PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Gamification- Research and My Ideas

Last week i was absent from the session in which Paul delivered a brief for gamification. The brief is the gamificate something that hasn’t been gamified before, we have to research ideas on gamification in everyday life to see if it has been done before then try come up with an individual idea to make a game from. If it has been done before or the overarching theme (example working) has been over done then it will be denied by Paul and we will have to find another idea.

With missing the session I have also missed any videos or examples that was shown in session. Therefore im going to research into gamification myself to get up to speed.

What is gamification:

The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service: ‘gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun’ – Oxford dictionary definition

That being the definition the key in that would be the example quote

“Gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun”

This should immediately spring loads of ideas to mind as surely everything can be gamified in some way or other. One example of this I found was a game called HabitRPG this game basically makes your life a game in order to create habits, it rewards you for meeting targets and punishes you for missing them. The idea is to form working habits so that could be do the ironing at 8pm every Tuesday, you can set this in a to-do which if you meet it a reward can be redeemed using in game coin to have say 1hour of video games.

Layout of HabitRPG on laptop and phone

Layout of HabitRPG on laptop and phone

This is a fairly simple idea but with rewards and graphs showing you your productivity progress it gives purpose to those boring household chores. Something similar to this targeted at children is the app ChoreMonster its a childs version and when they meet the chores they get a ticket to the monster carnival to earn random monsters to help them on their journey. Simple things like this really help people engage in what they are doing as it gives purpose, especially for children it adds fun to the dreaded clear your toys away as they get rewarded for it.

ChoreMonster multiple levels, design, layout, platforms.

ChoreMonster multiple levels, design, layout, platforms.

This was what i intended to do on first thought before research was a chore game so that when you ticked off chores done in a day you gained points to earn relax time, but as it has been clearly done for adults and children this can be ruled out as my tutor will most likely deny it.

My other idea I had was a waste/recycling game where if I made sure i partitioned recycling and rubbish waste i would be rewarded and shown a healthier planet. This could be a good app where you swipe the food on the screen into either the blue recycle bin or the green waste bin. It would make people more aware of what goes in which bin and reward them for it by maybe showing a field if you do wrong trees are lost as less recycling is done but if recycle more trees are saved.

With a bit of research I found out this is also done, not in the same style at what i was thinking but on a more global scale and has been running for a while called Recycle Bank and here is a article on it at mashable. Here is a video on it showing some really inspiring stuff to bring a wider community together to benefit the planet and reward them for it:

This may have been done in a professional manner but as a little mini game/app im sure i should be able to proceed with this idea. I was thinking due to the tutors and cleaners constantly mentioning about tidying up in the studio a cartoon style game where you need to clear the studio of litter as fast as possible but swiping the litter into the bin. This would be good on the app store as currently i haven’t found anything of the sort.

The best idea i felt I had though was a walking to work or shopping or anything you need to be at, the idea you set your track using a  map of your area and then you are time trialed to get there as fast as you can walking. This then would be saved into a leaderboard of times to compete with yourself and colleagues, when loading up you could choose previous tracks done named appropriately by yourself so try beat your last time or friends time. This would then give you points dependent on speed, beating others, beating your own time, arriving early to work and so on. The funny side of it I would like implemented but its unrealistic due to technical restraints would be walking down a road your phone connects to another if headphones are connected to ask another person to race on a set track, this would then show the other persons statistics, win ratio, average speed etc. It would look rather odd seeing two people busting a gut to out walk another from McDonald’s to city hall but it gamifies your standard journey. I know that walking races are an actual sport and profession for trained professionals but applied in a daily life journey I don’t believe has been done. How I would go about this i have no idea as of yet but if accepted i would have to research into custom tracks on a map that are timed and tracked by your phones location sort of like a sat nav in a car.

So these are my ideas I can propose there are many other things i have considered but dont feel them to be as strong as ones mentioned, but if none are accepted i can possibly fall back on other ideas. I think the key is to apply gamification to something that is boring, something you dont like to do so that it gives it a goal at the end of it. There are plenty of day to day life tasks that this can be applied to such as brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day or more.

