Monday, 18 October 2010

A Change of Plan

Things didn’t turn out as I had planned for the week. For a start I have completely scraped my idea for a game based around Zero G platform/Puzzle game, sort of “Portal” meets Dead Space in which the player is placed in a Zero G environment and needs to traverse different obstacles and traps in order to reach their goal. To aid them they would be given tools like a mid-air break and a grapple.

On the meeting on Tuesday I pitched my idea to the rest of the class. I had originally put a video up on my facebook page to ask people if this was any good so a few people knew what I was planning. Time came and when I announced it not a major uproar of applause, no Ticker tape parade and no piles of naked women on top of a mountain of money. Well I might be getting off point; basically everyone had good and bad ideas.

A lot of people had already formed groups so if I was to have anyone on board pickings would be slim. After listening to everyone’s “Elevator pitches” I aloud my mind to choose which one held the most. I had no intention of doing this alone as I have heard many stories of people working on their own not even getting something out the door so to speak

The one game that stuck in my head was Charlotte Gyseman MC Esher FPS. The one thing that really got me interested was the abandoned building art style she had mentioned. I for one love that particular style not just in games but in art and films.

So if you want to see more of this then here is the projects blog .

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Last Week

Well summer is up and it is back to Uni thanks to the Ryder Cup giving us another week off. There is a lot of things to go on including work on all alone Eurogamer Expo and Uni Work so lets get at it.

I'll talk about all alone first. There has been a lot of progress on this even though the writing is not yet complete there has been some great suggestions from these guy who are doing a great job of helping me out.
Keriann Nelson-
Jamie Boyle-
of course I want to keep my cards close to my chest so no spoilers.

As for the game itself I'm finding coding very hard so I need to keep on working on that. on the Levels themselves I have one more map to go. It's been great experience and has really improved my Maya skill even if the models are simple as they can be.

Music wise I have gotten permission to use music from this great artist Named Kilton:
His songs sound amazing and fit so well with the game I can't wait to use them.

I have also made new posters here:

More in game!

As for Uni work I'm a Little bit unsure I have two ideas in my head either a Zero G puzzle game or a Music game for the Android/IPhone where you collect icons into baskets to complete a song.

As for my dissertation I want to have a look at marketing in games especially for the Halo series as during the realise of Halo Reach there were amazing marketing campaigns some viral and some more public. it might not be a bad thing to look at really because if it wasn't for Alfred Hitchcock's marketing for Psycho it might not of been the classic we know today.

I also went to Eurogamer Expo in London for the Friday, Got up at 5 in the morning just to get there. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but I did have to wait an hour to play "Brink" (Which was worth it) unfortunately I didn't get a looking with my portfolio but I got some great advice from the guys over at Rare. Apart from "Brink" I enjoyed playing Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and Crysis 2. I played others but those three were the best.

So one more Year then I have to work. I have no idea what is going to happen but as I always say...

"The only easy day was yesterday".

Friday, 3 September 2010

Smile and Obey

I've decided to show off some of the propaganda posters for All Alone. I love the of the second world war and Soviet Union propaganda posters which had a lot of minimalism in their design. I also made them like this to give the player about what time this was set and how controlled this place was. Hopefully I can make some more soon.

Monday, 23 August 2010

New Logo now I'm like a real Game Designer

Hay Boys and Girl I've being scouring the one sea that is the Internet and I've done some interesting things. for one I'm going full steam ahead with All Alone and getting really excited.

I have even Made a Logo for myself if you look down there you can see it for yourself.
I have also been playing Kane and Lynch 2. I will say it is best bought as a rental but it is a good rental at that. A very short campaign but with some really cool moments.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Farm and Industrial

OK midway through and here is some of my progress I have had to get some help by using some great models from Turbosquid. in the writing side I have found for some reason the soundtrack to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky to be a great Muse. the biggest problem is keeping to a theme. The main books I'm using to help our are Sara Kane's play "4:48 Psychosis" and (Strangely) Max Brooks "World War Z". "4:48 Psychosis" is a strange play not only for the content but also in the way it is written no definitive characters although there seems to be three. the writing has been refereed by many as Sara Kane's Suicide note, very dark and misleading. My former tutor David Surman had pointed me to this play so kudos to him.

