Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chilled Out

Well, nothing much to say about the other thing that I've said little about. Only lately I find waking up a little easier, something I'll regret saying because I predict that tomorrow will be hell. Anyway. I think I've finished the Big Chill picture completely, I added some snow and ice effects to really drive home the fact that she's an Ice demon/summon.

I had a whole idea about what the game would be like, but I figured I'd devote another post to that, seeing as I'd rather focus on something else right now. Slightly unrelated, but I made a sprite tutorial for Rhoda last night, I think it reads pretty well, but I wonder how much they'll grasp without videos or me being there. Actually, I think that this probably lasts longer, as I imagine people forget what I've said 3 seconds before I say it. I did say I'd include some sprites here, so I'm making good on that.

Blockout Animation (for Idle)

Lineart Animation

Colours + Shading (early shading, I changed stuff in the final sprite)

Haven't finished this animation yet, but I plan to do so tonight and get started on attack and magic animation block outs tomorrow. These sprites are for a project called Story of a Lost Sky, which is an SRPG based on Touhou (yeah!) I'm making the sprites for it, which seemed like an easy commitment at the time, but spriting can be long, so I haven't found much time to do work. I should be joining in on the design process, but the project lead is a programmer and he thinks all programmy. So it's hard to follow. Some of the decisions I made are there in the game somewhere, but I couldn't tell you what as pretty much all ideas are bounced off other people until it becomes workable.

Oh well, till next time!

PS: Summoner isn't a word. GDI.

PPS: Finished the animation, well, kinda. I'll probably do more work on it later.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

6 AM Wake Up Call

Oh god, I didn't realize that there was actually time before 9am. It's horrible, absolutely horrible. You go to bed, it's dark, you wake up, it's dark. You leave the house, it's cold, you look at other people and wonder, "What the hell are you doing up so early?" I see school kids at this hour, I can tell you now, I would never have gotten up at 6am to go to school. But I would for my dream job.

It's interesting and this whole experience so far has given me a new outlook on the games industry. I love art, and I love doing it, but there's something about design that just seems much more satisfying. I would love to say to someone, "This character is mine, I did it." But I would much rather say, "This level is mine, these mechanics are mine, you like the boss fight? I designed that. You hate that level? I didn't do that."

I don't often fancy myself a designer, despite being able to do it rather well. But I always figured it would be easier to get into the industry as an artist then move to design later. So it had never occurred to me (until now) that I should probably just try and get in as a designer and do some art stuff on the side. The other way works well for me as well, but I won't complain either way.

Initially, the concept of doing stuff on a game idea that wasn't yours didn't truly appeal. But I find it's rather fun and challenging to do so. Stretch the bounds of your creativity, only to find out that the camera has kicked you in the balls. I like level design, well, I'll be honest. Of all the things I would want to do in this industry, level design is rather low down. But doing it now makes me think it isn't so bad. This time now has taught me a lot, mostly about the willpower required to even function at 6am, but also about various design practices that I never really thought a lot about before.

The simple question of, "Is this fun?" is not one you would think you would ask yourself many times. Often the answer is simply, "Yes." But why? I reckon if you asked a lot of people in my course why this game is fun, they would be stumped for an answer. If you asked why this level is fun, they would probably have an aneurysm. Yet, this is real, you have to ask yourself that, and most of all you need to apply it. Designing for other people is hard, you need to think about those 3-10 year olds. Would they find this interesting? Would they find this boring? But those questions aren't easily answered within the constraints placed upon us. Often you need to think about other designers, how the level flows, the pacing, the camera (OH GOD THE CAMERA!), accuracy and artistic license. So even if the answer to the previous questions is, "I don't think so." you can't really do anything about it.

Or can you? You can, but the method for doing so isn't one I like to think about. Back to the drawing board. Oh lord, shoot me now. Not to mention we're quite crippled in the awesome programs department. Understandable, we're temps, so why waste money on licenses and awesome stuff for us? I don't blame them for that, you just gotta work around it.

So between waking up at 6am, getting home and only having 2 hours to do anything at all (oh, and falling asleep on the toilet only to be woken up by the toilet alarm), I find myself thinking about all sorts of things. This semester should be interesting, I can only imagine it is the start of good things.

As for now, a picture I'm drawing in my spare time. I may be doing level design, but my passion is still characters. This one is for some competition called the Big Chill. The basic idea is to do something related to that, so I chose an Ice Queen thing. I haven't actually pinned it down, this picture is more for me than anything else. It's also practice because I haven't drawn a real 2D picture in ages and people are waiting for me to do stuff. So let's warm up.