Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Post the Tenth

Date: Wednesday 26 March, 2008
Started: 2:40 PM
Finished: 2:54 PM

Argh, delayed again! Oh well.

I might as well begin with the week-gone-by. Didn't have a lot to do myself, although Roger did show us a presentation on how individuals see and analyse the world differently due to personal values, beliefs, etc, and how we should learn to "know what we don't know". Rhys also gave us a rundown on the first phase of project development (I now refuse to use the forced acronym), and there was much discussion on the matter of gameplay mechanics, in the sense of things such as weapon functionality and enemy AIs. Dan (and a couple of others, I believe) have been doing some in-game testing in this department with CounterStrike, working out just how realistic the weapon mechanics are going to be (with iron-sighting and shooting from the hip being preferred over the classic crosshair mode), and testing to see which AIs are going to be used for what. I'd do some testing myself, but I don't actually own CounterStrike yet… must save money for more than CDs and books…

On my front, I'm still working on concepts, one of which is an alternate Oxen design based on some suggestions from Rhys. I'm not going to tell what these suggestions are yet, but you'll see sooner or later. I'm also going to see about getting a concept for a player character done up, and some architectural sketches for the first level or two. I'm finding it a tad hard to get motivated due to the Easter break, but I should be able to manage.

Found some working Wacom drivers on the Asia-Pacific section of the Wacom site… I really should have looked beyond the U.S. site before. This driver version comes with a couple of extra things too, which I'll probably play around with for a bit once I can bring the tablet home.

Anyway, I am off.

- N.

Call an optimist, she's turning blue…

EDIT: Have done some research into things such as all the Orange Box and the source engine, Steam and Garry's Mod… now I have a much better idea of what's being utilised to create our game.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Post the Ninth

Date: Sunday 16 March, 2008
Started: 6:57 PM
Finished: 7:28 PM

Urgh, been putting this update off for two days. Been feeling a bit lazy recently, have to watch out for that.

Anyway, on Thursday, we finally moved into our new workstation, with many thanks to Rhys for getting it cleaned up beforehand. It's quite the ideal environment, with only two other groups in the same room, a lot of open space, and a few desks here-and-there - I can already imagine the nerdly gatherings that are bound to take place in that room, especially since we may also be getting a coffee machine in there (not a big coffee fan myself… might have to reprogram myself there, since it's a fact that all adults like coffee or tea, and I'm eighteen in less than four months). We even have a computer for group use, which we have managed to get some success with in terms of maintaining a stable internet connection (although I'm not sure exactly how much success, as I was quickly distracted by Dan's designing of the "death truck"). Other than that, there was not much in terms of advancement during that lesson, as Rhys, Nick Kerr and I ended up launching a crusade to discover the identity of one "MorbidAngel", with success (as there was nothing left to do at the time, plain and simple).

On my front, I'm about to start working on some more conceptual sketches, which, from what I can tell, are going to be some alternate designs for the mutants that I've already made sketches for, as well as some sketches for the half-mutants, and, when I'm given the heads-up, some sketches for environments. Over the past day or so, I've been learning how to make seamless textures (invaluable for site design and 3D texturing) and rust patterns (for the site texturing) in Photoshop. and I am planning to look into even more Photoshop-related knowhow, for when we begin work on the custom layout. I'm also going to get around to investigating CSS soon, and am going to look into the details of 3D models and Photoshop along with Todd, as soon as the time comes.

Oh, and I ran into an issue recently - I can't seem to get the Wacom drivers to work on this computer, and have not been able to find any functional 32bit drivers for Vista on the Wacom site. Either I'm going to have to look beyond the official site, or I just won't be able to use a tablet from home.

For now, I'm out. Going to go and get me some hamburgers.

- N.

I must keep reminding myself of this…

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Post the Eighth

Date: Wednesday 12 March, 2008
Started: 10:44 AM
Finished: [Missing from the Wikidot version, it seems... according to Wikidot's post info, it was 11:05 AM]

Hey all,

I'm back from my long weekend of long weekendingness, and I bring with me my treasured conceptual arts, for your viewing pleasure.


The first is what I think we're calling a "Weasel" (well, it hasn't been superceded by anything else, to my knowledge), which is basically a scrawny, (more) stupid, faster version of the standard Sheep. I was originally looking at making something more decrepit and hunched-over (similar in posture to either the Hungers from TES: Morrowind, or the upcoming Bloodletter models for Warhammer), but I decided to just make a more gaunt, feral version of the Sheep instead, since the pose can really be worked out in the later stages. I imagine these guys to have a "down-on-all-fours"-style hunting pose, almost like they're always ready to pounce.


