Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Final Concept - Project Have Fun

   This is my final concept for the horror survival game that i wanted to create.  I wanted the final piece to be messy and dark, which is why i chose to do my concept in this style. In conclusion, i really enjoyed working on something like this as it gave me the freedom to make my own desicions and make something fresh out of my mind. If given more time i believe i could generate more concept sketches and develop the stroyline more in depth. I also like what i've learnt on this project. I don't use Photoshop alot so it was useful to mess around with the programme and learn it's commands. I hope that my concept piece gives off the correct perception, and that you can tell the genre it is.

WIP Final Concept

Monday, 26 March 2012

Project Have Fun art 2

Project Have Fun Art

Project Have Fun

     For my Project Have Fun idea I decided to do a first person survival horror. I love zombies, and if you don’t know this by now you should leave my life. Forever. But in all seriousness, I wanted to do a game that I felt passionate about, I adore the way survival horrors make me feel, the feeling that you get when your smashing a zombies head in, or when something jumps out at you and you jump through the ceiling.

    For the environment I decided to base my game in a hospital. I started by thinking of all the places I found scary, I went through all the stereotypical places, like a graveyard, hotel or abandoned mansion. I finally decided on a hospital . Hospitals are were all different people with all different diseases gather. Nobody enjoys visiting a hospital, and they can be big and foreboding with an air of death around them. What better place to set a survival horror game?

    So I thought of all the different areas you can get in a hospital, ranging from the CT scanner room, to the parking, to the reception area. I produced some concept art into my sketchbook and decided to base my concept art in a hallway as this would give me more scope when adding items into the scene. Mise-en-scene can play an important part in an environment. I drew some concepts of different types of hallway and decided to use different parts of a few of the ideas. I wanted to add a lift, to play on the fear of claustrophobia. If you are a fan of the horror genre, then you should know, if the apocalypse is to come, stay away from lifts. It is no time to be lazy. I decided to use an open ward in the background so I can play with lighting in the scene. I want my scene to be very dark, which will play on the phobia of the dark, Nyctophobia.

   Onto Character design, I decided to stick with two characters, a man and a woman because sexual tension sells. I decided to have the women have an authorities job, I played with the different job roles in the hospital. After looking at the concepts I made the decision of choosing to make her a surgeon. She will be head strong and an independent women. She will have to save the other character, by performing minor surgery on him. The male character will be used to emotionally manipulate the audience. He will be a minor criminal, using guns and robbing occasionally. He will end up at the hospital after getting into trouble with the law. At first, we  will see him as  a baddie, as he has done bad in his life, however, he changes himself for the better (this will be his character arc) by helping and protecting the surgeon. He will also teach the surgeon the way of using guns. This will show us a character change, as she used to save lives, but now she is taking the life away from the zombies. These are the basic ideas I have made for my characters. They each have an individual character arc, which will give them new meaning to their life.

    The final concept art will take place in a hospital environment, in a hallway with an open ward and a lift. There will be a small amount of lighting, as the game is mainly set in the dark. I will add some darkness in the foreground to make the darkness personified, to make it appear that the zombies are chasing the characters. I will place the two characters in the middle of the scene. The male will be standing behind the woman in a protective stance, grabbing his gun with another weapon in his other hand. The woman will be in front of him turning around to see the darkness behind them. The scene will have hardly any colour, except red for blood, to represent danger. The platform I will base my game on is PS3, and will have a recognized standard ratio of 16:9.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Rules for LIFE - Project Fun

Rules for Characters:

-          Always have a recognisable silhouette. You need the audience to be able to remember and recognise your character so that they can buy more games if the character is involved. If you make your character’s silhouette boring and standard then it will just fall into the pit of useless characters, which will be very bad for you and your company.

-          Do not over complicate your character. You will need to be able to produce quick sketches of your characters a lot, if you make them overly complicated then you will waste important time. Another reason, is that the audience needs to be able to remember your character. Fan-based armies rule the gaming world, you need your audience to be able to remember the few little traits that your character has, not every little tiny detail.

-          Use the correct colour theory. There is nothing worse than looking at someone’s overly saturated, brightly coloured character and having a seizure. Seizure’s are not good, you need to keep your audience alive to buy your games. Therefore, stick to the colour wheel and chose colours that compliment each other, not every single colour imaginable that looks like a clown has just thrown up on your character.

