Calendar September 23, 2012 22:15

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Back to Pre-production

So art team has been spending some time in pre-production again, since we need to get a clear focus on how the art has to look. As you know, we have abandoned the idea of dropping zombies from buildings, so we are now going with a more abstract look for the game and following in the direction that Flower by Jenova Chen. Some of the game play mechanics are still a little fuzzy, but that will hopefully be cleared up in the next few days.

So my task for this weekend was to write up a 1 page document on how the level could look like, along with some possible color pallets. Here is what I came up with:

Overview:
  • At this point, we have talked about making the environment look run-down and abandoned.
  • We still want to make it look like a city, but at first it will look dry and lifeless. 
  • Once the player has reached the bottom, the parts that have been hydrated will look new again.
Look of level before player starts:
  • Dilapidated/Run-down
  • Abandoned/Desolation
  • Dry/Parched
  • Cold
Look of level after player splashes down:
  • Revitalized
  • Energized
  • Warm
  • Back from the dead
  • “Phoenix rising”
Reference:

Dry/Dead
Hydrated/Alive
Here is the link to the PDF I created since I like how it looks there better, but I didn't want to just provide a link to the PDF in the blog post.

I emailed the document to my team, and now I'm just waiting back on some feedback from them to see if they like what I came up with. That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar September 12, 2012 02:58

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Redesigning Our Thesis Project... Again

So the thesis project that I'm a part of has been through a lot of changes over the last few months. If you remember my last post, we had presented Drop Dead to the professors but they still weren't happy with what we had. We spend a week trying to work on a different character, each of the artist had to come up with something else that the player could control with the Kinect. I created a simple teddy bear  model that one of the other artist would be able to do a quick simple rig so we could start experimenting with the new characters each of us we had created.

Screenshot of the low poly teddy bear I made, tri-count is at the top left corner.

But then we had a problem where a guest professor said that due to the nature of our game, we may be disqualified from IGF since it can look like people are committing suicide by jumping of buildings. We immediately started to think of another way to keep our game mechanics but that it wouldn't be like Drop Dead. To top it off, because of the situation some people in the group were getting frustrated and there were some arguments. All of this resulted in having to redesign our game to something a little simpler but that still kept the Kinect.

So what we have so far is that the player will control a water drop in a light rainstorm. The player will have to collect other water drops on the way down to get bigger. The player will also have to dodge obstacles and you have to reach the bottom to get a bigger score. There have been some talk about trying to hit specific targets on the ground or making the water affect the environment kind of like in the game Flower.

With the new game, we are going to try and make an interesting city environment where the player will be able to have a fun experience. So far, I've taught about using stylized cartoon like environment that is abstract. I worked on a quick simple model of a house, but I've been talking to a few of the other students in the cohort and one of them said that I should look at reference images from Hong Kong and the apartment buildings there since they are tightly packed and have a lot of different obstacles that would be cool to dodge if you were falling. I think that the next time I'm in class, I will work on a city environment that resembles Hong Kong and see how it looks.

That is all for now, thanks for reading. 

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Calendar September 6, 2012 02:48

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Sketching a Weapon

So last week Nathan (our game arts teacher) talked about how drawing don't have to start complicated, we can draw almost anything using simple shapes and then add detail in layers until it looks like what we want. This is probably really basic, but I don't have much experience in 2D art.

For this week, we were suppose to create five things all bases around a common theme which are: a hero, an animal sidekick, a villain, a weapon, and a vehicle. I've been having a lot of issues with most of them, but here is my best sketches from the group.


The sketch is suppose to be a small hatchet and I've actually realized that I really enjoy working on weapon art. When I had to design a weapon last semester, it was probably one of my favorite assignments the whole semester.

I may try to do a model of this hatchet later in the year, for now that is all. Thanks for reading!

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Calendar September 4, 2012 03:14

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New Semester

So this post is a little late seeing as how the semester started 2 weeks ago, but late is better than never (or so I hear).

