Sunday, 13 November 2011

The History of Games 90's to Current

The indication of a new decade is the fashion and music scene, here we are introduced to well-known bands such as Nirvana, Public Enemy and The Prodigy, and the Goth fashion begins.

In 1991 there was the collapse of the Soviet Union and the first Gulf war, and consoles such as the Commodore CDTV, Phillips CDI and the Super Nintendo were introduced. Sonic the Hedgehog was brought out into the gaming world and most importantly, I was born! Hahaha! ^__^ The 90's finished off the arcade scene as people could now play their favourite arcade games, like Street Fighter, at home. A few more consoles around in the early 90's were the Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear and the Atari Jaguar. In 1994 the Channel Tunnel was opened connecting England to France underwater, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa, and the first PlayStation was released to the public. The overall quality of games increased dramatically after this time, to the point where it became uncommon to be playing a pixelated, non-3D game. The Nintendo 64 was the next big console to be released along with still familiar games such as Resident Evil, Golden Eye and Zelda (which changed the whole Game Art scene, creating popularity for disproportioned characters with big eyes and pointy ears!) The next big console was the PlayStation 2, released in the year 2000, which brought on the rise of multiplayer games. In 2001 Microsoft finally realises the potential in the gaming market and releases the first Xbox with the first Halo game which boosted sales of Xbox's and created the top 3 consoles = Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's Playstation and Nintendo needed to respond. The Nintendo Game Cube was released, personally I never liked the Game Cube, it was really boxy and ugly and the games just seemed like the ones you could get on N64 just with slightly better graphics, but after all I was biased - I had a Playstation 2 :) By 2006 all three of these competing companies had released another console, the PlayStation 3 offered a built in blu-ray player, monthly film streaming, and a lot of memory to store games on. 
The Xbox 360 offered a larger range of games (as Microsoft bought out the rights to a lot of them), all profiles require an “avatar” that can be dressed up however you want (mine has a Gears of War 3 Locust head ^^) and the graphics are as good quality as the PlayStation 3. The Nintendo Wii introduces wireless motion sensor technology at the expense of good graphics, when you move the controller to the left, your character moves to the left, the Wii offered a range of it's own games that were aimed at families and that are not really recognised as “real” games by “real” gamers, but the technology that was introduced to the gaming market cannot be ignored. In 2010 Microsoft responded to the Wii by bringing out Kinect which was the same sort of concept but no controller was required, just a camera. I would be surprised if all three consoles don't merge together some time in the future to create one master console called the Playtendo 360 or something like that, they could all put their good ideas together and there would be no competition!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Batman: Arkham City Review

I know that it may be two and a half weeks later than the release date but I would like to share my views on Batman Arkham City (wasn't sure if we could review games on here or not!) Ok, well the gameplay has been improved tremendously from Arkham Asylum, as I will admit I didn't really get into that game as I felt that I was being forced into following a set path to complete the levels, it might as well of been a film rather than a game as there wasn't a lot of choice with what you could do. However Arkham City feels more like a free-roaming game with lots of side quests, so lots of things to do!
I was really impressed by the graphics, the whole game has a really dark feel to it so it mirrors the style of the Dark Knight film quite well, and some of the bad guys look really quite scary! For example, Penguin has the bottom end of a glass bottle wedged in his eye socket for a monocle, creepy stuff! The characters themselves are also quite realistic compared to most games (of course characters like the Joker still look a bit weird, but I think that is acceptable) 
I like that the female characters have almost believable shaped bodies, although they don't have an ounce of fat on them except for in their breasts! (But nowhere near as bad as Lara Croft or most Japanese games!) and apart from Batman and Robin, the male characters aren't unbelievably muscular. The buildings are extremely texture heavy and there is a lot of detail all over. Obviously you play as Batman most of the time so you can just glide up onto a roof, and on that roof you will find some grimy mould, cracked cement or some bird poo splattered on some gravel, I love the amount of detail!
It has become quite annoying with most games that I play lately, as I keep seeing how things have been put together now that I have started using 3DS Max! Batman however is an exception, it's one of those games where it is quite difficult to spot whether “that wrinkle in that guys t-shirt” is just texture or part of the 3D model for example, I am guessing it is texture so I think a big round of applause goes to the texture artists! (I would still like to know the triangle count for some of the things though! :P) 
Nevertheless I would say that there is one quite annoying feature of this game, and that is that you can't just run/glide/stand around the city without getting attacked by someone/something! You could just be stood there trying to figure out how to get one of the Riddler's trophies and all of a sudden you hear “It's the Bat, get him!” ...for goodness sake, let me figure out the riddle!! D': But other than that, the storyline is good, the graphics are great and I haven't found any glitches yet, so it is a well built game! I give it a 4 out of 5 :)

Visual Design Update

This is just a quick update on what I have done for my Visual Design lesson so far. After the preliminary sketches of the archway, I managed to finish the final drawing in good time, I used pen on brown paper to achieve an aged look. Plus I love working in pen and it created a different affect. 
I found the car project to be the most challenging. I have never drawn a realistic looking car in my life, so being asked to draw one alone was a scary thought and the fact that I had to draw it in 2-point perspective was even more frightening! My first attempts at preliminary sketches were pathetic but I got the hang of the technique eventually. When sitting in my bedroom flat, I just happened to glance out of my window at the car park, and I saw the perfect car! It was really round so I was a bit reluctant at trying to draw it, as although I had got a hang of the 2-point technique, I had only tried drawing boxy cars. I loved the look of the car so much that I forced myself to be able to draw it!  
(it looked a lot like Pikachu to me) I created my 2-point box and started drawing, and it just worked! I had some quite decent sketches of a car in front of me, I was so proud of myself! I took a photo with my phone while I was sketching the final as it was starting to get dark and I was losing the highlights on the car (my camera was charging, as I was going out that night) I finished off the final drawing of the car the next day using Indian ink for shading. 

All in all, I think I have learnt some valuable new skills and these projects have given me the chance to re-introduce myself to some of my old skills. I will do another update when I have finished / scanned my other pieces.