Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

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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.



Semiotics- Mini Brief

As another additional part to out latest creative futures mini brief part 1 and part 2.

The definitions for the keywords we learned in the session of semiotics:

  • Semiology- The study of signs, signals, symbols, gestures and messages.
  • Semiotics- The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.
  • Signifier- a sign’s physical form (such as a sound, printed word, or image) as distinct from its meaning.
  • Signified- the meaning or idea expressed by a sign, as distinct from the physical form in which it is expressed.
  • Denote- be a sign of, indicate. simile.
  • Connote- imply or suggest (an idea or feeling) in addition to the literal or primary meaning. metaphor.
  • Arbitrary- based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
  • Polysemy- the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different contexts) to express two or more different meanings.

Semiotics give you a range of meanings to just a basic picture, you are basically deconstructing or decoding the works to find out through semiotics what the meanings or purpose of that particular part in an image could be.

Thought behind semiotics and studies into it was defined by a signified and signifier:


  • Signifier- a sign’s physical form (such as a sound, printed word, or image) as distinct from its meaning.
  • Signified- the meaning or idea expressed by a sign, as distinct from the physical form in which it is expressed.
The connection between the two is in fact what we call arbitrary meaning based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
Further studies into this was interpreted in different ways such as this which is considered to be a more advanced in depth version of signified and signifier:

  • An Icon- ‘where the sign relates to its object in some resemblance with it, i.e. a photograph’. It physically resembles what it stands for.
  • A Symbol- ‘where the sign relates to its object by means of convention alone, e.g.  word, a flag’. Relates to via social convention.
  • An Index- ‘where the sign relates to its object in terms of causation, e.g. sundial, paw print, medical symptom’. It correlates with or points to.
  • So leading from this a sign can be iconic, symbolic and indexical.


A example of a semiotic reading :


The use of the colour white to represent peace and prestigious nature. The face being blacked out slightly to represent the idea that anyone can be James Bond super secret agent spy by buying this cologne.  The mixed black with white suggests that the product is releasing the males dark secret side that nobody knows about all suggested through a product. And much more I am sure for a more in depth reading see my blog post on semiotics for Cats.




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Side Project- “Bus Stop”

Today I was introduced to a manageble side mini brief which is given to us to explain to us that we need to understand that small mini projects are things which build our portfolio and mini games are the way forward for us as unless we are in a massive team we will never finish that “epic AAA game idea” that we had as its just not possible. So this project of “Bus Stop” is a useful addition that can possibly support our portfolio and help us build our personal work in our own time.

The brief states: For the purpose of this brief, a BUS STOP can be interpreted as “any place at which people might gather to board transport of some kind.”

It should include:

1. Preliminary sketches/thumbnails of ideas and thinking/Mood Board of Influences and References.

2. A pre-visualization for a scene/environment/product in the broader scope of a digital/traditional animation/game concept.

3. A brief outline of your idea, this can be printed out or left on your blogs but submit a link to the post.

4. a list of influences/ artists who you have looked at.

So taking all this into account i went to the internet to find some insperation  for forms of transport that people gather on with all types of land just maybe to mix it up and do something different than the casual bus stop. It can be an elevated walkway in a futuristic pod craft pick up and drop off or just complete opposite of medievil horse and cart pickup. cable car.2cable car entry.1cable car station.1

My first idea was that of a cable car, maybe at some sort of mountain resort or tourist attraction. And to do some form of 3D Model of a cable car aswell as a concept art of people waiting to get into a cbale car and then mid journey. This would be a interesting idea as its not your everyday transport but for tourist attractions its an esstential pick up and drop off point if there was a fault the attraction would not be easily assessible to the public especially a mountain. An alternate idea for the cable cars so I could go down the like of a concept art piece instead would be the ground floor world is polluted in the future and the new world of massive skyscrapers can only be safely accessed by cable car through the smog pollution.gondola.1KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAgondola.3

For the idea of water I didn’t want just your conventional boat that we use today like a speedboat or a cruiser, I wanted something more elegant but also man made in a sense. This gave me the ideas of the gondola, a gondola is a type of rowing boat as seen in the pictures displayed with a long oar. The reason I wanted this style as I was thinking not that of tourist experience at Venice…no that was too obvious for a gondola. My idea was to set it in the near future with the setting of a underwater London, the cause of this would be the melting of the artic causing mass sea level rise and huge waves breaking all modern boats leaving just raw materials floating about. Therefore only means of travel would be that of a man made gondola/rowing boat for remaining survivors. I have a few ideas of a concept art for this piece but may also 3D model a gondola.

