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.