placing Bioshock into the theory of flow chart is my opinion, other people may not enjoy the game for unknown reasons, however, I feel that flow is very opinionated because each person has their own game style and favour other games. I believe that Bioshock is along the top of the flow chart as I can be in a state of flow at times, however, I get very stressed at times because when playing the game on normal difficulty you have unlimited respawns but when you play it on the hardest difficulty you have to start the game again. Flow is dynamic and not static (the state of flow will change). The story is mainly what gets me into a state of flow as it is so mind-blowing and the characters are greatly interesting. Being in flow is amazing as I get to forget about the bad things that may have happened around me in reality and I get to be immersed in an amazing, interactive underwater city. Games that feature fantasy elements allow me to become so interested as it is something we don’t see every day and the environments are incredible to look at. When people get angry in reality they tend to smoke or drink whereas I can play Bioshock and virtually take out my stress by smoking and drinking for health/power and also killing enemies and completing questlines.

Below are some elements of flow from notice how they all fit perfectly into the Bioshock game (almost as if the game developers did it on purpose).

  1. There are clear goals every step of the way – The game has a slight free roam feature, however the quest lines guide you a lot and there is always a quest to keep you busy.
  2. There is immediate feedback to one’s actions – Once a quest is finished you will get a notification, achievement or story/character interaction.
  3. There is a balance between challenge and skills – Although the game can be quite difficult, having the chance to respawn so frequently gives the player hope and they can keep on trying.
  4. Action and awareness are merged – There are incredible amounts of action within the game and you have to be aware of what is going on so that you can understand the plot and enjoy the game.
  5. Distractions are excluded from consciousness – I ignore reality when playing this game because I need the challenge and skill to be balanced I become completely focused.
  6. There is no worry of failure – I don’t worry about failure because I know I have a chance to respawn close by and maybe collect items I missed previously by respawning to a separate point.

Categories of Play

Roger Caillois has a theory which mentions four categories of play and two types of play. The two types of play are ‘Padia’ and ‘Ludus’; Padia means without rules and Ludus means with rules. To understand this you also have to understand the four categories of play which are ‘Agon’, ‘Alea’, ‘Illinx’ and ‘Mimicry’. Agon is all related to being competitive, over the years most games have been competitive as an example Pong was one of the first games released and trying to beat your friend at that was competitive enough. We play games to win and to be rewarded, as much as we do also play for fun we all would much rather appreciate a game that offers rewards as well as fun. Many game mechanics can make a game competitive such as levels, achievement, reward systems and cascading information. When I have a friend that plays the same game as me we will most likely have a discussion on what level we are currently at or how many achievements have we earned; even when playing a one player game that isn’t supposed to be competitive we still find a way to beat each other at it, such as Skyrim in which I always try to have better armor or weaponry compared to my friends. In my chosen game Bioshock you can go online and compete against other players from around the world in mini games that slightly relate to certain aspects of the game. I also use the difficulty settings as a way to be competitive as it is incredibly difficult on the hardest mode and currently nor me or my friends have completed it on any of the games from the series.

Alea isn’t featured in as many games however when it is in a game it is either really obvious or unnoticeable.  Alea means chance and that means the game will most probably be addictive. When a game features any sort of gambling we still become addicted so it is a great feature. An example would be lottery on Super Mario Party 8 or visiting the casino in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. My chosen game has chance elements when gathering supplies. When hacking vending machines or turrets you have small chances to hack successfully or gain a special bonus during the hack. You can increase the chance of getting a special bonus by enhancing your characters abilities throughout the game.

Illinx is disorientation, dizziness or illusions. I suppose you can talk about this in and out of game as now that we have virtual reality there has been many reports of it causing nausea and illness when played for too long. We also have 4D rides that make us feel like we are in that world. Within games we get many ways of being disorientated, drinking/drugs make the screen go blurry and the character is harder to control, blood on the screen when we are nearly dead can affect our gameplay therefore making our skills weaker in game and reality and even having crazy quest lines such as the Fallout 4 Nuka World expansion in which you can visit a funhouse. In the Bioshock game series I have been disorientated many times. In Bioshock 1 & 2 water pours from the outside in broken areas of the city (as the city is underwater) and when going through this water the screen goes incredibly blurry and the screen has a water effect so that it makes it difficult to see for 2-3 seconds which especially makes it difficult within combat. Bioshock Infinite however is set in a city based in the sky and when jumping from one building to another using a device called the skyhook the vision can become quite blurry because of the fast movement. The effect isn’t as bad in Bioshock Infinite as you can choose how fast to go whereas in the first two Bioshock games it is hard to avoid water at times.

