Friday, June 28, 2013


I've done a lot of writing for my project, but that's not something that I'm wanting to swamp my blog with.  My good friend Broady showed me the work of this guy and so I've spent a good while drooling over that.  He's working on a project called 'Drowntown' and it's set in future London.  A future London with flooded streets caused by Global Warming.  A future, flooded London inhabited - in part - by hybrid animal humans.

It's pretty sweet and I can't wait to see more.

Back to typing things out...


Friday, June 21, 2013


I've been having a great time designing the ins and outs of the project that I'm working on.  I've thoroughly enjoyed the roles that I've been taking on and it is such a wonderful thing to be able to spend so much time on something I love.

A few more ideas that I've been getting down at the moment:

More SpEngineer love.  I'm putting together a lot of contact sheets so that I have a nice amount of reference and inspiration when I'm home and away from all things internet.  A good friend that I studied with through our bachelors is kindly modeling this character for me, so I'm very, very excited to be able to show you that in the near future.  Complete with jetpack-mounted hunting knife, if the WIP pictures I've seen are accurate.

I've been having a great time with the idea of using elemental effects on and with a character.  At the moment it's still in the baby stages and I've only been working on the SpEngineer's design.  I figured his gloves would be the most viable method of binding an elemental artifact to his body, but I'll be looking at other items of clothing and how they can be fused with effects.  The beauty of Augmented Reality is that the effects don't have to be anchored to the glove (in this case).  The bottom image shows a small flame hovering over the glove.

Using an actual 3D structure in the game is something that I've been working on, too.  The idea is that the player will be able to buy a variety of structures to have as collectible items when they are not playing, but that can be used within the game itself when the player chooses.  Above is a rough example of a plain centrepiece.  There will be tabs on the sides in which the players can attach cards that project - in this case - walls.  The players can create mazes and arenas by using these cards and structures wisely.  The possibility of having several themed boxes is very exciting - for example, the Marvellously Monstrous Box can have a set of 7 booster packs containing items specific to the theme.  There can also be two or three 3D structures that are made specifically for the box itself.

And let's not forget the star of the show.  Subject 86.  There are a good number of Subjects 87+ on their way; which is not as exciting for this guy as most of them want to kill him and eat him.  Not necessarily in that order.

I'm very excited about this project.  I say it a lot, but I mean it a lot.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Quiet buzz.

Waiting in the night as quiet streets around me lie.
The clip-clop of shoes and the hum of the odd car passing me by
as across the road I hear faint music.
It's rhythm soothing but volume proving
that the hearing of that particular flat's occupant is not what it may used to have been.
Sirens break the silence and a flurry of lights appear 
only to vanish again just as quickly as they were first seen.
It seems that to exist here after hours one must be but for a moment.
Your second could be well spent.
A passing group of friends ask loudly for a cigarette.
I politely decline.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


No pictures today, I'm afraid.  I thought I'd take a bit of time to tell you what I have recently learned about the roles that I have found myself in through this Masters project.

From the top:

World Designer.
Typically over the creation of the overall backstories, settings and themes of the game.  I've done this by creating the game itself, the history of the characters and the general ideas of the settings and appearance of the game.

System Designer.
I have taken on this role in creation the rules and underlying patterns of the game.  In theory, anyway.  There are a great deal of rules to write out, so I'm writing the basics.  Which is still a lot.

Content Designer.
This is probably one of the biggest parts of what I'm doing.  This is character, item, puzzle and mission design.  I love this bit.  Once I have the world down and once I have a basic rule set, I can create anything and everything I want to fit in and use in the game.

Game Writer.
Writing the dialogue, text and stories in and through a game is a huge part of the way it plays.  It may not be extremely obvious because when a game is very well written, you can play it though and pretty much let it to the thinking for you.  When a game is well written, it's interesting and engaging.  When the twists are put in at just the right time, it can pay off massively.  When the right characters come into play and when the right mechanics and abilities are available at just the right time, then I think that it really propels a game.

Level Designer.
In crafting the levels, laying out the maps and deciding what points of interest are seen on the maps, I have taken on this role.  A lot of my project is based on the players being able to decide for themselves where they place objects and items, so my end is to make sure I can communicate clearly which items are able to be played in which environments.  I am essentially providing a canvas with a few marks on it and getting other people to join the dots, make splashes of colour, gouge holes through it and generally make it their own.  Although a lot of the layout is decided by people other than me, I have to make sure that they can't break levels by placing objects and items there that shouldn't be there.

User Interface Designer.
Under this role, I have to design how the player interacts with the game and - in return - how they receive information from the game that makes the game playable.  If they collected an important item and weren't told about it, that would be less than helpful.  I am thinking about how they control their character, how they interact with other characters, objects and environments and I have to consider that they will best know how to control their character based on what it is that character is doing in whatever situation they are in.  If they are in a swamp, the character will sink and their movements become sluggish.  Accordingly, the player would have to navigate their way to a place of harder ground in order to move effectively.  The interactions bounce off each other and build up to a point where the player can clearly see both what needs to be done and what they are doing.

The nice thing about taking on a few roles is that I can look to different areas of design to aid my design and redesign in specific areas.  For example, if I'm thinking of a character idea, I can look to the design of the world and see if it's fitting.  I can look to the rules and see if I have to change or modify anything.  I'm cutting out the middle man.  Granted, the middle man does a whole lot of stuff, but being able to take charge of everything for this part of the project is pretty interesting.

