Monday, 23 April 2012


I put this off because I did this blog once and I thought I posted it but instead it disappeared from the face of the earth. This meant I cried a little and didn’t want to do it again. But I know I have to so here is my second attempt at it.

So for this you want us to make an outline for a project as practice for FMP. I actually found out useful stuff I did back in my old tech days so this might not be as painful as I first thought.

Project outline 

The title of this game is called Thunderbird Zero, it is an action adventure casual game aimed at a young audience. You can play the game in a complete non violent way if you wish due to the structure. You will only be forced to fight boss battles. This is a re branding of the Thunderbird universe set 50 years in the future to bring it back into the light again as a viable children's game. This game will be for the DS and computer (flash game).

The story is fairly simple; the Mebeeps are an alien race that kidnaps great great great granny Tracy for her extreme knitting abilities. Meanwhile Brains the Third is just about to complete a new Thunderbird model, Thunderbird Zero. His mission is to collect the main component part for his completion, the super-hyper-mega-drive, and set off to rescue great great great granny Tracy who is being subjected to 12 hour knitting sessions.

The key features that make up the game experience for the player are the integration and choice of many vehicles and weapons the player can transform into. When the player transforms into certain vehicles (Mole, TB1, TB3, TB4, TB6, TB7) they can draw their route of passage (with mouse or stylus). These look the same as in the original series of Thunderbirds but in human size, think of it as human sized transformers. Also the player can make a conscious choice whether or not to fight the enemies ahead, as long as these conditions are met; there is soft ground to dig, and nothing obstructing the sky, the player can avoid enemies.

Mole, the player can draw a path on the lower screen which is below ground level. In doing this they can collect items and discover new paths to take instead of the most obvious one. Player can dig on particular ground; this is to enhance some rules on gameplay.

TB1, the player can use a switch screen system on the DS in order to swap the screens and then the player can draw a path on the lower screen in order to collect items or avoid obstacles on the ground and in the sky. Note every transformation takes a quarter of the players energy bar and it takes time to recover, approximately 30 seconds for a quarter of the energy bar.

TB3, this Thunderbird will only be accessible in the space levels of the game and will comprise the use of the stylus (or mouse) to draw their way around obstacles and enemies.

TB4, the same feature used in TB3 will be used here. This is only used in an ice level, when there will be holes in the ice where the player can enter using TB4 and the side scroll view is kept.

TB6, this is one of the new editions to the universe, it’s a grapple the player can use instead of wasting energy, although this does take energy, it will be about 1/20th of the bar consumed. The player first partially transforms into the TB6 tool, and then they can use the stylus to draw a path to a grapple hook. When the stylus is released from screen, the grapple will detach from player, follow the route to the destination and then drag the avatar once it has connected.

TB7, this is a gun that the player can choose to use or not use. More for a second time around playing the game to beat time trials and so on...etc.

TB8, this is a teleportation device allowing you to go back in time and try levels again, increases re-play ability of the game. Not a weapon or a transformation but an add on type thing...yeah.

It will be made as a side scroller in Unity with low budgets so it can cross platform. Looking at the restraints of the DS I found out that it can render 2000 triangles per frame that means I have to take into consideration character along with enemies and environment. But because this is a side scroller you can get away with more especially with the environment i.e. 2 triangle modulated pieces to make up stack-able environments. As for the texture limit as far as research got me I think you can render 1Mb per frame so this is the same as the triangle limit i have to take into account enemies and environments as well. 

Technical Specifications for:
   TB0 & all transformations
        -TB0 - 500 tris - 1x128x64 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha
        - Mole - 300 tris - 1x128x64 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha
        - TB1 - 300 tris - 1x128x64 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha
        - TB3 - 300 tris - 1x128x64 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha
        - TB4 - 300 tris - 1x128x64 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha
        - TB0 with TB6 - 550 tris (TB6 1x64x64)
        - TB0 with TB7 - 550 tris (TB7 1x64x64)

   Enemies and Bosses
      - All bosses - 500 tris - 1x128x128 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha
      - Mini Bosses - 300 tris - 1x128x64 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha
      - Generic enemies - 200 tris - 1x64x64 and a 64* with 8 colour alpha (Alpha dependable on enemy)

Thanks to the links  below especially the first which offered some insightful information on texture limits that I totally didn't copy and paste.



