Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Food for Thought

Worth sharing! 

In a twist of fate, I did just about what you guys have been tasked with about this whole semester for a game jam at the GFC14 festival. For the jam, teams paired up and prototyped  (Storyboard) a modification (Breakout Mod) of the existing board game Monopoly into a more social issue (Serious Game). 

All groups were given just one hour and a bunch of neon color paper, pens, and frilly print outs to work with. Shown in images below. They weren't entirely concrete with their rules, so I ended up just pulling my laptop out and in an hour did a 3D model diagram (Overworld Model) of our 'Philanthropoly' addressing gentrification issues. I was kind of eavesdropping on what my group was planning, which did not entirely reach a conclusion until 50 minutes in. I mostly just worked as the art guy. For presentation, instead of from table, I hijacked their presentation TV for our purposes. We ended up ranking 1st with another group. Might have helped that I pulled the stunt because representatives from Autodesk were there.

If nothing else, a testament either to the power of deja vu/string theory, or that concepts in the art studio are not too distant from actual industry practices.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Important Email

(Important enough to post here.)


Important notices (especially since we will be away for 2 more weeks). Read these carefully since I am clearly not there to express in physical form.

-Ian Bogost is back on. He will visit us May 8.

-Speaking of turn-in, for convenience purposes here we are : Two folders will be available on the desktop: PROJ 3 and PROJ 4 respectively on the day of critique. You know the drill. Final GameMaker files from everyone (.gmk) in 3 folder and Maya files from everyone in 4 folder. We critique any updates and 3D works. I recommend arriving at least 10 minutes earlier this day to ensure all files are placed. Or sooner. This will not be a critique to be passive in whatsoever.

-Our final exhibition date, due to booking of the space, has been moved up to May 10. Saturday. 5-7 PM. At the Collective. All protocol for the whole original day remains in tact, but for Saturday. This is not the final meeting time for 381. Contact me if this is a scheduling issue for any reason. Make all effort to still participate.

ANY questions, email me.

Joe let me know who attended the Artcade! Special thanks to him. Best of luck. You might see me tomorrow in-between cities/tasks.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Open Challenge

The Artcade. A single quarter playthrough.
Score may/may not be up by the time you arrive.
But I invite you to try and top it. </nerd>



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Exhibition : We're On

C R I T I C A L  P L A Y
Art and Computer games
Reno Collective

 I lobbied hard, and after
it seemed lost, an owner
of the place gave me the
thumbs up and has decided
to sponsor our event.

So congrats. You have
a downtown exhibition you
can put your hard work into
for friends, family, and the
town the discover for
a one-night exhibit.


DATE : May 10, 5-7 PM, Saturday : Reception (Let me know clearly in advance about scheduling conflicts.)

TIME : All morning and afternoon of that day, however necessary, myself and a team of us will bring all vital materials for the exhibition and install it in the Collective. It will be organized carefully before transfer. Most of our work is digital, however a certain component of it is definitely 'physical' (read on). I will rent a truck if need be to transfer such larger items unless someone has that capability.

WHAT WE DO : Exhibit all facets of our labor and creative projects through the whole semester in the gallery! I will see to purchasing projection screens so we can project all game projects, game code manipulations, and 3D dioramas in. In addition, any work of individual course members' choosing they wish to add that does not have to be a part of 381. Digital or any other medium. Consider this exhibition as an opportunity to get yourself out there.

ADDITIONALS : For refreshments and snacks, I propose a pot luck. Additional prospects that might be neat is a small ensemble or band playing some music for us. Game music or otherwise. Or a small 'game tournament' to entice outsiders to join us for the evening.

-At least one work from each class member created in 381 is required to place in the show. This does not include the game project, where everyone must be included. I will curate a little, as I will want to include certain works either because of their visual achievement or relevancy to the overall exhibit.
-An external work made outside of 381 is optional, but heavily suggested. It can be created from any date in the last 2 years. If you want to include an external video piece you want to show, we can bring in a TV for a looping reel. Painting? Printmaking? We'll hang it. We want to encourage the interdisciplinary aspects of game art making by showing additional mediums.

Here is a task, now, that everyone
will be using class time with (and
sparingly outside class time put aside
for your existing projects)-

  C A R D B O A R D  

Tired of living in the digital? Want something 'tangible?' Here's your shot.

In a very loose parameter of teams (you can work alone or with a group of 3... MAX 4 per team), we will be using TONS of recycled cardboard and material of the likeness to build DIY arcade machines as a way of celebrating our opportunity in downtown Reno. And to pay homage and learn about such retro processes of creating a classic American arcade cabinet. You will even see the Artcade in Reno come next week.

Below are two poignant and relevant videos to our interest, which we will screen- Verge documentary on the fall of American arcades and the charming 'Caine's Arcade' featurette.


