Monday, 6 December 2010

Update with my work

Well we’ve just had our formative assessment, and other than the hiccup with forgetting my book, all fairs well. It seems that I just need to go out of my way to improve my own learning, by doing extra work and practicing everything I’ve learnt.  Heather seems to think my 3D work is developing nicely, but I just need to focus on being more efficient and naming everything. This makes sense, but never seems to happen when you’re so focused on just making it work well, not function well in game or within a business. Seeing as ultimately I will be using this degree for the rest of my life, its better that I pick up these habits now so that when I work for someone, they don’t have to bring a shit storm because I have a 100layers named layer1, 2, 3...etc.
I always get so nervous with these sorts of things, but they never turn out as bad as I think they’re going to be. Not having my sketchbook didn’t help but I suppose it will stop me from doing it again, trying to direct my parents through my sketchbook and attachments was not enjoyable or fast. I think I’m going to start doing as much work as I can, and even if I am happy with the results try again to make it even better or produce it in a different way. I’m off out now to buy some paints and a new sketchbook to try and make the most of the tasks and time that we have, and because I actually enjoy painting, this may reflect more on the work that I am producing.  By not being given the best marks possible it gives me something to work towards, and by the time that the final assessment comes I should have a more improved and impressive project.
If not I could always bribe you guys with beers.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

My Gaming Experience

My personal Gaming History, I remember Playing the Sega Mega Drive round my cousins after primary school for like a year solid. I found it so addictive, I can’t remember the year I first played it but I can’t have been older than 8. Playing Games like; Sonic the Hedgehog, Micro machines, and others with protest from me. I also remember seeing the original Game Boy with Tetris. Those were the days. I can’t believe that I was so immersed within the games market at such a young year, and it baffles me that I didn’t consider this a career path in till a lot later on. In years 4, 5 and 6 of primary school I used to go round my friends house everyday before heading home. We played his Nintendo 64 which I remember completely being awesome. Multiplayer 007: Golden Eye. Also being the first time that I was truly excited to play a game or angry to play one too.

We also used to play on his computer, I think it was running windows 2000, oh god no. but we used to play weird car games and mousetrap and things like that. Although I can’t remember completely it was obvious that we were being brought up in a gaming generation. The first game I played at my own home was Civilization on the PC, it was a demo and I can’t believe how hard I found it. I always got wiped out by the 1800’s. I actually downloaded it the other year and it felt so fantastic to beat the game and I managed some sort of retaliation. I still didn’t own my own console and the first console that we got in the house was the Sega Dreamcast. It was my dad’s, but I still managed to play it more than him, and getting told off for overwriting his memory cards with my saves.

My first console was the Xbox; I got it for Christmas in 2002. It was the first year it was out in Europe and I can’t believe I managed to get it first out of all my friends. Halo: Combat Evolved. What can I say, I was in love from the beginning Bungie. I was excited for every level, and scared of the flood! I was 10 haha and I remember calling them the Maw after the level and getting moaned at by my cousin. Whenever I had friends round we played it. I had other games but Halo was defiantly my favourite.

I think in 2003 I got Xbox Live and took my first steps online. The cursing, shouting, laughing. I was mindfucked with these new pleasures. I remember being a 31 in Big Team Battle; I was so impressed with myself. (With Lag switching and modding that was impressive). I met people from around the world and still talk to a lot of them now, I met some of the funniest people I know. It was some sort of massive social experiment and something that I was at the forefront to experience. Xbox Live has stuck with me ever since and crossed two platforms to where I am now. I could talk about all the games I’ve played ever, and there have been a lot of games but those early aspects of my gaming life set the rest up and made it so enjoyable. I have to say Halo 3 did have its downsides when I broke my hand punching a chair. Oh well. Although I don’t play games as much as I used too, I still find it enjoyable picking up a controller and feeling the sense of power you receive, And I hope that feeling never passes.

Gaming History Four 2000+

Although not in the 2000’s Dreamcast was considered a starting point to look at for this period of time, mostly because it was the first Sixth generation console, which dominated and pre-existed the current generation of consoles. Although initially very successful, as well as having the first built in modem for online play, all be it not fully realised. Its popularity decreased with anticipation for the upcoming Playstation 2 and Sega’s damaged retail reputation, and would see Sega move into a third party developer position. In 1992 the Playstation 2 would be realised and would find itself being the most popular console of it time and become the best selling console to date with over 140million units sold worldwide, Whilst Nintendo’s GameCube was technically equal to the Playstation 2, its lack of third-party games and appearance as a “kids console” hindered its following and popularity.

