‘Casual’ Game Concept #1: Research

When looking at this project, i knew that for a casual game this concept would have to be fairly basic. So i immediately came up with the idea of a side scroller, and from here the notion of a vehicle being used became a focal point for research and development.

Instantly i thought of the bus concept i created for a tutorial session in another lesson and thought that would be a great premise for conceptualizing the game.

Here is said concept image from a previous tutorial:

If you wish to see said tutorial, click here

PShopBusAttempt1

From this concept, i began to visualize what i wanted the casual game to be and the setting. The image presented to me, the visualization of a desert and from this the first location that sprang to mine was the Nevadan Desert surrounding Las Vegas. So from here, i began to research what the Nevada Desert actually looks like to get a greater feel of what i’m trying to replicate.

NevadaDesert1

NevadaDesert2

These pictures gave me more of the interpretation that the scene would be barren with only distant scenery in prominence yet, have a warm vibrant with a near dusk sunlight radiating the scene.

Coinciding with this, i took the initiative in another tutorial about Perspectives, 3D Shapes and Contours (link) and began crafting a brief concept image. It started off in the tutorial as a regular rectangle to perspective, the more shape it took the more it reminded me of the game concept i had been envisioning, so it used this to began plotting ideas. When the idea of contours arose within the session i began crafting said contour onto the rectangle, and as the rectangle began to take shape as a bus i was struck by inspiration as the contour free-formed image resembled similarly to a Cactus. Thus resulted in this sketch;

BusConcept

From here i went to researching what the Bus and Cactus would look like in a real life situation to get a better sense of what i’m attempting to incorporate into the game.

Cactus1Cactus2
Bus1
Bus1

 

From this research i utilized, i took to using the main premises of how each individual asset would look like but instead of creating realistic version of their real life counterparts, i’m instead opting for creating vector graphic imagery as a more ‘cartoonish’ feel to more target towards my casual audience and be better effective in its appeal.

Photoshop Concept Art #1: First Attempts

Within a tutorial i was shown by one of the tutors ways in which to use Photoshop more easily to create quick concepts. Coupled with learning the basic functions, the tutorial was centered primarily around distorting imagery for beneficial purposes, this is achieved by using tools such as; Burn, Heal, Lasso, Dodge and Polygonal Lasso, with additional tips on how to use Hue and Saturation Adjustments for better effect.

PShopBoat

Here was my first attempt, i generally never used Photoshop in any prior concepts before so this was pretty new to me. For a first attempt i’m generally happy with how it came out. Looking back on it, i would’ve been a lot sharper with the execution of using the tools now i know what to do. I mistakenly used the Burn and Heal tools in this to create these image without the realization they were tools primarily for distortionary purposes like shading.

PShopBusAttempt1

Here was my second attempt. I tried to incorporate some freehand perspective into the concept by making it seem it was on a road going off into the distance but as you can see it was abundantly clear i had a lot to learn. I was generally content with the image, i tried to capture a bus travelling down a desert road near to dusk and used the tools available to do so. I was inspired by the lighting at the front of the bus by something i’d seen years ago on Art Attack i believe, it was were the presenter took a black sheet of paper and instead of drawing the image he would only draw the parts of the image where the light would hit it. I tried to get that effect, yet the scene wasn’t sufficiently under-lit to achieve this so i attempted to effect on the rays of light protruding from the front section of the bus.

Overall, i can see the use for Photoshop when it comes to future projects. Obviously i’m going to have to work on refining my skills in order to better convey concepts but it’s a start.

‘Casual’ Game Concept #1: Bus Run: Alien Armageddon

Description
A 2D side scroller that takes you on a perilous journey through the Nevada desert in an attempt to stop an alien invasion.

Plot
An alien that resembles a Cactus has crash landed on Earth with the intent of destroying it by stripping the planet of it’s natural resources. You are a school bus driver from Las Vegas. And unfortunately for you, this deadly foe has crash landed on your bus. To save the world you must find the fabled Area 51, avoid the evil minions besieging their masters call and stop it from implanting onto the ground.

Audience
Taking into consideration the lack of violence that can be implemented into a side scrolling driving simulation where the player has to avoid object and enemies, and the childlike nature to the theme of the game, i would have to consider the audience to be around the ages of 7-15.

Game-play
The game itself will be a 2D side-scrolling game with potentially 3D elements. The object of the game is to avoid miscellaneous items onscreen to make it to the end of the level. Although it is a casual game, there does need to be some level of challenge to make the game interesting. The idea then is to implement collectible gas canisters that increase a steadily decreasing gas bar. The buttons themselves will be easy to use as the only ones necessary are for navigation.

Casual Game criteria
Typically, casual games have no set definition. The games themselves are occasionally defined by the types of players that play them. So when approaching conceptualizing a casual game the only individual of whom can effectively give you a purposeful criteria is yourself in this instance. Here is my brief take on how to define a casual game:

  • How strenuous is it? – Being a ‘strenuous’ game would indicate a level of complexity and/or commitment a player would have to uphold to play it. A casual game therefore can simply be defined as how a casual gamer themselves would operate. For instance, a casual gamer is an individual of whom has or spends less time playing games and so therefore casual gamers for the most part would look for games that can be played in moderation with less strenuous implications. That isn’t to say that these casual games couldn’t be played on a ‘Hardcore’ basis it just determines the type of game itself.
  • How therefore is the game i’m conceptualizing a casual game? – In itself the game is essentially a small-scale side scroller that’s designed to be a Flash game. There’s a lack of complexity to it because there would only be the navigational buttons required to use it.

Initial Sketch