Monday, 30 April 2012

Final Major Project: The Future of Gutsy's Quest

Will and I have have been talking alot about how we're going to tackle Gutsy's Quest for the future, if there is a future for it outside of the two showcases.

Currently we have plans to expand the game with at least two playable levels with a more adventure themed game play (something similar to Legend of Zelda) Along with this we're in talks to re-do start screen art to make it fit more that just the one level that was developed, add in an extra enemy and put to use the extra music I composed. We're also in talks of adding in the intro with fully realised illustrations and animation to give the game that extra polish.

With the money we're thinking of sinking into Gutsy's Quest it would make sense for us to use it as a large part of our portfolio pieces and that with some of the items we're considering getting could make the decision for an employer to hire us over some one else.

We feel this isn't too much of a challenge and that Gutsy's Quest very well could have a future with us past completing university, even though we've not finished the alpha build yet, our heads are teeming with ideas of how we can take the game further and surely that's a good sign!

Final Major Project: Promoting Gutsy's Quest

Considering we will be presenting Gutsy's Quest at two showcases (Game Republic and our own end of year show). It'll obviously be a good plan to start considering, planning and buying specially printed promotional materiel for not only Gutsy's Quest but, ourselves as games designers.

The most obvious choice for the producer of our promotional material was Vista Print, primary as they have great feedback but also they're currently have some great discounts of various products.

Below I've listed the items we're considering buying, why, for how much and what it'll need:

Business Cards: Currently 250 for £3 (marked down from £17.99) or 500 for £4. 80 (marked down from 27.74)
Will and I decided we can split costs and have the Business Cards dual printed, one side with each other's details on. This cuts cost but also promotes the idea that we're a team (which we are) that I think would go down well with anyone interested in our work.

Banner Sign: 1 for £35.49
This would be a flag of sorts to draw attention to ourselves and Gutsy's Quest. There's a good chance that I'll need to design something to appear on the banner. If the image looks as though it can draw attention to us with a high level of quality and banner would be indispensable!

Stickers: 1 Sheet for £2
These would be printed at the college as it's cheaper and has a laser cutter for custom designs. We found that people love free stuff (surprise, surprise) and that the stickers went down really well at the last show we had, as well as acting as a good jumping off point to talk to people about our work. I'm think several different sticker designs and try get around 500 printed so the exact price will be calculated on the day of printing.

Flyers: 250 for £19.25
I say flyers but I was actually thinking to use them as mini posters to give away at events along with the stickers. Again some new art may have to be made up but that's not a problem as there's plenty of time between now and game republic.

T-Shirts: 1 for £5.87
I was thinking of getting two shirts printed up for Will and I to wear at the show but this might look a little twee. It's still an Idea.

Gutsy statue: quote needed
Looking into 3d printing, there's a good chance that we may get a model of Gutsy made to put on display at shows. Of course there's a few details needed to be ironed out for the Gutsy Model to look exciting but it's little touches like this in our presentation that will get used noticed and stand out from other people presenting their work.

Comic: ??? for ???
For the last several weeks I've been working on a comic in my spare time that I feel carries the same type of humour and story telling as Gutsy and by printing it out using all my unused printer credits at uni and giving it away free at these events I think I can really push to get my own name out there as an artist and create a good vibe with people with the rest of the free promotional items.

On top of all this we have a blogspot where we'll be planning to put all of the Gutsy Blog posts from both Will and I so that after people see the show and take away a business card they can got to the website to see how it was made.

Another option we could also consider is contacting the website for The USB company, and getting a limited run of small storage sized, custom USB stick to put the Gutsy's Quest game (game republic version) and various other data on. This could be a great promotional tool and we'll definitely look into it further in the future.

Promotion is key and we want Gutsy's Quest to Succeed. Plan? Promoted the Hell out of it as budget is not too much of an issue.

Final Major Project: Developing New Levels

As a part of preparation for the Game Republic Showcase, Will and I agreed we needed to show more than just an area based alpha.

With the game almost finished we believe that we can make levels on a much quicker scale than it took to get to this point in our project due to the fact that we have all the assets we need build into our Game Engine (Unity) and can just drop things in where needed. Should we want new assets, the process is just as easy too.

So if we were to create a new level all we would need is a floor plan with a map of where things should go, much like this image to the right here.

This is a map for the first level of Gutsy's Quest. Gutsy has just entered the forest and must venture deeper. Whilst the lay out is simple one must remember it's the first level so it shouldn't be hard, Gutsy's Quest focuses on racking up points via finding items and defeating enemies. I feel that this would be the perfect method for developing more levels and helps keep development of those levels relatively simple.

The Future of Gutsy's Quest is still uncertain but I believe will and I can knock 'em dead at the GR Showcase if we put the best of these ideas into play.

Final Major Project: Gutsy's Quest Intro Storyboard

As part of the building of the game bible I thought it would be best to draw up a quick storyboard to illustrate how Gutsy came to be on his quest.

Originally This was going to be featured in the final Alpha build but our attention got shifted onto more pressing matters such as concept art, modelling, texturing and GUI design. That said this is pretty much what we had in mind. The story would play out using after effects to give basic animation to the scenes to give them a "storybook" feel, and like classic games there would be a text box at the bottom of the screen narrating what the player is seeing. (Inspired heavily by the way Mario 3D land told it's narrative between worlds)

This would have been great to put in and it's a shame that it got left out, perhaps it's something we can add for the Game Republic build. Overall I feel that with this storyboard it's more than a great stepping off point to build on the story should we decide (although the focus on story was never our intent with this project), another option is that I could put together a Gutsy's Quest comic as part of a promotion for the game. Either way, this storyboard illustrates perfectly clear why Gutsy is fighting skeletons in a forest and that's the important thing, hopefully we can find a use for this further down the line than just in the game bible.

Final Major Project: Little Secret Note Book

To the right is the complete collected notes Will and I have used during the production of the alpha build for Gutsy's Quest.

Chronicling each meeting we've had on those Monday mornings it features little insights into our thought processes behind the game's development. ranging from what influences we should draw from to how the level should be layed out and essentially a rough version of the game bible (that will be following in the next day or so).

These notes even include how we would present the piece as an IOS game (an idea that we still want to visit).

This collection of notes shows the long journey we've been on to each this point and highlights key ideas that are decremental to the way Gutsy's Quest has turned out.

Also a doodle of Darth Vader saying "Hotdogs"....

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Final Major Project: Gutsy's Quest Music and SFX Impressions.

With the Sound Effect finished will and I now have everything we need to start putting the game together. Originally this was going to happen on the 27th but tat got pushed back to the 30th for the sake of polishing smaller details.

I feel that the Music and SFX for Gutsy's Quest is going to help create a more robust experience for the game. I believe that the tracks will fit well into world of Gutsy's Quest as they're short and catchy, conforming to the standards of 8-16 bit era video game music. I think the instruments used fit but also give quirky charm to the game. By going over several versions I feel that I've got the best out of the compositions with in the time frame I had and hopefully everything will go together smoothly.

