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 > >

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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.

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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.

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

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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

Case 1.3

Third project this school year. This case was actually for one of our subjects
(Interaction & Design) which learns us how to program using Processing.
The amount of people in your group depended on what exactly it is you wanted to make.
My group had 3 people in it. You could choose between making some sort of
creature(s) that interact with you in some way or making something with multiple screens
(by setting up a server which allows (example) an object to move from one screen to
another). We chose the multiple screen option.

Our group made a bunch of jellyfish that swim upward over the screens. Two of us (me
& a friend) did the programming, while our third member did some artwork.
True, about 80% of the code was copied from the internet, but changing it so it works the
way we wanted to, putting it all together, making it work etc.. was no easy task for
people that know zero to nothing about programming, so we were quite proud of the
result. And personally, I think this has taught me a lot about programming and how
certain parts work/connect.

dq

Case 1.2

Our second important school project was also to be made in a group. And since we’re the
“Game Art & Design” group, our task was … to create a game! This time in a group of 3.
It had to be a game with “standard visuals” which means objects like cubes, spheres etc..
No complicated world with stylish characters or emotional storylines.

Our group made a game called “Tunnel Vision”. The player controls a ball rolling through
a tunnel and needs to collect points while avoiding obstacles. My strongest point is drawing
so I was in charge of making all of the artwork (from concept art to textures, buttons,
some level design etc..). Level design was mainly done by a second teammate though,
since he made the 3d levels in Blender. Our third member did all of the programming.
It might not be perfect but… seeing this game come to life and work was a big boost
for my “What are we really doing here” question.

dqfd Startscreen

Case 1.1

Case 1.1 was our first group project of this school year. The task was to create a
sort of projection in a public space using VPT7. The theme/subject of the projection
had to be something that related to hidden poverty (People that might be living next to
you and are seemingly fine, yet are actually victims of poverty). This was a subject
that was also quite often mentioned in my previous school. Even meeting with these
people at some points & learning about their lives.

We worked in a group of four. These sort of tiny group projects were nothing new to me.
We had a problem coming up with a good idea the first week, but once we knew what we
wanted to do, the end result turned out to be quite good. VPT7 was… to be honest not
that fun to work with, especially since no one knew how the program worked (in our
entire class), yet we still had to use it. Thankfully one of our group members figured
it all out. There were some other small issues but these I’d rather keep to myself.
The last days, watching everyone set up their projections, were quite fun though.

I don’t have that many pictures, but basically our group made a story about two girls.
On the outside both of them seem to be really similar, yet behind the walls of their
houses there are small & subtle, yet visible, differences between the two of them. One
having a better/richer life than the other.
We initially wanted to make the whole thing digitally (a sort of animation movie) but due
to certain issues, we made paper puppets instead & filmed them behind a piece of white
cloth (like one of those indian shadow puppet shows). We then projected this movie
on the walls in the public space. I, along with the help of one of my groupmates, made
the puppets/scenery & the two of us also controlled the puppets behind the cloth. A third
member later filmed, edited the videos & projected them with VPT7.
I was quite stressed but in the end everything worked out well. 🙂

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(The public space was C-Mine by the way ↑. A part in the old buildings where you can see how the old mines worked. It is now a place tourists can visit.)