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Games Design @ Hull School of Art and Design

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Character Design

Game Theory – 1.1 – What Makes Games Interesting?

There are many reasons why we play games from design to mechanics. Below I explore what makes game interesting (in both digital and non-digital context) looking at environments, characters, story lines, graphics, game mechanics and popular game franchises.

Story lines

A lot of games are well known for their story lines, characters and environments can impact the story, however I believe it is the game mechanic ‘Ownership’ that makes us feel the way we feel when playing video games.

The Last of Us

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Image Source: http://telkomgaming.co.za/the-last-of-us-remastered/

This game is incredibly well-known for its intense story line, incredible environments and immersive interactivity. In 2014 the game won a BAFTA games award for the story along with many other awards including awards for audio, performance and best game of the year. The story is intense and features many sections to get your heart racing which may include jump scares and dark/spooky environments. The game is fun, however I believe we don’t play it for fun; I believe that we play it to find out more and more of the story as we go along (purely for curiosity) and to see the relationship of both characters grow. Most recent games are almost always featuring a companion which also adds to the story as you get to know them along your journey and then something intense/dramatic will happen therefore affecting the players feelings.

The Bioshock Game Series

Image result for bioshock infinite banner

Image Source: http://savegameonline.com/c2-reviews/bioshock-infinite-will-the-circle-be-unbroken

This game series is very consistent, I do find that the game can be boring when doing repetitive fetch quests, however, when the quest links more towards the main story line it gets rather interesting as the game is clever in which you can depict what is actually happening; by this I mean the game is so confusing that there are many ways that you can depict the ending and even parts of the story. Some of the story line has been set in stone, but the games complexity is what makes it so interesting. I have played Bioshock Infinite about 3 times now just so I can understand and wrap my head around the main story line, I’ve even looked at the DLC’s in relation to how they fit into the main story line. Most of the game mechanics stay the same, the only thing that technically changes is the constants and variables which is explained in the main game. “There is always a lighthouse, there is always a man, there is always a city” – Elizabeth states within the main story of Bioshock Infinite, the first Bioshock features an underwater city (Rapture) and a man (Jack) and the lighthouse (portal to infinite universe i.e. a tear via the luteuce device.

Assassin’s Creed

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Image Source: http://www.f-covers.com/facebook-cover/assassins-creed

This game series is again known for many great game aspects, however I think the story lines for these games are amazing as they teach us about history and what it was like in that sort of time era. Most of the games feature a character called Ezio and throughout the game series we grow attached to him and other characters which then affect the story line and also our feelings. The story lines are very interesting and there are also many fetch quests, however these fetch quests (unlike other games) are not boring as you still get to free roam around the city with amazing free-running and parkour mechanics as well as beautiful landscapes to view.

Characters

LA Noire

Image result for la noire banner

Image Source: http://game6789.net/san-pham/820/l-a–noire:-the-complete-edition.html

Within this game you play as a detective called Cole Phelps who has just recently joined the Los Angeles Police Department. Although he isn’t a well-known or iconic character such as Mario or Sonic I chose to write about him because his character is unique as we feel the way he feels throughout the story and we watch him grow as a character as you rise through the ranks of the police department. Phelps goes from Patrol Officer to Detective to homicide to vice to then get demoted to arson after a series of events happenend to then unfortunately lead to his death. As well as seeing how his work life is going we also get a glimpse of his home life and we do feel sorry for him at most of times. Also to gain more interest in the game we also have a companion with each promotion. The companions all have different personalities so it gives us a chance to like and hate (as well as having the usual enemies/suspects).

Murdered: Soul Suspect

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Image Source: http://www.nisute.com/2014/06/21/murdered-soul-suspect-rest-in-peace-detective/

Again another detective game in which the main aim is to uncover the mysteries about the deaths of characters. When the detective gets close to uncovering the mystery of the serial killer known as ‘The Bell Killer’ he gets attacked and pushed out the window by the killer. Ronan (the main protagonist) dies and turns into a ghost, he is then informed by his wife (who was already dead) that to rejoin her in the afterlife he needs to solve the case of ‘The Bell Killer’. The story line is good, however it has been said to be the only good thing about the game. I have played it and I do admit it would be hard to replay it as it would be very boring because you know all the mysteries that have been solved  also when in trouble or around enemies you can only really run away. It could have been better if they worked longer on the game or made it today with the technology we have in which we can program AI to learn from your mistakes as well as randomly generate the levels.