So at the end of last semester, we were told that our game needed a lot of work because the player couldn't really tell what was happening most of the time. (Refer back to this post to know what the game is.) So over the summer, a couple of the producers worked really hard to come up with a new game idea that still involved falling as a game mechanic, but that was far more appealing that Graviators. The product of their work was: "Drop Dead: Zombie Divers".

There really isn't a narrative at the moment, but the premise of the game is that the player chooses a zombie from a group of other zombies and then drop it off a skyscraper. The player will then use the Kinect to control the falling zombie to dodge obstacles in the environment and make it all the way to the bottom and... splat! Along the way, the player would be able to find power ups and multipliers to get a higher score which is also affect on wether you reach the bottom or not.

We worked really hard to have a playable demo by the first day of class, since we wanted to make sure that the professors could see that we had taken the feedback we received seriously and had done something about it. The professors loved the new idea, but there was still one problem... zombies.

The professors think that zombies are over used in todays game market, and if we want our game to stand out at the IGF we should do something a little more original. So they told us to stop development of other assets (for us the artist) and work on developing other ideas and test them out in the game to see how it feels. So far we have been working on things like: scarecrows, clowns, teddy bears, and other crazy stuff.

Our next meeting as a group will be this next Wednesday, so thats when I will give an update on what I've been working on (I've been doing the scarecrow and teddy bear btw) and see if its still something that we want to do. In my opinion, I don't think that zombies are a bad idea. If the game is good, who cares if its zombies or mummies or bears falling.

What I think we should be focusing (and this is a little more for the producers) is on making a cohesive narrative for the game that makes sense and that it isn't too complicated. It could be something as simple as the narrative in Angry Birds, but they get really complicated really quickly and then it doesn't make sense.

Hopefully they will have something nailed down by next time, because this whole thing is actually making me kind of nervous since we don't have time to be experimenting this late in the year when IGF submissions are due at the end of October. Anyways, thanks for reading.

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Calendar August 29, 2012 23:45

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Influence Map Revisited


So I finished my influence map completely after class on Tuesday night, and I had a chance to label everything which seams to be the norm. I don't think I have to do this on my blog, but we had to explain our influence map to the whole class as to what each item is and how they relate to us and how they influence us.