Microsoft made its first appearance in the console market with Xbox, with Microsoft and Intel’s processing power the Xbox harnesses more advance software and gain leverage on the market. Shortly after its realise Halo: Combat evolved was released which helped bolster Xbox’s success and see the Halo series become one of the most popular console shooters of all time. The console quickly drew even with the GameCube in popularity and units sold. This generation of consoles also brought about Grand Theft Auto III which was both critically and commercially received as allowing the player choices in how and when they played aspects of the game.

Nintendo although not as successful with its console’s still dominated the handheld gaming market with the Game Boy advanced in 2001. Nokia tried to enter this scene with the N-gage however it did not receive enough of a following to become a significant threat. This period developed a trend to develop toward increasingly complex, sophisticated, and adult-oriented game play. With Teen and Mature games becoming staple parts of gaming diets and classics amongst peoples memories.

Xbox Live was introduced in 2002 and quickly became popular as they disassociated online play away from computer systems and with the advent of broadband and faster internet play allowed for more complex and interactive online games to develop on consoles. With all new titles using Internet gaming as a key aspect of play. Xbox Live again managed to excel its position in the gaming market with key online titles such as Halo 2.

2004 saw the development of the latest generation of consoles, with handheld realises from Playstation and Nintendo, with the PSP and DS respectively. With new updated realises from both for most years after that. Apple and its Iphone were realised in 2008 and saw the rise of applications and the final success of phone gaming. Still developing momentum and success as it allows simple, easy games to be created by single developers and people. Whilst on the console front games and consoles developed with no care for cost or resources, with budgets sky rocketing games were becoming as complicated and expensive as films. As well as being as profitable.

High Definition and Next generation games engines proved popular with avid gamers as they allowed for a more immersive experience. The Xbox 360 (2005) and the Playstation 3 (2006) allowed for these developments with a cost of between £200 for an Xbox 360 and up to £400 for a Playstation 3. Nintendo’s Wii was able to capitalise on the casual gaming market and was widely received for its simple and fun “Party Games” by the general public. However receiving mixed reception from hardcore gamers who found titles had been hastily assembled for this new console, with little regard for classic franchises. With a new decade moving and both Xbox and Playstation deciding to release 3D packages, instead of opting to develop and research for a new very expensive console. How will gamers adapt to these changes and will 3D ever become fully immersive, or will traditional 2D games stick and manage to keep attracting interested gamers. The industry now faces issues with producing games able to work on these platforms? Maintain high production costs? And will new developers afford to be able to join this market and allow for a varied stream of ideas and innovation? Only the future can tell.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

History of Games Part Tray! 1990's

The 1990’s were a period where 3D graphics, texturing, CD-ROMs, soundcards and cheap and more powerful computer processors developed. Handheld Games became very popular during this period with a majority of this due to the Game Boy, however with new developments Arcade games gradually withdrew from the market as home consoles became more common and practical. With similar graphics and increasing ease of use that home consoles allowed. The era grew rise to The MMO and the ability for computer systems to interact and for players to interact in large virtual worlds.

One of the first consoles I played, the Sega Mega Drive was developed and its mainstream popularity was secured with Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991, becoming a mascot for Sega and another of the most recognizable video game character. It was becoming increasingly uncommon for people not to have played a form of video game and not to recognise brands and characters. In 1992 Dune II was developed and brought rise to the RTS genre not as the first Real time strategy game but laying the core mechanics of these games to develop into World of Warcraft and Command & Conquer style games.

CD-ROM consoles brought a new ease and the ability to create more complex and interesting titles. Alone in the Dark 1992 was a survival horror game that planted the seeds of what was needed to become a successful horror game. 1990’s brought the Sim’s to the playing field with Sim City, with a variety of titles leading to the most successful PC game of all time. Quake by Id Software in 1996 pioneered Internet game play and first person shooters over the internet and became a defacto requirement for FPS to have. Online play was soon adopted by Age of Empires, Starcraft and Warcraft.

