Thursday, 15 December 2011

15/12/11 - Untitled Update

I held off buying a game I wanted (Skyrim) until after assessments, because I knew it'd interfere with my work. Now that we're on Christmas break, I finally bought it, and it's great!

Got some things to tweak on handed in projects, and some personal practice stuff planned too, so I'm not planning to spend Christmas playing Skyrim. Although I'd probably like to :D

Here are two paintings I've worked on these past few days;

I just felt like doing some personal stuff, since I don't usually have the time/motivation to do personal stuff when course stuff is on the list.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Legacy of Kain gallery

I'm putting this here more for future reading than anything. There are some unrelated image strewn around here, but most of the images seem to be from Legacy of Kain - a game series I have always admired for it's interesting dark fantasy setting. And by dark fantasy I don't mean elves with axes...

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2 pitch (+ F1 Vision Statement)

I was doing a little research, and I stumbled upon this - it's the pitch document for Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2. It caught my eye because I'm a fan of the Fallout series, and because it's for a game I new little about that was cancelled.

I've just cut out a massive section of text since it just sounded like fanboy ranting, so I'll leave the actual game out of this and focus on the document itself.

Presentation wise, it's a visually nice document. I'm fairly certain every page contains an image, and there's a watermark-esque radiation symbol in the background of every page, which is nice to look at. Everytime the document reaches a new component (I.E characters) there's an accompanying image, which really helps visualisation.

The 'story' section of the document is fairly long (11 pages), and I'll admit that I just swept over it. It's just too much for this kind of document I feel, if I was a publishing agent I'd like to see a summary of the story which highlights the core and key elements of it, from which I can get a good idea of what the end story is going to be like.

The document also grazes over what I'd consider to be the core of the game, the gameplay itself. What makes it fun to play, what market it'll appeal to and how it's going to sell in the competitive market. Obviously, given that this is a sequel you can look at the previous game to get an impression of how the sequel will play out, but it's unlikely that the marketing/publishing people reading your document will have played the first game.

Update, on a side note;
I just found the Fallout 1 Vision Statement, which is an interesting summary of the things the designers wanted to be core in the game.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Task 17: Elements of game design, part six: documentation

Task 17: Elements of game design, part six: documentation
Like was said in the handbook, I'm going to treat this task like a dry-run for the FMP. Obviously, with my FMP I would spend a lot more time experimenting with ideas to come up with the ideal one, but for now I'm just going to go with the first one that pops into my head. After all, this task is about the documentation, not the idea itself.

Part One: Project Outline

For this project, I intend to create two characters, a vehicle and an environment to serve as a backdrop for these elements. The project will be based around Egypt, more specifically the archaeological digs there around 1920-30. It will be stylised slightly to compliment the technical restraints and to fit the target audience.

 For this project, I am emulating the restrictions of a game created current-gen consoles. I chose to do this as the FMP is viewed as a sort of portfollio piece.

For this project I intend to emulate the restrictions of a game created for current-gen consoles, like the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. I chose to do this primarily as FMP's are portfolio pieces, and a demonstration of all you have learnt, so creating retro-grade assets would seem most likely seem lazy.

The intended 'genre' for the project would be the adventure genre, focused on exploration and puzzles. This has very little influence on the assets beyond the technical limits, as environments would be bigger and characters would be viewed from a 3rd person perspective. Depending on the camera angle, certain elements of the player character would have more detail than others, given priority in relation to their visibility.

I will create the player character (an explorer/archaeologist), a supporting NPC (a sidekick, most likely a research assistant), a vehicle (a buggy or jeep used to travel around locations), and an environment (exterior, dig site).

Throughout this project I aim to develop my knowledge of current-gen technical specifications, time constraints and design restrictions. In terms of skills, I aim to improve my abilities in the areas of character model creation and modular asset creation for environments. Additionally, I hope to further my knowledge of events in history I had little knowledge of, which should help broaden the range of reference that influences my artistic decisions.

For the 3D elements of the project, I will use 3D Studio Max 2012. 3DS Max is an industry standard 3D tool, and a tool we are familiar with. For the 2D elements, such as texture maps and concept work, I will use Adobe Photoshop CS5. Initial concept work for the project will be done traditionally, using pen & paper methods.

Part Two: Technical Specification

Naming Convention for all assets is as follows;

geo_wall_e02b.max - Geometry, Wall segment, Egypt level, number 2 part B.
clr_box_e01c.max - Clutter object, Generic Box, Egypt level, Type 1 variation C

chr_player_bearcostume.max - Character, Player, Special Costume

File Format:                       .max for Scene File
                                         .obj for Import into Engine
                                         .psd for unflattened texture maps
                                         .tga for finalized texture maps

Lead Character

File Name:                        chr_player_regular
Triangle Limit:                    Under 9,000
Texture Budget:                 1024x1024 24-bit Diffuse, Normal and Specular Maps
Description/Note:              Main player character.

Support Character (Buddy, the trainee research assistant)

File Name:                        chr_buddy_regular
Triangle Limit:                    Under 6,000
Texture Budget:                 1024x1024 24-bit Diffuse, Normal and Specular Maps
Description/Note:              Young sidekick character, small and agile.

Vehicle (Willys Overland/Ford 4x4 Utility Jeep)

File Name:                        vhc_jeep_regular
Triangle Limit:                    Under 7,000
Texture Budget:                 2x 1024x1024 24-bit Diffuse, Normal and Specular Maps
Description/Note:              Rugged, dented, and dusty. Interior is cluttered with misfit objects.

Environmental Geometry Assets (Floor tiles, Wall sections)

File Name:                        geo_TYPE_LEVEL~VARIATION~SUBVARIATION
Triangle Limit:                    100 per Square Metre of Floor and Roof
                                         100 per 2 Metres (Length) of Wall
Texture Budget:                 Shared 1024x1024 24-bit Diffuse, Normal and Specular Map for
                                         generic modular assets of a group. For example, all variations of
                                         sandstone tiled floor would use the same texture map

Modular Level Assets (Generic decorations, reoccurring level clutter)

File Name:                        clr_TYPE_LEVEL~VARIATION~SUBVARIATION
Triangle Limit:                    100 for smaller objects
                                         300 for medium sized objects
                                         500 for larger objects
Texture Budget:                 Shared 1024x1024 24-bit Diffuse, Normal and Specular Map for
                                         generic modular assets of a group. For example, similiar variations of
                                         pottery or ornaments would share a texture map.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Morrowind's unique flavour - still a mystery.

I'm still trying to find out what the developers looked at when they came up with these images. I'm really struggling to find out anything about the influences behind Morrowind's design. I really want to know what the designers looked at to get inspired and how they drew these references together to create these fantastic characters. I vaguely remember reading something about arabic and oriental culture having an influence, so I'll start looking into that more.

When I look at these images I get the urge to get some washy pens and try this style of drawing out for myself. I think that's something to experiment with over Christmas.



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