As for the sound effects I feel these will integrate well into Gutsy's Quest, with a mix of logical choices for sounds and ones designed to denote the action and familiarty in seasoned players but that also don't sound strange to the act that the audio is supposed to describe.

Considering I'm not as skilled as some people when it comes to sound design I felt I've made some good choices that will reflect Gutsy's Quest well and also make it seem like a more humble effort as it's still just two people behind the whole project. With the additional tracks that ended up being made this will make level design for the Game Republic show case easier and hopefully add variation to the game to make our's seem impressive. I'm proud of all the work Will and I have put in this game and when it all comes together on monday I think it'll be a defining moment, not just for the project but for Will and I as game designers.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Final Major Project: The SFX of Gutsy's Quest (Part 2)

Today I've spent time finelining the SFX, adjusting and making them sound how I'd want the sound design in Gutsy's Quest to sound like.

The SFX can be found by clicking here! On there I've added comments of which individual sound is which to make this next section a little easier to annotate.

1. Start Sound. This sound will play when the player selects start on the start screen. I wanted a sound that got players excited and I felt that the use of the sword unsheaving was a good way to go but it needed something else. By adding in a mallet sound I feel that it adds well and if there's a dissolve transition between the pages and the bg music stops as soon as the "dong" sound happens it should be a goodtranistional sound for the gameplay to enter with.

2. Select Sound. A simple Mallet/percussion sound that will play when players select options in the menu and move between scrolls on the tutorial screen. I just thought this would be a good sound to add in for nostalgia's sake to old RPGS.

3. Walking on Grass.This is one of the SFX I bought from premiumbeat.com I feel it'll work best to convey the sound that Gutsy's and the skeletons are walking on grass as close as possible without having to go out a record the sounds myself. The sample just needs offsetting when adding it into the game to make it sound like it's more realistic.

4. Sword Swing. This sound will be used when character's swing their swords. Again bought from premiumbeat.com. It's fairly self explanetory and I feel that it's just right for a cartoony effect as well.

5. Sword Hit. This sound takes the sword swing and adds a cymble crash to denote contact with an enemy. The ideal of using the cymble crash it too keep things light hearted and not realistic. Hopefully it should work. I got inspiration for this sound from Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

6. Coin Pick up. Just a simple sound to denote the pick up of a coin. There were sample of coins being dropped into money bags but I wanted this to keep a videogame feeling about this so I felt using a simple sound were work best.

7. Enemy Appears. I chose this sound as enemies will be appearing from clouds of smoke as though they've just been cast into existence by the evil wizard thus a "poof" sound was obvious most suitable.

8. Enemy Dies. Using the same poof soundI also added in a quick down scale on a mallet based instrument to imply that the skeleton collapses when defeated by Gutsy but the Poof sound is there to mask the fact that the enemy just disappears behind another cloud of smoke.

9. Health Refill. This is simple sound to denote that th eplayer picked up an item that restores health. I think it works well and again plays to nostalgia, but is also a distinctly different sound from the others so that it should become instantly recognisable to players after a few play throughs.

10. Woo Destroyed. This sound is for use when the player destroys barrels and crates, I took an original sample that was a bit too low and uped the pitch to make it sound lighter. I think it'll work just fine for use in the game and along with the sword swing should make for effect sfx.

11. Gutsy Died. This is more a little melody that will play when the player runs out of health and just before the game over screen. By playing down a scale I think it really adds to the sense that the player failed and it should flow into the game over music quite nicely.

12. Try again. This brief melody will play when the player selects "try again" in the game over screen, again it's composed in a way to try recapture a bit of nostalgia from old games.

I believe that along with the soundtrack and these sfx that's all of the music production done. Obviously if there were more time I would have liked to master them and make the levels more accurate but overall I feel we have a strong enough bunch of resources to build the game with.

Final Major Project: Communication is Key

For this project Will and I have found that communicating with each other is a key part of this project. Before easter break we would meet up every monday to discuss how we would approach the week in front of us and we found this worked very well as we could get on with it and show each other what we had done the following Monday and move on from there.

Whilst we've been doing that we've also been communicating by using Facebook for when we have a more urgent matter, this works well too as we're often on the computer and respond to each other fairly quickly. Along with these forms of communication we've been keeping track of the conversations we have concerning Gutsy's Quest and how we should tackle each step in a little black moleskin note book, to which contains extensive notes on how the game plays works, points values and other such details concerning the overall project. This book will most likely be a key component for when it comes to creating the GAME BIBLE.

I think this project couldn't have got to this stage without all the communication we had and that keep notes and the system we developed has helped keeps on track as well. Honestly I'm not quite sure if we could have communicated with each other any better. The fact that the game is almost complete a full week before the deadline shows that we've put the effort in.

Final Major Project: The SFX of Gutsy's Quest (Part 1)

For the Sound Effects I looked at the list of sounds that were required. From experience I've found the best thing to do is to try retrieve sounds that closesly resemble the sound you're after and adjust them accordingly in the which ever music software you have.

I also picked up a selection of the BBC SFX Library CDs to see if any of the sounds could be used, after cycling through them I found that most of them seemed dated but really didn't match my base ideal sound for the various sfx.

After searching on the internet for various sounds (some that matched others that did not) I came across the website called Premiumbeat.com. The website specialises in royality free music and sfx.  with a strong predigree of clients such as SEGA and Microsoft.

After searching I found the 3 sounds I was looking for and they were priced at a fairly resonable level, intotal 3SFX cost me just over £5 using Paypal and they were immediately sent to me via email in the format I wanted. The Tracks were exactly the kind of sound I was looking for. With all the sounds I've collected there are still a few that need to be made in Ableton Live.

I would use premiumbeat.com again when it comes to any projects that I may have in the future that come with a budget.

Now it's time to move onto creating the SFX. Once they're done all the components for the project are complete and just need putting into the game altogether.

Final Major Project: Composing Gutsy's Soundtrack (Part 3)

After going over the tracks I had made I felt that I had enough to work with and apply to the game. Taking my notes from my first versions I posted I adjusted these to make them (theoretically) work for the game than their previous versions. I also managed to create a theme for Gutsy that currently as it stands isn't quite up to the standard that I would want it to be but I think there's definetly something there that can be built upon. Below are the final versions of the score and Gutsy's Lietmotif.

Track 1: The Skeleton March. Adjusting the original version of this track. The main problem was the track sounded as though it changed key half way through and by taking out one of the instruments I feel that I've managed to make this shift a little less noticble. I also added an organ in the background just to pad out the sound. This track will be used for the Graveyard Level (currently the only level) and I think it's a good choice for it as it'll re-enforce the idea that Skeleton's are coming towards the player.