Below are some other ideas I gathered for different scenery of underwater and just day to day transport but I decided I wouldn’t pursue them and that I would try to focus on which of the gondola or cable car I would focus on after sketching thumbnails of them. Posts of progress are to follow shortly.

wheeled submarineunderwater cityunderwater car.2underwater bus

busy bus stop.1


Creative Futures- Adaptation- Props/Objects/Vehicles

In recent Adaptation lessons it has been primarily focused on the Environment design/research side of work, If you wanted to see previous work in adaptation before reading this blog to make sure you know whats going on in my design process see blog 1 intro, blog 2 progress/design, blog 3 early character design, blog 4 first environment drawing (arena 1st person gladiator), blog 5 2nd environment drawing (arena birds eye view).

This lesson we moved onto preparing ourselves to design the props/objects/vehicles of our game genre. To do this obviously you need an extensive knwoledge or decent research on your particular genre of work, mine being Rome/Gladiator I knew already due to previous areas of work the percieved image of rome and everything they used. Before expanding on what i might be drawing in Rome Gareth took us onto his blog apophenia inc to show us some background information on props, prop designers, prop buyers and then some related keywords definitions.

Quick definitions:

1 – “Props Buyers” are traditionally member of a film crew (assisting the Production Designer, Art Director and Set Dressers) that examine the script/plot/story needs and then generate a buying list of objects and props which will be needed in order to bring sets to life and reflect the use of that space by the characters, groups, organisations, and/or entities that we need to believe inhabit it.

2 – “Product Design” can be defined as the idea generation, concept development, testing and manufacturing or implementation of a physical object or product.

The role of the product designer combines art, science and technology to create tangible three-dimensional goods. This evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that allow designers to communicate, visualize and analyze ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past. The term is sometimes confused with industrial design, which defines the field of a broader spectrum of design activities.

Product designers are equipped with the skills needed to bring products from conception to market.” -Gareths Sleightholme- apophenia inc wordpress.

Aesthetics is considered important in Product Design but designers also deal with important aspects including technology, ergonomics, usability, stress analysis and materials engineering.

Keyword Definitions:

Aesthetics- a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty.

Ergonomics- the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.

Usability- the quality of being able to provide good service/use

As with most of the design fields the idea for the design of a product arises from a need and has a use.


An interesting design that has been made to fit a purpose or need is the Haptica a concept design for a brail watch. Did you honestly know what this was from looking at it? i didnt i thought it was a car part possibly a brake caliper.

In order to populate our environments that we have drawn we need to list and research extensively possible props that will appear in our environment, (Games Design) by David Perry is a book that is a fantastic brainstorming toolkit for this type of task. Without using that book i took to my own accord to find 36 minimum props/objects/vehicles that could appear in my genre and environment.

Being a Gladiator Roman genre and enviroment here is what I listed:

  • Sword (long, short, great)
  • Dagger
  • Shield (round, square, rectnagle, arched, wood, metal etc)
  • Helmet (centurian, guard, cowl, gladiator, warrior, soldier, all styles of shape and design)
  • Armour plate (various designs)
  • Chainmail
  • Cape (colour mainly red for rome)
  • Belts/hold alls (leather, rope, animal hide, pockets, coin purse)
  • Rags (thin cloth for clothing, slave, gladiator in cells image)
  • Carriage (emporer transport, wealth, engravings, carved, gold, wood, silk)
  • Chariot (2wheeled transport pulled by horses, normally holds centurion, image him with spear)
  • Chain
  • Weapon Stand (all different for weapon type possibly, armoury)
  • Crown (royalty, emporer, wealthy, councellors)
  • Fine Clothes (silk, cotton, robes, dyed colours, quality material)
  • Sandals/Strapped boots (sandy floor, heat, strapped boots for battle, sandals for public)
  • Mace
  • Bed (wood, poor, rich, comfort, fur sheet, rag)
  • Fur
  • Wood planks (foundations, scaffolding, build, buildings)
  • Money/ Currency/ Coins
  • Statues (scale, romans love statues, icons, leaders, beauty)
  • Paintings/ Art
  • Urns/ Vase
  • Columns/ pillar (marble, stone, rock)
  • Scroll
  • Papyrus (Roman name for paper, scrolls, documents, declarations)
  • Flags
  • Stocks (punishment, put in stocks head and hands, people throw rotten food at you in stocks, also execution beheading)
  • Fountains
  • Food/Fruit (olives, meat, bread etc)
  • Plants (trees, flowers etc)
  • Barrels (wine, weapons, ingredients, storage)
  • Boxes
  • Coat of Arms (recognition of person, sheild with cross swords over top common image of coat of arms, family)
  • Ornaments (candles, wax, statues, paintings, vase, urn)
  • Furniture (chair, table, bed)
  • Sword hold (fur, leather, metal, size)
  • Cart (2 wheeled pulled object, transport goods, markets)
  • Wagon (large scale cart transport goods further, horse pulled)
  • Boat (naval battles, transport, adventure, discovery, small, large)
  • Standard (roman standard is an eagle, staff with big eagle on top, taken to battle for legions, status)
  • Headpiece (crown, half crown, tiara, leaves, wreath)
  • Hammer (blacksmith, weapon, craft)
  • gauntlet (piece of armour on wrist, used to challenge battles)
  • Axe (wood cut, weapon)
  • Jewellry (ring, necklace, gems, crown, gold , silver, rich , status)

