Presence

Good day! It has been a while. In this post I’ll be talking a bit about presence, one of our game design courses.

Presence was one of our free-choice electives for this year. The course puts focus on creating a simple game in collaboration with the PXL music departement. However, due to lack of participating PXL students, the music part in our group was done by one of our own Game student as well.

The theme this year was to focus on an animal, any animal, and create a fantasy environment as said animal would experience it (“Presence”). Overal, the theme and what exactly we would make was very open, which really excited us to get started.

To give you a brief view: We had many different ideas on which animals we could focus on, but eventually settled on going with the beautiful Koi fish. Figuring out the gameplay however… let’s just say that our group had many ups-and-downs trying to settle for one clear idea. Visual looks, 2D or 3D (or a mix perhaps?), movement… for several weeks it seemed as if our project was bound to fail. It wasn’t until we were near the end of the course that we suddenly felt like there’s was something we all agreed on, but once we did, our motivation and workflow suddenly rose up by several hundred percent and we created something we were all proud of.

With permission, we had created a 2D game but with a more top-down view of the koi fish, rather than a world seen through its own eyes. My part of our group was the creation of all the artwork. While my initial concept sketches (see below) showed a more realistic view of the koi world, they eventually evolved into fantasy-esque ponds inspired by pixel art and traditional Japanese/chinese art. My main lesson in this course was to try not to hold on to one idea too much, but instead learn to set it aside and create something entirely different. This was something I more or less already knew, but I think many artist notice that in some ways they still like to hold on to something once they really like it. Therefore, it can be really hard to completely step away from it.

First concept sketches

Evolved towards this more fantasy look. Created purely by experimenting with random settings in Unity.

fishy

The final gameplay consists of guiding a koi fish in pond of umbrellas, while mimicing the path of a second koi fish.

You can see all of the final art & gameplay in this youtube gameplay video < < Nishikigoi Gameplay > >

Open Doors Day : Luca-School of Arts: C-Mine. 2016

(Game Art & Design)

A small reflection of the Open Doors Day that took place at our school this year.

This year all students were responsible for presenting a part of their course. Our class, Game Art & Design, chose to split up in smaller groups and each present a certain course or tasks that we made during the year (could be art, 3D modelling, cases/games etc.). I, along with three other people formed the group that chose to show a bit more about Game Art.

The first step was to decide how exactly we wanted to represent this. We could just randomly place some printouts on a table and walk away, but this wouldn’t be all that interesting. After a discussion with the teacher we decided that we wanted the layout to be a bit more organized and show people the different things we made during the year, as well as the steps/progress while making it. To show that there are many different styles and skill levels in our class, rather than just show the best and scare potential new students away. We’re meant to attract them and show them that they’re here to learn rather than being highly gifted individuals who are only here to quell their boredom.

We noted down all the different tasks we made during this year and organized them from ‘basic’ (grayscale, material studies etc.) to bigger tasks (character & prop design). We then collected several artworks, not only from the four of us, but from everyone in our class who wished to show their work. This to show the different styles and skills. These were not only finished works, but also wips and sketches to show people the progress of creating the artwork. We also thought about making a small book with the wips on different layers, but unfortunately we weren’t able to due to lack of time and amount of wip pictures.

On the day of the setup, we managed to claim a wall in one of our bigger classrooms where we hung printouts of the artworks. There was a bit of discussion about the overall layout (how to hang them on the wall) but eventually it all worked out. As the people would start looking at the wall from left to right, walking alongside it, we placed the artworks based on which task they belonged to, and which task came first in the year (from old to new). This way we could show the progress of the entire year step by step.

IMG_9993

For each task I wrote a small description about the task, what we were meant to make, to learn and practice. These were placed alongside the works so that people could understand the importance of the different tasks. Some students even chose to include a small quote as inspiration. For the last task, the character design where we had to mimic different art styles, we placed small cards with the original art style name next to the drawings, as well as examples of the original for one of the works.

Though it’s quite simple, a little bit of organization can really change the first impression one gets when looking at something, and the layout + descriptions help the viewer to understand our progress and goals.

IMG_9995 IMG_9999

 

Bonus (note: no real person was harmed during the set-up)

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Character & Prop design

Similar to the earlier 3D post, I present you some more Game Art tasks we’ve done so far.