Once doing some research and actually thinking about it alot of things are now gamified in some shape or form, WordPress tracks your statistics and has little achievements for amount of blog posts, Snapchat has a points system dependent on your use, Tesco’s has club card points for purchasing products as do most shops on and offline now. The list goes on some seem dull but in many ways life is a game and everything is permitted to be made a game. Finding that unique idea though is the harder task in this.


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Client Project- Session 14

Recently we all had our hand ins at the beginning of January, this was a mock deadline for us set to give us a halfway tutorial point from our tutors to give feedback on our work so far. Last blog of mine for client was some final tweaks to my hand in like improved textures. I managed to hand in on time and made sure that the engine was functional with Phil for all the learning objectives in the interactive environments module as well as peoples work handed to us to go in engine.

Moving on from that during the assessment period myself and Phil as team leaders discussed how we can try a new way of keeping everyone engaged in the project with faster work rate, this was because towards the end of the semester people was saying they didn’t enjoy doing for example 3D or a specific area of 3D like buildings. This gave an idea of a industry style pipeline to be implemented, this means that the group would be given a chance to partition into groups (maybe people they don’t normally work with) to work in smaller mini teams showing collaboration in their given specific areas. For example one person may think after this course they want to be a concept artist, so we would allocate that person to the art team. This would mean they focus mainly on the art side of work so concepts, public visuals (logos etc.) and texturing. Despite this it would not give them total immunity to 3D and other work as it is needed from everyone just they will have less of it than the 3D team.

Now this may not work and may take some adapting for people to get their own design process to adapt to the pipeline but if we can pull it off it shows we can work collaboratively as a team using industry practice which would surely add to our marks for professionalism. There may be areas that work and area that don’t so we can hopefully tailor the process to maximise our workflow. I’m thinking the pipeline as in handing your model to someone else to texture to get it back as its not fully optimised may cause some issues but im hoping the mini teams will definitely work, to start getting people to work with other people that like the same area of work and they will hopefully teach each other techniques for speed.

All that being said I called a group meeting to discuss this semester and last semester, how we did and how we are going to move forward. This was sort of a reiteration of Gareth and Paul’s meeting about us being way behind schedule and alot not being up to scratch. Nothing was targeted at any individual just a general grilling for everyone trying to hammer in that we need to pull together to finish this project. Mainly we need more work but we need speed with that, peoples speed of work is what could cost us so whether some extra tutorials or peer help would benefit the group wide up-skilling. To try implement that we are going to set deadlines, so a deadline will be set per piece and if the person does not meet the deadline then the work shall be taken off them for someone else to do, then its only yourself you are letting down the work is getting done just less and less by the people who don’t put in the time.

A few things was highlighted about re addressing our hand in work like texturing, texture quality, and optimising models. This was obvious from the hand in it needed to be higher quality but i just pointed out again.

I then moved onto the Hellblade development diary that i found, i did a blog post on this and put it on basecamp for the group to see. Unfortunately a few missed this notification so i did a little session where we watched the video as a group and then i took us through the features of collaboration, team work, design process, and adapting to your working environment. All of these we are going to try implement into our work as described above with the pipeline. The other thing was to do a development diary of our own, currently we have 2 development videos but we believe the style of the video Hellblade did was much more descriptive and professional that the process we have been taking.

We have now decided to implement the Oculus Rift into our project which when implemented into the project should attract as much attention as the last years Paragon project which had alot of views assisted by trying the rift. This is an exciting feature for us as virtual reality headsets seem to be edging into next generation gaming especially with Sony Ps4’s upcoming Project Morpheus.

This concluded this weeks client project meeting, we left giving everyone a week to figure out what they want to do in this project. But it was cleared up that they should not focus so much on what for the client project but a deeper thought into what they want to do after the course.