  1. Disturbed was one of the first rock bands that I listened to, and up until today they are still one of my favorite bands. I was really sad once I found out they had disbanded after releasing The Lost Children album. But I have to say that my favorite song is still Down With the Sickness since it was the first song I listed to from them.
  2. Assassin's Creed is one of my favorite game series, the story line is really good and they have kept me coming back for more since the first game. I have to admit that the first game wasn't that good, but there was something about it that made me want to buy the next. After that, I was completely hooked and I can't wait for the third one to come out this year. The one thing that I hate is that I don't own a PS Vita so I won't be able to play Liberation.
  3. Eragon (Inheritance cycle) is my favorite book series, which was written by Christopher Paolini. I've always been a huge fan of dragons and elves, and I really liked his style of writing and how it made the world come to life. I haven't been able to get around to read the last book, but I will get to it before the end of the year. I hated the movie that they did, I hope that they do a remake and do a proper job on the series this time since it has so much potential.
  4. The Dark Knight series is amazing, there is just no other way to describe it in my opinion. I absolutely love what Christopher Nolan did with the series and how me managed to make the notion of Batman seem realistic, but still close enough to the series that we could all be happy. I've watch the Dark Knight Rises twice on IMAX since its come out and I can't wait for it to come out on Blue-ray.
  5. Rise Against is another band that I really love, while I believe that it should be a bigger square than just the one, I didn't have the room to put everything that I wanted (and there was a bunch of stuff that  I didn't include).
  6. This is a screenshot from the game Darksiders, and I put on here not only because I really like that game. I've passed the game a couple of times by now, and I also bought the collectors edition of Darksiders 2 (I got it mainly because it came with a life size copy of Death's mask). But the reason why it takes the biggest part of my map is because I want to be an environmental artist and I really like all the art in Darksiders with the post-apolitical look they gave the game while still maintaining everything fairly realistic.
  7. League of Legends is a really fun game, and I've been playing it for about a year now. I'm still not as good as my friend that introduced me to the game. That picture is from my current favorite champion, her name is Diana and I really like the concept of her art and how her kit works in the game. My main champion is Shyvana, and the only reason why I started to play her is because she can turn into a dragon. :) I have to admit that I play this game more than I should, but it would be really cool if I could work for Riot Games one day. Maybe I'll talk to them next year when I go to GDC once more.
  8. Eight and twelve are related, I don't know why I arranged it the way I did but they should be right next to each other. The reason why Mario and an SNES are in my map is because when I was a little kid, they were the first game and console that I owned. I remember playing Mario for at least a year before I beat the whole thing. I remember that after I played Mario the first day, I thought to myself: "one day, I'm going to make games."
  9. This picture is from a manga/anime series called Death Note. The reason why its the only piece that hold three squares is because I love manga and anime, and I didn't want to have it represented by only two squares. I picked Death Note to represent my love anime and manga because its a series that I really like and that I find really fascinating. There is probably a better picture I could have picked, but Death Note was the first thing that came to mind so I figured it should be up there. I actually have a small collection of manga in my room that I've spend about $600-$700, there was a time when I would buy a new manga book from Barnes & Nobles almost every week since I just couldn't get enough. Eventually I realized that I couldn't keep buying every series I liked, so I had to resort to reading manga on the internet. :(
  10. In case you are wondering, square ten says "Japanese Language" in kanji. I actually was in Japan for a month in the summer of 2009. I went to Japan as a part of a month long intensive Japanese language course through the University of Utah. I can't possibly explain how valuable this trip was for me, not only because I had always dreamed of visiting Japan, but because it was a life changing experience and I wish I could go back again. I took Japanese classes for 5 semesters, and I was never really good but it was enough to at least get around in Japan. But I haven't been able to practice for a while so I have now forgotten most of it, but I can still read hiragana, katakana, and some basic kanji even if it takes a moment to do so.
  11. This studio everyone should know, or at least I hope that everyone does. They have made some of my favorite anime movies, and I love the message that they have on each of the ones that I've watched. Hayao Miyazaki is a genius in the way that he can critique anything and still make an animated film that everyone can love. I haven't seen his most recent work, but from the ones that I have seen, Spirited Away is by far my favorite.
  12. Refer back to 8.
I hope it all makes sense and that it give a glimpse into who I am and why I picked the stuff that I did. I don't know if I've said this already, but this assignment was harder than I thought it would be. I've never really thought about what has influenced me, there were a few obvious ones, but I really had to sit down and think about what inspired me for about two hours. Thanks for reading.

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    Calendar August 28, 2012 18:55

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    Game Arts 3

    So for this next semester, we are required to have a blog where we will be posting our work throughout the semester. I know that I've done a horrible job over the summer with my blog, and I will try to keep it up to date this semester.

    For our first homework assignment, we are required to make an influence map and 2 drawings. I may come back and explain my influence map at a later date, but for now here it is:

    I didn't have time to erase the stuff at the bottom and label everything.
    These next drawing are my stab at doing some art related to the Darksiders game series. I've been slowly playing through the second part these last few weeks, and I really like the art style in that game. Plus, I bought the collectors edition do I felt like drawing the mask of Death. The second one is the weapon of War from the first game. I tried to do all the detail in the middle of the sword, but its really hard.



    I love to get critique when ever I can, so please leave a comment if you can. Thanks for reading.

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    Calendar April 11, 2012 23:25

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    New Use For This Blog

    So the other night during my Game Arts class, the teacher, Gabe, said that we should have a blog where we talk about our art to show the progress that we make over time. So i decided to use my project blog and add another use for it. So I'm going to try to upload pictures/renders of stuff that I'm working on besides what I'm doing on my thesis project.