Development of Plug-in’s like Java and Flash allowed for quick and simple browser based games to be played, Again making the industry very adaptive to what markets were available to it. Another platform that developed was Mobile phone’s when Nokia installed Snake onto its line of mobile phones in 1998. Although very limited this would no doubt create a very profitable market which emerges in the late 2000’s. Fourth Generation consoles 16bit and Fifth generation consoles 32 and 64bit developed all through the period and dominated the later section of the 20th Century. The Play station emerged and the Nintendo 64 in 1996 along with Super Mario 64 became defining flagships of the era.

Capcom release of Resident Evil in 1996, Rare’s GoldenEye 007 (Which I must take the time to say was a mainstay of my childhood and was absolutely incredible!) brought along the innovation of Z targeting used in practically every game available today. Legend of Zelda in 1998, Final Fantasy in 1997 all became cornerstones and very popular amongst the consoles for the development and innovation, and plotted the course of my future career to some extent. By the end of the 90’s Sony became the leader in the video game market. The extent that games improved over the last 20 year’s becomes very clear, with consoles adopted more familiar settings and games becoming more familiar. The earliest extent of games on computer become a distant predecessor as Game push into a new century fully fledge 3D becomes a reality.

History of Games Part Dos (1980's)

The period from the 1980’s was deemed the golden age of video arcade games, this era of games production brought new genre-defining and innovative titles that would pave the way for every genre of games available today. A few of these defining titles include;

King’s Quest created by sierra in 1984, this game created the groundwork for modern adventure games, featuring colour graphics and a third person perspective.
Kung-Fu Master 1984, laid foundations for scrolling beat ‘em ups, with simple game play and waves of enemies.
Street Fighter 1987, one of the first recognisable game brands that is still around to this day, introduced combos and exploration of game controls.
Pac-Man 1980, if not thee most recognisable game, and the first to achieve widespread popularity in mainstream culture and the first game character to become topical.
Along with many others including, Mario Bro.’s, Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear and Metroid. All recognisable to someone familiar with games from any generation. The 1980’s can be considered a golden age because of the wealth of experimentation and success that game producers achieved and the lasting effect that they have on the games market.

However in 1983 the video games industry crashed and many high profile companies went bankrupt in North America between 1983-4. This brought the end to the second generation of consoles. With poorly designed games for the Atari 2600 due to tight deadlines and non sensible marketing; such as more cartridges being manufactured than systems sold, attributing to the crash. This brought around an age of home computers where consumers assumed that the path for gaming would be run on a computer. The rise of cheaper non-compatible computer systems such as Apple II and the Commodore; along with other competitors brought about an enlightening period for the general public, where competition raised awareness for games and computing. In 1984 the computer gaming market overtook console market following the crash, due to equal gaming ability and the simple and easy to use interface associated with computer hardware.

In 1985 the video games console market revived itself in North America with the rise of Nintendo’s 8-bit console, the NES. Bundled with Super Mario Bros. Became an instant success, this system dominated the American and Japanese market in till the rise of fourth generation consoles in the early 1990’s. Europe however remained quite free of the dominance of this system; allowing other systems such as the Sega Master system to find an audience. With these new systems the Gamepade replaced joysticks, keypads and paddles as the default games control included with systems. The invention of the D-pad and action buttons brings games consoles closer to there current state. This later period of the third generation also brought with it the debut of The Legend of Zelda series, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. This generation of Consoles ended with the discontinuation of the NES in 1995.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

History of Games 1950-1970

Computer Games were founded on the invention of computers, it wasn’t long after the first computer system were produced that there capacity for entertainment developed. Most Computers at the time consisted of large rooms and mechanical parts for military and large corporate businesses. It wasn’t in till a device called the Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device was patented in the United States in 1948 that allowed an imaged to be produced on screen when electrons were passed through a vacuum into a Fluorescent screen. The idea contained this device with knobs that allowed a missiles course and curvature to be adjusted. Because computer graphics had not yet been produced a overlay was put onto the screen to simulate targets. This could be understood as the first attempt at creating a computer game. However it wasn’t in till the 1970’s that computer games developed into something that could be played commercially and interactively. Games had been produced in this intermittent period however they could be produced within normal means, with games such as Tic Tac Toe and Draughts.

The first computer game wasn’t developed in till 1961, when students at MIT programmed a game titled Spacewar! on the DEC PDP-1, a new, advanced computer at the time. The game consisted of two human players against each other, each controlling a spacecraft capable of firing missiles. Whilst a star in the center of the screen created a hazard to avoid when playing. Spacewar! Was then distributed with new DEC computers and traded throughout the early internet. Spacewar! Is considered the first computer game in that it allowed human players to play an interactive game through a computer system that couldn’t be produced in the non-virtual world, whilst be widely available on smaller more modern home computers.