Then the remainder of the buildings was put into “to-do’s” on basecamp for people to claim and complete, this is just for grabs until next week when the 3D team will take priority over buildings.


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Client Project- Hand In

It came around alot faster than expected but we have now handed in for the client project. Despite a recently blog on my christmas and session 13 work we was given a slight extension to our initial Tuesday hand in to the Friday due to some engine issues that with slight extra time would be implemented, also a lack of textures from most people was still to come in so we was grateful for the extra time. Despite that by now we should be tuned to deadlines having them done before the actual day so any fine tweaks can be made with little panic.

With this slight extension it gave me some room to do some more work. I could have gone many ways to add to my work like texturing my car but I realised this process may need slightly longer and not to be rushed. So instead I re-addressed my textures from the whole process going back to my first buildings to improve the general look.

When I went back to look at some of my early unwraps and textures it shocked me how far i have come in advancing my unwrapping and texturing skills. With some quick tweaks to early unwraps without redoing it all i made some more room for larger uv’s which means higher quality. One thing in particular lacking from some early buildings was that of doors and windows, early on we mentioned the idea of multi subbing windows to give a realistic reflection and look to the buildings but to do this we needed an interior otherwise you just see emptiness behind your building. I decided for now to apply some simple window textures which isnt as realistic but at least its not seethrough glass or a grey untextured area. Then for the doors most of my buildings are shops and with our setting being night time i just applied some shutters so imply its closed and locked up.

Here are my hand in buildings:

I was pleased with the outcomes of m&s, poundland and parliament street building probably because they are my later buildings to be textured i had a bit more knowledge to improve my work. With the other 3 being basic buildings not much could be done but correct stiching unwrapping has been done so cannot complain much just needs a bit of work. There was a minor issue with the windows on crawshaws they look very washed out and white also the bottom windows have some random shapes on them, im yet to figure out why this is its probably a quick fix once i figure it out though.

Overall very pleased with my extra work done in the additional time and feel i am improving on the texturing with each piece of work i do. Next is to tackle unwrapping and texturing the cars for the level, this may take alot of time but it will get there and make me a better worker for it.


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Client Project- Session 5

Previous (1/2,3,4)

In this session it was about getting down to the grit and pushing forward, the was some suspicions of certain people lacking in work so we decided to address that and ask for all work so far to be handed in, and any research such as images to be printed off to stick on the wall. This was all done and it was evident some had done more than others but at this stage it wasnt so crucial but the issue of raising the bar needed to be pointed out now before the problem later down the line.

With that beign said Myself, James and Viktor had produced several concept art pieces in collaboration with the block out, this was to develop ideas for the streets blocking volumes. The blocking volumes are essentially invisible walls that prevent the player from further advancing to a part of the level that they should not be able to enter, we have these purely because out project is a certain area and we do not want the player to be able to go beyong this area otherwise we have to model more and more or they see blank nothingless space which kills the realism. So instead of having an invisible wall we thought it was better design to have some form of realistic blocking in relation to the area. Ideas that myself and James discussed was things like furniture vans delivering and carrying stuff across the road, a broken down bus holding up traffic or a parade of celbrations of the world cup and so on. To make these concepts we used reference images that were photographs we had taken of the area then by putting it into photoshop we created a basic greyscale concept of our ideas.

block progress 2 This is my first concept piece, this is down trinity house lane. I have place the blocking just after the indoor market so that the indoor market will be accessible, the blocking contains a market delivery van that is dropping off goods for the market such as a stall to go inside with like fruit and vegetables. The idea i had was that one of the boxes had been spilt and apples or vegetables could be spilled across the road with collisions on so you can kick them about. This gives the concept idea a place in the environment its not like ive just randomly slammed a piece of scaffolding there or something, the blocking has meaning. I go by the idea that in a game every object should have a bio to it or a story behind it, for example: who put it there, was it put there for a reason or convienience, when was it put there, why was it put there and where might it come from. If you follow that and can answer that in every asset you place and create your onto a winner. Back to the concept i have placed some silouhuettes of people to represent scale and how it will look with life in the street too.

