Thursday, 8 December 2011

Game Engine

A game engine is a visual development tool which is used in developing video games ins “data driven manner.” These days games engine are typically developed by game developers to meet specific requirements that they would need in their project. 
  The game engine plays a vital role in bringing together the technology and Art; engines are becoming more and more user friendly so artists can take advantage to produce compelling content for games and at the same time the programmers are constantly enhancing the technology. One of the best examples is Dead Space. This gripping Sci-fi horror developed by EA was made specifically to compute a range of dynamic lights simultaneously so they introduced a deferred lighting system which changed the feel of the game in how areas are lit.

One of the most recently popular engines was the Cry engine which was made to develop their trophy game Crysis ( back in 2007)and this engine was to be able to run a game that will test the newest hardware from nvidia and set a new bench mark and real time graphics.

Game engines are constantly pushing the barrier in delivering real time content. This is solely because these engines are usually developed in-house and so they can tailor each engine to their specific needs so for example if a studio only does racing games then their focus would be different from a developer that develops a role playing game so they don’t have to incorporate technology they would not use and this will save a lot of time and also cost effective. It is cost effective mainly because I guess they own that technology where as if they had used an engine like unreal or Cry engine they would most definitely have to pay for the license. The downside is that this would mean that the developer will have to make their entire engine from scratch and would typically require large development cost so although it seems like a good idea to make your engine it isn’t very practical especially for a small developer or an indie game developer so they are better off using established engines such as the unreal engine. An established engine will usually have a good support team and tutorials to achieve the desired effects. Of course if you were developing the next anticipated Triple A title the chances are you would want to create your own engine

Sound in Games

Sound in Games was always part of the gaming experience as I still remember the 8 bit tune from Contra. Music in video games evolved in almost the same rate as the complexity of these games. Sounds in games from 90s often had a very distinctive beat and this was mostly due to the limitation of the 8 bit, however this meant composers really had to be specific with the notes as the tunes had to be simple yet memorable so it is no surprise that we can still remember the Supermario or the Zelda tune.
The Sound design plays and important role is setting the mood and convincing specific emoting through music, however sound design doesn’t have to be just about the background scores; its all the little things that makes the experience worthwhile such the subtle footsteps when walking or the rustling of the leaves in the wind, or the complete silence which makes your sit with discomfort or the satisfying sounds of firearms which makes each kill worthwhile.
The modern day sound design is much more complex and it is once again no surprise as it was only a matter of time that games caught up to their neighbours in the entertainment business; films.  Much like films games are becoming more and more immersive and consequently the production values are getting higher and higher which means one guy making up stories inside his bedroom in his free time doesn’t quite cut it! So everything is becoming more specialised so when it comes to sound design the game industry needs some hard labour from Hollywood and big budget composers such as Hans Zimmer for their Triple AAA titles.    

Level Design

Level Design in video games has a direct effect on the player experience and gameplay as it determines the path the player takes. The level design of a video game is without no doubt a challenging aspect as keeping each area original is a hard task especially if that is a corridor based action game. These type games eg Uncharted give a very linear experience to the player especially from a game play stand point as the player never deviates off the set course and it almost feel like a controlled experience as everything is triggered when it needs to be and the player has to do very little in terms of “finding your way around.” However this linear experience is slightly broken up with puzzles which you must complete to make further progression or cinematic set pieces for dynamic entertainment. Games such as these are highly polished as they often have a set narrative so the art team puts a tremendous focus on the quality of these levels by having interesting designs to try and capture this experience; despite the fact that you are inevitably running through corridor like level.
There are also other games such as Skyrim, Red dead Redemption and games such as these offers a sandbox level design. This essentially means that the player can roam anywhere and there isn’t a strict path to your destination. These games are becoming more and more popular due to the free roaming/ exploration aspect which often offers a more immersive gameplay and more importantly the quality of these games are improving, as they are visually getting as good as corridor based action games. These sandbox games typically offer a very open world with numerous interest points and various challenging areas to keep the experience spontaneous and most of all an extensive quest list which allows/forces the player to explore numerous areas of the game.
The level design in general consists of a concept art which starts from an idea to get the overall feel and mood of the area. It is also important to get ideas and mood board s and possibly even set rules which you might want to break or set specific visual targets, although this usually comes slightly later in the pipeline. Once the concept art is done there’s are usually tighter more refined sketches and rendering to better illustrate the idea and these often follow a specific art direction.  While this is happening or start after it there is usually a block out of the environment being done to give a sense of scale or perhaps work could get started on gameplay. These blockouts could also be used for paint overs to get a sense of the playable space so the art team could revisit areas which could be further developed and integrated. I guess level design is a balancing act and the level is usually managed by working in passes to ensure all areas of the environment are worked on evenly.

Monday, 5 December 2011

this is a similar approach to train final, i blocked it just like last time but worked up a swatch and since this was night scene i wanted it to have a rich saturated feel. I mainly used the wet oils(i think ) but mostly the camal hair brush.

 quick marker sketches

 first sculpey...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

imaginative sketch...

Thursday, 1 December 2011