the online ramblings of a generally confused game designer

Thursday, January 26, 2006

more concept art

not done much of anything today.. just kept myself busy watching Lost with my girlfriend, and my day job (bar work)

Here's some photoshopped concept art of elephant arms, complete with T-shirt for 'Blending in'

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

work continues

A pretty uneventful day...

Been hacking along on elephant arms. The structure of the game will be episodic. Players will be able to access multiple mini-games that are each entertaining in their own right, but add together to make an engaging multi-level experience for the more inquisitive player. What's great about doing lots of little games under the same banner is that it gives me more room to try out different gameplay forms, as well as letting me constantly tinker and add new content when I get the chance.

Anyways, I'm starting small, with a very simplistic game called 'blending in'. Elephant arms must run around the screen, trying to stand in front of characters wearing the same fabric as the t-shirt he is wearing. Problem is the t-shirt keeps changing. This should be a pretty simple game to build, and should be a good inroads for me. The key challenge design wise was to make the characters for him to blend in with. They had to have 80% or higher coverage of the fabric for it to read well, and for the player to quickly gauge where they should be. I only just came up with the idea of those big burberry coats. It works design wise, and i'm sure will read well with wool and denim, or whatever fabric elephant arms is wearing. Here's the scan drawing, and a flash ink and texturing test

I'll keep on going, and see where the project takes me.

(oh, and btw.. I've added a link to the shop i did some designs for.. feel free to make a poor student very happy and buy 50 :))

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

new look.. new scanner.. new clothes

Well, by now you've probably noticed the new style for my blog.. a few hours work and it feels a lot more like home. let me know what you think.

My day off was dull.. I'm starting to realise I'm a bit of a workaholic. No word on the TV stuff, so I'm going to get started on Elephant Arms.. I bought a new sketch book earlier and have started doing some new character sketches for the guy. The design of the character has been crystalizing in my head for a few weeks now, and he's now at a stage where I feel comfortable sharing. Plus I bought a scanner yesterday, so finally I can upload stuff without bothering my mates.

He's wearing a scarf. I'm not sure why, except perhaps the enormous amount of woolen clothes I've bought in the last couple of weeks. After wearing cotton t-shirts my whole life they feel like the height of luxury :) Anyway, the scarf adds to the sense of melancholy, and I'm sure will be useful from a gameplay perspective. That said, I'm getting a lot of inspiration for interaction from the excellent 'Fahrenheit' (i have the xbox version).. the claustrophobia level is a real eye opener on interaction / performance dynamics.

I may well try to make a little walk cycle for the guy in flash, I seem to live in that software now.. and if I do, you'll be the first to know.

mike's film review - A Cock and Bull Story
saw it last night, very funny, very clever (but not as much as it thinks) and some great in-jokes. Any mainstream british comedy which uses Hedda Gabler as a punchline is good in my book.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

a day off!!!

Well.. having completed development on mirror, I was left to catch up with work on the TV show I mentioned earlier. I've emailed off some test footage of the main character to the producer, so fingers crossed he sees it as a good start, and offers up some advice on where to go next. Sadly I'm not going to be able to post any more imagery of the work in progress, which is a shame as I'm very proud of where it's going. Until the show is aired I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want the imagery made publicly available. I may show off some work if I go down the wrong alley creatively and it's unusable, and will definitely post some stuff retrospectively.

So I'm left with a day off waiting for a reply. It's going to be great resting up for a day. I'm gonna lie back with a copy of wallpaper* (bought it on a recommendation, loving the work, hating the arrogant writing style, but that might just be the class warrior in me) a few new DVDs and a couple of games. Yay!

After a couple of days I know I'll get bored and start work on Elephant Arms (my new name for the shittily titled 'David' project).

Scanning my puter for an image.. found a crappy wacom self-portrait doodle I must of done late at night in between coding on mirror, as I have no memory of drawing it! I'm definitely doing some sleep deprived design work at some point, my style and the boundaries I place on my work fly out the window when I'm like that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Wow.. the crit went a lot better for me than I expected, given the response it got on the forum (

The feedback was fair and honest, and I think the group got across everything we intended to. The game worked well, no crashes or bugs.. which I'm very proud of. Me and Jules finished it off in the best way possible, with me buyin him drinks in the uni bar and talking about existentialism (sp?) for an hour or so. I've now gone home to watch I Heart Huckabees, inspired by the chat to find it on my DVD shelf.

So that's another project wrapped (well, until the group decides to delve back into the statistic system). I've set myself the challenge of making some test footage of the main character for that TV show i'm working on by the end of the week, which coinsides nicely with helping my girlfriend with her Maya training. She got a character rig at an Aardman thing a week or so ago, so she wants to try it out.

my individual project continues to gestate, and conversations with Jules continue to help with that. I wanna put in a picture, I'm not sure if I have anything to show though... oooh.. some more concept art from the TV thing I don't think i've posted before

shameless beg

ok.. one more shameless begging message to get people to replay the game so we can have plenty of data in time for tomorow's crit

the animations have now been tidied up and extended..

Sunday, January 15, 2006

keep em comming

hey guys.. even those who have visited 'mirror' once already, please have more goes... we need to build up as much community data as possible in order to build up the experience, cheers

Saturday, January 14, 2006

mirror goes live

wow.. a nasty, sleep deprived month of programming is behind me.. but the game is now done.. please excuse the slightly naff cut scenes, chris promises they will be fixed. i hold my breath.

heres a gameplay image to give you an idea of how it looks