  • Character Design
  • Prop Design
  • Grayscale Studies

This character design was more of an inbetween task. There had been a small misunderstanding between two of our teachers. The original task was to design a horror character, which could later be used for our 3D modelling class, but this is something we’ve already done the previous year. So instead, our Game Art teacher opened a random generator and the result we got was to draw “an old, bold man in prison who has several regrets” (something along those lines).

We each started out with several small sketches until we decided on which one to continue. Although there were some other designs I quite enjoyed, I eventually decided  to work on this one. We needed to draw out the 3/4 view (in flat colors) as well as side & front view. I realize the character sheet isn’t really drawn in the proper method (hands in front of his body block part of the view), which is a honest mistake on my part, but I won’t be using this character for our 3D class, so in this case it’s fine. Even if I did, the body and colors aren’t really that complicated, so free-styling a bit wouldn’t have been much of a problem either. It’s definitely not suggested if you go for more ‘unnatural’ proportions or fantasy creatures etc though.

The prop design speaks for itself: Design several props (4) that fit into your setting*.

*In the beginning of the year each of us chose a certain setting to work with. Mine was (not going into details) a sort of old age, fantasy type setting. I definitely enjoyed this task. I usually draw humans / characters, so doing something else for a change can be quite relieving and refreshing in its own way. My first idea was to draw some weapons, but it was suggested to try make more ‘normal, daily use’ objects, instead of immediately jumping to stereotypical things everyone draws. These are the 4 designs I eventually came up with.  (The task was to work in grayscale + one of them colored).

Neckklace, Potion/Herb shop Closet, Chair, Grave

7_PROPS_21_graf

To finish this post, here are some small grayscale studies. These were mostly made to let us pay attention to different lightning, shadows, contrasts, lines etc… of immediately jumping into color.

3D visua

Main 2D to 3D visualisation tasks we’ve done so far (during this schoolyear).

  • (End)boss-type creature.
  • Head
  • 3D map*

Let’s start with the first one. To briefly explain the task: Design and model an endboss for a game (or basically a sort of boss-type creature) but without the use of any ‘human’-type elements (human figure).

I liked the theme of the task, however the model itself didn’t come out exactly as I had in mind. Mainly because there were several elements I wasn’t 100% sure of how to do them & because I tried to keep the polygon count to a minimum. My design consisted of a bird-like monster with two heads, body made of bones & black wings. The bones were so-so, if I were to do each of them with full detail, the polygon count would’ve surely been a bit overboard. The main thing I had trouble with were the wings. I’ve searched for some tutorials but had trouble understanding/following them. Honestly, I think I would’ve managed if I researched a bit more, but due to lack of time I had to let it go and, for now, settle on something more simple. I did however learn some new things about the use of materials in Blender (eg. making certain polygons transparent) as well as the use of ligths & certain Render settings. Another aspect of this task was that we learned how to place bones in our models. With this we could give them all sorts of poses by moving around certain body parts, instead of completely replacing/move all polygons.

Endboss_Render_Kaya-Kepa

The second task in the list was to create a head. More specifically; our own head. The result of this one is one I am quite proud of, if I may say so myself. It certainly came with some dificulties (it’s our fist time making an actual high poly human head after all) but nonethelsess we’ve all learned some new things. Thankfully we had a clear step-by-step explanation/tutorial because on my own I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it (or let’s say it would have looked a lot different, with a lot of mistakes and many silent curses). During this task I paid a lot of attention to line-flow and its importance to create a clean, proper model, as well as to make sure the head actually somewhat resembles me. The 3D models do not have hair though, so just in case: I’m not bald, I do have long hair.

headpicture

Finally, the last task in this list; 3D map. For this one we had to create a level/3D map. However, we could only use one 1024 x 1024 px, uv-map image for all colors/textures. The reason for learning this is because every image you use inside of a game takes space & time to load. The more you can minimize it, the ‘better’. This certainly isn’t easy if you have a lot of different objects, or in my case; need some sort of skybox/background image as it’s an open space, not a closed of room.

