PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.


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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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