Tag Archives: Video game

Adaptation Project – Ideas Revisit

So i realised that for my Adaptation i had missed an important step in my design process. i often find myself looking at a blank page and thinking lets do a part of the Environments section of the Project. This i have found pointless because every time i revisit the section i have found that the drawings and designs have lacked character and feeling. So that is the intention of this blog post, to get some ideas down and some story development, to give myself some focus and hopefully push in the right direction.

So to start with i will revisit my Pitch that i made at the start of the project, which in reflection is unfinished and could have been done a lot better in my opinion.

Game Pitch Ideas

My first idea revolved around the Legend of Robin Hood and the story would involve how he became the outlaw and started stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

My second idea was based on the tv series Stargate but would not follow the actions of earth or sg-1 but rather an alien planet that had humans inhabiting it, but at a much less technologically advanced stage than we are, possibly as early as 400 ad in comparison to human evolution.

I feel that my second idea was much better suited to me so i would be focusing my efforts on this, but my other idea is always there just in case.

So my first mistake in taking on this project is thinking that i can just start drawing everything, without making any story or setting, kinda hoping the game would just make itself out of the drawings i have done, this would never work and i realise this now, so i am going to now get down some ideas and make a story for my adaptation to follow.

Story Ideas

I will just start by making a list actions and themes that could be involved in my game and then picking elements and creating a short couple of paragraphs detailing a section of a story for my adaptation to revolve around, this will give me a focus for my drawings and work.

  • A Viking age village/town
  • Small a few miles away from the base of the mountain
  • Lead by an earl who has been given this title due to it being passed down in his family name
  • His family earned this title by embarking on a dangerous journey through the mountain valley to visit the temple of the gods (Sticking with the typical stargate theme)
  • Activate an altar (Left there by an alien race to monitor evolutionary progress of humans inhabiting planet)
  • Retrieve a ceremonial item to symbolise divine right to lead the village (Weapon can only be activated by a person with a specific genetic marker)
  • Ceremonial item is a beacon for the aliens to transport the person to their research facility and check their evolution, then send them back with the beacon to locate their village.
  • If they have the specific genetic marker the beacon will act as a personal shield for the adventurer to protect themselves from the harsh conditions of the world
  • It will prevent the holder from becoming hungry and keep them strong to claim the throne and lead that village
  • Once the item has been brought back to the village, the earl must fight the returned adventurer to see who can claim the seat of the earl.
  • Any person that undertakes this adventure can claim the seat of the earl, be it man woman or teen and they command the whole villages respect due to the amount of courage it takes to embark on this quest and how few actually return.

This is the basic structure of my story and could use some fleshing out and details in places, but i think i will focus my adaptation on the beginning of a characters quest to visit the temple of the gods and the recovering of the Item (Which needs defining)

Casual Games – Proposal (11/11/13)

We have been tasked with making a proposal for a Casual Game to be produced in Adobe Flash. This is linked directly to our Casual Games session in which we learned about Adobe Flash Professional. We had a brief discussion at the end of last weeks session about making a casual game, my proposal for a casual game is going to be a simple 2D hangman style game with all the questions relating to Games design and the software we have used so far.

This game should be simple enough to produce in Flash and will have all the characteristics of being a casual game. For this game i will need to produce a series of questions and learn a lot more about Flash Code, this will be difficult to produce at first as i have only 1 previous experience on Flash and that was producing a bouncing ball. I am looking forward to see if i can produce this in the time given, it is going to be a challenge, but will ultimately prove useful in producing my History of Revenue & Sales Timeline in a separate Module.

Casual Games – Ideas & Research (10/11/13)

So I have been working over the weekend and managed to get an hour or so research done in my spare time. I decided to crack on with my casual games work and get some research done into the term (Casual Game/Gamer). Firstly we need to look at what are the defining characteristics of a casual game, could it be that the game needs very little rules to be able to play, or is it a game that you can pick up and put down and pick up whenever you want and be able to play, or maybe it is as simple as you can play it on your phone on the go.

I decided to make a simple list of key characteristics of a casual game:

  • Simple gameplay – Games that can be played using only a few buttons (Phone Keypad or Mouse).
  • Short but sweet levels that can be finished fairly quickly.
  • Games that can be played in break times or during travel (Preferably Public).
  • Being able to get into gameplay very quickly.
  • Usually have a free to play or trail, a few levels as a teaser.