Now we have the Oxen, the enormous, slow brutes. Probably standing between two and three metres tall, things such as fantasy ogres and trolls helped me to get a grasp on the proportions, whilst I once again looked at ramshackle, sci-fi improvised armour in order to get an idea of what sort of protection this guy would have. Dan originally suggested using a car door as chest armour, as well as using a sign (with concrete slab included) as a melee weapon - I think it was meant to be a stop sign originally, but I elected for it to be a disabled sign, because, if you survived an attack from this guy, it'd really just be adding insult to injury.


And, also, the Shepherd concept again… with the topknot, because Kodie liked it.

Well, that's me done for now. Peace out.

- N.

Vicariously, I live while the whole world dies…

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Post the Seventh

Date: Sunday 9 March, 2008
Started: 2:35 AM
Finished: 3:04 AM

Please forgive for the overdue update, I've been feeling exhausted, and still am…

Thursday was yet another advancement in the field of level design, with work continuing on the layout of the second level (now incorporating an industrial complex, with one factory mapped out in detail). The group's first "video diary" entry was also produced during the afternoon's IM lesson, with Kodie venturing around the room and obtaining some first-hand information from the group members, concerning what we have done, are doing and will be doing in the future. Despite being camera-shy, I gave some information into my involvement in the group, with particular emphasis on my conceptual work, as well as my inspiration and my technique. I didn't really elaborate on my involvement in level design though, as I felt that this would be satisfactorily covered by Todd and Dan.

Behind the scenes, conceptual work continues as usual, although I have been delayed slightly due to the fact that I am currently juggling work from four pre-tertiary subjects at once. However, with the long weekend, I am planning to work on some more concept art, and have already been looking into reference material in the form of urban, inner-city architectural designs, for when my artistic prowess is turned towards the aesthetics of level design. I have also gained access to Adobe Photoshop at home, which means that I will now have much more flexibility in terms of where I can work on things such as textures and site design (and perhaps even digital conceptual art, if colour is required in the future). Now, I'm all set for when the texturing process starts, as I now possess the drivers for the college's Wacom tablets, and have arranged with Roger to be able to use the tablet outside of college, both for Interactive Media and Art Production.

Turns out that we may have, after much debate, settled on a name for our project - originally suggested comically by Andrew, "The Project" has now been accepted by a number of members of our group, as well as myself. After all, I find that sometimes the simplest of things have a much more pleasing effect overall than titles constructed from elaborate jargon.

Now, before I go to bed (going into Hobart later, which may be a chance to look at some architecture for future reference), I must drag my eyes away from these gruesome conceptual sketches by John Blanche, and concentrate on my own…

- N.

Punishment is sure for those who dare to cross the line…

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Post the Sixth

Date: Tuesday 4 March - Wednesday 5 March, 2008
Started: 11:43 PM
Finished: 12:11 AM

Me again… just noticed that the date for the last entry was wrong, and fixed it. But that's not the point.

Today, in Interactive Media, we viewed a presentation on how to structure project submissions (essentially, our brief). I must say that I found the tips on structuring the submission to be quite interesting and informative, especially in the usage of serif and sans serif fonts (being the linguaphile I am), and the placement of images and text. I have already started to implement this in other areas, namely a similar piece that I have been asked to put together for Art. This has proven to me that things such as Dirk's tips can easily be carried over into other subjects.

With our group meeting today, level design was a big factor, yet again, although the sub-group set up for this field went, essentially, out the window, as just about all of us, including mineself, got heavily involved in the process, with much enthusiasm. The first two levels were mapped out, and the enemy encounters for the second were worked out by Dan and I (as well as an idea for something of a homage to the underlying, lowbrow humour in games such as Duke Nukem, in the form of a boarded-up establishment named "Stuie's Bar", nestled down an alleyway… it can't all be serious, eh?). The level plans were drawn up on the whiteboard, as well as on computer, thanks to a handy device that Dirk let us use, named the Mimio. Some of the others investigated embedding code into the website, which I don't think was too successful, given the glaring error messages in the lower half of the main page.

Also, CSS code, and website design, were briefly discussed by myself, The Todd and Andrew. Todd and I agreed that the site layout will be a collaborative effort in terms of both visual and code work - this will help overall, as this gives evidence of us having a part in art, website design and coding.

Before I head off, I must say that I have been rather awed by Kodie's log entries, as his blow-by-blow analysis of most of the meetings (aided by the fact that he's the one who compiles the "Meeting Minutes" notes) and other relevant subject matter gives a good idea of the progression of our group and the as-of-yet unchristened project (which I wish to possibly dub "Project 9264" as a working title, although the others are heavily opposed for… a reason or two), whilst also helping me to get a good idea of his views and mindset on the matter of the project.

