PHASEgaming

Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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Client Project- Session 20-22

On the return of Easter as group leaders we was hoping to see our teams work over the holidays towards the project. Unfortunately when asked the majority of the group had focused on their self initiated projects instead of the client, this was quite disappointing as everyone was set targets and agreed to them before Easter. Nevertheless we proceeded with the group meeting after I stated to the group that we all agreed on a target and seen as myself and Phil was pulled from the project due to doing too much work on it and not enough on the rest of our work it was down to the rest to produce work.

With that all being said we had estimated we have around 6 weeks left due to no pinned down hand in dates, due to this we all agreed that to have a 2 week clean up period before the final hand in was a sensible action to take. This would mean we have 4 weeks to finish everything outstanding for every individual in the group, then those 2 weeks would be spent checking all the work for errors, bug testing the engine, and then correcting any errors that existed. This would be a similar procedure than what would be taken in industry, before a game would be shipped everything would be checked, checked again and checked again really. The final product is the key and will be on view to the public for example we don’t want to be explaining why that car is floating above a building its unprofessional and with this 2 week clean up period this should eradicate any issues.

Before Easter in the last session we had been trying to come up with a name for the project (see link for design process of name), with many being generated and one not particularly pinned down we decided to leave it until after Easter to decide on a name, this allowed anyone to have a think and possibly come up with a name for the project. With that being said we finally decided on my idea of “Old Town Memories”. I particularly liked the name because it had a soft ring to it, also it directly linked to our project with us designing a section of Old Town and with it being the 1960’s and most people will still be around from that time period remembering what it was like it would spark memories.

With the named being decided on the design documents for the public eye needed to be done. This would include things such as leaflets/flyers, concept booklet, logo/banner, and a bio of the project. This would be a general input from the entire group as the more input the better. My personal input was that we need a theme to it, a general style for each document which replicates over the other documents gives a professional look to it all. As for style i suggested as I did to David with the UI/HUD elements to research into fashion colour trends on the time period to try link it all in.

Closing the group meeting I emphasised the importance of communication, we need to talk people cannot be at any point in the dark now, if there are any struggles from any individual they need to be open about it so somebody can help to progress them further or take the work from them so its completed. Its crunch time and teamwork needs to be a priority.

Moving on, in-between session 20 and 21 we had a surprise meeting with our actual client John Netherwood the chairman of the Hull Civic Society. The required myself and Phil to take the meeting and introduce ourselves, our work and what we have done with the project. To have a quick and efficient way of showing the project instead of having them playing it, Phil made a matinee sequence which made a fly around of the project disabling all player controller input. Mr Netherwood arrived with his wife to see the project, myself and Phil proceeded to shake hands and take the meeting in a professional manner. We discussed current progress, features and our passion towards showing this to the public. Which we was confirmed with a venue of the History centre alongside the fashion students 1960’s project. Also a near certain of Hull’s transport museum in September when the Hull Heritage week is on. Then any other possible venues we would need to seek out ourselves which we had planned to do in the next session. We are also going to try contact the Hull Daily Mail to do a article on our work at its current stage and then a follow up of where it will be by the time the Heritage week comes around.

Overall myself and Phil was very pleased with how the meeting went, we stayed professional and happily had a back and forward conversations from questions posed from the client. Discussed what they would like to see from the project and so on, it was a really beneficial meeting for myself it allowed myself to gain confidence in talking to potential clients as we was naturally nervous about what they would think. They also liked the name of the project which was pleasing as we had trouble pinning one down initially so all positives came out of the meeting which was great for us.

Moving onto session 21 which will continue into Thursday as we presented all of our work since Easter on Thursday including the client work. Initially in the session we had a brief catch up on what work has been done since last week, this week we had a full group which we didn’t the previous week so everyone was caught up. After that Myself, Phil and our tutor Paul went to go try secure some potential venues for showcasing our work. This would test once again myself and Phil on our professionalism and communication skills. We initially talked to the Transport Museum in which we had to fill out a form to send to the governing board to approve. Moving on it was now open to us to try secure venues, we managed to get Fanthorpes on silver street and prospect centre as definates, then kapow, princes quay, st stephens, ferens art gallery as possibilities. Unfortunately a few no’s came with asking from shops like granger games and thats entertainment but we still tried, rejection is all part of it you dont get if you dont ask.

Then on Thursday we showcased our work for the client. My work involved completion of buildings on Trinity House Lane which were Wetherspoons, trinity market entrance, bob carvers, and Davids handed over building which is currently a coffee shop called Coco’s. I will now go through my building to their current stage from what I did in my presentation in a briefer form with a self evaluation for each.

