Thursday, 23 February 2012

Final Major Project: Gutsy Development (Part 4)

To the left is the final design for Sir Gutsy, firstly the most noticable changes are that his eyebrows are now blonde too and he now has a shield as seen in the Logo. There have been minor changes to the design such as the way his tunic is formed and the gloves and boots.

The point of these changes were to make the character more easy to model such as the guantlets to make them still visually noticible but easier to create in maya. The main reason why I changed the hair was that I felt that the black eyebrows and moustache made Gutsy look a little 'dark' (as mentioned by various people I showed the colour schemes too) so I tried this blonde look and felt it worked quite well and should juts go with it. The shield was added to draw a further relation to the logo.

The sword was slightly redesigned and recoloured to make it stand out and the use of yellow on the hilt, I feel really makes it stand out especially when it comes to playing the game, making it stand out from Gutsy's blue tunic.

I feel that the two tones of grey used to define the difference between the two metals work well enough to highlight different areas but to also break up the colour scheme slightly.

What really worked well for the design is that I had 50 stickers of the top image created at a recent exhibit and managed to hand out all off them to the guests. The feed back to the design was positive and when explaining the game was to ultimately be developed for ios devices they were even more positive of the design with one or two guests even saying they were looking forward to the final game.

Final Major Project: Gutsy Development (Part 3)

I started to do some colour development with some of the previous sketches. This first colour scheme was developed rather quickly the main thing to take away is that yellow doesn't work well for the character along with the inclusion of one shade of grey (two really should be used). I decided to go with a Mario-effect for the hair using a two-tone for the motif but I'm not totally decided on this yet.

When going over the design I added little notes on where to re-design things to ultimately work on for future designs.

This second version shows a more developed colour scheme (the sketch taken from an older design) that I feel works much better, whilst the overall tone is a bit darker the colours work much better together and I feel that this is the right colour scheme for Gutsy, whilst there are a few changes left to be added to the design overall I feel this colour scheme will work the best when applied to the final design.

Final Major Project: Gutsy Development (Part 2)

Taking the base body of the previous design I set out trying to develop Sir Gutsy from there. Replacing the helmet with the beared face which eventually was change to a moustache (In reference to a certain other video game character). Funnily enough I modelled this design off a co-worker and by turning the hair of Gutsy into a lighting bolt gave a little bit of humour to the design (along with the large forehead). I like the idea of a face being given to Gutsy but besides the fact that he's brave leaves his personality slight bland allowing players to project themselves much more easily onto the character (most notable character for this is Mario, think about it, what is Mario's personality?).

I decided to draw out versions of this rough concept for the final gutsy, making little changes with each new sketch, such as loosing the shoulder armour and changing the designs of the gauntlets and icon on his chest (the icon was drawn just before the logo was designed and changed to make a connection between the two for better consistancy). Overall I feel this design
works well for the style it's drawn in gives a really appealing look for a general all audience feel, I'll be continuing to develop this Gutsy and stlye (As I feel it'll work for the overall Art Direction of the game). So far I've shown the design to a small few friends and the general consensus is that it works well for the market we're aiming for.

Final Major Project: Developing Gutsy (Part 1)

When it came to developing the character of Gutsy I started out by drawing various head designs to try capture the right 'feel' for the character. I really began to like the rough sketch on the right of the more 'cartoony' beared Gutsy as I felt it would be something that could easily be received by all audiences.

I continued to experiment further though, trying different avenues for a distinct 'look' for the Gutsy character (and in relation the whole game). Keeping in mind in tone we want for the game. These head shots were a good start and over the years I found it's often a good place to go to go for the beginning.

Here I tried to stick with a fairly light hearted theme to the characters whilst trying to give these 3 different designs a unique look focusing on level of armour. The larger/broad beared knight works well as a design but I felt it didn't quite fit my idea of Gutsy as he looked too heroic and the idea of Gutsy whilst being brave is meant to appear a bit more comical. The design below of the character with least armour was isntantly scrapped as a possibility for Gutsy as it seemed too smug looking.

The final concept in the left was a good start the body build was about right, appearing almost lanky, they style is also a bit more simplified too which could work to the advantage when modelling, I also feel that the armour works quite well to the concept of Gutsy.

When designing these three I allowed at the moodboard for armour designs, taking care to note the detail of how the armour works with each joining piece. From here I think I'll be trying to develop the top left Gutsy design further.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Double Fine raising funds via Kickstarter

Checking the usual gaming news websites this morning I came across an interesting story about game studio Double Fine, the studio behind games such as Psychonauts and Bute Legend. They've started up a Kickstarter fund raiser for a new game. The first article on read:

Double Fine is making an old school adventure game, but can't do it alone. In fact, the ambitious developer intends to fund its next project entirely through Kickstarter donations from people like you. No corporate middle-men, no signing away of rights -- this is the good stuff!

The game will be on Steam and aims to utilize modern touch technology. October 2012 is the planned release date for what is simply called "Double Fine Adventure" for the moment.

The Kickstarter page is right here, with donation rewards starting at $15. Those who donate the minimum will get the game, plus access to the beta. A tie-in documentary will be available for those who pledge higher amounts.

This is an exciting venture, and something I'm very excited to see. Here's wishing Double Fine the very best of luck ... though something tells me they'll get the cash from gamers easily. I just donated ... you gonna?

