Self Initiated Project – Example Illustration

Recently found this illustration of a house that I found relatively interesting in my research. It displays the various levels within a house in contrast to its exterior counterpart and how everything is condensed within the architecture. Potentially could use this a benchmark for adapting my house to fit an exterior shape, although it isn’t particularly of importance at present.

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Self Initiated Project: Initial Sketches/Ideas

Knowing that I want to build a 3D model of a house and what I briefly want to have the layout to be, I set about mocking up a quick sketch of what I’m currently visualising to be the house that I want to base this game inside. Seeing as I want this to be for a game about survival and using your instincts and spatial awareness to gain the upper-hand against an opponent, I wanted the environment to reflect the tight spacing that an ordinary house would afford in stealth based scenarios. This would mean that the level would thus have to give the player multiple routes and possibilities through these narrow spaces.

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I started off with this quick sketch of the lower floor. It’s divided into 4 sections: The living room, the hallway, the kitchen and the garage. The kitchen will house the main exit point for the player to strive towards, this room is only accessible from the living room. The living room will provide multiple routes through for the player and will have a hostile situated within it to be a barrier to success for the player, obviously as this is primarily an environmental project as far as the primary objective goes it’s still worthwhile to note where the antagonists elements will be situated when it comes down to that section of the project further afield. The hallway will be the ‘quiet zone’ for the player, for them to catch their breath and attempt to escape through the front door (Of which will be a stumbling block for the player as they fail in attempting to open it), the hallway also leads to the second floor.

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On the second floor, it comprises of two bedrooms and an ensuite bathroom. I haven’t finalised any ideas just yet, but I was thinking of telling a story utilising the environment and trying to show why there’s another bedroom and of whom it belongs to in relation to the protagonist, i.e a child or other relative. Then the question would be, “Why is the child not there?”, of which will be explain through various objects and interactable things within the environment.

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Moving on, this was a very brief idea I had for the front of the house and by “very brief”, I mean very brief. Although it doesn’t essentially matter too much about the exterior of the house as the interior is the priority, I wanted to highlight and have a building that wasn’t symmetrical and stood out architecturally (I didn’t particularly do a good job of that with this sketch but the idea is there). For those that can’t read my writing or can’t see because of the image/camera quality, I’ll recant the annotations in bullet points below;

  • Windows designed to be big enough for the player to jump out of?
  • Possibly the addition of a front porch. This would then require more extensive design on the exterior of the house.
  • More potential for architectural curvature to make the building more defined and stand out more.

Self Initiated Project – Gone Home Research

When looking into games that fit this specific type of project, the one game that jumped out at me was one that I had previously looked at in a previous module in a different context, Gone Home. An Indie game created by The Fullbright Company, is a game that is essentially exploring a house. Although not on par with the concept of my project being that it’s a stealth game and not an exploration game, its environment and level design is notable as a recent piece that is relevant to the primary objective of the project and thus is potentially influential in helping me decide on the final design for the level. The other thing to note, of which is why I selected to re-discuss this game, is that it is made in Unity, the engine I intend on creating my level within.

Here we have a screenshot from the game that depicts a bedroom. The primary launching point from the concept of my project is that it starts within the players bedroom and leads on from there as the player discovers why their house is being invaded but also trying to stay alive. The reason I decided to show this screenshot in-particular is because of how easily it is to display life and storytelling within a level just from the items on screen. Whether or not I could replicate something of this visual fidelity within my allotted semester time span given how many rooms I have to cover, is another issue that may reduce the quality overall but won’t impact the end result too much.

I included this one as a reference point for how I want to intend to produce the lighting within the level. Scenic and horror-movie esque that visually intensifies the situation. Now it’s a similar situation in both games that it’s based at night in order to provide that element of mystery, although with my intended project I do intend on having most lighting off within the level which isn’t particularly an easy thing for the player as they need to see where they are going so I’m sure I can negotiate some source of lighting within my level somewhere.