So last week I got to do my first sit in interview session with Chris for the new batch of first years. It is something I always wanted to do just to see what the people where like. I'm the one usually talking to them about the course and sitting in front of them as my throat gets drier and i spurt out anything I can think about relating to the course. I often wonder how much of it am I wasting on people who wont get on the course. To my conclusion 90%, in the last two weeks of doing the interviews I have only witnessed one person good enough for the course. I was taken back at the work some people thought viable to bring to an interview. One guy with a few sheets of a life model that I 'm surprised I recognized as a woman with such a manly and out of proportion body. I am glad to have witnessed this because you have to interview 400 students and the percentage that are of decent quality is low. It has given me respect for what you have to put up with.

So with that in mind I dragged out the dust covered portfolio for when I applied. Going through the work I actually dunno if I would have said yes to let me on the course. The work was average, I hadn't done any life drawing, I had some experience in Max, UDK, Flash and GameMaker, but would that have qualified me? I find when you are doing the interviews you have to make quick judgement, sometimes the interviews don't last long and so you have to form opinions quite quickly on the work and the person who is in front of you. So as well as looking quality of work you are looking for a passionate individual who has done research and wants to be in the games industry. Not one of these people who think they are going to be playing games all day. The course is hard as we have a lot of learn in such a short period of time, and i try to emphasis this to people applying.

So did I come across better than my portfolio? I showed passion and i think that's what got me the place in uni and that passion still drives me through the hard times of this course. I still want to be in the games industry even though i have to work hard to get there but I will keep trying. So let me rephrase what I said earlier, I don't waste 90% of my time talking to people who won't get on I am giving valuable information to the 10% who do and I think that's worth my time. They are most often more passionate than me so if i can help them in any way to get the right course for them then I've done my job.

Synecdoche & Others

Synecdoche New York is one of the most confusing films I have watched in a while but also one of the most interesting. Okay so I’m going to attempt a description of this film…wish me luck. Now after watching the film I was intrigued and confudled as I sat there scratching my head I pondered on what I had watched. As the film I didn’t really offer any answers I did some research. What I found out from my research was this film is based around multiple brain disorders. For example it is no coincidence that the main character is called Caden Cotard.  Cotard syndrome is also know as walking dead syndrome and is a neuropsychiatric disorder which a person thinks they are dead and they can believe they are rotting like a corpse. Caden doesn’t believe that he’s dead but he referrers to death multiple times and you do see him age throughout the film.

So the film follows the life of Caden Cotard a play writer and it starts out with a small production he was managing. He lives a normal life with his wife and kid, his wife Adele is a painter and works on small canvas’. Soon Caden is diagnosed with some disease and problems in his relationship arise. Ultimately his wife leaves him to go to Germany and follow her career as a painter. Shortly after he gets a MacArther Grant because of the success of his small production and he sets out to really do something with his life and so buys an old stadium. His dream is to create a brutally honest play about everyday life that would encompass even his own. As he starts this production he builds sets, then rooms, then buildings and ends up with a scale model of New York itself. He developed a love interest in a woman manning the box office only for it to end badly and as years go past he marries one of the actresses in his play, has a baby…etc. Years fly past and without realising when he is questioned why they haven’t got an audience in and it’s been 17 years.
Caden hires a man named Sam that has stalked him for 20 years and knows his character and is able to reflect Caden better than he ever could, this would lead to his death. Caden is then forced to hire someone else, a woman this time, she was cast as Ellen, a cleaner for his wife. She is recast as Caden and is almost the opposite but perfect for the role, hard to explain but watch it and you’ll understand. The end of the film Caden takes over Ellens life and she directs him about his fake world, instructing his words, his actions and even his death.

So this film is referred to as a mise en abyme, this is a term referred to an infinite never-ending loop in the sense of two mirrors looking at each other. So Caden builds
New York inside a stadium and in that he also builds a life size model of the stadium and so on so forth. Mise en abyme is also used in Inception as well. Interesting fact if it is a picture then it’s called the Droste effect an image in an image and so on, and also within math it is called self-similarity. The fun you have when researching.

