PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


Leave a comment

Self Initiated evaluation- CarBeat

 

For this year I chose my project of “CarBeat” to be my self initiated game which was a drag racing game, this was to focus on up skilling my 3D modelling skills especially in the automotive/ vehicle area. To evaluate that in achieving my goal I definitely did, the Maserati Gran Turismo I did at the end of the project was by far my best piece to date and will be a sure feature of my portfolio. The game as it is with a little more time will have alot more very soon, I modeled 5 vehicles (3 done, 2 unfinished) and only 1 currently sits in the game. I designed a garage level so that the player could select their cars and make modifications etc which is yet to go in and needs the blueprints side to be made. As well as many assets and other features I plan to implement, the current game in engine is basically a fragment of the game I am creating.

To reflect personally on this side of the year I didnt allocate enough time to it, with the client project I dedicated alot of my time towards that which neglected my self initiated work. The demand for work to push the client project along caught me and therefore my game suffered. Next year to reflect upon this I will devise a time management weekly schedule, this will for example be Monday-Tuesday for client, Wednesday-Thursday for final major project and Friday-Saturday for CATS with Sunday as a relax day. By doing this and working on average 6+ hours a day I will effectively produce work for all areas adding efficiency to my workflow.

I am pleased with the progress I have made in my technical abilities for the software in 3D and UE4, I am no blueprint genius but I do understand it to a certain extent allowing me to make game mechanics. The work I have done for my self initiated project I no doubt believe could have been much more, I enjoyed working on my own project but didnt allow myself enough time aside of the other course work to really hit all my targets for the project. My primary goal was to focus on 3D and produce realistic vehicle models was a success in my opinion but as for my secondary goal of building an environment and having a fully working race (start, race, end, repeat) I did not achieve, they are well underway but not completed. Then my tertiary goal to texture my work was missed, which disappoints me as I need to focus on gaining knowledge in texturing due to my 3D work being more advanced I feel texturing and unwrapping is a side I currently need to apply more time to learn it.

In conclusion I am satisfied with my project but fell short on my secondary and tertiary goals for the project. Going forward into next year and the summer I will plan up a time management sheet to try stick by for next year, I will continue to model vehicles as this is where I feel my best features are in 3D, and to take time to up skill in unwrapping and texturing so I can have the realistic visuals to the models. I intend to use this project to take into my 3rd year so that I have a more complete portfolio piece at the end of my 3rd year, this will be my aim but is yet to be approved.

Here are some renders of my Maserati:


Leave a comment

Design Process- Research

Recently we have been tasked to make our own design process so that we can check which each piece of work we create that we are following our own design process or skipping steps, it also allows us to evaluate how we are working at the moment to make some tweaks and adapt it to the most effective workflow for our own work.

First I did some research on design processes to give me an idea on roughly the general pattern of a creatives process.

The easiest place to start was with my tutors, as professionals there design process has been tried and tested many times to be fine tuned to what worked best for them.

 

Paul here has has subdivided his process into 4 sections based on percentage to outline where the majority of work should go which is the early stages of brief, research and concept. It has a modern sharp look to it, i particularity like the circle getting bigger as the process gets further on to indicate progress, almost like a loading bar.

 

 

 

This is my tutor Gareth Sleightholme’s design process. This is a very visual style design process using arrows and using colour to highlight key areas. As you can see this is a scan of his paper pad which would now be ready to enter the next step of Photoshop if he wanted to but there is no need as your personal design process should be something you understand and as long as you can follow it each time you have a working design process.

Then from Gareth’s blog i followed this link to Domanic Li’s design process another tutor here, so clearly it is widely regarded as a thing each creative should have and follow to increase quality of work. This process is extremely helpful as it outlines each area in a detailed ranged way so that it can apply to many areas of art and design.

Other examples i collected are just different examples and ways of design to explain a design process.

This design process is from Dezigngeek. I like this design as its quite visual and with the rocket its as if you must take all these steps as you would checking a rocket before blast off. Simple but the visual aid from the pictures make it more attracting.

This design process briefly shows the steps to take but rather focuses on your certainty on your project, the scribbles indicate you are up in the air with ideas and have nothing pinned down but if you complete the steps you gain more clarity in your work. I really like how this has been portrayed as this indicates if you go straight to the final product your missing something and may run into issues due to lack of a followed design process.