These are just my starting and initial ideas about casual games. After these points i decided that i should have a look at when the different categories of Gamers arose: Casual Gamer, Hardcore Gamer, Retro and so on, unfortunately i didn’t have an internet connection at work so i had to make notes about my ideas and research them when i got home.

I will be making another post about my proposal for my casual game that i will be building in flash.

Social Event – PlayStation 4 Lockdown (25/10/13)


PlayStation 4

Me and another Student on my course (Jason Pook Click his name to see his blog and post on this Event) attended a lockdown at GAME in St. Stephens, Hull for one of the biggest and most anticipated games consoles due for release this year, the next generation of games console “The PlayStation 4”. As me and my friend already had our consoles pre ordered (Him slightly longer than me) we was both very anxious to get our hands on the console and see if our hype is exaggerated or is in fact normal, and let me tell you for the short time me and my friend got to play on the console (Roughly 30 Minutes due to GAME and a PlayStation representative wanting a fair rotation on the system, there was only space for 50 people due to it being a small shop and only 6 consoles set up) I was not in the least bit disappointed with the time I got to spend on it.

The Smooth feel of the new controller is amazing, I was a little dubious as there is a completely new touch pad, “Was it going to get in the way of gameplay and make me do things I don’t want to do” let me shed some light on this. The controller, even though it is a little bigger felt even more comfortable, the analogue sticks felt like they had a lot more grip and really made you feel in control. As for the touch pad, I couldn’t think of how it would fit into games and how it could be a fluid transition between the buttons, analogue and touch pad felt like second nature to me after just a few minutes of playing. The triggers, I felt, on the PS3 where at times finicky or I would not press them properly and slip right off failing or compromising part of a mission, the new triggers now feel like triggers and sit extremely comfortably under your fingers, like they are meant to be there.

Here is a Fantastic quote on the new Dual Shock 4

“Its a big step forward from what we have [on ps3]. It feels incredibly accurate and with really high quality materials it feels solid in your hands. There are tweaks to the indentation on the sticks, where you have your thumbs on them- we’ve slightly raised them so there’s more precision. These slight changes make a huge difference. It feels like your in control” – Hermen Hulst- Co founder Guerilla.

On top of the controller is an all new LED Sensor bar, Similar to the PlayStation Move Controller and used in conjunction with the camera to provide you with some intense and entertaining gameplay. The camera is positioned just like any other camera, at the foot or on top of your TV. We got to play on the Playroom which is a programme that comes with the console and maximises the controller capabilities using the Axis, The Sensor Bar, The Touch Pad and Everything in between. The Playroom gives you a futuristic style game of air hockey which uses the sensor bar on the controller to indicate your position on screen and the touch pad to slide your paddle and block the puck, Even tho I got absolutely dominated on this game (7-1) I still had an absolute tonne of fun playing, it got very tense when he was close to winning and I came back with a point the whole scenario just added to the enjoyment of playing, another cool feature on this game is that you can use the axis (Motion sensor) to bend the arena and confuse your opponent. The Playroom has many other features which I wont go into now but I will say that it will be coming pre installed or be free to download on every console, Hopefully you are better than me!.

Moving on to some of the games we saw at the lock down, they had a lot of trailers for games on the PS4 and a choice of only 3 games to play the demo of. First we have FIFA 14 a franchised that I never really found myself drawn to, never the less I decided to go toe to toe with my college friend Jason, the results of this game where less than satisfactory, but for my first game I apparently did some good defending to only concede 2 goals. As for the gameplay I can not speak from experience with playing the PS3 or Xbox 360 version but I can speak from a Games Designer point of view, The game handled very well, after some minor hiccups with the controls and lack of experience, it felt very fluid and smooth, the graphical aspect was phenomenal the grass, the players, even the crowd you can see the level of detail that has gone into designing them and the overall feel of the game and being in a crowded room you could almost see the tension, we had a crowd of people around us playing FIFA, I have been to football games live and the atmosphere in the room could be described as such only on a smaller scale.

Another demo we got to see was Contrast, this is not a next generation exclusive game, this is a mystery game based around cabaret, fair grounds and illusion, this game is a puzzle game of sorts in which the game allows the player to switch between being a solid being or being a shadow to over come certain obstacles, this game will also be on the PC in the Steam Store. Here is a short trailer showing off the game.

