Friday, 24 February 2012


but FIRST!.... i'll need accomplices......

You can't lie to your tutors if your lying to yourself right??? yeh thats what I thought... This project is way beyond me and I will hand on heart admit that however If im already counting on that fact then surely there is a plan in place. We are final year students and so we have the privileges that brings with it including a 2nd year apprentice. In my case however that means 5 hopefuls who are willing to work alongside me to create this vision in my head.

With 5 2nd years currently on board with the project I have began to set up a network between our team so that feedback and tasks can be shot to and fro between us all. This to some extent puts me in a lead role which is exactly what I wanted to be doing. This will bring its own unique challenges and even though I bit off more then I can chew (again) I am CONVINCED I can pull this off with help from my loyal minions.

Setting up a structure to work as a team is vital as communication is key in a team effort. That is why I set up a Facebook group directly linking me to my 2nd year apprentices. This will provide a useful medium for constructive criticism, sharing ideas and feedback as well as allocating tasks.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Working with what I have

I think rather then focusing on re-designing the level as the composition of the previous attempt sits rather well, I think I should focus on bringing these current designs up to scratch and working with it.

That being said I think it is important to let this project evolve as thats what makes a great game right. Our ability to capture our audiences lie in rooting our environments in reality. I dont know if thats a famous quote, it sure sounds like one and if its not it can be once im gone but that is my understanding of creating an environment the player can immerse themselves into.

The environment needs a purpose but in this particular task it needs 2 layers (if you would call it that) of purpose. The 1st is that before the disaster that caused the apocolypse it needed to serve as a functional freight train yard. The 2nd purpose is that a slave society have settled into the area as it provides protection from the harsh solar rays. There also wouldve been easily available materials and resources that the people could use to survive so from a survival point of view also it serves an excellent location

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Monday, 13 February 2012

Children of Men

Some interesting reference material has come to me after watching Children of Men (2006). Particularly the end couple of scenes in which Theo takes the girl to Bexhill Refugee Camp.

This film has remarkable direction shown through its use of cinematography, mise en scene and composition. It portrays the type of atmosphere I want to bring to the slums of the trainyard district. It brings the elements of a 3rd world country to a place we can recognise and familiarise with which is exactly the effect I want to create.

UDK Blockout levels

Today has been a fairly productive day. The 11 day plan however seems unlikely at the current moment as my knowledge of Unreal Editor is still very basic.. the question lately has been is it too much?? Ive began posting my progress on, a forum of game artists and I have been advised to keep it as small as possible. Therefore I have come to a decision to NOT alter any of the designs of the trainyard as was drawn up last year but rather to build upon these designs and focus on the small details.

You can follow my thread on HERE and see what the professionals out there have to say about my work and its progression.

This is the first area I blocked out which is the starting area of the character. The blockout is very simple and can be done fairly quickly through the use of cubes and cylinders. This was just a rough idea of scale and the dimensions that I need to be working in to create the epic space of the trainyard.

I also did a blockout of the trainyard warehouse which I decided to alter slightly and position it in the centre of the trainyard rather than the side to give it the main focal point of the environment.

Although I would like to make the warehouse completely accessible with a full interior I do not possess the understanding to create a highly detailed building of this size nor do I have the time to focus on it that much therefore I have decided to make the exterior to a high quality and only allow the player to access the warehouse floor (the area which the video displays)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The proposed proposition

How I would love to spend months and months perfecting my environment and refining the smallest details... unfortunately the world of Uni doesnt grant me that leisure and my time scale for this project is just over 14 weeks... I have my idea and my vision which unfortunately for you guys is still stuck in this brain of mine...

(and no im not willing to have my brain dissected to show it!)

Ok so this is the plan... I have designated periods of time remaining into production stages that I must adhere to strictly enough to make sure it is completed in the given time yet loosely enough to allow the project to flourish and evolve.

Up until now I have been gathering image references, watching movies and basically inspiring the visions in my mind of this world. This will continue for the majority of this month as I delve into more concept art and ideas. A major resource in this process has been The Feng Zhu School of Design youtube channel... to all of you out there wanting to learn concept art and digital painting.... WATCH THIS CHANNEL RELIGIOUSLY.... If Feng Zhu is reading this... then you Sir..... ARE A GOD!.