 

Then finally this is a design process gamified which ties into our gamification work, but nice visuals and a cartoon style to it could teach younger people to implement a design process into their work at a earlier stage or at least consider what theirs might be. Regardless of that it is still relatable to adults as they annotate certain things with teacher/client so its applicable to all people. This has much more steps than most design processes i have seen but some are generally slotted into one overall category like “design” for sketches, concepts, iterations etc.

Now i have to create my own which will apply to my work no matter 5 minutes or 5 weeks, client or personal. A design process should be adaptable to the time deadline set to produce the best outcome of work.


1 Comment

Development Diary- Hellblade

HellBlade_Teaser_Screenshot_05

I was just checking up on latest game progression and news on my phone when i came across a game in production called Hellblade. In this brief article was a video attached which showed some amazing work for such a small team showing me personally some of the skillets required for industry, and how broad knowledge can help a pipeline massively.

This game is also being made in Unreal Engine 4, the engine we are using for both our client and my self initiated work. The part what amazed me was the blueprint scripting for naturalistic blends of assets in environments which are a combination of photographs and textures to create high detail that of which matches what you’d expect in a AAA game and allowed multiple duplication’s of the same asset to be used without breaking immersion being unnatural.

“We’re not  competing on scale, therefore you have to compete on being different. Hellblade has to be unique, something you wouldn’t be getting in a big budget AAA experience.”

Here is the video:

This gave an insight into how to work in small teams to accomplish big things, the ability to adapt workflow habits to enhance production and collaboration, and ways in unreal engine we have not yet experimented with to create amazing aesthetics.

To my surprise this was the 8th part of a development diary from developers Ninja Theory according to Loadthegame it the best look at the game so far.

They go on to speak about character development in enemies and how simple adjustments in software with slight alterations in textures can create an array of different characters quickly and efficiently. The use of silhouettes to prototype different shapes and deformations of the body allowed a character designer to modify the base character add assets like helmets to create what appears to be a completely different design. A very clever pipeline is being created here are Ninja Theory despite the small team as quoted above they are achieving alot more than expected not on a AAA budget.

The idea of time distortion and using perspectives in both combat and world to create visuals and illusion (illinx) was one that could give them the edge using a different idea to compete with the AAA budget they dont have with a small team.

This gives hope to us who may want to go into indie developing as with alot of work and research that we can achieve high quality AAA standard work with just 1 artist like they have done.

The idea of the development diary id like to implement into my own work for my self initiated, with a development diary it shows my unique way of a design process which can be used or changed to create a solid process of producing work. It also gives proof that my work is not a one off and actual thought has gone into the work I produce.

Id like to thank Ninja Theory for this video as its a great example to people like myself as a Games Design student on how to work in a industry pipeline, create multiple iterations of work, design and develop work from start to finish and delve into new ways of working. I will now watch there other development diaries to see what I have missed.


1 Comment

Self Initiated- Research Gran Turismo

To follow on from my Need for Speed research i decided to look into the Gran Turismo series of racing games. Gran turismo is the highest selling video game on all playstation systems selling over 70million copies being exclusive to the playstation console. They currently have 6 games that have been released on one playstation console or another starting with Gran turismo in 1997 on the playstation 1, the game was well appraised winning best simulator game and then on it evolved into “the real driving simulator”. Gran turismo focuses on pure real life driving in races, mainly on a track circuit course but occasionally a rally event just to switch things up. GT3 was the highest selling of the gran turismo franchise selling over 14million copies and being labelled “the best of the bunch” of the series according to fans.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My experience of Gran turismo growing up was first on the playstation 1 with the original which was one of my favourite games i just loved all sorts of racing games but gran turismo had to be my favourite, i didnt really have any of the other competitiors until need for speed underground so gran turismo was a favourite for me. One of my favourites had to be GT3 purely because i used to race head to head against my dad on the rally tracks, being quite a competitive gamer i always knew where best to ram him off the track was to win me the race and thats what its all about really competitive racing.