-          Check out characters that sell well, think of characters such as Lara Croft and think why they are so popular. Look and research why she is how she is and try and do the same for your character. Ideas can be stolen, but be careful not to just copy someones idea, this will be obvious and annoying to any fans of the original. Angry fans are angry, stay clear of them.

-          Make sure to research your ideas. There is no use designing a character for a game based in the 1800’s and give them the newest blackberry curve, with a tight short dress and massive killer heels. That may be suitable for this century, but you certainly wouldn’t see David Oliver Allen texting and friend requesting his homies back in the 1800’s.

-          Personality needs to be researched. You don’t want your character to be boring and guessable. You need the audience to fall in love with your character, (or hate them, if they are a baddy) Giving your character a mixed personality would confuse the audience. Nobody likes being confused, so don’t do it.

-          Don’t offend your audience by having massivly in-your-face stereotypes which could be taken as an insult.

-          You should have one strong idea radiating throughout the design. If you create a weak, flimsy, scared character, you don’t want people to get the wrong idea and think he’s a massive hero and then by shocked when he runs off at the first sign of conflict.

-          Make sure you know there back story. Don’t elaborate some BS because you have no idea why and what he’s doing in his life. You need to have a strong idea and be happy with it before making your character. Don’t make your character hollow, make sure he has a dedicated backstory.

-          It’s very difficult not to get “precious” over your designs. They are your little children and someone is there ripping them apart. These people who are criticizing you are paying your wages. Shut up and crack on.

-          Listen to other’s opinions on your character, don’t liet your pride get in the way. Listen and take on board what people say. Obviously if you totally disagree then don’t do it, but make sure you take in all the hints and tips from others and change your character if you think it would be best.

Rules for Environment:

-          Pathetic Fallacy. Use it. It was recognised for a reason, it will help you convey meaning and emotional response in your environment. Which will result in the correct emotion being displayed in the audience.

-          Don’t mess around with colour theory. Objects in the environment are coloured for a reason, you can sometimes use colour theory to provoke and emotion in the audience. For example, a darkened hallway will show danger and the audience will respond to that with the emotion of fear.

-          Have a dedicated light source. You may wish to have more than one light source in your scene, that’s fine as long as you know how to shade appropriately according to these light sources.

-          Like the character, research where you want to make an environment to make sure it is believable. Believability is what sells, people buy games to escape, you don’t want there to be blatant flaws in your environment which stops that.

-          Imagination will help you design environments that are interesting and beautiful to the audience. Let your imagination run wild, but make sure you have the believability still there.

-          Props are important features in the environment, too many or too little will shape the way the audience reacts with your environment.

-          Makes sure you don’t use colours that could cause an injury, we’ve all seen them scenes were you have to squint your eyes really far so that you don’t get a raging headache when trying to read a sign with white writing and a bright yellow background. Don’t do it, your audience will thank you.

-          Take criticisms and use them to your advantage. It will most likely improve your work which will improve your pay check. They may seem harsh, but make sure you take them on board.

-          Stay within a recognized genre. Don’t mix them unless it’s the very very last thing you need to do in your life. You need a strong clear idea of an environment and genre, don’t stray too far from this genre and you should be safe.

-          Get a steady balance of reality and imagination. Both of these will prove useful in your environment. But you need to make sure you don’t go OTT on both. A steady mixture and flow will help create an environment to be appreciated.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Personal Review

     This year I feel like I’ve been dropped in, head deep in water, trying to paddle my way against the strong winding current trying to pull myself to shore. The weird thing is, I liked it. I was in a world that I’m not used too, things happened which I didn’t understand and I worked my way around so many obstacles and problems.

     I have enjoyed the first year, it felt like I was actually somewhere were I was meant to be. I look back and see my early game production and visual design work and I can see how much I’ve learnt just in this first year. I have retained important information and have learnt more than I ever thought I would do. I enjoyed learning, I wanted to learn, I thrived to learn. What is it all for? You have to chase your dream, I feel so lucky to have been able to begin chasing for what I desire. I hope that my efforts are enough for me to progress through to the second year. I have had this chance, which is more than what most people get and I should be grateful, which I am. Only time will tell if my heart weighs the same as the “Game Art” feather of truth and justice.

     The general structure of the course is something that I have found interesting, I was used to being constantly fed information at school. Coming to university made me realise that learning doesn’t have to be boring and aggravating. You need to be able to find things out for yourself, and this helps you remember and recall anything which you’ve learned. I like the freedom we got, it’s not just a single pathway, you have to decide where you need to go.

