dinsdag 21 april 2015

Spacestation design

The final design for the spacestation. My small gameplay demo will take place within this flying spacehulk

Creating a demo


I'm creating a scene of my game. It's one of the later stages of the story. I started the day with a little pencil sketch of the spacestation where the players need to go to.

donderdag 16 april 2015

Practising space vistas





A big part of my game will take place in space. (rhymes)
So I might as well practise a bit before going into production.

Also. Johan Terink, a former colleague of mine is helping me with some html programming. We just made a very small prototype to see which interface works best.

Wrapping up research

So weeks left untill a very important green light presentation. Might as well start wrapping up my research. I'm going to give a quick summary about all sources and books that where an influence or an inspiration for my project.

Books.

Framed ink by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
A book that goes over composition and storytelling with images. I learned a lot from this book.
I talked about this in the beginning of my research phase.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
A theory book about the history and the art of comics. Written as a comic. So not only very usefull but also fun to read. The most important thing I learned from this book is Closure. The space between pictures.

Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud
Not As usefull to me as his first book but defintely an interesting perspective on the future of comic books.

Dream worlds by Hans Bacher
As a painter for Disney Hans Bacher has an incredible knowledge of storytelling with images. He shares his experiences in this book. A good read!  

Color and Light by James Gurney
The artist behind Dinotopia shares his knowledge of color and light in an easy to read and interesting way. He talks about how light behaves and how colors act in the real world. A tough subject but very useful!






 
A bunch of other artbooks which happened to be in my room.
I like to collect artbooks of games and movies. Not only are the images pretty, those books give a great insight on the design pipeline in the game and filmindustry.
 
  

Games.

The Yawhg. 
 A multiplayer storytelling game. I got the idea for my project by playing this game. I wrote a small article about it in the beginning stages of my project. 

Telltale Games
The walking dead, Game of thrones, The wolf among us. Games that use the same succesfull format. Single player rpg's where choices affect the storyline. Just like in my game. 

Pen and Paper roleplaying games.
Games like The one Ring, Pathfinder and mutants and masterminds. Choices are made individually or as a team and a throw of the dice decides the outcome of situations. One of my hobbies and some mechanics proved very useful to me.

 

 Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy
An inspiration to me because of the look and feel and the overall design of the movie. Colourful space vistas and crowded cities. Two things I really love. I looked at their design process to use for my own project. 
The Lego Movie
The story element was important for me here. Especially the switch to the real world near the ending of the film. 

The Matrix
The Matrix shows two worlds next to eachother. Things in the real world affect the fantasy world (the matrix) An idea I used for my project. 

Paultje en de draak
A short animated film about a kid battling his illness in a fantasy world. Just like my protagonists are doing. 


That's it for a short summary. I talked about most of the sources in previous posts. 
I'm of to write some more game mechanics and puzzles for my game! 
 







dinsdag 14 april 2015

Interface


About my interface. I have been trying out some formats and ratios. I'll probably go for 1080p resolution paintings. But I also need to describe those paintings and give players choices. The main point is that the text must not interfere with the images. So I decided to put the text in the top right corner.
People read from left to right so they will probably look at the image first and then at the text. And as I said. The textbox can't interfere too much with the important parts of the paintings. But painting and text have to interact with eachother somehow so I have to keep the text box in mind when I make the paintings. There shouldn't be important information on the spot where the textbox is. I have to keep that in mind when I make the composition for the paintings.

An example below



as you can see all the important stuff is happening outside of the text box. I have to keep in mind that the text needs to be readable for all players but in the end the game is about the artworks and players make choices based on what they see so the textbox shouldn't be too dominant. I think the composition above works well. Because according to the golden ratio, the focal point should be on or near one of those four intersections. The place where the textbox is is usually an empty space or a space supporting the focal point. So no vital stuff happening there. If I use those composition rules with my paintings the textbook will never interfere with the rest of the painting. The painting below is showing the Mri machine, the most important part of he painting, placed on one of the four intersections.