Features i like in Gran turismo especially the newer versions are the menu system its very relaxed calm music with slide select navigation and iconic selection noise youd instantly know it was gran turismo if you are a gamer. As shown below i like the garage feature you can view any of your cars and dont have to be in a race to do so, and the car in the background of the game navigation. Basic Race, garage, controls will all i feel necessary for my game at this time but this is good reference for layout ideas. This is perhaps too elegant of a look for a drag racer game as id like to have a street feel to it like a tornament vibe as of yet im not sure how ill go about doing that but gathering what i can for ideas will be helpful. Then again the tuning option is a nice touch so it adds that personlised feel to your car that its not just standard anymore you have made it better to be better.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Moving on from that my favourite feature is the range of cars, in the most recent gran turismo you have 1197 cars to choose from in game. That is a huge amount of cars which give the game a vast range from classic to modern to concept/prototype cars. This is something id like to implement as a range of cars tend to mean up in performance, speed, difficulty this not being the case for all as you can have a classic car like a jaguar e-type against a modern citreon saxo. But for the racing scene going from a classic mini up to a nissan skyline would work well as an upgrade and still provide range.

Gran turismo despite not being the style of racing game im going for will be valuable to my research as it has gained over the years that balance of a real feel for driving the realism in gran turismo is definately there its not all speed and blurred lines its control handling and skill something that could be neglected in my game due to the drag straight line race but speed and feel for realism is a factor i cant overlook.


2 Comments

Self initiated- Background research Need for Speed

With my game i proposed to do a racing game, its vital i look into who my competitors would be if i was to launch my game.

The racing scene in games is a huge area that has been done for many years going all the way back to what is consider the first racing game in Gran Trak 10

So this was 40years ago, meaning i have 40 years of racing games to look into to try and figure out how these games work and what makes them sell well. I wont be covering every single game ever but i will raise the main competitiors.

Starting off with Need For Speed:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thats a fairly extensive video showing footage of each game breifly through need for speeds history but ill sum it up my way. Starting with the first in 1994 need for speed has been a constant game in the racing genre since then spanning 23 games in total and now 1 film based on the game. The introduction of the police in Need for speed 3: hot pursuit was one well recieved so much they have revistied it several times in there game to the point where you race as a cop to take down other drivers. Personally the best need for speed games was the undergrounds 1 and 2, these games featured fully modifiable cars which would be classed as “tuned” or “street racing cars”, the turn away from track racing to being in the city racing at night was much more immersive. Also the fully customisable vehicles from paint jobs to decals/ vinyls gave the car a feel of thats my car thats my work of art and we are going to win this race together, there was times id be angry with myself for scratching my new pearlescent paint job on my tuned hyundai coupe (not sure why but as i kid i liked that look) this really ignited my passion for cars and love of racing games. Carbon was one of my favourites the slow motion tension of drifting round mountains with lack of barriers to keep you on in a 1on1 battle to own a section of the city was intense, they really used Roger Caillios theories of play well particulary in Agon (competition) and Illinx (disorientation), agon is an obvious one it was all about competition every race is a battle against the other driver/ drivers to win, not only that it was a “who has the best car?” rivalry with modifications. Illinx was the blurring of the screen or the speed lines using the car lights to show speed and make you feel like wow im going fast here, as well as impact, weather and dirt having effect.

All that aside Need for Speed is the most successful racing video game series in the world, and one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. Over 140 million copies of games in the series have been sold to date. Making it the biggest contender id have to compete against if i was to launch my game, with that highlighted some playing of the game will be nessecery to perhaps emulate what works well and try implement that into my game with it being drag racing its different but the players sense of speed will be vital getting the balance right.

I am going to re purchase some of these games and have a play through to give myself some insight into features i like and dont like, aswell as some possible inspiration for the hud and menu navigation.

 


3 Comments

Self initiated proposal- CarBeat

So for one of the modules of this year we are required to do a self initiated project where we make a game that we want to make. To do this we had to make a 15 second pitch to one of our tutors first off to sell our game as we would to any industry leaders in a interview. Then a proposal document which will be filled out over the year whilst doing this project.

My pitch was simple for me i want to model cars. So it seemed logical to make a racing game of my own so that i can understand the mechanics behind how a racing game works and how my models will work in a racing game. The pitch i proposed was: A drag racing game with manual gear changes, done on a mpink slip basis to collect and become the ultimate petrol head owning all the cars. This realtes to Roger Caillios Theory of Play with Agon which is competition. I intend it to span of 2nd and 3rd year self initiated so that i have a more polish and complete portfolio piece to take away with me at the end of the course.

That was just the selling point some of this was alot briefer to fit into the 15seconds but to get the message across to you readers i elaborated a bit.