It’s a little bit of a mind fuck but a highly enjoyable film. Me trying to explain it does no justice and you will just have to sit down and watch it. Other films I have watched recently are;

Lars and the Real Girl – About a guy who has trouble talking to people especially girls and he buys himself a sex doll as he believes she is real. A doctor does some tests and finds out he actually feels pain through the touch of human beings, he is compensating for all the things he can’t do with this doll. It shows the coming together of a community and as his relationships grow with real people his need for the sex doll diminishes. Quite a touching film and he doesn’t have sex with her, I know what you are all thinking.

The Social Network - The biggest pile of crap about the guy who created Facebook. It basically shows how nerdy and smart this guy is but also highlights the fact that he is a pretentious prick. I wasted 2 hours phasing in and out of this drone of a film to be rewarded with text at the end saying he is the youngest billionaire in the world. Basic plot outline - how he created facebook and the lawsuits he was up against for doing so, the opening of the film is probably one of the weakest I’ve even seen. As he and his girlfriend regale a complicated line of words to an even more complicated relationship with one another. In reality it lasted around 10 minutes yet in my mind I shot myself 11 hundred times waiting for it to end. If this film is an actuate representation of him I never want to meet him. If it sounds like I’m purposely slating it, it’s because I am.

Past - Present - Future

I already wrote a blog on the group project which covers that period of time but I didn't really review the year. So I wanted to do a short blog on my thoughts on this year and intentions for next.

So 2D this year has been slow, I feel as if I have improved in a lot of areas but I still have a long way to go. There is something that I am missing but i can't put my finger on it. I can understand the principles of what I am trying to draw yet I can't portray it the way I would like to. I think my main problem is I have to have everything as smooth as I can. I need to have good transition. This wastes time and I still don't get the result I wanted. I haven't been able to but my all into 2D this year due to the amount of creative projects in the second semester we were given I didn't have time to sit down and work on them as I was trying to do 3D work. I much prefer the go out and draw this, more instructional and I can see development quicker. I almost find it tedious to go through the creative pipeline to lead me to interesting characters and environments, yet I know it's essential. It is something I will work on over the summer. Set myself speed paints of stuff around me and then when I feel I have progressed move onto more creative studies. I say this yet I know my priority for summer is get better at 3D to produce an awesome FMP.

Critical Studies this year has been fun although I had the same problem as with 2D in which I was already doing multiple blogs a week on the group blog that my personal one got neglected. But when I got back to them I enjoyed it...mostly. I had a lot of fun with the creativity blog and I would love to do more on some of the Ted Talks videos I have watched. Which I might do after this blog.

As for next year I am extremely looking forward to it, I can't help think of the projects and what I want to do. I have been collecting resources of sculpture artists so I can pick from a plethora of images. I have narrowed it down a bit to the below images;

They all have something really interesting about them and I just have to decide on one :O
The rooftop I have went through multiple ideas the first being a huge greenhouse but now I have settled on a theme park. I love really awesome creepy theme parks you see in games and so I would want to portray this for my rooftop. This time you getting no images as I am going to concept it and it will be AWESOME :)

As for FMP I have been thinking a lot of what I would put my time into, what would i want to do and not get bored while doing it. So after lots of thinking I want to do a dreamscape, I am fascinated in the human mind and dreams and how it can be very surreal. My challenge is to try and concept a working environment with lots of quirky twists, this means I have lots of freedom and you will see lots of really weird and awesome imagery....hopefully. I'm still in the early stages of thinking about it and I have refined it down but I got some interesting ideas to say the least.

