Living Lithograph: I made a Plane

Booyah. I managed to find a reference sheet that seems pretty close to the style of plane depicted in Nevinson’s work. I paid attention to the style and year of the plane shown but didn’t find the perfect one.

This was made in 3dsMax. I unwrapped it and then exported the model as an fbx file so it could be most easily imported to unity with all of it’s texture information. This meant that I could use the one template to draw the textures onto.

Planes.jpg

The propeller will be added in unity as a separate object but will use the same texture switching method I intend to use everywhere else, only at a faster rate.

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Project 1: 1 Week Art Jam

Our second project is one of interpretive translation. We are to look at artworks in a gallery and turn some part of it into an experience for a player. We also have a week. It’s going to take me longer than that, I think.

The artist’s work I have decided to use as my foundation is a couple of pieces from a set of lithographic prints made by Christopher Nevinson. We were allowed to take a very side interpretation of the chosen work in which aspect we were trying to express and how we intend to go about it. For good measure, we did some research.

Christopher Richard Wayne Nevinson was a war artist through the first world war. He produced a series of lithographic prints he named ‘Building aircraft’, in ‘The efforts’, the first part of ‘The Great War: Britain’s efforts and ideals shown in a series of lithographic prints’ 1917

12

34

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Beautiful, aren’t they?
Anyway, one aspect we were to consider in our analysis of the works we chose was how we interacted with them personally. What struck me most about these works was their sense of movement. I want to recreate the way I visualise these scenes in my mind when I look at them.

In order to make a game with the most player engagement and with the least amount of functionality I am going to recreate the shot in the planes (1 and 3). I am going to try and create a visual style similar to the film clip to ‘Take On Me’ by “A-ha”.

 

At this stage, to me, this function should be no different to changing textures in a racing game when your car gets damaged, or when characters get hurt.

Darkness Dwells: Camera Tricks

I sure love working small scale. The monster at the end of the bed has afforded me an interesting challenge. The intent for this monster is that it is climbing up onto the bed to get the player. For this I drew the figure with “baked-in” perspective so that I wouldn’t have to create a full 3d model in scene.

What I quickly found out was that due to the elevated angle of the camera, a flat image is blocked out by the bed. in order for the hands of the shadow monster to look like they’re over the bed that have to be in front of the bed. The solution? move it closer and cheat. Using the main camera as a guide I scaled the textured plane down and pulled it closer to the camera. This only works because I have a stationary camera in the scene and nothing more complex than that. I had already been thinking about this kind of forced perspective in the scene for the “looking through the wall” effect. This is what is looks like in and out of scene.

Shadow1.jpg

Shadow2.jpg

Easy. I sure lover working small scale.

Darkness Dwells: Prototype Assets

When time came that I was not in class and wasn’t around programmers to help me, I decided to create standing versions of the most necessary assets the game needed in order for it to achieve its intended effect. They only took me about 20 minutes each to complete but allowed my prototype to have the right feel that I was trying to impart on the player from this early stage.

The bedroom model: I had already designed a basic level layout in my sketches and simply created a rudimentary version of this in 3DS Max. I knew where the monsters were to be located and just went straight ahead in creating the asset with a series of rectangles. The only “worked” piece of geometry included in this preliminary model was one of the curtains that needed to be pulled back.

Room1.jpg

I added no material to the model in 3ds max and imported the whole rom and all the furniture as a single model. When it was in place in the scene and the player had been set up to the intended position and scale, I placed a single material on it and set it to grey. I needed some light and so brought the default directional light own to be very dark but still bright enough to create some noticeable geometry in the shadows. I then placed a single, night-blue light with a very low output, into the scene which almost immediately captured the entire effect I was hoping to achieve in the initial design. This is unlikely to change further.

Room2.jpg

The clown: I wanted to get at least one image of a monster done to be implemented into the game scene as soon as possible that would allow me to check the restrictions for a 3d plane in scene and how light would affect it, while checking how the material shaders that are being lerped between were going to affect the self illumination required for the image to show up. I designed a basic clown image taking from “scary clown” tropes for the same reason any horror themed production would use a clown, people find them scary. Using these obvious subjects might look to be simply copying, but it is the other way around, these tropes exist because they are effective and common subjects of fear for children and adults (which usually stems from a childhood fear).

Clowny.jpg

Darkness Dwells: Testing Vision

The first thing I needed to aim for was to create working scripts for the vision functionality that the game so heavily relies on. I plotted out the logic as much as I could (within a reasonable time frame) so that I could effectively look up and implement the code functionality piece by piece. Once I had laid the foundation of the logic I would be able to most effectively try and fail at implementing the code, at which point I’d get help from a programmer.

In order to create the fading effect on the monsters that I wanted, I decided to use a method that incorporated 2 materials that were applied to the model/asset, one with an alpha level 100% and the other 0%, and then lerp between the two up to a cap based on how much you’re looking at them (how central to the screen they are).

