Sunday, 29 November 2009

"Max.. Dearest Of All My Friends.."

I believe that storyline is the most important aspect of a game, something to get you interested,
keep you playing rather than just for the sake of gunning down your next opponent. I like to think of the games that I play to focus on
a story as a film/book. The main thing that you can accomplish with games is to be part of an existence that you can choose what aspects to
look for. If there is an awful story it really degrades my experiences with the games, its almost as if I need a point for playing
rather than getting excited about getting a head-shot. However how the story is told is also greatly important which is where animation, sound,
music and emotional senses come into it. As iv mentioned before about you choose how you play based on a set of rules and events so in that sense the player
makes their own judgements on a story and so play accordingly. Not all stories exist in games that we play, the typical example I can think of is for example
Wii sports games where its purely based on skill as well as Pong, Tetris and similar ones. I haven't actually played World of Warcraft or really want to but the
MMORPG that I have played is Guild wars. There is actually a story that is told with a series of cut-scenes involving the character you created but it is not
one of the most "involved" plot line. I would imagine World Of Warcraft is similar in this sense where a lot of effort is put into cut-scenes but don't have a guidance
system moving from 1 thing to another and another as a book would do. I guess its all down to what the genre of the game is, Sport/puzzle doesn't have much of a story
3rd Person shooters and 1st person have a bigger impact on telling stories and so do RPG but not so much MMORPG.
I recently did a review-presentation on Call of Duty 3 and in that the point I was trying to make about it that it was an experience, almost like a "documentary-game"
which does have a story - based on actual events.

A strong storyline in a game does make a better game but what makes it or breaks it is also dependant on the way it is told and its technology for animation, models
and sound effects.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

"Enemy at the gates" Film

I thought this was quite a good film and a bit ironic since today I did my presentation on Call Of Duty 3, discussing about the time period which is where this film was also set. Followed a journey of a soldier soon to be destined as a sniper and the challenges that he and other soldiers go though. Soon it turns into a battle of the snipers, "Vasili" as well as a german general trying to find ways to take out each other. One thing that this film does well is that it clearly suggests threat, fear and the feeling of hopelessness with soldiers. There is a lot of noise which clearly emulates what would have happened during this awfull time in history.
I thought it was quite good showing the "Sasha" character killed/hanged, although it was an awfull thing it shows that war (even to the lesser involved) is full of tradgedy and lacks mercy which is a realistic scene during this period.
Was a good film I thought.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

An Introduction to Art Managers in Games

In industry the job title of Art Director mainly consists of a person to be the "visionary" in a game who's job is to maintain its visual standards and styles. (It also includes technical understanding). Their main responsibilities tie in with the entire style of the game as well as getting together and leading an Art team. It seems to be more of a managers role so their duties are put towards the entire aesthetic sections of a game. Its very much so a creative role indeed, from the extract that I read from 1 art director inparticulary its quite a stressful career needing a lot of effort, time and work.

It basically seems to be a career where again its deciding the game aesthetics but also about management skills. I would say that there isn't that much of a difference between being an Art director for a game or a film, its the same principal where its about whats seen and designed. With films its viewed in a set perspective dealing with camera angles and shots where-as Games are less restricted, where players can move around freely. It does depends on the game of course, I have seen some where the camera angle is set where the player must be in that specific area. Managing art is equally important in both areas.

It seems to be a very tough job to aim for, it takes a specific person I think to be able to actually consider going for this career. If I was to become one it would need continued sketches, drawings over a long period and experience from working with other companies. Its hard to specify exactly what would need to be done to get to that stage but defiantly drawing/painting and all the other master techniques are very important.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

From Pong To Next-Gen

For me gameplay (in video games) is specified by the controls, the interface, the virtual environment and how the actual game engine/models and textures work together to make the actual game. It varies with each game, some gameplay can be really tedious where its hard to control the characters or if there is use of a "game camera" that follows the player that doesn't work brilliantly. I think "good" game play depends on the person playing it, people have preferences for how things are done. Its strange that i have mentioned video games first subconsciously but there is of course all the older traditional methods of gaming with cards etc. Another thing that can be added to the list is also the rules of the game.

I dont think there are any major "leading lights" in game design, there are many genres in games now and there are many players who buy different sorts of games, I dont believe that there can actually be a "Best" games design company. There are certainly a lot of them, especially in America and Japan who all do different sorts of games. I dont even have a particular preference to a company.