There are 47 examples of Props/ objects/ vehicles that could possibly appear in my roman environment and im sure there are many more that i have missed out, possibly little things but the little things can still make or break the realism in your enviroment so every fine detail is to be considered and further research will need to be taken to make sure i havent missed anything.

After I did this we went on to be told that we should design 3 of these props in our own time such as for me: a helmet, a sword and a chariot using our own design processes. This would result in extensive research and using examples already been made in my case to use as inspiration for helmet design. The primary use of this task is that props/ objects/ vehicles are all key fundamental things in an environment that without them it just wouldnt be relaistic (unless its some sort of deserted zombie apocolypse) also props can be used in conjunction to character design that i will be undertaking (heres a early design i did) for example: my gladiator could be holding a sword, which would need to be designed seperately in a design process so your not just using any old sword you just threw together in 10minutes in his hand, all aspects are consider and multiple drawings are made.

“Design as much as possible until you are out of ideas, then keep designing even more.” – basically even if you think you have designed enough and thought of everything, keep going as the more and more you do the higher possiblilty of something unique becoming designed. Even to the point of boredom, you are so fed up with designing this helmet you become bored but then you have an extensive set of designs.

This is something i will try to go by as many ideas always come out of your head so even if they are rubbish still get then down or drawn because something in that could be added to a better design to create a unique item.

I am now beginning to research the first of the 3 prop/object/vehicle design that i will undertake which is a helmet for the gladiator. The mass range of helmet designs means i have alot to use as inspiration when designing my helmet e.g. full face cover with slits from dual wield heavy armor warrior, added centurion/ legion bright red headpiece of hair (mohawk style), and small spikes from the gladiator film Maximuses helmet. Thats just a quick concept idea i threw together in a few seconds just from ideas i have gathers in roman research in helemts, so much to be thought upon to help me design my helmet. Im unsure what i will move onto next after that as the list is huge to choose from but progress blog posts will be added to show my process.


Creative Futures- Creativity 23/10/13

In todays lecture for Creative Futures we was moving on from the Drawing 101 sessions and focusing purely on Creativity, what creativity is and how it works. To begin with we explored the idea of is art talent genetic so for example a drawing gene or painting gene. This caused a discussion between us students which I learnt myself that there will be no such thing as a drawing specific gene, it will be a creative gene or multiple hand eye co-ordination genes to assist you in drawing. The actual drawing is through practice and learning yourself to expand your knowledge of drawing techniques and methods. The idea of everyone of us needs an “on and off creative switch” to be successful in our course, which means that at any one moment you should be able to switch on working mode of any kind. This idea has been said to us a number of times because you cannot say to  client when asked to do something “Sorry, im not in the mood” as you will most likely be fired, you always need to be ready to switch on and this was a good thing to go by for me as if we are being told it now surely we will need it for the future.

Then our tutor went onto discussing our design process. This caused much confusion as most of us students didn’t even know we had a design process. A design process was described to us as a method of working which best suits us so we can visualise it better to ourselves.

This process should ideally acknowledge the following:

  • Reading/negotiating and interpreting a brief – given by a client or self-initiated.
  • Early design development and experimentation (various media).
  • Discernment – the choosing of the most appropriate design solution from A RANGE of alternatives.
  • Further Design Development and refinement of your chosen design.
  • Preparation for presentation/pitch to the client.
  • Evaluation.

So this was shown to us as the ideal method of work and how to go about your briefs. This was the process I go through anyway but what he meant was how do we then put that process onto paper and visualise our process. So what I did was I went back through my notes from start to the most recent to see if any patterns emerged. Funnily enough they did I noticed that I use a lot of symbols or underlining to indicate importance for example: a star at begin and end of point to show its key, a brief bullet point which then if needs adding to I use a hyphen underneath to indicate addition, or I underline/ box a word or sentence multiple times so it stands out from the page. So by seeing what may not be the complete article of my design process but certainly how I work I have realised it must work for me. This may only be the first of many design processes as Gareth said we will go through many a design process before finding the one that works perfect for you, I am a visual person I believe so im sure that arrows and highlighters etc. will come into my process at some stage as its all what jumps out of the page for me.

If you would like to see the session taught to us about our design process visit out tutor Gareth’s blog (