Saturday, 31 October 2015

Character - Game Detail Change

I have recently altered my game details slightly as there were some details that seemed too forced to cover all three of my card themes (Fantasy, Mutation and Light). I have changed the identity of the protagonists in my card game. They are now plant-like creatures that use photosynthesis/light to mutate and strengthen themselves. They are invaded by alien creatures and have to fight back using their light ability. In terms of the game mechanics, I still feel that the idea I have discussed in previous posts works very well and may only need some small tweaking to make it more flavorful for the plant creatures. Below is an influence map for my plant creatures, I intend to do more thumbnails to work out the look of these characters and I still feel like ink is the way to go, it effortlessly creates very natural looking forms. 

Narrative - Fish Character Development

After creating the bulk of ink thumbnails for our fish character, I took what I felt were the strongest silhouettes and altered them using the fin designs I had also created. After talking to the group, we all agreed that thumbnail 4 had a lot of potential. As such, after discussing what tweaks could be made to improve it, we have ended at something that can now serve as the core reference for our character concept and orthographic.

Set of Refined Thumbnails

Fish Thumbnail with Alterations

Final Tweaks

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Narrative - A few more refined thumbnails

After talking to the group about my previous thumbnails, I created this smaller set. I started with simple brush strokes and shapes and expanded on them to make coherent fish designs. I feel like this is a step in the right direction and I think that my next step will be to take my existing thumbnails and combine them in Photoshop to create interesting designs.

Character Session 4

In this session we were first given a character and asked to design environments to fit with the character. I was given Mario and at first I struggled to come up with specific ideas, nothing interesting came to mind. I talked with Justin about some specific aspects I could use to influence the environment, he suggested using pipes as the main inspiration for the environment. The environment on page 3 is what I designed after talking with Justin, I am very happy with this piece compared to my previous efforts.
After that we were given specific spaces and were asked to think about the feel of the space and how it would fit into a game storyline. I was given 'Abandoned Laboratory'. My ideas were that this laboratory was a turning point in the story where truth of sorts would be found. This would either happen at the end of the story and reveal the ending, or it would be in the first half of the game and the truth it reveals would change the perception of the game world and propel the narrative forward afterwards. I found this character session very interesting, especially as I found designing the environments very difficult at first.
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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Narrative - Fish character Thumbnails

I have created a series of thumbnails to try to find the definitive design for our fish character. I have used ink as I felt I could use some of its properties to my advantage. I used some of the ink thumbnails to create some interesting fin designs for our fish as well.
Thumbnails 1-10

Thumbnails 11-21

Thumbnails 22-33 (Fin Designs)

Thumbnails 34-50 (Fin Designs)

Thumbnails 51-61

Thumbnails 62-69

Thumbnails 70-86 (Rough Ink Shapes)

Thumbnails 87-98

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Film Review (Opposing Characters) - Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014)

Fig 1. Guardians of the Galaxy Poster.

The two opposing characters in this film are the protagonist, Peter Quill (also known as Starlord) and the villain, Ronan the Accuser.

The beginning of the film neatly sums up the backstory of Peter Quill. It begins with him witnessing his mother's death in a hospital bed due to a long illness she had. Shortly after this, in his distress, he runs out of the hospital and collapses on the grass outside. A huge spaceship appears above him instantly and beams him up. The film then jumps ahead 26 years to present-day Quill where the main narrative begins to take shape.

Fig 2. Peter Quill (Starlord).

Ronan is introduced not long after, he is revealed as a fanatic of an alien race known as the 'Kree'. He has a twisted sense of morality and as such he is shown to be exceedingly dangerous. Not much is revealed of his backstory apart from stories of his previous exploits, mass killings and murders across the galaxy.

These two characters oppose each other in various ways. At a base level Quill is shown to want to protect whoever he can along the way of his own adventures. Ronan however, wishes nothing more than the complete and total annihilation of a race known as the 'Xandarians'. Peter Quill wants to protect and Ronan the Accuser wants to destroy. In this way their opposing traits are completely clear. Quill is however a more complex character in many ways whereas Ronan's character seems to be limited by his overbearing character values of hatred and fury towards his enemies. The simplicity of the villain in this film makes sense though, as you are of course never meant to feel any sympathy for him.

Fig 3. Ronan the Accuser.

Their differences do span further than what is on the surface. Throughout the film, Quill is shown to be the voice of reason whenever their is a dispute among his allies. He is in many ways, a guide for the others. Ronan is yet again, the complete opposite of this, driving everyone away for his own selfish desires. In some ways these characters are difficult to unpack thoroughly but they do without a doubt mirror each other in almost every way.

Illustration List

Gunn, J (2014) Figure 1. Guardians of the Galaxy Poster. (Accessed on 19/10/15)

Gunn, J (2014) Figure 2. Peter Quill (Starlord). (Accessed on 22/10/15)

Gunn, J (2014) Figure 3. Ronan the Accuser. (Accessed on 22/10/15)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Character Session 3

In this session we were put into groups of three and given a piece of paper detailing the premise for a game. We then had to design characters for this game and discuss how this game might function. I found this session really informative and useful. 
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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Maya - Posing a Rig

In our last maya class with Alan we were asked to find five action images on the internet and pose a rig to match the images. This exercise was supposed to get us used to posing properly for future animation work.

