Thursday, 20 December 2012


Project outline
I would like to be an environment artist, so I would focus a lot on the environment and props if I was making a game. I like the concept of Luminesca, and indie game on PC, it is about a small plankton trying to escape and survive, the overall style of the game is very cartoony but quite beautiful. The little “planktids” are very cute, and I like how you cannot see much as the player, but you have to swim around blind and use your own bodily glow to light the way. 

I would like quite a natural but fantasy environment for my game, so a lot of trees and mountains and maybe I might use the glowing idea from Luminesca.

There will be a main NPC that will give you quests and will be a giant tree, like Harold from Fallout 3, The giant tree from Zelda, and Treant from Dark Cloud.

4500 triangle budget
1x diffuse, specular and normal

A vehicle
Quite beautiful vehicle, a mixute between natural and man-made, pretty like the mounts on Avatar or Majesty 2, but quite sleek and modern.

3500 triangle budget per vehicle
1x512 diffuse, specular and normal per vehicle

An environment
Very larger overgrown plants, glowing mushroom trees, like games such as: Blackreach in Skyrim, Shivering Isles in Oblivion, certain parts of Warcraft 3, The first level in Alice Madness Returns.

As I want to go into environments, this is where my focus will be for the game. The Environment will be very detailed and beautiful

15,000 triangle budget as a whole
1x256 diffuse, specular and normal for each asset

Prop or scenery objects
1500 triangle budget per prop

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Level Design

When playing a game, it would get very annoying and confusing if your character kept bumping into invisible barriers and there wasn't an obvious path to take. The level designer places visible obstacles in the way; such as environmental objects like trees and mountains, or man made objects like locked doors, rubbish piles, and buildings.
Level designers create obstacles in the level to prevent the player from entering a door or just to slow them down. In a lot of Lego games (developed by TT games) the levels are very linear as in you cannot move outside of the set path. However the Lord of the Rings Lego game is more free roaming than the previous Lego games released. 
Like all Lego games the Lord of the Rings game is split up into the levels that follow the actual storyline, (although it cuts out more of the story than the films do) and the free roaming level where the player can walk around all of the different towns and locations in their own time to unlock extra collectables and playable characters.

 I chose to talk about the Lord of the Rings Lego game because it is the most recent and also on a much larger scale than the other Lego games. Lego Batman 2 was reasonably big, but Lego Lord of the Rings is bigger. I enjoy playing Lego console games because they tend to break up the serious fighting parts with puzzles and simple humour to calm the players. The levels are unpredictable and have to be played through again with different characters that can be unlocked in later levels.

A good example of bad level design is Beautiful Katamari, the aim of this game is to roll your Katamari (ball) around a room sticking objects to it, the bigger the ball gets, the bigger things you can stick to it. The downside to this is that a lot of the time the katamari gets stuck in between something or just stuck glitching through a wall and you spend most of the time trying to rotate around the katamari to get it unstuck. The game gets very repetitive and quite annoying especially as if your katamari isn’t big enough by the time limit the king will shout at you and say how pathetic you are. :(

(Or maybe I'm just not good at this game)
Either way, this GIF describes what a game would be like without good level design:


Level design is a precise and technical job concerning the players movement through the level. The layout and placement of moveable and unmoveable objects and the over all duration of the level are some of the main things a level designer is concerned about. 

Other key factors in level designing are:
The genre of game.
The number of people the game is intended for.
Are both teams equally matched?
The difficulty of the level compared to previous and future levels.
The time it takes to complete the level.
The skills that might be required to complete the level.

Once a level designer has been given a brief they can map out the level using basic shapes. Most game engines will easily let level designers great a blueprint of the level without having to start up 3D software. This is so that they can get a rough idea of what works within a level and what doesn't, this is called white-boxing in UDK.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Concepting and Planning


One of the most important processes of designing a game is to concept what you are going to create. It helps to develop an initial idea into something that you can work with regardless of which area of the team you are. 

The most obvious is 3D modellers using artwork from the concept artists to create the models. However the concept artists have to get their ideas from somewhere else, they will collect images and photographs and create mood boards before drawing out their ideas, unless they just doodle ideas from their head. I also feel that games with sequels can be used as concept for the newer games, a good example of this is Skyrim. Most of the Elder Scrolls games have references to the others, Skyrim has books in-game detailing the history of Oblivion and Oblivion has books about Morrowind. 

In a way the old models from Morrowind can be described as concept for Skyrim, as some of the same NPCs and props are used but have been remodelled in Skyrim. Also the different races have been greatly improved.

Personally I am not great at concepting, I generally prefer to draw things from life and find it difficult to create an idea from nothing. I have to do a great deal of planning and collecting imagery before I can create something “unique”.

Planning is the first stage in the creative process of tackling a brief, and the initial brief and final outcome can get messed up if sufficient planning has not been put into place. An important part of planning is knowing what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. Making lists of what I need to do helps me get my work done, although I am not very good at time keeping, and I hear that it's a good skill to have, so I will try and focus on that this year! Some people use timetables to help with their planning, but I feel that the time spent on creating the timetable might overweight the actual project. The final outcome of a project should be obtained by the development of initial ideas. Planning and concepting will help to focus on the initial idea and to not stray off into a random conclusion.