Sunday, 4 May 2014

Final Environment works, and whats next for the project.

Frozen Environment final

Goblin Coastal City Environment final

Tundra Environment final

Vale Environment final

Volcanic Environment final
Here are the final version of my environments, in high resolution. I went over each one after a final round of feedback. As can be seen many are significantly different in terms of rendering.

In the Frozen environment I have tried to make the foreground much more prominent and the snow rendered in a way that better represents the texture of snow. In the previous version the snow looked too gloopy, almost like icecream rather than snow. I found having a more diffuse look to the surface lighting and working in various cool colours and surround local colours significantly improved how much it looked like actual snow.

For the Goblin Costal city I have mostly improved the rendering, the water nearest to the pipe and oil station receiving the complete repaint to better indicate the direction of the seas movement and the natural way the toxic waste may interact with the water. I have also added some smoke from the chiney of the house for movement and to compliment the composition as well as the minor effect of adding a bit of local depth to that area.

Further to this I have flipped the top of the oil platform horizontally in order to keep the viewer in the painting as before it was pointing outwards. Ive done a similar thing with the rocks and the land in the foreground in order to enhance the flow of the composition.

In the tundra environment, and vale environment the focus was on rendering the focal points and improving the way the water was rendered. I have completely repainted the water in the tundra environment to look more natural which I believe is a significant improvement. Also in this painting I realised their was a weird elevation error so I have tried to address that by adding steps almost to the rocks giving a better sense of travelling upwards.

Lastly the Volcanic Environment has had the entire foreground lava repainted and the values changed in order to add more depth to the piece, and to again make various elements look more realistic. The lava I believe is much more lava like in appearance, before it was a bit too abstract.

My focus now for the project will be creating a poster and presentation for Expotees. The poster will be a representation of the methodology for the project, its the first time I have done an academic poster but they look pretty straight forward so I am confident it will not take long; and having kept this blog I have a complete representation of my methodology already, which I believe has shown the usefulness of having kept one during this project.

The report is currently in its second draft, I think after adding corrections it will be done. As such the project is essentially on track for the hand in and I will hopefully have enough time after Expotees to also do a final pass on the characters similar to what I have done with the environments. 


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Final environment touch ups and Murloc trash mob final designs

Tundra environment final touches

Vale environment final touches

Murloc welder, Dungeon 1, Trash mob 1

Murloc engineer, Dungeon 1, Trash mob 1
I received feedback from my tutor that I needed to render the rocks and water as they did not look finished in 2 of my environments, so I took the opportunity to give both paintings above another once over, I think these are the finals now.

I also forgot to post the two 'trash' mob designs in my last post. They are both meant to be Murloc minions, ones a Engineer of sorts and the other a Welder. The idea is that they look like they perform an actual role in the dungeon, I feel this adds to the believability and story of the characters. Which in tern makes them more interesting.

One the aspects I have taken away from this project is the need to think of a back story and context when creating characters, I feels it has really helped me to create interesting looking characters as opposed to previous character works I have done which can sometimes look rather derivative or not as interesting as they could be.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Final Environments, Underground Cavern, and weapon designs

Final underground dungeon

Vale Environment final

Tundra Environment final

Volcanic Environment final

First Dungeon, weapon drop designs

First Dungeon, 3 weapon final designs
Here are the final versions of the Vale Environment, Tundra Environment, and the Volcanic Environment. Finally I decided to do one of my bonus tasks where I designed weapons for the first dungeon that would drop from bosses.

For the designs I wanted them to seem like they belong in the dungeon, and also that they could have been used by the characters in the dungeon. I thought of 3 classes as well when designing them, the dagger is meant for a Rogue, the gun like object below it is a welding tool which I thought could be a like a short range gun for a hunter, and the object to the right is meant to be a cattle prod type wand that the shaman uses to keep the workers in line, this weapon would be used be Warlocks/Shamans/Mages etc

As mentioned earlier on in the blog I was using the site CGhub in order to post my work and gain feedback, unfortunately due to their abrupt shut down earlier this week I have lost that data so will no longer be able to use it for my final report.

