Friday, 29 February 2008

The Jungle Level (Concept)

The purpose of this brainstorm was to generate ideas and approaches to designing videogame platform levels. To be honest, I have never made a game before (let alone make assets for one), so this was a great way for finding themes to work with in terms of designing levels. It had already been agreed by the team that there were:
  • 5 Environmentally based levels

  • City, Jungle, Underwater, Dessert, and Underground

  • Pages of a book are collected throughout

  • There is a charge station (Sharpener for Pencil power up) at the beginning of every level.

So with this brainstorm I wanted to be able to develop concepts based around these elements.

Sketch Key:

Yellow: Charge Station (for Ed’s Pencil weapon)

Red: Comicbook Pages (collectable by Ed)

Green: Moveable elements

Blue: Hidden paths.

This is a idea I have for the Jungle Level. I want it to be dense with many hidden routes that are not immediately obvious to the player. I also wanted it to be vertical so the player would be moving up and down (a maximum of three parts high) through the maze of trees and bushes. The Ink Leeches will take on the form of animals of the Jungle and will attack Ed whenever they get a chance! Birds that swoop, Crocodiles that chomp and plant life that aren’t so friendly!
In terms of this design, I don’t think it is dense enough to resemble a forest. The top section of the level could do with more complexity aside from doing a big Tarzan swing to finish. I also want to put more hidden paths. But that can only be done with a revision to the overall layout to the level first.

My concept is loosely taken from how the Amazon Rainforest is structured into 4 tiers and the way that most Sonic the Hedgehog games are designed this way. In particular Mystic Cave.(Sonic the Hedgehog: 2, SEGA Genesis, 1992).

Amazon Rainforest structure: (The Structure of the Tree)

Sonic 2 Mystic Cave gameplay:

Posted by Dominic Lopez

Thursday, 28 February 2008


This is a little test that I did with a DS console template that I created earlier for the test with the stylus. I placed several repetitive symbols of the purple blob which I introduced in an earlier post and made them different sizes to give the effect of an ambush.

posted by Christopher Alarcon

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Experimentation-Mini Me Blob

posted by Christopher Alarcon

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Experimentation - Interactivity with Stylus Flash

We (Me, Dom & Rad) considered interactivity for our game if we had enough time to complete it within 14 weeks. Having this doubt in mind, we questioned each other wherever possible to replace the arrow cursor for a different symbol, possibly to replace it for a Nintendo DS stylus which could easily be created using vector graphics. We searched online for Flash tutorials and luckily found the solution to customising our own cursor. Our next test was to draw onto the canvas/stage as soon as the user holds the left mouse button when the file is published.
We found the script for this drawing feature to work but the problem was that it wouldn't make the centre point of the cursor connect with the axis where the paint draws onto the canvas.

posted by Christopher Alarcon

Experimentations - Viking Blob Drop

This is a little test that I done in Flash to see how I can make the little mini blobs should land once tossed into the screen by the big boss. I also did a viking hat to land on his head as soon as the blob takes form. I then went back to this experimentation and added some article effects using the motion guide tool.

posted by Christopher Alarcon

Storyboard Intro

click image to enlarge
posted by Christopher Alarcon

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Concept Sketches - 'Terry Boole'

Using the brainstorms again, I tried coming up with interesting variations on the 'bully' character. As a bully, we wanted to go for some of the typical elements associated with this type of character but as a Character Designer, I tried to stay away from making the bully look too stereotypical. We wanted him/her to be quite on the chunky side (and intimidating of course) the kind that'll steal your lunch money and give you a super-wedgie at the same time. :)
Here i tried to get across the bully's aggression in his face and pose. Initially we wanted to have the bully with a shaved head but i thought it may be a good idea to experiment with hair, and the shaved head may also 'age' the character, he's only around 15.

Another alternative to the 'chunky' aspect was to have the bully be some sort of sporty character, and also playing into one of the clich├ęs of having the school Team's captain pick on the nerds and geeks (Just like an episode of Saved By The Bell) :). In this way, he would be a sort of 'cool ' figure, but still a bully though.

Low and behold, the bully takes on more of an individual personality :). here i decided to exaggerate his bulkiness, making his torso seem disproportional to his lower half. His clothes are nothing special, but fairly fitted to emphasize his...well...size. :) His hair and chin-goatee connotes a demonic personality. :-O

I call this the 'Keith Flint' look :) I tried taking that 'demonic' hair and really accentuating it with a more aggressive personality, but this time the horn-hair really indicates his inner-raging bull. The sketch next to it is more of an experimantation, especially with hair (which started life as a hat of some kind but turned into hair so I just went with it) ;) The dollar-sign bling belt and the afro style hair makes a nice change to the usual 'bully' look we get to see in cartoons.