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These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

 

This is my model of the current Wetherspoons (we are unsure on the original building so may take artistic license to leave it as a pub until we find more). This building has taken me around 3 weeks with working on other things at the same time, as its a highly detailed building I think this is an acceptable time. I have put this down as finished ready to be handed over to the texture team and then to go in engine, the model itself could do with some time taken on optimisation but due to the upcoming deadline my time is better placed elsewhere as the optimisation wont effect us hardly at all and if needs be the texture team can go in to the model and delete loops or polygons to support the unwrapping. The building itself is 21,888 poly’s which with the fine details and complexity of certain features in the building I feel it is a realistic poly count. Issues I came across whilst modelling this was correctly scaling the sections of the building as it seems to be sectioned by ledges, putting the ledge in the right place so that all the window frames, pillars and so on was also to scale was key to the building looking correct. This took tweaking but im pleased with the end product and proportions of the build. The development in my modularity has aided me well in this particular building as extruding pieces like the window-frames, pillars, chimneys, lights etc was the same and only minor edits to the curvature on some parts was needed allowing quick development when adding a feature such as a window-frame. Overall being a later building in the year I feel my 3D skillset had progressed massively in comparison to initial buildings in terms of quality and speed, if any problems arise im confident enough now to quickly amend any issues.

These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

 

This building is the entrance to trinity market, a fairly simple building that didn’t take me very long, as soon as Wetherspoons was complete the building speed increased rapidly. This building I have had to make sure it matches correctly with wetherspoons, i found the modelling of a section of a street so building sections together was far more effective as scale and alignment was much easier to achieve than when your working alongside another person and having to make changes once you realise in engine its slightly out. The building itself I found fairly easy as once again its a later building in my year and I feel more advanced in my 3D work. the only issues was to how to make the extruding shape around the first window in the lowest possible form, which i realise would be as a separate pushed in object to the shape rather than modeled in around the window. Generally the building was simple just swift loops for the windows of the building and door, then everything else modeled separately and snapped to the building facure. Another building im pleased with, finished and ready to hand over to texture and then go into engine. Only addition would be needed if texture team agreed would be the slight fence style look above the door which I thought could be done with a plane that they can make a alpha map to create the fence then a normal to make it pop. Thats only addition needed to this building I believe.

These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

This building is currently Bob Carvers on Trinity House Lane. With this model once again the 3D capabilities are there too do buildings like this with good speed and quality at a good optimised level of poly’s. Not many problems came up, due to this i decided on certain windows when we walk past are sometimes open, all i had to do was select the window poly’s detach them from the building then rotated them slightly to give the impression that the windows are open. The group gave me great feedback on this saying they loved the idea and it makes the building looked alot more used and lived in even just with the simple open window rather than a plain shop facure. Again it was just getting the proportions of the building right in relation to my other models and using gathered photography this was made alot easier. I think of all my buildings I like this the most purely because of the windows, it just makes everything look more real and alive. Obviously I will need to make a simple box to simulate a interior as the windows are open and if a player angles it right they will currently be able to see the sky so a simple box interior will solve that problem.

These photos were taken by James Branson (his blog) when we all went out taking photographs in the early stages of the project.

This building is currently a coffee shop called Coco’s, this was originally another students building (David) but he handed it over to me for optimisation and the addition of an interior. I had decreased the poly count from just over 1000 to 238 and that was with adding an interior with shop window showcase area. Being a very simple building I dont really have much to give feedback on, its a basic building which took no more than 30 minutes to optimise then add the interior section using simple edge modelling workflow to then bridge the gaps. I did notice one issue, nothing major but pointed out in the presentation id overlooked the way it had been done at the front with the windows, and this results in N-gons in the gaps either side and between the windows. Simple fix with connect or cut tool. All of these buildings are now ready to be handed over to the texture team.

Here is a few pictures of the complete street section on Trinity House Lane:

I found that modelling a street section was far more productive and beneficial for myself as a 3D modeler. This was because mainly the dimensions, scale and proportions of buildings, I could use the other buildings i had completed and finished to adjust the new ones to make sure the street looked correct. This worked both ways as any misjudged dimensions could be effectively grabbed and moved into place.

Then for Silver Street I have finished RBS and started the silver street entrance to trinity market.

