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Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

Creative Futures- “Adaptation”- Environment Drawings/Progress Design.

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“Further advice on production is to initially to start out big think massive because all of your ideas will be eventually reduced and if you go with the first concept idea you have you are reducing into even less which the work will not be worth it. Im going to do a angled birds eye view of the arena and then 2 different perspectives of the arena master and then a gladiator to show different angles and shots of my environment.” Taken from my previous adaptation environment blog.

In planning and briefing for my product (initial blog, environment blog, character design) I came up with a series of bullet points to help me focus on what I was exactly trying to get across in my conceptual environment art for my adaptation game.

Things we have to consider in environments:

  • Genre- Horror genre will be dark, tense, jumpy and use semiotics to suggest something will or might happen to keep you on edge. Or for my Gladiator Top Down style game the genre is action/adventure so environments will vary from epic arenas to the basic chalked or sand marked arenas, using camera angles in shots to represent power/weakness etc.
  • Weather- Will my gladiators come across weather that affects their performance, such as rain could massively decrease friction and grip as well as vision, snow will for lesser gladiators or slaves cause cold lungs, vision loss and friction issues especially if it included ice. or finally out in a basic arena with not much wind blockage sand will be thrown around in battle decreasing dexterity and vision. But it also can bring advantages as your opponents may be the ones who slip first for you to pounce.
  • Atmosphere- No atmosphere should be able to rival the coliseum watching battle the majority of Rome watching to see men slaughtered all for entertainment, crowd could be used on my game to support or hinder depending on how the battle goes and how impressive your tactics are.
  • Cultural- How the crowd was brought to the gladiator games to distract them from famish and lack of resources maybe due to conflict with the Greeks or lost at sea.
  • Composition- how I choose in my concept art to lead people through the image, maybe have a view of the stairs up to the entry of the gladiators at the coliseum with pillars either side and guards waiting to give the viewer a belief that the gladiator is you. Or as my game will also rely on you being the arena master of your team of gladiators your point of view from the stands with the public using imagery from roman times such as thumbs up/down whilst you watch your team unfold maybe change tactics during. Perspective will be important for this.
  • History- How has it got to being a gladiator, the history behind the designs of the arenas or the coliseum, what may have affected the structure or damaged it over time. So research is vital for that as without historical accuracy the game will be less real and therefore less believable for the audience.
  • Not just surface- Maybe background events that are currently going on during the game that may alter performance or crowd mood as well as the emperors presence and the amount of guards needed in battle to stand by.

This was what I got down for what will alter your environment and how to make your environment believable and real. From this I tried my best to follow the bullets to help me in the sketching of the actual environments.

Arena Entrance to battle view.

Arena Entrance to battle view.

This is my first drawing for my adaptation environment. The idea with this drawing was to make the viewer feel like he/she was the gladiator going out into battle to potentially lose their life (first person view of the gladiator), this use of composition would further immerse you in the game to make you feel a lot more tense and possibly make a drastic mistake due to pressure. Although I have no drawn the crowd you can imagine the immense atmosphere when you walk into this, so in the game the crowd would be going wild roaring, living and breathing emotions throughout the battle (the crowd was a feature of mine which could alter the balance of the battle dependent on what happens). The guards and pillars/walls at the side are used to represent scale, no picture is perfect and especially when you put things in the way it can give you a idea (definitely in drawings) of how big or small the image behind the obstruction can be, in this case I used the guards in the way as your close they look bigger but then I did some small gladiator outlines already in the ring on a much smaller scale which shows the vastness of the coliseum.

Moving onto artistic techniques I used in the drawing. First of all I have already explained scale and how I used that but scale alone would not work without a multitude of other things behind it. Contour Lines I had to use in this image as the curvature of the arena was essential to me as I wanted it to be a dome and not a box, to apply these I did 8 curved lines (a couple to show separation in the stands) but each one was slightly curved either straighter (towards middle) curved in (towards top) or curved out (towards bottom) this for me was a really good effort as I can see the curvature of the arena quite well, it took a few rough outlines of each contour line to find the right one so I didn’t just draw the first one I did it was a elimination process. Also I did lines down the arena (actually light strips coming from the roof slits but still showed my point well) in angled directions to represent what was a seated stand and what was the separation between the levels, the steep gradient lines was the flat foundations for the stands and then the angled lines (varied a lot from angle of light and stand) was the seated areas for the roman crowd. I originally did that in pencil roughly a few times to work out how to do it then I used my white gel pen to go over the top as it was light source from the roof.

Then onto shading as it wouldn’t have been complete without some form of realistic shading, I used a white gel pen to show light in rough outlines as it was pure light blinding it would have had some form of shade or darkness factor. This white gel pen I have found a very useful utensil on my two-tone sketch book as it shows up light really well, this can be seen on the guard on the right with the light glimmers on his armour and spear. Other shading I used was just a normal HB pencil for the medium shading as the paper itself could be used as a neutral shade being brown, then a black Faber-castell crayon to do really dark areas such as below the roof near the top or slightly under the armour plating on one of the guards. No particular technique of shading was used just general colouring in sort of zigzag shading as im yet to get used to shading like cross hatching etc.

Things I like, so my favourite parts of this picture I have done are: the guards blocking the view, the guards have really been well proportioned by me they are sort of rough outlines with added shading but the fact you can tell they are guards with no facial features (view from back) just a bit of armour/helmet and a spear really pleases me. The shape/curvature of the arena, I found this difficult as I drew multiple rough lines before more solidly drawing a line but the final product I was pleased with.

Things I didn’t like, so minor problems I didn’t like were: the level of detail to the arena, no crowd and no sort of roman presence maybe if I had done that centre archway better I could have done a decent statue of a horse on top. The roof, not sure what it is about it but I don’t think it looks right it might be my perspective or opinion but maybe the gradient angle of it isn’t right as its supposed to be arching over the arena , im not sure but I will ask opinions on it to help me work it out.

The next step for this would be to draw it again to try and build on what I have already got, then possibly do a digital image in Photoshop. Although I do have a coliseum being built in Sketch Up by myself currently which I could animate to show a fully immersive coliseum. Next time ill be sure to take multiple pictures or scan it in at multiple stages to show progress better and explain added features and decisions throughout (im not sure why I didn’t think of that before).

The next drawing will be a birds eye view of the coliseum. Please comment what you think on my image to help me improve my skills further in drawing.

Also have a look at my online presence for other blog posts and my work.

Author: Jason Pook 3D

Current student at Hull School of Art and Design studying Games Design.

2 thoughts on “Creative Futures- “Adaptation”- Environment Drawings/Progress Design.

  1. Pingback: Creative Futures- “Adaptation”- Environment Drawings/Progress Design (2). | PHASEgaming

  2. Pingback: Creative Futures- Adaptation- Props/Objects/Vehicles | PHASEgaming

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