"World War Z" is a Zombie Horror written after the events of a global outbreak of Zombies. So why has this influenced me? The way it is written is just like an after action report to any war and in doing that gives the impression that you have been locked in a bunker all this time and have been given this to know what has been going on in your absence. one very importance scene I have taken influence from is where the author is visiting a young woman in a mental institute who has regressed into a child way of thinking. a very strong scene and shows how mentally destroying a situation like that can be. I hope to recreate the same atmosphere in this game as well with the writing especially in the later parts.

Now I am now looking for any programmers or Musicians to help out in any way possible. Musically I am looking for something similar to this If you can help that will be great.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A little treat

High Guy a lot of little things have been done but I want you guys to see for yourself so here is a link and tell me what you think.
The main thing is that I haven't put in any of the writing yet and I need props for those.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Back from France Bringing gifts

OK Guys, and more like Back from holidays and it was great got a tan on my skin some I'm just a little less plain paper some not so white paper.

Any way Picked up some graffiti mags which you can't get over here in the UK and I love them I wish some one would make them available over here and in English.

I wanted to get a video out for "All Alone" to give people a better picture of what it will look like. I have only got the visuals down and quite pleased.

All Alone from Tim O'Connell on Vimeo.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Week 3

Unfortunately it's been quite a busy week for me looking for work and making good excuses. I've mostly been working on the script trying to get enough lines of dialog to spread across the game. I'm looking for people to help out hopefully programmers and musicians so any help is appreciated. some few more screen shots just for the hell of it.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Week 2

Temple Interior

Temple outside

Basic Building Interior

Basic building outside

Well 2nd week and I'm keeping up, lets wait till next week. The main problems I have been having is with the writing. Basically if I can't get the writing up to a certain level the this will all be for nothing so it is a real conundrum so far. Hopefully I will get this sorted out before next month. I've started with the buildings now. The Temple is complete and a basic building is complete which I will fill with props.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Lazy Boy making experiance

I have been planning to sit on my arse allowing it to ferment all through the summer but my arse was having none of it and told me to do some work over the summer. So I've decided to make a short project based on my Video "Abandoned". So what will it be it's mostly a love letter to Chinese Room for their awesome mod "Dear Esther" the first thing is the title, I wanted to call it Abandoned but this will be a bit to Brash so I've decided on the lesser title of "No one here". The game play itself is more of an experience nothing serious and I might not even if have a game play mechanic (if I can't find a programmer for cheap). Finally the visual style, because I am crap at everything I want to make it as simple as possible. I 'm going for a monotone look which adds to the idea of being alone and void of life.

I want to update this on a weekly basis so I actually complete it and get feed back from anyone who stumbles onto this.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A Failiure before your eyes

Today technology has improved so much that you can see individual skin pigments eye lashes and other small details to character. So why are we still seeing games where characters are waving their violently just to shake someone’s hand? In many films Emotions are played out though the characters especially with body language rather than dialogue. One of the most influenced scene comes from Martin Scorsese’s 1990 hit “Goodfellas” where the character Tommy DeVito played by Joe Pesci confronts one of his friends by asking how he was a “Funny Guy” a unnerving scene as we know they are violent men but also how Joe Pesci played the character in a brilliant way as to establish his dominance within the group. So why is a scene like this not in a game there are many characters that take influence from Tommy Devito but there hasn’t been a scene which really makes you worried about their next move.
In many games story takes a backseat along with character performance to engage an emotion with the player. The most popular being fear as it is a primal emotion used as a defence mechanism. Other emotions such as love, trust sorrow take a long time as it requires a strong relationship to a character.
“Arousal is a very general physiological process, and, as argued by cognitive labelling theorists of human emotions, in order to create emotions out of arousal you need cognitively to specify, to contextualise the arousal, in order to elicit emotions.” (Media entertainment: the physiological of its appeal, By Dolf Zillmann, Peter Vorderer, 2000, p201) I believe this is an important notice to get down before I progress, the idea that we build media on our primal instincts Fear, Lust, Pity ect. Even if film are shorter in length and are yet able to get even the hardest emotion out of the viewer while a lot of gamers don’t even bat an eyelid.
In games it falls to the Level design to provide these emotions along with music but can this be the only way of creating emotions within the player. With games providing a new way to tell stories I feel many designers stick to knowledge gathered from cinema and not books or even theatre and this stops them from experimenting. There are two emotions I want to look at loneliness and being at a great event. The first has been used to great effect in games using the environment rather than characters with effects like sound and lighting. The second is rarely used in games but it is something that is also is about environment rather than characters.
I don’t just look at using characters to portray mood but also how to use that to effectively give a player an incentive to carry out a particular action without prompting and somebody else to tell you what to do (Mission Control). I feel this could have several benefits the main benefit is to give the player a greater sense of accomplishment when they complete said task. One other benefit I’d hope as a result of this would be the engagement of the player in the video game will be stronger and this would link to stronger emotions to the characters that inhabit the world.