This is currently RBS bank building on Silver Street. Once again a very basic building wasn’t much to it just a few insets for windows after I had added loops to extrude some ledges. Because of the simplicity of the building I added a small shop window interior so that there is potential to turn it into a shop if we find out the original status of the building and if we don’t then an artistic decision will be made to adapt the building to possible a bakery for example.

And finally from the buildings i presented was the beginning of the silver street entrance to trinity market. This is a fairly complex but also modular building for frames and decorations, then a symmetry modifier applied will allow me to easily check the finished building as its only sensible for speed to model half the building if its complex when symmetry can do the work for you on the other side. This building is currently stalled, this is due to the final hand ins coming to a close we have decided for hand in and the public we have to focus on the texturing of Whitefriargate and Parliament Street, all other buildings will be put in with the basic grey block in the background to suggest that the area is under construction and will be completed for main showcase in September.

After we had presented I took the role off Abbiella to create a professional email so that we could email the clients that we had and hadn’t discussed potential showcasing for the project with. This required me to type 2 emails, both similar but adjusted for seen and unseen clients. Once typed it up I asked my tutor Gareth to have a proof check to see if anything could be improved or any key information had been missed. The final email also had a link to our latest video fly through of the project so that the clients could have a quick taster to what we had been working on and will be showcasing.

This is also the grey block video fly through we showed our client John Netherwood when he came in. I disclosed that this is not the final product but an in progress project we gain alot of benefits from public showcasing for our marks and the projects quality. This final email was sent to Fanthorpes, St Stephens, Prospect Centre and Princes Quay.

After waiting a few days I had successful replies from St Stephens and Fanthorpes confirming interest in allowing us showcasing our work. Fanthorpes was already secured from speaking to the shop manager originally but St Stephens was a fresh attempt of securing a client by myself. Since then myself and St Stephens have been in contact discussing the project and when we would like to showcase it. Coinciding with there times and available for displaying space, I managed to get us a showcasing date before our hand in (19th May) which is Friday 15th May. This required us to have a Public liability insurance cover which initially i didn’t know if we have but with contacting my tutors we do have a copy to send to St Stephens and prepare for Friday. Our location is just outside the elevator near the bagel food vendor stall, next week I will discuss with the group on shifts for the showcase as I personally would like people to man the project in-case any of the public wish to stop and talk to us about what we are doing.

A slight issue with St Stephens arose with my tutor Gareth with that it is the shopping centre/ area that has crushed the Whitefriargate area for business and popularity. So when we showcase there as long as we are displaying it as a student project following on from the previous years of the heritage project and our area is a section of Old Town including Whitefriargate, it can be clearly seen as a project rebuilding an area of Hull in the 1960’s and not a display to support Whitefriargate. This turned a few of the group off as they don’t really want any hassle from the public but at the end of the day its an opportunity to showcase our work that i have secured before hand in so participating in it will add to our professionalism and “getting our work out there” for feedback/review.

Will this just around the corner next weeks focus as that is also the session all the texture team should have the Whitefriargate and Parliament Street area textured, so the focus will be on promotional materials for our project. Any promotional materials we have can be a extra visual for the project for the public to have, which will aid them in understanding the project and what we do to make it what it is.

 

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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.


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Client Project- Communication

“The responsibility for communication and project management falls to the group, although project progress is monitored and assisted by academic staff.” – Part of the brief description

To meet all areas of our brief we are assessed on the ways we work as a team alongside how professional we are at going about this. Professionalism comes up in many areas we have covered such as group critique where to be professional you will sit and listen when a student is presenting there work and once they have finished give constructive feedback or critisism in relation to the work they have shown. That being one example this blog post addresses the way we communicate as a group to bring the project together.

I am doing this post now as we come up to the christmas holiday period and work has been set for a deadline when we return. But how do we go about reminding people of that other than the initial spoken brief of the moment. Well we have a few ways we have been using so far:

Facebook– The popular social networking site has all of the students on and using on a regular basis via pc, phone and tablets. It provides a quick and easy form of contact to fellow students regarding work or as previous cases have been absence to the sessions. In facebook we have 2 groups, one being our own private group where we have been posting tutorials, information and news regarding our work. Then the other is a page open to the public where we post our videos and news to keep them all interested in the project this is more of a asset of getting our word out but still communicates to the public for potential feedback.

These are some quick screen captures of what i am talking about.

