Archive for the ‘Introduction to Game Design’ Category

Character Sketch

So this is my most recent sketch of my character. I would have done a full character sheet with the character standing at different angles but I still suffer from noobie drawing skills and cannot draw well enough to do an entire body without having to resort to some stupid looking cartoonified character that doesn’t go with the image of the character I had in mind. Then again this character sketch doesn’t either but this is as close as I am going to get for the time being.
He does look pretty out of it at the moment, I haven’t really gotten the hang of eyes yet and when I checked on him from a short distance his face wasn’t completely on center and was actually wonky if I am honest, but that is learning for you.
The hair is annoying me as well, I cannot draw hair properly yet either but this in my opinion was a pretty good attempt, I just need to get more practice in, look at some tutorials and kick myself into gear so that I can draw better. Practice is all I need and practice I shall.

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Construction lines are something that I hadn’t really come across before so I didn’t really know how to do them. Through practice (Which led to a lot of frustration and corrections) I have managed to come up with a couple of practices that look marginally successful even though I feel that I could do better with time and more practice because these are pretty basic and rubbish if I am honest. I also tried to do a 3D object at the bottom of the page, which was a bit of a failure as it curves in on itself a little, nothing to do with the curve in the object of course, but it leans in on itself on one side which is frustrating but as I said, my drawing skills are relatively new and I need to keep working on them.

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This second image is a mixture of things I tried. The first one is a failed attempt at drawing a car using construction lines, I tried to create one side of the car and then giving it construction lines, tried to create the 3D effect that they usually give. As can be seen, it fell a little flat and looks very little like a car. The top right drawing on the page was my attempt at creating a crated image, a shape within a box. It was more successful than some of the previous drawings as it looked like what it was intended to be but it is still far from perfect so it is something else I need to work on. As the top left image is showing, I had a second attempt at the 3D object drawing again and it was only very slightly more successful than my first lopsided attempt.

Platform Game So I have decided to go with a platform game idea instead of the beat em up idea for a whole host of reasons that I will explain within another post later. For now here is a screenshot of the first step for the platform game that I am creating. The circle is currently representing the character while the blue rectangle is representing the ground, it will be expanded and worked upon to look like real scenery and a real character. I have worked in the code for character so now whenever I press left or right on the keyboard arrows, the circle will move left or right and when I press the up arrow on the keyboard the circle jumps into the air.

Ok so recently I was looking into what kind of game I would like my game ideas to fall into and the main types of game are Linear and Sandbox or Open End as it is sometimes called. I’ll break down what each one is a little bit first so that you readers out there that aren’t familiar with the terms know what I’m talking about.

Linear:
Sandbox or Open End:Linear games are pretty straight forward, they are broken down into a structure held together with levels. The player controls a premade character and have no say over what they look or act like.

A good example of a Linear Game would be Devil May Cry. The player takes control of a character called Dante, a premade character that they can’t change. The only changes they can make to him is how he fights and what he uses in fights. Other than that they have to travel through a preset level structure, complete puzzles in certain places, fight bad guys in certain places, fight a boss at the end of each level and then move onto the next one. That is the basic structure of a Linear Game.

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Screenshot of the character in action in Devil May Cry 3. There is a Life Bar and Devil Trigger counter in the top left and the number of souls the player has collected in the top right. The more you collect the more you can spend on upgrading and buying new items and skills for more powerful attacks and combinations.

 

 

 

Sandbox or Open End Games:

These are the more open games, they allow extensive character manipulation and creation, giving the player the experience of creating their own unique character to play with.

An example of a Sandbox Game would be Skyrim. It opens up with  you being a nameless character, then you are given the chance to alter your characters appearance along with the race of the character. This game is different to most games that allow character customization because instead of the player choosing a set path for their character, they can choose how to shape their characters class and skills as they play through the game, meaning they can create a completely diverse and unique character that suits their playing style.

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This is a screenshot of a player choosing to create their own half cat type character.

 

 

 

 

Ok so those are the rough outlines of the two game types, now to discuss some of the advantages of each type and why one game type will suit certain games while it wouldn’t work for another.

