Thursday, 27 September 2012

Project decided

So it is official, my project will be to design a MOBA game in the same vein as League of legends or Dota. I will be designing the actual mechanics of the game in a small concept document in order to detail the restrictions the game characters will have on them mechanics wise. I will need to detail things like what kind of world this game takes place in and how the arena mechanics and layout works. 

I am going to be designing 5 characters that would feature in this game; they will each fulfil one of the game roles such as mage, tank or support role. Each character will also have a biography and an image of the environment they came from, whether they are from a city or an alien jungle. 

I will explore methods of creating characters, specifically three methods. 1) Design the characters visuals and have story and gameplay come after, 2) write a story about lore of the character and have the gameplay and visuals develop from that, and 3) create a gameplay design and have the visuals and story develop from that.
At the end of the project I will be able to evaluate each method and determine which if any are more beneficial than the others.

This is an example of character concept art from League of legends.
Swan2Swan, (2012) YAAAAAAAAY, Tumbler. Retrieved from

This is a recent addition to the league of legends roster, Diana was conceived through narrative relation to another character in the roster, a character called Leona. There was lots of development to lead up to this final design and my characters will require this too. However something like this would be what to expect of the final character design display. There will also be a small paragraph about the characters lore and an environmental piece to give some visual context and to improve my environmental art skills.

The outcomes of this project will be to have a blog detailing my progress throughout the project, a document to show all of my design and development work and finally a well presented booklet to showcase the game and it’s characters, almost like a small art book and intro to the game.

Once i have finalized my project plan i will post it here too.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

New thoughts

I've been thinking about the project and I've become more interested in the MOBA game project idea, though with more depth. I am still interested in asking about the small game design idea but i have also though of ways to incorporate the use of my design into a mainly 2D focused project.
The idea is essentially to design a new MOBA game, not actually build it but just design one. Most of what makes a MOBA game great is the characters, games like DOTA 2 and League of legends have vast amounts of diverse and unique characters for players to use. My MOBA game would probably not stray too far from the standards you would expect form a game in the same genre as most of my design work will be about the characters and how they work in game. Most MOBA games characters have four abilities and a basic attack, i would then be able to design characters through methods like gameplay ideas, story ideas (character or even based on their homeland) or create characters and then design the best gameplay that would work for them.

I think creating a game like this from scratch could give me a good amount of freedom to explore and improve my 2D artwork and try my hand at designing for a style game i previously haven't worked on.
As far as how this would be useful for me, i have always like coming up with stories and building a history for games and their characters. Although i may be being slightly optimistic, getting a job at a company like RIOT games, the creators of League of legends would be a great job. If not, MOBA games are quickly becoming one of the most popular genres on the market and more studios and working on them for future releases.
Past this i could also design my own arena map where the game takes place, these are usually mirrored to make it fair to both teams. Even so there are a lot of balancing issues and tactics that need to be thought of in order to create a good design. I also though of actually making the arena, not playable but as a kind of scene. this may be too much if not balanced and would likely be left as just extra supplementary work to do if i have time.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Early Beginnings

First day back at uni and the questions about what to do for my honours project begin. I did give it some thought prior to the start of my final year but it seems like my previous idea may either be too much for me or lacking in a major discipline to focus on, such as 2D art or 3D art. I do know i don't want to make my project 3D focused as i don't really enjoy 3D modelling and i know it's not what i want to do as a job.

My initial idea was to create a small game prototype consisting of maybe just a tutorial level, in this game i would experiment with creating methods of game play design and conveying information to the player such as in a tutorial. This was because i find most tutorials in games to be quite lazy, they generally consist of a wall of text instructing the player or a voice over instructing the player. They are very heavy handed and lack luster techniques that break immersion and ruin the illusion of the game. Now i am well aware that scope is a large factor in any project and as i am not that experienced in UDK and have zero experience with programming the game i would make would be extremely basic with the only real mechanics being along the lines of moving jumping and basic trigger based interaction, easily accomplished through Kismet. Doing this would allow me to experiment with designs using themes in the way that studios like "That Game Company" (the creators of Flow, Flower and Journey) do. That game company do very basic gameplay experiences in order to create thoughtful mechanics around themes.

One of the things i learned recently was from a web show called Extra credits where they dissect and discuss  elements of game design. The episode was about using mechanics as metaphors. Now i wouldn't be able to follow something like this all the way through since i can't program, i may be able to do a simple and manageable version of it. I will discuss it with my new design tutor. If making an actual small game prototype like this is deemed too much then i would inquire about just doing the design work. My issue with that is with eh presentation aspect of the project. At the end of the year this project will be displayed in a show and i can't figure out how you could display a game design without something playable.

My other option is to do a primarily 2D art focused project. I started out on this course with the intention of being a concept artist, i knew how difficult it was to get into but i enjoyed drawing characters. I figured i would grow as an artist, and although i have improved my skill in some areas i still feel that i am not capable of becoming a concept artist due to my lack of natural skill and my inability to create good art in any area but character design. I am very unlikely to get a job as just a character artist and this project is supposed to be about what will get me a job.
However if i was to do 2D for this project my favorite idea so far has been to do something along the lines of designing characters for a MOBA game such as League of Legends or Dota. I play League of legends frequently and always follow their champion spotlight blogs and videos. These show the processes that the developers Riot Games go through in order to create their incredibly varied and unique characters. Riot seem to have 3 main ways they like to create characters. 1) From a narrative 2) From a gameplay idea 3) Design a character first and then have story and gameplay follow. I enjoy making characters and this would help me shocase my skills, expand my designs methods and through character development i would be able to expand into working on other design areas outside of just character art, things such as weapon designs, vehicle designs and environment designs. This would also allow me to fulfill my interest in gameplay design as the characters would need to ad hear to the gameplay rules in such games. This may be limiting or it may be just the right amount for a focus and theme, i will have to inquire in my next lesson.