Track 2: Gravestone Valley (Start Menu).This version of the Gravestone Valley track is a bit more stripped down from the first version, with just drums coming in and no plucked Zheng really makes it appropriate for the start screen (at least with it's current illustration). Overall I'm happy with the tone of this track and believe it'll work well.

Track 3:  Game Over.This version of the Game Over track is almost identical to the original except that the second melody that plays only plays for half the time of the original track. I feel this works better for the sake of making it catchier but also shorter. I feel that this track will work well with the game over screen I developed.

Track 4: Gutsy's March. Finally, this was the last track I put together. I spent some time on the main melody to try get the right sound and whilst I feel that I got the right meoldy for a tune that cqan represent Gutsy I feel that the overall composition doesn't quite fit. I do like how the track mirrors the Skeleton's March and gives a nice contrast between the two because of thier different melodies but similar drum beats. I'll develop this track further for use as the start menu music for the Game Republic show.

Overall I'm pleased with the progress I've made on and feel that the final tracks will suit Gutsy's Quest well and add to the charm we're trying to achieve. Due to time constraints I couldn't master the tracks to get them sounding their best but I feel as they are they are more than acceptable. With this stage of the music development complete I can move onto sourcing and creating the sound effects.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Final Major Project: I Made a Game Boy!

I was bored and couldn't sleep the other night and the result was this very simple Gameboy model. I'm thinking about having it in the Gutsy's Quest (For the Game Republic Version)  as an easter egg of sorts but I didn't make the texture (taken from a papercraft website) and it's not really relevant to anything. Regardless to say, these little nods to other to pieces of pop culture make fans go crazy with excitement so the idea of adding some kind of reference to another game may not be a bad idea, just one that's more suited to the tone of Gutsy might be better like maybe a Zelda reference?

Either way it's fun to create these small models that only take about 15 minutes to make.

(I could just change the screen on the game boy to show a Zelda game though..... hmm)

(I seem to be thinking about the potential of Gutsy's Quest alot these days...)

(Also this is my 150th post of the school year, huzzah!)

Final Major Project: End of Year Show (Part 1)

Today we met to talk about the End of Year show where in which we'd be presenting our work. Much was discussed such as where 2nd years and 3rd years would display their work and ultimately where it would be shown.

In the end we came to the decision work would be shown based on discipline with specific signs to denoted which year is which. We also talked about trying to get sponsorships from various communities around Yorkshire.

By the end of the meeting it was decided we'd have a committee of six people (3 from each year and one from each discipline) to ultimately be in charge of organising the End of Year show, I was selected to represented the Game side of the third years. Come Monday the 3rd year side of the committee will be asking who is presenting what for the show and from there we will be meeting as a whole committee at a further undecided date to discuss further matters.

(Considering what happened with the last show back in February I think a committee is a good idea (and really the best approach) as everything was left to the last minute and nobody knew what they were doing until I became head organiser of the event a week before hand)

The End of Year Show starts on the 15th June and runs through to the 22nd June.

Final Major Project: Composing Gutsy's Soundtrack (Part 2)

For the music my choice of software is Ableton Live as I'm most familiar with it's interface and the tools inside it.

Much like designing a character the process for making music is like sketching and seeing what works. For Gutsy's Quest I only knew the rough sounds I was looking to create so the best thing was to find various instruments that I felt would work and started creating various little melodies using a limited range of instruments and all in the same "composition" to kind of keep the a theme in the music, I ended up with a more tracks than I anticipated but I feel that I can probably put them to good use some where down the line. Most of the tracks are composed of mostly string instruments including a native Chinese instrument called a Plucked Zheng that really makes things pop but some of the track have unique instruments to their own pieces. Below are the results of the first "sketches".

Track 1: Adventuring is Fun. This was the first track I created, I was aiming the try get a heroic sound to be used as the background music on the level but after completing it I felt that it was a bit too cheery for the grave yard level we had created and needed some thing a bit different. I still feel this has great potential as BG music in a level just not this one. This track got it's name for the sake of the light hearted feel to it.

Track 2: The Skeleton March. This track was created as a response to the lack of "gloom" in Adventuring is Fun and it really works when listening to this I can imagine hordes of skeletons marching towards the player (thus the name). I feel this one would be usable for the level we've built with some adjustment as it sounds like there's a key change halfway through possible due to another instrument. The muted guitar really makes it sound like it takes place in a wood/forest as well adding to the creepiness.

Track 3: Game Over. The third track to be created again was an attempt to make level music but after completion I felt it works perfectly for music for the Game Over screen. Whilst not being really "down" the track has a sombre feel that I think suits the imagery of the game over screen (basically the feeling of disappointment). A key part of this track is the Plucked Zheng, which does re-enforces that "sad" feeling. With this track down that's one song in the bank for sure!

Track 4: Sunset Beach. This track is a return to try making a heroic leitmotif to be Gutsy's theme. Incorporating a similar tempo and composition form as the Game Over track. The track opening sections of the track didn't quite sound heroic so I thought by adding in the synthed guitar parts it would add something the result was a piece that I would expect to hear whilst playing a beach themed level (hence the name), it's cheery and with the inclusion of an acoustic piano track really makes it seem positive. Along with the first track Adventuring is Fun, Sunset Beach is giving me loads of ideas for new levels and expanding Gutsy's Quest.

Track 5: Gravestone Valley. This track introduced the use of an organ to really try get a spooky feel. I also made use of minor chords (something of a new experience for me) to drive home the creep factor, the bass also adds this I think with it's ascending and declining notes. The drums kick in half way through and help give the track "that game feel" and really gives it power. I think if I took the guitar part out this would make an acceptable choice for the start menu considering it's nature or the whole composition as a possible score for the background music.

With these few sketches layed out it's back to the music room to work on them some more, so far I feel that the music I'm creating whilst isn't hitting the exact mark for the start menu and the BG music it does feel like Gutsy's Music and I think some of these tracks can be used else where. I'll also be working on the sound effects next trying to get the right blend of the right sound and cartoony effect.

Final Major Project: Composing Gutsy's Soundtrack (Part 1)

Now that I've finished the GUI stage of production it's time I moved onto the audio production. Will and I did have a fellow class mate lined up to create the music for us but unfortunately he couldn't complete the work due to time constraints so it's up to me to handle the music stage.

Will and I sat down on Monday and discussed what sounds we would need. Music wise we would need compositions for the starts screen, Background music and game over music. Sound effects wise we need sounds for; Walking in grass, attack (hit and miss), pick ups (coin/ hearts), wood breaking (for crates and barrels), enemies being defeated, poof sounds for enemies appearing, Gutsy dying and selected sounds (perhaps two one for the start game, pause etc. and one for the tutorial scrolls).

To achieve the right kind of sound is crucial as the wrong sounds may make the game appear weird or less impressive. Ideally we want sounds that are not orchestral scores but simple little loops that are catchy and have a very comical/fantasy kind of feel.

