Friday, 23 December 2011

Final Major Project: Game Influences (Pt. 2)

What got me really excited for this game project was two games that came out recently. For our Game I want to give the audience a very unique and stylised game for as little cost as possible, drawing from my last project I want to push this heavily stylised art into a more developed direction. This push will come in the way of trying to turn my concept art into a better rendered model than my previous project's final piece.

Since then I've been constantly looking to games to see how to create models and textures which would create the look I'm after, one of these two games is the recently released Super Mario 3D Land.

What first impressed me about the game was the quality of the visuals, everything is so colourful that it almost has a bloom lighting effect on it (it doesn't, rather an effect of clever texture mapping such as a self illuminating Shadder). In a time when there is a constant need to created storybased/reliastic looking games it's such a refreshing feeling to see games like Mario 3D land focusing on gameplay and providing entertainment to all ages in a method that whilst is simple but also addictive and fun. Another point that should be made about the textures used in Mario 3D land is that they are made up purely of painted textures, there are no real world hoto textures added here and that is part of what adds to the cartoon charm of the game.

The art style of the Mario series also adds to the reason why anyone can pick it up, with bright colourful cartoon characters there's very little room for disagreement amoungst players. Also most of the detail (where there is detail) in the game models comes from the textures, so I will be experimenting with my own work to see if I can sucessfully create similar like "mario" textures. One of the best things about Mario 3D Land is that you immediately identify what everything is, you can tell mario apart for the enemies and backgrounds, you can see where you're supposed to go. The gameplay it self is particulary hard but offers up a challenge in some places, which in my opinion is a brilliant method to get people to keep playing your game, make it winnable but with challenges along the way.

Ofcourse the mario series has becomes incredibly famous and instantly recognisable to most people so trying to create our game to be on this same level may be a bit of a challenge but with the right thinking it isn't impossible. Ofcourse being an established franchise this Mario game draws heavily upon the art style of "Super Mario Bros. 3", most notably because of the return of the Tanooki/raccoon power-up but also other nods such as the background blcks being the same (see above picture). In fact there are many call backs to the series in general such as the ones pointed out in this video below, this probably is why (to me) it feels like a perfect blend of a 2d and 3D mario game.

Refering to the story of Super Mario 3D land, the game follows the same template as the others, Princess Toadstoll/Peach has been captured by Bowser/King Koopa and it's up to Mario to rescue her again. There are minor differences such as this time Bowser has got his hands on the tanooki leaf power-up and has shared it amoungst his minions, so amoungst your journey with mario to save the princess you'll see Goombas and Thwomps with Tanooki tails. Oddly enough this is another cultural reference to Japanese mythology, with the Tanooki, being a Racoon-dog species that is reviered in japan for many reasons in folklore such as wealth and good health, in response to this when players select Luigi and use a Tanooki leaf he will turn into a Kitsune (fox) variant, which is another animal that is well respected in japanese folklore.

Like Mario and Ghosts'n Ghouls, I want to create an artstyle that will instantly be recognisable as "that game", for the better part of this I feel with a mix of influences in art from both series and my own work with a texture/model style similar to that found in Mario 3D land I feel that the game, as a product could do very well for itself. To prepare for this I may begin to create some "Test-Textures", with that said I'll be continuing my research a little longer before beginning anything such as that yet.

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