 Reference Images
 Yoga Pose
 Falling Pose
 Rugby Pose
 Parkour Pose
Tennis Pose

Character Project - Ink Silhouettes

As I am sure about my card game idea, I have begun to create silhouettes and line work using ink in order to generate ideas for my bizarre little alien critters. This batch of thumbnails are very rough. So far I am not drawn to many of these but I intend to do more. I want my creatures to be very simple and bold, as that is what would work best on a card. I think that using ink to create these designs was definitely the way to go.

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Narrative - Small Sketches

Below are some more sketches to start to think about our environment and how the fish will change over the course of the animation.
 Sketch of the 'underwater ravine' environment.

Sketches of the fish getting covered in its environment.

Character Session 2

In our second character session we were given a game character and we had to alter their look according to one of our keywords for our project. I was given Atlas and Pea-Body from Portal 2. I used my word 'light' at first. Then I used my word 'mutation', this seemed to give me better results and I had a much clearer idea of what to draw for this.

After that exercise we were given a character type and we had to draw silhouettes for them that could be instantly recognized. I got 'knight' as my character type and below is what I drew for the exercise.

Maya Tutorial - Lip Sync Parts 1 to 4 Complete

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Narrative - Fish Body Thumbnails

As our current story will be quite metaphorical overall, we have decided to create fish characters that would be read as a general fish, not as a specific kind of fish. Below I have created some thumbnails of early ideas for the overall shape of our fish. Many of these are quite rough and are just there for ideas for further concepts.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Refined Character Project Idea

After speaking with Justin last Tuesday he helped me integrate my 'light' card into what I felt was my strongest idea for a game. Below are the original notes I made for that game and below that are the comments Justin made to help improve it.

-(card game) choose from a selection of bizarre animals, you use cards to evolve and mutate them and you face off against your opponents. Based on natural selection, aka the strongest survives.
perhaps either going against opponents or a series of trials.
you could pick up a trials card or a 'mutate' or 'evolve' card.
(doesn't include light)
you could pick up bad mutate cards (comedic)
not all trials cards are bad.

(notes after talking with Justin about my ideas, mostly about my card game idea)
- colours of light causing mutations, different colour cards for different types of mutation aka strength, agility, cunning.
- think about the world, create the world for the game.

New Game World Ideas

1- Once peaceful creatures, then the light came and they found that the light mutated them. They began to compete and fight. They now use the light to mutate themselves to become stronger.

2- Instead of fighting each other, with the light came monstrous creatures which they had to defeat. They use the light to mutate or even out-mutate the alien creatures to defeat them.

3- The creatures have to fight alien creatures made of light or glowing with light. They threaten their home and as such have to fight back.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Film Review (Plot Structure) - Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright, 2010)

Fig 1. Scott Pilgrim Poster.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is an adaptation of the comic series 'Scott Pilgrim' by Bryan Lee O'Malley. In terms of the plot structuring for this film, it appears to follow the classic 3 act structure, with some small differences. These become apparent once the film is broken down into its core stages.

Act 1 consists mostly of an introduction to Scott Pilgrim, his roommate, his sister, his other band members and his current girlfriend. Once the audience is acquainted with all of these characters, Ramona Flowers enters the picture and Scott is immediately infatuated with her. He spends a great deal of time finding out all the information he can about her. After he finds out that she works for an online delivery service, he orders a package from them hoping she will deliver it.

The beginning of act 2 is when he gets Ramona to go on a date with him. This is what sets the rest of the story in motion. Shortly after they start going out, Scott receives an email from his first opponent. He ignores it and deletes the email. Later, at a gig his band is playing, it is disrupted by the very person he received the email from. He introduces himself as Matthew Patel and states that he is Ramona's 'first evil ex'. There is a long battle sequence and Scott is eventually declared the victor. The entirety of act 2 is made up of Scott fighting increasingly stronger 'evil ex's' and finding out more information about Ramona's backstory and the 'league of evil ex's', which is revealed to have been organised by a man called Gideon. His battles with Ramona's previous partners begin to wear on Scott and Ramona's relationship.

Fig 2. Ramona's 1st Evil Ex.

Scott fights 6 'evil ex's' overall and at the conclusion of the 6th he meets with Gideon for the first time. Gideon takes Ramona from Scott. This is the conclusion of act 2 and the start of act 3. Act 3 is solely the preparation for the final battle and the battle itself. After losing Ramona to Gideon, Scott feels compelled to win her back and take down Gideon, he rushes to where he knows Gideon and Ramona will be and confronts him. There is a short battle and Scott declares that he is fighting Gideon to win Ramona back. Shortly afterwards, he loses to Gideon and is killed. The idea is that he lost because he was fighting Gideon for the wrong reasons and as such his resolve faltered.

