Saturday, 7 April 2012

Project Fun - Part 4

So after a bit of hard work I think im finally finished with this project.

Being honest with my work I'm not 100% happy with it, the image in my head looks nowhere near what I wanted, and comparing my final piece with others doing the same project doesn’t make me feel any better (I guess all aspiring artist have this probably of never feeling good enough. I'm one of the many). I did have fun with this project though, trying to get the viewer asking questions and connecting with the image. Hopefully that comes across.

The picture does get across some of the rules I made, well I think so anyway. But I still feel like somethings are lacking from the image which could reflect the rules better. I would’ve like to get more little objects on the floor such as hammers, nails and more household items to suggest the house was ransacked quickly and the occupants where taken by surprise. What I do like from the image is the strong contrast from the broken glass door and the rest of the room. I see this image as a starting point of the game, where the player can explore the room/house and might feel partly claustrophobic and open to attack and will start to ask question about what is happening from the objects/clues around the house. These could be answered when the player exits the house from the only way possible, the bright light from the broken sliding door. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Project Fun - Part 3

Well after deciding i really liked the feel of the bottom right of my thumbnail digi sketches from my last blog entry i wanted to take it further. I felt the overall feel of the picture tells a simple but powerful story of a newly formed family with everything to look forward to but something stops them in their tracks. Hopefully the viewer will ask questions of what happen to them, 'What?' 'Did the leave? 'Why?' 'Where they attacked?' etc.

I got this feeling from the thumbnail, but felt the composition was very boring to look at. So as i moved onto the final piece i change the perspective to give a better composition, making it more appealing to look at.

Below is the current WIP of the final piece, later on I'm looking to add more details to tell a story of what happend and then ill be looking to fill it with colour :

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Project Fun - Part 2

So after setting out the rules of how to design an environment well I can move onto the interesting part. I've been given the creative freedom to create an environment of my choice for a console with any genre I’d like to do.

Ive had a recent stint of watching twisted films, which fall under the genre 'Horror Slashers' (Think of the Saw series, that gives you an idea of what it's about). Something about people being put into a life and death situation or facing their fears and seeing how people react and what they’re willing to do to survive really fascinates me. Fears a powerful emotion which I don’t see or feel in many games. Some games do pull it off successfully though, STALKER and Silent Hill are a few to name. These games happen to be some of my favourite games I've played in recent years, that feeling of being scared is something which is something which will stick with me for a long time. And I think that's down to that feeling I had playing those games.

Now this is an emotion id like to get across in this project, along with that feeling of being helpless and loneliness. So I think the genre I'm looking to do will be survival horror. So to kick start things I pulled a few images from the Chernobyl accident which tell so much of what happened with just a few images, that’s the storytelling rule hit spot on. You also get the idea of feeling of loneliness, that you are just one small normal person in the big bad world, not a mega bad ass Rambo who can save the world (its clich├ęd and unrealistic). The only thing you can do is survive. I feel players will have more of an emotional connection with someone who is just an average Joe in a difficult situation. Then some mindless super hero. The Silent Hill series pulled this off so well.

Next up was to quickly concept some environments to get some basic ideas down, so I can take these ideas further later on. I produce 4 environments which felt like the starting point of a game, where the character would wake up and the player would straight away ask questions like : What happened? How did I get here? What will happen/what will I see if I take this path? I wanted to half answer these questions by having a few props dotted around the room, but ultimately keep the player partly in the dark and let them start to create the story themselves.

I also wanted to use a lot of contrast in the environments, with bright lights and dark areas, to help guide the player to the next area but to also to see the light areas as 'safe zones', playing on the physiological trait colours have.

That’s it for now, next time Ill have a more fleshed out concept.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Start of “Project Fun”

So I’m task to create a scene/environment of my choice, finally I can do something I want to do! I can let my imagination run wild. But before I jump into painting mental ideas, I should do a bit of research. I've read some interesting articles on environment design I came up with these rules:

- Direct the player with the environment/props

Environment layout and props help guide the player to the next section. Be it something blocking the players path so they have to try another one. Or a prop which catches the players eye so they go towards it.

- Use lighting to you’re advantage

Lighting/colours is a great way to sell the mood. If you’re trying to show the a dark/evil mood then there should be more cool colours. Lighting is also a great way to guide the player to certain area, like a bright light at the then end of the tunnel. All colours have physiological traits linked to them which is another way to imply things to the player. Red warns them of something bad.

- Storytelling through the environment

The environment is a great way to tell a story. Left for Dead's safe rooms had writing on the wall which really gave you an idea of what happen in the safe room before you arrived and what sort of people passed through there. It also provided a down time with some comic relief before tense action starts again. Which provides good pacing to the game.

- Let the players imagination do the hard work

Let the players imagination do the work at times, for example instead of having a dairy with what happened to a person in a torture room, have that room filled with props ( power tools, blood stains, scratch marks etc.) all of these props imply what happen in the room, and leaves it to the player to create their own image of what happened making it more personal to them, which I find makes for a stronger emotional connection.

- Pick a style and stick with it

Keep the style uniform across the whole game. If you want to cartoony and exaggerated look, then apply it to everything, not just one aspect. Brink failed to do this, it had exaggerated character models which looked great, but had photorealistic textures applied to it, two very different styles conflicted. If its done correctly, it makes for a more believable universe and immerses the player more.

2 Different styles clashing

- Attention to detail

I found many little things really add to the environment, they might be minor by they do add all up. Interactivity is one of these. This adds to the realism of the game, making many objects of the players environment interactive will immerse them a lot more. I find nothing more immersion breaking than not being able to open a door to check in the room. Little touches also really helps with immersion but I find many developers skip this as they think no one will notice, well, we do. These could be things such as flies hovering over rubbish.

Time to start painting crazy things......