Studio One, Week Five

This past week has seen the overhaul of our main asset, the biosphere. We have worked to develop and refine this asset and after much discussion and planning are happy with the design. Post Friday studio this asset has moved into the modelling phase. The overall concept of the biosphere remains the same despite  a reworking of the design.

The process of redesigning the biosphere to bring it into the production phase has proven quite tedious. Collaboration between the three group members has been quite smooth however the hypothetical functions of our biosphere within the context of our environment design has prompted changes to the access (via hatch), the placement of the bio-pod within as well the general design choices which indicate the functions of the object. Two elements have helped in the decision making process.

The first of these if the fleshing out of a style cheat sheet which helped in making choices that are congruent to our overall scheme. This is something which was complete prior to Friday studio and was available as an aesthetic reference. An example of its usefulness is in the process of assigning materials to the biosphere asset. With an established palette the decisions came quite naturally. As art style arbiter I have been given responsibility in ensuring that all aspects of the environment design are congruent to each other and communicate our desired art aesthetic. When asked by my group members for input on the matter I am glad for the process of deciding clear art style rules.

The second component which helped in the process was an understanding of the video game environments context through story and the purpose of the environment within the games narrative. This is something which we have spent much energy refining. The decision by our group leader to spend more time on such aspects of planning is something which has allowed such tasks as asset design easier.

Moving on from week 5 my next assigned tasks will be to model the bio-pod and biosphere hatch as well as begin to create our base material textures (predominantly concrete and metal).

Exo Art Style Guide
(Wyld,2016). Exo style guide.

 

References

Wyld,A (2016). Exo (Working title). Exo style guide.

 

 

Studio One, Week Four

After last week’s feedback and our new plan of action for the rest of the pre-production phase I have now been assigned the task of pushing forward with the EM, which we will then work further on within the group.

After more consideration it has been decided that the environment design will be broken down into three sections. This is part of our planning to maximise the result of the final product if the scope has to be reduced due to time restraint. The three sections we have decided upon are the Biosphere (To have priority), Lab space (to be next in line for priority) and Observation room (last for priority). These type of decisions made within our planning phase have helped create a strategy which reduces uncertainty. Our group leader has decided that planning will extend till the end of week 4.

Something which has been underlined during our studio time is that there is flexibility to the planning timeframe but it is crucial to consider that the more detail to planning the easier the work will be later in the pipeline. This can be a daunting idea at first, but there has been satisfaction in the group from the successes we have had in progressing and sculpting our own game plan.

In terms of the environment map progression, I have again looked into some videogame maps to inform our design. Examples which stand out are Portal 2 (Valve,2016) and Bioshock (2k Games, 2016) which both are capable of influencing the experience of the game story with its well-constructed spaces.

bioshock-map-design
2k Games, 2016. Bioshock Game Map.
portal-2-map-design
Valve, 2016. Portal 2 environment.

It has been useful to look over these videogame industry examples after further development of our art-bible and design intent. Believability and atmosphere are two aspects that seem to require much consideration and conscious thought.

I have used this research to assist in fixing the circulation and spatial problems in the Environment Map. It has greatly helped when I ask whether the space would make sense to a player moving around within the finished environment. The major change has come from the placement of the security checkpoint. This has dramatically altered the nature of the different spaces, and helped in determining the 3 sections we had decided.

After our allocation of the 3 individual spaces it has also become clear that much of our focus shall be on the Biosphere asset, and will be the main feature to the environment. While the grand scale has already been determined much of our planning has been deciding how to implement the object in terms of floor and ceiling heights etc.

Using the EM, the entirety of the environment will be blocked out in 3D, from here we can use the resultant model to determine the adjustments needed, especially in regards to the biosphere.

prp_EMConcept_P01_AlexW_V3.jpg
Wyld, 2016. Environmental Map Design

References

BioShock the collection on 2K.com. (2016). Retrieved September 29, 2016, from https://www.2k.com/games/bioshock-the-collection

Corporation, V. (2016). Valve. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.valvesoftware.com/games/

Wyld, A. (2016). Exo (working title). Environmental Map Design.