     The different elements of the course have been intriguing too. The movies on a Wednesday afternoon was something I wasn’t expecting, but totally enjoyed. It gave me a reason to watch a film that I wouldn’t usually choose to watch. My film studies history allowed me to see these films in a different perspective.

     Looking back, I see what I have done wrong. I wish I could go back and change it, but I can’t, I have to live with these little decisions I have made throughout my life. I’d love to be the perfect game art student, I know I am not and I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I just hope that I can do enough to make people realise that I am not going to give up on this course without a fight. I will use every strength in my flimsy body to push for my dreams and chances to come true.

    Now for the constructive feedback for the course. As I said above, I enjoyed the variety of lessons and structure of the course as I found it completely motivating. The enthusiasm from the lecturers was inspiring. It’s nice to see that the lecturers enjoy the course as much as the students. It’s also nice to learn about the personal artistic backgrounds of others. It makes them seem more approachable and I have found this excellent for me to progress. I am incredibly happy with the teaching I have received here. I appreciate the knowledge I have gained.

      The only thing I’d want to change is possibly how the course is marked. I would prefer that I had knowledge of exactly how people mark work. Also, I have found that some people use cheating methods to attain there end renders. I dislike cheating because I want to be able to make these things myself. I have come from nearly none knowledge of art to what I am now, and I did this myself. It upsets me that some people ask for help all the time without trying it themselves. Surely it means more for someone to learn by themselves the hard way than having someone else do work for them. I would hope that there was a way to stop people cheating or perhaps applying this to end results. I am by no means saying that people should not ask for help, because I think it’s good to receive help when you are completely stuck, but sometimes I’ve seen people not even try because it’s easier to ask someone to show you and do it for you. It is the students artistic capability that should be judged, not someone elses.

      However I think the course offers a fantastic selection of lessons and tutorials. I would not be at the stage I am now without it. So I thank everyone who has made this possible. Hopefully I will be here next year to see myself progress further, but I am incredibly thankful to get this far.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Level Design and Enviroment

    Level designers construct and decorate the environment in ways so that the audience can enjoy and understand  the game. Good navigation is key to having an enjoyable game. We have all been there, running around a level and passing the same rock 20 times, we wonder if we’re just running in circles or whether there are several rocks using the same texture sheet. Either way, it’s really frustrating to the audience. We don’t play games to make us agitated (unless your into that sort of thing in a weird sexual way) we like to be able to know what we are doing and where we need to go.

    So it’s the job of the level designers to make navigation easy for everyone. They do this by using items and backgrounds to tell us where we need to go. This might be as simple as a “Go this way” sign or arrow, but mostly, the use of inanimate objects block different pathways off so that we follow the one directional route that we are supposed to take. Things like buildings or bushes may also be used to blockade an area off. These construction methods will make the game easily navigated, causing less stress and confusion in the audience. The level designers may also use the decoration to suggest routes to take, like for example, they may use lighting sources to show a correct route, or brighter colours or symbolic colours such as red to suggest danger in a certain area.

    The environment influences the atmosphere of a game a lot. Certain tactics can be used to create a specific feel to a game. Pathetic fallacy is used most games and films to create atmospheric values. For example, a horror game may be set mostly in the dark with rain, this will signify to the audience that something bad is likely to happen resulting in a sad ending. Pathetic fallacy is used all the time to help persuade the audience to feel a certain emotion. How an object is created can also help display certain emotions in the audience, for example, a tree in a horror game is likely to be shown as dead, with lots of branches spiking out. If this tree was to be placed in “happier” game that it would seem out of place. A fantasy game would usually use a lustful tree with bright leaves shimmering in the sunlight to create a more positive influence.

     Colour theory is highly important and must be understood by the level designers. They need to be able to add certain symbolic colours to items to provoke a needed emotion in the audience. This will help the narrative and the overall gaming experience. Colours such as yellow and orange stimulate positive thoughts. Colours such as blue and red will provoke negative emotions. This is because the audience will be used to seeing such things as warning signs, which are red and blood, which is also red and will therefore recognise that red most will be most likely to occur in dangerous situations.

       The amount of realism and stylisation needs to be carefully decided so that the audience can believe what is going on in the game. Realism can be used to make the audience believe that the game is real. Games like modern warfare will need to relate to reality. It is no use having unicorns in the sky if they want to create a realistic effect. With stylisation it is much harder to get a convincing environment, as it isn’t real. The stylisation needs to have a realistic base structure, so that the audience can believe that it may be true. We have to be able to realise when something is real and when something is fake, but imagination will allow us to decide whether the environment is plausible or not. This will have to be given a lot of thought about by the level designers. There needs to be a good balance of both of these things otherwise the game will not be convincing.