My inspirations for this part of the project are composers such as Koji Kondo, the man behind the music of some of Nintendo's greatest games such as Super Mario and the Legend of Zelda. David Wise, the composer of Donkey Kong Country 2's soundtrack and finally the whole score of music found in Super Ghosts n' Ghouls.

Ideally I want the sound effects to follow the ones found in these 16 bit era games, nothing to real worldy and something that sounds fun.

With an idea of the aesthetic of the audio in my mind I set off to creating Gutsy's Score!

Final Major Project: GUI Final

I quickly went back and touched up the example screen and their icons with the right colours and adjusted the coin icon.

This is an example of how the final game and it's GUI should look, obviously there's more polish to be added in the game engine but this gives a pretty comprehensive example. The coin Icon doesn't seem just quite right but concerning time factors it's close enough and can be fixed up at a later stage for Game Republic, as it currently stands I think it's alright. The right colours have been added to the numbers and it really does make the difference. Gutsy's Quest does indeed have a specific pallet and straying too far away from the right shades does make thinks begin to look off some what.

With this the GUI work in it's whole is completed and I can move on to composing the Music and Sound effects which is most likely going to be an entirely different beast to tame.

Final Major Project: Revisiting The Start Screen

Along with the other comments in the Final Crit one was suggested that we animate the start screen slightly with a highlight on the blade of the sword.

Here is an example of that here. I also added in the cursor from the pause and game over screens to see how it would look and I feel it works and looks good against the illustration. The shine effect is a bit basic but I think it works (albiet needing to be animated better but for this example it works well) and does add just that little more umpf to the screen. I also added in an audio option to give an example of what the screen might look like on an ios device. But if need be for future versions this symbol could easily be a wrench to give players the ability to set their own preferences such as screen size, sfx volume, background music volume etc. so that space could be utilised differently for different formats.

With some minor adjustments still being needed to be made to the coin icon I've almost finished the all the graphical work for the game and will be moving onto the new challenge of creating the game's audio, both background music and sound effects!

Final Major project: Game Over!

After touching up the GUI's I realised I also needed to create a game over screen for when the player dies. To make this I opened up a new document and tried a variation of layouts and rough designs until I settled on using a skeleton-fied Gutsy as the image for the Game over screen.

Next I made the "Gutsy" font for the game over and arranged the components of the piece until I felt they worked. The end result was the image to the right. I feel this works well as it's both humorous (kind of) but also sends across the message that the player died due to the use of black and the large words that read "GAME OVER". Hopefully I'll be able to get some music to bring this all together. The Skeleton Gutsy was created by really just taking the original concept art and drawing over the top of it with obvious design changes to make it look like our poor hero was caught by those terrible clattering pile of bones! I really like "Skeleton Gutsy" perhaps if Gutsy's quest continues he could be an unlockable character, but I'm definitely thinking of getting some stickers made up of him from promotional events.

Oddly enough these finishing stages are slowly becoming the most fun.

Final Major Project: Revisiting The GUI (Part 2)

With a layout of the game screen created I thought I'd create and example of the pause screen. Firstly there were some minor changes to the design of the pause menu, namely the addition of a thinker outline to make it pop out more on the screen.

For the pause menu screen, the menu should appear and the game screen should get a slight dark screen over the top and the player controls the gloved hand cursor and it should look like the image.

Overall I think this works as with the darkened screen it definitely makes the game look as though it's paused and players can make a choice of what to do next. As with the previous GUIs this one fits in well with the overall art style of Gutsy's Quest so I would say it's a success.

Final Major Project: Revisiting The GUI (Part 1)

Since The final Crit Will and I have been steam rolling towards putting Gutsy's Quest together. Whilst Will is polishing off animations and various pieces of Code it was up to me to revisit the GUI and make sure it's up to scratch.

The First thing that was decided was to change the health bar into a numeric based system but we still wanted to keep Gutsy's Head in the GUI so I simply modified the HUD graphic preserve that. We also changed the idea of the score system, now players will have an over arching score and a score for coins collected, for this obviously I had to make score and coin graphic.

I also modified the instructional scroll by adding decals to the top corners and making the lines bolder. I then put these altogether in an example screen to play with how the screen should be layed out and I think this works bests, it's not intrusive and hopefully shouldn't distract the player whilst also displaying the correct information. I also feel that the art style all blends well together, the colours and aesthetic of the graphics really do suit the world of Gutsy's Quest and integrate quite nicely with the 3D environments.

I think I need to go back and touch up the coin icon as it looks a little out of place and find a better shade of yellow for the type displaying the numeral values but overall I think Gutsy's Quest is going to turn out really well from this screen.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Final Major Project: Final Crit

Today was the Final Crit for the project with just 10 days to go Will and I feel that we can complete the level for Friday the 27th of April. We presented our work thus far and it was well received by both tutors and students.

Will and I received many tips both for handing in our work and to the level itself. Firstly the audience agreed with my statement of the textures look none time specific and that they will look just as good in several years time.

Among the suggestions to make our game level better were:

  • Add blob shading to the level, this can be done either with textures, a shader or lighting in unity. 
  • Make the particles that surround the coins smaller.
  • Add directional lighting behind the alpha channeled trees
  • Adjust animations for the characters to give them more character (really no pun intended).


Will and I sat down after the crit to discuss what was left to do. For myself there were a few graphical elements left to be created as well as creating the audio and sound effects. I'll also be looking into ways we can promote Gutsy's Quest at the end of year show.

Further good news we received today is that our tutor asked us if they could enter us into the fifth Game Republic's Student Showcase. This is a great opportunity for us as both Will and I are confident in our skills and Gutsy's Quest as a game, especially now that we it completed and can easily make a larger level in a short amount of time so that after the hand in we can make Gutsy's Quest more of a beta game rather than an alpha. If I'm honest I'm getting really excited about this opportunity and think it could lead to great things for Will and I as it could lead to job placements or intern-ships at game studios as there are many high profile British game studios going to the event. Here's hoping we can knock them off their feet!

(If you're confused about the hat image, it's been my desktop background all year and avatr for the online moodle, it seemed appropriate for the final crit)

Final Major Project: The Tricks of Texturing

At the same time as show my friend the art style of Battlefield Heroes and talking about the importance of textures in video games he proceeded to show me a perfect example of this.

To the left is an image of a character from a well know video game but the key point of interest is the effect that the texture has.

When looking at the model where the mesh visible the first thing to note is that it's built up of tris rather than quads but also that the majority of the tris are located in the hair and face, with the least being from the waist down. This is most likely because the player will be seeing the waist up on the character most, a clever way of reducing the count of polygons.

When looking at the the middle model you can see that it's not actually that complex of a model and well within the ability of even an amateur modeller (who is experienced in using tris at least) with minor features such as the buckles on the coat being made of geometry.

Looking at the finalised model and texture is a strange farcry from the untextured model showing the wonders of what a well painted texture can do. The pockets of the trousers look as though they were modelled, the shoes look much more detailed that the plane model and really the quality of the texture really makes the difference to the model.