Then to hand my proposal abstract in, the game i have called CarBeat the idea behind this is that people who have a unrivalled passion for cars i consider to have a car beat instead of a heart beat so on the monitior it would show a beat of a car in hospital. When your racing the idea is that all is just a zone its you and the finish line trying to get there as fast as you can, all you can hear is your heart beat and the engine so a CarBeat. This ties in to the put adrenaline of wanted to win a race but then the crushing defeat of losing your car, so be in flow it requires ultimate skill focus and to be one with your car to win all. Initially i had the name PetrolHead this was purely down to the pink slips aspect of my game becoming the ultimate petrol head by collecting all the cars of the tornament “you can judge a man by his shoes” sort of thing with “judge a man by his car collection”.

here is my abstract proposal:

CarBeat is a modern day set racing game in which the player races to obtain cars to add to their collection. The range of vehicles varies in age, rarity and speed from classic cars to exotic hyper cars. The race itself will be drag racing on a quarter mile and half mile basis (varies distance), all cars will be run on a manual gear shift basis so that the player will have to shift gears at the correct time to keep up the speed. You become the ultimate Petrol Head on a pink slip basis you win the car is added to your garage you lose your car is lost so the element of risk is there. Friendly races will be there to upskill before gambling all on the slips race. Players can race head to head in single player career mode or split screen 2 players. Implementation of difficulty level will give a rank system of player’s skill also replay-ability on a higher level.

CarBeat is based on a racing tournament which you race to become the ultimate petrol head, only people who race with true passion and skill are considered to have a CarBeat (instead of a heartbeat). That passion and level of competition increases as every race goes by you can win it all or lose it all. With it being manual gear changes its all down to skill and car choice with different stats of acceleration, top speed and weight.

I have chosen to have an optional view of racing, Behind car so you can see all what is going on and also catch a glimpse of the opponent next to you, side on so you can see how close or far you are from your opponent so edging in front then behind idea to the finish (single player only), and super first person where you see from the front of your car (only the track and the HUD).

The game relates to game theory Roger Caillois Theory of Play. Illinx as the player will feel pressure and disorientation when they get faster the screen will blur, Agon as it’s a competition in several different ways PVP, P V AI and collection car levels especially with the slips mode where if you lose you lose the car you have raced in resulting in a smaller petrol head collection; and alea as there is a chance your opponent doesn’t shift at the right time allowing you back into the race. It also links into Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow as if you concentrate and focus you will be able to shift gears at the correct time but if you fail to shift at the right times you will over rev your engine causing it to blowout also slowing you down before blowout.

With all that down it got me excited to get going. i have already started sketching down ideas for the games navigation and logo design which ill upload when completed.

the navigation breifly described for the idea i have now is below:

Step to step:

  1. Game start, Menu screen “START GAME”
  1. Contents page menu, options “single player” “split screen” “practice mode” “controls”
    • 2.1. if single player clicked “enter race- choose car” “my collection” “difficulty” “screenshots”
    • 2.2. If split screen clicked “enter race –choose cars”
    • 2.3. If practice mode clicked Thrown straight into a race with a random car with help tutorials.
    • 2.4. If controls clicked, show controls of game.
  1. When “enter race” clicked, choose car on a carousel basis showing statistics of car and colour selection.
  1. RACE!
  1. After race (you win/lose)

5.1. If slips race take to garage to show won car appear or lost car disappear

5.2. Takes you back to mode you’re on loops back to 2.1 2.2 or 2.3

5.3. If completed collection ultimate petrol head show credits or show reel of some race gameplay.

I believe that outlines how it would work fairly well but i will draw up a blueprint navigation to give visual aid to this.

Ultimately this project is a building block for me to test myself to the limits and improve in many fields of work. The main one being automotive modelling, it really is a thing ive found im pretty good at so i feel by pushing myself to pursue it and learn everything i can ill only get better at it every day. Then there is the blueprints side of things making my game work will help so much in industry when handing work down the pipeline if i have taken into consideration aspects of my work so the next person knows exactly where to start there work, or if i can say well its a this and that you need to do to make the car drift better with the rigging. All things that add to becoming a better professional towards industry.

The next step will be research into my area of work so research can be everything from who my competitors will be if i was to launch my game, to playing around in unreal engine 4 blueprints to figure how to get the racing mechanics and game working.