These two are reference for how populated the level could become in terms of assets, I’m not particularly sure on how many assets I want to create for the level as my main concern is the level itself but without assets it wouldn’t particularly be representative of an actual house if nothing was present.

Lastly, this image is a screenshot from within Unity that the developers had taken during development. It may not seem like much but when it comes to designing the level it’ll help me immensely when it comes to designing how each floor and room will be designed and put together in Unity.

For those wondering, the RockPaperShotgun article that discusses Gone Home more in depth in its prereleased form, can be found here.

Self Initiated Project – Floor Plan Research

In order to gain a greater understanding of the type of floor plan I want to go with and how I want to best set the level out, I thought it best to look into pre-existing floor plans. A few examples I pulled are ones that caught my eye for their complexity and general unique architectural properties.

This one particularly caught me eye because of the potential routes that could be used throughout the layout for the player to evade the trespassers. Although the intensity of the situation would be lost on a house of that size.

Although nice to have reference for the exterior side of the house, I don’t think that I will be using any exterior reference for the final product as I don’t intend on creating the exterior elements of the house within this project. The reason for this is that as the primary game element is within the house and the end goal is to reach the outside, time wouldn’t be best afforded to something that would be visible for mere seconds upon completion of the game and that then depends on whether or not I have the capacity to complete the project up until the point of which it has function as a game and requires that end scenario.

Looking over these floor plans has made me come to the decision that despite this game needing a relatively large amount of room to operate as a stealth game, I don’t think a mansion-type building would suffice to allow the player to feel like this was a home instead of a massive structure. If anything I may try to mesh some of the room structures and placements from these floor plans with my own personal intuition on what may be best to be suited in specific locations, and knowledge of my current housing situation and its architectural properties.

Self Initiated Project: Initial Ideas/Proposals

For the beginning of the semester, we were tasked with conceptualizing 3 game/content ideas that would supplement and span the entirety of this semester. The idea behind this is that with own ingenuity we; plan, research, produce and evaluate all of the work we do, but this time stemming from our own personal understanding of how to initialize and manage a project. When approaching my personal ideas, I knew that I wanted to move on from using previous software applications and move onto using actual 3D software to enhance my personal development. With this, I decided on Unity as being the primary deciding factor on what type of game I was going to conceptualize.

The following are my ideas/proposals for the module;

#1 – Platformer

You play as a malfunctioning Television that is desperately trying to restart itself before you are discarded forever by your owner. In order to stop your impending doom, you must voyage through your internal circuitry and traverse through the hordes of iconic television moments that you and your owner have shared, in order to find your power source and restart yourself.

™Taking on a side view perspective (Potential for having a third person perspective on other Television shows), the game plays similarly to any platformer. The difference with this game, is that the Television in question takes the form of the protagonist of the television show you are voyaging through. This can mean that the gameplay can go from being a platforming shoot-em up, to a platforming brawler, to simply being a regular platformer.

#2 – Stealth Survival

Awaking in the middle of the night, you begin hearing noises and realise that your home is being invaded for reasons unbeknownst to you. Unarmed and lacking in fighting skill, you must traverse your house and decide what you want to do; silently avoid the armed trespassers and escape or attempt to deal with them.

The game will be first person perspective, in order to draw into the immersion factor of said perspective and to heighten the intensity of the situation. It will predominantly be without combat for the most part, which will only take the form of silently disposing of enemies if the player so wishes (For this the player must find objects that promote hostility, which would be something along the lines of a knife or anything that could be used to cause harm), although they can avoid doing this all together and attempt escaping without bloodshed. Enemies will shoot on sight and are linked with a narrative aspect of wanting to kill the player, so there is little chance for the player to escape after being seen. The player can interact with most things in the environment and use them to their advantage, for instance; making noise within a certain room or leaving a light on, in order to snare some enemies into one spot, to make escaping marginally easier.

