Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

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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:

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Client Project- Session 11

With us really wanting to push for the christmas period myself and fellow leader Phil had skyped the night before to dicuss what was to be done for Tuesdays session. Last week we had gathered few had done the texturing of the buildings deadline we set so we decided to pin down the interactivity side of things. With that out the way we both agreed that we should start off with another group critique as they are very beneficial for everyones work to improve, then move onto pushing on with the assets everyone was given to try get the level more detail in the block out. This would have happened if more than 4 people turned up. Due to this us 4 Myself, Phil, David and James decided that we would set ourselves a mini brief for the day with a deadline of the end of the day to see how far we got on with it.

This was:

1) To generate an asset list for the concept art street block offs

2) Allocate those assets

3) Get as far along as possible with each asset to be given feedback on by the end of the day

With this being done we quickly used the previous asset list to narrow down what our block off would be, we chose the furniture van conept idea where people had parked a furniture van and was unloading items therefore in the way of the player to get past. This required a furniture van, sofa, chairs, table, cuboard , filing cabinet and people. I took the van seen as i am the strongest vehicle modeller of the group and are focusing on it in my self initiated.

Here are the images i have gathered to help me with the modelling of the van. The blueprints obviously aid with the scale and proportional side of modelling, then the added reference from hulls transport museum is a nice feature as we know the van exists in the area as a furniture van (its initially where we got the idea from).

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This is what i managed to come up with, I had done up to the basic shape low poly with added interior midway through the day then just applied a turbosmooth to create the cars natural shape. Everything apart from the steering wheel and the front grill had been completed by the end of that day, but i did finish them on the wednesday. I was pleased with my end product after being unsure and unable to find the scale i had to use vectors from a modern day transit van for height and length to get what felt natural for this van. With this being a day and a halfs work I was impressed with my speed clearly showing myself im improving in my modelling skillset to produce a decent end product in what is a short amount of time for a vehicle. There are some parts with smoothing issues around the windows but they are not too bad and look presentable in engine. I chose to open the doors as then some of the assets the other guys had designed could be placed inside for realism, but if needs be i can simply close the doors to give variation if the van is used multiple times in engine.

All it needs now is a texture im yet to start this as i had to go back to buildings but it will be done over christmas. Hopefully next week we can get a group critique in before christmas which will be the 2weeks off, but its not really off as we are behind on the project from where we should be and need to be working over the holidays before hand in.


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.