The biggest problem I had with this task was probably simple, plain old lack of time. Several other tasks and some miscommunication about the deadline for our class didn’t help either. The theme itself was enjoyable though, much like the endboss one. Before I forget; this map also needed to have some sort of main path from point A → B, as well as a ‘shortcut’. For me the main path (see images below) was walking over the bridges, while the shorcut was the path created by the lower tree branches. Unlike with the head, I hadn’t really been paying that much attention to line flow here, because my mind was mostly focused to the uv-map. I also apologize for the bad lightning in the 3D render images. Aside from that, a little nice trick I learned (courtesy of a classmate) was where to add a black-white image for mapping. This causes textures to look more 3D-ish without actually modeling them (eg, the straw on the houses looks more realistic, while it’s actually just one, flat plane).

JoT_Images2_Kaya-Kepa

Case 1.4

Case 1.4 / End Case

Final task of the year was to create a game. (as our study direction suggests we do).
The idea/concept of our game was something we’ve been working on the entire year.
The last three weeks of the year were the time we had to make the game.

I’m not going to go too much into detail about this one, as I’d probably be writing an entire
book if I did, but this task really showed a lot about how much an idea can change throughout
the year. Mainly because of limitations of ability or time, but also because you tend to
grow tired of ideas that otherwise seemed to be incredible to you. I think this is probably
one of the most important lessons learned from this year.
I didn’t manage to put everything I wanted into the game, but despite that, I’m quite proud
and happy with what I’ve achieved.

To give you a basic idea about the game I made, here’s the pitch:
To save the life of a dear friend, a boy (the player) gets pulled into a sort of watercolour world.
It this world he must collect pieces of her heart (Heart Pieces) by finding his way through a route
with the help of watercolour techniques. He must learn to use these in a simple but smart way.

It’s a simple game that mainly focuses on the calm atmosphere and story and wants to let the player
relax a bit. But of course he must sometimes think a bit about what would be the best way to reach
his goal.

1 Liamallicia

Naamloos Naamlooss

Naamloos

Game Engines Final

Game Engines

Task: Create a (short) game based on old arcade (or alike) type games.

Programming is, in a way, fun, but it’s also the subject I have most trouble with.
For this little game I chose to make something based of Space Invaders.
To explain the game;
There’s two lines & each has 5 holes that shoot bullets. One of the lanes is the enemy, which
randomly shoots one or more bullets out of its 5 holes. The other line is controlled by the player.
The player too can shoot bullets out of their 5 holes (by clicking on the a,z,e,r,t keys).
Now, what you basically have to do is shoot and destroy the bullets the enemy shoots at you. However
if the enemy hits your line and/or you hit the enemy line, it’s game over! With other words, you may
only hit the bullets. Try to keep up for as long as possible.

I was quite proud of this game. Unfortunately, for some reason, I couldn’t get the scoring system to
work. It helped me a lot programming wise though. I finally started to properly understand several
things. The game itself is actually also quite fun to play in my opinion.. (has both normal & hard mode)

Naamloos Naamloos2

Satire

Graphic Visualisation

I noticed I hadn’t posted this one here yet.
One of our tasks was to create a satire (free subject choice).
Now, regarding the subject;
What I chose for this task is a bit less known than discrimination, war etc…
These days kids often get labeled in class, not by their name, but by whatever
disorder they carry. Be it ADHD, autism etc… Please don’t misunderstand, of course
it’s important to pay attention to a child if there’s something wrong with their health
but that still doesn’t mean every single word or action has to perfectly organized.
It’s a bit hard to explain my exact feelings regarding this, but a child is still a child
and should be seen as such. Nowadays, if there’s even a tiny problem, children immediately
get taken to a doctor, get a “disease” written down and problem solved! Most teachers
that deal with younger children already have it hard, but now they need to become
doctors as well. Children are no longer seen as “who they are” but as “what the papers say”.

Art wise, it was pretty fun to do this. I actually had this idea in my head for a little
while longer, so this task came at the right time. I do not draw children that often &
the anatomy was a bit hard (with the arms holding the name plates on their back. I’m aware there’s a tiny mistake)
but the practise helped me get better I guess. I tend to get a bit lost in details, so the
smaller amount of lines & simple background were also a good practise.

Satire_Kaya_Kepa