Month: September 2016

BBC Job Description – Transferable Skills

Basic Skill Set

  • Highly Motivated and Punctual
  • Effective communicator and team player
  • Handle responsibilities
  • Smart and well spoken
  • Basic maths and English skills
  • Planning and organisation
  • Polite, respectable and well mannered
  • Basic health and safety practices
  • Be an effective team member

Required Skills

  • Flexibility with a variety of skills
  • Creative
  • Team management
  • Extensive IT skills
  • Be innovative
  • Take on many different
  • Plan, develop, and deliver productions
  • Time and Budget management skills
  • Adaptable to any given situation/brief
  • To be able to effectively interoperate and respond to a brief
  • Comprehensive understanding of finances and business
  • Leadership skills
  • Business strategy
  • Internal knowledge of the BBC
  • Resilience and sustained performance
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Pacific Steel – Styles and Inspirations

Inspiration – Gameplay 

Pacific steel draws inspiration from a couple different styles/genres of game. Initially, Pacific Steel was going to be a WWII naval combat strategy game, similar to the likes of Battlestations: Pacific and World of Warships.

Battlestations: Pacific was the second game in the ‘Battlestations’ franchise, released in 2009 by Eidos Interactive.

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Battlestations: Pacific might as well have been the first mainstream game to introduce WWII naval warfare to the masses. What the game lacked in exciting gameplay, it made up for in it’s unique take on RTS (real-time strategy).

Players could choose to command a fleet controlled by AI from a map screen, or take control of a single unit themselves and participate in the battle.  The game featured a huge variety of units to control, from tiny PT torpedo boats, to Battleships, Aircraft carriers and the aircraft themselves- and each unit had an important role to play in the grand scheme of the battle.

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The gameplay was however rather lacklustre. However realistic it was, the ships travelled far too slowly and the ranges of engagement were far too small. However, a game would emerge in 2015 that addressed these issues, whilst providing a new and more modern take on a similar genre.

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World of Warships uses the same units, time period and general mechanics as Battlestations: Pacific, but makes a competitive online multiplayer game out of it. World of Warships give the player control of a single ship (and aircraft if the player chooses an aircraft carrier), and compete in team-based objective game modes.

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What World of Warships lacks in multi-unit strategy, it makes up for in it’s gameplay. World of Warships give the player control of a single ship (and aircraft if the player chooses an aircraft carrier), and compete in team-based objective game modes. World of Warships features far superior game feel, sounds, graphics and compared to Battlestations: Pacific, but this is expected for game that released 6 years later.

In essence, Pacific Steel aims to combine the game feel and intensity of World of Warships, and the RTS tactical, multi-unit gameplay of Battlestations: Pacific.

The last and final aspect to Pacific Steel is a base-building and resource management aspect, a style of genre that has become immensely popular in recent years on mobile platforms. Separate to the combat, Steel Pacific allows players to construct a base, gather resources and build new units that they can then use in the combat operations.

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Battle Islands for the PS4 is the only game I could find that almost resembles what I have in mind for the base building portion of Pacific Steel. Base construction, unit and resource management will function similarly to this (without the greedy pay-to-win system), but unlike Battle Islands, on which the ‘combat’ and base building aspects are merged to together, the combat and building portions will be kept separate from one another.

Inspiration – Visual Style

The overall design of my game is simplistic, colourful and most importantly, easy to render on small devices. The textures are going to be make the up the bulk of the detail on the models, while the models themselves are generally low-polygon/detail. I’d liken the graphical style as something similar to The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, with a bit more attention to the look of the water. Wind Waker uses simplistic models and textures, and relies on the shaders to make up the bulk of the graphical quality, which is what I aim to achieve.

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Godus is another game that uses a similar style. Godus is in fact a game released on iOS devices, as will Pacific Steel.

02

 

Pacific Steel – Modelling/Animation Proposal

Synopsis

Pacific Steel is a game set in the pacific ocean, 1942. The United States Navy (USN) and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) are fighting for control of various islands in the pacific.

Pacific Steel aims to blend naval battle control/strategy, and  base-building/management and resource gathering mechanics.

You, the commander (of either side) have been appointed to control and maintain a small naval base, situated on a remote island. With untapped natural resources abundant, you will expand your base and your fleet to take the enemy head on in the sea, and in the air.

The game will feature many ships and aircraft of varying types for the player to control for each country (USA and Japan), and various “ambient” assets such as islands, vegetation, structures and animals (seabirds etc.)