When talking about mimicry within games it can be quite difficult as there is such a range of ways to use this category of play. We see mimicry of games in reality when we go to comic conventions or live action role play conventions as people like to cosplay as their favourite characters. Cosplaying is dressing up as your favourite character in real life, many people have different opinions on this as it can be strange to some extent, however if you really like that character and want to be immersed in a game even further then why not dress as someone you love. I previously cosplayed as Harley Quinn because she is a well-known character and she looks great as well as having such a fun-loving personality. I saw a girl at comic con dressed as a Bioshock character and I loved the outfit so I complimented it and we became friends all just because of the process of mimicry. Mimicry can occur during games, such as when you enter character creation and create someone you want to look like during the gameplay.

Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is made up of five stages and these five stages are split into 3 groups in a pyramid diagram. ‘Physiological Needs’ and ‘Safety Needs’ are both in the Basic Needs group; physiological needs include the need for food, water, shelter, warmth, sleep etc. whereas safety needs explains itself with needing safety and security. ‘Belongingness and Love Needs’ and ‘Esteem Needs’ are in the group named physiological needs. Belongingness and Love Needs are social related whereas Esteem needs are senses of achievement and accomplishment. Finally there is the ‘Self-Actualization Need’ which is in its own group of Self-Fullfilment Needs; this stage is the hardest to reach as it is at the top of the pyramid and consists of gaining full knowledge on your given potential and you as a person.

This hierarchy of needs can relate to reality and in-game just like most of the other possible theories around flow.  When we are in a state of flow (in-game) we can be so immersed in the virtual world that we forget about our everyday life. Some cases around the world have led to malnourishment and lack of sleep due to being so immersed within gameplay that we forgot our own basic needs. When applying basic needs in game you think about your status bars, health, power and other elements such as sleep and weather make effect our playable character. When playing survival games we need to consider our basic needs as our character won’t survive without them. ‘The Long Dark’ is a game set in a cold environment in which the player has to consider how cold the character is as well as focusing on food, water and sleep. ‘The Forest’ game makes the player empty their backpack contents on the ground so they feel more vulnerable towards the enemies when wanting to look at the inventory. My chosen game ‘Bioshock’ has health items and pickups to help the player throughout the game.  The player collects ADAM which is a form of power that can then be spent at a Gatherer’s Garden vending machine, also money can be collected to spend at normal vending machines and consumables are collected throughout the game such as cigarettes, bandages and potato crisps to increase the players health and power.

When playing Bioshock my safety needs are at a high standard. I hack as many robots and turrets as possible to help me survive longer and be my security. Even when a Big Daddy is in the room I know that if a splicer hits him by accident he can kill them for me (a Big Daddy won’t attack me unless I harm him or a little sister). Also when playing the first Bioshock I enjoy having Atlas as my company throughout the beginning of the game just as much as when I play Bioshock Infinite and I have the company of the amazing character Elizabeth who will help to keep me safe as she will throw me first aid kits, salts and ammo when needed. As well as protagonists helping me I also have characters that are nor protagonists or antagonists such as the Big Daddy or Songbird. They will choose to help me depending on how I treat them and how the storyline/ quest falls into place. This then links to belongingness and love needs as the characters are amazingly placed and presented. Elizabeth was one of the first characters to use surround sound, when Elizabeth is behind you it sounds like she is behind you and when she is far away you can’t hear her as much compared to when she is stood right next to you therefore making the character feel even more interactive and making us more immersed in the game. Also making us believe that Big Daddy and Songbird are the antagonists however it turns out that they just seem to be trying to help us or protect others.

Esteem Needs, I feel like I have accomplished the game once it is over. The game is so mind blowing that when you complete it you have to take a deep breath and think about the plot in more detail and depth. I feel a sense of achievement when finishing the game because I can earn a good or bad ending, obviously my aim is to earn the good ending and I then look forward to the game developers possibly making another game. I like earning achievements on this game, even though some can be quite tricky but I am mainly focused on finishing the story and helping the characters that need help to be free. Little sisters and Elizabeth want their freedom and when you complete the game and win their freedom you feel happy.

I am unsure to whether I have reached the full self-actualization, however I feel like I might have touched upon it slightly, when I fully level up a character by the end of a game and feel more confident than I did at the start, that is when I feel I have reached self-actualization. Unlocking all of the achievements and completing the game makes me feel successful and gives me confidence in reality as well because when I first started playing Bioshock I struggled incredibly but the more and more I played it then made me better at first person shooters.