Luckily I've managed to stumble upon a maya file of this model, whether it was modelled by a fan or is the model from the developers doesn't matter as it's clearly been created by a 3d artist more experience than myself and by deconstructing it I think I'll have much more to learn and write about in later blogs but for now the main thing to take away from this is that textures make ALL the difference to a 3D model (Perhaps I may even try to a stylised texture for this model or even create my own version all together in my own time!)

Final Major Project: Battlefield Heroes

When talking with a friend about how I wanted my game to look (in the most idealogical circumstances and if I had professional skills). I used the game Battlefield Heroes as an example of the type of art direction that is taken with Gutsy's Quest.

It was actually whilst looking at the images that Google presented that I realised that I needed to add grass to the level. Regardless Battlefield Heroes art direction when it comes to modelling the whole work is something that I would have loved to work on (or explore which would be some what hard with it being an Online shooter). More specifically the method in which the characters are modelled. I'll admit that my modelling skills are still at an amateur level as I always have problems trying to model the face more specifically a stylised face.

Looking at the way faces in Battlefield Heroes are modelled it seems so simple, using more of a cylinder shape as opposed to my method of just trying to get the face to match the design. the other details of the face in the 'Heroes models show very little modification, the brow and nose could easily be extruded from the geometry. It seems that simplicity is the key to making stylised models and it definitely something I would attempt next time I have to model a character. The key to model it seems, is a strange mix of rules where complexity and simplicity dance between each other but is a weird balance between the two.

Texturing for the game is a mix of painted graphic textures with some real world texture maps to add to the feeling of the games individual aesthetic and it works well for it. If I do another game with a stylised aesthetic you can bet that Battlefield Heroes will be a strong source of influence.


Final Major Project: Finalising the Game Level

With the Alpha channeled trees put in place I proceeded to add in the background border.

The background border was created by copying the alpha channel tree and duplicating it as a pattern repeatedly on the UV Map of the border. Using a mix of gradient and darkening the trees in the background of the border to give the illusion of depth on the flat image.

When put into the game environment the results were more than pleasing and really makes the difference to the level. Whilst perhaps making it a little claustrophobic it does add the finishing touches to the level and really make it seem more like a world/level than an environment floating in space.

Another detail that was added was the inclusion of alpha channeled grass. This really made the difference to the level as the floor was looking somewhat empty but it also adds character to the scene making the graveyard themed level look some what more typical of what you would expect a grave yard to be.

With those final touches the game level was complete. Overall I'm pleased with the way it looks and I think my previous comment of it looking somewhat timeless look rings even truer with the final result. The inclusion of the grass is an important part as I feel that the level could be received very differently. The final touches can now only be added in the game engine Unity, these are things such as mist and other particle effects as wells as shadows and other such details to make it appear more professional but even at this level I would present it as a portfolio piece.

Final Major Project: Alpha Textures

With the textures fixed I set about putting together the design of the level. Using the rough layout in my note book I made it semi randomised but also more arena like than the prototype which was just a square.

One key thing that was also added was the trees around the level. Added in by suggestion of a friend, the idea of using a flat plane with a tree painted on it to give the illusion of depth without the compromise of polygons for fully rendered trees. Also by slightly bending the plane helps make this illusion stand out a little more.

There were some difficulties when creating the alpha channel as when I first completed the tree and imported it into maya there was a white edge border around the whole thing. When I inspected why this was happing in the photoshop file it became apparent that it was due to the red in the alpha channel layer not being right up to the edge of the tree graphic. After some careful painting I got the alpha channel to read right up to the edge of the graphic.

This was a fun new challenge for me as I hadn't really tackled alpha channels before, it was also a strange challenge to try make a flat graphic that would look like it belonged amongst the  the 3d texture painted objects but I think I got that to work and the flat tree looks like just another part of Gutsy's World.

With the alpha trees added all that's left is to add the background border.

Final Major Project: Texturing Problems

Whilst texturing the assets there  some slight problems such as the ones shown in the image to the left here. The maps were not marrying up to their geometry counter parts as well as they should have.

After scratching my brain for ages trying to see what was wrong I asked my tutor what could be the problem and sure enough much like last year t was a case of two UV maps for one object. This was fixed by simple copying the map I wanted to use to the top of the stack in each individual UV texture editor window. With that it was fixed and the assets were looking their best again (after a few tweaks to the textures).

This was due to a mixture of when making a UV map not unchecking the "make new UV map option". Which is something I should watch out for in the future but luckily this was easy to fix and didn't require me to go back and re paint textures of anything like that.

With all the textures painted on the assets it was time to move on to putting the level together, overall I feel this part of the process is going swimmingly.

Final Major Project: Texturing The Level

After completing the texturing for the characters and sending them off to Will to be animated I proceeded to start texturing the scene assets.

This was as simple as going through the motions as the geometry was much simpler than the characters so texturing each item took a fraction of the time in comparison. By this point I had also developed an definite method for painting textures;

First I would colour the whole map in a base colour, then using the pen tool I would draw around the edges that would need to be highlighted. With the path of the Pen selected I would use the stroke path option with a airbrush as size 20 coloured black, then with the path still open I would take a colour slightly darker than the base colour and change the brush size to 10 and stroke the path. Finally I use a flat brush with a hard edge with a colour slightly lighter than the base and stroke it around the path with a size 3 brush.

The effects of this on the assets is astounding and I think it really captures the cartoony feel that We're trying to achieve with Gutsy's Quest, even giving it a unique look. Another nice side effect of this is that it also stops the game from looking dated as it looks like it could have been textured any where between 5 years in the past of 5 years in the future, hopefully audiences will agree with me on this mark. Overall I think this is some of the best work I've done texturing wise.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Final Major Project: Character Texture Evaluation

Now that the Skeleton and Gutsy have been textured I thought it would be a good oppertunity to stop and reflect on the work and quality of it so far.

Since the previous project I feel I've learned alot more about UV mapping and texturing. One key thing is the level at which I completed the UV mapping, previously my maps were slightly cluttered, this time round though I took extra care unwrapping the models and making sure that there was no way for opposing components to overlap and cause problems when painting. This resulted in clear texture painting that was easy to understand and really made the difference to previous projects. I had also developed my own way of unwrapping uv maps that I feel due to the quality of the final product is at a more than acceptible level.

Along with Luke Ahearn's book "3D Game Textures", I also got advice from two friends with jobs at game studios for when it comes to texture painting, this was along the lines of using gradients and airbrushing instead of just a flat brush. The advice, of which I utilised in this project really paid off and gave the work a much more professional look at.

Overall when looking at the texture painting work I feel the most important thing to take away from it are two things. Firstly the models with the textures on look reasonably close enough the designs and secondly (under the right shader in unity) I feel these capture the art style we're trying to go for. Trying to capture the cartoony look was a weird less is more kind of affair, during the texturing of Gutsy I fired up Ocarina of Time to see how to create fake folds but I couldn't quite figure it out. Currently I feel that I've completed the textures to the best of my abilitiy and thankfully they look at an acceptable level to use and portray what we want to get across. The time that it took to create the textures as well I thought were just about right, ofcourse things could always be quicker but if I keep at this on a regular basis this could be a great strength for me as a member of a work force.

