Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

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Year 1 Challenge revisited- Low Poly Guitar

In the Year 1’s session today they was set the same task we had last year, to model assets with a restricted polycount to make them aware of polycount limits in games also known as a budget.

They proceeded to model the items they had drawn by card and by the end of the session handed in what they had got. Paul then proposed for the guitar controller to be done by next week in 128 polys to everyones disbelief and shock, operant conditioning was applied to this of a reward of a sausage roll if someone could complete it in half of that so 64 poly’s…challenge accepted. Realising i did the guitar last year i did it in 188 polys, now i thought it would be beneficial to myself to try model it again as fast as i could in as low poly as possible.

In around 5 minutes i had a 88 poly guitar, loosing some loops and strategically placing certain edges to create a similar shape without the loop i managed to get it down to 68. Not much could be seen to do, then i realised i still had my reference image underneath my model for shape…this cut it down to 48. So i had won id done it, but i didnt stop there i wanted to optimise it to the lowest possible it could be still looking like a guitar.

Fully optimised I managed to get it to 39 poly’s by this time a had the majority of first year surrounding me.

lowpolyguitar_39polySo in around 15minutes i had a 39 poly guitar, which was modelled in 5minutes then it just took some thinking to how i could keep the shape but lower the polycount. In comparison to last years 188 which admittedly i loaded up and it was horrific topology I can clearly see how much i have come on since this time last year. The 1st years now dislike me as I have proved it can be done and in very little time giving them no excuses…sorry guys!

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Year 1 Reflection

This post will be an overall reflection on Year 1 Games Design and how i feel i did well and where i could improve in places.

This year for everyone was seen as a toolbox year, a year to build our skills in the programs that we would eventually be using in the next years and industry. Programs that in most cases for myself was completely alien, the likes of 3dsmax i had never come across before but it was the program i felt i would need to advance in the most. The beginning of the year i dont think most of us had any idea on what we would like to do in the profession due to unexperienced views on the work and generally being gamers rather than games designers.

Personally i felt that progress along the year was huge, i couldnt draw very well to begin with now i am at terms with perspectives and improving in the field of life drawing. This was much thanks to the creative futures module, my adaptation brief i believe was my strongest in terms of creativity on my behalf and it really made me figure myself a design process out for how i would go about conquering my work. Other things i felt i improved on was definately the 3D aspect of work, first i struggled to grasp the concept of modifiers, texturing and modelling in general but with practice i can now model low poly models as long as i sit and think about how to go about the topology of it. If i was to be critical of myself i would definately say i could have done alot more to improve my work, due to certain circumstances in my family and friends i struggled coping with towards the end of the year and this did see a drop in my productivity.

Determination will be a key factor for next year and i intend on focusing purely on my work but allowing myself social time aswell but not if it will jeopodise my work rate. This year things i wasnt so pleased with was my use of flash, yes i got a working timeline, game and animation but i was never confident in the program it was used because we had to i felt and thats not how i should have looked at it. When i nfelt that way what i should have done was asked for maybe some extra tuition on the area or taken time at home to really get a grasp of the program, so this is reflection on that.

The main thing for the future is to keep on top of work dont be that guy who says “oh ill do it next week…its not in for another 4 weeks” get it out of the way and sorted so that im always 1 step ahead of the game. Currently im unaware on my marks but im hoping that i have done well asd i really want this to work for me.

Over the summer me and a few colleagues have planned to do a small group project that we have been discussing throughout the year and really keep on top of what we want to do for a profession, you cant just sit back over the summer and relax otherwise it will hit you like a ton of bricks when the work starts to come thick and fast again. Alongside some self initiated projects id like to set myself to focus improving my skills and looking into 2nd years blogs to see what we will be going into and focusing on getting a head start on that.

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Adaptation Evaluation


What aspects of the process – artistically or technically – prompted the greatest satisfaction and why?

In this process my greatest satisfaction was finishing my final concept art piece, due to this being the piece i left until last and worked the hardest of the level of satisfacion was much more than the rest of the work. Also the concpet art was done in Photoshop, i have been trying to increase my skills in Photoshop across the year and especially recently over the easter whilst making final touches on work so having a piece come out as nicely as i felt it did was very satisfying. finalI used textures for the floor, stadium and sky aswell as hand painttextures for extra detail or shading so it was a real bonus when done. i also enjoyed the write up of my story enjoying literature at A-level played its part there.




What aspects of the process – artistically or technically – posed problems or difficulties, and how were they resolved?

For adaptation id say that again the concept art was the hardest i had layering issues to begin with when applying textures and making sure i had multiplied one layer to overlay another to get the effect i wanted required alot of tweaking and experimenting, it wasnt just a paint and done project it took alot of time and really testing my artist eye for detail and colour. Other aspects would have been the storyboard, i am unfamilar with storyboarding and have not personally drawn them alot so this was a difficult task for me as a storyboard should speak for itself and trying to make mine portray that was harder than expected. I resolved the storyboard issue by researching into storyboarding gathering references to see how a fight scene (my focus) would be storyboarded, this helped alot and my final storyboard was a good one. Storyboard






As a consequence of thinking about these former questions, what can be identified as the core strengths and weaknesses of the approach to and execution of the project?