Skyrim, Fallout, Saints Row, Grand Theft Auto etc.

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Image Source: http://telkomgaming.co.za/steam-selling-skyrim-for-r50-this-weekend/

Image result for Fallout banner

Image Source: http://s654.photobucket.com/user/ShadowWeezle/media/fallout_banner.jpg.html

Image result for Saints row banner

Image Source: http://www.sticktwiddlers.com/2015/03/10/a-look-back-on-saints-row-from-the-hood-to-hell/

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Image Source: http://www.ucgl.net/page/index.html/_/commnews/frontpage/grand-theft-auto-5-r2

All of the above games feature character customization and character development/progression. I am a really big fan of games like this because designing your character is so much fun; you can make it look like you, make it look like a celebrity or even make it look really creepy and alien-like. When playing as a character you have created you feel a lot more involved and when looking at Grand Theft Auto and the Elder Scrolls we get to see other players character creations online as well as show off our own. I also find that with games like this we enjoy it more as when the main story line is over we still have the chance to unlock items and customize. Character progression is great as it keeps the players so interested and when we have great story lines, great characters and large, immersive environments like all of the games above we find ourselves within a state of flow.

Environments

Rise of the Tomb Raider 

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Image Source: http://gamecloud.net.au/review/rise-of-the-tomb-raider

When the new Tomb Raider games were announced I became quite worried just like many others as most people prefer for good games to stay in their original state, however, the outcome of these games is truly amazing as Lara is looking more realistic, the story reveals more about how she became the Tomb Raider she is and most of all the environments are so immersive. I like the environments in this as the detail is incredible. If there is snow Lara walks slower the thicker it gets, shivers when shes cold and leaves footprints therefore we feel more immersed when playing the game as seeing her reaction to the weather and we actually understand the difficulties she must be facing. When in water her hair and clothes get wet and again we get reactions from her when she enters cold water. As well as the environment affecting Lara, the environment itself gets affected in many ways; paths crumble and the environment can be quite interactive such as smashing walls down, discovering murals and walking into death traps.

Resident Evil 7

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Image Source: http://news.evatech.com.au/

This game has only just come out and I am already amazed by the environment. The graphics are in so much detail from a completely realistic human to centipedes that are so real you don’t want to go near them. Obviously I don’t know too much as the game has only just been released but I know the environment puts the player on edge at all times (as it is a horror game) and the environments are quite enclosed as the player is restricted to tight, confined and scary spaces. They have really put a lot of thought into making this game because they have considered every little detail. One of the main NPC’s named ‘Mia’ is incredibly detailed and I actually questioned if the start up was live action or not as she looks so real.

 Spyro the Dragon

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Image Source: https://www.gamingnexus.com/Article/3479/2012-Gaming-Nexus-IP-Draft-Rounds-5–6

Graphics aren’t always the most important. The 1998 Spyro the Dragon game had such an amazing environment which was great for exploring. When looking for inspiration for my game I looked at Spyro the Dragon because the environment is quite free roam and you have a range of levels and area hubs to explore. There are many themed levels which makes the game even more interesting. Compared to other games I feel like it is very simplistic; I’m not sure if that is because of the time era it was made in or if that is the way in which they decided to go for making the game but simplicity really made the game quite fun to charge around.