 

 

concept parliament4

My second concept is on parliament street i was much more pleased with this concept idea as it could be used as a general overall concept theme for blocking in the area due to an event theme with the world cup celebrations in 1966. I placed a few banners here and there to give the concept height and decoration, the idea of policemen patrolling and overlooking the area to make sure that everything is under control fills out the area better. Research was put into this concept with the police car using reference of what cars were used for police cars, in this case the classic mini also the policemans outfit style is in relevance to the time period. I also added a tad of colour to this one just to make it pop a bit more than a basic different grey tone.

 

The purpose behind these concepts were not only to get ideas for the blocking volumes for the grey block, it was to up my skills in photoshop. Personally i know that my photoshop skills were not up to scratch purely because it was an alien program to me that i only briefly went into with the adaptation year 1 project, so with being on the blocking out team i didnt really have any involvement in the concepts side of stuff originally but personal drive wanted me to move into the concept side of thinks due to my creative thinking behind the ideas. So i did both not neglecting the block out though, phillip decided to take full focus on it with the measurements we had gathered over the weekend whilst i worked with the concept guys and also went into the research team reading “memories of hull” book which had been ignored when taken out from the library 2 weeks ago by the research team. Then when we returned to uni on monday i continues to finish the block out with phil gathering further measurements of the alleyways we had missed, then moving onto adding basic colour schemed bsp (basic standard primitives) to fill out the level with the blocking concepts in basic form.

here is a video myself and phil did to outline what had been done by us over the last week and what our ideas are going forward with the block out:

We apologise for the poor videoing method through my phone but we didnt have screen video capture software at this time so this was the first method we had to hand at the time. We outline issues we came up with along the process of the blocking out such as the FOV (field of view) not feeling right with the street size and the scale having to measure out all week with a meter wheel due to the map we had not being accurate enough to made a block out from. Our ideas going forward was a day cycle so having 2 alternate settings day/night so have triggered lighting of streetlamps to show nightlife as well as daytime. The rest is in the video i dont need to elaborate as we covered it fairly well. I clocked around 50hours over the last week on client work with working on the block out and all the other areas aswell. Everyone has now been allocated buildings my buildings are Marks and Spencers and what currently is Crawshaws, over reading week we have set a target of a basic model to scale and snapped to grid of your buildings with possible texture considerations, so nothing overnight and too much as of yet but a test to see if work is done.

I have now set up us a work in progress online presence for our client project:

Hotmail- HeritageHull60s@outlook.com

Youtube – Heritage Hull https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBggxbowlU24GJvQVSM2NtQ

Twitter – @heritagehull60s https://twitter.com/HeritageHull60s

Facebook Page- https://www.facebook.com/HeritageHull60s

so give us a like, a tweet or an email if you have any email in related to hull in the 1960s or the 1960s in general like fashion or transport etc.

Keep an eye out for us on Thursday 30th october as we are on the radio promoting our project!


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Classic Mini Model- Self Initiated Mini brief

Brief.

Over the summer i set myself a styled mini brief to try help myself improve my 3d modelling. I did this first by doing an rc car (see in my previous rc car process blog) but to step it up i wanted to model my own car. I own a 1996 classic mini equinox which is my pride and joy, what better to model that a car i can just go outside and see my mistakes in my 3d work. all my reference images are from my own car which i kept flicking to on facebook aswell.

This is how i got on i wont go into too much detail as it was a fairly extensive process, but i have captioned the process images to give you an idea what is going on and how i possibly did it.

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So with putting all this together and finally tweaking everything to my liking, some pieces i added for personal preference. I was basically adding pieces to my car that i may do in the future. This could turn out beneficial when im unsure on buying something on my car i could model it add to it and see what it could look like.