    For me, I believe a really good environment I have seen is from a game called Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Designed by Thomas Grip, Jens Nilsson and Mikael Hedberg. Throughout the game you automatically get a sense of foreboding and evil. The environment is constructing mostly within a large house. The creators used a lot of unsaturated greys, blues and browns to provoke a frightening response to the audience. Mist is a common feature scene in the environment and light plays a key part spotlighting specific gruesome areas. Most of the rooms have very little natural light and keep the character and therefore the audience, in the dark. This will show the audience that this is a horror game, as most horror stories take place in darkness, because humans fear what they cannot physically see. It also plays on Nyctophobia, Lygophobia and Achluophobia all being related to having a fear of the dark. It pays homage to any generic haunted buildings in the world, the dark rooms and scary environment is commonly scene in horror films and games and can be related to most of the haunted houses that are well known. It is a general horror-based environment, but does very well to provoke the correct fear response and emotion in the audience.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent screenshots of the enviroment.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Blind Contour

Blind Contour! I really need to make my brain stop thinking so much sometimes!!

Friday, 9 March 2012


      The whole idea of a character is the emotional connection between them and the audience. The director of a film, game or even book will have to decide what kind of emotional response they want from a character. For example, the audience will need to feel hatred towards an evil person for there bad doings, if you make the evil character likeable, then the audience will get the wrong impression and therefore might make the narrative more unpredictable and confusing. It is better for the roles of characters to be clear, in case of people of lower intelligence. Unless for example, in “Blade Runner” the director, Ridley Scott manipulates the audience from hating the main bad character Batty to feeling sorry for him at the end by such things as iconography. It takes a lot of skill in cinematography to get away with a manipulation on that scale. So this is why most types of entertainment featuring people are very simple, audiences have been dumbed down by films and games, so anything new and different can be problematic for audiences.

     As a human, we read into people’s body language sometimes even more than conversation. This is why it is important for characters to be easily read, confusion between the characters and audience may make the narrative not very enjoyable and pleasing on the eye. Audiences like to feel comfortable while watching a film, passive viewing has become more and more appropriate for audiences in recent years, as having to work to understand a character means too much effort, as these sort of entertainment is mainly for enjoyment purposes, people don’t want to work to understand the characters and narrative.

    The audience will project there alter ego onto a protagonist in a game or film, meaning that they will see themselves in that kind of role. This means the audience will sympathise and recognise the protagonist as the good role. This is why I, and the audience will see them as good and wish them well. Same can be said for the antagonist, we recognise the bad behaviour through how the character acts and therefore we feel negative emotions towards.

    As a character, it is important for all aspects, such as script, acting and appearance to be of a good quality and easily understood. The script will have to suit the characters personality otherwise the audience will once again get the wrong impression. If for example, an antagonist is being really polite and kind, you are going to get confused as to what his specific role is.

     The acting of a character is also important so we can read the correct body language. If all the acting is very poor it may be misunderstood and the audience may not be able to properly relate.

     The appearance will also need to be in the same kind of style as other features of the character. These three features influence the way the audience reacts and feels towards a character, if one of these is done poorly, then it will affect the overall performance the character gives off. This is why it is important to understand the roles of a character and give them background as to why they are like that rather than just making a character like that because they think it looks good.

    The kind of stories that I love are mostly one where there is some sort of zombie apocalypse. The first reason being that I am totally obsessed by zombies. The second reason is that I like to see how the actors (the characters) react to this sort of apocalypse. In many zombie films, it is shown that the humans are more scary than the zombies. Zombies just follow there basic natural instinct to find food and eat. In the films, the humans tend to push others out of the group and basically show off how horrible they are. In most films zombies are shown as more human than the actual humans. This is because the zombies are killing for food, to keep themselves alive, which shows humanity in them. The humans sometimes end up killing another human because he or she doesn’t like them. For example, in “28 Days Later” cinematography is used to show how mindless humans are, by repeativly using camera angles where the top of the human actors head is cut off, this shows how thoughtless people can be towards each other. Disaster brings out the real personality in a human.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Pacman Vs FEAR