Objective

Pacific Steel aims to provide the client with the “killer and innovative” game they describe on their brief. Pacific Steel provides a unique take on older ideas, and ideas that the general public are already familiar with. The game features a building and resource management aspect, which is incredibly popular throughout the mobile game market, but it also aims to provide a strategic action side too, with real-scale naval battles and historical accuracy.

Pacific Steel takes place in a time period and location that is widely popular and recognisable with the public, the Pacific Theatre.

As to ensure the game achieves it’s huge scale battles, the models, textures and shaders are going to be limited. Not only does this make it easier on systems, but its makes the game less gritty and realistic, opening up the target audiences to younger players. The target audience for this game is essentially anyone and everyone.

Structure/Constraints

The assets will be constructed through C4D, using various simple techniques such as extrude, spline and movement modelling. I will create all the textures myself, save for perhaps skyboxes and a few other landscape textures. To create my scenes I will port all of my assets into UE4, and use it’s built-in key-framing animation system to create my animations/scenes.

Copyright constraints aren’t particularly an issue regarding games based around history, as all of the designs/schematics and blueprints are now open to use by the public for educational purposes. Ethical issues however, are an issue.

To avoid any ethical/racial issues, I will not be portraying any disrespectful/negative stereotyping or have one country superior over another, even if these things did occur in history. For example, I won’t be portraying the IJN using kamikaze/suicidal tactics. The main reason I chose the year 1942 was a period where the IJN and USN were on (mostly) equal footings, and the kamikaze had not been developed.

Visual Design

The overall design of my game is simplistic, colourful and most importantly, easy to render on small devices. The textures are going to be make the up the bulk of the detail on the models, while the models themselves are generally low-polygon/detail. I’d liken the graphical style as something similar to The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, with a bit more attention to the look of the water. Wind Waker uses simplistic models and textures, and relies on the shaders to make up the bulk of the graphical quality, which is what I aim to achieve.

The actual designs of the models are all historical, so they will resemble their real-life counterparts are much as possible whilst keeping an acceptable polygon count/level of detail.

Look and Feel/Technical Specifications 

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD is a fantastic example of what can be achieved with low-polygon models and low-resolution textures when using the correct shaders. (Though I don’t plan on using nearly as much bloom) Pacific Steel will adopt similar techniques to achieve an exciting and vibrant look.

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Here is an untextured asset for Pacific Steel. This is the A6M2 Zero, the main fighter force of the Japanese. This style of low-polygon model will be adopted to all my models, and I will rely on textures to really get the bulk of the detail.

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A low-polygon model is especially important for the aircraft in my opinion, as they will act in whole squadrons of many aircraft. It’s important to consider the polygon count when there are multiple entities on screen at once. With the larger models in the game, such as the Battleships and Aircraft Carriers, I will allow a slightly higher polygon count. As it stands at the moment, the Zero comes in at around 460 Polygons and 687 vertices.

The model has been split up into multiple sections to allow for movement of the control surfaces (Ailerons, Rudder and Elevator) and of the propeller and landing gear. In some cases I’ve had to make complex splits to allow for the articulation of the folding wings, seen on many American aircraft, such as this TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber.

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And again on the Zero (To a lesser extent)

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Animation

For the animations, they will be mostly simplistic. As far as the warships themselves go, the range of animations is fairly limited, a few possible ones however are;

  • Turret rotation and elevation
  • Rocking/bobbing on the water
  • Sinking animations
  • Animated parts such as radars and rangefinders

The animations will have to be made using simple timeline keyframing in C4D. Some ships may have specific animations unique to that vessel, such as aircraft catapults and torpedo launchers.

To really bring my scenes to life I feel there has to be an element of humanity to it. At a glance aircraft and warships appear to just be machines, and it is sometimes hard to consider or fully realise that there are often thousands of individuals piloting/operating these vehicles. (North Carolina had a crew of over 2,300 individuals) For this reason I will be modelling/animating sailors on the decks and operating the various anti-air guns/lookout posts.

They’ll have incredibly simple models and textures because because loads of them may be present at any given time, and as a result will feature only very basic animations.

Possible animations include;

  • Walking
  • Looking and raising/lowering a pair of binoculars
  • Seating positon to operate Anti-Aircraft emplacements
  • Generic standing postions
  • Guiding the landing/takeoff of aircraft with signals
  • Operating steering wheels
  • Operating torpedo tubes

Given the chance, I would like to motion capture these animation to ease the workload and provide more lifelike movements, however if not I’ll have no choice but to rely on keyframing the animations. The animation quality themselves will be limited to the quality/topology of the model themselves.