So my plans for next year are almost set, I am looking forward to a very stressful, tiring year I will probably ever do but I will love it. Next step get a job at Ninja Theory, bo yeah :D

Friday, 20 April 2012

Life Art

I thought I'd post some of the life art I did this year. I know i really need to start drawing faces on my models and just generally get quicker. I can try and be too precise with my lines which wastes time. Looking back on these i can see how i try and try out different rendering techniques to suit my style. I won't ever do a piece of life art without a black line framing the figure as I am too slow to render the whole body in that amount of time and I like lines as they hold the structure. But I will practice over the summer and see how much i improve especially with my facial rendering :)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


What is creativity? To me creativity is my life, I go about every day and I’m brought into creative situations. This can be the most simple of things like thinking about a book I’ve read and visualizing the characters and environments. I often escape to my mind on a trail of mostly nonsensical thoughts. This is creative because I am constantly thinking and switching ideas in my head. I was talking to a friend recently and about how fantasy has intrigued us to the extreme of we make up worlds and scenarios. I would as a child and still do now think up epic fight scenes using the elements as a base or start from a single thought and make it into a series of events. This is where I find dreams the purest form of creativity; you will see me go on about dreams multiple times, especially next year. I love them as they can have an unlimited amount of creativity with no restrictions to the real world.

The best way to describe this is to give you an example of a dream. Now I don’t have crazy dreams all the time, only sometimes and I love them. Once I was in a old Victorian city, every building curved in different directions, there were no straight lines not even the lampposts. When it would rain the people on the street with masked faces would hide in air pockets or bins in the ground. An air pocket consisted of a rip in the air that you could climb in, making you invisible but still able to see the outside world and not be affected by it. I for some reason climbed into a trash can in the floor…because that’s safe. Unfortunately I wasn’t alone, and she wasn’t alive, never the less she detailed that the acid rain would melt the skin from your body if you weren’t careful. That’s why people would wear masks, long clocks and an umbrella at all times. She told me about the ruler of the city who lived in the clock tower whose summit was in the clouds. He was…hard to describe but I can only describe with a picture of a character who reminds me of him.

Anyway I’ll stop and review what I said. Is this creative? Well to an extent but I am held back by my understanding and view of the world. It didn’t have to be a city, it didn’t have to be people but people I have learned this throughout my life even my dreams contain elements of the real world. Now If I was to give this first half of my story to a kid and tell them to finish, more than likely they will have me in space and eating prezels with an armadillo. Kids are far more creative than kids because they haven’t learned about the world yet. A study was done by George Land in which he he took 1,600 5-year-olds and tested their creativity using a test made by NASA to test their engineers and scientists. He then re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age.

Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98%

Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30%

Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12%

Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%

This is a weird statistic that we actually grow out of creativity because we have to conform to the rules of society.

“It’s been said that at the age of 5, children ask 120 questions a day, at age 6 they ask only 60 questions a day, and at the age of 40, adults ask 4 questions a day.

I don’t even know if I ask 4 questions a day, but again this supports the theory of kids are more creative because they don’t know any better. Isn’t that kindof awesome, that if I want to be more creative I look on the web at cool images for hours trying to spark inspiration. I got these links and facts from;

TBH I think she’s reading into it way to much and have devolved ways to increase creativity and what not, but I guess that’s her job. 

I just watched an interesting video on youtube about creativity and how it kills us. Creativte people are more susceptible to suicide and mental problems later in life and she’s an author who talks about this and a new way on thinking about creativity. She talks about not being the vain of your existence by not giving yourself that vain. It’s a really good watch, inspirational and funny. Do please take the time to watch it.

I also watched a good link on introverts and extroverts. She mostly talks about the suppression of introverts in today's society but she goes on to say about how introverts are more creative because we need time to think, if you are extroverted you crave human interaction in a sense and need to be the source. This can lead to extroverts shadowing over introverts due to extroverts projecting their ideas and introverts being very reclusive with their ideas. This is a good lesson for the group project cause you should let everyone generate their ideas separately from the group to give them more freedom and creativity. I think no one person can be introverted or extroverted but live their life with a mixture of both but being predominant in one. Again its a good watch and I do recommend watching these links.

I think this leads me to the conclusion that growing up I use to have a lot more weird and creepy but awesome dreams because my knowledge of the world was little, I was also very introverted, pretty much just had my shadow to keep me company. I think I have less creativity now due to me getting older living with rules and developing my knowledge of the world and having to become more extroverted in university. That's not to say I have no creativity at all it has just decreased. This task has actually been a lot of fun, when I watched the links I was smiling and listening to the theories of theses woman and it's nice to hear this stuff in today's society rather than the rise in young pregnancies. 

"Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it."
Dee Hock

Career & Life - Game Industry

Am I ready for the games industry? To ask of us to get to a professional standard in 2 years is near impossible, you need to be industry standard for the 3rd year of this course to give yourself a good chance to land a job in the games industry. So hell naw I ain't ready, there is so much i want to learn and improve and I have such a short period of time to do it in. I want my last year on this course to be so awesome because I am going to push the box as far as I can with every project to make it fun for me. I am just afraid I wont be able to execute it to the standard I would want it at. So for this I need to practice, after all deadlines I will make myself just do 3D and 2D not because I want praise but so I am good enough to pull of my visions for next year.

I’ve been looking at companies recently and what jobs are available out there. Right now all that’s going are lead positions nowhere seems to want junior game artists. This is distressing cause I want to get into the games industry and keep improving myself but it’s going to be hard if I have to get a generic job and work on my portfolio in the evenings waiting for a position to pop up. But there is hope, Canada is losing it’s tax breaks and Britain is gaining them. It’s only took I don’t know how long but its nice to be recognised as a viable industry that does produce a lot of income. We have huge titles being worked on in Britian at the moment like the new Lara Croft and the new DMC. Two huge franchised being made by Crystal Dynamics and Ninja Theory.

I have knowing about Ninja theory for a while and they are pretty much my dream company to work in. They do awesomely colourful and different games. I want to be part of something that will be remembered not just a generic crap and I love the genre and style Ninja Theory does. And just to fill in space I’m gonna add in some awesome videos 

Two games with completly different styles and it is something I want to do for next year. For the games industry you have to be flexible and so must show you can do high and low poly modelling but also different stylistic. we wont all be doing realistic games in the future.

Reading an article from gamasutra about the tax breaks provided some insight;

"A number of panelists speaking today voiced their concerns over the potential blocking of the tax relief plans by the European Commission in Brussels. A communication from the Commission earlier this month stated that not all games qualify as audiovisual or cultural works, and therefore should not receive state aid in Europe.In fact, the draft from the Commission went as far as to say that aid for games should be considered "on a case-by-case basis" -- compare this to aid for film, which is not subject to this rigmarole "

In some ways I can see what they mean but we accommodate many different gaming platforms in the UK games sector and would a games company that works for flash be more viable than a games company just starting their production of a 4 year PS3 title? If is hard to know but this would decrease the amount of jobs and cause more restrictions and even more clearances to go through. Not like we have enough as it is. It is unfair that we would be asked to do this and the film industry not, why are we always compared to the film industry when they should be compared to us? We out gross them bringing in more money every year even with the economical decline and closing of companies. Games are still mostly not seen as an art form yet the film industry is, do I even have to talk about Journey again? It just seems like they are very biased for the film industry which is older and hate the new young hip games industry."There were a number of resounding key points that were brought up time and time again throughout the day. The first, of course, was the tax breaks which are due to be put in place early next year."

At least there is good news that companies might start to expand and more jobs reach us before graduation next year. I hope Ninja theory take one people.....PLUEASE 

""I am the dinosaur Nick is referring to," laughed David Braben. He admitted "Nick is right," given that digital video game sales are set to engulf boxed game sales over the coming years, but also made the point that sales of boxed games are still estimated to grow over the next years, and that completely ruling them out is not the right thing to do."

The digital market is expanding but I buy all my games on disc. I think they really need to think about the market, you have to facilitate more money into the right areas and target your audience. They could reduce the amount of money that goes into publishing discs but I think you'll find people get angry. Personally i like the disc format, i can look after it and play it anytime I want with no hassle, on the other hand digital stuff can always corrupt or be hacked. But I will just have to accept whatever I'm given 

Friday, 6 April 2012


Just the random stuff I came up with for the group project, so moodboards, layout plans, idea generation, testing...etc. Guess putting it up here supports my contribution? and I'm bored of trying to draw tonight, don't you love it when I post 7 blogs in one day :D. I'm so productive.