I also jumped into implementing the player controller functionality first. The tutorial i followed also showed the code needed to clamp the player’s vision arc. I already had a clear understanding of what I wanted the player to be able to do and how I intended to force their interaction with the game, such as the fact that there is a monster within view at all times.

I decided not to incorporate the vignette effect as my design aim was that the monster’s image would be most clear at the edge of the screen. Vignette would have created a blur over the top of the images which is not my intention. I will likely still test he vignette effect to see if it adds to the “see it but don’t see it” effect ofthe game.

Darkness Dwells: More is More

While I was testing out the newly functioning vision fade I’d implemented (with the help of 3 programmers) I decided to test what it would look like with monsters everywhere. The result? Awesomeness.
Firstly, I found that it made the screen far more engaging as there are the act of looking around has more purpose now.

Secondly, it made the darkness seem darker as there is more lit up, lighter shaded parts of the screen making the dark spaces between even darker.

And thirdly, the almost wall of bright images means that when the character listens to the voices and the monsters fade,  the room suddenly becomes more visible to the player. The player’s eyes actually adjust to the new tones as they would in a dark room and the room itself becomes just a bedroom.

Project 1: Darkness Dwells Idea

The first project we’ve been given as a class is to create a game experience that portrays a personal experience. After brainstorming several experiences that impacted me when I was younger, I decided on one that I felt would play to my strengths more than others but would still give me plenty of things to practice and learn.

The game is made to represent a childhood fear of the dark that many people suffered from when they were younger, and then the comfort found in hearing their parents nearby. This will also contain an artist’s statement that will detail the creator’s experiences with this and how it has affected them later and through their life.

The player is trying to allay their fear enough that they can sleep comfortably without being afraid. If the player looks at the places that the monsters appear from, the monsters disappear for a while. When they have dealt with this for long enough they will be able to hear (familiar) voices coming from elsewhere which they can focus on. this removes the monsters and brings up an imaginary representation of the child’s parents in the room next door. They then fall asleep comfortably.

DD1.jpg

The game should work on the small parts of reasoning and childhood methodology that many people followed when they were younger. The goal is that most players that can connect with being afraid of the dark can play the game and go “Yes, that. Totally.”

DD2.jpg

The core game play is focused on looking at the areas where the monsters appear in-game, they will not show up and will even have a delay when not looked at directly. Also after a set amount of time a sound clip needs to play that acts as a signifier of the possible game ending (the voices of the parents). When activated the monsters will fade and a projection of some sort needs to show up that implies they child is clearly registering that his parents are nearby – just on the other side of the wall.

DD3.jpg

Introduction to Studio 2

Last term in Studio 1 I felt as though I was going through a form of crucible process. I was confronted with many of the errors and misjudgments I had throughout my workflow practices and processes which I feel has been addressed and straightened out for this term in Studio 2. On reflection at the end of the term, I had carefully considered ways in which I could overcome many of the aspects that held me back and very nearly capped my final grade for the term.

This term I am implementing new, regular practices in order to best keep forward momentum of my tasks and to introduce and maintain productive, professional habits for myself moving forward. I have resolved that each day that I work on or make progress on my academic and professional projects, I will dedicate time at the end to allow myself to write a minimum of 2 sentences outlining what I have achieved and how, in accordance with the aims of Studio. Also I am going to be more attentive to how much time I spend thinking about a block in my work before I ask for help. That is, when I am in using unfamiliar tools or logic, I will spend no more than five minutes trying to resolve the issue myself before seeking assistance.

I was also told that I need to cut myself some slack in respects to my sense of achievement and that, going forward, I would do better to focus on scoped down productions that I can pump out and learn from, rather than setting my aims too high and feeling unsatisfied when I don’t achieve it, at this stage in my development as a developer.

As I develop games this term, I want to aim to be more prolific in my creation of things. From my 2d illustration to my 3d games to my audio and video projects, I want to develop the practices and habits I need to be able to create a lot of simple and small, but focused and clear output. I want to become familiar with short-form storytelling practices which I can adapt and produce into digestible experiences for an audience.

Studio 2, for me, is off the back of Studio 1, which I felt to be somewhat of a crucible for me. Now I am able to better gauge what is an attainable product and have learned how to focus a piece of media to best convey my intended message as a creator. I hope that Studio 2 affords me enough direction to get me used to self direction and regulating my amount of productive energy and labor.

Make-A-Thing Adventures 2017

Over the break, I joined the 40 hour make-a-thing event at SAE Brisbane. I was abroad as it was happening which presented me some extra limitations and challenges that I managed to anticipate ahead of schedule. Primarily I wasn’t going to have a lot of spare time to sink into whatever project I managed, and also that I wouldn’t have access to the programs and resources I normally would for this kind of challenge.

The three words assigned to the challenge were “Mass,” “Staccato” and “Prolong.” I already knew this was going to have to be a simple pen & paper project and I decided to create characters for an imaginary comic book series that were each based on the individual words in turn.