Legal and Ethical Considerations 

When it comes to copyright, the normal issues apply. As far as I’m aware (since these are designs dating back to the 1930s) copyright/creative license does no apply to the vehicles used. I will however be refraining from using company names such as Grumman, Kure Kaigun Kosho, or Mitsubishi to avoid any complications.

Ethical considerations are always an issue regarding games based on war. As I said, to avoid any racial/ethical issues, I will not be portraying any disrespectful/negative stereotyping or have one country superior over another, even if these things did occur in history. For example, I won’t be portraying the IJN using kamikaze/suicidal tactics. The main reason I chose the year 1942 was a period where the IJN and USN were on (mostly) equal footings, and the kamikaze had not been developed.

Delivery

The end result should be a series of sequences displaying my models, textures, environment and animations.

Production Process + Resources

Production Process

  • Close Analysis of the brief
  • Initial research into the subject matter
  • Analysis of weather or not it’s appropriate for the client
  • Preliminary sketches and concepts
  • Further contact with the cient to finalize ideas
  • Initial development timeline/schedule
  • Budgeting
  • Alpha development of the product
  • Beta development and closed testing of product
  • Gathering of feedback and improvements
  • Beta development of the product
  • Advertisement and publicity campaign
  • Final product completion
  • Product release

Resources

  • AutoDesk Maya – £759
  • Adobe Photoshop (Entire Adobe Suite) – £700/£30 Per Month
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Audition
  • Graphics Tablet/Light Pen (Wacom Bamboo Intuos Pro) – £245
  • Powerful Graphics Card (AMD Radeon R9 390) – £1,500
  • Coffee Machine – (Tasimo) £35
  • Unreal Engine 4 – Free
  • Mo-Cap Suit/Suite – (OptiTrack) Total Suit £460
  • External HDD – (Seagate Expansion T2B) £57
  • Audio Recording Equipment (Zoom H2n Recorder) £119
  • Cloud Storage – (Google Drive 1TB) £8 Per Month
  • Transportation – (Citroen C1) £7,765

 

Total Cost: £11,640 Approx

Updated SWOT Analysis*

Here is a simple SWOT analysis for myself, regarding 3D art. I created this last year, and since then nothing has really changed.

Strengths

  • Technical knowledge on many digital art subjects
  • I’m eager and willing to contribute to a team effort
  • I’ve a very sharp eye for detail and enjoy getting my work to a high standard
  • Artistically inclined
  • Working knowledge of game engines and technical possibilities/limitations

Weaknesses

  • I’m often poor with organisation
  • I’ve only experience with a few 3D modelling programs
  • I’m often poor at interpreting instructions correctly
  • I’ve limited skill with texturing objects
  • I’m not the best at social interactions/communications

Opportunities

  • I can use my artistic background to enhance my work and the work of others
  • I’m uniquely experienced in designing and modelling of mechanical objects
  • I’ve still got a lot to learn and am not yet ‘set in my ways’ with any particular method/practice

Threats 

  • My quest for perfection can lead to me never finishing a project
  • My lack of professional experience
  • I haven’t enough money to afford any expensive programs
  • My emotional state may fluctuate, resulting in dips/rises in productivity

 

Various things I’ve learned last year

Last year I somehow managed to learn-

  • The fundamentals of 3D objects; polygons, vertex, edges etc.
  • How to use various techniques in CINEMA 4D
  • How to use Google Drive and cloud storage effectively
  • The vague workings of HTML
  • How to use simple techniques in Adobe After Effects and Adobe Audition
  • The properties of sound, and how sound is stored and the resulting side-effects
  • How to use WordPress and develop a ramshackle website
  • How to cooperate semi-effectively within a group
  • How to capture, edit and import sounds for a project
  • The surprising difficulty of using a Go-Pro, and the surprising quality of an iPhone camera
  • How to make a visually engaging Power-point presentation
  • How to use schematics and technical drawings to produce accurate models
  • The legal, ethical and financial aspects of game development
  • How to design a game concept and how to present it in front of an audience
  • The basic use of an expensive CANNON Camera
  • How to create a simple and effective visual design
  • How to organise and carry through a project template
  • How to work to a clients specifications and conduct client interviews
  • Primary and Secondary research, or something like that
  • Vertical and Horizontal intergeneration, I think…
  •  How to render an animation sequence using thousands of PNGs
  • Quantitative and Qualitative research?
  • How to record sounds
  • How to make, but not the definition of Motion Graphics
  • Company structures
  • Planning and preparation skills

But we all know that next year I’ll completely forget all of these.