Some actual test shots of the game coming soon.
And to make things clear, you can't walk through the paintings. The paintings are describing the situation and players can react on that and give their own interpretation to the story, like in comic books.

Talking to people.

Last week I had two appointments. One with Jelle van Doorne, a game designer who graduated last year and with Keoken Interactive the company I did an internship with. I wanted to talk to these people about my tools, my story and gameplay.

I did my presentation to both Jelle and Keoken and they were pretty positive.
I'll try to summarize their feedback:

About the platform. Unity or Twine

Jelle suggested Unity because the programm is more versatile and in Unity I'm able to implement a score system. Where you go to a scene based on a score instead of only the choices you make. That way it's easier to incorporate more gameplay possibilities.

The guys at Keoken on the other hand suggested to use Twine. Because the story and the art are the most important thing in this game. A platform like twine is easy to easy with decent endresults. They thought that for a game prototype, Twine would be ideal.

The story part seems alright according to the people I talked to. It's just a matter of making the gameplay interesting they say. And I couldn't agree more. That's why I'm going to make some small playtests this week to play next week. Those tests would probably be small parts of my game without the artwork. Because artwork is really a production thing and takes too much time for a small test. Just to test if some situations are interesting and if players are interacting with eachother to make the choices.
As I said before choices the players make are either made individual or as a group. Making choices would be the core mechanic but I don't want to make a movie where the players just click and look at images. I want them to interact with the game and with eachother. So I have to come up with some interesting situations where I can focus on these player interactions.

About the world itself. We talked about what the world should look like and we agreed on a big thing. Since the heroes are actually children in a hospital the fantasy world shouldn't be too complicated. Simple forms en simple text. No swearing and foul language for example. And Doctors would probably speak in an incomprehensible language because children don't understand medical terms.

They also suggested that when writing the story I should come up with the end first. At this moment I have most of the situations, characters and locations in mind but the end is what it's all about. It's the climax. And there should be different endings.
The end game so far is that the players find out that they are actually in a hospital and were making up the fantasy world the whole time. The rest of the game leads up to that endgame. I think there should be different endings but we'll see how that goes.

So I'm off to write some small tests. I hope I cna come up with some nice small playtests for next week.

donderdag 9 april 2015

Possible Locations

So for my gamestory I'm going to need locations and characters. I already told about the general things that should be happening in my game.
The heroes are off to their goal but underway they are being obstructed by things happening in the real world. (surgery, family visit, dinner etc.)

I can build my locations around this idea.

So a starting point for the players would be the location where they get their spaceship and their assignment. Probably taking place in a huge office building in a city. The office where Crohner is would probably be very similar to a doctor's office.
So the city with the big office building.

The colors would be cold and a little bit hostile and intimidating.

Second we're going to need the interior of the spaceship. This is where the players spent the most time navigating and talking to eachother.

 The universe is also a location in itself. The players will be travelling from location to location through the beautifull quietness of space. Much like they do in the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. But at less improbable speed.

There will be a point when the players are hungry and the ship is out of fuel.
Therefor they will be visiting a near planet with a nice and cosy spacebar.

In the restaurant they will find out that they get hospitalfood instead of what they ordered. A visual clue for this world being a fantasy world.

From here on things get worse. The heroes get more and more clues of them being in a hospital. The doctor's are also after them, trying to take the heroes to their homeplanet. (in reality they need to undergo surgery or examination) They ultimately succeed to take over the player's ship.

That brings us to the homeworld of the bad guys, the doctors. A cold planet with big intimidating square buildings.

In the end the heroes will find out that the doctor's were only trying to help them. And that Crohner, their boss is actually the bad guy. (he is a manifestation of their illness)

Other locations based on the hospitalroom could be:

Jungles (based on plants in childrens room)
Abstract worlds based on children's drawings
Big oceans based on the ripple's in the children's bedsheets.

Still working on a more detailed version of the story.