Game Art – Module 05 Retrospective/Blog

Chapter 1 – Something New…

New project, new story… it’s always good to finally be given the chance to start fresh, there is always more then one idea rattling around in my brain and all it takes is the right inspiration to spark a light and conjure up the idea from scratch to final development.

Intro

My idea and chosen theme for my Module 05 project stems from my love of the popular game title ‘Shadow of Colossus’ by SCE Japan Studio and Team Ico, a computer game generated for the Playstation Platform that evolves around ancient culture, a fantasy like story and bestial titans for antagonists.

Hence why it starts with an Art Bible and week 1 was spent developing an art bible for my ideas to go towards the final project, using my Pinterest account to bring together a foliage of inspiring references and concepts that could help me to make my idea more concrete following the lines of my chosen theme ‘Shadow Of Colossus’. 

Week 01

Research –  Spent the day making an art board on Pinterest in order to gather references for the theme of my project, looking up images with the key words (Temple, Ruins, Ancient, Fallen Titans, Giants, Ancient Symbols).

Historical Culture – Got a bit more into it with my Art Bible looking more specifically into elements that would help give my idea and art bible more of a direction and narrative.

This time around I started looking at different cultures relative to the Iron age of Britain or rather more specifically Celtic Culture in the iron age, as there is something about their life style and the way they have been portrayed that really intrigues me in terms of their image.

I started by gathering references relating to Celtic archaeology, anything relative to art and rituals in order to use as a foundation for the identity of my project. I thought this would be a great way to portray origin and culture in my final project.

Surreal – Decided that I wanted my project to have more of a supernatural theme going on within the context of the level, going back to the 8th century BC around the iron age belief in Gods, Angels, Demons and Religion was a subject that impacted celtic culture majorly in that era.

I like to think that having some incomprehensible elements in my game level would make for a more interesting and compelling feature, where you see aspects in game that can’t be explained by the documented history of what celtic culture was like. But rather you would be more intrigued to find out how something so unbelievable comes into play and connects with the narrative.

Also looked back at the popular game title ‘Shadow of Colossus‘ as a string reference for the theme and narrative for my project, more specifically in materials and textures as it would help greatly with looking for ways to develop my textures for materials in game.

Thumbnails – Worked on some concepts for my final project, starting out roughly with some highlighted areas that helped to give my project a sense of direction.

These concepts came in the form of thumbnails, where I simply use two or three grey tones in order to come up with some quick concepts/storyboards that would help to show depth and essential detail in my thumbnails, whilst still keeping it quick and easy.

Presentation –  Gave an introduction to my project and idea, going into fine detail about what would be involved and how the narrative would work.

Talked about all the key elements including the Celtic Culture, Giant Titans, Ancient Ruins and Old Gods. What interested me about the celtic culture was it’s practice in artistic patterns, it’s religious practices/beliefs and even in some cases the supernatural elements that evolved around gods and goddesses.

My enthusiasm in the project stemmed from my eagerness to be modelling/texturing a new project with an idea that came from my initiative to make something new and entertaining.

When it came to talking about the more technical aspects of my project, I was a bit unprepared as to how I would go about planning out my project when it came to designing it in 3d, textures and in game. I more or less had plan to approach my project technically on a daily basis, using what I’ve learned in the past and learning new techniques to help with the progression of my project.

My teachers advised me on having  more of a direct plan as to how I would approach my project on a weekly basis, making sure to consider how long each stage of the project would take me and approaching the task of my project carefully as there would be many cases where I would have to change my approach maybe due to some unforeseen stress in the project.

Week 02

Presentation – Re-presented my Art Bible to my teachers with a more fine tune idea of what the idea for my project was, also giving of a brief plan of how to approach my project and how it would be played.

Block out was still missing and the presentation was based only on ideas but no real attempt on the project in form of modelled examples of assets or a whole block out, this was important for my teachers to get a thorough idea of how this level would begin to look and what problems I would have to deal with when it cam to the development of this project.

My teachers advised me on having a block out done yesterday as a foundation for my level and emphasised on week 02 being about experimentation and testing my modelling skills to see how much time modelling out my level would take and going into finer development like exploration of the block out and the overall look of my idea.

Block Out – Finally onto the Block Out today, putting the pieces together to lay out the foundation for my level ideally.

Started of really basic, using cubes that I reshaped and translated to match the concept of my level. The idea was to make these cubes look identical to Welsh, Scottish architectural rocks and ruins in order to give of the look of old celtic architecture.

Attempting the block out helped to give me a more thorough idea of how the level would look overall, as a game to be played in the first person, this was essential to designing my level being able to look at it from a 360 degree view in game.

Finalising the level was a bit tricky as I started to get a bit anal about how certain areas of my level should look, especially when it came to the hero piece at the end of the level and the process of getting there from point A to B.

In game – Time to put my Block Out into Unreal Engine to use it as a playable game in first person, it was important to find out how the game looked in in terms of it’s size and distance in first person playability.

Seemed to have some major problems with the collisions of my block out when playing it in game, it was quite obvious that due to the way I positioned some of my blocks and the layout entirely forced the player to navigate off course from the paved layout of the game level.

Therefore using Unreal Engine’s complex collisions was the obvious step to take in order to make it so that my block out’s default collisions would go from simplex to complex collisions for a more smoother and more comprehensible navigation of my level.

All in all having my block out in game helped to give me more of a stronger understanding of what I wanted and didn’t want for my final game level, as well as getting feedback from my teachers as to what the essentials were and how to avoid anymore difficult decision making by testing the aspects of my level on a numerous basis.

Week 03

Reflecting – Spent the last couple of days working on my Blog and Retrospective for my Module 05, felt my written work was lacking that accuracy as well as in depth detail in terms of the progression with my game level.

Also making plans to finish of my Post Process document, detailing the early stages of my final project, plans made for my week to week plan to follow through with the aspects of designing my level.

Week 04

Lighting – Looking into the basics of re-learning lighting, going over the different aspects such as movability, Light source angles, setting up ambient occlusion via world settings and not projects settings also difference in area shadows as well as Point lights, Spot lights and Directional lights.

I was also intrigued in learning the different settings of day and night in a level as well as what effected the look of such a scene, reflection sphere, directional rotation, and environment intensity all seemed to be the key features that helped to give my level that overall look.

Re-learning all of this came quite new to me as lighting as never really an enthusiastic area for me, but for a final project I really want to try taking control of how the scene looks in terms of lighting and contrast as I want to control how my game will look overall in engine using this key features.

Week 05

Tessellation – Looking into the process of tessellating my mesh as I want to be able to have a workflow that uses tessellation for making materials.

I had a run in with this before using noise textures and the tessellation feature in UE4 to make animated VFX materials in engine, it was all about the world position offset at the time and making sure my mesh was tessellated to an extent in order to capture all the detail of my noise textures.

This time around I will be making materials that follows a process of using an original illustrated image texture and making use of the world displacement to make those materials 3d.