Non-Digital Games

Monopoly

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Image Source: http://newfullerton.com/2013/10/13/8th-annual-ywca-monopoly-tournament-set-for-oct-19-in-fullerton/

Monopoly, now known as the game that tears families apart. The game was and still is popular but no one can finish the game as it takes too long to complete and most people are arguing within the first ten minutes. The game is now popular due to the many special releases they have made such as:

  • Monopoly Token Madness.
  • Monopoly: Ultimate Banking Edition.
  • Monopoly Junior Game.
  • Monopoly.
  • Monopoly: Star Wars.
  • Monopoly Empire.
  • Monopoly Junior: Disney/Pixar Finding Dory Edition.
  • Monopoly Junior: Yo-Kai Watch Edition.
  • Monopoly Jackpot.
  • Monopoly: Angry Birds.
  • Monopoly: Disney Princess Edition.
  • Monopoly: Despicable Me 2.
  • Monopoly Junior: Frozen Edition.
  • Monopoly Junior: Disney Sofia the First Edition.
  • Monopoly Grab and Go Game.

and those games above are just the ones from the Hasbro website, here is a link to another site which shows all Monopoly Releases (some may be digital). http://monopoly.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Monopoly_Games_(Board)

The game is now mainly bought as a collectible item and can be sold for incredible amounts of money. As a Games Design student who is a fan of Fallout 4 I am interested in the Fallout version of monopoly and I also have the disney version, whereas people with other interests such as Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad can pick up a monopoly set thatt they can enjoy.

Dungeons & Dragons

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Image Source: http://www.towergames.co.uk/shop/dungeons-dragons-monster-manual/

This game is very popular and brings many people together. You can create and enjoy many stories as well as read about stories told by fantasy authors. One person is known as ‘The Dungeon Master’ and they control most of the story (they are almost like a narrator), the others play the game by rolling dice to depict parts of the story and aspects of their character as well as actions they might take throughout the game. The game is great for improving imagination and becoming a creative. However there are some issues; even though the game might be quite good to play many people don’t give it chance as it can be seen as ‘unpopular’.

Charades

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Image Source: http://www.ministrypass.com/explore/

I chose to write about this game as it is something that can be played without technology, without a board and even without words. The game requires one person to act out actions so that the other people playing can guess what the word is e.g. if the subject was ‘The Little Mermaid’ the person acting would make little actions then act like a mermaid and the other would have to guess. At the beginning of the action the audience are told how many words it is and also what type of media it is. As simple as this game is (not needing anything at all but players to play the game) people have still made it digital. The digital version is called heads up and the bonus with this game is that it records the players actions and scores points.

My Favorite Games 

Fallout 4

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Image Source: http://3dnpc.com/wiki/fallout-mods/fallout-4/

I really like this game and I was in such a state of flow that I just ignored every other game I had until I had explored everything I could within the game. The game gives us the option to have a companion and we also get a choice of companion in which they all have their own unique personalities and abilities they give us when we achieve 100% happiness within the relationship. The map is rather large as well and even when you attempt to uncover the whole thing you still uncover more. There are many weapons and weapon modifications as well as modifications to armor and your own power armor suit. The environment is amazing and very different to see and that goes with Fallout 3 as well as Fallout New Vegas.

Abe Game Series (Oddysee, Exoddus and New ‘N’ Tasty)

Image result for abe's oddysee banner

Image Source: http://www.wtfgamersonly.com/throwbackthursday-20-years-playstation-oddworld-abes-exoddus/

The game series that got me so interested in becoming a gamer but also scared the life out of me as a child. The original game was so good in its time and so good now that they have decided to remake it, also there will be another Abe game being released soon which has a new story line so fans are incredibly pleased. The game is fun to play as you have to take many risks, be patient and have a childish sense of humor as the game features very informal wordplay, funny but brutal deaths and a Mudokken full of gas. I really like the transformation the game made from Oddysee to Exoddus as you can see the improvements that were made were the improvements we wanted e.g. speaking to more than one mudokken at a time and having mudokken’s with feelings.

Rayman (The Original)

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Image Source: https://blipblop.net/page/2/

I really like the original Rayman which was released on PlayStation 1 for its 2D aspect and its difficulty. I tried to recall playing the game as a child and all I could think about was the first level set and then I recently played it again and remembered that as a child I could never get past those levels and still to this day I find the game intense and difficult. The game has some characters but little detail about them. Usually the NPC’s are usually in danger or in need of help. Also the game is all text and Rayman is mute apart from grunts and little noises.