Edit: Forgot to post my frozen environment final as well.

Frozen Environment final

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Dungeon character designs update

Taskmaster mini boss final design
Trash and special character types mob designs
Hob Goblin Enforcer Special mob design

Hobgoblin Shaman special mob final design

Final boss design thumb sketches

Final dungeon one boss design
Here are the designs for my first dungeon characters. The first design is a taskmaster mini boss, secondly I have done thumbnails for possible trash mob and special type mob designs, this resulted in the Hobgoblin shaman and hobgoblin enforcer. I chose Hobgoblins as they were listed in the Warcraft law as be subserviants to Goblins in some cases so I felt they would be appropriate for the special mob type designs.

For the main boss I wanted to have a Goblin in a Harvester suit to continue along the same design as other Goblin bosses in that they have technological improvements in order to make them more formidable. In this case I wanted the harvester type suit to look like it may be used in the factory like setting of the first dungeon, perhaps to pick of heavy objects.

In terms of rendering I plan to go back and give everything a once over like I will be doing with the environments.

I have taken a weeks break during the project as I have been doing an art test for a potential job after the course. This art test has actually influenced the Hobgoblin Shaman and Final dungeon boss design process, as I did a tight line drawing first, blocking in the drawing with a mask colour, adding the local colours, and then doing a shadow, light, and highlight pass. I have found this leads to a much more consistent quality of artwork and is much quicker to produce presentable results with.

I will be using this method for the rest of the project as I feel it is helping to me to create the right balance between quantity and quality.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Underground cavern design progress, Goblin Taskmaster mini boss development

Taskmaster mini boss head sketches

Taskmaster Gaz'lan wip
Here is the start of my first dungeon boss designs, for the previously posted geothermal power plant themed dungeon.

To start the designs off I decided that I would design the head of the character first, as I have found previously that an interestingly designed head can make designing the rest of the character easier.For this boss I have gone with the idea of a taskmaster of slaves - who will be the trash mobs I design later, this boss would be a mini-boss that you would fight on the way to the main dungeon boss.

When looking at the designs for previous Goblin bosses and named enemy npcs in warcraft they always tend to be designed with machinery enhancements to make them seem more of a threat. With this in mind I started sketching some kind of gun like weapon that attaches the Goblins right arm, with a whip in the other to link to the task master job he fulfils.

I am think about the types of attacks, and abilities he would use against players whilst designing which helps flesh out the design. For instance the whip being use to stun a random player, and the gun being used for a rapid fire attack of some sort, and the deadly one hit attacks that many bosses have in the game.

At the moment I just have the bust of the character as the initial sketch I did of the character had his legs posed in a way that didnt quite work. Once I have finished designing and have rendered this character I am planning to design two trash mobs that a player would fight in the dungeon and then move on to a final boss design for the dungeon.

I have also done some more work on the underground section of the power plant that would act as a second dungeon. I hope to flesh this out further after I have done the designs mentioned above.

Underground cavern dungeon designs and the entrance to the dungeon
Value/lighting rough
Edit: Here is is a quick rough of the basic 3/4 lighting I am planning to do and I have also given him legs now.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

First Dungeon cut out, and initial wip of second dungeon

Dungeon thumbnails

The image are the thumbnail designs for my first dungeon. I knew from the beggining that I wanted to have some kind of Goblin factory.

In second image are the cut out designs I did for my first dungeon idea, which is meant to be a Goblin geothermal power plant of some sort which would be found in the volcanic zone I posted previously. The first cut out is the main room, the second cut out is the first room you would see when going into to the dungeon, and the third is the right wing of the dungeon. I built all of these as very quick 3D models in order to find an interesting but clear angle to show the design of the dungeon.

My goal with the dungeon design was to allow for lots of different areas to explore and to make them as non-linear as possible whilst avoiding 'dead ends' which require the players to go back to another area after clearing one. I feel this leads to a more interesting flow in terms of the level design and makes the concept drawings more interesting to draw as a result.