In conclusion I believe that the theories brought forward have such an impact within the gaming world/environment. It was incredibly interesting to learn about and throughout this essay I have definitely been in a state of flow. Although there are other theories that link well with my chosen game I believe these three theorists have so much knowledge on achieving happiness and enlightenment as well as making us aware of the elements that can decrease or affect our state of flow.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs taught me to keep track of my own needs as well as my in game characters needs, Caillois helped me to understand the four categories of play and how they can keep us immersed or interested in a game and Csikszentmihalyi taught me the theory of flow and how much depth you can go into when talking or even experience such a subject.


Images and References



And my edit via photoshop




Man, Play and Games – Rodger Caillois

Csikszentmihali, M 2002 Flow


Interactive Environments and Level Design – Heritage Project – Building Progress/Stages

Firstly our group task was to research Queen Victoria Square, it also just so happened that we could split the work equally by having a building each and one person working on both the statue and the monument. Below is the list in which buildings were designated:

Hannah Bales: Hull City Hall

Kyle Agnew: Maritime Museum

Harry Javan: Currently Vacant Building (in-between Cafe Nero and Barclays Bank)

Sam Akester: Prudential Tower

Matty Britchford: Ferens Art Gallery

Harry Langdon: Punch Hotel

Sam McNeil: Cafe Nero

John Ovington: Statue & Monument

(On a previous blog post I have posted links/directories to my group members personal blogs for their own university projects, from there you can view their progress on this heritage project).

My research is also on my blog however this blog post is going to about my 3D work and the first step in our 3D process was Greyblocking below are a few of my greyblocks:


My first attempt at the GreyBlock is the model on the left. It is simple and I made it rather quickly. The model on the right is my current model that now differs in size as when we put the first GreyBlock into Unreal Engine the building looked rather small so I have now made the height of the building bigger and also made the balcony a little longer.


I am now happy with the detail I have added to my building, however I do feel like am I quite far behind. I should have all of the model done by now and have started on texturing, however the other day I had a very good discussion with my teacher Paul and friend Kyle on how to texture and now that I feel more confident I am willing to work harder on this project. I am happy with my building and I am grateful that I have learnt many techniques throughout this tough challenge.


Above is my first attempt at some of the details on my building. As much as I thought it was going well at first it really wasn’t as nothing was symmetric like it should have been. I am happy with the curl yet I feel like there needed to be some improvement.


Above is the improved version. It may be rather high in polys but it is all symmetrical as most of it was mirrored and most objects were moved by the correct pivot point and I also learnt about using the modifier FFD (box) which helped me to mold the cylinder in the middle to fit inside my detailed model.


Here is the dome which sits on top of my building. The spire bit at the top is rather detailed and I have also deleted back polys that the player will not be able to see.


As you can see from this image you can see I have deleted polys that the player won’t be able to see. This is the Balcony, so far we have decided that the player won’t be able to gain access to the balcony but if so I will just re adjust the model.





Interactive Environments and Level Design – Heritage Project – Hull City Hall History

I find it very interesting how the area that we have been told to model all appeared around similar times. In the 1900’s there was a scheme called ‘Junction Street’ which then was named Queen Victoria Square; most of the buildings in this area were constructed between 1900 and 1930, however the buildings have now changed due to the blitz bombing in 1941 and development of the modern day. Our task is to create Queen Victoria Square within the time era of the 1930’s and we all have a building each to research.

I am researching Hull City Hall a place originally intended for orchestras and special events and to this day still used for orchestral and special events but also various performances such as theatre, comedy and singers. The construction on Hull City Hall commenced in 1903, there was no official opening ceremony, however, The Princess of Wales laid the foundation stone. When the blitz happened in 1941 most of Queen Victoria Square was badly damaged, it was so damaged that some buildings that remained had to be knocked down as they were unsafe such as the Prudential Tower (which no longer exists but plays a large part in the History of Hull) and sadly the roof of Hull City Hall which furthermore damaged the magnificent organ and most of the roof.

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The Hull City Hall is still used for performances and also still has shops built into either side of the Hall I have gathered some useful links and resources to help me with building my model, however some of my model may have to be improvised as some images are not available (such as detailed images of the shops).

Some of my photographs


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Useful Links

Wilberforce Monument –

Ferens Art Gallery Part 1 –

Ferens Art Gallery Part 2 –

Maritime Museum –,631051&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Hull History –

Hull Prudential Building –

Hull Prudential Tower Demolition –

Hullwebs History of Hull –

Hull Images –



Game Theory – Self Initiated

After lots of thinking I have decided on a main game idea. I wrote my project proposal and throughout the proposal I changed many ideas and throughout creating the main game I will most probably come across some game changes. To finally decide on a game idea I had an in depth discussion with my teacher to understand what would be possible to make and what would also provide me with a challenge, I also created a survey in which I asked my classmates to answer. The survey features each game idea I created and I asked students to choose their favourite. Two ideas became favourites:

Idea 5 – Spyro/Gex style game. Finding Collectables to complete a level, also featuring a free-roam hub area and player choice of levels.