Bibliography

http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-most-compelling-video-game-storylines

http://lanoire.wikia.com/wiki/Cole_Phelps

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

Image Source: https://wizarddojo.com/2015/07/30/crash-bandicoot-warped-review/

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

Image Source: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=&page=3

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

Image Source: http://www.vizzed.com/games/crash-bandicoot-2cortex-strikes-back-psx-playstation-34267-user-screenshots

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

Image Source: http://www.emuparadise.me/Sony_Playstation_-_Demos_ISOs/Spyro_the_Dragon_Demo_-_Foil_Version_[U]_[SCUS-94439]/138910

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

Image Source: http://www.redbubble.com/people/mpc3rd/works/20926601-spyro-the-dragon-sunny-flight-realm

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

Image Source: http://www.mobygames.com/game/n64/super-mario-64/screenshots/gameShotId,246942/

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 

Image Source: http://www.vizzed.com/boards/profile.php?id=182516&profile=game&screenshots=250

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

Image Source: http://superadventuresingaming.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/donald-duck-quack-attack-psx.html

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

Image result for coco bandicootImage result for crash bandicoot original

Crash Bandicoot and Coco Bandicoot – Crash Bandicoot Game Series

Image Sources:

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.

Image result for ape escape character

Spike – Ape Escape

Image Source: http://sarugetchu.wikia.com/wiki/Spike

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

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/elisadeiaco/tomb-raider-iv-the-last-revelation/

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

Image Source: http://gamefabrique.com/games/donkey-kong-64/

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

Image Source: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice

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

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/364791638542651439/

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.

Image result for grim fandango manny

Manny Cavalera – Grim Fandango

Image Source: https://suwalls.com/games/manny-calevera-grim-fandango-33768/

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

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/Mollylynn549/alice-in-wonderland/

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

Image Source: http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_The_Wind_Waker

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

Game and Image Source: http://www.hypersimulated.com/post/141912346927/ylands-is-a-sandbox-survival-game-with-a

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

Image Source: https://www.wired.com/tag/minecraft/

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

Innerspace

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.

Image Source: http://www.alanzucconi.com/2015/06/20/the-3-most-anticipated-games-lowpoly/

OceanHeart

Image Source: http://oceanheartgame.tumblr.com/

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.

Image result for low poly game

Sea of Solitude

Image Source: http://www.alanzucconi.com/2015/06/20/the-3-most-anticipated-games-lowpoly/

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.

3D Realisation – Topology

Topology is the way in which lines show the form of a shape. 3D Topology can be complex depending on the model and also depending on the amount of detail the 3D object contains. When using topology quad-polys and tri-polys are created by the lines which form around the object, a tri-poly is not used as much as a quad-poly because a computer can read quad-polys easier.

The website http://www.math.wayne.edu/~rrb/topology.html defines topology as such:

“Basically, topology is the modern version of geometry, the study of all different sorts of spaces.”

Below are some examples of Topology:

Topology 002

When making a topology model, there will be multiple layers. When you take away the character shape layers and keep the topology you should be able to see just the topology and you should be able to understand what this object/person is. From the above image you can only see topology and I can tell that it is Jane from the Disney film ‘Tarzan’.

Topology 001

Again an example from the Disney film ‘Tarzan’. The character on the left has no topology lines whereas the character on the right has the topology lines on top of the model. You can see that the smaller the poly the more detail is in that area; also the lines curve so you can understand the 3D model and so that the image doesn’t look as flat.

Topology 004

In this face you can see lots of different colours. The colours represent movement along the contour lines and the polygons are all different sizes as the smaller the polygon the more detail/movement.

Topology 003

This is from the Disney short film ‘Paperman’. The hair is made from very little polygons therefore the shape is more rough rather than being smooth (to smooth the object you would add more polygons).

Hecules003

Our brief requires us to create topology for a celebrity/cartoon bust, a world war aircraft and a sofa. Here is my celebrity bust, I chose Hercules as he has quite a strong figure. For my first attempt at Hercules it went ok but I will be practising a lot more to get the topology correct.

Sofa 003.gif

I found the Sofa topology easier to do, however, I still know that I have a lot of room to improve. I know where I went wrong as I spoke to my teacher about how I am struggling with topology. My goal is to improve my skills in topology.

