REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

Week 1

planets in space initial concept

As a group, we each came together with specific roles that we wanted to take on as that best aligned with our personal interests and keeping in mind our strengths so we could produce the best game possible as a team. Each had been developing concepts for our own individual projects before coming together as a group so we thought it would be a good idea to merge all three of our ideas to form one game.I found this idea exciting and being the creative person I am, I took the initiative to sketch concepts of what a game of this nature might/could look like. The drawings I produced illustrated what I thought a world that had core aspects of each of our previous ideas might/could look like ( my previous personal game idea was set in feudal Japan and centered around a conflict between demons and samurais. My team members games idea were based on space exploration, more specifically planetary exploitation with cybernetic western themed bounty hunters, the other was a more medieval fantasy type concepts with ogres and dark magic) .My team and I decided that this is the game we wanted to make.We then began by fleshing out our game idea by deciding; what kind of world it would be taking place in, so that we could set a context for our eventual characters. I found that discussing/brainstorming, sharing and jotting down a few more sketches was a helpful process. This ensured that I took on board and understood the ideas of my team members. Not all the sketches I drew were needed but it made for a good starting point.

Week 2

ringed and destroyed planet

Subsequently I took the planet designs even further by refining and deciding what they would be. At this stage I recognized the advantage of working as part of a group. I comprehended that good teamwork is the key to success in design projects especially when the duration and resources are restricted. After some discussion and much deliberation with the group we decided that the planet with the rings would in fact be a Dyson sphere, essentially meaning that the planet’s surface would be a construction made to harvest the power of the star. Each team member shared their own point of view so a diversity of ideas could be furnished as such this established a cohesive working partnership within the team. Other ideas that were shared are; the higher-class society would live on the artificial rings, whilst the lower end of society would live on the surface for the “destroyed” planet. It was a team consensus that this would lead to a more interesting story. To have no water on the surface and barely any atmosphere, like that of mars. The idea being that the planet has been ravaged by an extreme and violent past of highly advanced and aggressive warfare which was the reason for the planets crater. The inhabitants of this planet would live in large “bio domes” capable of supporting life and inside are large cities. The third planet is large with a thick atmosphere and a pair of twin moons which is where the planets inhabitants reside. Towards the end of the week, I also begun the concept drawings for the main character. Starting with a basic grey-scale sketch which I then developed on Photoshop. Consequently, I did the concept drawing before beginning straight away, on the character sprite as this was to ensure that we had someone that would properly embody the role they were to play.

ROOBOTKNIGHT

WEEK 3

Making steady progress I continued to work on making the idle stance for the main character sprites. Being aware that all designs need to be proportionate. I began the process by drawing a construction box that I would then place the skeleton that I would draw inside of, once I had the first skeleton completed I then used this as the proportions to draw each step of the walking animation. I did this to try and ensure that I had a functional, realistic and consistently proportioned character. After providing myself a base to build up from and a concept image to work from, I constructed the character. First using an opaque single point pixel brush to literally build up form and depth to the character. The moment I had a shape I then made this layer more transparent and repeated this over the top but only more defined with a more solid outline. I did this work because I wanted the finished product/character to achieve a refined/polished look.

Feeling confident with what I had achieved thus far I then made the construction skeleton and box invisible as well as the first initial opaque character layer. I did this to make the image easier to look at, as I built in the final black solid outlines. When the outline was done I then began filling in the colours selecting and filling in the base colours only, then two-tone shadow on the clothing and cape followed by three tone shadow on the metallic pieces (this illustrates them being slightly more reflective because of the material). I also used one-tone that was significantly lighter than the base colour to represent light facing and hitting the character. This was done to assist giving the character a more three-dimensional form. I started with the idle pose because it was the first one that I had planned to do in my small sketch book. In the sketchbook, there were also drawings of what I initially thought would be the key animations to begin working on first.