The Final demo we got to play was a game called Knack. Knack is a games designed to push the processing power of the PS4 and as a Games Design Student you really can appreciate the power of this machine. Knack has a look and feel of the Ratchet and Clank franchise which we both said almost in unison, there is a point in Knack where you break a box or a crate (or something of that nature) and all these tiny crystalline shards would fire out of this box as it broke and all be magnetised to your character and growing in size and power, we both felt like this was like when ratchet breaks a box and bolts come out and are magnetised to him and he then, in turn, uses those bolts to buy better equipment and become stronger. Another similarity is when after becoming this hulking monster you then have to press a button to shed it all and become small enough to fit through an air vent and you crawl through a shaft to get inside a building where upon which you are confronted by guards having to press the button again and magnetise all those shards back to you to face the guards, once dispatched you come across a group of laser impassable in your current state, to which you de-magnetise yourself once again to become small and made of a clear material as to not disturb the lasers and activate the alarms, this again felt like ratchet and clank when you take control of clank. Overall this game was stunning visually and gameplay wise very simple and very engaging.

“What we’re seeing here is a game that fully utilizes the processing power of the PlayStation 4 system, bringing massive amounts of graphic pieces together to tell a story that’s not just impressive graphically, but in its ability to blur the lines between storyline and gameplay as well.” -Slashgear, Chris Burns.

The PlayStation is set for release in the UK on the 29th November if you haven’t got your pre order sorted yet get it done, most shops are no longer guaranteeing for release day any more but get your orders down for before Christmas Holidays.

CATS – Log Book – Entry #2 (11/10/13)

Today in CATS we spoke and learned about “Analysis” what it means and what it is.

“A detailed examination of the elements or structure”

Last week we was asked to take or find a picture that got us interested in games design, I chose to bring in a picture from a game Gears Of War as this game is the first game me and a friend played together and it was the creatures “Locust” that got me interested in games design and 3D modelling.

After this brief discussion/analysis of the pictures we brought in we went on to analysing a clip from a film “2001 Space Odyssey”

we had to analyse this short clip, these are the notes that I got:

  • Monotone Voice
  • Hissing Sounds
  • Heavy Breathing
  • Empty Silence
  • Red Room
  • Emotionless Voice but words full of Emotion
  • Zero gravity – Very slow but focused movement

These are the notes I got from the short clip and we then discussed with the rest of the class what we got for our analysis and discussed what we all thought it meant. The tutor went around the room and gave us all keywords that we had to look at and analyse the clip based around these words. My groups key words were Sound, Movement and Time. All of these words link together as the common theme for the clip is Haste and Fear. As the character is moving through the scene you can hear a constant hissing sound (Like air leaking from his oxygen supply) which gives you the feeling of urgency, the movement was very slow, we deducted it was due to the zero gravity of space and how difficult it must have been to move. Finally, Time, we felt that the clip was packed with tension and that combined with the sounds and atmosphere, that for Dave (The Character Deactivating HAL) those 4 minutes could have felt like hours.

Shortly after we was set an Essay to do by next week analysing a cultural artifact, this could be a picture or movie or game. We had to use 3 stage analysis, Description of what we see, Analysis of what the work is about, Interpretation of what it all means, with your own personal opinions and experience thrown in.

CATS – Log Book – Entry #1 (4/10/13)

During our first CATS (Critical and Theoretical Studies) lesson we was given an introduction to what we would be doing in this semester, this involves not only learning the history and theories of Games Design but also to look at them in a different perspective to give us a “toolbox of information” about our “Discipline”. We will look at others that give us inspiration and use their work to influence our own.

The first exercise we was given multiple pictures ranging from the Magnavox Odyssey (The first household Gaming Platform) to the iPad (The handheld Computer) and asked to us what they mean in relation to our chosen subject. We decided as a group to split these pictures up and discuss what each picture meant and how it was relevant to our course.

Then we was asked how Cultural artefact, Material culture, Media practice and Form of entertainment was relevant to Games Design. We discussed this in our group and identified that in some way each of them are relevant to Games Design.

Cultural artefact – The history and future of gaming shapes cultures of all varieties and ages due to the social participation involved in playing and discussing games and how it brings people together.

Material culture – That a game has evolved into a social gathering point online to speak and play the game co operatively for example: World of Warcraft

Media practice – One of the largest industries in the world with roughly 70% of people world wide playing video games and 91% of children are gamers

Form of entertainment – Goes without saying really, one of the most used forms of entertainment around the world with around 3 Billion Hours a Week spent gaming World wide.