Advantages of Linear Games

  • The areas of the game are small and often have a lot happening, such as a puzzle or an area full of enemies to overcome.
  • There is usually an extremely rich experience of play for the player as they have to focus on what they are doing instead of where they are going.
  • Linear games tend to look better as they require less time on the creative side of things, the designers can spend more time on the graphics.
  • The action is better paced and better choreographed.
  • They tend to have a dynamic and significant storyline. This usually has only one ending, whereas Open End Games can have multiple endings.
  • There is a clear narrative sequence. The game play follows the storyline and leads the character instead of the character choosing how the storyline develops.

Advantages of Sandbox Games:

  • The player has more freedom and can do a lot more within the limits of the game.
  • They can provide multiple endings based upon the choices of the characters.
  • The narrative is a lot more flexible.
  • Because of the multiple endings and the freedom to explore more, there is an increased re-playability level.
  • Instead of having a defined character, the player chooses how the character develops.
  • No matter where the player travels within the game there is always something going on.

There is no one game type that is better than the other, they are both equally compelling and expansive game types. Some people would argue that Linear games are better than Sandbox games and vice versa. There is no one correct answer to the argument, it really depends on the type of game you are trying to create, if Skyrim was a Linear game, with one set character, it would be boring and there would be way too many levels for the player to complete and they would get bored and the game would be a failure. If Devil May Cry was turned into a wide world Sandbox game, it could potentially be a disaster, there would be a need to let the player create their own character instead of playing a defined one like Dante or Nero and they would not know what to do first as there would be puzzles and enemies all over the place and the world would be much smaller and it would be completed rather quickly.

It is all about finding which game type suits which type of game. Linear games tend to be First Person Shooters and Platformers while Sandbox games tend to be Role Playing Games and “casual” games like the Facebook game Farmville or the PC and Xbox game Minecraft. It all depends on what style of game the designer is aiming for and is always something that should be taken into consideration before they proceed with the design of their game.

Ok so I am a less than accomplished artist, even going so far as saying that I am in fact a complete novice and I cannot actually draw to save my life. I have been practicing for a while now, learning to draw several parts of the human body, but in particular faces as they tend to be one of the hardest parts of a person to draw. Here are my practice results as the weeks have gone on.Faces 1001Faces 2002 I tried several different faces, but in one way or another they all look the same. I aren’t particularly happy with these sketches but then they weren’t meant to be anything special, just some practices so that I could learn to get the basic shape of the head right along with the startings of understanding the structure of the face a little better.

Something I did find especially hard to get right was the hair on the characters, the female in the picture on the right in the top corner is the only one that I am actually happy with as the hair doesn’t look too bad. All the others annoy me because they don’t seem to have that much about them in terms of look or personality. I might expand on the character of the female and bring her into being a character with her own concept sheet and back story. But that is still something that needs to be considered.

So this is a rough drawing of my level design map, created in Google Sketch Up. The final model will be created within either UDK or 3Ds Max.

The level map is currently untextured, the textures and security doors and all of the small final details will be added to the final model. This is just a rough draft of the 3D level to see what it would look like, small changes will have to be made to it to make it a good looking level with some challenges for the player, such as a replenishment of security guards every time the player enters a room to search it and security cameras in the hallways that the player can destroy so that the guards aren’t alerted to the players presence within the facility. There will likely be more rooms added as well along with multiple floors for the player to explore and additional items for the player to collect before they can enter the boss room.

This is the drawn draft of my model for a security breach level, the player starts in the bottom center room and has to work their way around the level, taking out guards in any way they like, to the bottom left room of the map to retrieve the security code key for the room where their friend is held hostage by a group that wants to experiment on them because of their magical powers. All of the rooms are explorable and items can be found in the cabinets and storage areas.

Once the key has been acquired the player needs to travel back to the locked security door and fight the boss of the facility. Once he has been defeated, the player can free their friend and flee from the facility, choosing to set off times explosives if they wish to flatten the facility at the end of the level.

There will be a 3D model of this map as well, then there will eventually be a finished version of this level with fully finished textures and lighting.