Saturday, 1 December 2012

Documentation in games

Documentation is an important (and annoying) part of the games industry. The reason there's documentation is for employees to be able and read up on guide lines , do and don't and idea's, plannings and goals.

And yet documentation is the most boring part of game development ! 

Depending on what department uses the document it can be referred to in different ways. One of them is: " Design document" . Each branch has its own document ( animation, art, programming, game design, level design etc) It's often the lead that keeps track of the document and makes sure everything is up to date. This is so the lead can keep track of progress , possible issues, limitations and such.

My idea for a game:

I would like to create a Community project before leaving university where people of different courses work together. It's something I've been thinking about for ages but so far haven't worked out yet.
This Assignment/post Could proof part of the foundation for this idea and i will there for treat it that way.

The way I would like to set it up is to give everyone a challenge yet make something achievable.
As I'm living with several games programmers i interact with them on a daily basis. Same so during the summer where one of them had his summer project making a simple 2D game. While thinking of game-play i mentioned how Super Smash Brothers has last it's time due to its appealing game play and being a "pick up and leave" game ( a game you can play for 10 minutes and then leave again )
Also working on a game like that would mean an easy set-up with plenty of opportunity to expand if there's time left as long as the basic is set where as with some other genre's this is not always the case.

Keeping this in mind I wouldn't like to make a Super Smash Brothers game if there would be a team of people but more a Hack and Slash type of game.

Diiieeeeee link !!!! 

but why ?

The reason for this is just like the one states above, It's fairly easy to set up and can be expanded with all the time that is left over. In fact most of the coding has been done by myself 3 years ago ( in a horrible way and I'm sure there is plenty that should be redone)
however just for a showcase during the pitch to other people this might proof use full.
(Of course everyone would get a vote in things but to set an idea I'd start of with how I'd like to see things. Considering this would be an educational project and portfolio piece for everyone we wouldn't necessarily need funding) Also due to the set-up I have in mind if people would leave the project or not get work done this project could easily be cut short at any time after the basic is set-up.

For this project I'd prefer to start with a minimum of 3 people ( Me on art and animation, a programmer and a game/level designer) but the more people join the easier things get and the more specialized people can get. Purely because I'd like to stick to art I will write a short " document" here on a start. ( unfortunately no concept art yet and I'm sure I will work things out once this idea becomes a little bit more concrete )

I'd like the game to start off in a house where a small event takes place driving the player outside to a dark, misty & medium sized Victorian village. This is where the player will first interact with other Npc's and slowly get's familiar with the controls / game-play. This will also be the place the first combat will take place. The player would have plenty of space to run around but with clever game design not be able to leave the town till Certain events are completed ( and in our case we have decided to continue the project after) This would pretty much be the foundation of the game as most of the game play is covered in this case. After this it can be expanded with more narrative and for example adding area's to the city and new area's/environments and such more NPC's and enemies.

It would be nice to add some form of fantasy in the game to practice my artistic skills in different areas such as Icy/crystal landscapes, particles etc.

Concept art for Final fantasy 13 ( Bresha lake)
As a guideline for the art it would be: Stylized ( but only where it adds visual interest), Custom made textures ( this due to a personal preference so I can practice this but also pretty much required for some of the fantasy settings), Grim & foggy mood This not everywhere but in the Victorian street's it would be a cold early winter night, there's some fog and in generally a grim mood)

A good example of the mood/setting i'd like in the village. Image has been found on:  and is unfortunately uncredited.

The main character: A young guy in his early twenties, average Victorian  clothing, Short dark brown hair, stubbles, average body type.
Tech spec: 7k triangles, 512 Diff, Spec, Normal map with possible extra 256 map.

NPC's: Depending on what NPC this is though for the starting area their all in Victorian clothes varying from High class to child workers.
5K triangles, 512 Diff, Spec, Normal map

Vehicle(s): Carts need to be made in a way so it can be used in several ways such as a broken cart blocking the way out of the village.
3.5k triangles ( with possibility of slightly more for the small adjustments) 256 diff, spec, normal

Environment: Victorian town, Interior room/house and possible shops etc in the town.
Tech spec: Unsure. Diff, Spec, Normal.

Props: Things like crates, Stalls, Lamp posts, Road signs and such
Tech spec: 400 tri's MAX depending on the prop. 256 diff and spec / normal where needed

Engine isn't decided yet as Unity seems to support the most flexability when it comes to game-play but not the best engine for an artistic portfolio piece ( proper research on this needs to be done)

I'll leave this post with a quote i found from David brinkley: “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him”. 

This post will be continued upon in a second part once things progress a bit more.