We was then asked our opinions of what we believe the relationship is between a game and a gamer. This question is not easy to answer due to it being totally reliant on both the game (Thriller, Shooter, Action, Adventure etc…) and the gamer (Casual, Heavy or Spare time player) these factors all play a part in how Immersed the gamer will be in the game, it depends completely on the Type of player and the Type of Game.

After this lengthy discussion we watched a humorous video on a lecture held by Kevin Kelly hosted by TED on how technology evolves

Once we had watched this we was given a brief and a piece of homework. The homework was some keywords to expand our vocabulary and also we had to bring in a picture that brought us into the idea of Games Design. I chose to pick a game that me and my friend played that really brought me into the idea of Games Design/Creature design and to pursue it as a career choice. My game of choice was Gears of War, this game to me is a fantastic piece of art with all of the creatures being hideously deformed, although some do have a humanoid figure, this to me i really found interesting and is the reason i chose this picture.

Research Focus – Revenue & Sales (30/09/13 – 07/10/13)

On (30/09/13) we was introduced to the Module and our Brief to make an interactive presentation of our research into the history of gaming. We was shown a 45 minute video called Thumb Candy. This video was very interesting and had a lot of useful information.

“Our lives aren’t even about doing real things most of the time. We think and talk about people we’ve never met, pretend to visit places we’ve never actually been to, discuss things that are just names as though they were as real as rocks or animals or something.”

– Tad Williams, Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass

On (7/10/13) we have been given a focus for our research into the history of gaming. My research focus is on Revenue and Sales, which personally i will find very interesting. In the video i have linked, the designer of Tetris (Alexey Pazhitnov) didn’t get a penny for selling Tetris due to the soviet Government selling it for £30 mil. I will be going further back than the creator of Tetris and looking at this in a lot more detail.

As for the actual timeline, i plan to make an interactive Sales Chart with 2 separate lines and charts that become 3d once combined, one to represent the sales and one to represent revenue. The X-axis will be the Time/progression and the Y-axis will represent the sales & revenue with focus on one or the other and having the non selected section fade out to give a clear view of information.

Progress-Sales-Progress-Sales-Chartbar chart

As a representation. I would like to have the chart 3d with 2 line that are next to each other.

Social Gaming Event – Beyond: Two Souls (4/10/13)

Today (4/10/13) we attended a social gaming event which involved the full version of the game, Pre release. Me and a group of 3 fellow students attended this event with an expectation of over 100 people attending, that mark fell well short (8 people including us 4 students) 4 people as excited about the launch as us.

We was unable to take photos or videos of the event due to copyright issues and other things of that sort, but we was allowed to take a photo of the tall poster (Not brilliant but its all we could get)

Beyond Two Souls 4/10/13

Due to the tiny number of people at the event we was able to play and test the game with great ease. The game its self is beautifully textured and rendered, with great focus and detail on the characters and models. The controls are very fluid and felt like you actually had control of a real person, that being said the game doesn’t give the player much control during gameplay. Like I said its beautifully rendered and the designers don’t mind showing it, most of the action is done through quick time events (QTE’s) Where the player has a series of buttons or actions to input, in a specific order, the speed and accuracy of the players input will be reflected in the outcome of the QTE. The outcome will be good if the player does everything correct, or could be bad if the player does it incorrectly.

Overall the experience was enjoyable (Not only for the free pizza) but the lack of people meant if we wanted we could have finished the game, but I am very much looking forward to the launch and immersing myself in the gameplay. As for the graphics and textures, every aspect was beautiful and the cinematic style (much like Heavy Rain) will make for very intense gameplay. 

I will be posting more events in here as and when I attend them. The next I believe is the 15/11/13 – 16/11/13 for the Platform Expos in Hull.

About Me

This is a page for you to learn more about me…

My name is Phillip Maclennan, I am 21 years old born March 24th 1992 in the city of Hull. I have lived in Hull all my life, but have ambitions to move out of Hull maybe even out of England all together “Who Knows”.

I am currently studying Games Design (BA) at Hull College in the HSAD (Hull School of Art & Design) building. I have a passion for gaming and drawing. More so the drawing aspect than the gaming over the past 1-2 years (That doesn’t mean I haven’t played games for the past 2 years, it just means I have been less focused on it than I was in my school years).

As for drawing I have really been interested in the work done by a Manga artist who goes by the name Mark Crilley. He does loads of ‘How to Draw’ videos and has really helped me develop my drawing skills. His simplistic style and clear voice makes it so anybody can draw even the most complex of pictures.