World War Aircraft 003.gif

I am proud of my World War Aircraft because you tell tell that is an aircraft just by looking at the topology.

Overall I am proud of my topology and I know where I need to improve. I am currently working on more topology work to improve my skills.

Games Design – Casual vs Hardcore gaming

Games Design – Game Ideas

Our brief consists of us defining what Casual gaming is, developing thumbnail sketches of game concepts for specific age groups and finally creating a Project Proposal/High Concept Document which may also include a critical evaluation which can then be presented to the class.

Gaming Culture

Gaming has been around for years, and over the years it has developed incredibly. Everyone has their own opinion and some people prefer the old media whereas some people believe that new is better. In most cases we can agree that games can bring us together as a community, however some people think that gaming is bad for us. Everyone may have different opinion but we all know gaming exists and some of us don’t even realise we play games daily without even realising.

There are many different ways to game. Usually the way you game determines a gamer title for you. There are such gamers as:

  • Casual Gamers
  • Hardcore Gamers
  • Applied/Serious Gamers
  • Traditional Gamers

Casual Gaming

When someone is a casual gamer it can be interpreted in different ways depending on the person. Most people think a casual gamer is someone who has a little interest in gaming but is not too dedicated/willing to play a game every single day. Whereas some people get offended by that and think that a gamer should always be dedicated and put time and effort into games. Usually casual games are usually quite simple or a mobile app; whereas a hardcore/serious gamer know more about the games and the companies as well as knowing about a wider range of game styles. Casual Gamers play games such as Candy Crush, Farmville and 1010!

Candy Crush.jpeg

Casual

VS

Hardcore

Hardcore Gamer001

Hardcore Gaming

A hardcore gamer is someone who is dedicated in playing games and has a very large interest in a large variety of games. Hardcore gamers usually spend most of their money on games or the merchandise from that game, visit shops and game conventions to make friends as well as buy game related items and also I believe that hardcore gamers try to relate games to real life. Games that hardcore gamers play usually consist of a game series such as Halo, Bioshock, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto etc.

Applied/Serious Gaming

Applied or Serious Games are not well recognised; most people don’t even realise that they are playing one of these types of games. This style of game is generally a game that educates as well as entertain. These games come in a wide variety as some won’t even feel like games as they become boring and are seen as more of a task. I would say Brain Training games and Simulators would categorise as Serious Games because they educate and prepare you for things you may encounter in the real world.Brain Training Simulator

Traditional Gaming

From board games to the classic arcade games; what would you class as traditional? In my opinion I think that both of these type of games are traditional, I also believe that it depends on your age. As an example of the age theory I believe in you need to think about what games you played as a child compared to your grandparents. My grandparents enjoyed Chess, Jenga and as they got older they enjoyed the classic games such as Pacman and Mario whereas I see traditional games as PlayStation 1 games or GameCube etc.

What do you think to gaming cultures? And what type of gamer are you? Feel free to comment below this blog post.

Jenga001

Gameboy colour001 Gamecube

 

 

 

 

 


 


 


 

Games Design – 3D Realisation – Sculptures

In our 3D Realisation lesson I had the option to choose a certain topic of interest. The options included Character Design, Prop and Object or Environment; I chose character design as I really want to improve my skills as I feel I am not as confident as I should be with character design as I am with the other options. Initially I was going to get my idea from a film/game/book but I then I randomly created a shape and my creation took place there. I felt more confident after this lesson as I discovered you can create characters easier when using shapes.

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Above: The front view of my sculpture.

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Above: The side of my sculpture.

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Above: A view of the top of my sculpture.

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Above: Another side view of my sculpture.

I think overall I definitely have room to improve but I am quite proud of what I have created. The main concept I would like to learn next would be how to get rid of any of the cracks and also smooth out more of the sculpture and maybe also add a bit of texture.

Sculptures are a great use of a design concept. From a sculpture you can see all of the textures, the width, height and length of the chosen subject and with the technology with have now, we can transfer our created sculptures onto a computer program and further improve the creation as well as add colour and put the image in a scene/environment/background. Sculptures are sometimes put into computers so that they can be animated, however, I like this animation created by sculptures with no use of computers at all.