    So to start things off, every time we have class we start by having some exercise that helps us get faster and better at what we do. Last week we had an exercise in which he had to speed model a palm tree. I have never actually modeled at tree, so I decided to look up a tutorial on how to do it. After quickly reading through it, I managed to make my own palm tree. It turned out alright for being my first time. Here is a render of the palm tree I made:



    Afterwards, Gabe said that my tree has a really high poly count. He had hoped that we would all try to use planes with a texture and an alpha map to make a low poly palm tree that could be used in a game.

    Also, for our final project for the Game Arts class we have to make a game environmental using one of the many missions in Texas as center piece and the setting. I will post some renders of my progress of my mission in the next few days.

    That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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    Calendar April 10, 2012 23:07

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    Multitasking

    So for this week, I've been working on a few different things.

    I've been working on more textures and I have to redo some of the "rocks" that I made 2 weeks ago. This is because the rocks that we are using as reference are HUGE and the ones that I made look weird and tiny even if you scale them up.

    Also, they want me to change the level design that I made last week. They want the arena to have lest debris so it doesn't look too much like a asteroid field.

    Last, sterling wants me to make a simple HUD like this one. I only have to make a health box and a box that will go on each side.

    I don't think that I will have all of this done by tomorrow's class, but I will try to get at least the HUD done. That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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    Calendar April 4, 2012 15:36

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    Progress On Level

    So last time I made a texture for one of the rocks I created last week along with a simple normal map for some detail. I'm trying to go for a post apocalyptic look, but for right now I'm just trying to make quick textures in Mudbox for my models.


    Jeff suggested that I look into geology and the different rock types that there are and try to go for a particular feel, instead of just doing random things. I will do some quick research into rock types and make at least another texture today an hopefully finish the other ones over the weekend.


    Here are the renders of the stuff that I've made for far:







    That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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    Calendar March 28, 2012 16:41

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    Graviators

    So since last time I wrote about the progress of my project, we have decided to change the name from Atmoz to Graviators since its a little more descriptive and I actually think that it sounds much better.

    Previously the game was a flying game, and like I mentioned before it was going to change. So the game is now a falling jousting game. The premise is that there will be battles fought in the air, but the player and the enemy will be falling towards each other thanks to a "gravity well" like object.

    They will be able to shoot at each other from afar,  while dodging incoming fire and obstacles. Once they get close to each other, the game will switch to something like "bullet time" and be able to hit one another and then keep moving away from each other, and after a short break it all repeats if there was not a winner on the first go.

    We have decided to work on two arenas, one that is in some sort of long tube that will be an enclosed arena and one that is in an open area. I'm in charged of the open area arena.

    I've been getting a lot of inspiration from the James Cameron Avatar movie and trying to do something like floating land masses. But we decided that we were also going to add debris from ancient buildings (ex: roman temples or buildings). The reason why I'm trying to do that is that I want the arena to be filled with more than just rocks, but also because I want it to be a post apocalyptic feel since this game is suppose to be in the future.

    So far, I've done really rough models just taking spheres and using the lattice tool to deform them. I've done solid rocks, and some that have a tunnel that would allow the player to go through them. We plan on inserting power ups as a risk/reward option for the player that is more experienced.

    I've also done a really quick sample level with the few models that I've done so far, since one of the engineers wanted something that they could use in Unity to start working. That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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    Calendar March 9, 2012 17:40

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    GDC 2012

    So this week class was canceled since more than have of the student decided to go to GDC, as did I. So now I'm going to spend one week in San Francisco. Unfortunately, my funds were a little low so I couldn't afford the pass that lets me in from the start of the Conference. So the first few days that I've been in San Francisco, I've been trying to update my resume and my portfolio.