Overall I feel the textures and modelling could be better but they are also the best pieces I've worked on thus far which shows great improvement especially in contrast to previous efforts and I feel by trying to tackle a specific art style than just "realism" I've set myself up for a good challenge as it's always hard to paint a texture than just over lay a real world one. I would like to continue working on modelling and texturing as a skill as I want to find out how to create even better textures for even more complex models, who knows, this could perhaps lead to more work on Gutsy as a larger game.

Final Major Project: Texture Painting (Part 4)

With the shield and sword textures complete I moved onto texture painting Gutsy.

Like the skeleton I started out by painting in the block colours over the UV map. Due to the amount of precision of the UV map this stage was pretty basic and already made the Gutsy model look half finished when added to it (oddly enough it looked like a model from the online game runescape from a few years back). With the base colours all layed out I went about making sure each individual component poped out, this was completed by using the gradient tool on the edges of each component. With that on top I used the brushes and pen tool to highlight the edges like with the skeleton. This overall stage was perhaps the longest as I had to keep going back and making sure the brush lines matched up to the geometry properly and that the effect I tried worked well etc.

With the gradients and the highlighting done I moved onto adding the metal plates on the arms, using the same technique as the plates on the skeleton of embossing and beveling. This took some trial and error to get it to match up just right but in the end I feel I got it to work well with the design. Finally I added the heart logo from the shield and Gutsy's Body was complete, it was time to move onto texturing his face.

To try get the eyes right was more of an accident, after trying various effects and technique nothing was looking quite right, it all looked flat and dull. Whilst reading a Gaming magazine I saw an ad for an old playstation game and looked carefull at how the eyes were textured and modelled. it seemed that the eyes were slightly indented into the face so I thought I might try this approach. I first drew out the eyes with the 'inking' brush to get a hard edge and when it was placed on the model I selected the vertices around the eye and pushed them into the head slightly. The difference was noticbly better looking so I used the same technique for the eye brows and adjusted the geometry once they were complete.

With that I thought I was finished but I looked at it again and thought about how I could make the face pop out more, I went back into the texture map and added an emboss/beverl effect on them and sure enough this did the trick. By setting the specific settings well enough I managed to make them catch attention without look weird, on my final inspection I decided that Gutsy's hood was too far back and made his head look weird after adjusting this I took one last look and had decided that Gutsy's texturing wa finished!

I moved his weapons into the right position, adjusted his hands to it looked like he was holding them and finished the model to be animated by Will.

Final Major Project: Texture Painting (Part 3)

Before setting onto the task of painting Gutsy's texture and considering how easy it was to paint the props I decided I'm complete the sword and shield first as a warm up before tackling Gutsy.

The sword, much like the skeleton's was simple to complete using the pen tool and the correct brushes along with the gradient tool. The result is proof that I've really improved my texture making skills since I first tried them as the sword indeed looks like the design would in a 3D environment.

Moving on to the shield I exercised the same skills, drawing the airbrush around the edges of the geometry. I used a tip from the "3D game textures book" to make the wood on the back of the shield seem more real, by drawing black lines on a new layer and adding an ebossed effect it really makes the texture pop out . The final part to the completion of the shield was to add the heart on to the main area, to do this I imported the heart image from the logo and simpley resized it saving time on trying to re draw it.

Overall I think this looks pretty good and hopefully I can make Gutsy's texture look just as good to keep up the level of quality.

Final Major Project: Texture Painting (Part 2)

With the bodytexture for the skeleton completed there was really on the head and the sword left to do.

The head was slightly tricky in terms that I wasn't sure how to tackle it. Ultimately I ended up using a mixture of the two brushes, gradient effect and the pen tool. The eyes were made by having a layer with a darker gradient then a circular pen tool with the airbrush for the circumfrence and fill on the inside of the circle this gave the illusion of and whole, I then repeated this with the eye ball using white instead of black. The result makes it appear as though the eye is actually in the socket due to the feathering around the white. This effect was repeated around the jaw.

The teeth were completed using the bevel effect to make them pop out from the face and to the testament it wooks well enough. A small crack was added to the top of the skull to add a bit of character. With that last little detail added the body is complete, through out the painting I also went back and added gradient effect were needed to make things pop out from each other and this worked well.

Using the same techniques picked up from the skeleton I started on his weapon. This process was much quicker as I knew more about what I was doing and how to do it and there were less parts to the UV map. Key details such as using the bevel effect to make the nodes on the sword pop out, the use of gradients to make it look like theres a jewel in the centre of the sword and general use of brushed and the pen tool to make the blade seem more eye catching.

With the sword done, I then moved it up and adjusted the skeleton's hand to make it appear as though he's holding it then combining the two meshes for the sake of animations. With that last touch complete the skeleton is finished and ready to be sent to Will where it will be rigged, weight painted and animated!

Final Major Project: Texture Painting (Part 1)

With all the UV maps ready to be painted Isarted to paint one of the more simpler of the two characters.

Starting by impoting the UV map for the Skeleton into Photoshop I first had to invert the map so that it was black lines on white. Considering that the main colour for the skeleton is "bleached bone" I decided to start by just filling the whole image on a new layer with this colour and over the top of the correct areas fill in where the gloves and boots are with brown.

During the research phase I practised some texturing, I used a book called "3D Game Textures" by Luke Ahearn. The book was really useful considering I had very like experience texturing and had some wonderful tips on getting textures to look more professional. Through out the texture painting phase I had Maya open so that i could consistantly check how my painting matches up to the model.

With the two base colours done I moved on to completing the details such as adding the highlights using a mixture of two brushes, and air bursh and a flat 'inking' brush, this created a good effect and really gave a professional look to the texture. I continued to add highlights where I thought were needed such as on the gloves boots and rims of the rib cage.

With the highlights done I moved on to adding the metal plates onto the boots and gloves. This was done by adding a new layer and painting in the block colours for the plates, after this was done to all the right areas I then added the bevel effect in photoshop using the suggested values from the 3D game texture book such as using vivd light and over lay options. This creates the illusion of depth the effect and is clear bennefit that modelling everything.

After adding the correct black sections to the model it was time to tackle the rib cage. I tried various things here including the bevel effect but nothing looked quite right. After trying various things the best thing was to ultimately just paint two black lines on the rib cage in the right place and the effect was surprising suitable.

So far the majority of the texture paitning has been easy due to the way I've unwrapped the UV map and I feel that this is already a promising standard for the rest of the models.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Final Major Project: UV Mapping

Over the last feew days I've been working on unwrapping the UV maps so that I can texture all of the 3D models.