ALIENKNIGHT

WEEK 4

During week four I continued to make progress on the character animations for the main character.In doing so I noticed it becoming increasingly easier as well as sometimes more challenging when trying to make movements look more organic. Ensuing on with the organic theme as a group, we took up the challenge to go out to collect ambient sounds together. I found this part of the work to be fun and “chilled”, because each member of the team was aware of when and what to do. It brought me back to nature which was calming/inspirational and away from all the technology. This gave me some respite from the computer screen which I found helpful/restful for my eyes. We went to a woodland area to get the sounds of a running stream as well as birds chirping and the sound of leaves blowing in the wind. The purpose of this was to help collate some audio that could be modified and/or used in the game. We went and worked as a team to help record specific sounds that could be used in the game while our sound guy (Bradley) had control of the microphone. This meant that it would be easier for him to generate sounds and keep the equipment safe whilst recording in an environment that would otherwise be difficult to navigate whilst operating sound equipment. For me this activity also served to reinforce the advantages of working in a group. This gave us the opportunity to have an informal catch up on the progress each person was making or not making. This allowed us to bounce ideas off each other and to make plans for our next group meeting.

Gauntlet

Week 5

My focus in week five was to draw/produce a full scale drawing making the main character's arms visible for the first time ,this to be used for the laser shooting gauntlet.I looked at various images from websites and selected an image for reference /visual aid of a hand including forearm.I then sketched out a design for the gauntlet by just looking at the image I selected. My first draw looked good but closer inspections showed that it was slightly disproportionate ,as a result I went back and used a grid which helped me to produced a more accurate/proportionate image.This initial drawing of the gauntlet I did in grayscale and then black to give the tone and texture.This was effective as a concept but did not illustrate how it would appear when in use during the game. Faced with this problem I decided to add yellow colour over the top with an effect layer to add the green glow; this helped me to know how the gauntlet would be drawn on the character and how it might function in the game.

Main character concept

Week 6

My main focus for week six was to further develop the main character and start to decipher concepts I would create for the enemies. The next stage of the game would take place on the knight/fantasy inspired planet. To help make characters as realistic as possible I collected reference images of knights from different regions and cultures of the world and decided to base some enemy types of off different types of knights. I would use reference images mainly to keep key shapes and design aspects of their armour that would help to maintain resemblance while still creating complete different characters.I drew some quick concepts of the main types of enemies that I would have.Using the grid,grayscale ,black and adding different layers and colours as proved effective in the previous week.The enemy types I decided to use are;human/humanoid, alien (non humanoid body) and robotic. Each based on warriors from separate cultures - This helps to create a perfect platform to incorporate more concepts and create/introduce some enemy sprites when I am ready to do so.

Human knight initial concept

Week 7

Having nearly reached completion of the main character animations I started designing the levels in Photoshop,making digital sketches.I began by producing fairly loose drawings of the floor and rooms in sketch form that would be developed to form the essentially first version of the map. I expanded on this to produce more detailed aspects of the building to include rooms completed with floor,roof, walls and windows. This I found was a key feature of the game as the viewpoints became more obvious - seeing through doors,windows etc. Noticing the significance of the features of the room to the game I created new layers that could easily be used at different points in the game.Week six was also the time for peer review. My group did not benefit from much feedback as we did not have the game in lesson to show (hard drive with the game was not present).However,observing the progress other groups made with their games it was clear ( more specifically me) that I/we needed to be very conscious of time and start working more efficiently. I was also cognizant that having higher detailed sprites than most groups also meant that we could potentially take more time to complete.

Roman Based character concepts

Week 8

I continued work on the main character sprite this week focusing on the sprint.I started this with a fresh character skeleton for each step of the animation.I began construction of this skeleton by tilting the original idle skeleton to get the angle of the spine correct as well as marking out the positions of the head height and shoulder positions to match the position of the spine to make the the running animations looks as real as possible. Once I drew out all the skeletons for the animation I then drew out a rough version of the character over the top to get an idea and provide a more solid base to do the final outline on top of.After completing all the rough initial drawings I positioned a head and shoulder bust on the finished idle positioned images-tracing over the skeleton and rough drawing to ensure shoulders and head were in the right place in their correct positions (for all animations). I was able to improve on the appearances (in particular the orientations of body parts) of these animations especially when they were in motion by pausing and take screen shots of some of my favourite characters including …..from assassin creed as well as …….in... I found this quite useful and as such will continue to examine aspects of these games as I develop mine.I also made some progress in developing character concepts for possible enemies;

enemy concepts

WEEK9

I completed drawing all the animation frames for sprinting and started the attack animations.I have completed the first two punch animations following the same steps I have throughout ie using construction box, drawing layers etc.I have made some progress in further developing concepts for the for the enemies and have taken the first into its final stage using construction box and grids to help maintain size,proportion and perspective.

