Sunday, 27 March 2011

General Chat

This week I am going to chat about the course that I am studying which is Games Art at De Montfort University. In the past week we have been studying some of the master artists of our choice.

I chose to study Egon Schiele I found out about his work from a book called “the art book” the book contains lots of influential artists and was published in 1994.  I really liked his portraits due to the realistic look to the figures but on closer inspection you notice how he distorts the human form and proportions. I also love the colours he uses for the skin tones these colours to me seem quite dirty and on purpose. We had to recreate the masters piece of work in any media we liked it had to resemble the original trying to emulate the brush strokes, here is my final outcome.
We also had to complete a painting on the study of another master, I chose Frans Hals. I really liked the quick, precise brush strokes and the very similar colour tones. I decided to use traditional media for this piece as I haven’t painted on a canvas before. I am really pleased with the final outcome, if I was to change anything I would use a similar pallet to the original.

Task 9: Elements of game design, part two: art direction for games

This week’s task is to write about art direction this involves what is an art director and what’s the difference between media with art direction.
An Art director in the media of games is in charge of the art team and what the team produces. The art director makes crucial decisions like which way should the art style go, what visual elements should be used, what the team should be working on and a lot more. As an Art director you need to lead your team into creating concepts and then forming them in the media. The art director will be in charge of lots of smaller groups normally managed by lead artists he/she would arrange frequent meeting with all groups to see if they are heading in the right direction he/she is looking for. The Art director will look out for anything that does not merge with the art direction he/she is looking for, and you would have to change it to his specifications. Art directors are responsible to the Game designer and the publisher.
I believe that the Art director has a very creative role in making a game. As the Art director gives critical analysis and feedback on the way the assets look, to the overall art direction. This analysis should be given back to the creator responsible and should not be negative unless the object in discussion is completely wrong haha. When I say the feedback should not be negative I mean that you shouldn’t be rude and impolite, you still need to give crits telling them if something is wrong. The Art director needs to be positive otherwise the studio will be a horrible place to work as the staff will not put any effort into the assets.
The Art director in films is a very important job you would work under the production designer and you would be in charge of the whole art department and collaborating with the Set director. If you were an Art director in this field you would have more of a managerial role. You would have to work with other departments such as Locations Department and Special FX.
In advertising the Art director is not the head honcho but is a part of a coalition with another role called a Copywriter. They collaborate with each other creating the initial concepts, the Copywriter is in charge of the textual content and the Art director is in charge of the visual design. The overall outcome should be a joint effort.
As of now I’m not sure if I would want to be an Art director as it seems to be more of a managerial role in the games industry but down the line in my carrier this might be more suited to me? Who knows haha? If I wanted to become an Art director I would need to have impressive skills and experience in video games and I would have preferably been working in the games industry for a while. Although there are some circumstances in which people have got the job even if they haven’t studied or worked their way through the game industry they have studied courses such as fine art and photography.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Controller layouts and custom mapping

Hey guys, this week I saw a video from PAX the video showed a disabled man asking developers why a lot of their games was not catering to him and other fellow disabled gamers. The reason why the gentleman could not play certain games on consoles was due to the button layouts they provided he could not press specific buttons at certain times. His aim was to get the console developers more aware of people in his situation or similar situations.
PC developers have a reputation for allowing their players the freedom to customise their setup and even the game its self through mods. Games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft allow their players to customise their own control schemes, for instance there is a mouse from razor that has 17 programmable buttons that means if you mapped all the controls on to the mouse you wouldn’t have to touch the keyboard for certain games.

Games like Call of Duty and Halo have been giving their players control pre-sets for a while this has been helpful for players, especially those that play other games with similar pre-sets. A new game from Bethesda/Splash Damage is called Brink, Brink will have custom mapping for consoles. This is great news but why is Brink the first game to do this? As it seems stupid to alienate a potential consumer.
Here are my thoughts on why game developers might not want to allow custom mapping for consoles. Consoles have game controllers with a specific amount of buttons and the amount is normally quite small, therefore the developers could be thinking that they are giving to many options to the player who then could get confused. Other developers believe the layout they have given the character is the best layout to play the game.
Overall I believe all games on consoles should allow custom mapping but I believe we should still keep the specific pre-sets, they should be packaged together.

Task 8: Elements of game design, part one: from Pong to next-gen…

In this week’s Blog post I am going to talk about Game design and some of the choices made in the process. 
Gameplay is the interactive aspects that a player is allowed to execute in a game. These aspects could be obstacles tasks or others, you need good instinctive controls that help the gameplay. A good plot/story and if the player can relate to at least one character in your game you are on the winning path. I see good gameplay as, the player fully immersed, felling emotions like empathy hatred, with a well thought out control system and new/unique more complex challenges to keep me playing and entertained. As a player I like rewards and being punished for the decisions I make during a game, unlocking weapons/upgrades keeps me playing a game due to the changes.
Here are some of the most recognizable and talented game designers, I have chosen these designers due to me loving there work. Hideo Kojima was best known for the series Metal Gear Solid, Hideo in 2008 was given the award show's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award for a game designer at the MTV game awards and was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 GDC. Clifford Bleszinski helped create one of my favourite Xbox 360 title Gears of War. Here are the obvious Sid Meier and Will Wright both talented guys between them making games like Civilization and The Sims.
Game design takes can take occur in a number of places, you will need a quick over view of your game this is thought up by your lead designers or an employee this will then be shown to the publishers and may follow the constraints set by them. The programmers and artists then go away produce design documentation so that they can set them self-goals to achieve and so they know what they have to complete within the specific time schedule.
If you are a third-party developer you will usually work with game publishers to develop a multiplatform title. The publisher and the developer both have a say in the design and content of the game. The publisher's normally has the final say over the developer's due to the fact that the publisher is paying the developer to create the title.
I am a first person shooter fan and yes I like call of duty but I also play lots of different genres and styles of games. I am waiting for Guild Wars 2 to come out so I can play my first massively multiplayer game as I’m interested to find out how MMO’s keep the players immersed in the game. As I find FPS get me involved a lot more and I also feel empathy with characters in the game, a 3rd person game doesn’t normally have the same effect with me. So I would say that different genres of games have different design principles.
When I play a game I look for a good story that keeps me interested hours through the game and the story must make me empathies with the characters. I hope that there is no on the rail sections as it breaks the level of immersion for me.