Learning new things for game design

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of game design stuff. The poetry book has been mostly completed, and I have put it aside for the time being until I can arrange with Amy to meet her for a proper discussion of layout. Then I can finalise the images.

Anyway I thought I’d just write a little about the stuff I’ve been working on for the game. This week we have been considering what we want the story to be and what should be the driving purpose for the player to continue playing. We got stuck for a while, but thanks to some Skype meetings and now the addition of a writer it feels like we’re rolling again. So perhaps I should say… welcome Felix!

I can write a little bit about our plans… Originally it started out as a pet game and it has morphed into an adventure game… both are pretty exciting genres for me I think and I would still like to do a pet focused game in the future! I mentioned before about the game being about using different kinds of monsters to get about the world. We’re also trying to flesh out more of a background story as well to explain what’s going on.

Ooh, we might even have some humans involved in the story... draft design for initial animation tests.

Ooh, we might even have some humans involved in the story… draft design for initial animation tests.

Art-wise, it looks like I’m going to be both indoor and outdoor scenes for the game. My secret is that I’m someone who has avoided drawing backgrounds in personal art for a very long time. Now I’m just going to have to do it, and that means I will be working hard to learn a lot of new things. The outdoor scenes are probably going to be dominated by nature, so they are probably not too intimidating for me to work on. In particular I’ve been feeling pretty nervous about the indoor scenes, because I haven’t learned enough about perspective.

So, over the past week or so I have been trying to gain a better understanding of perspective in order to make some nice backgrounds. Our group really admire the mobile game The Silent Age, and the art is really nice in that too… since our game is probably going to have a similar viewpoint I did take some inspiration from their background setups.

The Silent Age

The Silent Age

To start off learning about perspective grids and such, I first looked at some Adobe Illustrator CS6 specific videos, which I’ll link below. There are a couple of good ones which explain perspective in a really simple way which helped me get a basic understanding of perspective… For example, learning that the horizon line = eye level.

I really like the lady’s voice in this video.

After looking at the CS6 tutorials I still didn’t have that much of a grounding in perspective, but I found a really handy link, it’s here. It’s like a mini ms paint style (although I don’t think it was going for a retro MS paint look – I have a feeling it was just made absolutely ages ago) tutorial which you can go through, showing how different objects were created in a one point perspective room. It can be a bit tedious but you can skip through it if you want. Just thought I would share it because it was really surprisingly helpful for me!

Anyway progress at the moment is… Since we haven’t got the entire story down, I’ve been spending my time making little mockups in Illustrator using a one point perspective grid. I won’t add much more to the rooms though until we know more!

This is the first proper practice I had while reading the one point perspective tutorial I just linked.

This is the first proper practice I had while reading the one point perspective tutorial I just linked. Might look a bit too 3D for our flat, 2D characters to wander around in however so we will need to find a more suitable background style.

I also wanted to make a wider room, but here the horizon line/eye level is a bit high. I think for the next go I’ll try to keep up with a wider room but see how it looks with a much lower eye level.

As you all may notice from my two above attempts, I am very much a newbie when it comes to interior backgrounds. I think I learned a lot just from the tutorials on simple perspective though, and will keep studying and practising more. I’ll probably share my progress and findings too, for other people who happen to be new to stuff like this too.

I tried to publish this post about 3 times, having lost paragraphs and segments each time! Finally, let’s hope this time will work out so I can finish with this task and go do actual game design related things!

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