In 1966 Ralph Baer rekindled the idea of an interactive video games machine; they used military grade computers to create a simple video game called Chase. The first computer game to be displayed through a standard television set. With the assistance of Baer, Bill Harrison created the light gun “a device used for aiming” and developed several video games with Bill Rusch in 1967. They managed to produce a system that could run several different games on it and by 1969, Sanders was showing off the world’s first home video game console to manufacturers. 1970 is coined as the golden age of computer games where they truly developed into games consoles and arcade machines. I use coined, as the first coin operated game was produced at Stanford university in 1971 called Galaxy Game. Also in 1971 Spacewar! Was produced as a coin operated arcade game and renamed Computer Space. 1,500 units were sold and released during this year. The game failed commercially because of its steep learning curved however it was the first computer game to be mass produced and sold, paving the way for later releases.

The first home computer system was developed from 1966 to 1968 by Ralph Baer and associates. The licensing was eventually brought by Magnavox and was released in 1972 as the Magnavox Odyssey. The Odyssey used primitive cartridges to allow the user to play several games with the same system by using different overlays. The Console also got a boost as Frank Sinatra starred in TV ads, which allowed sales of 100,000. This can be considered the beginnings of games consoles being considered a key media asset and money maker. Philips bought Magnavox and released a different game in Europe, using the Odyssey brand in 1974 with a new game that Magnavox had been developing for the US market. Over its production span, the Odyssey system achieved sales of 2 million units. With the advent of Home computers, hobbyists found that they could program on there own and software and games quickly developed. The end of the 1970’s also saw the development of second generation games consoles, such as the Atari 2600. This quickly became the most popular of early consoles. Each game was produced entirely by one programmer because production of these games was still a very niche skill, which would later changed as there popularity and money making potential expanded.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Blitz Lecture Thoughts

Just got home from the lecture and I’m going to write this whilst it’s still in my memory. Was a fantastic insight into the games industry and the words that most stuck with me were “Don’t forget to keep drawing” and they hit me pretty hard. Looking back on it I can see over the last two weeks I’ve been so focused on producing stuff in 3ds Max that I’ve overlooked the fact that I haven’t been practicing my drawing techniques. Bar the few thumbnails I produced on Leicester city centre. Too me it seems so important that I continue to keep these my top priority, seeing as the fact that it is Game Art I am studying and without sufficient knowledge of 2D art basics and fundamentals, and the continuous practice of these that I would either not succeed in finding a job. As my art would looking like crayon placemats that you find in Pizza Hut. Or more immediately I wouldn’t make it too my second year for the same reasons.

The people from Blitz seemed really interesting and they really broke down for us what they wanted from the industry and our course in particular. I know it would be a lot more beneficial closer to the end of my degree rather than the beginning, as I would be able to really focus on my portfolio. But I still found it helpful enough. “Think of what you want to do, what jobs are going and what you need to get there.” Another key part of the lecture that I brought home and comes to the mind as I scramble for things to write about. Obvious really, but overlooked by what seemed to be the majority of the 1st years including myself. Texturing or Object and asset creation? Before I got onto this course I really wanted to be a skybox artist. But I really think, realistically, based on all the things I want too do an Environment Artist would be more suited. I was surprised at how few a people work for the art team as environment artist, all be it a large portion of the art team. I really have to make sure I stand out and literally become the most competitive anti social art machine ever! Or I could just continue to enjoy what I love doing, doodling, drawing, painting, but make sure I’m happy with it. Because there is no better critic than yourself.

I hope each time we get industry people in, they give us such a big insight as they did today, because its great. Seeing what good and bad, whilst understanding the difference and why. Away from the lecture for a bit, its surprising how much can change when you remodel something in 3ds Max, it seems every time you do something, you get better. Practice actually does make perfect! Going home for the weekend again, and taking my work with me. But at least I’m still enjoying it, even if I feel under pressure to get as good as some people out there.

Thanks Blitz
I think this talk has really opened my eyes, and hopefully it will stand with me through the years. Even brought a new sketchbook to draw in my free time. Prepared!