Whilst I was doing a quick map for this area I started adding a collapsed area to the dungeon which lead to an underground cavern filled with other creatures and bosses. I thought it would be interesting if this would be my second dungeon and you can see the initial sketches for these above.

For the initial dungeon designs I have designed the dungeon first, and then I am planing to the design the bosses and creatures etc that inhabit it. I actually think this was a mistake to do as I feel the dungeons would have evolved into more interesting areas if I had based them around the a few characters i,e the bosses for that dungeon. I think I will do this for my third dungeon and then compare my thoughts on the two in my final report on the two methods and their results as part of my final report.

My undeground cavern designs I did as more of a traditional concept piece like my previous environment shots, and then I tried mixing the cutout look in the 3rd picture which is intended to depict the entrance to this new instanced off dungeon. I feel this is a much more artistically pleasing to look at, but perhaps it isnt as practical for designers to build from as alot of information is left up to the imagination and as such is better for inspiring further designs than to be used as the final blueprint design for the dungeon.

I believe for this project I should be focusing on the initial stages of preproduction where the concept artist is brought into inspire further designs, so the cut-out look I have gone for above probably would have been okay for a later stage of development but not for the preproduction stage I should be concentrating on at this point in the development cycle.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Development for the final sets of zone environment concepts

Frozen Environment

Recently submerged environment

Goblin Coastal environment thumbs

Goblin Coastal environment

Volcanic valley thumbs

Volcanic environment

Here are the last of the environment concepts for my final project. At this point I think going forward I will further develop my concepts around the volcanic environment, Goblin coastal environment, and the first environment I did of the country vale.

I will go back and clean up all of these environments later on in the project, for now I feel I need to move on to the dungeon designs and related concepts and that these are at the stage where enough information is present to build upon.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Further progress on the second environment, thumbnails for 4th and 5th environment

Here is the current wip of the second environment:

Second environment wip 3
At this point I feel I just need to carry on tightening up the focal areas and detailing

I have also started thumbnailing the 4th and 5th environments.

Frozen environment thumbs

Underwater (or recently recovered from the sea) environment thumbs
As per my self imposed brief I am trying to make each environment unique, which is a challenge on its own. I am hoping that each one be interesting enough that I could easily design a zone and its various features such as dungeons, creatures, characters etc easily.

I am trying to introduce more architecture into these shots as well as I want them to be the first images that establish that zone and help to inform further designs like an initial concept pitch would be.

I don't think I mentioned it before but I am creating these abstractly in order to come up with unique designs to build from as I don't want my environments to feel derivative but I don't want them to feel out of place or unfamiliar within the setting either.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Style test character, first two environments and associated development work.

Here is the initial style test character that I did to start myself off with the project. I was trying to find a balance between my own natural inclinations for painting and the Warcraft style. I found this was a good exersize just to get my ideas for the project going.

Initial style test character
After I did this I started on the development for my first zone design, which I will be doing as environment establishing shots similar to the concept art I have seen for the franchises expansions which our designed to sell the idea of the zone to the development team.

For the first environment I wanted to have a 'Mist of Panadaria' feel to the zone to give it some continuity to the current expansion.

Thumbnails for the first zone

Current wip of the first zone final
For the second zone I went for a more 'Howling Fjord' type environment. The thumbnails and wips for the final version can be seen below.

Second Environment thumbs

Second Environment wip 1

Second Environment wip 2
I am planning to tighten up this environment and get the thumbnails and first wip done for the third environment next.

Final Project Ideas and my initial brief.

On this blog I will be posting every I am currently doing for my final project in order to record the development of the project in a similar way that I have been doing as part of my other course modules.

To start off with this is the initial 300 word ideas sheet that I filled out for my final project:

At the moment I am strongly leaning towards designing the content that would typically go into an expansion pack or content update for a computer game such as new levels, dungeons, characters, items, creatures, vehicles, storyboarding and so on, essentially designing a bit of everything in the context of a pre-established game.

I specifically want to design for a known intellectual property rather than a fictional universe to allow me to explore the issues and challenges that arise from designing for a pre-established brand and the individual challenges of designing subjects out of my comfort zone within those circumstances; which is a challenge I believe would commonly arise in the game industry.

