Saturday, 26 November 2011

Moar Research!!

I spent this morning ...the entire morning, playing Road Rash 3 on the sega megadrive, good times. After the first half hour in awe from this blast from the past, I shook off the novelty and started dissecting and found some really interesting points. I am straight up going to say that I have never played a game (well I probably have but...) where the risk/reward factor was more evident, the fighting mechanic.

In game you put yourself at a huge disadvantage by even attempting to go into a bike on bike fight, if you use your fists, you have the possibility of swiping an enemies weapon (several weapons exist that give various tactical advantages) and at the same time gives you an opportunity to knock your opponent off their bike. This gives you a huge advantage because essentially this puts that player out of the game for that race, however if you get caught mid punch by a stray kick, you lose complete control and tend to go all over the screen in attempts to recover, but also using the kick attack decreases your mobility putting you at a disadvantage if you get caught off guard. So the decision lies in fight or flight, whether or not to engage in fighting or flying past and skipping fights in attempts to finish as soon as possible. In later levels however the enemies get more persistent and if you find yourself without a weapon that generally puts you at a disadvantage from the off.

Another point is the racing itself, whilst quite simple there are several turns that you cant see until your in them, forcing you to keep concentration at all times. Referring back to the fighting, I have been caught off guard by the road several times just from fighting, many, many sheep, people and cows have been injured from my lack of concentrating on the road. Another aspect is the cars and the hazards they pose and how different countries drive on different sides of the road, forcing you to be constantly aware at all times.

In all an epic game that I can definitely use as reliable research, things I could incorporate are sudden unexpected sharp turns and obstacles to force concentration on the road.

Miserable Board #2

From my research about The Great Exhibition, I have taken it a step further and looked at other glass houses with different shapes and structures, using these images I am hoping to come up with some designs for an original looking structure. One thing that stands out is the rounded domes ...they attract me very much.

mood board #2 - different style houses

Friday, 25 November 2011

Ideas!!! Do not forget!!!

1/ ios - garden maze behind glass house!!!

2/ broken fountain - local children use fountain to wash in, much to the anoyance of the upper class. The children have scaled it to the top and broken the spout.

...that is all.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Welcom to Cobblebottom Lane!

I had an idea of features I wanted to implement in my track and a High Street/Market place was one of them. I've drawn inspiration from cobble stones and classic shop signage above the doors, a quick sketch just to get the overall idea down but I can't do any more because of a headache, just as I was picking up pace :/ definitely something to come back to.

Cobblebottom Lane

This is but a rough sketch which is the foundation concept of Cobblebottom Lane, the go to high street/market place for all citizens. Located extremely closely to The Prince's Passage, a back alley renowned for its shady dealings and links to black market activity. There is an aura of polite business on this lane juxtaposed against the dodgy back street dealings mere feet away.

Miserable Board #1

This is a mood board of the 1851 Great Exhibition, it gives a good indication of the direction I want to take my focal point. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Fountain Concept!

This is a quick concept for the broken fountain, it shows roughly how the water spills either side, there's still room for embellishment like an ornamental feature but on the whole I'm happy with how this is looking.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The best ideas come from procrastination!!

Whilst watching 'One Piece' from episodes 229 onwards, the main plot focus revolves around a massive water city, but as I was watching I was thinking about my glass house I want to create too, then I saw this shot...

The City - Water 7

...and thought how cool something like this e.g. a fountain, could look at the front of the building. The main aspect that attracts me is the water spilling into the ocean, I could possibly work on making a 'broken' fountain that has water spilling from over the sides. I'll be working on some concepts as soon as this blog update goes up.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Concept Time!

This update includes pictures and ideas that I can't get out of my head, so I'm going to roll with these, trust your gut and all that...
I've labelled each picture individually, see the relevant section written underneath the pictures.





OneThis is an overview of everything I put on paper that was running through my head at the time of pondering over the glass house. The writing from the sketchbook is in the description, see TwoThree and Four.

Two/ This is the general shape I'm looking at but it's liable to change, there's something that isn't quite right that I can't put my finger on that I want to change. Description from sketchbook reads: "this is the image of the shape I have in my head at the moment, I like the idea of arches but too many wont allow for the cars to pass through."

