Digital Design Studio II: Hamlet

Here is the finished prototype:







Digital Design Studio II: Final Week for Game Design

It brings me great relief to know that this assignment is over. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks neglecting the current assessments of this semester in favor of completing this game. Callum and I finished the level design with the assets we collected and I finished coding in the collection system. Its at this point where both of the other members of the team have decided that they need to contribute in order to pass this course and personally this annoys me more than if they had just continued to ignore the assessment like they have done for the last 10 weeks. Its too late to mess around with the game to add their contributions in. Conrad however has given us a game poster and hopefully a small storyboard poster which I asked for. I will not be compromising the final game this close to subsumption for the latest assets I have (still in question) received.

Without the models arriving on time there is simply no need for me to attempt to fix the dialog code which never worked properly in the first place.

Digital Design Studio II: Auckland Live Presentation

The morning before the presentation it was apparent that our “game” was not up to scratch. Callum and I spent the morning fixing errors so that the game would actually run, then tried to make the game look as good as possible. We used a skybox to add some dynamic lighting to the scene which helped a lot with the presentation. Then we started adding placeholder characters. The other two members of the group were less than helpful and I’m inclined just to throw them under the bus at this point. Its too late for them to start on this project and I’m no longer willing to give them the chance to help out.

As for the presentation itself, they seemed happy with our work and they liked how good the game looked. It would be good for people to come and watch as well as play around with for 5 min in the intermission.

Digital Design Studio II:

With the deadline for the game more or less moved to this Monday, I needed to rush to get more work done on this project. I’ve been focusing on getting our level design finished with Callum. I’ve had no contact or updates with the other members of the group. All that is left for the level design is some final touch ups and misc items dotted around the streets and the terrain texture.

Attempting to open a USB copy of the game on the university computers resulted in the project taking 2 hours to open. When it did finally open, the files were mostly broken and slow.

The entire project will have to be done on Callum’s laptop.

Digital Design Studio II: Modeling Horatio

I figured with Callum working on the level design, it would be easier for me to get some models done for the game, primarily, for the characters. I’ve done some modeling before but not in a professional capacity. I did not really understand topology and its effect on animation and rigging until recently thanks to Hazel. I started working with new software, ZBrush because its something I really want to do more of but I will admit I was very confused and still am, by the controls and features of the program. Nevertheless, after 4 days of solid work I created my 3D model for Horatio, the mentor.

The Base body:

Using the image below, I started work on creating Horatio’s slim, decrepit form.

Original concept art I created for Horatio


After the base was done, I made the shirt and jacket by extracting the base mesh and editing it.


From here I started work on pants and accessories like his belt, bag and glasses.



There is still a lot of work to be done like rigging, animating and of course texturing and I’m starting to worry about the time constraints. I have lost contact with all of my group except Callum so I’m thinking I’ll need to put this work on hold and start coding the game as a first person collection game. Its not what I wanted the game to be but its going to have to be that.

On another more positive note, I’m very happy with this model and while the topology is not as good as it could be, I’m more than happy to put it into my showreel/portfolio.

Digital Design Studio II: Game Reviews?

I have a feeling I know the answer to this question is “Yes. You should be reviewing games all the time.”

I was probably going to do a couple of last minute, short game reviews but with the pathways being the focus at the moment there is a lot to think about. At the start of the year, I wanted to focus on game design. A little into the course I changed my mind and started thinking about visual effects. After the pathway introductions, I’m torn yet again. I want to use this post as a way to clear my mind and focus on what I want to do in the future.

The game I will be reviewing is Fallout: New Vegas. I have been a huge fan of Bethesda games since I found a copy of Morrowind in the warehouse in a sale. I never really knew what I was doing in that game but I loved it so much. The immersion is something I fell in love with, so when oblivion came out you can imagine how I felt. I played that game non stop for months. Long story short, I have always and will probably continue to love the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. The reason why I am reviewing Fallout: New Vegas instead of any other title is because this is the one I have been thinking about recently with the pathway discussions. Fallout New Vegas is such a big game with so much to do that it is easy to dismiss it and say that the game was not great, its just good as a distraction (An opinion I used to have of the game). It wasn’t until after I played the game with all the DLCs that I realized how much I love this game. These game tell hundreds of stories, about people, places and even weapons and its all just sitting there waiting for someone to read or put the puzzle together. This level of world building is what makes me passionate about game design and definitely the main reason why choosing visual effects is such a hard decision for me. The comforting thing I tell myself is that I will learn a lot in visual effects which I can apply to game design. I can learn how to make games on my own and I will continue to. I am sad that I have to choose however.