Personal observations
In a Linear game such as Metro 2033(2010, THQ, 4A games) and Half-life 2(2004,EA, Valve) I noticed very little in the way of objectives even if a character told you to go to a certain place there is almost no more dialog for the rest of the level or several levels. But in a lot of these situations there are only hostiles to fight against and no support. When a player had a companion they were constantly telling the player to attack or to stand down.
There are some games especially online based games like “World of Warcraft”(2004, Actiision Blizzard) and the “Battlefied” series where you have several objectives at once and the player has to make a choice of whether to defend one location or attack another. There are several factors that make the player come to a decision one might be team work, another might be to improve their ranking and in turn allowing the player access to weapons or tools that will benefit them at a later time. It might even be the idea of being the hero some who goes against all the odds for fame and glory.
Can we use this in single player games? Even though AI is all around the player sent to locations by path nodes, animations and codes. In many cases they are so primitive they are an Obstacle to get from one place to another. Certainly wouldn’t feel dismay if one of these NPC were to be terminated. This to me is a problem, as game designers I don’t what these NPCs to be terminated I want them to die. The player should feel sorrow and change their playing style because they have lost someone they hold dear. But even in Multiplayer games this is a problem because a game can be restarted but films and books can be revisited so how come it isn’t a problem for them?

Back to basics
I don’t want to look at writing for games because I believe that we need to leave this childish action hero style of acting and aim for a serious look at acting and body language. After all that is how films had started. I think we have been spoilt in the way of technology so that the games industry has become the spoilt son of Film who wants to so much like it piers but tries too hard.
In the first generation of films there was no sound and the film quality was so poor as the equipment was had operated they look like black and white show reels. So directors used pantomime actors and comedians for their films in order to get a message across even when text was introduced directors preferred to use these types of actors.
Fast forward a few years and the introduction of sound soon saw the end for a lot of these actors’ careers. In 1926, Jack Warner, then head of Warner Bros studio, declared that talking films would never be a commercial success. Silent films, he argued, had an international appeal, a visual language that transcended the spoken word. They allowed the audience to invest their own meanings, imagine their own dialogue. This obviously was not the case and sound was a revolution in how films would now be made.
Later on new techniques were being used like camera angles and height, Transitions and later colour. This allowed directors for more dramatic scenes without the need for actors to over perform. By tilting a camera up or down you could make a character as menacing as a bear or as vulnerable as a kitten.
Theatrical types
There are different types of theatrical types each posing an importance to a story. Though I want to focus on two of them Pantomime and Realism.
Many people think that this is just something that comes around during Christmas but it is a lot deeper than that. Pantomime started in ancient Greece where the performer world perform using music (normally Flute) and wouldn’t speak letting their bodies tell the story with over the top expressions. It proved to be extremely popular.
When the English adopted Pantomime in the Early 18th Century it was first used as shorts between Operatic pieces. It later grew into pantomime we know today.
As the name suggests Realism theatre is all about creating a believable performance for the audience. Realism theatre was born in Russia during the 19th Century and was helped by the father of modern acting Constantin Stanislavski.
Stanislavski created methods for actors who were to embrace this new form of theatre and is the definitive method to realism acting. The system is based on an actor being "in the moment" but always staying one step away from complete belief. He felt that it is important that, whilst the actor should experience and show the emotions of the character, it is very important the actor still stay detached.