 -By May 9, all cardboard cabinets should be assembled. Working in teams and using class time which we should have left, this should be more or less a briefer task. I will heavily assist with construction as well post May 3 as my time will be a little more free then. This factors in to the newly fused Project 5-final exhibition grade. Please participate.
-The requirements for the size are very liberal, but do at least try to go above four feet tall.
-The look. Completely up to your imagination (like Caine's imagination). You can even invent a game out of your imagination and build a cabinet for that. Just know cardboard is fragile. They are more of objects to be observed and walked around.
-The process is very interpretive as well. Use your imagination for that, but a good tip would be to do basic engineering. Get a strong sense of the base before attempting to finish anything.

Again, congrats. The home stretch is upon us.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Process of Super Maya Meat Boy

'In-process' pics of my example so there is visual overview.


What I am working towards.

 I start out with the basics. Pick a cube
to work from, and do a simple start
of moving a few verticies and extruding
some faces to establish where my
basic shape is going. 

Continue extruding faces, so
the shape of the level design
is becoming more clearer.

Eventually, it will get to the
point where I break from that
original cube, and just make
another to sculpt from. The
shape on the left was just a series
of extruding and subtly manipulating
the vertices along the way to
create an intentional jagged curve.

Next, I add in additional objects
to detail the scene accordingly.
I make a separate cylinder, extrude
every other face on the rim, and scale
the ends down to get a buzz-saw effect.
I copy and paste that 'one' saw accord-
ingly to fill the scene.

Once more, the little details make
the difference. Here I just
add the fence on the sides
of the level platforms.

I mind the fact that the model
is 3D now, as opposed to 2D
level design. I invent the way
the items are placed in the space
a little. Instead of just a flat
saw blade at each position,
I multiply it to fill the whole row.

More circumstantial details. Things
like molding a separate rock to
duplicate along the edges as well
as some pipes to look like the level.

Last thing I do : add Meat Boy
and Bandage Girl. I make the
scene first before characters,
to get the best sense of space.

Ironically, then, the characters
are the first thing I texture to create
the mood of the scene. I make
everything but Meat Boy's face
a shade of red. I go to component
mode (face) to add the one unique texture.

It is a series of Right Click->
Add New Material/Texture. Sometimes,
adding again a material that already
exists from a dropdown menu.

A crucial hint is that you do NOT
have to model every little detail
before texturing it. Sometimes,
texture and color itself suffices
as enough detail. As opposed
to modeling every little thing.

Think in tiles. Rather than wall-
papering the whole rock side
as a single wallpaper, I gave the
sides 'individual tiles of rock'
to look more retro, like a game,
and fill the space more creatively.

Make camera background
fit accordingly and render.


Meditating on the Positives of 3D (POWERPOINT)

Project 4 (Final) : Overworld Model (3D)


April 29:
All projects 3 and 4 finalized.


 P R O J E C T  4  ( F I N A L E )

O V E R W O R L D  M O D E L
(Using Maya, recreating our favorite
game stages and/or maps! Or making
something 'new' out of the aesthetic.)

BELOW. Food for thought.




This will be our interpretive task that will serve as the bulk of our final stretch to the end in Critical Play (in-addition to touching up game stages and doing a little cardboard construction).

OBJECTIVE : While learning the intricate processes of 3D, adapt an overworld map or game level from any video game you desire or is of personal relevance, and recreate it in 3D digital space using Maya. There is method to the madness of why I asked you 'what your favorite game is' at our first meeting. Though it doesn't have to be that game. It can be a game map/level design that A.) is relevant to your aesthetic proficiency or tastes or B.) something you can take further even and add a little more 'content' too beyond direct formal exercise. The challenge and how you interpret your model is completely up to you.

TURN IN : For the critique on the 29th, please bring-
*The Maya file your project is in so we can look at it in 3D. And place in a folder.
*TWO 1280x720px images to accompany your turn in, so they may quickly be printed for the Critical Play exhibition. And so we may look at as well. We will go over image export in a later tutorial.
*OPTIONAL : See if you are able to successfully upload your model to SKETCHFAB.COM with all materials properly in place and no distortion. It will be visually nice to view and to share amongst your own friends and crowd.

To test everything out, and for fun,
I did a quick one of my own. Based
on some of my favorite level design
from the game Super Meat Boy.
I just screen captured a
stream to get the specific shot. 

Simple altered details are no
huge deal. As long as the core
similarity is in tact and it looks 
good with effort put into it.

Once more: it is more of a formal
exercise. A huge underlying 'concept'
is optional, if you are up to the task.

As always, I either place a .PDF
for assistance or do a live demo.
For the task of 3D modeling, I am
taking two weeks worth of doing both.

Below are the images (which I will
pass out live) for the first week of
run throughs with Maya 3D.

I ask that you come prepared to work and do work in the ample time you have available until the critique.

Beyond everything else: have fun!