The new year.

So it has been a while since I last posted on blogger, it's so annoying because I told myself I would blog more often as I love blogging, it's great!

So three weeks have past of the new term and I feel like I have done barely any work at all! There have been disruptions due to bad weather and the fact I have to drive in and my car seems to slide into my driveway hedge, but all is ok on that front. I'm feeling the flow of life drawing. I just love it! being free with the lines and markings I make on the paper and the fact that my teacher loves my pen work :) (I should do alot more of this). I scanned one of my pictures in just to mess about with it in photoshop;


Photoshop without lines

Original sketch (30 second time limit)
Without any photo reference I have had to guess the colours, but I did use some of Lucian Freud's work to get some of the right colours for skin. I wanted to expand and make it more abstract? I am missing the fine art element that I used to do and trying to bring it back. 

Over the weekend I went to the local gallery and found some inspiration. Two artists caught my eye; Jennifer Collier and Zoe Hillyard. Two very different styled artists but are both sculptures. 

Their websites;

When I first saw Zoe's work I didn't quite realise how amazing it is. Without making it sound boring she finds old pots and smashes them up and then stitches print fabrics into each broken piece and then re-assembles the pot. This makes it look completely different and into her own work. 
I don't quite know if she actually makes the pots herself and screen-prints the silk herself too, if she does then there is so much time and passion in each peice of artwork she makes. They really are quite interesting to look at. 

Jennifer Collier makes everything out of paper. From shoes to full sized sewing machines. I found this artist not as interesting but I like the way she uses certain styles and bits of paper in all her works. 

I find the objects more fascinating than the garments due to how unique each one is. It must be so fiddly to cut out each piece perfectly and then re-assemble it all to make the final outcome. 

Note to self; experience more galleries, there is so much inspiration out there.

Game Engines (task 18)

So over the past couple of weeks I have had my brother peering over my shoulder whilst I am trying to attempt to do some sort of 3D work. I start to open and use UDK and as soon as it is opened he blurts out why am I not using Cryengine 3? And there he goes, rambling on about how it is so much better to use and easier. He is 14 and he knows about all this stuff and there is me, the uni student, feeling like crap.

Those two examples above are just two of the many types of game engines out there. Game engines are the foundations that allow you to run the game. 3Ds Max is a 3d package that you can use to create the 'stuff' to put within the engine. The engine gives you the ability to move around your assets that you have imported from 3ds max or other 3d packages.

But you can't just import objects and think everything is going to work, as I found myself with quite a slap in the face. You have to add collision messes; these are invisible geometric shapes that are set around the assets to stop you from walking through them. Have you ever played a game where you have gotten stuck between two objects but you can see a gap that you could actually go through. Well that's the collision mesh. (annoying buggers, but they do have a very good purpose).

After fighting with, sorry, learning about and coming to understand the basics of Unreal Development Kit, I started to look at what games actually use this engine. I didn't realise how popular it was: Bioshock being one example.

Such a beautifully made game. I like the stylelisation and the colour palette through out.

My other brother got an xbox kinect from Santa... After trying it out for the first time, I am very impressed with the outcome of it and the games available for it. It is very clever how it recognises you the player and how you interect with any of the games (Fruit Ninja has given hours of fun, especially for a game that started off as an app for the iphone).

The game that you get with the Kinect, Kinect Adventures was also made using UDK. I found that quite impressive for the type of game that it is, simply because of the amount of player movement required in the game.

Level design (task 16)

Level design could be seen as an off-set to environment art. It's the creation of the level; when the designer pushes the player towards the level's goal. Obviously every game gives the player a goal to achieve.

Firstly a designer might start off with mapping out the area you explore in (the level). What the terrain is like, where the river goes and if that hill is in the way or not. That sort of thing. To help kick start this, some may find it easier to create a simple geometric blocked layout to see how everything might look. This section would come under environment design.

In my opinion, the main body of game design is the goal; the purpose of why you are playing the game, that thing you're trying to get to. Most games have a story line and set achievements throughout. This gives the player some sense of accomplishment, and keeps them interested throughout their progression. Not all games have a set storyline, though. As games have developed, optional story lines have become more and more common. Back when I got my first PlayStation, I couldn't take Crash Bandicoot out of the jungle run and play on mini games. Now, on games such as World of Warcraft, Skyrim and the GTA series, players are allowed a free reign and can take their characters in what ever direction they like. A Warrior on Wow could be a herbalist, alchemist and first aider for example.
The set of the goal fits in with the story, it should be unique, original and interesting. It has to drive the player to want to play the game and to continue, otherwise you have an unsuccessful game that just won't sell. (it's all about the money...)
The goal has been set but it should be made specifically to pace the player through various activities in which the player is pushed and progressed towards the goal. (initially this is the game)

Below, are games to give a basic idea of what the heck I'm talking about. For example; Gex the Geko for Playstation 1 was a fairly simple game. The sort of, kill the badies get the remote controls to unlock new television levels, then kill the big baddy that stole your hot model girlfriend. So you complete all the mini activities which are the levels to get to the end of the goal which is to rescue your girlfriend. Simple.

But in these new open world exploring games such as; world of warcraft, diable 3 and skyrim. It is all the same for them. There is still a set start and finishing point towards the goal. Except it is different in the fact that you aren't pushed to do everything in a certain way. You can ignore the main quests and run around doing your own crazy thing but in the end you will have the option to complete the goal/endgame. (yes i'm finding it really hard to explain what I mean)