#3 – Action-Adventure Game

You play as two anthropomorphic co-workers on the run from their former employers. As a result of a company experiment gone wrong, they attained the ability to combine into one, an asset your former employers didn’t want to lose so quickly. This form however, can only be sustained for as long as they can co-operate, which isn’t long.

The game will be in a third person perspective and the combat will vary between the protagonists. One will only have the ability to use only ranged weapons that they would require aid in close quarters from the other, and the other protagonist would only have the ability to use melee based combat, so the symbiotic effect of teamwork would be prevalent throughout. Obviously then, when they combine they then have the ability of using ranged and melee based combat in support of one another. The idea is for this game to be somewhat similar to that of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons that has two protagonists being operated (with a controller) using the two thumb-sticks  or have a Dragon Age type party system that has either a co-op partner or AI take the role of the protagonist that the player isn’t using.

Film Production – 1 Minute Narrative Video: Main Ideas

Rough Times

A narrative exploring the complexities of surviving through a zombie apocalypse. The film would be shot in the dark and would only be taking an inference to the zombie horror in terms of narrative context. It’s specifically a narrative of the struggles the protagonist will face, not issuing direct screen-time with any ‘zombie’ foes. The film could possibly end with the protagonist dropping the camera in an attempt to flee a zombie, which is an idea within this realm being considered.

Super Powered?

A short narrative where an average protagonist wakes up and discovers he has a superpower. Going through the moral dilemmas of not being able to tell anybody that could jeopardize the secret and also juggling controlling said abilities. More of a narrative to highlight the comical aspects of superpowered individuals, so it would be likely that the protagonist have an insufferably terrible power, such as; Being able to shoot lightning out of your hands but every time you do it’s a weak variant of the power and it burns your hand, or something of that accord. Obviously the effects would be shot in Adobe After Effects to better capture the essence needed.

End of The Road

A comical narrative to portray the annoying factor of using an old laptop. The premise came around because i myself have a laptop that is no longer use-able and i have recently upgraded, so i saw fit to utilize this as an opportunity to ‘appropriately’ dispose of it. The protagonist would go through the trials of; using the laptop, the machine freezes causing the protagonist to hurl verbal abuse at the machine, the protagonist would then threaten the machine with violence and would initiate a flashback scene, the scene would include him and the laptop in the happier times of their lives, he would then yield and accept the laptop back into his life, moments after the laptop would BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), the film would then jump cut to a shot of the protagonist hitting the laptop with a blunt object and enjoying the spoils of a new laptop or PC.

Character Concept #1: Game-Play Ideas

Game-play Concept Ideas

To integrate this character into a game-play perspective i thought of a number of concepts that could work for how this character operates:

  • Third-Person Perspective
  • Due to the narrative aspect of powers not being able to efficiently multitask, the idea arose that the character switch ‘Modes’ between Flight and Walking/Hovering.
  • Weapon-wise, it isn’t essentially an easy task to decipher what kind of combat route the game would take. Taking the concept of Psionic Energy ‘Hand Blasters’ would be the only ranged combat option that disregards the characters inability for vigorous melee combat.
  • HUD (Heads up Display) I was thinking that there would be a ‘Concentration’ meter implemented that would measure the concentration of the protagonist against how much ‘Chaotic’ behaviour was going on around him. If the meter drops below a certain point, the powers cease working. Causing players to think about flying into specific areas to retain abilities or stop themselves falling mid-flight.
  • Having a character who can fly and speeds such as this, it would be important to either limit the speed he can go as a narrative point such as “Character gets an onset headache if going to quickly” or expanding the size of the level to ensure maximum potential free-roam but limiting the player to the map because of “Military or Rhombus presence”
  • The enemy presence within the game can take the form of Rhombus members and associates. Additionally the Shaman’s minions can be an enemy that begins emerging as the player progresses through the narrative.