Idea 6 – Horror style game either 2.5D side scroller or third person view (similar to the way in which Crash Bandicoot plays). Cartoon low poly theme, jump scares and lots of enemies.

My idea at the moment (it still might have some slight changes) will play similar to Crash Bandicoot and Spyro as there will be a main hub area with separate themed level areas with individual levels inside. Rather than having a horror themed I have decided to do themed levels/areas. Below is my research towards my game ideas and inspirations.

Level Areas

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Crash Bandicoot: Warped – Medieval Area

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I like this game style and also the level area idea as the main character starts in one area and then walks into a themed zone which then gives you the option to choose 6 levels that match that theme. For example the theme above is Medieval so the environment around Crash Bandicoot features castle pieces, a time turner and some sort of wooden device.

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Crash Bandicoot: Warped – Futuristic Area

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This is the futuristic area which features futuristic skyscrapers and lots of lights to give a very technical effect. Again this is a really great area to explore as are the others. This game is great as it features many different levels that delve into different eras.

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Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back – Level Areas/Main Hub

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In this Crash Bandicoot Game the levels are not based on time periods, they are based on environments in general. For example jungle, snow, sewer, night etc.

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Spyro the Dragon – Town Square Level Entrance

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I like the level entrances to the Spyro levels because they don’t give anything away about the level theme but the title. Most of the doorway frames look quite similar, however depending on the time of day or weather the sky inside the portal will be different such as Town Square is at sunset (late afternoon) so inside the portal you can see a nice orange sky.

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Spyro the Dragon – Dark Hollow Level Entrance

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In this level you can see a night sky as the level is set during the night. I also like how the game is very consistent with the font as from portal levels to gem values you can see this font.

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Super Mario 64 – Level Entrance via Painting in Themed Area

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Such a classic game, Mario 64 has the use of paintings as your transportation to your levels. The main hub area is Princess Peachs Castle in which you can find many hidden secrets and find many collectibles. The aim of this game is to progress from level to level by collecting stars to get further on in the game and finding your friends. In the later edition on the Nintendo DS you start as protagonist Yoshi whereas in the older version you start as iconic protagonist Mario. As you explore the different rooms of the castle you come across different paintings/levels and usually depending on the level the painting matches the theme of the room e.g. this water level is set in a water themed room.

Super Mario 64 – Hidden Level Entrance Inside Boo Ghost

Within the castle there are hidden levels so that you can earn extra stars and there are even stars hidden around the castle. In this example their is a hidden level found inside a ghost. If you are a big Mario fan you will know that these ghosts disappear when you look at them and reappear whilst chasing you and when you are not looking at them, after defeating the ghost it drops a mini-mansion in which you can then explore as a level.

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Gex: Enter the Gecko – Hub Area, Level Entrance to Toon TV 

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This game isn’t as well known as Super Mario, however I love the way in which you are teleported to your levels via a television screen. The hub area isn’t really the best yet the game was released in 1998 so for its time it is ok. There are some aspects of the main hub area that I like such as the different colours to represent some areas, secret/hidden levels and interactive objects (the televisions); I don’t really like how plain the hub area is as all of the floors and walls are mainly all the same texture, also there is just a bit of blue or white as a background which does make the hub stand out but I think it is just too plain.

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Donald Duck: Quack Attack – Level Area no. 1

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Such a classic Disney game in which you play as Donald Duck. This game features a main hub area at the Duck house and then it has platforms you can stand on which transport Donald to different themed areas which then feature 6 individual levels that relate to the themed area.

WatchMojo – Top 10 Video Game Hub Areas

This video shows the top ten video game hub areas and explains very well each area and game. WatchMojo is very trusted and is watched by many, I find them great to look at for ideas.

Character Design

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Crash Bandicoot and Coco Bandicoot – Crash Bandicoot Game Series

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Girls Who Hack: Coco Bandicoot Was My Childhood Role Model

Generation gone: Where PlayStation mascot Crash Bandicoot is today

Looking at characters I am looking for a low poly style. Most of the games I am looking at can’t help but be low poly due to the time era in which they were made, yet some have been purposely made low poly for the choice of art style. Above is Crash Bandicoot and Coco Bandicoot from the Crash Bandicoot game series. The characters are low poly yet very recognizable. Crash is quite slim and lanky, whereas Coco is slim and small; comparing these to their older brother Crunch he is rather large in comparison.

