About Me

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Leicester, United Kingdom
Studying BA (Hons) Game Art Design at De Montfort University. It continues to be challenging as much as rewarding. Primary outcomes include 2D and 3D projects and 2am coffees.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A working (retail) Xmas

Unfortunatly I have been rather laid back this holiday. This is mostly due to the fact that I have returned to work at Sainsburys this holiday as I could use the extra money and because they need all the help they can get at this time of year.  As expected it has been chaotic in the build up to Xmas Day and even after that, yesterday one woman spent over £450, and that was without any booze! A week a o you would think she was thinking the world really WAS going to end, but look what happened after all that, nothing. So yeah as per usual I collapse on my bed as soon as I cycle back from a shift of having to deal with incompetence with customers who can't use the Self Checkouts.

Back on task, I did start a 3D project on making a modified Santa's Sleigh. I began by making several ornate skates for underneath, but stopped after I began shaping the main body, feels rather pointless picking it up now that the festivities are pretty much over. Other than that my only other piece of work was making a painting of Gandalf I did in anticipation for The Hobbit 'more festive' so I could use it as a card cover for relatives.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


One of the 'small' writing aspects of the course, documentation comes before the concepting and scribbles. It's where you write the brief, detailing the technical and software specification, the gameplay elements,the narrative, objectives and so on.

This opening stage of the production chain is vital, since if the breif is poor, then the chances are that the game itself will be, so delicate thought must be put into this pitch. In our last lecture we got to glance at some example documents to get an idea of how it's laid out. It's almost like an essay or exam you hand into the employers and instead of giving it a yes or no they can give alterations and comments to improve it.

So here goes my attempt.
  • Plot/Overview:
- An open world adventure game with role playing elements. The choices you make during missions will cause the environment and NPCS to respond depending on what you do. The ending has multiple outcomes which are also a result of what you achieve throughout the  campaign.
- Aimed at teenagers and above (15+)
- Designed for PS3, XBox 360 and PC

  •  Objectives/Outcomes
 - Creation of high poly models with a realistic atmosphere
-  High quality textures from gathered reference

  • Software/Equipment
- Autodesk 3DS Max 2012
- Adobe Photoshop CS5
- Unreal Engine
- Fine liners, pencils and paper
  • Main Character (playable)
- Customisation available to allow players to immerse themselves into the game.
- Unlike Fable, appearence won't be affected by your choices.
- 6000 tris
- One 1024 x 1024 diffuse, normal and specular

  • NPC
- The Stone Mason, the chief architect who is also one of the first NPCs the player befriends, he will provide you with the information and materials required to expand and refurbish the sanctuary.
- Also acts as an advisor, help you make your choices.
- Attire resembles that of 12th century workers when masonry was at it's peak in England
- 5000 tris.

  • Vehicle/s
- Old meets new. Horses are available for easy navigation around the main hub, but for long distance traveling, motorbikes are also there to be used.
- Both 3000-4000 tris
- One 1024 x 1024 diffuse, normal and specular

  • Environment
- Whilst being an open world, The central settlement will be a 16th century castle, still standing albiet damages from it's last siege. As the story develops, the damages can be repaired and modifications can be make to the design. The duration of these repairs in game time is dependent on the scale of the work, resources available and number of NPCs free.
- As repairs are made, word spreads of your deeds and followers are drawn to your sanctuary, opening new services to advance your settlements progress.
- Improvements will remain non-modern, blending with the existing architecture at the begining of the game.
- Alternating weather can and will have affects on contruction; damage further, displace materials etc.

  • Props/Assets
- Through the use of props including axes, picks and tradable goods, raw materials can be harvested and prepared to be used in construction to develop the environment.
- Recurring assets such as rubble, foliage and ore deposits can be cloned to save time and textures.
- Tris count for assets would vary for the major assets due to scale.



Level Design

Level design itself neighbours environment art, the latter being the construction and texturing of environmental assets which the level designers then bring together and create a playable environment out of them, furthermore they test the gameplay to determine wether their outcomes will work or not.

Some of the primary features involved include:
- Arranging large scale features, the topography, buildings and so on.
- Putting in the start and finishing points.
- Assigning assets/regions that are interactive and that trigger changes in the level.

In combination with my research with Environment Desisgn a while back, It seems that what makes a good level are some of the following factors and decisions.

-What's it for?: Genre pendent, levels shall require/deserve certain assests to fit the bill. They should be familiar to us all. FPS deathmatch arena levels require a variety of routes to tactical positions at different heights. For racing games, obstacles, shortcuts and overlaps are factors that need to be included, also depending on the game itself, powerups and their distribution across the track.

-No attachments: Not to get attached to things, if it doesn't work out, cut it out and leave it out or replace it with something more ideal.

- Make it unique but keep it within the realm of probability: Most people don't like buying/playing the same game twice, unfortunatly there are games out there that fall under the same ganre and are basicly the same levels under a different name and assets. If level designers follow this same ideal then not only does it ruin the game but it makes it appear to buyers as if there is no imaginative spark involves in the process.

-I wanna leave RL for a bit (several hours): We gamers play games to excape reality, having invested in the games we buy we expect them to live up to our expectations. Of course the degreeof how far we want to immerse ourselves into the game depends on numerous factors, genre/setting etc.  Even simple actions and interactions can be a flaw that grinds the escapism to a halt, if for example we want

-Less is more sometimes: Running with the initial ideas and block sketches is always the best starting point, making a play test with primative shapes can help you envision the level at an early stage.
This unknown area of the Animus resembles such a primative state, still fun though.

One thing that level designers are able to include if they wish are show stoppers, which I have experienced first hand in my gaming time. An unstoppable force meeting an immovable object; a riddle or puzzle that just cannot be solvewd to advance further, a boss who hits hard and has multiple phases. Situations like this I have faced on Normal or Easy setting and wiped or given up are numerous to mention!

Looking back on my games with a level/s worth mentioning, I can only think back to my earliest of games, on the over-blurred Playstation. Aside from Star Wars, my other two games were Disney A Bugs Life and Hercules, the latter being so basic in terms of level, yet the gameplay was a delight. It was like your classic arcade game in a way, power ups, health, ledges and jumping. Simplicity like this can keep you occupied for a while.