Game Design Robot Demo for Foundation

On July 1 three instructors from the game design program visited the Foundation program to give the students an overview of the wonderful world of games that they could create if they enroll. Those instructors were Bren Lynn, Andrew Laing & Roger Mitchell.

The talk consisted of three parts; Introduction to Game Design, Creation of Art, and Empowering your Game Code.

The Introduction to Game Design.

The game demo we showed is of two types of battling robots, who are trying to destroy each other. They both have start positions or spawn points, which are locations that generate the robots at the beginning. These spawn points also allow more robots to be created from the same location.   Each robot comes with a rapid fire gun and grenade launcher.  The students will be able to alter the parameters for weapons range and fire rate, robots speed, stamina and shield abilities, as well as adjusting spawn damage range. The win state will be when the boss robot is destroyed.

To help the students understand the game demo, we gave them a copy of the basic game to use.

Rules of the Design.

The ideas for this Robot Game demo is born in design… How will the gameplay work? Do the enemies attack patterns change? Can you introduce new elements that will alter the game play? How will the win or lose conditions be satisfied? Will it all evolve? These were the types of questions that were proposed, and discussed as part of this segment.
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Image Based Lighting

One of the cool things about creating art using a computer is that you have unlimited choice to alter, adapt and update a composition of an image that you are working on. When I’m working on art for a game, I often like to render the scene out to get a better view on my progress. Maya is very good at rendering scenes using its default lighting. But what if that’s not enough? Well we could create some lights of our own, maybe the 3 point light setup. That could be time consuming, and I just want to have a decent render for checking purposes.

Maya allows us to take advantage of a technique called image based lighting

Image based lighting is a rendering technique that takes advantage of High Dynamic Range images or HDRi for short. Most modern cameras and Smart Phones can now take these, which presents some interesting options for us. You can use your own panoramic HDR images taken with your smartphone, to create a dynamic background and lighting tool. Here is an example of how you can make a simple model look spectacular using HDR images for lighting.

A model of my dream car that I made, a Ford GTO.

Ford GTO in wire frame screenshot. Not a very interesting scene. Default lighting.

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SYD MEAD Presents “n2it”

Photo of Syd Mead and Roger Mitchell

I recently attended a presentation called n2it by one of my favourite artists, Syd Mead. If you’ve watched any science fiction film recently, then there is a good chance it’s been influenced by his art.

Artwork by Syd Mead

Here’s a little more info and background on Syd Mead (excerpted from sydmead.com) : Born in Minnesota in 1933, Sydney Jay Mead started drawing at an early age. He served 3 years in the U.S.ARMY, and then went onto study industrial design at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, (now the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena). He graduated with Distinction in June of 1959. He was immediately recruited by the Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Studio under the management of Elwood Engel. Syd Mead left Ford after 2 years in order to accept a variety of assignments to illustrate books and catalogues for large corporate entities such as United State Steel, Celanese, Allis Chalmers and Atlas Cement. Then, in 1970, because of offers he was receiving from the likes of such companies as Philips Electronics, he launched Syd Mead Inc. in Detroit.

Films roll for Syd: Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Bladerunner, TRON 2010, Short Circuit, Aliens, Time Cop, Johnny Mnemonic and most recently, Mission Impossible 3, starring Tom Cruise for director J.J. Abrams.
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Game Art : A History

As a game artist, I’ve worked on many games in many genre’s over the last 20 years. I started with life drawing and portraits, and went onto Computer Aided Design (CAD) and technical drawing. Then I landed in the games industry in the earlier 90’s.

There have been staggering leaps in technology, especially for the game artists who produce the wonderful visuals, environments and characters that we have come to know and love. One area in particular is 2D art.

In 1994, I was creating textures for games on a Commodore Amiga, which was at the time, a very powerful 32bit computer. It had all of 8 megabytes of memory. That was a lot !!! The real win at the time was using an art program called Deluxe Paint created by Electronic Arts.
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