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Spike – Ape Escape

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The Ape Escape character has changed over the years, however I chose the character from the first game because he is low poly. His hair is spiked (also matching his name) and he is that low poly you can even see some of the topology.

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Lara Croft (young) – Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation

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Out of the large range of Tomb Raider games I decided to pick Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation because I played this so much as a child growing up with games and also I find the character looks so different to most of the other character designs as she is a lot younger here in this game. Again this game isn’t supposed to be low poly, however it is just because of the time era it was made. Also I quite like the clothing here as it sparks the look of a little adventure.

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Donkey Kong – Donkey Kong 64

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Donkey Kong is just as loved as Mario, Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, however he is shaped different to the others. He is strong and has longer arms because of the type of animal he is, I have to take into consideration animals as characters as most games feature animals as the protagonist.

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Sam and Max – Sam and Max: Freelance Police

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From the subject of animals I have also looked at the game Sam and Max, this game was originally 2D, however the decided to make it 3D and the characters are quite low poly but the polys have been smoothed out. Simple characters made for a classic game remake.

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Pyramid Head – Silent Hill Game Series

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Pyramid head isn’t really low poly but his mask is amazing to look at for my sort of art style. In the original game Pyramid Head was low poly again due to the time era in which the game was made. Looking at his mask and his weapon though gives me ideas for my character design and also just the fact that the character is so well known due to his design and his appearances.

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Manny Cavalera – Grim Fandango

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A game I have not yet played, however the art style looks quite interesting. Also this game has been remastered lately but still has the same art style. Again it is low poly and the art is different as each level is set on November 2nd (Day of the Dead) which has such an amazing advantage towards the art style.

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Alice – Alice: Return to Madness

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This game isn’t really low poly but i like the art style and I like the outfit changing. Most levels throughout this game feature different outfits depending on the level theme. Alice in Wonderland is great to look at as so many people see the story of Alice as a way to express their art e.g. Disney, Tim Burton etc.

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Link – Zelda: Wind Waker

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A game I haven’t played but it looks like a very different take compared to the other Zelda games. I like the low poly style yet I would add a bit of edge to their faces as they look very rounded.

Art Styles

Ylands is a sandbox / survival game with a gorgeous, low poly style. It’s still very early in development, but the description hints at an interesting mix of world-building, exploring, crafting - and just trying to stay alive. Looking forward to how...

Ylands is a sandbox / survival game with a gorgeous, low poly style. It’s still very early in development, but the description hints at an interesting mix of world-building, exploring, crafting - and just trying to stay alive. Looking forward to how...

Ylands is a sandbox / survival game with a gorgeous, low poly style. It’s still very early in development, but the description hints at an interesting mix of world-building, exploring, crafting - and just trying to stay alive. Looking forward to how...

Ylands – Survival Game

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This is very similar to what I am wanting to achieve. A preview screen on the oculus gave me the idea to do the low poly style game, however this game is something similar to what I would like to accomplish as it is low poly, third person and it also serves as inspiration towards most of my design work such as character design and environment design.

Aer Game – by Forgotten Key

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Necropolis Game

Low poly style yet it differs from the others as it is quite dark and has certain hues coming from each light e.g in the image above most of the environment is blue because the flames and the pyramid light are blue. The character isn’t as low poly as the environment which makes the character stand out, however their outfit is also blue (bit of a cold colour).

Jackie Chan Adventures Game

This was a childhood favourite for me as there was a cartoon show of this and then the game was made so it was a great transition from tv show to game as the art style was similar and still portrayed in a cartoon fashion. The lines are more bold and I think nowadays a lot of games use this art style to make bold statements. Games such as Borderlands and any Tell Tale game has the use of this art style.

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MineCraft is such a well-known and popular game yet I am just not a fan of it. I really like low poly art styles but in my opinion I believe that this is just too low poly. I like the concept of creating your own world but I just can’t get into this game. Also a lot of people try to make really detailed towns or cities which look realistic because they have used so many blocks but I just don’t understand the point in that as the game is supposed to be for building low poly. Example above. I do think it is a great thing to


The game seems very relaxing to play especially by watching the trailer above. The music is nice and calm and even though you are flying a ship you can see a bit of freedom from the bird looking ship as it slowly strokes a wall with its wing. It seems interesting and is mainly a collectible based game in which the player learns a lot about the artifacts that you collect and about the environment around them as well as upgrading your own ship.

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I really like the environment and I also like the way in which the character was designed. I automatically think about using a normal human shape whereas this character is quite small with a large head for a more cartoon-like style. Also the shadow is a pretty good touch to the scene even if this is just a poster.