Fleep– This is a way for teams or businesses to chat aswell as send files to eachother through a conversation. This is the main program we have been using to upload files to go into the project so far alongside facebook being the most used for help and feedback. Fleep allows us to simply type a message to the group who are all added in the chat through email (sends notifications through email when a message is sent) or upload a file which the group can individually download. Its rather casual means of communication isnt much structure other than chat and upload. This has been the general go to for give us your buildings to go into the project over fleep rather than handing in through hard drive.

fleep

fleep

Youtube– Our primary video uploading website where updates for the project have been videoed and uploaded for all of us to embed on our blogs and also post to other social networking sites to show the outside world our work. The link is to our page which currently has 2 videos of the client project process filmed by Me and Phil. This is there for anyone to use for personal video clips on their contributions if they feel they want a in depth analysis of there work explain through visual rather than a blog.

BaseCamp– As the provided and assessed program we have been given Basecamp, a professional business management software which we need to start using to show our professionalism. In Basecamp you can send a message, make a “to-do list”, add an event, and upload files. The use of the To-do list gives us a visual calender to set deadlines for the group, people can tick off that they have met this if finished. We also can monitor the use of the program as there is a “last logged in” section on the page, so people who havent been checking basecamp maybe missing work or deadlines if they say they forgot we can reinforce its on basecamp and you should be checking it regulary.

Here is some visuals of the layout, it clearly looks the more professional and with a limited space for uploads this will be needed for final models and the project not just endless building updates. We can use the other methods to support that and as long as we evidence it then it counts as management of the client project.

As one fo the leaders in the group I will have to take a forward role in enforcing people to use these programs especially Basecamp so that work is done collaboratively and effectively, But have setting up all the online presence myself they all know its there and have passwords if they need to log in to them for personal use. We also have a hotmail and a twitter but are yet to use them so i havent included them in the primary methods.

To summarise this we use Facebook as a means for quick contact, tutorials, quick feedback and pooling resources from alternate online areas (youtube etc). Fleep is our quick and easy uploading weekly or after group critique hand ins of work to update the client project consistently. Youtube is basically a way to upload our process update videos so that we can show the public and embed videos into our blogs. Finally Basecamp is our main software piece assessed on our group management and professionalism which we will use for deadlines and files.


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My Online Presence

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PHASEgaming/1403881213175323

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YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5NLPZO1dR9nfmVrKtaOIgg

WordPress: www.phasegaming.wordpress.com

DeviantArt: http://phasegaming.deviantart.com/.

Twitch Tv: http://www.twitch.tv/pooky_the_gr8

SketchFab: https://sketchfab.com/phasegaming

Look me up, check out my different online profiles and Get in the game phase!


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Introduction to Gaming- Group Project “Alaskan Secret”.

In todays session of Introduction to Gaming, we was told that we are going to be assessed on a small piece of work (well dependent on how much time you want to put into it), this project would be a group task but we would be allowed to pick who we would work with to test our group work skills and see if we have a comfort zone. To decide this the pick of a card was needed, numbers Ace-6 would be a group, then 6-8 and then 9-kings. I drew the King of clubs, i shortly found out after the rest of my group was Phil (drew king), Dave (drew 9) and Victor (drew 9) this group i knew would be good to work with before we even started; this immediately lead to us deciding our team name would be “Kings of the Nine” we also drew a logo which had a crown above the name and text written as “King of the 9ine” a clever logo design i thought. Regardless of how professional our team logo was it was irrelevant to the task as we was currently waiting for our 3 topics of choice. The topics were a random arrangement of everything and anything (from girls night out, Cornish pasty to under the sea, zombies) and whatever we had chosen we had to use our creative minds to follow the design process to create a game from it. We picked out from a hat the topics of “Haunted/ Ghost”, “Musical Instruments” and “Alaska”; these topics pleased us as so much can be done with haunted/ ghosts as it can be totally myth or rumour nothing factual has to be considered in this case. Musical Instruments could be used well as a range of time periods involve music throughout history. Then Alaska was possibly the toughest of 3 topics chosen but we decided to set the game in Alaska used Alaskan history to assist us in the making of the game.

The process we had to follow throughout the day was: Ideas Focus, Plan, Write Up, Mechanics Ideas and then finally Visuals of the game (3D, Sketches or Demo).

