Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Week 24 – course experiences

When looking back over the last couple of months, I find it very hard to believe that I have almost finished my first year in Game art design. Have to say I’ve enjoyed almost every single moment of the course so far. The constant work load keeps me busy and out of trouble most of the time. I like the structure it gives me in my life at the moment and also the new found respect I have for my free time.

Some of the highlights of the year for me have been walking to various spots with everyone and sitting down and drawing. The camaraderie I have found on this course has brought many a smile to my face. Computer games and Art are to aspects of my life that interest me and I enjoy and to experience it with similar minded people has been fun.

The 3d side of the course thoroughly pissed me off at first, it had nothing to do with myself not being capable of understanding 3d forms, and it was all down to learning the program to produce them. After months of using 3d max I’m outstanded with what I now produce using it. I’m not saying I’m the poo or anything just that the level of progression I have made has pleased me greatly. I do still however find more joy in making 3d models from clay and sculpey. I do think the reasons for this are just down to familiarity with the media at hand. Hopefully I can continue to progress and get to high level of 3d modelling.

With my visual design I feel I have improved too. Drawing almost everyday has helped me no end I believe. As we are so often reminded on the course, no one is born with talent, it is learnt through repetition. As with my 3d work I hope to continue to progress and produce better works over the next two years ahead of me.

As for suggestions for the course, I feel it might benefit students to have introduction to using Photoshop for painting. I went to lessons held by a third year to learn the basics, but if it wasn’t for this I feel I might have been further behind on my Photoshop skills than I am at the moment from my ultimate level of achievement. I’m well aware that it’s down to the students to put the time into learning the software and agree with it. But I was taught 3d from scratch on the course so maybe it could include basic digital painting too.

Week 23

Nothing set, so for a change I will actually play a computer. Since learning about game design I have found not only that I have less time to play games, but also find faults in them rather than just enjoying them.

So instead of research I’ll enjoy a good video game.

Week 22 - GDC

Sid Meier- Psychology of designing games

During GDC I watched Sid Meier (of civilisation franchise fame) give a lecture on the psychology of designing games.
He explained that the main reason people play games is to win. The fact that whatever happens in the story, players expect to win at the end. Nobody who plays games plays them to lose.
Designers need to keep in mind that players will play the game again after winning, because of this different ways to win and complete the game must be available in the game.

Another way to keep the player interested in the game is showcase some of the “cool” stuff that you can do later in the game when progress is made. He says this gives the player a taster of the skill and power you can posses in game when you put the hours in. Sid says this period should be no longer than the first 15minutes of a game as to not give the illusion to the player when the skills are taken away that it will take 10x as long to get the skills back.

He argues that more than four difficulty levels add more joy to a game. In civilisation games there are roughly 9 levels of difficulty. The idea of progression from a lower level to a higher level, gives the player a greater sense of reward when completing the game on a greater difficulty than before.

The main clause in keeping the gamer playing the game is to make them feel good about themselves. One way this can be done by giving themselves a sense of achievement from in game A.I reacting to the players actions
When the action is taken out of the players hand, people becoming annoyed and feel the game is out to get them. This is one reason why Civilisation is a turn based game. It makes the player feel like the star of the show and that everything in the world can be affected by their own decisions in game.

The lecture was almost and hour long, but the way Mr Meier explained his ideas through experience and logic was very interesting and made the time fly by. Well worth a watch for anyone who is interested in designing computer games