Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sketchbook. Sketchwhaat? Sketchbook. Sketchwhaat?

An hour of scanning and photoshopping these together, I have the rest of my sketches.  Happy day.

Following on from the marker stones that I was thinking about having, here we've got the first ideas of using the Augmented Reality technology in a way that separates it from games before now.  The top left of this image is the first idea for it - having the same marker cards used by two or three different players in order to display two or three different levels!  One player can be in the city while another player - at the same time - can be using the same marker cards to explore the limits of that city's sewer system.  I love this.  On the right are a few ways in which I thought I could allow a player to access a lower level.

Thinking back again to the animals on the planet and what I thought would be fun to encounter.  Here we have a turtle-headed frog and a flying mole whale (final design at the top right).

An explanation of how the marker cards would work and some ideas into Procedural Level Generation.  The idea that the limits to the level are set but the content and environment of the level itself would be based on the card that is played in the middle of the marker cards.  On the right are some of the possibilities and in the lower right are ideas for a two-storey level.

Another few thoughts on a two-storey level - whether the players can see both storeys at the same time or whether they'd be limited to seeing one of the two at a time.  In the middle of the left hand page is a quick example of how the player on the top storey could see a little bit of the storey below.  On the right, I've got a few scribbled ideas about how the animals on the planet would interact with the players and their characters.

As with ways to get from an upper level to a lower level, I thought the idea of using cards to influence the environments would be an interesting concept.  If the player plays an elevator card (on one of the pages before), then the elevator appears there and they played can use it to access a lower level.  Here, we have items and objects that can be played to influence the topography of a level - rocks and wreckage and so forth.  These will be visible to both players - regardless of whether or not they are in a lower or higher level.  One player might put a heap of rocks on a street only for the other player to see them on the floor of a cave.  This could be a nice way of the in-game characters communicating with each other - marking a position to dig through or explore.  Or avoid.

On the right we have the introduction of the Space Engineer (SpEngineer).  Sent to the planet to explore with their 'bots, SpEngineers are a tough breed.  They are equipped with jetpacks and basic emergency supplies as well as tools with which they fix up the 'bots they land with.

On the left, we have an idea of what the SpEngineer's tool kit could look like.  It will have to be mobile but capable of supplying the SpEngineer with any basic tool he could need in the field.  Then below that we have some idea of how the 'bots record information and a start of what they could look like.  On the right, we have six specific roles that the 'bots are made for:  The standard, vanilla 'bot that is an all-round model, capable of being modified to fit another role if needed; the Micro 'bot, for exploring the smaller places that the other 'bots are too big to get to;  the Mechanic/Storage 'bot - a walking storage unit for the heavier and more specialised tools that the SpEngineer may need;  the Bio-sample 'bot, with storage room in an overhead compartment and an extra pair of smaller hands for the more delicate specimens;  the Vehicular unit for quicker movement and the Defense 'bot, usually armed with a belt-fed, 30mm machine gun and two smaller firearms, but with the capacity to be modified to a heavier unit, if needed.

Below that, I redrew the Bio-sample 'bot because it was a favourite and then around that I've drawn out some ideas for the way in which the bigger hands can function as sample collection devices for smaller and/or more delicate specimens that the extra two arms can't reach.

After this was all drawn out, I thought about having some of my characters as options for the player to use as their main character for a story.  There are also a lot of Maya notes on this page.  To the right, I've got a load of robot legs.

I wanted to explore the Micro 'bot a little more, so I started drawing out some more legs for it.  The lower drawing is the one I ended up modeling, as well as the one at the top of the right-hand page.  Below that, I've drawn out another SpEngineer.  Quickly.

I tried to think of a timeline for the story if it were to be played as Subject 86 - my original idea.  I was thinking about when I'd introduce the knowledge and awareness of the other characters.  To the right, I was thinking about how the SpEngineer character would appear if he were on a card that a player interacted with if they were playing as Subject 86, compared to the SpEngineer as a player would see him if he were their character of choice for the game.  Under that, I have possibly my favourite drawing of a SpEngineer; casually throwing a grenade.

Here's the start of my ideas regarding combat for the different characters.  Close range and long range.  To the right in the box is a drawing that I did with the Wacom Inkling.  A neat little device that I wrote about that day.  Unfortunately, one of the layers didn't take well and the digital result was missing a few key lines.  No worries.  Here's the guy I drew anyway.  I played with the layering system, so his left hand is all sorts of messed up as I went over it a few times in different layers so I could change them out relatively easily.  Top and bottom of the right-hand page are designs for comm. devices, goggles and headgear for the SpEngineer.  Fun to do.

Once more, there's a SpEngineer on this page.  Drawn out with all of the kit they are deployed with along with a break down of how their goggles work and - on the right - how the different settings on the goggles affect the images shown on the device that is used to play the game with.

This is an idea of how an action of a character would be shown in the game.  When they player wants to select an action, they pick it to see what the area of effect will be.  In this case, I used the Alien as an example; looking at the areas that can be affected by digging, smashing, charging, climbing, defending and running.

Thanks for looking through all this!  It was super fun to draw out and come up with and I'm still drawing my finger to the bone trying to reel out more ideas.

I'm just putting things together in Photoshop right now for a presentation next week.  I'm actually really looking forward to it.

EDIT:  Well, I've only got another two images to put up here.  The third one doesn't seem to agree with being put out there.  I'll have a word and see if I can persuade it otherwise:

The idea of playing cards that pop out an Augmented Reality object on the level is something that I really like the idea of.  Here, I've got an example of what the Sinkhole card would do (top 3D inset image) and then to the left I've got an elevator and to the right I have a signpost.  The sinkhole and the elevator would have information within the card that would open up a lower level if there wasn't a lower level already in play.  If there is, it would lead to the lower level in play - the lower level within the object card is only a backup.  With the objects like the signpost, both players would be able to see it.  The sinkhole and elevator, however, would be seen as they would naturally - if a player is on a lower level and plays it, they could go down to the lower level that's contained within the card's information.  If they are in a level below when the card is played, then they can only use the elevator to gain access to the level it was played on - in this case, above them.

Introducing the SpEngineer.  Most of the notes and ideas that I've scrawled out over the past few weeks.  All on one page for your easy perusal.


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