Typically people would say that all games design happens in an office full of people who are allergic to sunlight or what ever nonsense, it may have been the case with the early games like Pong but I think that in this modern world, especially now it takes more creativity (unless your doing Programming) where you need to go out and research things that are true to life. To be in an office all the time just leads to a lot of stagnation in games design.

Its just impossible for 1 single person to work or lead a commercial game, there are so many sections of it for 1 single person to take all the responsibility for. These different genres that I mentioned earlier would need different design principals, no genres of games are exactly similar and yes different gameplay would be involved and need to be considered.

When im playing the main thing I look for is the gameplay over the other technical parts such as graphics, just how it works, and if the controls and other sections are logical.

Blitz Lecture

Blitz Lecture
Important of drawing in the game industry,

We had the chance to have a talk with a person from the Games industry about the techniques they use when producing games as well as artistic abilities.
Was interesting to see work which was submitted by the games company as well as students portfolio pieces which was good to see since even the work we have been doing on this course so far its developing quickly and its training us to have the understanding of shape,form and shading. This talk quickly gave me the insight that this was the right course that I am on as it teaches all the good sections in which employers and commercial look for and work towards.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

German Expressionist Exhibition

In the exhibition in New Walk there were many interesting pieces using different techniques to suggest form and contrast. A lot of the ones that I seen were solid black vs whites as if just quick sketches which technically give an rough impression anyway.
There was even a piece done by Kandinski, an artist I reviewed during my Foundation Art course, again it was only black and white but I still didn't understand exactly what the impression was of originally. It was interesting though since it would draw you to it asking you the question "now.. what am I?". Kandinski's style is quite technical but also abstract and I like this combination even though the actual image doesn't immediately shout out what its a representation of. (I still don’t quite understand what it was meant to represent)
This was the only Artist that I had heard of in that exhibition but there were also some other good pieces. One of them was done using oil paint of a scene in early 1900's in a forest walk with quite a few people walking around. The way that it was painted was quite roughly done and had quite a texture of its own with the paint. It was certainly a painting that you had to step back and look at to understand the form but it was there and it was well done I thought.
Another piece that I found quite interesting was "Karl Schmidt-Rotluff, Harbour at low Tide” which was a Lithograph that has the effect of watercolor and washes. Its form was quite curvy suggesting the wateriness of the scene. It easily gives the impression of 3 ships and the actual harbor itself, as its title suggests.

All in all it was an interesting exhibition with some good pieces.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Game Reviewing

As anything in this competitive world loads of work needs to be done in an increasingly shorter amount of time that also affects reviewers. If you think about how many games are brought out monthly, weekly gaming magazines and so on it’s an incredible amount of work and difficult to keep up with. These reviewers are there to give gamers an idea and grading on the game, graphics, sounds, game play, features and so on. They don’t have a lot of time to write about the games, not to mention playing them and so the reviews can give gamers the wrong idea about the game.

I don’t tend to look at gaming magazines or reviews that often, I would rather play the demos and make my own conclusions based on what iv seen/played. However rather than a gamer downloading loads of demos/looking at games themselves to judge, reviewers filter between the good aspects and the bad so the gamer doesn't need to.
(But reviews may be bias)

But anyway, reviewing is quite a big section involved in releasing a game and there are many games magazines produced with a huge number of games featured. The question of who pays their wages is difficult to say exactly but my idea is that the actual magazine company pays the reviewers for their contribution rather than the game companies.

For these reviews I think that having an actual ranking section for each element of the game is quite useful for a general summary for what the reviewers thought of the game. For me reading them this is one of the main points that I look at, then the main text then my conclusions brought up as I look at the screenshots/videos. This "New Games Journalism" examples are quite interesting its like typing up someone's journal of a day, reminds me of during my Foundation Art course where you are encouraged to write about everything that you thought about with research and the final pieces.

This style of games journalism is quite similar to how I written in my art sketchbooks and I quite like its style. It makes everything seem a bit more personal to the person, but for other readers it greatly depends on which person is writing it for it to affect them.

There doesn't seem to be anymore variations of game writing, its quite limited really to general reviewing as well as NGJ as I suppose its more popular to just comment on the game and leave it like that rather than having little fiddly bits scattered around. People who read things about the games generally want to have information describing it as well as some sort of system rating the elements of the game.

In my writing I prefer writing subjectively but in terms of game reviewing this isn't really fair as for someone to be bias all the time will not be to some peoples liking.