Also lined up for this month is the 11 day plan (This is not a world domination plan)

Beggining Monday I will attempt to create an playable map in UDK in 11 days. I think this will be an amazing learning experience as approaching deadlines tend to bring out a productive almost sort of road rage type drive and in my opinion thats when you approach tasks more creatively. The remainder of February will continue with concept art, mood boards, sketches and tutorials.

The month of March will focus on turning the sketches and concept art into technical drawings and a well documented blueprint of the entire level. This will include creating block out alpha versions of various spaces within the proposed environment to really feel the space that I am trying to create. The last week of March will be finalising this blueprint and preparing to enter full on Maya - Mudbox - UDK WARFARE!

April will see the entire production stage unfold as I put the pipeline into full gear. I am expecting many issues and problems and will most likely be seeing May with a bald head (Lets hope the weather clears up right?). Hopefully I will have a 2nd year apprentice fetching my coffees and doing various menial tasks in this process. I am aiming to resolve alot of the pipeline issues during pre-production through a variety of tests so that I can know what to expect as well as documenting these issues into the blueprint so that in the production stage it will be on paper how to deal with the issue. This will also be incredibly useful for my apprentice to keep consistency in the project.

May is the deadline month and so I dont want to leave to much to be done during that month. Saying that I feel as production should be allowed a month and a half and so the first 2 weeks of May should see the final production stages including a complete combing and refining of the level. By this stage all assets should be within UDK and positioned correctly, lighting should be about 85% there and it should be working as a level with the odd few glitches and bugs. The week and a half leading up to the deadline needs to be essentially QA with a Beta version at the start of this period and a completed level by the end.

Along with this plan I will be planning weekly and trying to review daily as much as I can adapting an agile/scrum workflow as learnt previously in SS1. I also leave plenty of space for improvisation and evolution of the production stages as these kind of things usually have a life of their own.

Going back to basics - Re-designing and quick concept

I already have the existing blueprints from last year and even a mock up in Maya to use as reference so I can get modelling and be done with it right?? WRONG... My knowledge and understanding of game content creation has improved drastically since last year and so I want to filter this into my environment from the initial stages... Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail...

A quick painting done of the motorway leading to the Heart of the hub (The pyramid) The browns convey a really polluted atmospheric setting which is relevant to the type of mood I am trying to create however its not quite there yet as it doesnt convey the horrors of the disaster.

This painting was done using a very very quick Maya mock up, a spot light to create tone and then the screenshot imported into photoshop with digital painting over the top. I like the tension and mood in the environment as well as the sharp contrasts between hot and cold. I can imagine this world being very hot and stuffy with toxic air and very unstable weather.

This is not really a concept of the city, rather just loads of resource images compiled in photoshop as I wanted to experiment with the use of Northern lights in the sky to see how they would fit into the contrast of the world.

Monday, 6 February 2012

SS2..... A walk down memory lane - Introducing UDK (Unreal Development Kit)

So with the SS1 module and the professional practice module out of the way it's time to give my undivided attention and focus to Specialist Study 2 project which will be featuring in our degree shows at the end of the year so it's gotta LOOK GOOD!!!

Anyone remember this??? For SS2 I would like to revisit the level designing of Killuminati using the Unreal Development Kit. This means a complete re-designing and re-modelling of all assets using skills learnt since last year, a more interesting and complex level with gameplay aspects reconsidered and just generally a more bad-ass looking environment.

First of all... why use Unreal Engine??? Well Unity seems to be the engine that would best suit my current skills and understanding of games engines but truthfully.... Unreal is just the DADDY of all game engines in my eyes... well atleast in terms of game engines that are accessible to me.

For a full list of games please visit:


However here are some of my favourites....

All these amazing games that stretch through different platforms, generations and genres all share one thing in common... any guesses??? Thats right, they all use the Unreal Engine.

The Unreal engine boasts is capabilities in the world of next generation gaming from animation to its real time rendering abilities to its incredibly advanced lighting and shadows system.

To demonstrate the capabilites of the Unreal engine which now far surpasses current generation gaming consoles (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii), Epic released this demo which I think is 100% eye candy...Enjoy! :)

Global Games Jam 2012

Attending the Global Games Jam was a unique and rewarding experience and I would highly recommend to all those who want to pursue a career in the video games industry. Collaboration and innovation are key in these intense 48 hours of Jamming and the outcome is just as rewarding as the journey.

Our team, the Cream Cheese Skitches came 2nd place with our 2 player co-op game 'Skitz'

The game can be found at along with a blog link to the development process of how we created such an awesome game in such little time so do check it out and tell all your friends!