Considering yesterdays stories of game studios moving onto digital releases and aiming to create games for ios. Then there's this method of getting a game published as if you release a game via steam you don't need a publisher as you become you're own. Often a publisher is the main supplier of money in a project but with a kickerstarter, Doublefine could receive funding entirely from fans.

The next story I found on was a report of how much had been raised in 24 hours. It was over $400,000:

Wow. Good job, internet! Despite the fact the project was announced less than 24 hours ago, Double Fine's Kickstarter campaign for a new graphic adventure has reached its goal of $400,000.

That means around 10,000 regular humans on the internet (maybe you!) donated $400,000 out of your own pockets to see some legends of an old genre try and make something new, and dear, to your hearts.

Who needs publishers? Not these guys. Not now.
Now that the goal has been reached, every extra cent that goes into the Kickstarter fund is being directed towards both improving the project further and the quality of its accompanying documentary.

It'll also go towards things like releasing it on multiple platforms, and localising it into other languages.
The main difference between other studios doing this and Doublefine is that they have a huge cult following with head developer Tim Schafer most likely have fan clubs all over the internet. One method of becoming an Independent Game Developer could be to create a game under a publisher and brake free of the contract and rely on fans to fund projects via Kickstarter or something similar but of course this would be dependant on variables such as popularity and quality of previous projects. What Doublefine have also done is add rewards to the set amounts of donations with amounts of $10,000 pledge receiving lunch with Tim Schafer and a tour of the game developer's office.

With each passing day it seems game developers are finding more ways to release their games and increasingly with digital only releases.

Check out Doublefine's Kickstarter page here:

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Twisted Metal dev. Layoffs

In Another report found on, the developer behind the Twisted Metal games has been hit with Layoffs including David Jaffe who has directed the series as well as the God of War Series. The report read:

[Update: Jaffe has responded to today's news, confirming that layoffs were had, but addressing talk of casual development by saying, "I have zero plans to make games like FARMVILLE and ANGRY BIRDS. I never said what I was doing post TM ... I will be opening a game studio here in San Diego because I really miss internal game development. Happy to share more details later."]

Eat Sleep Play is the latest studio to be hit by the, "develop big game, kill off a bunch of jobs" phenomenon. The Twisted Metal developer has lost eight employees to continue with a staff of 26, and it would appear that even the infamous David Jaffe is leaving.

The studio will be sticking to iPad and iPhone games in the future, with co-founder Scott Campbell calling the move "pretty exciting" and looking forward to "reaching a lot more people." Even so, it looks like a step down for a team that's got a major PS3 exclusive on the horizon.

As for Jaffe? There's talk of him going into the casual games market, but he has said on Twitter that such rumors are "highly exaggerated" and they won't be casual games "as you know them." He has, so far, said nothing else beyond that.

Whatever happens, there's something fundamentally wrong with this industry where things like this happen so regularly.

Relating back to the figure of the amount of UK game developers who are moving on to exclusively digital releases and with this report of a previous games console developer "Taking a step down" to focus on ios games and the comment of this being an all to regular occurrence it's really a sign on the times on where to focus efforts in being employed, doubly so if it's a case of big name games getting developed and then the team being disbanded as there seems to be increasingly more security in developing these digital exclusive games.

UK Game Companies Ditching Retail Releases

Whilst reading this morning I came across an article about the current state of the UK Games and how it's majority is focusing on digital releases. The report had this to say:

A new census report from TIGA (a UK game industry trade organization) was released today, and it paints a picture for the future of the UK game industry. According to their census, 67% of UK game developers are appear to be turning their backs on retail game development. Only 33% of UK game companies are still exclusively developing retail games; the rest deciding to instead develop mobile, massive multiplayer and social gaming experiences.

71% of companies just starting up in the UK between 2008 and 2011 had their sights set entirely on getting in on the trend the rest of the UK developers are moving towards, according to TIGA's report. It'd be interesting to see how similar or different these statistics would be to the US market, especially seeing the rise in popularity of Steam and other online retailers becoming a launching pad for new indie projects and developers.

What this could mean for future of games companies starting up is that the focus is on digital release as even walking into game shops in the last few weeks there's been a definite lack of stock on shelves and with the tools of game creation getting more readily available to indie developers there could be a new method of game distribution on the rise, especially with services like Steam and ios app store becoming so popular. Perhaps I should open a game studio that focuses on digital releases?

Final Major Project: Gutsy's Quest Logo

When it came to designing the logo I developed several designs and amongst those was a logo inspired by the logo for Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

When presenting the various logos to people for their opinion the one they all picked was the shield/Zelda styled logo so with that decided I set out to further the design and finalise it from a rough pencil drawing into something that can be used. The shield logo would also work well as a singular icon for desktops/ios thumbnails etc.

Seen in the image to the right shows the step taken to design the logo, first by choosing an Ariel font and placing it in the right position over the sketch. Next I used the pen tool to trace over the shapes and adjust them into position.
The colour scheme was chosen as it uses primary colours that would stick out an immediately grab the viewer's attention. Ultimately the swords were removed from the design as they became too cumbersome and brought too much attention to the source of influence. Once the colours and appropriate shading has been added I moved onto the font by adding the yellow colour and white and black stroke around the words. I finally added some effects such as lens flare on the font and drop shading around the whole logo.

Overall I feel this is a really good logo that suits the type of game we're developing and in some respects sets the colour scheme for the concept art. I'm also particularly proud of this piece as I feel it looks quite professional. The logo will be used in concept art sheets and in the final product.