     Is FEAR that much different from Pacman? At first you think, well yes of coarse! It’s completely different, for first Pacman is 2D, FEAR happens to be 3D, which is a massive difference in the way the game is designed. FEAR would have taken a lot longer with much more intricate detailing, design and art.
     Basic controls are used in Pacman, direction arrows allow the player to move around the maze avoiding the ghosts at all times, unless the roles are reversed by eating certain fruit. The controls in FEAR are more tactical, with the controls ranging from the shooting to running and general moving, with flash lights and object interaction. A lot more detail had to be made for FEAR to work, Pacman is more simplistic, although for the time it came out, it was pretty futuristic as not many games had been made then, so audiences wouldn’t have expected as much as people do now.
     In FEAR there is also a more comprehensive narrative, it takes you through different stages and levels with a more varied storyline.  Pacman however, is basically the same simplistic story of being chased by ghosts around a maze over and over again. FEAR has a single-point narrative, however you can go about getting through this in a couple of ways, maybe alternating ways of killing and such.
     But FEAR is very similar to Pacman! Why you ask? Because the creators use the same emotion to fulfil the gamers desires, fear. Yes, pacman is not scary because recient developments in film and games had numbed audiences into brainless “zombies”, nothing scares us much anymore because we are used to the reaccuring themes. But when Pacman first game out, audiences were scared, it is basically a yellow person trapped in a maze being chased by ghosts. Now if that happened in reality, I think we can all say we’d be pretty scared being chased by a never ending round of ghosts. FEAR is very similar, it plays on the primal instinct of the audience of being frightened, it is on a more in depth level than pacman, as it uses psychological and physiological (if you get THAT scared by it) fear to make the audience scared. Every game is deigned to provoke an emotion, this is how the audience relate to a game. Pacman and FEAR both use the same emotion to stimulate the audience.
    FEAR is a glorified version of Pacman, in both games you are being chased around some sort of maze (One is a building and surrounding area, and the other is an actual maze) by something evil that wants to kill you. However much the fundamental controls in FEAR are different, it is still the same sort of chasing fear that the game uses. If you change the games down to there basic rules, be chased, run and kill, they are practically identical, and the only reason why FEAR is different is because it was made in an era where horror is more glorified, and gaming technology has increased.
    In conclusion, when we ask the question is FEAR that much different from pacman, we immediately think, of coarse! But on deeper analysis, they are quite the similar type of game.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Art Director Role

     A Video Game Art Director’s role consists of constructing and criticising the quality of art that can be incorporated into games. They need to be well educated in art, as they will need to be able to recognise aspects of art such as drawing, 3Dmodels and colour knowledge. Creativity is a key point as the Art Directors needs to be very visual with the job at hand. You need to have an open mind to different types of art if you want to be a good art director, as art that you may not like, may be popular. You have to think beyond your own personal preferences and into the ideas that will be most popular with the target audience.

    A director also has to be very good working in part of a team, he will have to correspond around the art team so that all the different departments can communicate with each other, so that there is a consistency in the art that is produced. The art director must be able to pick and choose the best styles of art that he think will be most popular. Within the team, there will be a lot of different opinions, it is the art directors job to manage all the thoughts and decide on which ones would be best. The art director will have to make sure that the art fits in with what the Game Designers what the game to be like.

    I believe art direction in games is similar to the art direction in films. In film, cinematography is incredibly important in setting a scene and emotions throughout the narrative, it is how the audience reacts and interacts with the story on screen. Games are a little different to film, in the fact that games are heavily based on art direction. Films also have a very strongly based art direction, however if the art is slightly off, the director could possibly make up for it in other areas, where as if there is some disjointed texture on a character in a game, it will be heavily scrutinised for being a lazy effort from the artists in the team. Game and Film art directors both need to have similar creativity and enthusiasm with art based knowledge, this means that the roles that they have are incredibly similar.

   The qualities that would be expected of you if you wanted to become an Art Director in the gaming industry include confidence, you are in charge of an important part of making a game. If you are not confidence and back up your opinions and knowledge with good judgement, then it will be difficult for your game to become popular, which is going to pay your wages. Another important quality you must have is ability to manage time and plans to make the best out of the team and the time limit. There must be quality and quantity of your work. An obvious value that is needed is creativity. You need to have a creative mindset that allows you to wonder through the different ideas of others, stealing, changing and making them better. This is the most important role you need to have to be successful. The drive to become something spectacular should be in your soul, you need to have the push to become what you want.

    Personally, I think the role of the art Director is one that would be very interesting and appealing to me, I could quite easily see myself in that role. To do this I need to strive my artistic capabilities to the highest possible limits.

Thursday, 1 March 2012