My favourite sculptures include the ones from the Pixar Studios in Burbank California, Emeryville. I am interested in the works of Kent Melton and Greg Dykstra as they have created so many memorable characters over the years that we still know and love today. Greg Dykstra is mainly known for the sculptures of Remy from Ratatouille, whereas Kent Melton is known for The Incredibles characters and even characters from The Lion King. I really like their work because they look so realistic and they must put a lot of effort into each piece. Also they create more than one version of each character to show different poses, positions, facial expressions and my favourite of all is when a character ages seeing the difference using sculptures. Here are some examples of their work.

Greg Dykstra

Greg Dykstra

Above: Dykstra creating one of the many Ratatouille characters as you can see the characters on a shelf behind him.

Greg Dykstra2

Above: One of Dykstras Sculptures being put into a computer and being manipulated.

Greg Dykstra3

Above: One of my favourite sets of sculptures. Carl Fredrickson from the film ‘Up’ being shown as a child, a young adult and elderly.

Kent Melton

Kent Melton4

Above: Melton holding a sculpture of Simba he created.

Kent Melton

Above: The Genie from Aladdin created by Kent Melton.

Kent Melton2

Above: One of my many favourite Disney Pixar characters. Violet from The Incredibles.

Kent Melton3

Above: Tarzan from the film Tarzan

As you can see their artwork differs and varies. Melton creates Disney as well as Pixar and when Dykstra creates his artwork he creates a series of sculptures for one set film e.g. Ratatouille. Overall I really like their styles and would love to create work like they do.

Games Design – Iconic Antagonists Infographic

My Info-graphic is based on Iconic Antagonists. Most of it is drawn digitally, my inspiration comes from my favourite 2D Platform games. The brief asks for a ‘visual understanding of the heritage of games’, my theme was Iconic Antagonists and I have looked more into the visual side rather than the research, however, I have included facts and useful information, enough for someone to ‘visually understand’.

Final Timeline-01

 

 

 

 

I have used appropriate game concepts to match the chosen theme and I applied 2D game design principles throughout this project. I believe that I could have improved the transition between each game, even though I tried to experiment with transitions such as pixelation, the Mario pipe and smoke I still feel it could look better if I worked harder. However, I am really proud of the final product as it took a lot of time and effort, also I used a drawing tablet to draw the characters and environment and I’m glad that each set is recognizable.

 

 

 

 

Games Design, Character Design – 2K games, Gavin Goulden

2K Games are a great company for RPG (Role Playing Games) games such as Borderlands, Duke Nukem and The Darkness, however one of their most successful games and also one of my favourite has to be the Bioshock Series. All of the characters are unique in their own way and are all very detailed also the game is quite gory and has that horror style aspect to it so the characters needed to be created in relation to the theme.  The game director Ken Levine is a very inspirational person as well as creative, because Bioshock is such an unpredictable game.

As well as being imaginative it makes us curious to what was going through the directors mind whilst he was creating the storyline/plot to the game. Here are some quotes which made me understand more from his point of view in what the moral of the game is about and why he predicted this sort of outcome; “We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.” – Ken Levine. I believe that this quote is aimed towards the first Bioshock and life in general honestly. The parts of Bioshock in which you make choices, for example saving or harvesting the twins can influence the twist of the story and the way the game ends. The other quote that I really like would have to be “What is a drop of rain, compared to a storm? What is a thought, compared to the mind? Our unity is full of wonder which your tiny individualism cannot even conceive.” – Ken Levine, I think that this quote is an easy explanation to why the story is so unpredictable and this is also the way in which he is using his creativity as well as imagination.

2K games wanted to create a game with highly realistic graphics and to do this they based one of the main characters on an actual person; this person is called Anna Moleva, she is a famous cosplay artist who was headhunted by the 2K developer to portray the character Elizabeth. I think this was a really good idea because you can use her face but you can add/edit it as much as you want so the character can be developed in many different ways.