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Sea of Solitude

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Yet another low poly style but the water is incredible. I’m not entirely sure how they managed to do the water but it looks quite real as it is reflective and there is also a current if you look carefully. I really like the pastel colours, most of the games I have researched so far have quite bright colours so it is nice to have a different game style that isn’t so much in the players face.

Game Theory – Game Research and Influences


Our task is to create a 2D or 3D fully immersive game to present to the class and our teachers. We have no given theme or style however we have to make sure we can link it to flow theory by making the game so interesting that we become in a state of flow when we play it. This is a completely independent task but we can still ask for help from the our classmates and our teachers, I can even use surveys and questionnaires to help towards my feedback and research.

My Favourite Games

Fallout 4 – When I started this Games Design course I had played games similar to Fallout such as Skyrim (which was also made by Bethesda) however I had never played the Fallout game series. I got an Xbox One for Christmas and because I wanted a 1tb Xbox I got Fallout 4 along with it. Now it is one of my favourite games. Even though I played the 4th Fallout first I still even tried the other games. I am a big fan of RPG’s because they are so immersive and even when you finish the game you still have side quests and collectibles to keep you occupied. Also a key feature to Fallout which I really liked was the chance to interactive with your companion. Within Fallout 4 you can choose a companion, some can be good than others and some can just be so annoying. I really like Codworth, Cait, Dogmeat and Nick.

Another thing about Fallout 4 that I love is the DLC’s (Downloadable Content). Even though I am making a lot of progress on the game I have still not yet finished I also have the chance to buy extra add-ons that extend the game so I have yet even more to do. 2 DLC’s feature extra maps that are almost as big as the main story map.

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Bioshock Collection – Again I was introduced to the Bioshock games at University and I’m so glad I was as the storyline to them is astounding. I was so used to third person games that when I played Bioshock it introduced me properly to first person gaming; now I play a lot more in first person when given the choice. Bioshock is playable online however with it being an old game not many people are on the servers. I really enjoyed Bioshock Infinite as it explained a lot of the story even linking back to the first and second Bioshock. I currently do not known if there is going to be another Bioshock but hopefully they make a game in the similar sort of style. The use of powers (plasmids) and choice in weaponry is amazing as well as having great NPC’s that are incredibly involved with the plot.

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Abe Game Series (Odyssey, Exodus and New ‘n’ Tasty) – An old game that has been remastered that is an absolute classic. Unfortunately the game is not as recognised as games such as Spyro or Crash Bandicoot, however when coming across fans of Abe I become so happy as it is a game with so much to talk about. I prefer the second game (Exodus) as the developers clearly learnt from their mistakes. The first game is great but there are some slight changes in the second game that just make life easier; for example you can speak to more than one muddoken at once and you can possess more enemies and even possess your own farts and use them as an explosive weapon (as strange as that sounds). The character is fun-loving and so comical, you can even get to know him on the start up menu so that you can get to know the controls more.

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Gex: Enter the Gecko  – Again this game is an unrecognizable game to most yet I still loved it as a child. Playing this on the PlayStation 1 was amazing and with such a character as Gex you can’t get bored. Gex is such a funny character with many catchphrases (look at for catchphrase examples). The game features many levels displayed as television screens and is very interactive also some levels feature different costumes that Gex can change into, the first costume being a bunny rabbit.

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Batman Arkham Series – I have always been a Batman fan and was so happy when this game series came out. Batman Arkham Knight is supposedly the last Arkham Game, however they are bringing out the games remastered. I am a big fan of the game because I love the character Harley Quinn, she is such a fun loving and clumsy character that has many costumes throughout films, television shows and games. Below is just a few of her outfits:

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Arkham Knight Harley Quinn –

So as you can see there are many outfits, that is not even all of them. I like that about a character because even some of her old outfits have been an easter egg within the games. Having a character with a various amount of costumes gives the player a bit more interest in that character, especially when you can  choose the costume.

Tomb Raider Game Series – Everyone knows of the Tomb Raider games and there has been many released, the games are even being released now and they are incredibly realistic. I really enjoy Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation as you play as Lara Croft when she is younger and discover so much about her; I think that character development is important especially when it is the same character throughout the whole game series. However in Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness you can play as a male character known as Kurtis Trent and the plot is quite interesting.

Games I Want to Play 

Portal – I have always thought the challenge of this game will be too high. It looks so complex, however so fascinating. I love the puzzle aspect, it’s great to have such a puzzling game that is more fun than educational, also everything within the game is so clean and simple looking yet the game itself  is incredibly complex.

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Gears of War – The storyline for this game is supposed to be really good and the characters are very interactive. Many people that I have spoke to who have played this game said that the characters get along like a family and when one is lost it is quite upsetting. Also the environments are very busy and look extraordinary.