Anyways to the final piece i was very pleased with. I came across lots of problems all of which i felt i tackled well, pinching, z fighting, smoothing issues, verts where they should be, overlapping, and getting the reference images in each viewport work when i change the view angle in my 3dsmax view. During this process i learnt massive amount about how i like to model and things i can use whilst modelling like new modifiers. One inparticular was FFD’s (Free form deformation) this allowed me to use control points to edit the shape of whatever i was shaping e.g. i did this for my bonnet to create a smooth curve on edges and surface. The modifier i used the most was definately Symmetry, this allows you to do half the work, all you do is model half apply symmetry modifier and make sure the mirror is central so that the vertexes in the middle can weld together or adjust the weld distance so it fits your reference viewports. Turbosmooth gave the model the high poly realistic aspect to the model, this varied in iterations dependent on what was nessacery e.g. the rims for the wheels needed 3 iterations due to the complex shapes of the spokes whereas the indicators only needed 1 iteration.

Here it is untextured, im currently looking into Mental Ray texturing and rendering in 3ds max to give myself a realistic looking textured car model.

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So there it is..My high poly Classic Mini!

The polycount came to 879,277, a massive 563,715 of that beging the wheels which is huge in proportion to the rest. This will need to be baked down if i was to use it in a game realisticly, which would be a normal map applied to a low poly version of my mini to give it the appearance of a high poly model.

Update:

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Started experimenting with 3ds Max in Mental Ray texturing using some preset and adjusting specular and gloss levels for certain things. Anything that looks white is Chrome in the actual render window but i need to set up lighting for this to show i will get to this. I rendered it at a couple of angles to see what it all looks like, this made me notice the glossiness and specular of the paint was far too high so it would need to be toned down. Also the glass effect i added to the lights didnt work as i needed to apply a interior texture for the lights it did work for the spotlights, and im yet to seperate the windows so they are just part of the car paint. All work in progress.

All in all im very pleased with the outcome, the model looks just like a mini its all to scale. I must give myself plaudits for pulled this off for sheer grit and determination to improve as there was times it wasnt going right and i wanted to stop but fighting past that wall is the way to improve.

This actually turned out extremely useful doing this car as our client brief is set in the 1960s so i can use my mini with some minor adjustements to match the 1960s or previous model of the classic mini to go into our project. Due to my car the group wants me to do vehicles for the level as its not the easiest of modelling tasks. Automotive modelling really appeals to me and id like to pursue it further and improve more. Any feedback on my mini would be hugely appreciated and beneficial to my progress. Thanks.

UPDATE:

Due to uploading for feedback and critique on polycount, i have been advised to show my wireframes in my showcase of my model. So here are some additional images with wireframes.

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Summer- Self initiated mini brief

To keep myself going over the summer I have been working on several mini projects and even some designing of games with other colleagues.

Brief:

To design a Realistic Car/Automobile/Vehicle or representation of a vehicle (toy, remote control, model) of your choosing (Car, Motorbike, Helicopter, Tank, Remote Control etc.)

  • Pt1. Find or Research your chosen vehicle for use of reference when modelling (Your car/ images/ sketches/ owned item etc.)
  • Pt2. Once comfortable with chosen vehicle (it has to be real, no transformers allowed!) plot yourself out a design process to tackle in 3d modelling.

-for example: if you do a car, the car will need a frame to be build onto, then wheels, a shell, optional interior depending on how far you want to take it.

  • Pt3: Model your vehicle, the idea is to have it looking as realistic as possible so there will be no polycount limit.

-Try experiment with modifiers dependent on what your trying to do…its all about expanding your 3dsmax skill set.

-Tip: When modelling use groups and name each part you are making then you wont struggle later on with box1011 instead it can be SuspensionBolt etc.

  • Pt4: Texture It, Unwrap your model and texture it to look as similar to your reference images as you can. (This is where if you have gone crazy and your topology is messy you might struggle).

Done! set your scene and evaluate your results, its ok if its not exact its all about practice and you can use it to build from.

I will post my results in separate posts.


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Adaptation Evaluation

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.