Fig 3. Gideon, The Final Evil Ex.

In the next scene the hero, Scott, is in a barren desert. This is clearly there to further represent that he did die in the previous scene. He then feels that he has learnt from his mistakes, picks up an extra life that he earned previously in the film and starts again at the beginning of act 3. This time armed with a better understanding of the situation and what he must do, he defeats Gideon and he wins back his love interest, Ramona. With a final scene that ties up loose ends and questions the audience would have, the film concludes neatly.

Scott's resurrection is a literal representation of a key part in the hero's journey This film has used many unique video game tropes to help serve as 'the hero's journey' stages. All of the story after the resurrection could technically be an act 4 on its own as it is a replay of act 3 with better decisions by the hero. These ultimately result in a better ending for the hero.

Illustration List

Wright, E (2010) Figure 1. Scott Pilgrim Poster. (Accessed on 10/10/15)

Wright, E (2010) Figure 2. Ramona's 1st Evil Ex. (Accessed on 11/10/15)

Wright, E (2010) Figure 3. Gideon, The Final Evil Ex. (Accessed on 11/10/15)

Friday, 9 October 2015

Film Review (Archetypes) - I, Robot (Alex Proyas, 2004)

Fig 1. I, Robot Poster.

I, Robot is set in the near future of 2035 in the American city of Chicago. Del Spooner is a detective for the Chicago police department. He is shown to mistrust robots which is later explained to be because of their cold mathematical thinking process. This hostility began when he was in a car accident along with a young girl, a robot saved Spooner instead of the girl because he had a higher chance of survival. The film follows along a path where detective Spooner's mistrust eventually ends up saving the city from a hostile robot takeover.

The Hero:
Detective Del Spooner is without a doubt the hero of this film. He is at the very centre of the story, a story which revolves around Spooner's hatred towards robot-kind.

The Shadow:
V.I.K.I, the A.I. that controls all of the new NS5 robots turns out to be the shadow at the end of the story. However for most of the story the audience is lead to believe that Lawrence Robertson, the CEO and head of US Robotics, is the shadow. Due to his position of power it is easy to point blame at him and detective Spooner does so with ease. Near the conclusion of the film V.I.K.I is shown to have evolved beyond her programmed duties and turns the newly developed robots against humanity. She believes that she is saving humanity from its own destructive tenancies by removing humanity's free will. She is stopped by Spooner when he injects 'nanites' (a serum designed to destroy the brain functions of robots) into her core at the heart of the US Robotics building.

The Mentor:
The mentor in this film is quite easy to spot. It is Dr Alfred Lanning, the audience is introduced to him after his death at the beginning of the film. A holographic recording of him and old videos guide Spooner towards the answers that Dr Lanning left for him to find.

Fig 2. Dr Lanning Hologram.

The Threshold guardian:
Sonny, the robot created by Dr Lanning seems to be the threshold guardian in this film. It is revealed soon after his appearance that he is different from other robots. He has the same rules and laws inside him that govern the other robots, but he was built to be able to choose whether to follow them or ignore them. Early in the film Detective Spooner interviews this unique machine and this is the threshold. During the interview, Spooner starts to understand that something is wrong, he starts to realise that Dr Lanning is trying to tell him something and that this robot may be the key to solving it.

The Herald:
This would seems to be Dr Lanning. His voice appears occasionally at key moments in the film, narrating the scenes with lines that sound like they are out of a textbook on robotics. His physical appearances in his hologram and in the videos that Detective Spooner watches also seem to narrate the scenes, at least partially.

The shapeshifter appears to be Sonny in this film, at the beginning he is perceived as an enemy. He is immediately suspected by Detective Spooner as the core reason for Dr Lanning's death. Later in the film he begins to earn Spooner's trust and they become allies to stop the robot takeover. In a smaller way however, Lawrence Robertson is the shapeshifter. He is seen to be the villain for the majority of the film, the hero only realizes who the real villain is after they find Robertson dead in his office.

Fig 3. Sonny the Robot.

The trickster in this film is Farber, Detective Spooner's young friend who comes in and out of the storyline throughout. His appearances are always in between key moments, this makes it seem as though he is there only for moving the story forwards. He appears multiple times when the hero is journeying to a certain goal. Farber also provides most of the comedy relief in this film, this mostly comes from trying to impress Spooner and becoming a nuisance or distraction to him.

There are three core allies in this film, Dr Lanning's hologram is the first to appear to Spooner, followed closely by Dr Calvin and then shortly afterwards Sonny jumps into the storyline as a perceived villain. Eventually, after trust is gained between Detective Spooner and Sonny, Sonny becomes an ally.

Illustration List

Proyas, A (2004) Figure 1. I, Robot Poster.,-Robot_7115_1.jpg (Accessed on 07/10/15)

Proyas, A (2004) Figure 2. Dr Lanning Hologram. (Accessed on 09/10/15)

Proyas, A (2004) Figure 3. Sonny the Robot. (Accessed on 09/10/15)