Three/ This is how I want to present the focal point to the player for the first time, in my head the race starts from outside the town. Players drive up a hill on the way into the town and are then greeted by the glass house upon the descent into the town, I think it could be quite dramatic. Description from sketchbook reads: "And this is how I imagine it will look in the game. This picture would be the first time you see it in the level, coming down a hill and getting a glimpse of it. Then you're guided through the streets and periodically have to drive past it before at the end you have to drive through it."

Four/ This is an image of what I wanted the courtyard to look like, big entrances at the front with plenty of gates and then some plantation at the back, in the form of a maze, I want the glass house itself to overshadow everything. Description from sketchbook reads: "This is a picture of what I imagine the courtyard will look like, many entrances and a fountain at the front and a maze at the back."

Below is a picture of a route I made, clearly a very rough one at that and open for change. There's a lot in it and I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew but this early on I can afford to dream :) Of course this is only a section showing off the town, there is also the journey into the town and also the finishing line (and I have an idea that I would like it to finish on the bridge?!) I have a vision of how I want it to look, it's made up of different sections being:

following image three, this is a route I thought could be done to show off the town.

grey crosshatch: these are the generic houses, filler essentially.
red dashes: parts that would be inaccessible, causing the player to follow the route. 
green squares: these are the mazes, put as two separate ones to allow for a driving path.
yellow 1: these would be market stalls as you drive into town.
yellow 2: these would be the corner buildings surrounding the roundabout/statue.
yellow 3: this is the high street, so really there would be many different shops.
yellow 4: this is the glass house itself.
yellow 5: and these are some 'posh' upper class houses, undecided about these as of yet.
There is also a whopping river flowing through it too but I have no clue of how to do water effects.

An announcement about achieving something!!

So I went to the Library today and got me some good ol' fashioned picture books!! To get a feel for the Victorian age and also for design and modelling purposes obviously!!

Here are the books ready for referencing:

1.      Carol Davidson Cragoe, 2009, How to Read Buildings – A Crash Course in Architecture, London, A&C Black.
2.       Ian Leith, 2005, Delamotte’s Crystal Palace – A Victorian Pleasure Dome Revealed, Swindon, English Heritage.
3.       Alejandro Bahamon, 2006, London – Atlas of Architecture, Barcelona, Parramon Ediciones.
4.       James Stevens Curl, 2001, Classical Architecture, London, B.T. Batsford LTD.
5.       Staton, Ennion and Moore, 1998, Three Centuries of Change, London, Collins Educational.
6.       Brodie, Sargent and Winter, 2005, Seaside Holidays in the Past, London, English Heritage. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Ideas of a focal priority!

Following the lecture on Friday about level design from Barry, and the grinding from John and then the heavy weekend of Skyrim to think over the ideas in my head :) I've decided to throw myself at the idea I was sceptical of doing because I didn't know how it could be done. I was originally thinking trains but that's too obvious. From my basic knowledge I know that when people think of the industrial revolution, factories upon factories spring to mind but there was another side to it where the wealthy of the day displayed the technological advancements that had been achieved, much like the great exhibition of 1851, I could go on about how it was a marvel because of how expensive glass was back then (it was taxed heavily) and also how hard it was to produce window panes big enough for it to be viable etc etc but that gets boring, might save it for my report. My idea ...after seeing and pondering over Steamboy was what if that was my focal point? or something really similar? ...and what if you had to drive through it?! ...amazing no?! ;) and it sticks to the realism that Rich Morgan wants too!

Below are some images of said exhibition whilst I have a chance to throw together a mood board for some concept art :D

The Great Exhibition 1851 

an image of what it looked like full... image of what it looked like empty (how I will probably model it to look)
I found these selected images by google searching the words 'the great exhibition 1851'.

An announcement about achieving nothing!!