Elizabeth

Anna Moleva as Elizabeth http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/ingame/bioshock-infinite-developer-hires-stunning-real-life-elizabeth-lookalike-1C7393954

Gavin Goulden is the lead artist/character designer for Bioshock Infinite. Goulden uses 3D programs to create incredibly detailed characters such as the patriots, the boys of silence and the vox (basically he designed most of the antagonists in the game).  His best model, in my opinion, would have to be the motorized patriots that he created.  The base/unfinished model is without colour and it looks great as there is a lot of depth within the tone and shading that has been used but as soon as colour has been added you can see all of the textures, for example you can see that the flag is dirty and some of the metal is rusted.

Personally I like the way in which the antagonists he has created relate to either the story/environment/main characters as an example I mean that ‘The Boys of Silence’ are made to have similar aspects of the ‘Songbird’ (Songbird being the main antagonist, The Boys of Silence being the sidekicks/henchman). Another example would be the ‘Motorized Partiots’ I feel that the American sort of themed Antagonist relates to the environment. In Bioshock everything is set in 1912 in a nice sunny city called Columbia which happens to be a mystical flying city based on the physics of quantum levitation (magnetic pulse/field in which the objects such as blimps and buildings conduct the field).

Bioshock

Artist: Gavin Goulden

Source: http://www.iamag.co/features/the-art-of-gavin-goulden/

(Quotes from https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/350677.Ken_Levine )

Games Design, Character Design – Oddworld Inhabitants, Farazad Varahramyan

The games company ‘Oddworld Inhabitants’ created ‘Abe’s Oddysee’ in 1997 on the PlayStation One console. Because of the technology at that current time, the game graphics quality may not be up to standards, however, Oddworld Inhabitants main goal was to be one of the first games to create a 3D platform game atmosphere. Even though you could only move left and right from different screens you still had that 3D aspect coming from the character style as well as the environment art. To create this 3D effect one of the methods included using what is known as the ‘Parallax Scrolling Effect’; this basically creates a 3D atmosphere using camera techniques. To create this effect the game is made up of the foreground, mid-ground and background. The background camera pans really slow and the images in the foreground move faster than the camera at the back which therefore creates an illusion of depth in a 2D format.

I like his work because it’s unusual, creative and quite realistic. Also in this concept art here he has looked at the character from different perspectives. You can also see his work progressing from 2D sketches to the final 3D piece/form. The character he has created here you can tell is made from a metal and using water colours and pastel Varahramyan has the use of texture, 3D form and detail in his work.

The main reason I am a fan of his digital character designs is because in 1997 artists had to use different technology to create digital art, also the process of creating the game ‘Abe’s Oddysee’ started in 1955 whereas the game was actually released in 1997; so a lot of hard work was put into creating this amazing game. Lorne Lanning (co-founder of Oddworld Inhabitants) explained “We went through much iteration, and continued to change the design until the look of the characters emoted the feelings we wanted to communicate” (quote from http://www.nowgamer.com/the-making-of-abes-oddysee/ ).

Abe 1

Artist:   Farzad Varahramyan

ImageSource:https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6t6iL4wlfDcC&pg=PA129&lpg=PA129&dq=Farzad+Varahramyan+abe&source=bl&ots=Gf6e__JY8r&sig=ADjie2iP5MM5LQJoSMSHJ-vYRqM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBGoVChMIvPLQuK2NyAIViMo-Ch2JJAjR#v=onepage&q&f=false

Farzad Varahramyan didn’t play as big a part in ‘New n Tasty’ as much as he did in ‘Abe’s Oddysee’ and ‘Abe’s Exoddus’, however, he still did a few pieces of concept art towards the new game. Here is one of his pieces of work all in black and white (bottom left image). You can see how much his work has improved since the release of the first of the Oddworld series. His work is more detailed now and more complex as well as looking more realistic and 3D.

The image on the right is from the Alien vs Predator game; a piece of digital artwork done by Varahramyan. This digital work is very interesting as the whole canvas is used so when you look at it your eyes are guided around the whole image by the use of artwork. Even though it’s in black and white you can still see the detail as a lot of tone and contrast is being used.

Abe 2Alien vs Predator

Source: http://oddworld.wikia.com/wiki/File:Shrink_Concept_by_Farzad_Varahramyan.png

Source:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/544865254891511904/

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