Monday, 5 December 2011

"Welcome to bootcamp"

This post will is a brief reflection mostly focused on visual design and written at crazy o clock after a night of way too much IRN BRU and Art books ( Yes not being able to sleep due to constant inspiration )

So here we are Exploring Leicester, a nice and interesting place. Before leaving off to England one of my (ex) colleagues had told me Leicester was small, there wasn't much to do and pretty boring but so far every Tuesday I see new sides of Leicester. Going out to draw some pretty pictures of  still lives varying from museums to parks. At first I struggled, was insecure and really had to get back into the habit of drawing. Due to the lack of former education in fine art I'm somewhat behind the rest and need to put in that little bit of extra weight to get things done and ready.

Admittedly With our first project the canal I was pretty disappointed in my drawing, but slowly over time things improved. as I've started to spend more time observing, practicing and drawing I improved bit by bit. Also with the help of many class mates ( 
Katarina,Victoria, Jessica, Daniel , James, Luc ,Maffy and Samantha ) who taught me new techniques and/or gave me some C&C that helped me to focus on the points I'm weak on.

After our first feedback I've got told I haven't had enough work done. Knowing what Chris meant I've decided to go back to the museum ( next to the archway) to make a still live, went to abbey park to practice tree's  and started drawing random things in my room. Ellipses were also one of my weak point. It took me a bit to understand what people meant when they said I had to "
 learn "to draw ellipses and/or practice them but after reading up on a brief explanation I knew what went wrong and took some time to practice.  

Here are some of the drawings I've done so far.

On the left the canal final piece, I'm not too happy with it so i will most likely go back there one of these days to redo the sketches and final piece. 
On the right is "the archway"  i found this a very interesting assignment and am happy with the archway itself however the environment could use a little work. I'm not sure yet if i will restart the whole final piece or just try and fix it.


Drawing a car was a lot of fun, i learned how to smudge and eventhough it might have not been the best thing to do on a car i was quiet pleased with the result.

On the left a few sketches of the Dinosaur bone museum. I enjoyed this assignment a lot due to variety of objects we were able to draw. Also smudging was really helping here.
On the right is the final piece, i think this is so far my favorite drawing. The shading and tonal value's seem to work well.

Bradgate park was quiet a challenge. With a lot of the feedback i decided
to focus on tree's just to get them right ( or at least right-er)
Where i first suffered and tried to avoid having to draw foliage i actually started to enjoy it. And as i went on i tried to find new ways of adding detail.

The Space center sketches are for the latest assignment. I haven't done my final piece >YET<  as I've planned to go back this week to make more sketches and base my final piece on that. i'm quiet happy with some of the drawings as I've now also started to improve my speed. Unfortunately i'm still not as fast as most of the class but this will probably come in time.

These are some of my self directed study drawings ( not all of them) here i practice on still lives to become better in certain things. A few key points i made were Shading,Tree's,Ellipsis and the annoying sink !!!  Looking back on what I've done i'm actually quiet happy to have spend so much time on drawing as I've learned a lot. I'm looking forward to get my feedback on Tuesday !! 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Game journalism: Reliable or trash ?

Game journalism has become increasingly popular these days beside the experienced journalists normal consumers share their opinion in form of reviews or previews.
One of the things I've learned the hard way was not to rely on grades, their often biased and will not always stand for the personal gamers' opinion. I remember when I was in high school having a (Dutch) gamers magazine called Power Unlimited and discuss the games and often ending up in discussions regarding grades they gave. This has led to several miss buys and/or false judgments and I've learned to rather than looking at grades base my own judgment on several reviews and footage.

How come I'm not choosing my games purely based on (p)reviews ?

Even review's can often be deceiving footage in form of screenshots and video's generally tell me more than someone's experience for the pure reason of being rebellious against overhyped blockbuster games that generally don't attract me but enough other people to sell well ( Battlefield, Assassin's Creed, Halo*cough cough*)

So without judging a game on footage what makes a (p)review good ?

Because video game (p)reviews are often rushed the journalist rarely takes the time to finish a game. This leads to an opinion based on often a few hours of game-play and might have changed further in the game. Even though developers these days spend more time on the start of a game than the end due to the low amount of people actually finishing games ( 90 % these days according to: )
So let's say a few hours in the game would be giving a good impression of a game there's still often
journalists being bribed by developers to write a good (p)review and if not Biased journalists will have their way writing either a really good story due to the fact their part of the fan base or didn't like the type of game in the first base. Often games are also being graded by a standard lay-out ( graphics ,game play , story ,audio etc) a game can stand or fall with any of these points  luckily this has led to NGJ. Standing for New Games Journalism.

NGJ  to the rescue ?

New Games Journalism means no less than the article being written from the perspective of a gamer, rather than the static view of how it's made/developed. This means that it's more engaging to gamers but the writer actually finishes the game AND is also more passionate about the game. Of course this can still lead to biased opinion's but rather than being corrupt or have it based on the first 4 hours of a game that contains hundreds of hours in content the journalist has a good idea of what it's like.

What does NGJ mean to me ??

Unfortunately nothing. I will still stick with my own little island picking off whatever game I like based on official website's, footage from YouTube previews ( without listening to the journalist previewing them) , screenshot's and people's opinion that i entrust due to the knowledge they have in games. What this mean's is Mr. X tells me this game has impressed him. I know Mr. x in person and know we share a same interest in games and/or knows what he's talking about when judging a game( generally people I've met on the course or my previous course). I inspect the official site then proceed to do a YouTube search for any footage released ( preferably not a (p)review done by someone but rather official or game play vids) and then form my own opinion. The difference in this case is I know the person that tells me about the game unlike some unknown/hidden journalist that might have NO clue what he's talking about and I have done my own research to see if I would enjoy the game. I think it's a good approach and has led to much less miss buys than when I relied on magazines.

Architexture Assignment

Four weeks ago I got the assignment to make an old building for Game-production.
So far this has been my favorite assignment because I love architecture and Old buildings. They fascinate me and the more detail the better. So I went searching around Leicester searching for the nicest looking building. I've come across a lot of churches/ old buildings/ ruins. Unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries and I ended up with only a few pictures on my camera. Secretly as I went out I already knew which building I wanted to make so I ended up sticking with the original plan but having enough of alternatives incase this wouldn't work out.  The "energy" building ( made in 1939),
what appealed me the most about this building was the white patterns, the details in them and amount of shapes all over the building. and even though both sides of the building look the same it's still very interesting to see ( an eye catcher to me every time I walk by).
So after making around 50 pictures of the building ( and later on another 20 ) I've started modelling.
My main focus in this project was to bring in as much detail as possible within the texture budged, to learn more about tileable textures and to become better at texturing.  The modelling went fine and proved to be no difficulty at all. The budged was 2500 and while trying to get as close as possible to this budged I decided to build a part of the pavement as well just to make it look slightly more interesting.
The scene ended up with 2468 triangles. Now to safe myself the effort of having to place UV's on exactly the same spot I decided to only make half the building and then after the unwrapping and texturing put symmetry on it. This was working perfect and saved me a lot of time. The texturing however proved to be difficult. I had a lot of unforeseen issues like shading issues halfway a texture, shadows stopping at edges and textures looking differently than when rendered. In the end i managed to fix most of those problems by trial and error. 

this is how the building ended up looking like, I'm quite proud of it and am looking forward to some time off so I can make another one.