It's fun to design a lot of things for one of these areas and then see it get diluted and split up as it travels to the other areas.  Taking the SpEngineer as an example, I know the worlds that he interacts with.  One is Earth, one is the planet that the game is based on.  From this, I can write rules based on human limitations and the possible environments he will explore on the alien planet.  It's agiven that his design and possible inventory is designed for the game.  His involvement in the storyline of the overall game is also written out, with interactions with all possible creatures thought of and as accounted for as possible.  Then there's the design of the planet itself.  Not strictly design based on the SpEngineer, but very much inclusive.  Last, but not least, we have the screen that the player sees when taking control of the SpEngineer.  The graphics on there, the way they are going to have to interact with their device in order to get the character to do what they want.

Every aspect of the design processes and areas are hit by the idea of a single character.

I love it.


Friday, June 7, 2013


For the first time ever, I have drawn out a couple of things so that I can duplicate them, bring down the opacity and then draw over them in different ways.

One of the more frustrating things about working in pen and paper is that if I want to draw out several designs for costume or gear, I have to try as hard as possible to replicate the poses that I'm wanting to use.  This means I spend a lot more time drawing out the same pose as opposed to the individual costume, so now that I have been able to sort out a few draw-over sheets, I'm laughin'.

Here they are:

The idea for the game right now it that the character is not only customisable in stats and points, but in costume and weapons.  Certain elemental artifacts can be used in various items of clothing and weaponry to power them up with that particular elemental influence.  The items that can be affected range from gloves and bracers to shoes and kneepads.  The affects of the elements will be shown from anything like summoning a golem to leaving trails of fire in your wake.  It's going to be pretty sweet.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Epic ideas.

Now I don't like using the word 'epic' to describe anything but a long writing.  I really don't.

I went and saw the film with my little brother the other day.  It was amazing!

My creative mind went into overdrive throughout the film, though.  I do like it when that happens.  I was thinking about what they could have done differently, what they could have added, what the different characters could look like with different outfits and weapons.  As fun as it was watching the film, I did love finding my own little carved-out nook within this other world.  What would I look like if I lived in this world?  How would I interact with everything that's going on?  These things make films fun for me - as I'd imagine they would for the majority.  It's fun to go and see films.  It's how we escape whatever is going on.  I've always seen the main character in a film as a representation of the viewer.  Whether this is extremely obvious or not, I don't know, but I figure it's the common thought.

It's nice to see how the director would make you think you'd act, but I've always liked imagining myself as a supporting character.  Or as a non-represented character that could run/fight/think alongside the main guy.

My thoughts on the film, however, turned to the game world (as they most frequently do) and I found myself creating a load of mechanics and designs for a game based on little people.  Not little people in the Politically Correct sense, but foot-high beings that would roam the houses and forests.

What's nice is that it is also based on a project that I'm waiting to lift off the ground.  I love the really well done images of 1/6th scale figures.  Yea, essentially Action Man/G.I. Joe, but much, much cooler. Honest.

One of the best examples of 1/6 scale figures is ThreeA:

Here's one of their human figures.  The company specialise in making these 1/6 scale figures; notably the heads and hands.  The hands tend to fully articulated - finger joints and everything!

They also have a big range from their World War Robot (WWR) set.  Heavily Ashley Wood-inspired, if not completely designed by the guy, the figures all have a nice look of wear and tear to them that make them feel that little bit more real.

How does this fit in with everything?  Well.  Here was my plan:

I wanted to have a unique journal of the travels that my wifey and myself would be making over the course of our lives.  I'm from England and she's from America, so there's going to be a fair bit of travel. I like the idea of keeping a log of what happens but I've always toyed with what medium I can use to record the trips.

Blogs are nice and today we can be as connected as ever.  I'm getting notifications in the wee hours of the mornings now that I've linked everything to my phone.  Hand-written diaries are a good thing, but it takes a really lone time to write down even the most mediocre of trips.  I do love it, but I wanted something that people would be able to ask about if they wanted to or just enjoy it for its own sake should they choose.

Enter this guy:

A cheaper 1/6 scale figure (I assume because it's grey and not flesh-toned).  I've got my eye on this for the project.  Instead of blogging and diary-keeping and whatever-else-ing, I wanted to collect tiny bits from around the world and attach them to this guy in some way.

I'm thinking a coin carried รก la Rise of the Guardians:

Cool, right?

I'm also picturing a fly hook attached to the strap of a backpack, a rock inside the backpack, wool wrapped around the lower legs.  That sort of thing.

Then one of the things that I thought about was using this:

(Obviously I didn't kill the turtle for this.  I found it.)  But using this as a helmet or other such head wear was something that I thought was pretty cool.  The thought of a person this big (or little) being able to equip themselves with tools, clothes, armour and weapons from their surroundings is something that just appeals to me.  Especially when those surroundings are essentially giant versions of the world that we're living in.

So this is where I'm at right now - developing the mechanics and characters for a game based on all of this.  And I love it.  It's been in my mind for a long time but I finally started to write and draw while I was in a traffic jam on a bus two days ago.

Let's see where it goes...