Friday, 21 November 2008

The only way is up?

You’ve done it. You’re excited. It’s your first job in the games industry and what are you doing?…

Modelling rocks.

You turn to look over at the Art Director, rolling in influence and money.
But we all have to start somewhere.

Today’s entry is all about the Art Director.

Thanks to some handy little links and some of my own reading, I have found that being an Art Director could be quite fun.

Although they might not do the drawing and sketching directly, Art Directors are responsible for overseeing every object of the game. They work closely with Creative Directors to set artistic goals and define the style of the game. Not only that but their ‘visions’ have to be achievable and within budget. Art Directors also have the job of selected a skilled art team in which to communicate their vision.

Art Directors may not ever lift a pencil but the overall outcome of the game art is initially based on their ideas. It would take years of experience and practice in the industry to achieve the status of an Art Director. They are indirectly responsible for every object in the game and it would take a lot of hard work and skill to make that happen.

However for me, I would find it hard to have an idea or vision for a game and not be able to physically draw it myself. Even though my artists will be talented (or just hardworking) they will not necessarily draw the same image that you have in your head.
On the other hand, years of experience could change that. The challenge of overseeing a team of people, communicating with them and defining the artistic style of the game could make my life very interesting.

Watch this space…

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Great parties but no art

The title of this post is slightly irrelevant but I just really liked the quote. Taken from ‘The Art of Computer Game Design’ by Chris Crawford.

When reading the preface of the article, what jumped out at me were the comments on how game art can be compared to such masterpieces by Da Vinci or Picasso.

Quite easily.

Well at least to me they can be. What we have to understand is that this article was originally published in the early 1980s. Back then games were still in their early stages. Consisting of pixels and restricted colours, of course game art wasn’t vital. Early games were left in the hands of programmers and so artists took a back seat.

However in today’s society, Game Art is just as vital as any other aspect of game production to achieve the all important Game play.

I’ll admit I was originally confused by the phrase ‘Game Play’. What exactly did it mean and to what extent? A board game plays differently to a card game, which in turn is different to a computer game.

After reading through some intriguing web pages, I have come to interpret ‘Game Play’ as an experience.
Game play is the level of interaction determined by in game aspects such as environment, the rules and the goals. In turn, these aspects of a game enhance the overall experience of the game. I partly arrived at this interpretation due to my own expectations when playing a game.

In a good game I look for suspenseful storyline and intriguing characters, but I also like pretty environments that make good use of the graphics. However, these expectations apply more to single player games, which implies that different games require different priorities during game play. Single-player games need good storylines to keep the player interested, whereas multiplayer games need a bizarre concept that will enhance the experience. A racing game will need different level designs to a horror-survival game.

Overall, the ‘Game Play’ a production company tries to achieve will always vary from the players ‘Game Play’ as everyone has their own preferences and experiences.

Watch this space…

The only place Success comes before Work is in the dictionary

Quite relevant i thought after wednesday's discussion. It really made me think as i was briefly listed as gifted and talented (for art), but the whole concept of the club activities was absurd. There were about 20 of us each from different subject backgrounds and all we ever did was sit at a computer for an hour.

I always argue that everyone can draw. To me there is no such thing as not being able to draw or do art. The more you draw, the better you will get. Probably not as black and white as that but after wednesday it really made me think that hard work is going to be the key to the next 3 years.

Monday, 17 November 2008

A good book makes a crap film...

Hollywood…I really enjoy watching films but sometimes I feel that it’s quality rather then quantity.

In this day and age there is a phenomenal amount of films being produced and most of them aren’t any good. This reminds me of the crash in the games industry in the 80s as the quality of games was suffering due to the quantity of games being made.

A very wise man once told me that a good book makes a bad film. After thinking long and hard about the subject, I find the statement to be true.

A major example is Lord of the Rings. I was never really a fan of the books but they are well written and paved the way to many other great fantasy treasures. However the films are just awful. I don’t care what anyone says but three 3 hour films of pretty orc fights could easily have been squeezed into 1 action packed film that held my attention longer than 5 minutes. Also the films don’t stay true to the books, which just annoys me.

This links gets my point across quite nicely :

This blog was inspired by an advert for a Max Payne film. It made me wonder, if a good book makes a bad film, what about a good game?
I’m not so hopeful. I mean the Tomb Raider films were just awful. I mean absolutely terrible. The resident evil films are watchable but only because they’re not anything like the games.

It’s just a shame that it seems to be more about making money. When a game does well they flog it and make more pointless sequels (except for awesome trilogies where the storyline applies, Jax and Daxer anyone?) then turn it into a film. When a film does well it’s flogged even more and rarely are the sequels any better. Oh and it annoys me even more when classic films are resurrected for a quick buck! The main culprit being George Lucas. Just leave Star Wars and Indiana Jones alone, they are timeless classics and I would like them to stay that way.

Watch this space…