We was sent on our way to prepare ourselves and fully get into our task set to us. We began brainstorming ideas immediately, keywords that appeared regularly were: Haunted, Scary, Soul, Mansion, Peace, Songs, Floating, Instruments, Russian (Alaska research reference), Musician, Action buttons, Classical, Realism, Consequences, Play to Calm. These are a few of many common features we had to take into consideration and try to piece together a playable game from. In the end I did a small write up on the games overview possibly even a selling pitch: We have a Russian Musician who was mysteriously murdered in his mansion, he is now haunting his house causing instruments to levitate/ fly all over, you have to venture through the spooky haunted house collecting each instrument and playing that instruments part in his most famous song. As you progress further through the game you piece together what was a musical mess (symbolising his rage) to a piece of art (finally letting his soul rest). So with this brief write up we continued on with the design process and that was the mechanics of the game.

Now I already briefly mentioned the mechanics in my short write up but just to clarify this is what we went through ideas wise so it wasn’t just the first idea out of our heads: Guitar hero style note player, Taiko Drum Master style note player, Action buttons (hit button specified on screen before timer runs out to play notes), find the actual separate note sheet in the house for the specified instrument and then finally something totally random also unique which would be to use motion controllers to level out the note strip to make the music sound correct rather than distorted. Our final choice was the action buttons but in a Taiko drum master style, which is a side scrolling bar of notes that you have to correctly match the combinations on the screen to the buttons on your controller to complete the piece, if you fail below a certain percentage consequences will happen (we wasn’t too sure on what as of yet).

Dave found the person that we could use for our musician in our game his name was Alexander Borodin (1833-1887), he was a Russian musician who’s most famous piece was Prince Igor (the song of our game). The reason we chose a Russian musician was because in 1867 Russia sold Alaska to the USA (time period of our musician) meaning that we could do a Russian musician being killed shortly after Alaska was sold to the USA and therefore causing him to haunt his house to protect his work. That’s the contextual reference to our game which does actually make it plausible (if you believe in hauntings etc.)

After what seemed to be a fairly well thought out and well planned idea we all moved on to our own little delegated pieces of work to model the game, to give it a visual side which would be easier to present to people. Myself and Victor started on the level design (Drawing and Sketch Up), Phil did a detailed interior in both Sketch Up and Photoshop, and Dave did an instrument in Sketch Up. We all agreed to our individual positions so we got on with the work. After a short amount of time clear progress was being shown, so much in fast on myself and victors interior level design that I decided to leave him to it as we had the focus drawn up it was not necessary for 2 of us to be doing 1 mans job. So I made the decision to go personally figure out and get down ideas on the names of the game, I went through a lot of different names asking for the groups opinion on some of them to try get me closer to possibly the final product. The list of names were: Haunting Alaska, Musical Exorcism, Soul of Music, Borodin, Lingering Musician, Musical Secret, The Lost Musician, Musical Limbo, Alaskan Secret and finally Russian Haunting. From this list myself and my peers agreed that Alaskan Secret was the strongest of the lot in reference to our topic. This then progressed me onto logo design for the game, with the title being Alaskan secret I immediately sketched the geographical shape of Alaska on the globe, I tried to turn it into a shape but couldn’t visualise it so I just put ALASKAN underneath it. Then I needed Secret, but it had to have a musical reference as that is the main focus of the game; I researched into musical notes and strips of music to see what I could do. I decided to do a musical note called a treble clef to represent the S in Secret then the rest of the text to be in old fashioned calligraphy on a slightly wavy strip. it looked like this:

img002

My intention is to put this into Photoshop and fully do a graphic design on this product which I can also use in other areas of my modules as importance of graphics in games.

With the logo finished to a sketched standard I was happy with I went to look at my peers work. Dave had just began his Sketch Up design of his flute, this flute caused a lot of problems for Dave but as he was doing prop design for his 3D Realisation course he wanted to design each process himself no matter the time period taken. prop-piccolo-flute-no-lines

This is the design of Dave’s flute coming along nicely, this could be the finished product but im sure he will add colour and other features as we progress further into this project in our own time. Nevertheless its a good looking flute which took him some substantial time to draw all these features on the flute, including the very precise note pushers for the flute.

Then I moved onto Phil who had been doing a interior design of a random room in the house of what it mike look like in Sketch Up, then importing it into Photoshop to add effects and shading to the design.

alaskan-secret-all-lines

Basic Sketch Up

Haunted House Room Template

Photoshop and Shadows Added

This is Phil’s finished product of the room, complete with one of the instruments a black grand piano. He also added some images into photo frames to give the room some art as im sure musicians appreciate art as music itself is an art. The bookcase was an idea pitched by most of us as we could use the books well if they were to fly off and hit the character every note missed.