Well my strengths in this prject was definately the visuals and ideas i was generating, the thought process behind it and level of research really put me on the front foot to begin with acting as a platform for the rest. Then by tackling each part one by one i felt i got work out of the way instead of half done then moving onto the latest one given instead it was done then i progressed. And finally the time and effort put into the concept art piece was pleasing especially with the outcome. Weaknesses would be that i didnt digitalise alot of my work which would have been better in some cases, for example the character design sheet in multiple views would have been great done in photoshop aswell as the storyboard. So my approach to moving my artistic drawings into digital work wasnt as good as it should have been as the concept piece was the only one and looked the best by far.
What are the key strengths and weaknesses of the final outcome of the project? What aspects have been successful and why? If it was possible to change something, what would it be and why? The strengths was my final concept piece, also the drawings i did for props, environments and characters i felt was very strong. Weaknesses would be not enough digitalised versions of those drawings limiting my range of work in some areas to just sketches. The successful aspect of the project was how i tackled it one by one not moving on until i have finished the previous one and then later i added to previous ones when i had the time e.g. props i did helmets orignally then i moved onto characters but came back to armor,gauntlets and boots. If i was to change anything about my work it would be that i would have given myself more allocated time for digitalising all my adaptation work to show before and afters from drawings to digital currently i can only do that for the concept piece.

What set of “recommendations” can be drawn from evaluating the project, which will be useful on another occasion? i would recommend myself to be more experiemental and not avoid using programs i may not be used to, when i did adaptation photoshop was fairly new to me so a digital version of most things was something i put off when i did my concept later on i had gained skills in photoshop from my tutors in lectures so that showed alot of progress but i never went back to do the others. other than that i felt i tackled the brief well.



Identity- Design Part 3

Previous work: blog 1, blog 2, blog 3, blog 4.

As explained in the last part of this project i was moving onto the design process of a logo for both black rose and rusty tank being undecided on which to choose. Using different typography, style, and size to try fine tune what i want my ident to look like.

Here is what i got for Black Rose:

Black RoseThese are some of the designs that i came up with as you can see i followed the path of an elegant look to the black rose to complement the beauty of a real rose. My favourites were the bottom left with the inverted text font and rose stencil and then the two in the top left with the elegant flow to the font, I particularly liked the rose joined onto the end so i tried to implement that in other designs.

Moving onto Rusty Tank:

Scan 36These designs i was really pleased with the army stencil path focus was particularly a favourite of me and my peers, i tried to implement army military related themes to the ident with the actual rusty tank drawing but specially the army star for the letter A which was a nice feature.

After this i took both into Photoshop to have a digital version of them so i would be able to import into adobe after effects when eventually making the ident.

ident photoshop




Here is my black rose final ident digitally, i am pleased with it as it has met my original objectives of being elegant and representing a roses beauty with various features from different ident designs.

rusty tank ident photoshop




This was my rusty tank ident, it came out exactly how i wanted implemented stencil font with the army star for the A but with a rusted eroded edge effect added to it around the edge, i then also added a filter->noise->dust & speckles to add extra speckles to the font to enhance the dirty rusty image. Deciding im going to go down the route of Rusty tank I wanted to develop further on the logo so i placed a rusted metal texture into Photoshop put it over the top of the ident turned down the opacity to show the rust texture over the top then used the background eraser and magic wand to remove the rust texture everywhere but the text. this was the result:

rusty tank ident photoshop added rust










I also added a branded style box around the font to try implicate that this ident might be indented or embossed onto a vehicle, then rotated it to a slight angle and added a painted shadow to the left of the font. This was my final ident for rusty tank, now to storyboard the ident before i put it into after effects.

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Speed Drawing session

In this lesson lead by our tutor Paul we all played a game he had made himself with involves a randomly generated task of drawing the described item on the screen in the allotted time followed by another, each had a specific time limit so therefore the longer you had the more difficult the drawing was. Examples would be draw a sphere and a cone in 5seconds, or harder would be draw a weapons crate in 30seconds. As i said these were randomly generated and we had to draw as quick as we could as accurately as possible to test our skills. The purpose of the task was to get us to not think so much about the detail final product of a drawing and to just get the quick basics or rough versions down as quickly as possible from memory, being something i did struggle with i thought this would be a very effective task on improving my personal skills in memory drawing im good when its in front of me but memory is not as good. As well as drawing from memory we had to draw in pen so there was no temptation to erase any work, as we are told erasing work is erasing progress as there is no right or wrong drawing its all progress.

Here is my results:

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To start with we had 15seconds to draw basic primitive shapes such as a Taurus, cube, sphere etc. As we moved along it got harder like a bike or a shed in perspective with the same time slot really pushing the basic forms of shapes to portray the image. It moved up to 30seconds giving us drawings like messy bunk beds, weapons crate or a camera taking a picture of another object the extended time slot gave us more time to detail but the focus was to get the prime object across then to add detail roughly not a hard line finished copy just a sketch. Finally 45seconds was given for examples on page 3 like a skip full of doors, a dinosaur drinking tea or a open fridge full of food.

This was the first time around and i really found it useful everyone really enjoyed drawing. So will Paul fine tuning the app and uploading the beta to his website i decided to have another 2 goes using the settings supplied to at 30minutes a piece.

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This was try 2 with was on random times with random difficulties.

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Then third time around which was set to all 30seconds hard difficulty to really test how much better i might have got. Some drawings i did i was really surprised at what i came out with, especially the flying car which looked like a inspector gadget classic mini. Overall this process was extremely useful to my personal skills as i improved my basic primitives, to get it down first then add detail, drawing in bed made me realise mistakes are good as they show progress, and then overall drawing from memory was better towards the end.

If you would like to take this task to test your drawing skills go to the app on my tutors website here.