Category Archives: Game art and Design

Cup Cake Crime Scene

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

After quite a lot of fiddling with the shapes and having quite a bit of trouble with the modelling, I managed to fashion something that looked similar to my concept art. I will paint crumbs onto the table for simplicity’s sake.

I was quite pleased at how close I got to the original scene and it makes quite a prominent centre for the room.


“From Dust”

I recently downloaded a trial for this strange little titbit on PSN and I am very tempted to buy it.
“From dust” is a luscious, original and strangely addictive game. At first I thought it was going to be a kind of mix between “Black and White” and “Age of Empires” (The former I was no good at, the latter I found boring.)
What I got was a huge surprise. The game begins with a tribal summoning, forming a bubble that explodes into the “Breath of the World”. Your job is essentially to protect the tribe that summoned you and create their world out of different kinds of matter. These include Sand, Water and even Lava.
The expansion of the tribe depends on the Breath’s movement of matter to create rivers, islands and stop tidal waves from completely eradicating the village.

My room mate likened it to Minecraft. Although Minecraft is revolutionary and yadda yadda, I couldn’t help being a bit irked. From Dust is a beautifully intuitive and tactile experience. The terrain is deliciously organic and reactive to the player’s whims. The world feels like it’s living and the textures and animation reflect that beautifully and the villagers grow their village structures and crops through music. The moving of matter is also interesting, as the sand or otherwise is sucked up like a vacuum and forms a flowing sphere that can be deposited at will.

Although it just sounds like excavation, there is a certain magical air to the world and a wonderful, fitting soundtrack that compliments the almost aboriginal art style perfectly.

The other amazing thing is the way the earth reacts to other elements, like water, like sinking, eroding and falling like real sand. I know as a prospective developer I should be able to fault this game, but as of yet I haven’t found anything to negatively critique. If I complete the full version I shall come back to it then.

Reverse foot lock and rig testing

The ultimate pain n the backside so far for me in Maya has been rigging. Rigging is essentially the process of giving skeleton and joints to your mesh and allowing it to move, much in the same way a marionette does.
although some rigs can be simple and tend to share common structures (in a humanoid characters especially) they can be as bespoke as the characters themselves.
My rig, however, follows a basic humanoid structure with two extra joints at the clavicle and an extra one to allow turning at the neck.

Because Screen captures are static, boring and don’t demonstrate movement well, I decided to use Quicktime and show people my successes (and failures) with video. Not only is this an easy way to record play blasts and demonstrations within Maya without having the render out a sequence, it also records work and creates concrete copies of work in progress that you can look back on and use in your portfolio.

So without further ado, here is Theo’s reverse foot lock, that I happen to be very proud of, mainly because his feet and legs are most probably my favourite part of the build. The reverse foot lock caused a few problems for me, mainly because of all the numerical values that had to be reversed on the opposite foot…. That I didn’t realise I had to do until it was too late.

The Rig testing video here was an impromptu play blast that was created for demonstrating my progress for the creative networks exhibition. Annabeth had a little play about too, so he ended up doing the robot. As a result of this test, I spotted a problem with the right shoulder.

Gif Jump


Gif made by breaking down the Jump cycle in my video(click to activate.)

After breaking down some images from my reference video, I can finally get a clear view of the stages in Theo’s jump animation. From what I can see, it consists of a bending of the knees, a spring front the back of the foot parting the calves in a triangular shape, and he then straightens his legs before swaying and stumbling a little while landing. while this is going on the arms flail with a “Pinwheel” motion while trying to retain his balance.

Video Reference for Theo: Walk, Jump, Idle.

As part of the animation process, it’s important for animators to get into character and know how their character moves and reacts to situations, as often it can be as individual as the character’s looks, hair or wardrobe.
It is also useful to be able to take reference and work from it, so I stepped into Theo’s size 10 shoes and tried my best. This was tricky, not only was I not 5 inches taller, I also wasn’t a dope or a man, which obviously affects your walk and demeanour. You can see some of the issues I had during the video, but for the most part it worked.
Now all I need to do is break down each action into manageable (and usable) segments.

Theo’s progress in Maya

Obviously, I had to construct a T pose for a reason, which was to make image planes. The images were then imported and set in Maya in order to make a guide for the modelling process.
I am pathetic at modelling, but it seems that image planes can even help a novice like me yield some fairly pleasing results.

Using a cube as a base, I managed to create something quite impressive (to me, anyway.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And slightly later, I made a screen capture tour of the completed model, sans rig and UV Map.

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.