One of the apparent aims of the words chosen for the make-a-thing challenge is that they can be interpreted multiple ways, more so in the context of each other. I took the easy path of trying to represent multiple interpretations for each word in each individual character. As “mass” can refer to the physical attributes of matter and, in conversation, is usually linked with the subject of gravity, but can also refer to a gathering event for religious people, I developed the character “Gravity Priest.” His design took cues from classic super heroes like Superman, flaunting spandex and a cape, but with a catholic priest’s frock over the top.

GPFinal.jpg

GPsketch.jpgGPmovessktch.jpg

The abilities were influenced by Magneto and other telekinetic characters in their ability to manipulate physical forces, though the powers I drew were specifically referring to applied force. The “singularity” ultra-move was designed to to bear a resemblance to an atom, as the representative concentric orbits of the particles implies the presence of electromagnetic pull. The sigil is a stylised “down” arrow and I decided to forgo using the letters “GP” as I felt it wouldn’t add to the design. Originally, the arrow motif was also going to be tattooed or painted on the character’s face as well. This wasn’t in the final design by pure fear of putting it on in pen and not being able to undo it if I didn’t like it.

“Staccato” was slightly harder as it required a character that made a point of being incongruous. Over the previous trimester, in my Creative Industries class, we were treated to watching and then discussing films by director David Cronenberg. His use of stark body-horror elements and confronting themes seemed like a good (and fun) direction to take. The other, obvious, connection “Staccato” makes is to music and so I simply adapted another recognisable profession within that field, which lead to the character “Cronen-Conductor.” I took the pun making an extra step by also incorporating another meaning of the work “conductor,” as I felt the character’s personality style had not been established by the initial naming convention. My reference was a minor character from an episode of Justice League: The Animated Series (2001) which was a self referential villain with a music shtick. His abilities were centered on the role of the conductor as commonly seen in parodies where the baton is the musical direction tool on it’s own.

CCFinal.jpg

CCsketch.jpg

Lastly, “Prolong” was fairly straightforward in it’s theming. I was considering creating “The Rubber-clock Kid” as a sidekick to Gravity Priest, but was running out of time to draw the image as I had been very active most of the time I was away, as one would hope from a vacation. I brought the idea around to a mcGuffin of some kind that would feature in the particular episode of the fake comic. “The Tempordion” was a simple TempSketch.jpgconjunction of “prolong” referring to extending time and extending something (itself in this case). The design concept was that one could extend the accordion and stretch one second into one minute/hour/etc. This was a particularly thing to be doing on a Mediterranean beach at 8 in the morning.

TempFinal.jpg

I had also intended to create a black and white mock up of a potential front cover for this non-existent issue, but simply ran out of time, I did however manage a few thumbnail sketches.

coversketcher.jpg

The first is a classic head-to-head (literally) face-off design with the two characters glaringly obvious and simply detailed as the entire focus. This was a good start to get the energy I wanted but was far too simple for my tastes. The second was taking a stab at reinterpreting the word “prolong” as I wanted to hint at the idea that this was an ongoing series much like other comic series that would continue until it was unfeasible. I considered making the title of the issue the joke within “prolong” and thought about creating the longest title possible with only a small image stuck in the page corner. I then put a pin in that concept. The third was the most interesting for me as it is a design that takes for granted the notion that the viewer is already completely aware of the design of the main characters. by having them distant from the camera view, this version lends a sense of history to the relationship the viewer has with this series. It also presented a nice opportunity to show the artistic styling of the character’s abilities on paper.

This submission got me the half-hearted award of “Sure it looks pretty… but what does it do?” which is good enough for me. My sketch book is a little bit fuller and my ego was adequately stoked.

To see more of the September 2017 Make-A-Thing entries:
https://itch.io/jam/make-a-thing-sept-2017

 

Writing with ink

I am still a novice when it come to scripting. I find it difficult even when I get it. However, seeing game projects come to life and go from sketches to interactive is becoming more exciting to me the more I am surrounded y the level of quality produced even by my own classmates. I feeling more driven and so have been looking into programs that might help me through this process of learning.

Ink, by inkle, is a middleground plugin that acts between the creative writing aspect of a game and the hard edged definite of c#. It appears to have an input closer to Twine rather than the higher level code used by unity.

It seems to be geared towards ease of use and speed builds of interactive story, which is a major attraction for me to the games industry in the first place. Going forward, especially in any “down time” I have coming up, it would be foolish of me not to do some serious exploration for these ease of use, narrative based developer tools. ink, fungus, twine, all of these scream that they are gateways into the practical side of the creation of games. If writing comes so easily, I can jump forward into implementing these by carrying out the “if it’s an option, write this, if it’s a statement, write this” I’ve said before, I can follow orders well.

https://madewith.unity.com/stories/how-unity-and-ink-are-helping-us-build-a-narrative-game
This is an example about how the creation of the player experience can be fast tracked by making use of a tool like inkle. All of this coupled with the fact that it means I can put in minimal energy to have a presentable product solidifies that this needs to be the next stage of my development as a game maker.