Monthly Archives: October 2011

Elite beat agents

I love the look and the game play of Elite Beat Agents. It’s essentially a musical interactive comic book where a bad day, unfortunate event and even a natural disaster or monster attack can be solved by getting down with your bad self in the guise of the men in black with afros.

The dots on the touch screen represent the notes, the constricting rings represent time and I guess the colours allow you distinguish between segments.
The top screen shows an animated comic strip where the story’s outcome depends on your performance. There are generally three acts to a stage and two out of three gets you a pass.

The EBA Interface

I love comics and I love music and I also love nonsense. I love this game because it is completely from any other beat game that it makes the most of its platform, (namely the DS) it has a unique layout and cool songs, but it could really do with an expansion or sequel.

I’d like to incorporate the comic book elements of this game into my environment and the story was inspired by the game’s absurdity.

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Break room: Aesthetic and props

I decided to give the break room a bit more of an “Ikea” vibe becasue police stations tend to be on a budget.
I developed a one point perspective ink drawing to give myself a better idea of what the room might look like with a little bit more detail beyond the elevations and also to give it a bit more style.

A little sheet I made to draft some smaller details that i'd like to include in the final build.

a one point perspective drawing, showing (aesthetically) what the room should look like.

A few ideas about props for the "Crime" scene, including remnants of treats and the bakery bow in more detail.

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Theo’s “T Pose”: Harder than it looks!

So when I desined Theo initially, I created a fully shaded rotatation, showing his hair and clothes in all the minutely detailed, creased and shining glory. Although this created a very beautiful piece of concept art, it wasn’t very functional.

A Front, three quarter and side view of Theo

The image above is the original piece. The first problem was his pose, it was nearly impossible to model from, and had to be changed to a “T” in order to access his body and arms fully during his transition into 3D.
The second problem is that in order to model it in maya (especially with my current skill level) I needed to simplify his shapes. I tried to re-draft him, with disasterous results.

Here is the first Botch. It was wonky and lacked a certain... level of finesse.

The second attempt didn’t go any better, as I tried to solely concentrate on his body. It didn’t work.

I finally to start again at the beginning, meaning tracing the original drawing by hand and finally deciding on a colour scheme for his clothes at least. The wrinkles were gone and his hair has been simplified to a much more manageble shape.

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The break room: Basics

The main setting for my game is the break room of a police station. Nothing too fancy or complicated as far as rooms go, but I hope to make the most of the basic shapes with some beautiful texturing, well placed lighting and a hefty attention to detail. However, most rooms start with a simple floor plan and a set of elevations. These things are not a strong point for me, but they have to be done in order to progress.

The basic plan for my room's initial layout, sans detail. The scale has yet to be determined.

The west wall, showing the noticeboard, the alcove and the fridge.

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The south wall of my elevation, including fire doors and the depth of the west wall, as well as the fridge

The north wall, including the cupboards, counter, fridge and the prrotrusion of the sink in purple.

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The east wall, demonstrating the depth of the cupboards, window placement and the width of the sink

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PS3: “Micheal”

A beautifully executed tribute to the one one thing that allows the game industry to flourish, thrive and progress: The Gamer.

Sony’s “Micheal” affected me probably significantly more than the next person due to the roots Sony had in my Childhood. This miniture drama shows some beautiful examples of compositing, green screen (especially for Solid snake’s Camo Gear) and a healthy dose of CGI and modelling, as well as a great selection of costumes and good casting.

This post isn’t really related to anything curricular, but I thought it would be worst putting up becasue it’s been a while since an ad made me feel proud to being a lazy, good-for-nothing, mush for brains gamer.

Phoenix Wright: Game Interface Analysis

Another game with a similar layout to the one I envision for my own game is the successful but seemingly unheard-of “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney” series.
It follows the afformentioned lawyer Phoenix Wright on his investigations into strange and sometimes silly cases, finally cross examining witnesses, defendents and finding SOMEONE guilty of the (murder) crime.
The aspect I’m interested in here is the use of simple character animation to convey emotion, stress, status changes and other useful information.

The way that the character animation is handled is through a series of sprites, which are essentially keyframes for each character. Sprites where very popular and integeral to the construction of early video games, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario to name a few of the more popular titles.

The Sprites above are of Phoenix himself, demonstrating his key poses and mental states.

Theodore’s Sketch evolution

As I started the fairly short design process for a character, I came up with three figures, each representing a day of the week.

Wednesday's, thurday's and Friday's Children.

Theo pretty much stumbled into my head fully formed, a bit of a dope who is skilled at what he does, but has a fair way to go in the eyes of his colleagues… so when it came to drawing him, there wasn’t too much internal deliberation about his features. One thing that did perplex me a little was the style in which he should be created, whether it was photo realistic, cartoony or some other stylisation. So I doodled him out…

Theo's doodle sheet

Once I had a handle on how he would look best, I then went on to compile a basic model sheet in order to lock down possible commonly used expressions to reflect his character and also to develop the SD “Sprite” versions.

This model sheet is much cleaner and a bit more comprehensive than the original doodle sheet.

I then developed a turnaround for Theo based off of the more elaborate drawings from the model sheet.

A Front, three quarter and side view of Theo

 

Even though I probably wouldn't model Theo's head and facial features to this level, I wanted to have a detailed reference that I can adjust to my needs.

The next step is to decide on what stays and goes in my T pose, as well as the colour scheme.