Firmly assured we was really getting well along with this a went to see how Victor was getting on. Victor was trying to do the Level Design for the interior as well as the exterior all in one lesson, to do this would require much focus and no problems to arise (which they did) he was explaining to me about how the walls kept disappearing when he tried to erase a line even though he had segregated properly. Due to this I agreed with the rest of the group I would take our original sketch and do purely the exterior of the House just to take a work load of Victor so he could focus purely on the 1st floor and 2nd floor layout. Below are the finished products of Victors work with well structured rooms which does look like a house interior layout.

alaskan-secrect-level-1-layout

Victors Level Design First Floor

alaskan-secrect-level-2-layout

2nd Floor Level Design

With this I went into Sketch Up, my personal 3D Realisation topic is Environments and I have taken a particular shine to Sketch Up in recent works (Spaceship and Level) so this would be a good thing for me to be assigned to in the group. It was coming along brilliantly up until the roof of the building, normally to build a roof on sketch up you just do a flat square segregate it down the middle with a line then use the move tool to drag it upwards. For some reason this wasn’t working for me (possibly an push/pull problem or alignment) so I built it myself with the line tool, to have the same effect the move tool would have just a longer process really. Then using textures I filled in all the plains of the building including translucent glass windows and marble pillars to complete the exterior of our haunted musicians house. Here it is fully animated after I finished with the music added which is “Prince Igor” from Alexander Borodin:

This is a concept of the haunted house that we have chose to include in our project game of “Alaskan Secret”. This was obviously slightly different to what Victor had designed for on his layout but it could still be incorporated easily with scale and a bit of extra time as i have already fitted a spiral staircase.

To conclude Phil wanted a JPEG 2D export of my house at a perspective angle so he could use it in Photoshop to set it on an Alaskan background and reflect it in the water using opacity. This was the finished product which we all thought looked pretty fantastic as a concept design.

alaskan secret

This rounded up our days work on the Group Project “Alaskan Secret” I was very pleased with my own contribution but more so with how well we worked as a unit to create a solid design for our game. Paul suggested at the end that due to this being assessed we may want to continue this in our own time possibly to gain a few extra marks but not to focus everything on it as its not a substantial chunk of our marks it was just a mini brief exercise. I really enjoyed this lesson it got my creative mind going and I took a lot away from the lesson in terms of how strong I am in a team environment and my personal skills so far in software/creativity.


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Platform Expos Day 2- Social Event (16/11/13)

After the eventful day from Platform Day 1, we had returned to platform the next day to see the rest of what was going on. Day 2 was slightly less planned out than Day 1 as we just wanted to play on most of the games, talk to a few of the stalls like marmalade, and just enjoy the wonderful world of gaming. Really it was just do this then “ok where shall we go next” then move on, this allowed us freedom of time as we wasn’t constantly checking our watches for the time as we had to be somewhere (all being said day 1 was amazing for seminars). We started our day collecting our tickets for the 18+ section, Hull College had been given free tickets for us Games Design students but when I went to collect my ticket there was some confusion with the staff which led to me nearly being arrested by a storm trooper, all being a joke of course but I don’t fancy being Princess Leia in the death star thank you. Once sorted we headed straight into the City Hall which was the main area for all ages of gaming, but of course we had been here yesterday and no confusion of where the 18+ section was arose and we headed straight there.

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The 18+ section had games like GTA V, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and Gears of War Judgement. All very violent games with a lot of blood so we was in the right place, as soon as we walked in there was a free for all tournament taking place on Gears Of War so we decided to jump in and do our best being that everyone was already 7-10kills ahead at first to 25kills. This didn’t stop us though we entered the game and started playing, myself being a gears of war beginner I used my little knowledge on the game I learned yesterday combined with the skills from the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield to try get into the game, it worked I was sawing people in half sniping even using a helicopter turret at one point to put me in the lead. Being very impressed I was even in the race never mind winning was short lived as one of our friends Lewis killed me to win the game with Phil 2nd and Myself 3rd, yes I was slightly gutted I didn’t win being a rookie and 1st placed at one stage I was still happy with my effort. Doing this made me realise how quickly I can pick up a game just from experiences on other similar genre games, not to mention that Gears of War was a fantastic game which I had never even played before and unfortunately to me its only on Xbox which is a system I have never owned. Moving on from Gears of War we ventured over to GTA V, with myself being a avid GTA player I decided to just spectate as one of our group had not played it and I have completed it fully so I didn’t want to spoil, GTA V is a fantastic game nevertheless one of my favourites. I have done an analysis piece on the game in 600 word essay as well.

