Entries Tagged 'Other' ↓

Mentorship finished product

Today is the first time we had a chance to play with the finished game pieces since they were on display at the school board for a week. Overall I’m really impressed with what he was able to accomplish. We taught him the basics of graphic design principles and showed him how to use them to create card layouts but everything beyond that was his creativity at work. He made most of what you see in the picture below in a week, while doing homework and preparing for a math fair. Very impressive indeed! We were not able to finish everything in time so we improvised with Lego. Over the next few weeks we plan to work with him to refine a few systems that need a bit more work and to generate more game objects.

Getting back into Blender

In the summer of 2009 I took a course in computer animation where my team made March of the Tennis Balls. Everything was done in Blender from modelling to post processing and I became very comfortable using the Blender interface. Since then I have been mostly using Maya and Cinema 3D. Blender also received a major interface redesign. This weekend I spent a bit of time familiarizing myself with the new interface. I’m really impressed with how well organized it is. I can definitely see myself using Blender to create art for my games quickly, which is something I worry about when I’m doing everything myself.

Here is a Bomb Droid mech I created for the board game project as part of the mentorship I previously talked about. I tried to use mostly primitives and purposely kept it simple so my mentee could learn from it and create his own.

Mentorship board game progress

My friend Lanz Singbeil and I have been mentoring a 10 year old in board game design for the past seven weeks. We talked about different ways designers come up with ideas, design constraints, mechanics, systems, emergent gameplay and more. We always made sure to teach concepts that could be directly applied to the game project. It is rather amazing how quickly he picked up on the game design concepts we taught him. His family plays a lot of great board games including many euro-style games, which was extremely helpful when talking about game design. Besides designing board games, he also creates iPhone games using GameSalad, although I don’t think any have been released yet.

The initial idea for the board game was a cooperative game similar to Castle Ravenloft but with a mecha theme. He came up with the idea on his own before the mentorship started so all we had to do was help him refine the design. At one point it was more complicated than Castle Ravenloft so we scaled back but it is still quite complex. There is a crafting system for weapons and armour and a card based combat system similar to Cosmic Encounter. Here is a picture of a recent playtest on a small board with a “collect the artefacts” scenario.

The 3DS is amazing

I picked up my Aqua Blue 3DS with Pilotwings Resort this morning and it is way more than I thought it would be. I’m really excited about the AR Games and hope developers will produce some really interesting titles for that. Nintendo clearly needs to include AR Pokemon battles in their next Pokemon game. Face Raiders works surprisingly well and I love the concept of moving around in a virtual space. I think later today I’ll record some game design ideas in my design notebook. If you have a 3DS, check out my Mii below.

Reddit concept art class, lesson 2

Copying a photo with guides and sampling values is incredibly easy compared to coming up with original concepts. For this lesson the goal was to use silhouettes to generate many ideas in a short amount of time. I spent around 10-13 minutes on each one and noticed by the end I had become quicker at sketching out ideas.  There is certainly room for improvement in both time and quality.

Moonsoon project video

This is the result of my immersive environments class and the game pitch I mentioned previously.  I worked in a team of four and we used the Unreal Development Kit, Maya for modelling, and ZBrush for creating normal maps and texturing. A few sections of the mansion were cut as we ran out of time and we probably shouldn’t have worried about the polycount as much as we did. Overall it was a great learning experience but there was so much more my team wanted to do.

One of my team members, Lanz Singbeil, put together a video showing it off. He also created most of the sound effects and composed the music, which I found really impressive.


Reddit concept art class, first lesson

I’m participating in the Reddit University Game Concept Art and Drawing class so thought I’d share my homework on my blog each week. The idea behind this lesson was to learn to draw what you see instead of what you think you see. I’ve done exercises in the past with the same concept but usually required you to focus on one part at a time without seeing the whole. The approach the instructor, General_Lee, suggested was to use grid lines to help find the spatial relationship between shapes and I really liked this approach. However, I probably used more grid lines than I should have but it’s a start!


The last few months I spent considerable time learning ZBrush to create normal and colour maps for a UDK game project I worked on. One thing I learnt pretty quickly was if the base model didn’t have good topology it would be pretty difficult to add detail where I wanted to. My team never bothered to use the re-topology tools available since it would have changed the base mesh and we didn’t have the time. Fast forward to today, I learnt that a sculpting program called Sculptris has been released that solves this problem by dynamic subdivision that adds sufficient detail where needed. I was also delighted to hear that it will be implemented in my favourite 3D package, Blender.

Below is an image of an elephant alien that took me a few minutes to do in Sculptris. I consider this a sketch since I can think of a lot more I could do with it such as adding skin texture and sharpening up some areas to distinguish between bone and flesh.

Elephant Alien

Quick 5 minute sculpture

Fruit War project finished (previously Towers and Catapults)

I finished up my game project for my Advanced Game Design class. We managed to implement just about everything in the original design. My role in the project was mostly programming but I also contributed to the design. I don’t consider this project done because it could use some game balancing and bug fixes.  A couple of my friends played a single game over an hour until they introduced house rules of no more growing trees to end the game quicker. The game is available for download on its project page.

Game pitch for immersive environments class

For my immersive environments team project we decided to create a puzzle game sort of like Mist using the Unreal Development Kit. Our focus is on high production values using ZBrush and Maya. For our game pitch we greyboxed the game world using the primitives in UDK and recorded a video with voice over explaining the project.