Monday, 26 March 2012

Task 22, Crativity and Garbage

The length of this task will be more about my own thoughts upon Creativity, skill and all that other toss were cramed into beliving exsists. Does it? If it does, how do you get it? Were you born with it?

Well the other day I was watching a tutorial lesson by a conceptual artist and teacher, in their presentations he mentioned how two kids learned. Basicaly two kids were both taught perspecitve and everything, all the worldly basics in order to understand drawing, art and the use of their learned skills.
Now Kid A had been one of those kids who read lots of books, went to measusems, looked at alot of cool shit, traveled a bit, althoughout his lifem he experianced alot of visual stimulai.
And Kids B he did everything kid A did, but for less time, so he spent maybe age 11 to 19, playing games, maybe went on to try to become a football player or something.
So these two kids are told to draw a castle, they both know how, perspective and all that shit.
Kid A draws this crazy castle with a mound and all this stuff looks cool, where as kid B draws this sort storybook castle.
Whats the difference? Kid B only knows the kind of castle he was told about from before he was 10, so he doesnt know what other castles look like and cant be more creative beyond that point.
Kid A, has clearly gone and seen a few, researched a bit and knows his stuff.

So when it comes to creativity, is someone born with it? No. Its basic knowledge, creativity is knowledge. Do you know what a pig looks like, ofcourse, but youll find all sorts of pigs out there, with different skin colours, sizes, tusks, hair or lack there of. If you only know of a Pink pig from the picture book when you was 6, youll always draw a pink pig. If you know that they're related to boars and they can be tiny and grow to be the size of a miniature horse, youre going to get cooler designs.

What have I learned? You can learn all the technical ability in the world! You can render youre shit to the point where it looks like a photo! But it doesnt matter one ounce if it just looks like everything else youve ever seen.
To create interesting ideas, you have to know more. There is no such thing as creativity. Its simply splicing your ideas together.

I was always into drawing. Howver I didnt read many books, watch many movies, in fact I didnt do much of anything. I was quite the recluse. Which makes me like Kid B. But it'd sit and imagine alot, no anything in particular, i'd go on mental rages thing about elongating limbs and objects, just playing around with things in my head. But of recent I know how importand studying other things is. How can I know something if its not in my mental library.
To awnser the questions of the blog task, as is routine.
I show people my creativity by drawing or saying it, i expect them to see it or hear it and imagine it in their heads as I imagined it.
Im neither skilful or talented, as its down to knowledge of subject of which I will never know enough.
What skills do I need to develop? The skill to persuade others that I have the ideas and i guess being able to render a turd helps.
I end with an egg.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Task 21 Specialise

Once upon a time, about 20 years ago, games would be made by roughly 4-6 people. They were in charge of the whole operation, from illustrations to sound and effects.
This however is something of the past as games have become multi-million dollar investments, who would have foreseen such an event?
With big budgets, one can get someone to work on one individual piece of the puzzle which is game construction. So this is how a company grows, larger budget, more contributors, more specialisation.

Its easy to look at myself when I think of specialisation. I came onto the course thinking I will become a digital illustrator, 2D artist and home my skills. This is still my motivation and driving force, despite constant weight.
However of course erasing my ignorance of the rest of the development process; I have been constantly swayed towards the 3D side of things.
If one focuses primarily on one subject, they are bound to become good at it, say if I studied like I used to, free from distraction I could draw all day every day of the week, and improve leaps. Which I would like. However If one trys to become a jackel of all trades, they will never meet the specialist. Having more arrows may be a good thing, but doesnt matter much if you cant hit the bullseye, if you follow me? There are always the temptations to distract you from your goal.

Now lets see what would happen if I went full out 2D artist.
If I became a illustrator, my job would be closer to the end of the project, in fact I wouldnt have much control over subject, I'd create the promotional work for the game, be it cover, poster, or other illustrated bits.
A conceptual artist would be needed primarily a the beginning of the project (at the creation phase), and through out the rest of the project. The primary goal to visualise the world, assets, style and any visual element of the game.

A 3D artist has alot more specialist areas. Not to say there aren't alot of areas in the 2D field, when it comes to ISO games, they have all the rolls of the 3d artist, when creating a full 2d game, as many ISO and hand-held games are.
From what I've come to learn is that there are many rolls for the 3D artist.
Enviroment artist, Character modeling, Prop artist, Weapon artist Special Effects and so on. All have different jobs, yet have the possibility to work on each other feild.
A enviroment artist could easily create the assets a Prop artist could make. Same for a character artist being able to create weapons, props or creatures.
As Ive learned from talking to character artists is they will often be used for other things after they have completed all the character art needed for the game. Like, after they have finished their characters, they were set a task to create animals. Makes sence in an employment state of mind, why hire a new person when you have a fully functional artist at your disposal? Artists are usual on contract for a set period of time, and having them do nothing after their job is done is a waste of money on their part.
So for the chracter artist, their job wouldnt end at charcter art, as chracters fill maybe 10% of the game if im being generous. If they were not given other tasks, they would be wasting time and money, only needed for the smallest amount of time in a company.
Unlike a enviroment artist, who would be needed for far longer, as they are needed to create the whole playable world, assets and whatever else needed in game.

When it comes to specialising, I have no idea anymore. Maybe I am a generalist at the moment, im stronger in the 2D department thats for sure. Its hard to say.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Task 20

In short this task should be based more around use of physical interaction with the non-physical game. With games now choosing to use less of a control pad or in some cases no control pad at all, its hard to see where the future of games are going to.
But I will also talk about user interfaces here and there along the way, keep your panties on.