Obviously after this we had to walk past the PS4 and David couldn’t help himself but challenge me to another rematch on FIFA 14 thinking this time was his time. Well I won again and he didn’t have a shot I personally felt embarrassed for him playing that badly in front of so many people or was it just I was too good, unfortunately no video of this match but it would have been very one sided. Moving on with one man with his head firmly planted down on his chest from shame we headed back through to the main area to see if there was anything we had missed on Day 1.

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Well we had missed one thing that even might have not been there yesterday and that was a stand with representatives from Marmalade. Marmalade is an SDK which allows you to code in C++ but the unique thing about it is that once you have coded once it makes your code accessible to a multitude of platforms, basically its a cross platform SDK for building games. We was personally educated at Marmalade by a man (I forgot his name, think it was Scott) who we introduced ourselves as Games Designers then explaining we are fairly basic users of code so was there a quick and easy alternative to Marmalade as code is not our area of study particularly. Then he quickly told us about Marmalade Quick which was a faster easier version of the normal version as it was purely in 2D, he made a bouncing beach ball game with gravity and collisions in just 5minutes showing us using basic code and it still supported the platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows Desktop, Mac Desktop, Tizen, BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry Playbook and Roku). For us this could be a very useful program in the future and he offered us many different things but being students we lack the funds for the full version of software’s, so he suggested the 30day trial and if we produce a game with coding up to their standards we will get a years free licensing on marmalade (personally I thought that was awesome). This gave us an option to do in possibly the near future as if we plan it well enough we could do a 30day game of a good standard and win a year free. For now we agreed its best not to waste this free trial as we are not prepared, then we got given a merchandised bag with leaflets and freebies in to send us on our way.

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On our way out we bumped into our tutors once again doing a character building workshop but in the entrance of platform this time so much more people had drawn, we did go to tell them of how it was going mentioning things like the Sony conference yesterday and what we had done with our time which pleased them a lot as they could see we had taken things away from this Expo which are relevant to our course. We then headed to Guild Hall which was said to have every games console in history inside according to one of the Platform volunteers so understandable we was pretty hyped for this and headed straight there. Only to find out a handful of consoles and nothing iconic so it was a little bit of a disappointment after being told different, still we played as much as possible and discussed our opinions. Personally by going there I thought I could have gathered a lot of gameplay information for my icons of gaming research as it was supposed to be retro-present but unfortunately it wasn’t. (icons of gaming research and survey on icons)2013-11-16 14.32.28

A few games that surprised us to be there was things like Congo Bongo  for ps2 which involved small bongo drums which you hit to the beats on the screen, I enjoyed playing this as I like games that try to revert away from the traditional controller to bring a different experience of gameplay as in most cases with games like this they are party games.

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Then we noticed that Taiko Drum Master for ps2 was in the building, this game was something I was unfamiliar with but David had owned and knew about all its Japanese origins (which I later found out was on a massive scale compared to what we was playing), so we had a go. I must say it was awesome I really enjoyed it.

This game being released before guitar hero had all the similar features as gameplay such as a rolling bar with beats to hit by playing your instrument, with added extras like hit the edge of the drum to hit the blue notes and hit the drum with both drumsticks for the big circles and go mental drum solo on the bars or notes. The gameplay was brilliant we happened to stay on that one game for nearly 1hour before coming off as we was having drum battles versus each other over and over on different songs just really enjoying ourselves. We collected a few videos of the drum battles as well.

After being all drummed out and feeling pretty boss about getting a drum master score on one song we left to head back to platform city hall. On the way I realised I had now seen everything I needed and the only reason to go back would have been for some freebies and cheap last minute clearance offers which I wasn’t too bothered about, unfortunately we never got round to seeing any talks on that day which the indie developers stories would have been interesting but due to enjoying our day and not planning to go unless it came around we never got round to it. This rounds up 2 fantastic days at Platform Expos and im sure that I will be going to it again next year as well as many other expos hopefully in the near future.

Check out my YouTube page for these videos and more or like my Facebook page for updates. Let me know what you thought about Platform Expos!

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Technical Skills/ 3D Realisation- Sketch Up Advanced.

Progressing from out previous Sketch Up lesson on the basics (previous lesson), we had enough to go upon to advance further in sketch up so make a magnitude of fantastic things. Firstly Gareth went back over the basic set up and how we should have it so turn on large skill set, tools and styles. This set our Sketch Up user interface up nicely ready for the advances we was about to make.