Well, now I'm off. It's past midnight, and I have to get up at 6:30. Well, at least I have a double free line in the morning.

Stuie's Bar, for the win. "Dawg".

- N.

Learn to swim, learn to swim…

Monday, March 3, 2008

Post the Fifth

Date: Monday 3 March, 2008
Started: 9:22 AM
Finished: 9:29 AM

Hoping you'll excuse my rushed Photoshop work, here's another concept, this time of a mutant "Shepherd" with an SMG (NOT A BOLTER!).


I was going to put in an alternate head design, with bandages and some sort of night vision or UV filter headset, but didn't get around to it. This guy also had a topknot before I scanned it in, but the guys and I didn't like it, so I Photoshopped it out.

I decided to go for a kind of ramshackle, "rambo-militia" look for this guy, considering he's at the top of the pecking order, and would probably have access to all of the best wargear. The SMG he's holding is not going to be one of the in-game guns, but is based heavily on an Arsenal "Shipka" SMG, discovered in the cyberspacial realm that is the Google Image database (same with the images I used as references for the looted bulletproof vest). Some innovative ideas of mine included the creation of armoured gloves by attatching steel plates to work gloves with studs, producing makeshift chainmail by fixing rings of industrial chain to ragged leather, and the use of vehicle armour plates, beaten into shape, as pauldrons and hip-shields (inspired by the armour and imagery of Games Workshop's Orks, as seen here). Particular attention was paid to the face, as this, when exposed, is a great way to explore the ugly, twisted nature of the mutants.

Anyway, I have work to do, so I'll have to log off.

- N.

There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away…

EDIT: Did a little more 'shopping on the image and re-uploaded it.

[Roger] Artwork looks fantastic! And great journal posts as well…

[Nick] Why, thank you. I'm just glad I'm not filling it with spam.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Post the Fourth

Date: Saturday 1 March, 2008
Started: 1:31 AM
Finished: 2:04 AM

Took me seven hours to get on here tonight, because my brother and his friend were using the computer. Well, now I'm listening to Radiohead's "Karma Police", I'm absolutely exhausted, and I'm going to sit down and write up a blog entry.

Thursday's IM lesson, despite only being a single period, was a surprisingly important one, with the group uniting to discuss the various guns that were to be used in the game (some of them anyway, in accordance with Rhys' ever-important P.H.A.S.E. system). Whilst this was originally little more than most of the guys squabbling over what guns to include, this discussion eventually evolved into writing up the list of the guns that were to be included in P.H.A.S.E. 1 of development. And, as a result of this, the most significant (I would think) movements in the plot and level design departments were eventually made, in that we actually got to actually discussing the in-game plot and level design in detail (ending up with a somewhat rough outline of the layout and progression of the first level, as well as an idea of who the player characters are supposed to be). As mentioned by Mister Ludeke in his log, another of my conceptual sketches also surfaced, although in WIP form (the finished version will most likely find its way to this page on Monday), although I think it may have to be completed before appraisal and criticism can truly be made.

However, the biggest thing to come out of this meeting was the separation of group members in terms of plot design, with Dan, Andrew, Todd and Rhys focusing on plot development (although the final decisions will be made by the group at large), and Dan and Todd focusing on level design. I have also been (unofficially, for the time being) made a script-writer (the one who makes the mutants go "Arg"), as well as possibly being a candidate for voicing characters (although this was most likely a comedic implication based on my zombie rasps the other day). Andrew, Nick Kerr and I are also going to be working on background music (although we're currently not sure if that will actually make it in there… depends on how much we get done), with me requesting to help with drumming and composition. Enthusiastic as we are, Nick Kerr and I have already been experimenting with musical compositions for the game in our guitar tab programs… I think that I might as well try and learn more musical scales to make myself less restricted. And, seeing as how I've been offered a possible drummer postion in a band sometime in the future by a friend of mine, it may help to build on my natual drum talent and look into getting lessons when I have the time for it.

Roger also complimented me on my rather expansive Twitter activity log (I think he meant Twitter? That was where he left the message…) yesterday (although I only saw the notification a little while ago). Makes me feel glad that I'm not just spamming on there like some people probably are. I'll also have to check with Todd about Photoshop and 3D models soon, so that I know what I'm in for (although I already have a fair idea). Somehow, despite the obvious threat of exhausting amounts of work looming in the distance, I have a strong feeling that this project is going to be a very rewarding process for me… and fun, too.

Anyway, I'm not sure how much of this is actually making sense, since I'm very tired. So, I'll be signing off for the night.

- N.

And, now for the obligatory Tool quote…

Why can't we not be sober, I just want to start this over…