What I want to know is what we need to do to get the best experience out of characters whether they be highly detailed or simple humanoid shapes using only their body language and how that will impact on the player. Understandably in the early years of games we’ve had problems due to graphics limiting us to basic moves with ridged joints. Now with the use of more sophisticated CGI software which is more accessible to animators and Motion Capture.
For a long time the CGI first animations were not created by animators but by scientist who had numerous PHD’s in sciences. It wasn’t long though until 1979 when George Lucas set up a Computer Hardware company named Pixar. They employed their first animator John Lasseter and their first short film “The Adventures of André and Wally B” (Pixar, 1984).
During the process new techniques were being created by the technology and John Lasseter would think of new ways of using that technology. “Art Challenges technology, the technology inspires the art” (John Lasetor, The Pixar story, 2009). This rings true to me and certainly a lot of game designers has formed to this one being Hideo Kojima
With his unconventional and experimental approaches to storytelling in games including interactive scenes that have often tried to break the “4th Wall” many of them failed but they are still memorable as they have created a stronger connection the game world. The problem with Hideo Kojima though is that the stories are very exclusive only lending to those who wish to peruse it making it richer.
A newer game “Heavy Rain” created by the French studio Quantic dream. Has an extremely strong focuses on story and have tried to implement it with controls that correlate with the actions on screen. The game has had mixed reviews even during its production as nothing before has been done to this level.
There is still a lot of experimenting needed to be done as this is still a very young medium. Something that requires participation, you are required to complete a task to receive the next part of a story, scenes where the player can move around in a scene, a player can also break a game completely removing themselves from the games work (Shooting support character on purpose, falling through scenery or even being at the wrong place at the right time).
What will I need to look at though? I firstly need to see what moods I can create by using the environment. For that I want to look at two games “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat” (2010, GSC World) and “Burnout Paradise” (2008, EA Games, Criterion Games). One is a solitude game set in the Russian wastelands of Chernobyl the other is set is a bustling city of the USA full of people racing cars like psychos.
I want to see the reactions of player when put into these worlds how have their playing styles change and what they feel playing these games. I want to then use that information and create a specific scenario which a player can participate and then I can gage their reactions on where they are in that scene. I also want to see how the level of communication between the player and NPCs affect their play styles.
To do this I will create a sort of “Crime scene” environment set around a riot on a street. Set during three different times before, during and after then from different points one from the rioters another from the police and another as an outsider (Reporter, resident or helicopter pilot)
I not only hope that this will help Directors but also actors and screen writers. We are still holding close to films but we need to be adventurous and if needed create a whole new way of delivering stories in games.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

A weekend with Unreal

I'm just playing around With the Unreal Developers Kit and I really like it really hope I will be able to use it next term.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Starting to pick up

Terrible pun aside I'm working on homing my Animation by doing some tests the first will be lifting as it is rather complex.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Huts but no Pizza hut

I didn't model these huts I just did the Texture

Monday, 1 March 2010

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

I've just got that feeling

Ok ever since playing DJ Hero I've had the earge to make music I don't know if this is a phase or genuine but I got Beatorator for the PSP and this is my first Beat.
Forest Run by Rock on Fire

Monday, 22 February 2010

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Friday, 19 February 2010

Monday, 15 February 2010

Deep in The Jungle

Inspired by Jungle sound produced by Pendulum and a bit of Des Bois. I really enjoyed making this one. just need to decide whether this is better with or without lines

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Friday, 12 February 2010

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Day and Night

You've seen other concept pictures for Des Bois a Project for Uni based on a young girl who is able to shift shape into animals I've been on duty to make the city enviroment for the game and is one of the main vistas though out the game.

City Park Day/Night

Friday, 5 February 2010

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Monday, 1 February 2010

Bes Bios

Here is an attempt to the colour pal late and look for Des Bios.

Notes- Unnatural florescent colours for enemy
Natural colours for the environment

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Happy Birthday to me (Sniff)

Well it's my birthday and well I don't feel older but I see some Wrinkles coming in. I've been working on some stuff for an Internship at Disney Interactive(to be Honest I don't think I will get it even if I tried). but it is an enemy design and a new take on the queen of hearts guard I would even go as far as to say this is more of a guard dog type of character.

I've been watching a lot of videos for Unreal Developers Kit and it still seems a bit daunting hopefully I'll find the time soon and have something to show for it.

Recently I've had an itch to make some music don't know why (looks at DJ Hero and slap my forehead) we've been told that there might be some sound workshops in the Uni soon hopefully this is true.

Finally I've been looking around at Game credits for Level designers to see who I should follow and take notes from then I came across this page
but looking around there doesn't seem to be a purely dedicated level designer and is normally bundled up with the game designer position.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Saturday, 16 January 2010

How I learned to love Lucky

Well almost finished the video and what a wild ride it has been. I'll never forget how long it takes to render out particles. well I'll put the whole video up soon but I want to put up one video which is the beginning and was the longest to render out.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

"I'm back Baby"

Well back with a vengeance and cookies and I'm already in the fire. well I've done some work on Maya and the Essay isn't going as smooth as I'd like but it is getting there. I've done lucky Rigged and ready to go. I tell you know rendering particles takes so long I had to do something else boring to while it was busy taking up all my computers power.