I started with the props using a mixture of hand unwrapping and automatic, the result was that the process was relatively quick to complete as the only ones that required automatic mapping were the trees and (thankfully) the auto-map came out usable. During the process of mapping the props since it had been a whilse since I have done it I made a quick texture test and it worked (see below)! my mind had not given up on me (yet). With the props all UV mapped I moved onto Un wrapping the Characters.

Before working on the main body I though I would unwrap the weapons first, this was relatively easy and with my previous project in mind I'm making sure I can create the best UV map that I can. My only worry is that currently the weapons are seperate objects and have a map of their own so when everything is textured and I try to combine them will it make a problem? I'll have to find out when the time comes. Gutsy was a strange challenege as I used the plannar mapping method and my skills were still un familiar from the last time I did UV mapping so theres still a few re-teething problems but overall the process went smoothly and I even found out about a few problemswith the mesh along the way. Another concern I have is that several faces have become invisible on the mesh but perhaps they'll be fixed when the texture is layered over the top if not I'll have to look back into how I solved this problem last time.

Concerning time I found that there were a few faces that are not visible to the outside so I had a few faces on the UV map which I was unsure with what to do, I decided to add them into the map and paint them black and hopefully they'll be hidden or made much more visible. The skeleton was relatively easy to complete after Gutsy as it's a much simpler model in comparison.

Next comes the texturing!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Final Major Project: HUD Re-Do

After taking in notes from the intrim crit and my friend from a local game studio about the HUD I revisited the design.

Instead of completely redesigning it I changed the rounded off edge into a gradient, I also redid the hearts to make them more bolder and easier to see. I re coloured Gutsy's head to look better. Along with this subtle re-design I also added in the feature of Gutsy's face changing the lower the heart bars get to invoke a sense of danger in the player.

I definitely feel that this design is much better than the previous one and I can't wait to see it implemented into the game.

Final Major Project: Menu Screen Feed Back

Most recently I showed some of the work I had completed to a friend who works at a local game studio and received some good advice such as making the pause menu bolder around the edges and feedback on the title screen overall the feed back was positive and that for a first time effort it was looking good. Along with making the edges bolder on the menus he also suggested adding a gradient to the scrolls to give off a warmer glow.

It was good to get this advice from a qualified source ofcourse this advice all came from his own opinion but the added adjustments did make the overall image look better.

We also traded information on texturing such as the technique used in the kingdom hearts games, this I'll touch on when it comes to the texturing stage.

I feel that my friend gave me great advice that really did improve my work and reminds me of the importance of critiquing.

Final Major Project: Graphic User Inferface Development (Part 2)


To the right are the final designs for the instructional menu and the pause menu.

I created these on a canvas the same size of the screen so that I would know the best size to create the GUIs at. I chose the brown paper for the sake of contrasting against the colour pallet in mind for the game screen, these GUIs will appear on top of actual gameplay so making them simple and easy to read should make the game accessible.

The pause menu was a bit harder as I knew it would have to feature 'resume', 'restart' and 'quit' as there wouldn't be need for any other options. The scroll's design was completed with extra features such as the decal and the wax relief on the scroll just to fill up space and to generally add a bit more flavour to the look.

Along with these I also created "Ready" and "Go" title cues, a small arrow and a gloves hand for the cursor (seen above) which I feel work well too.

Overall I'm pleased with how the scrolls have turned out and trust that they will look good in the game as I feel they keep up with the aesthetic of Gutsy's Quest and translates the instructions in a clear manner.

Final Major Project: Graphic User Interface Development (Part 1)

When it came to developing the GUI the first thing we decided that it should appear on scrolls so obviously the first thing that needed to be done is to decide what the scroll should look like.

I drew up several variations and settled on using the one in the bottom left as I felt it would display information in a stylish way without being too invasive on the screen.

Again much like the other graphic parts of the game all I really thought about were the games I played and how they had their menus layed out. To put together the menus for Gutsy's Quest would just take basic design skills and understanding of game menus which I feel shouldn't be too hard.

With that settled Will and I decided what the scrolls should look like we decided on what should be featured on them. We settled on using the scrolls for the pause menu and instructional menus. Next comes putting together the actual GUI interface, considering the types of fonts to use, placement of the type and the wording of the instructions. This shouldn't be too hard and I think it'll be fun.

Final Major Project: Graphic User Interface Research

When it comes to researching Graphic User interface (things like the pause menu etc) many of it falls under that same kind of under standing as the HUD. merely from just looking and remembering how games use their graphics to convey information to the player.

Ultimately the best thing is to develop graphics that look good on the screen and keep in tone with the game's aesthetic. Making sure that type is easy to ready and understand is key as well not just from a design stand point but also as we're aiming at a large market so we have to make it as clear and understandable as possible.

So ideal our graphics for the game must be bold, clear and in keeping with the overall setting and art style.


Final Major Project: Title Screen Development

When it came to designing the title screen I developed several quick sketches in photoshop and chose the one I felt worked best and began developing it further. First I took the rough sketch and re-drew the composition in more detail, I then adjusted some of the details such as the position of the sword in Gutsy's sword.

After that I drew the inks for Gutsy using my preferred brush and the pen tool for the Sword. I followed the process of drawing the inks on the various components of the image using both the Brush and pen tools.

Once the inks were complete I moved onto doing the flat colours. It should be noted that each component is on it's on individual layer, organised into folders for ease of production. I moved onto the first layer of shading by using the multiple filter and various grey tones with a softer brush, I next added darker shading on yet another multiple filter and then a highlight layer.

With the image done I started to add the graphics such as the logo and the start button, finally adding the little touches such as giving the start logo a more unique look and adding more trees into the background.

Once I had finished the image I showed it to various customers and employees at my work asking "what kind of game does this look like" and all answered "you beat up skeletons". This means that the image depicts the exact game Will and I are making, the feed back I received also rated the quality of the art work as acceptable for a fun all ages game so overall I believe that the title screen was a success!

Final Major Project: Title Screen Research

Before moving onto the next stage Will and I had a talk about how the progress of the project was going and much like every Monday we realised we needed a GUI and a Title screen. This process is great as we keep on track on tasks that need to be done.

Between completing the models and the UV mapping we decided Will would research more code whilst I would create the GUI and title screen. Before moving onto creating the title screen, as with the HUD research, I looked to previous games (as well as my memory) to see the key features of a start screen.

When looking just at the surface the most common feature is that the start screen shows a key element of the game, most often either a character or environment. This is a good way of informing the player of the contents of that game but also setting the tone of the game with the artstyle. Games more light hearted in tone are generally more simpler and bolder where as games aimed at larger audiences tend to have smaller fonts and focus on artwork.

So with that for Gutsy's Quest the title screen should be bold, colourful and show the players the mood or concept of the game.

The title screen also embellishes the logo is some capacity and features at least a "press to start", sometimes the start screen will have other options such as options or where applicable like load or multiplayer.