Lets start at the beginning. The joystick allowed 8 drirections of movment, with 1 to 3 comand buttons, the simple logic of this was often explained on the conroler and had a direct and rather obvious reaction in the game. A similar trend continued through out the 80s and early 90. This was until the analog joystick appeared on the nintendo’s N64. This appeared due to the use of 3d technology in games, now with consoles becoming more powerful it enabled the controller to move through 3 dimentional space, instead of the predeceasing 2D space. However this was more obviouse with the Sony PlayStation analog controller , the Sony playstation took full advantage of its analog controller, as you could use the left analog to move that character, and the right to rotate the camera. This has been a primary function of modern controlers. The 2d style of controlers effected the user interface of games
Yeah thats about all the user interface you needed in the 80s-90s, Lives, Score, Time. And thats it, oh the occasional start screen will help aswell.

Baldaurs gate had quite an advanced user interface, something that reminds me much more of a MMORPG, something which I loved like crack as a child, and hell still do, hooked for life on that stuff. But it had everything you needed with symbols that fitted the theme, sometimes they will change a bit and youll have to do some investigation into what soething is, but eventualy this sort of set up becomes almost easy to navigate. Always knowing where the map, equiptment and whatever else you need is, just nicely tucked away. Some would say its quite messy, but thats just our modern, everything must have one button because were too stupid to understand more than one god damned button, thanks apple, you cock.

However in the past 5 or so years, time has a way of slipping by un-notice, motion sensors has became the fad amongst game developers. Nintendo and Sony use similar motion capture technology, not to mention dule-stick like controlers, which bare close resemblance to each other. The xbox connect had decided to go one step further and remove the controller all together, and instead using the motion capture to almost have the player in the game, being more physical. And motion capture and user interfaces will probably bring us closer to that, matrix style computers, moving each window out of the way with your hands, crazy to think about, but if there is the will, there is the way.
Well a cool matrix style interface is what they want, but what they will get is something more like this photo, just a lazy woman flailing her arm tryingto change from screen to screen likea moron.
And if you notice, this new age of 3d and glimmer glammer has risen to new crazy, sleek user interfaces?
Oh why arn't you posh skyrim. They've pretty mich simplified it down as far as it could go, they didnt even bother with any fitting decorations. Its like getting into a horse and cart, with air conditioning and a tv/radio and sat-nav. Crazy, no?

Remember Nintendo’s Virtual boy? The first real taste of 3D, even thought it was terrible and failed as a product. A decade later, Nintendo has came back into 3d with the Nintendo 3DS, a hand held 3D console that requires no additional equipment, only a slider is needed to cause the 3D effect. Its pretty interesting to think about, the change between the 2d into the relms of 3D. Yeah, Im dont know anymore. -The history of controllers - Flight simulators from early to nw

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Task 19 Sounds in games

After having a little tinker in UDK, adding sounds to the groups level a few things appeared to me that as a gamer I had often over looked, just a tad. Games are not just a visual experience but also reach out for the other senses also, which studios have been trying to enhance ever more for a good while now, but sound is one that can add just about any mood they are after.

For example, in Team Tambra's group project, I added a sharp piano key at the time an eyeball fell from the ceiling. Ofcourse, eyes dont make piano noises when falling, but the jolt of sound, combined with the visual experiance, and build up from the rest of the level, really adds to the mood we were trying to convey. Not to mention I was trying to work towards a Resident Evil theme, which the use of piano is used through out their games.

When the budget is right, game studios can really go the mile when it comes to sound. Such as the Biowear's Jade Empire, who had a audio team of 6 workers, who recorded traditional chinese instruments to get a ancient chinese feel to their game. When you think about it, going that extra mile works wonders when it comes to game play. If you're playing a ancient chinese game, which has dominant western music, it wont fit the area youre trying to promote.
You could say, what about Omega Force's Dynasty Warriors?

A game set in ancient china, during times of war, surely this game should have a dominantly chinese sound track. Which, it doesnt, that time period didnt have electric guitars, unless im mistaken. So why does it work with this game? Well, there is still a chinese feel, with the occasional chinese instrument spliced in here and there, but the main thing to note the genre of game. Dynasty Warriors is a action beat em' up, which is relitivly fast pased and semi-real time stratagy. Traditional chinese music isnt as up tempo as western music, that upbeat tempo really helps the game move along, appear fast and like a battle is around the courner, if it was traditional chinese, the game would appear alot slower. Dynasty Warriors has a certain theme, now in its 7th series, its had a rock/chinese theme running throughout every one of their games, if the game were to change its sound track now, it wouldnt fit within the feel of the game.

I probably wouldnt enjoy Time Splitters 2's Anaconda, if it were not for its music.
In fact, I'd pay to listen to it.
Which brings me onto my next subject of game sound tracks. The quality of music in games has soared to the point where company's can literally sell their music alone. Now the average fan can enjoy their games, when theyre not even playing, which builds stronger relationships with the game. So not only can a company make dollar from the game they produce, they can also make extra pennies from the sound tracks they create, which ofcourse are cheeper to produce on mass scale.
Just taking a look at Square Einx's sale records, its obvious their fan base is pretty damned loyal. Their music is very iconic of their games, so its obvious why sales are high. Large fan base, iconic music, theres not much else to it.

Sound in games are not only good for the ambiance, genere, immersion and gameplay of a game, but also for the companys wallet.

Medal of Honour audio team
Lord of the rings audio

Interview with Yoko Shimomura
Square Einx's album sale figures