Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Character design

Project Fun

After long thinking and trying several sketches, coming up with idea’s I decided to get rid of the old idea’s and start a new project. Reason for this was that it felt it wasn’t just quite working out character ,story and game play wise. So being back at start I’ve started to develop New idea’s  writing down small words of parts of sentences I came up with linking them together as I went. It happens often in the industry that idea’s get scrapped, genre’s change and/or whole projects get stopped. One of the most recent examples I have heard was with Skylanders. Which is a resurrected IP of Activision. Activision gave Toys for Bob the opportunity to resurrect one of their old IP’s and release it and they chose Spyro.

At first they wanted to make the game more mature by adding blood and violence but as they went they figured out it wasn’t quite working for the older fan base that was still used to the more adventurous Spyro games.

The reason for bringing this up is I’ve had a complete overhaul of thoughts ( Old idea can still be read but will not be updated.

New project fun !!

After long and careful preparation I came up with some sort of story driven game. The player will make a lot of choices through the game ( either by actions or by dialogue ) that affect the rest of the game.  Reason for this is that it has become very popular to do so in games and I personally am a big fan of the freedom and characterisation it gives. However the plan is to end with a guided ending but have several differences depending on decisions made ( and about 10 times better than the mass effect 3 ending ) The genre would be hard to define but probably closest to adventure/survival horror/action. However not action as in a Street fighter or call of duty kind of way but more subtle. For example killing someone will raise direct or indirect alarm ( like in real life this would get noticed too.. ) and get the player noticed a lot faster than when making “an accident happen” or simply avoiding confrontation.

The game will be set in about 75 years in the future, there’s small differences like communicating through a small device in glasses or Bluetooth rather than phone, More populated cities etc but NO space ships or too sci-fi gadgets. It would have a day and night cycle that has influence on mood, events and play style. It would also be a semi sandbox game much like GTA where the player has the freedom to explore yet is limited to a big area till later on in the game. Because I would like the game to stay as much away from a no brain action game it would have no health bar but rather 1 shot = possibility of death. That or wounded which needs to be taken care of and is expensive. This would force the player to think his actions through and make the player more aware of action and reaction.
* Has been changed to an undetermined time in the near future

I haven’t completely though the story through yet and know this wasn’t the assignment neither however it would start by the player waking up being all confused wondering where he is. Knowing his name and who he is but not where he is ( and no communication devices ) the first part would mostly be about how he got there and why and how come the authorities are after him ( possibility of gang/mafia type of organisation too ) Early in the game a giant riot breaks out putting the city in chaos and making moving around for the player a lot more difficult. In the story I would stay away from Cliché as much as possible ( I know waking up confused is one... ) and make it as good as possible. There for I’ve chosen to stop here and start making some sketches I might develop the story in the future.

One requirement for this project was to come up with a few rules for the environment.
these would be:

The environment should be

- A big urban area with either natural or explainable borders ( I hate invisible walls) that could be passed by as the game progresses ( blockade could be moved, or a closed bridge could open for example)

- It should be able to support a day and night cycle ( Street lights for night and such )
- The city should have several areas . Some crowded some less crowded and depending on the area the type of people change too.
- The player should always know what the next place to visit is preferably through smart level design but environment art could do a good job as well.  This is very important due to the semi sandbox nature of the game.
- The city should feel alive. The player should get the feeling people live in this city rather than have a few models of building and running past them as fast as possible.
- Random events this might not be so much an environment thing though indirect related to where it happens events happen.
- The game is in about 75 years from now so a little bit of sci fi is ok but not TOO abstract.
- There’s a lot of buildings close to each other
- the player has the ability to enter certain buildings so skyline and overview are important.
- The environment could be quite big but it’s important for the storyline not to spend too long travelling from point a to b.


As a platform I would prefer to ship it on PS3 with the possibility to port it to Xbox360. Reason for this is that Playstation has always been a favourite of mine. If there would be a demand ( Which is something that would be researched during the development) it could be released on Xbox but the main aim would stay with Sony.

Style of the game:

The style of the game would be aimed at photorealism. I hope to achieve this through clever use of texturing ( i.e. Normal maps, Pre baked shadows/reflection. Ambient occlusion etc) The game would be moody and sinister to keep the player on the edge and wondering what could happen next.

While I was sketching I noticed how I kept on sticking to a more near future style. I ended up decided to keep the time undetermined to give me a little bit of space yet have something to work towards too. Low poly modelling is very important due to the size of the environment. Prioritizing meshes needs to be done carefully there for the texturing is going to have to make up for this.

Moodboard style:

Here are the sketches of a few characters.
Main character:
Riot police:

Rioter 1:

Rioter 2:

And here is a small glimpse of how the game would look like:

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