After looking over a bit of research I now know what to do when it comes to designing my own title screen for Gutsy's Quest. I need to show the player the type of game they're going to play both with illustration and with tone and I also need to decide which options should appear on the screen. Already, I'm getting ideas for the title screen!

Final Major Project: Modelling (Part 3)

With Gutsy's Body completed I moved onto creating his weapons.

Before that I took one last moment to check the directions of the faces on the model, thankfully they all faced the right direction. I softened the polygons to give Gutsy a bit of a less harsher look and proceeded to creating his weapons.

The weapons were easy to build, using an image plane, I built them from basic cube prims using the extrusion method. With the sword and shield created all the parts of the Gutsy model are complete, I decided the best thing to do would be add the textures and them apply the items to the Gutsy model.

Overall the process to create the Gutsy model was relatively easy, past experiences have given me the skills to create the model quickly and efficiently (This one taking just over 24 hours total) and despite little difficulties such as sorting out the outward faces there were no problems, I feel that the appearance also realises the design quite faithfully and that the visual aesthetic should match what we're aiming for. With careful unwrapping of the UVs and careful texture mapping this could be the best model I've ever worked on.

With the model complete the next step would be to move onto the UV unwrapping and from there texuring.

Final Major Project: Modelling (Part 2)

Following mirroring of the geometry I started to work on Gutsy's head starting with the rim of his chain mail hood. I figured the best method to create the head would be to start from a new object and attach it to the body afterwards.

Creating the head was relatively simple forming the shapes to both match the turnarounds but also make it look better with improvised input. Key Parts which were difficult to make were the brow and the hair. One of the things I've learned over the years is the key skill of translating two dimensional imagery into three dimensional space, this proves tricky from time to time such as the hair but eventually by just approaching it slowly I felt I created something that works well and stays true to the design.

For the moustache I just used a flat plane and for the details on the face, they'll come through on the textures but I feel that even without the textures you can see the connection between the model and the design.

With the head completed I made the two objects one by combining them and them attaching them together at the vertices. Through out the project I had to make sure the anomaly of the faces all suddenly turning inwards didn't happen and luckily this time it only happened once.

With the head attached to the body, Gutsy is complete! But wait...where's his shield and sword?

Final Major Project: Modelling (Part 1)

Finally I'm onto the modelling phase. Taking the turnaround images I arranged them as so into the 3D plane and began to build Gutsy. I used the extrusion method as I felt that it would work best considering the graphical style I want to achieve with Gutsy's Quest. Chasing a cartoon like aesthetic should result in a low polycount but overall by keeping it simple this should result in a higher quality model.

Using the extrusion method I started with the waist and built Gutsy from there. Extruding to the body I then shaped it using the vertices to conform with both the turnaround images but also adjust it along the way to conform to my own mental image.

I then extruded the arms and legs to the wrists and ankles. I created the gloves by pulling them out from the arm geometry, the feet and hands were a slight challenge but through lateral thinking and just taking my time. Through the process I also added an extra detail such as folds onto the boots.

With the main build of the body completed I deleted half of the body to mirror it to have perfectly symmetrical geometry.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Final major Project: Princess Re-Design

Taking the advice from the intrim crit I revisited the Princess Fairly Design and tried to make it more "princess-like". Using the same method to design her first iteration I drew over the top of the final design until I had something that could work.

I looked back at my Princess moodboard and decided just to go full cliché with the design. The end result is what you see to the right. The colour scheme was kept the same but the pose and dress have been changed the results creates a much more modest and delicate looking princess and I must agree it's probably alot more easily identifiable to a wider audience. So the design has greatly been improved in terms of convention and it didn't really take long to adjust so it's a win-win situation. Perhaps Princess Fairly now looks much more like a visual representation of her namesake.

Final Major Project: Intrim Crit

This week was the Intrim Crit where in Will and I present our progress and how we're on the cusp of the production phase. Overall feed back was good and urged us to continue what we're doing (much to our relief). Several things were noted on such as the design of the princess and how she looks a bit too much like a 30s flapper girl and not enough like a princess and the shape of the HUD looking like a "grey caterpillar", needless to say I will revisit these during the modelling stage and adjust them based on the feedback we received.

Both Will and I feel that it went well and that we don't have to worry about time slipping away from us. We clearer understand our project fully as every question we were asked we could answer in confidence which is really reassuring in hindsight.

With of list of changes that are needed and the seal of approval to move on Will and I will do just that.

Final Major Project: Game Sencerio Design

It had been a while since Will and I had sat down and talked extensively about the direction we wanted to take Gutsy in and I believe it would be fair to say that in terms of the game design, we know what we want but details are hazy as it's the first time either of us had tackled something of this size.

We knew what the story was going to be about and the basic idea of what this game level should be but we had began to add other ideas to enhance the experience for the such as the inclusion of items and picks. So we did the only thing we could do, Spend a whole morning just setting in stone the elements of the core gameplay. By the end of it we came out with a list of features and how things should work that we could both agree on that we felt would work best for Gutsy.

Translated from my little notebook I keep on me when Will and I meet for talks about Gutsy's Quest, below are the parameters of the gameplay of Gutsy's Quest.

The Objective of the game: Players control Sir Gutsy, The bravest knight of the kingdom, they must defeat as many Skeletons as possible to get a high score. Items can be found in crates in barrels that will boost the players score. The game ends when Gutsy's Health reduces to zero. As time progresses enemies appear more frequently and more numerously on the screen.

Items, what they do and where they can be found:

Coins: Adds 10 points to the player's score, they're found in 70% of the Barrels and Boxes and dropped by 40% of dead enemies.

Ruby: Adds 50 points to the player's score, they're found in 30% of the Barrels and Boxes and dropped by 10% of dead enemies.

Crown: Adds 100 points to the player's score. There's only one found in a level and dropped randomly by a dead character.

Heart: Give a character one full heart of health, they're found in 30% of the Barrels and Boxes and dropped by 20% of dead enemies.

(Enemies are worth 30 points standard).

All items (bar the crown) can be found in breakable Barrels and Boxes that spawn randomly around the level with the max amount being five in the level at any time. When one is destroyed it will respawn in a new location 30 seconds later.

We felt that with this short piece of guidelines we've finally established all parts of the conceptual side of Gutsy's Quest and that we now have a full view of what this game should have in it. This has helped us fill in the gaps of our conceptual/design sections and what pieces of code we'll have to find.

These small meetings every Monday between Will and I can make huge changes and steps forward in the development of the project and we feel by putting aside a specific time to swap data and ideas it gives us a week to try impress each other with our work and by keeping notes we can keep track of the changes or new ideas we come up with. This process works incredibly well for the two of us as we're very much shared in the ideals of attitude towards work in terms of "get on and do it". With Gutsy's conceptual side finalised and many of the designs done it's time to move onto the production stage, next week there's an intrim crit so we will be preparing for that but I firmly believe we will finally be moving onto the modelling stage.