Digital Design Studio II: Back into game design, starting with UNITY

While I dislike having to juggle several assignments all at once, it seems to be the only way of progressing in this course, at least for year 1. With animation and theory finished, I now have the last week of the break to myself. I intend to use this time to fire up the engines for game design once again. Our project is ambitious and with the track run of the two artists in my group, there’s unfortunately no guarantee that this project will be completed. Looking at other groups GDDs, it is clear that ours is severely lacking concept art. Despite hounding my artists and attempting to be fair and giving them ample time, I have to crack down at some point. The game cannot progress in its development without the artwork. I have decided to create the game in unity using placeholders for the moment but those placeholders may end up being permanent. I do not want to throw them under the bus. my hope is that once the animation is finished on Friday, my team will be able to focus on the game and get some work done.

Unity is something that I am unfamiliar with but I am confident with my coding abilities. There shouldn’t be anything super difficult to code into our game and if we encounter road blocks it may be easier just to look for a detour given the circumstances.

Digital Design Studio II: GDD Presentation

While I understand that it was probably unwise to leave game design for as long as I have, I think the time was better spent on other projects at the moment. This is because crunch time has arrived for both Theory and Animation. Regardless, our Game Design Document needs to be presented tomorrow morning. I gave my group a deadline to give me all of the work they have been working on during this time. I have not had any response except for Callum who gave me a fantastic amount of work for the document, late only because of quality. What I have to do now is to see the rest of my group tomorrow during the presentation to see the work they have completed and work from there. I will also need to print out the poster before I can present it.

Digital Design Studio II: First Level Storyboard

To create dramatic effect and to spark interest in our prototype, we decided to go with a very theatrical story line with enough of information to get people interested in the game and hopefully wanting more. Today after a joyous 10 hour shift at work, I managed to sit down and complete a storyboard for the tutorial level of the game that will introduce the story and basic controls to the player.Tutorial Storyboard.jpg

I’ve decided to get Callum to work on the rest of the paperwork as I think he has a good idea of how everything in the project is going to fit together. My hope is that I can get to work on creating the game while Xuan and Conrad start modeling the characters. I need to make sure we are ready to model everything by confirming the rigging and importing processes.

Digital Design Studio II: Game Design Document

I have finished writing up the basic plot for our game which has enough information to storyboard our 3 main parts. The story was written by Callum with my occasional input:

Before Game-play:

Hamlet built his family’s business from the ground up. He was a smart and inspiring leader who stopped at nothing to get what he wanted: A better life for his family. When Hamlet had access to anything he wanted in life and the largest gang in town to back him, it all fell apart. He became lazy, opting for the life of peace and relaxation rather than the brutal power hungry life he was renowned for. Members of the gang began to talk of overthrowing Hamlet, the centre of this coup, his own brother Claudius. Claudius had stood in his brothers shadow for too long and coveted the power his brother had. When the opportunity came to eliminate his brother, he took it.

Game-play begins:

The game starts with a fade in, from a first person view inside a limo. You can hear the murmuring of thugs outside as the car cruises through the empty street. The car stops and the door next to you opens. You step out onto the street. A group of gang members standing outside start whispering to each other. The man who opened the car door is a sentinel. The street is completely empty save from a few groups of gang members dotted around the entrance to a warehouse directly in front of you. A tool tip appears directing you to move around. You walk up to the door to the warehouse, two guards are standing by the door. The move as side as you approach. When you enter the warehouse you see its completely empty except for a chair in the middle with a man, head down, strapped in. Another tool tip appears telling the player to press F to draw their weapon and click M1 to shoot. A cut-scene plays showing (from hamlet’s perspective) Claudius shooting his brother.

Second Cut-scene:

With hamlet dead, Claudius now has control of the gang. He starts by immediately starting wars with neighboring gangs seeking more and more power but more than that; a legacy that shadows his brothers.

Free Game-play Starts:

Horatio, a very thin and reasonably twitchy looking man wakes Hamlet up informing him of his death. Horatio tells you that he has brought you back to kill Claudius and get revenge. The player can accept or refuse this. Either way Horatio informs Hamlet that he can manifest himself in the real world but only for a short time. While the player is in the real world they are vulnerable and can die forever. If the player chooses to ignore Horatio, they will be tasked with making their way to the gang’s hideout to talk to Claudius If not, the Horatio tells hamlet to gather some men around the neighborhood and fight your way to Claudius.