Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Task 12: Personal review of the first year

This first year at university has been great and I am glad I made the right choice to study here at De Montfort University because my course is brilliant and it was just like I was expecting and even better. I really like the ways the course has helped me progress with my traditional art skills and in turn helped develop my Photoshop skills. We visited Bradgate Park twice once at the start of the year and just before we left, we had to complete finals for each visit. Here are my finals first one is a water colour completed on the first visit and the second image is a digital paint from sketches and photo references.

As you can see I have improved on my composition and in my colour theory. I have also given the digital paint a lot of atmosphere which the water colour doesn’t have. A suggestion that could be helpful for students in all years could be a couple of hour’s session of critiques and feedback once a week as sometimes I found myself wondering if I was doing enough work as I found time management hard. In my second year I want to keep up the same work rate and even produce more work, personally I would want to see a tutorial or maybe a quick talk on bounce lights as I have not got the hang of getting them correct in my images.
Having come to this course without any previous experience with using any 3D modelling programmes I think I picked up 3dsmax quite well. When there was complaining about 3dsmax from others, I was enjoying and learning about the programme. It is very rewarding when you get to see your final product in 3d on the computer and I really enjoyed the Gladiator model as we got to rig it and we got to see our character move around an environment. I did think for a couple of the tasks we were given too much time was given. I then started to ease off of my work flow and not keeping to my schedule due to the long production time, but this only happened twice. Going in to the second year i would like to see more of our last project which was the gun project, as we got to come up with an original idea and develop it so it included all 3 sub sections (visual design, game production and critical studies). Here is and image of my Gladiator.
The size of the groups for our critical game studies is just right as it is not overcrowded and we can all have a say in the discussions going on. At the start of the year our group wasn’t talking or discussing that much and I think is due to people not knowing each other enough, a suggestion to get around this is could have been a casual presentation/talk at the start of the year which was about the individual i.e. what games we play, what inspires us. Another suggestion is we could have organised to all meet up in one of the rooms for a general chat or even a trip to a pub for pint. I found the talks to be helpful as I have learned more about the industry and what a job in industry entails.

Task 11: Elements of game design, part four: environment

As you can tell from the title this week’s blog task is to talk about the environments in games. To start getting a working environment you need an idea now this idea needs to be well thought out and the best ideas are based on real life. You will need good visual reference i.e. photographs or videos and good sketches so you can visualize the overall level normally you would draw a lot of different designs from all angles.

You would then draw a floor plan for each level on the map depending if you game has multiple levels. Floor plans can help you decide where players will go through the level or how the map will be played. The floor plans can then be taken into engine and a white box can be created, this white box will allow you to scale and build your level in 3d so you can run around the map so you can see if it works. A white box should be a very simple overall design so you can iron out any problems that may occur when you play the map.
After this you should add terrain and a sky if your map is open and also add basic lighting so you can see the overall atmosphere of the map. The next step is to create basic textures and apply them to your white box so it gets rid of the flag texture, so it is then easier to take away parts of the map that will be static meshes. Adding objects is next and will always want to start working from big to small and you want don’t want to focus on a small part of the map the whole map needs love. You would then go into the texturing phases and then finally you would tweak the lights and start making them a bit more complex.
I’m saving my money for a game called brink it looks to be a really good game and his heavily stylised it is getting compared to team fortress 2. I believe as long as you don’t go wild on stylisation, you keep everything consistent and always reference things from real life the player should not loose belief in the game world. Brinks environments are really well made and look amazing they have got the atmosphere just right and looks just like their early concept art. An area called container city looks just like the slums in Brazil and India lots of corrugated metal all rusted and decaying there are areas with neon signs quite like blade runner but the lights could have been influenced from other cities i.e. Japan. Brink has a key feature in its game called the smart system "Smart Movement Across Random Terrain" this allows players to run, jump and strafe across the environment to get a better view point on other players and the maps. This means all the environment has specific collision boxes and each object has been placed in the environment with thought and precision.

Task 10 Elements of game design, part three: Character

Hey people this week I’m going to be talking about characters and what they can bring to certain types of media.

When I read books (which isn’t often) I like to visualise the character in my own way so a book with important descriptions of character in it is perfect for me. Normally when I read books I can emphasis with the characters more than in films. I’m currently reading a book by Andy McNab called Zero Hour, I really like Andy McNab books due to the realism, language used, important character descriptions and history behind the main character. In Zero Hour as you find out about the character. (Spoiler alert) as I continued to read I found out that the main character has a terminal illness, this made me empathise with the character more due to the raw human emotion that surrounds terminal illnesses.
A film that I really liked and found it easy to empathy with the characteristics was inception to be a really good film due to the script and actors. I started to believe that the dreams and its intruders could actually happen due to the great acting and also that our dreams are private and the script bends that theory completely. Also Leonardo de Caprio plays the main character because he has lost his wife which is very traumatic experience.
The Directors/Writers use our human emotions to empathise with the characters, also putting the characters in certain situations will provoke different responses.
When Directors/Writers choose to create a character they need 6 key points and here they are.
1.       Speech: The content and manner of speech can help evoke personality such as shy, aggressive and anxious.
2.       Motivation: The character ought to have good reasons for their actions.
3.       Concreteness: Everything has to be realistic your character, giving your character specific beliefs is one way another is to create more information about your character for instance, specific brands from certain supermarkets this could show his social background and income.
4.       Change: A character should react to their responses either by changing or avoiding the change. The character needs to grow and develop throughout the story by adapting to situations.
5.       Behaviour: A good way to show a characters behaviour is to put the character under stress which can reveal certain traits. The behaviour of the character needs to be regular with what we already know of the character.
6.       Symbolic association: The mind associates meaning to an image/event thus making it symbolic. So if I was to choose the colour red as the colour of my characters jacket it could show that he is angry.
I’ve recently watched the whole series of The Walking Dead and it is a fantastic TV show, but it was first a comic book and I’m looking to buy them to. The Show is directed by Frank Darabont who is also known for directing The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. The camera angles used help me feel as if I could be in the show its self. The character Rick Grimes is played by Andrew Lincoln who is an English actor and plays a quintessential American cop his acting is amazing in the show. The main story line is Rick is a cop he wakes up one day from a coma to find the earth is overrun by walkers (zombies) and he doesn’t know what has happened to his family so he tries to find them.
So overall I believe that a character needs a history and we need to know a bit about it to fully understand a character. Using traumatic or stressfully events can show a character in another light and can also help us empathise with the character.