The bully shown here is clearly skiving school and on the hunt for new victims. :-O I gave him a typical school uniform but a very unkempt version - loosened tie, undone shoelaces, lack of blazer. an obvious rebel, especially with that custom belt buckle. But strangely his shirt remains tucked in...? But i suppose I wanted to emphasize his size and shape by doing this. :)

Posted By Radhika

Concept Sketches : 'Ed Scriber'

Using the character brainstorms done previously, I took the main elements of Ed's appearance and generated a few possible versions of the character. The group decided that Ed was going to have a fairly scrawny build (well he is an artist, artists don't have time for pumping iron now do they hmm?) :) And have an air of scruffiness about him (only subtle though, we didn't want people to mistake him for a homeless guy). As for clothes, Ed has a customised shirt with 3/4 length trousers (very 'in' at the moment) :) Also, it was essential to have him carry his trusty artist's pencil on his ear, as this would be the main tool for him to eliminate his enemies in the game itself. These were my one of my first attempt at sketching Ed. Although the group decided to make him look a bit pathetic, I tried to incorporate some aesthetic quality into the character. Part of the Game Character Design process is about creating a character that the player can have a likability toward, this includes the visual aspect of the character as well as personality. So I didn't really have the heart to make Ed totally repulsive. :)

I also tried different styles in creating the look of Ed, especially in the eyes here. Because he is only 12, the eyes on the far left indicate more of a sense of innocence somehow. The eyes on the next version are more exaggerated yet also allow for more expression. With these drawings I wanted to subtly indicate his love of drawing . The fact that he's holding the books close to his chest kind of states how much his art means to him, and also his sense of insecurity.

Ok maybe Ed looks a bit too cool here, but the fact that he's holding his paintbrush tells you how much better he feels when he's being all arty. That's probably where he feels most confident. the pic next to that was just for fun. :) Or it could show the pressure he's under during the game to use his artistry and skill to beat the enemies!

Ed here is shown to be more of an introvert, and has more of a cuter look. The Ed next to him has just encountered an other-worldly being within his dreams. :-O

Posted by Radhika

Character brainstorms

The brainstorms above show our thought process in visualing the two main characters - Ed (the lead character) and the Bully.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


Brief overview of project

For this project, We will be working as a team of three. We intend to create a convincing video game demo for the Nintendo DS console. Our main focus will be centred on the animating aspect of the demo, rather than the game programming itself. So there will not be any playability as such, but rather a 'taster' of the how the game will work and what the story/plot consists of. In terms of method/software, we will use Macromedia Flash to compose the intro/outro/cutscenes and in-game animation. Characters will be drawn and scanned into Adobe Photoshop for finishing, and imported into Macromedia flash to be animated.

Christopher's main role will consist of being the storyboard artist, whereby he will compose the necessary shots needed for the cut scenes. He will also be the lead game play animator where he will animate the main actions for the characters to perform e.g. running, jumping. This role will also include animating the stylus movements and scrolling the background to indicate the character is progressing through the level. He will also contribute to the brainstorming process and final editing.

Dominic's main role will be to design and compose the level structure, indicating where any platforms will go, any obstacles that will appear etc. this will also include background art. he will also be in charge of designing the graphical user interface (GUI), constructing buttons, ingame / outgame options and menu design, and other game play assets such as items and power-ups.

Radhika's specific role within the group will be Character designing and animating, whereby she will create character sketches, profiles and render them in Photoshop, while creating simplified vector-friendly characters for the animation itself as well. Then after the group has agreed on the sequence of events, she will begin to animate the scenes. She will also contribute to the initial brainstorming of ideas and have a say in the final editing process.

The game’s genre will be fantasy-action based on a platform game formula. An added feature for this game will include a ‘rubber and pencil’ mode, where the player can alter the characters surroundings e.g. draw barriers or even holes for enemies to fall into. This drawing aspect of the game is also carried through to the storyline and concept.

The story centers on an ordinary boy with a talent for creating comics. The local school bully terrorizes him while on his way to the comic book store and is pushed to the ground. He is left shaken and dirty. He seeks refuge in a nearby decrepit bookstore but witnesses an other-worldly sight – the dark damp room is lit by a levitating glowing book with a hoard of spirits circling it. The boy, curious, steps toward the book, but the spirits take over his body and he is sucked into the pages of the book. The bully eventually breaks the door down and sees the glowing book. Before he has a chance to think, a renegade spirit takes over the bully but glows a sinister purple instead of the pure white glow of the boy. He gets sucked into the book as well and the glow fades. The camera then zooms into the pages and the game play begins.

Proposed schedule...

WEEK 1: Research and experimentation on possible outcomes.

WEKK 2: Brainstorming, collate thesis info, storyboarding, character sketches

WEEK 3: Storyboarding, interface design, character sketches, level sketches, experimentation of character movements,

WEEK4: PITCH, experimentation with character movements, start intro animation, (spring break -1 week), make adjustments from feedback

WEEK5: Continue intro animation, complete level sketches, sound recording

WEEK6: Animation, UI and level mock-up,

WEEK7: Continue animation, UI and level mock-up,

WEEK8: Continue animation, UI and level mock-up,

WEEK9: Continue animation, UI and level mock-up,

WEEK10: Work in progress presentation

WEEK11: Animation, final editing with sound


WEEK13: Polishing/finalising

WEEK14: Submit

* Team meetings to be held every Monday at 12pm to discuss progress, problems and action plans for the week.

Posted by

Monday, 18 February 2008

Game Brief

After much consideration about where we thought the concept might go, we finally came up with an idea which sounded interesting and feasible enough to base our game demo on. We tried to word it out in as concise a way as we could:

"an ordinary boy with a talent for drawing comics gets sucked into a bleak and colourless world within his imagination. He must use his knack and artistry to regain his colour ‘aura’ and defeat the evil colour-draining bully to return home to reality."

The decided genre is going to be Action/Fantasy based around a platform game formula.-

Group progress: experimentation in Flash of game intro, using 'paintstroke' effect, discussion of the allocation of option 'buttons', discussion of general game 'layout' on what the gamer will see, experimentation with actionscript to allow the drawn 'styus' to click and drag a drawn line in Flash to emulate the DS touchscreen feature, discussion on what the final outcome may be in terms of level of interactivity and amount of animation.

Posted By Radhika