Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Game Environment Research (Part 1)

When it comes to doing environment art in any sense I'm the first to admit it's no where near a strength of mine. Theres more to just drawing a scene and hoping it turns out alright, because I'm designing an environment that will be used in a 3 three-dimensional space I have to think carefully about design choices and aesthetics, including floor plan layouts. Most importantly I have to consider how my character is going to interact with their environment.

For these reasons I'm going to look at existing Environment Art and analyse it, following from there I will also analyse finalised video game levels to help progress my understanding of what makes a good game level.

This first piece is concept art for an opening level in 2005's "Resident Evil 4". What should be said about this piece is that is automatically gives you a sense for the atmosphere the game is going to have, the dark shadows and colour palette really give a sense of foreboding. The un-modern architecture really gives the sense of eeriness needed to translate the theme the game will present. This piece is also much more finalised and tighter artistically than some other concept art I've seen and it's also contains a look of texture that will probably be used as reference for the final game, but it is still concept art as it doesn't show a layout, just a scene from a fixed perspective just the give an idea of what an environment is like.

Below are more examples of Resident Evil 4's environment concept art



Each one of these really help to communicate the qualities each level should have, including colour palettes, features and general aesthetics. When it comes to my environment though I should also consider what will fit well with my character.

This next piece of concept art comes from 2009's Resident Evil 5. The first thing that should be noted is that the style for this concept art is much looser and only the most important aspects of the scene are shown. I may be that this is not a final piece as it doesn't give me a sense of the game atmosphere, but instead shows characters interacting with the environment. This piece also show what type of game you'll be playing, either an adventure/thriller type, this is due to it's outside setting by what the characters are doing in the scene also builds upon this. This piece is also from a fixed perspective not giving you an extensive look at the level, instead only giving you a taster of what it would be like.

This piece (Also from Resident Evil 5) shows the contrast in environments a game can have, where as the previous piece has a palette of warm colours, browns and reds this piece uses cool colours such as blues and greys. This differentiates the moods these environments have. Where as the first is warm it could mean that it's more action orientated and hostile, where as this cooler area could be one of rest where players will not be attacked. It's important to know the differences a colour choice can make a huge impact on the feel of an environment.

The most common aspect between all of the art shown in this post is that none of it shows how the player is going to interact with the environment, it seems to have all be create just to translate what the environment will look like, so I may have to look into find more "blue print" type designs.

When it comes to creating my own concept art I think I'll like to work with this more loose brush style as it means I'll be able to get more concepts done quicker hopefully.

Stay tuned from more analyses of Environment concept art!

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