Saturday, 6 November 2010

MvB Little Sketch

Just posting a little sketch I did during meetings this week - still nice to have pencil on paper. I dont think I have posted any male Butterfly or Moth concepts yet - so here are some. I like the more refined body segment logic of the right one.

TF2 Goodness

With the new computer purrring along I decided to take a long awaited foray into Team Fortress 2. I have only ever had short looks at the game admiring the visuals, Valve did a stunning job on the look, the character design, the animation and the whole gameplay energy and fun level.

I love watching the game do its thing as I am playing. The base looks and gear are great, but with all the additional loadouts hats and such there is more individuality than ever. With the Halloween maps in play, seeing our brave characters cowering from the ghost is gorgeous.

The realisation of the concept is just so good, lets take a little TF2 artwork tour. First if you havent watched the class trailers, then they are a must - super work in every facet. Great Aussie accent for the Sniper) Lets take an image set from as they have a great gallery featuring artwork and ingame fun:

[TF2 imagery via]

There is a fair bit of fan artwork out there drawing inspiration from the game as well, several people making posters of all girl combatants (but none really captured the essence). I still like this piece:

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Moths vs Butterflies Lens 7

I decided I should throw my current Moths vs Butterflies thinking at Jesse Schell's Lens #7: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad. Here is a brief look at things via the 4 basic elements and where things are upto:

Moths vs Butterflies and The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad

The deep jungle overflowing with life of all sorts. Light coming down is streams from far above with Moth and Butterfly alike able to explore the various levels of the immense forest. The two races draw on different colour pallets, the Moths being brown and green with some yellow and orange - the Butterflies having a rainbow centred around more saturated blue and purple.
The environmental sound is crucial to the experience, the trees and wildlife around the player combines with the flapping wings and the background music.

The CryEngine is the beautiful starting point for the world, its ability to create dense and emotive jungle environments is key. The human and alien characters in the engine are a good sign that insectish creatures will work and the zero-gravity level and other flying creatures should help with the airborne nature of our main characters.

The narrative is coming together with the slow revelation that the protagonists need to move past the ongoing conflict between Moth and Butterfly. That there is a greater threat that needs both their skill sets in order to protect their world. That each character will need to learn how to move past their initial hatred, to forgive past deeds and to even battle their own kind who don't agree in order to defeat the mutations that threaten the jungle.
There is a need to create some more defined characters - we need to care about individuals in order to care about the culture that sits behind them.

This is the are with the most uncertainty. I have various alternatives for this part of the game world, where the choice is predominantly based on the time and energy required to move up a complexity scale. My current favourite is to integrate an illustrated novel within the jungle setting itself, to make it like a 3D ebook reader set in the world of the story being told.

With the new HP8740w all but ready I can start working with 3ds Max and Mudbox as well as CryEngine to do some preliminary mock-ups as well.

GameInformer Mag and Resistance 3

I picked up my first copy of the GameInformer magazine and was pleasantly surprised at the quality therein. There are some quite insightful thoughts on the various games and nice detail on the creation and design thinking behind others. For a mag it is very cheap, only $5 here in Oz. Civ V gets a great little review: "Civ V is a towering, triple-A release with millions of dollars worth of polish" - I am very much looking forward to this one day.

The feature article in the Mag is on the design and creation of the upcoming Resistance 3. The article covers alot of detail about the world they have created and the evolution of it from the previous title. Not being armed with a PS3, it is still very cool to see the concept art being created for the game. Gorgeous stuff which GI have on their US site as a wallpaper for us. The art does a super job of showing the downtrodden world, the scale of the problem being faced and technology we are resorting to. They also have a video of the creators talking about some of the design work on the games, story, technology, aesthetics and gameplay.

[Resistance3 concept art via the GameInformer site]

AGD 1-4

Continuing my little journey (slow as it is) through Jesse Schell's The Art of Game Design, lets have a look at chapters 1 through 4. I have to say I am enjoying Jesse's approach to the vast field of game design and he doesnt shy away from casting a wide net. In the first few chapters we take a look at game structure, notions of play and games, human experience and more. We are introduced to the first set of 'lenses' which form one of the key derivatives of the book, arming we designers with a suite of defined ways to examine our designs so we can see them more clearly and thus improve them.

The section on 'Three Practical Approaches to Chasing Rainbows' makes for good reading, briefly covering Psychology, Anthropology and Design as ways to understand games. We get a nice little trip through defining a game as we look at the experiences they instil. While I like the definitions he came up with, the one for game still seemed a little cold, that the idea of games being entertainment was lost a little as we already had a definition of fun. So I think bringing them together works - a game is a problem solving activity we engage in for fun.
He breaks down games into 4 Basic Elements: Mechanics, Story, Aesthetics and Technology and I like the idea of ensuring that each of these is given attention. He uses Space Invaders again in exploring this and he has some nice insights into this deceptively simple little game.

The book is proving very approachable, while also delving into the complex web of game design in a satisfying way. The lenses bring reflective clarity to his explorations - great stuff so far.

[original space invaders pic via]