Studio One, Week Three

 Week 3 has had a focus on finalising the documentation and planning of our project in order to move out of the pre-production phase. The progress has been substantial but has required us to revisit the asset list, which has already had many iterations. Our group leader I find has handled this well and has made multiple difficult decisions based on our group discussions.

While the pre-production process has been frustrating in terms of planning and pragmatics, I have thoroughly enjoyed the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks and solving problems in a group. Examples of this include solving design problems in development of the Environment maps and collaboration to create concept designs which are congruent. I have found that small victories have provided much needed motivation.

During the course of the week, moving towards our art bible goals I have focused greatly on completing moodboards, and my chunk of the concept sketches. A question which has been posed at this stage before the production phase has even begun is how we wish to tackle the creation of our environment in the modelling and texturing phase. We are in the process of fully understanding the implications of modular Vs non modular design. From what we can see a blend of the two would be ideal but the difficulty is in deciding the perfect ratio. Something we have learnt is that the asset list feeds directly into the modular Vs non modular project structure.

Currently we are figuring out to what extent we will have a modular work flow. The nature of our environment is one which is clean and fairly minimal, but must also be passable as a research facililty. To be convincing our design must reflect the consideration of real-life examples of lab/military research buildings.

During studio we have had a lengthy feedback session where our design was scrutinised and many flaws uncovered. While we are still aiming for the same atmosphere and style, and are happy with our concept development, the spatial design and pragmatics of the environment needs plenty of reworking. This will also mean further iterations of the asset list.

One crucial thing I have learnt is to let go of ideas which I have grown attached to once their usefulness has expired. Two examples of this has occurred in our last feedback session. One is the security checkpoint I have already designed and imagined within the space. The other is a security door which I had imagined as grand in scale, which now needs to be resized, and further designed.

Our new plan of action as discussed within the group and given the go ahead by our group leader is to further develop several options for our EM layouts. After this we will develop one option further to the goal of a refined space which can be blocked out in 3D. It has also been decided that from our EM we can determine what assets as well as how many assets will be needed. From this point we can make an informed plan towards our hybrid modular/non modular work flow, with this determining our asset list.

alexw_asst1_prp_concept_rawscan_isosketch
Wyld, 2016. Isometric Environment Sketch.
prp_security-door_concepts_scanp07_alexw_v02
Wyld, 2016. Security door concept sketch.

References

Wyld, A. (2016). Exo (working title). Isometric environment sketch.

Wyld, A. (2016). Exo (working title). Security door concept sketch.

Studio One, Week Two

Thursday, 22nd September

After this week’s first environment design group presentations we have received a chunk of useful advice. This included a prompt to consider the reasoning and justification when making decisions about our environment design. The biggest thing I have taken from the feedback is the necessity to develop a strong treatment and narrative as well as taking the effort to become informed with the necessary so that we can make better decisions after the production process and create a believable and consistent environment. It has become obvious that a finished product needs to have elements which are congruent with the subject matter which inspired it.

My first port of call has been to look into these sources which were suggested for reference:

  • Half-life (Valve, 2016) for environment map, security implementation and the concept that a player works their way from the depths of the facility and back towards the entrance.
  • Bio-shock (2k games, 2016) for its architectural design.
  • And adrift (505 games, 2016) for its overall environment atmosphere.

 

I am still in the process of looking into these videogame examples.

 

All these things considered I feel that the pre- production stage will need to be handled delicately. In my in-experience I think that the project could be over whelming if not planned well. In the days that have followed the presentation our group (which has been tentatively named the brown coats) has spent a lot of time trying to work out the crucial details we need quickly. This has meant the creation of all our documentation and a focus on working out the details of the narrative and the schematic layout of the space we will design.

 

This has involved treatment, story and lore development, mood boards, rough environment maps and sketches. We are aiming to complete the narrative and environment maps in the coming week. Due to our newness to our in-experience and will negotiate the time spent on concept development and model sheets to fine the balance between moving onto production as quickly as possible and not allowing a drop in quality.

 

References

Corporation, V. (2016). Valve. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from http://www.valvesoftware.com/games/hl2.html

BioShock the collection on 2K.com. (2016). Retrieved September 29, 2016, from https://www.2k.com/games/bioshock-the-collection

ADR1FT. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from All, http://www.505games.com/games/adr1ft