boss

WEEK10

With the aid of a construction boxes ,grids and drawing layers I have completed all animations for the main character attack,selected all the concepts that i'm going to use as enemies for the tutorial as well as stated the process to animate them.I have finished the idle stance for the first enemy animation and have began work on the second.

week 11

Having now finished the walk animations for the first enemy I have now begun to draft up the design for the boss of the tutorial, who is in fact on your-side. As a result I will ensure that she reflects the aesthetic of the main character. I have also made steady progress in animating the second enemy using the techniques I developed over the past weeks.

week12

Having completed all the concept art ,my focus is now on finishing all the animations. At this stage I have completed the first two enemy walk animations and have now started working on the boss

Saxon Based

WEEK 13

This week I have finished of the walk animations for all enemies including the boss and have also now given all sprites attack , death animations, as well as damage animations.I also blocked in the rough level design with more lighting and detail giving it a background. With more time I would make it longer and add more interesting objects but the level is far from plain and does not look flat so am please with my first effort.

WEEK 14

Sometimes I would try to skip steps and rush ahead to just sketching out a frame without a skeleton or anything to support but that would always result in something I didn't like -which meant I had to erase and do it properly which always yielded better results. I have always been aware of the importance of preparation yet I have only just begun to perceive its effect. Before even starting to draw the characters I had to design them first using concepts. The quality of this too was also dictated by the number of steps I had to take before I was satisfied a concept was finished. With each iteration I found the concepts would become more detailed, believable and inspired. I collected and used reference for almost all of my concepts and the more I drew using references the more useful it was.I learned how to take inspiration from the image instead of just copying particular aspects. This was so enjoyable that if I wasn't in a productive mood I would practice drawing concepts as getting better at art in general has always been my main goal. When I looked at games for inspiration I found that not many were very inspiring for me and they didn't really have anything that I wanted to borrow or use from them. That was until I came across a short documentary on the game hyper light drifter. the guy behind the game suffered from a series heart condition and was never expected to have very long to live. As a result the game he created was amazing. his focus main focus when making the wasn't towards a particular age group or sub culture of people. It wasn't intentionally aimed at a particular gender. instead it was made to reflect his own personal thoughts feelings and inner battles. This to me was the approach id like to take. rather look at my work as entertainment for other id like to look at it as an expression of myself and in doing i found i much easier and less forced when trying to come up with ideas or event when just trying to create animations. Yes I did keep a target market that we had picked in mind but instead of it box the box that restrained my creativity they were just points that id happen to hit. With this approach drawing animations become enjoyable despite being tedious and with every frame I drew I got better and quicker. So much so that if I were to redo them all now I feel as tho they would all look noticeable better. That not to say im not happy with my work but just acknowledgment that through doing it I am now always able to improve simply because i've done it before and always aim to be better if I do it again. I have always had an admiration for animators but that has since grown having realized sometimes an hour could go by whilst I have only just managed to finish one frame. this fact also has made me more aware of time management and I now set aside dedicated time to work when possible. that being said i always push myself to as much as i am currently willing. what I mean by that is that even five minutes first thing in morning with the aim of just getting started has turned into a hugely beneficial practice as that often leads a few dedicated hours of work which might not of otherwise done. Also working in a team has showed me how interconnected separate aspects of designing a game are. each role has the potential to be a limiting or a driving factor and my aim was to never limit what another team member could do, or wanted to do due to a lack of ability or just because I hadn't thought of it. I feel my team well in that aspect because each of us would come forward with new ideas and we would always make sure that we at least tried to find away to make it happen and never expected anything unrealistic or too demanding of each other. every suggestion was at least taken into account and if it couldn't fit into the game directly we would at least try to incorporate it in some way. I could trust that any criticism received was for the benefit of the final outcome and furthermore for the advancement of my skills. Despite having fun with charter designs and concepting I didn't give as much attention as i should have to the design of the level/environment. It was something that i sort of avoided with the excuse of needing to finish the character first. in reality I have never had an interest in environments bu tin order to become a better all round artist I am going to focus on changing this. this also means it wont hinder my work as it has done during this project. I feel the colors I used for my characters work really well as they stand out without becoming a pain to look at as well as contrasting well with main character to ensure that the enemies look like they should be enemies

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