We was shown to use the free form drawing tool to create a shape of any imagination just a random shape then to use the push/pull tool to expand it width wise to any scale we could think of as this was our advanced sketch up project. Before we did this for ourselves we watched Gareth create his own Sketch Up model using multiple techniques. First thing he introduced us was to the 3D Warehouse then Get Models, this is the place where other Sketch Up users have uploaded there models to the warehouse for all others to see and comment, but the feature that makes this warehouse useful is that you can then import them models into your current project. So Gareth wanted to go an aircraft he imported many different ideas such as a cockpit from a harrier jet, some small angled drone wings, body of a apache helicopter and much more. These were all full models of e.g. a harrier jet but the good thing was that when you import these you go to Edit->Components in Model->Explode, those steps make the models you have imported spilt into different segments depending on how it was made, the repetition of exploding maybe required to get the smaller more detailed or little parts of a jet e.g. the wing flaps then use the move tool to keep the items you like. Make a Group by selecting the set of objects you want and then clicking make group so it all bundles together and keeps your model moving as one. If you want to mirror an object to the other side e.g. a wing of an aircraft just copy, paste, then use the scale tool to drag across to overlap current format  and flip the image (tip: use the measurements in the bottom right so you have a complete mirror of the image you are flipping/ mirroring). He then pieced together using multiple items and models he liked over the top of the original random shape to make a futuristic 2 seated aircraft.

The mini-brief we was then given you can probably guess is to build our own 2 seated aircraft doing this same process using the 3D Warehouse. I have taken many images on my progress throughout the model and then even animated it to upload to my YouTube channel. After I had finished with my model I could do many things with it of my choice really, I had the choice to upload to YouTube which I did, Export into Photoshop to experiment on it as a model and maybe turn it into concept art, or weaponise it develop the model more in Sketch Up which I will return to at some stage.

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This is how I started you can see the random shape in the middle and then I had gathered a drone from the Model warehouse taken the small front end body wings placed them on what is currently the back of the shape to give it a streamlined futuristic look then the front is also from that drone it was the panels on the bottom of the ship but I mirrored them to give a modern panelled look to add the cockpits onto the ship.

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I then wanted wings for this model so this was key for the model as the wings need to be scaled correctly or the aircraft will look unbalanced its the same with dragons if they have tiny wings and a big body they look like a cartoon funny dragon rather than fearsome so a sense of scale is important. Then I tried to experiment with how to add a cockpit so this front end was from a different drone to try panel it and add a cockpit in-between these mirrored panels.

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This was an attempt to add weapons to the spaceship, which I decided against for now as I wanted the basics of the ship first. But I got rid of the front end from the previous photo as it didn’t look right but the body of the ship was coming together nicely. This was all done with all I learnt from the last lesson on the Sketch Up basics like rotate, move, and scale.2013-11-06 16.19.422013-11-06 16.48.36

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This is the cockpit I found on a spaceship this is the only piece I took from the ship as the rest didn’t appeal to me so I exploded the ship until it allowed me to take the cockpit and place it on the front of my ship, I particularly like this feature and design of it as the glass allows panoramic view for the pilot so he can see a lot more than say a single slot. Also I move the gun scaled it down rotated it and tried to place it on the bottom as I liked the cannon for firepower but it just wasn’t working. I also made the wings bigger to make the scale more realistic.

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This is pretty much the final product I found the rear end of a spaceship as I wanted futuristic thrusters to power my spaceship and then the wing just glide it around in space or future earth. To get just the rear end I had problems with exploding the image as when I tried to take the rear end it was stretching the ship rather than separating. so to do this  and get just the rear of the ship I had to make a rectangle then use the push/pull tool to cut straight through the shape then select the model going to edit->intersect faces->with selection. This will cut the shape when you then move the rectangle out of the way so there I had my rear of my ship. I also needed one more seat to I put a harrier 1seater cockpit on top which is still streamlined.

And there is my finished animated version of my 2 seated spaceship. I showed this to my tutors today they was very impressed with my full animation of it and the style of the ship, Gareth imagined it dropping out of a huge star destroyer then the wings raise up to a glide then the thrusters has the option of hyper speed. That’s exactly what I was trying to get across so therefore I felt like I had done my job with this well and now all there is to do is possibly weaponise it or concept art it in Photoshop.

This was all to let us get better at Sketch Up as its a useful software for doing really quick 3D Designs and concepts for example buildings, I am currently doing a gladiator arena in Sketch Up for my Adaptation task so I have really taken a shine to Sketch Up.

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