    Then on Wednesday I was able to go into the Career Pavilion and I got the chance to talk to a lot of people from many different companies. If there is one thing that I've learned, is that it's not enough to just have a portfolio online, you have to bring something with you to show. Wether that maybe a paper version of your online portfolio or a tablet to show your portfolio on. Many places that I talked to wanted to see my work but I couldn't show them. Its also thought me that there are a lot of people out there trying to get into the industry just like me, so I have to dedicate more time to learning new tools and improving my skills.

    Next year when I come back to GCD I'll be ready! Thanks for reading.

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    Calendar February 22, 2012 20:48

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    New Team

    So today we finally learned which games the professors thought were good enough to move on to be our thesis project for the next 2 semesters.

    Sadly, the game I pitched didn't make the cut. And I'm now in a team that will be making a 3D kinect game. The prototype that was made for last week's pitched showed a man flying around a city trying to get through rings in the sky. The player uses the kinect to control the movement of the character.

    But its going to change, we are still brainstorming ideas because they thought that the game was way out of scope. But they thought that the prototype was good enough to show that it was doable.

    We have 3 artist in the team, which is a good thing because we will need a ton of environmental art assets. We will decided on Monday what we want to do and will start to work. In the meantime, that is all.

    Thanks for reading.

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    Calendar February 15, 2012 16:39

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    Presentation Tonight

    So far, the game seems to be coming together nicely. We had a practice presentation on Monday, and tonight we are going to have the real presentation where we get to pitch our prototypes to industry professionals for our thesis project.

    So far, I've been doing a lot of concept art and trying to get a clear idea of what our main character would look like. Below is some concept art that I've done, I'm not the best 2D but I think that I've improved over the last few months while being on this Masters program.




    The first picture is a drawing of Wall-E, we think what our main character to look somewhere in the middle between Wall-E and Rob from Smash Brothers. The second picture is what an enemy unit could potentially look like. The last one is of what our main character PerCy could look like.

    I've done a simple model of the last sketch and I put some very simple animations for our game. Hopefully they will look ok, and everything goes ok.

    That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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    Calendar February 1, 2012 16:31

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    Update On Current Project

    So I need to remember to update my blog, I will make sure that it doesn't take a month for me to make another post.

    Well, at the beginning of this semester we were told to come up with a game idea to submit for consideration as a possible thesis project. I came up with a game idea I decided to call AI Termination. I don't know how many students submitted a game pitch, but it was narrowed down to seven teams. I was very lucky and my game idea got picked to move on to the next stage.

    Since the middle of January, we have been working on making a white boxed prototype for each of our games with Unity. We still have about two weeks before the prototype is done, but we need to make sure that our prototype is playable by next week since there will be some people from Microsoft coming to visit us.

    Brandon, has been working on getting together some kind of central location where we can all put our ideas together to start making some sort of bible for the game. He has been working on this wiki and so far its coming along nicely as we work on developing a narrative.

    Since I originally pitched the idea, the game has gone through big changes. The prototype that we are currently working on will focus heavily on combat. We are still trying to implement the combos that I spoke about in the original pitch. The game won't have any puzzles, but we will be keeping the time manipulation ability.

    The game has also morphed into something like an arena like setting. We will try to have multiple maps, but the player will have to finish one map before moving on to the next. The map is actually very simple, below is an example of a map that I've been working on:


    Now I'm working on making simple shapes for the different components of this simple map. They are mostly going to be cubes and cylinders for now, but that should be enough to get the idea across.

    That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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    Calendar January 9, 2012 16:51

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    Start of Second Semester

    So today is the start of my second semester in grad school, and I'm really looking forward to all the stuff that we will be doing, but part of me isn't ready.

    This week we are suppose to put together a game pitch, and submitted to be considered for a class project. We also have to learn as much as we can of Unity since we will be using Unity to prototype the games for the first month.

    I don't really know much of about Unity, so I will have to look for good tutorials to learn how to do basic things on it.

    That's really all there is for this week, thanks for reading.

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