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Dark Souls – I really like dark games like this purely for the character appearances/creation, the environments and the challenge; Dark Souls definitely has the challenge. One of the reasons I have never played it is because it features permadeath (permanent death) meaning once you die you start right from the beginning; although you have the option to change it the game still sounds like to much of challenge to me but I need to at least try the game.

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Borderlands – I don’t really known much about this game, however I know it is quite well known and popular. The main reason I want to try this game is because the art style looks so fascinating as it is very comic like and cartoony. Also the characters look really interesting.

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Watchdogs – I have never got around to play this game but I saw a method of advertising that they used featuring gamification.

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Game Ideas and Influences

Mr. Runner – The first game style that came to mind was a 2D side scroller. My logic behind this was to believe that it would be the easiest game style to blueprint within Unreal Engine, however the aim of making our games is to challenge ourselves so I am also taking into consideration other game styles as well as art styles. I looked at the Mr Runner game because it is quite an addictive game. The player has control of the character yet you can’t actually stop the character you either just slow down or speed up therefore the game still has a bit of control other the player.

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Super Mario Bros. Nintendo Wii Remake –I loved the original Mario games and I was happy to find the made this one as it was similar to the originals but it had better graphics and it was 2.5D. I like games like this for their unique use of parallax scrolling, character design and level design. I also play the Abe Oddworld which is a similar style of game which was also remade. If I was to make a game like this I would try my best with the storyline as some of these games can turn into addictive platformers in which the player forgets about the main story and just tries to accomplish the levels and get to the end of the game.

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Crash Bandicoot Game Series – The first Crash Bandicoot game was released in 1996 and as soon as I was old enough to hold the controller it was along one of the first games I  played. Most of the game series are level based which includes one main hub area (in which the player starts the game, interacts with the main storyline and returns to after finishing each level), Level areas (themed e.g. snow, jungle, aztec, futuristic etc.) and within those level areas are individual levels. I think the game is quite unique as in some games you have the chance to play as other players. In Crash Bandicoot Warped and Wrath of Cortex you could play as Crash’ sister Coco even with it being level based and a platformer. When playing the spin-off racing games you had more of a choice in characters even including the enemies. Character selection is good as it gives you a sense of ownership and it also allows you to get closer to the characters and learn more about them. Also Crash Bandicoot has a companion called Aku Aku who plays the role of your life counter. When you collect 3 Aku Aku boxes you have a temporary shield, whereas when you get hit by enemies too much you lose your companion and then lose the level and are returned to your last checkpoint.

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Spyro the Dragon – Like Crash Bandicoot I have played this game since I was little, however this game has many hub areas. Once enough Gems have been collected an NPC will allow you to travel to either a boss battle or new hub area which will contain more unique levels. Both these games have a lot in common such as having a companion, collecting items and defeating enemies as well as they layout of the game. Also the characters are so iconic as their games are still being made to this day. Character design is a big feature and in these games there are lots of friends, enemies, companions and playable characters.

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Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 – I like these games however I did get out of the state of flow a lot as the levels of difficulty varied. But the reason I gain influence from them is due to the customising and companions. Throughout the game there are many levels that you travel to using a map, these levels are either anime/final fantasy based or Disney (as Square Enix joined up with Disney to create this game) when in a level you play as Sora or Roxas and you can have 2 followers/companions at a time to help you fight. Most of the time you have Donal Duck and Goofy with you but when you enter a level you can sometimes swap out Donald or Goofy with the themed character, for example if the player was to travel to the Beauty and the Beast world you would be able to have the beast fight by your side.

You can’t actually customise the look of your character but you can choose your weapons, abilities and skills. You can even choose these for your companions. I think that is great as you can level them up and make them better. I like choosing my own weapon as they look different and they all have different powers and abilities. However even though the player has no control of the costume design, when entering certain levels the characters may change (as seen below).

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Donald, Sora and Goofy Classic Outifts.

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Donald, Sora and Goofy Lion King Level Transformations

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Donald, Sora and Goofy The Little Mermaid Level Transformations

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C.A.T.S – Video Notes


Horizon Investigate the video game revolution, virtual worlds getting more realistic and games and their reputation.

  • Can video games increase aggression or addiction?
  • What effects does it have on our brains?
  • Drugs and smoking vs Video Games.