So Swansea Library is officially closed on Mondays ...who knew?! 

closed? okay
What I can learn from this though is that it's open from Tuesday to Friday from 8.30am to 8pm and then Saturday an Sunday from 10am to 4pm ...try again tomorrow :(

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Research Pt.1

It’s been a few days but I finally have an update for the research I have accumulated. I’ve played games, I’ve watched films and have also found a new favourite place, being the Marina in Swansea. I have a direction I want to follow and a few books I want to look up and he only trouble is I have a fair few questions to ask Richard Morgan (creator!!) which isn’t trouble really, more so curiosity :p
The games I’ve played so far are:

·         Fallout 3
·         Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
·         MotoGP 10/11
·         Wipeout HD
·         Dirt3
·         Motorstorm Pacific Rift

With more detail and analysing looking into Dirt3 and Motorstorm. Firstly points on Motorstorm, being quite arcadey, I noticed when we were given the brief seeing some mechanics that I recognised from this game. 

1/ In particular the engine *not game engine but the HUD that shows and engine gauge in the game* and a feature that allows for a boost to acceleration, there is a limited amount of ‘boost’ that can be used before it overheats and explodes the engine if used too much, it also has a cooldown so it can be used many times and there is also a water feature that if you drive through water then the ‘boost’ bar will decrease rapidly thereby making it possible to use more frequently.

2/ Of the four zones that you can compete in, the Fire Zone is the one that to me has most relevance to “Much Haste to Igford”. Though all the zones have water running through them, the Fire Zone has water stations similar to that of what will be included in “Much Haste to Igford”, they are situated in different places around the course, some on route and some that are in alternate routes providing risk factors.
Looking at the level design itself, there are a multitude of terrains and different routes to use with different vehicles making it more immersive and chaotic. Terrains are all on different levels and heights but all work around a lap system rather than a rally A to B, this makes them quite repetitive as the game goes on. 

The next game I looked at in some depth was Dirt3, being a simulation may not have too much relevance but it’s a game with massive variety.

One thing I noticed was that tracks that were lap based tended to get more repetitive and boring to play during the end of the game because of the sheer quantity you had to go around. However the A to B type levels were thoroughly enjoyable, I got a sense that I was going somewhere which is what I imagine is wanted in “Much Haste to Igford”. Also there tended to be a lot of hairpins and areas that had mini bumps that would act as ramps and send you off course quickly if you didn’t keep on your toes.

I also played a bit of Fallout 3, I know it's an RPG but the desolate wasteland could be of some value for areas maybe around the industrial sites?! At this stage I don't want to write nothing out for certain, and some of the power suits in game are quite steampunkish in design ...but we don't get to touch character design :( sad times.

Among other research I also watched “Steamboy”, a film based around the use of steam as a fuel source, which is at the heart of steampunk. There wasn’t too much to take from it but it’s based in the industrial revolution era and the scenery has lead me onto look up some other major things that I really want to put into my level. Glass being a huge element, I was fascinated by the London Glass Exhibition structure and was thinking how awesome it would be just to drive through it. There were also some really interesting places like train stations and terraced houses as well as a scene that had a road next to a railway line (multi routes). And from the research I did earlier was thinking about creating a level that had a few different routes to take to keep it fresh and replay friendly. AND ANOTHER thing I want to look at is chapels/churches and Town Halls as they tended to be quite central to the community back in Victorian times amongst the Towns folk!!

It is notable to mention that this isn’t all the research I will be doing, when they become available to me i.e. when I go home and have a chance to dig them out of the attic I will be playing/researching :p Road Rash 3, Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Kart and Micro Machines. I have also downloaded TrackMania Nations Forever, which you can create your own levels, if anything just to get a feel for how long a minute and a half/ 2 minutes is like behind a wheel really. I’m also planning on going to the library tomorrow and borrowing every Victorian/Industrial Revolution book that is available to me!! 

In the mean time I will be doing some preliminary drawing of things I fancy, also when the weather is more forgiving I will be going down to the Marina to take pictures of all the nice brickwork, old lampposts, buildings and there are a few nice tug boats that might be nice for a port feature!! I'm also working on a questionnaire as to what makes a good racing game in peoples opinions. 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Hello Caledonia!!

My name is Aaron Jones, I'm a second year student at Swansea Metropolitan University and have been given the honour of designing a racing game level for a steam punk game in the making. The level is to be completed by May and today ...I start research!!