So far I have narrowed down my choices to three popular intellectual properties. They are either the massively multi-player game World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment, the cooperative shooting game franchise Left 4 Dead by Valve Software, or the real time strategy franchise Age of Empires which is owned by Microsoft. I have chosen these franchises due to my familiarity with them and the unique challenges I believe each one would represent.

And here is the final project brief that I created for myself as a rough guide, I made it quite specific as the project is quite large. I have no doubt that this brief will change as I develop the project but I found this a good way of starting things off:

Final MA project

You are tasked with creating concept art for a proposed expansion pack for the massively multiplayer online game 'World of Warcraft' by Blizzard Entertainment.

Definitions for terms that might not be familiar:

Mob - common terminology used to described a non player character that is killed for loot, experience, or for some other reason in a computer game.

Trash mob - commonly this is used to describe a mob that is found in a dungeon it is almost always of no consequential value (doesn’t give any good loot, experience etc) tends to come in large numbers, is easy to kill, and is often used primarily by developers to add an additional element to clear in order to progress through a dungeon to the boss or as an additional element in a boss fight, hence 'Trash' mob and the other term 'adds' used to describe additional mobs in the game combat.

NPC – Non player character

For this project you will:

Design 6 to 8 unique zones – environment concepts. Similar to the amount of zones designed for the 'Mists of Pandaria' expansion.

Design a main a city area where players congregate usually this city represents the 'native' NPCs associated with the expansion, example 'Shattrah' in 'The Burning Crusade' expansion.

Design 3 unique dungeons which must be related to the zone the dungeon is placed in – dungeons don't have to be interior environments. Each of the dungeons must be for a different zone i.e. don't design 3 dungeons for 1 zone.

The dungeon designs will consist of:

A layout map of the dungeon.

An interior concept of the dungeon.

A splash screen which represents the dungeon. These are usually shown when loading the dungeon.

3 associated trash mob designs – common soldiers essentially, each of the designs could be a unique class of the same creature for instance a mage, a warrior, and a rogue.

2 special mob designs – mobs that have special abilities for the players to deal with, they always have unique designs.

1 mini-boss design – these tend to be less difficult bosses that are spread through the dungeon, in warcraft there is usually 4 mini bosses and a final boss in a dungeon.

A final main dungeon boss design. This could be a character or a creature or both similar to the dragon bosses in the game such as 'Deathwing' whom transforms into a human form when you fight.

1 or 2 armour sets appropriate for that dungeon for one of the 11 classes currently available in the game.

Total hand ins:

6 to 8 unique environment concepts of the zones.
3 Dungeon layouts. ( 1 layout per dungeon)
3 Interior concepts of each dungeon. (1 interior per dungeon)
3 splash screens for each dungeon. (1 screen per dungeon)
9 trash mob designs (3 for each dungeon)
6 special mob designs (2 for each dungeon)
3 mini boss designs (1 for each dungeon)
3 main boss designs ( 1 for each dungeon)
3 to 6 armour set designs (1 or 2 for each dungeon)
6 final weapon designs for one of the 11 unique classes (2 designs for each dungeon)

Additional content options (pick one or more) if the above is completed with time to spare:

Storyboards for a trailer for the game or for in game cinematic such as the ones now commonly found in dungeons and to progress quest lines. Perhaps 12 panels if for a in-game cinematic, or 24-32 if for a trailer.

A battleground – this is world of warcrafts player verses player map content. Each battleground has a unique goal such as capture the flag, domination of control points, king of the hill type variants, and large battlegrounds like Alteric Valley which have many different goals culminating in mini boss battles and a final NPC boss fight.

An Arena design – unlike battlegrounds these are 2v2, 1v1, 5v5 etc style fights where the goal is to simply kill the other team. Arenas tend to feature various elements/obstacles/features etc like a FPS map in order to make them more interesting.

Design a new race for the game either as part of one of the games current factions or as a neutral race like 'Pandarans', its capital city, its racial 'mount' (goblins have cars, trolls ride raptors etc) and a starting 1-10 zone for that race.