  •  Video game industry is large especially the UK.
  • More gamers are over 25.
  • So diverse, something for everyone.
  • Some people have different opinions. E.g. Carmageddon – Too Violent?
  • “At the end of the day it’s not real”.
  • Narrator asking too many bias questions – using subliminal – using the word violent too much.
  • Professor only looks towards bad emotions. (Craig Anderson).
  • Video Source: BOB TV.
  • Attention is captured unless game is paused.
  • Rewarded for violence?
  • Dr. Doug Gentile -“Ethically we know not to harm people”.
  • Experiment – One player plays a non-violent game and the other player plays a violent game, then they compete in game in which the winner gets to decide how bad the punishment is. This experiment has been done with electric shocks, loud noises, hot sauce and more.
  • 4%-9% increase of violence when playing video games.
  • Study – Students are split into groups of two. One group plays violent games and the other group plays non-violent games then they are showed actual violent scenes from real life. Students are monitored by skin conductors and heart rate (keeping an eye on stress levels). The violent game players stress level was lower than the players that played non-violent games.
  • Seem to think that people who play violent video games have more aggressive thoughts and solve things by being aggressive.
  • Is this all true? Children are not copying but do they still get more aggressive as they get older?
  • Chris Ferguson – Rise in violent crime? 2013 stats.
  • Not just games that increase violence. Books, films, family.
  • Routine Activity Theory – Occupying aggressive peoples times with video games.
  • If there was no games people would be on the streets causing trouble.
  • Again, not just video games. Bad backgrounds, bad upbringings, bad day, films, books, television etc.
  • Gamers Misunderstood?
  • Some people play games without realizing (iphone games, gamification).
  • Ian Livingston.
  • Tim Schafer.
  • Growing up with video games.
  • Anger and arguments are not cause just by gaming. Sporting events and politics as an example.
  • Not just violence to take into consideration – frustration, stress, worry, anxiety (flow theory).
  • Tetris game experiment. Tetris = good logical game. Bastet = Crafty version of tetris (gives you blocks you don’t need and blocks you need are hard to get).

Bad research is bias, good research is not recognized.

  •  Analyzing distinct pattern of play.
  • Attacking enemies or finding a way out.
  • Emotion part of brain was expected to trigger – Amygdala.
  • Regulating emotions in different situations.

Horizon Video Games – 95% of games = under 18 age rating. Games are made with so much effort it is an art form, a way of transporting to another world. 1.2 Billion people game.

Residential places set up for children because they are too addicted to gaming.

Does behavior depend on reward systems? Online gaming, is it teamwork or competitive?


Octalysis – TED Talks

Losing concept of time. How many hours does it take to be addicted?

Reward test – small reward instantly or large reward gradually. Addiction – Self Control – Impulse.

Compulsive Gamers jump the gun.

How much value? Reward or goal?

Gamers use the word addicted as an exaggeration and not scientific.

  • Games can be educational and helpful.
  • Using a game to teach people keyhole surgery. ‘Underground’ – game. (Simulator)
  • “Could playing video games actually be good for us?” – Narrator
  • How much visual information can a deaf person take in?
  • Yellow or Blue test – tracking colours – attention. Blue was easier to track, average was 4 for non-gamers, average was 6 for gamers.
  • Games require focus and accuracy. HUD Design, 1st person or 3rd person.

Brain Activity – Brain growth by playing video games – pre frontal vortex.

Super Mario 64 caused 3 areas of brain to grow and reorganize. Navigate using 2 perspectives. Video Games can improve cognitive abilities.

Older Players? New game Nuero Racer.

Multitasking and attention. Attention span and memory increased. Memory increased by 30% (Digital Medicine?).

C.A.T.S – Note Taking


Lesson 3 – C.A.T.S

  • Portfolio Assessment.
  • Take notes during documentary.

3 Key Methods of Note Taking

  1. Prose Notes
  2. Mind Map
  3. Keyword Notes

Prose Notes

  • Most detailed out of 3 methods.
  • Almost full sentences.
  • Headings or numbers.
  • Useful for detail.
  • Time consuming.
  • Not suitable for lectures due to pace.
  • Useful for taking notes whilst reading a text in your own time.

Keyword Notes

  • Bullet points (Brief)
  • Headings, sub-headings and numbers.
  • Useful as triggers.
  • Helpful for revision.
  • Can use in lectures.

Mind Map and Visual Doodling

  • Messy, crazy and hard to read.
  • Easy for some people.
  • Less professional.
  • Good to use for illustrations and planning, in my opinion not for note taking.

Notes Advice

  • No plagiarism, if taking text use quotations.
  • Don’t be too detailed but don’t be too brief. Have an equal balance.
  • Don’t miss any key points. Don’t pick up information that you don’t need.
  • Make sure your work isn’t cluttered.
  • Be neat and organized.
  • Use only one side of the paper so things are organized and it will make it easier for when you need your notes in the future.
  • Save space for extra information.
  • Have numbered pages and date your work.
  • Use Bullet Points.

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