What do I want to achieve? Mumbo Jumbo

Hmm I quite like the sounds of being a skybox artist or texture artist? I’ve always had some sort of a fondness for sky-scapes and textures they can bring something to life and make it a lot more interesting. Without the right background and objects in a game, it doesn’t feel right and you notice this when you play. I want to be the one to fix it, hate everything I’ve done, but alas be someone who helped bring everything together. Were not limited to just game though, perhaps a skybox artist for films or something. Quite possibly by the end of the week ill want to do something different altogether, and I guess that what the degree is going to show me whether or not I have any idea or if any of us, have any idea of what we can be and what we are capable of.

Again another successful week, took loads of snaps of the archway for textures and I completed my 8 thumbnails on Tuesday already, just my final to procrastinate to the last second. I like the speed I’m working at, it makes it more fun and keeps me concentrated. Think I finally got the hang of some 3D! Yes! About time really, got some of my darlek done, messed about with textures and UV mapping. I’m saying these words but really I have no idea what they all mean, maybe I never will? But that’s not the point, its moving forward, and when the weakest bit is moving then you must be doing something right! Keep looking through the second and third years work, I have a lot to live up to. It’s depressing yet mesmerising at the same time; hopefully I can produce half as good stuff if I make it onto the next year. I’ve sort of given up with going out now, going to concentrate a bit more and make better use of my time. Let’s get serious! Spent some time looking at people’s models, and such a variety some to be proud of guys, seriously.

Although I started writing this like 2 weeks ago, it still pretty much the same, trolling and toiling through 3ds Max and getting adequately good at it. Wheelie Bin is getting there, just texturing to go, with problems that no ones seems to understand, but hey that the fun right. I can see myself now wanting to be a environment artist more, mainly because 3D isn’t so terrifying but looking really hard at myself, I think I’ve finally realised that I want to be one of these people, a CONCEPT ARTIST! Maybe I can just do that in my own time and focus on everything before I really settle into something. And then again in the back of my mind I want to do character designs, I wish I’d just make up my mind and focus. But I’m so full of endorphins from gaming mumbo jumbo that I doubt that’s happening anytime soon. Going to search the web for ideas, books to buy and art equipment. Hunker Down and buckle up boys this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Introduction to Me!

Hey, I’m Max Mead, imp fresh out of sixth form and lucky enough to get myself a place at De Montfort with Game Art. Frankly I have never been more nervous or confused about some of the things we looked at during the first week. 3D confuses the hell out of me and that is the thing that’s going to make these first few weeks hard for me. I’ve talked to a few of you about the process and how you got so brilliant at it. Seriously I’m wondering if ill ever be able to build a darlek. But None the less I’m going to try my hardest to get set in. I don’t really think ill have a problem adapting my 2D skills in the long run and I find that drawing the canal for god knows how many hours, therapeutic and skill improving. Overall I couldn’t be more impressed with the course I signed up for, it sounded good on the open days and interviews, but nothing could have prepared me for when I heard all of the great things that I get to do.

But am I really cut out for this?

You can ask my parents, I’ve wanted to do something artistic and constructive with my life since I was eight. First of all I wanted to be an Architect, Work experience killed that dream. Then I thought why not do something that everyone thinks about at some point. Help create games! I’d been creating little maps and doodles of ideas for ages but not in till sixth form had I realised that I could do something like this, which I could actually be good at. Looking through courses on UCAS, I had my mind set out Game Art. There were only 2 universities that I looked at, here and Stafford, and as soon as I came to De Montfort and saw the course I knew. Am I cut out for this? If I can develop my 3D skills enough and if I prove that this is seriously a direction I want to take my life, Why not?

My interview, well I was put up with another guy who had a whole portfolio of 3D work and animation, and there I was trundling along with my canvases and paintings…Ahhh. But Heather seemed impressed, I thought she was just being nice but then a week later id been offered a place! That gave me some confidence and I spent the next few months working towards My A* in Art. Sweet! Everyone seems really nice here, I don’t know if it’s the fact were all in the same boat or that we all have the same goals but I feel really comfortable here and I really don’t want to be one of these people to quit out. When we get so much input from the industry why would I want to go anywhere? Wednesdays Seem Awesome, We get to watch films and talk about what we like and write blogs at unholy hours. Pulling all nighters seems to be my speciality, but I just wish 3Ds Max would hurry up and download, I need to get some practice before tomorrow.