Week 4 Reflection – Outfit Concepting for Character and Background Creation for a Visual Novel

12/10/20

GAM701

This morning we had a lecture focused on Time and Project Management.

I wrote down two thoughts I had during this lecture: “Emotion and meaning in your game – How will we engage the player?”

“Can create flow in story from lots of descriptors in VN – Will add to immersion.”

Both of these thoughts relate to how we could better engage the player and have them really care about the game and progressing through it.

During this lecture, we were told to create a Trello board for next Thursday, and also have a small demo of the game. Because I had already created one last week, this seemed doable. After this lecture, Louis and I met as a team and created a Trello board together, which can be viewed here: https://trello.com/b/KG6SrtDd/mr-fluffypaws

We also discussed what we could work towards on Thursday:

  • Could build on project already done, get art in it and another option – 3 options total
  • Other option can be from a horse
  • Draw objects that are presents eg dead rat (in a funny way), crumpled paper and undecided 3rd item.
  • Draw background, either or porch or cottage.

We have agreed that I will act as the scrum master, and that we try to meet every weekday to discuss what we have done and how the project is going.

After this, I also created my weekly plan:

As usual, these plans are updated throughout the week as tasks develop and change.

GART702

Today, I also focused on creating the silhouettes for my character. I previously, had done a little work on drawing over some of the flower photos I took last Wednesday, as shown below.

While, these did produce some very interesting shapes, I decided to refocus on clothing specifically.

I began drawing over my moodboards, the Jenny Harder technique I have mentioned many times. (Artstation Learning, 2020). As well as drawing over, I also made sure to note down why I was doing this, and what features I liked.

Mortal form mood board with just notes
Mortal form mood board with both notes and drawings over
Fairy form mood board with just notes
Fairy form mood board with both notes and drawings over

The link to Pinterest board containing these images is here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adelichan8/fairy/

After doing this, I worked on putting them over the silhouette I had created. I filled the silhouette in black, and then layered over the line art.

This is what it looked like after cleaning up the line art and lowering the opacity of the silhouettes.

After this, I then filled in the outfits in grayscale. These are the final results of this work.

Mortal form grayscale silhouettes.
Fairy form grayscale silhouettes

In the top left hand corner is the original silhouette I created, as well as some key ideas I wanted to make sure I kept in mind as I developed the silhouettes further! I numbered the silhouettes so when I show them tomorrow in Ady’s lecture, I will be able to receive and understand feedback easier.

References:

Artstation Learning, 2020. Designing Characters With Personality And Expression. Available at: <https://www.artstation.com/learning/courses/pDK/designing-characters-with-personality-and-expression> [Accessed 8 May 2020].

13/10/20

GART702

Today I showed off the silhouettes I had created, and they were received very well! Of the mortal designs, 2, 3 and 4 seemed to be the favorites. Of the fairy one, 1 was well received, and people thought that the implied transparency of clothing worked well to the fairy theme. However, my peers suggested that 4 in the fairy form needs more work on it to make it feel more fairy like.

Ady suggested that I could work on having an even clearer layout for blockouts so I establish a visual style throughout my work. I will look closer at the references I gathered right at the beginning relating to layout, which are found on this presentation: https://falmouthac-my.sharepoint.com/:p:/g/personal/ar202356_falmouth_ac_uk/ERXH3Td2DZVLhet7DRDPQTsB2jAoQpbx0OShKxMk_-iFjA?e=qfJK7O

Additionally, something else that was mentioned during this workshop was the inclusion of pantone colours for colour palette reference – this is definitely something I could consider including.

Moving forward, I would like to iterate more on the designs I have created. It has been suggested that I break them down and show other views of certain areas potentially.

I would like to develop my ideas for the wings further, and doing some different lighting experiments with them potentially. I am considering experimenting with both the transparency of the wings and the outfit she wears.

After the lecture, I decided to rest for the rest of the day, as I had done a lot of work recently and was feeling quite warn out. I informed Louis I would be doing this, and I plan tomorrow to work on the art for the visual novel.

14/10/20

GAM701

I started a little late, as I had a student rep meeting in the morning. However, in the morning I also got an email from Matt saying all teams should organize a meeting with him to discuss their projects. I told Louis about this, and we organized a meeting for today, later on at 4pm! In the meantime, created moodboards on Pinterest for the backgrounds. I first created an artstyle board, so I would have a much clearer direction to go with the art other than simply the words ‘stylized impressionism’.

Images can be found here https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adelichan8/vn-artstyle-ref/
Images can be found here https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adelichan8/vn-artstyle-ref/

Then, I gathered further reference for what Granny’s house would look like, and created a few moodboards on this.

Images can be found here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adelichan8/granny-cottage/
I really love the images on this board in particular, and would love to concept a house like this someday.
Images can be found here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adelichan8/granny-cottage/

Just before the meeting with Matt, I managed to sketch out the background very roughly on Procreate. I was a little nervous, as this is the first environment I have attempted in a good while, as I am more of a character artist. However, when I showed this to Louis, and he approved!

He said he could ‘imagine it already!’

I think with this sketch I definitely achieved the warm, cosy feeling I was going for.

Louis also suggested that we could make a menu screen displaying both Granny and Mr. Fluffypaws. I liked this idea, and did a very rough sketch of what it could look like.

Granny leaning down to pet Mr. Fluffypaws on the head.

I then worked the rest of the evening adding colour to the Granny’s house background. After finishing it in Procreate, I took it into Photoshop to desaturate the colours and add a bit of blur, so it is in line with what a cat would see, as I discussed in previous blog posts.

This is the final result:

As you can see, I didn’t desaturate it completely, and my reasoning behind this is that by doing so, the piece loses a lot of the comforting feel it previously had. Instead, with it desaturated it actually starts to look a little creepy. Because this is not the feeling we are aiming for in our game, I made sure to keep some of the brightness.

Here’s how it looks in Ren.Py!

As shown above, after putting it into Ren.Py I realized that the bottom of the image wasn’t clearly visible. I think moving forward I will reconsider what the textbox UI looks like, and look into lowering its opacity and the visibility of the text if I do that.

After completing the background, I also had enough time to work on the two icons! To do this, I created an icon box background that they would pop up on. I kept it simple, and tried to match the default Ren.Py UI the best I could to maintain a consistent style for the demo. To see if this worked well, I created a test icon and put it into Ren.Py.

Satisfied with how this looked, I then worked on creating the icons for the dead rat and the crumpled up paper. I was able to finish them, and put them into Ren.Py! Here is the final result:

The dead rat option, featuring my own writing.
The crumpled up paper option, also featuring my own writing.

You can also download and play the small demo I created for tomorrow here.

15/10/20

GAM701

Today we showed off our demos with a 2 minute slot each. After this, we used mural and gave feedback to a group we were given! Here is the feedback that we were given by another group!

I am super happy with all the positive feedback, especially on the art, and this has really boosted my confidence and morale!

Next, we were told to use the technique provided to us to then come up with solutions to any critique we may have received. Louis and I got the method called ‘Crazy Eights’. This involves splitting up a piece of paper into 8 segments. Then, you write your problem in the first one and work out a solution. After this, you then go to the next segment and expand on this/come up with a new way of thinking about the issue. In the end you have eight segments full of unique ways to conquer the issue!

Louis and I went off for 20 minutes and worked on this! We chose to discuss the issue of the fox and sheeps’ role in the game not being clear enough from the demo alone. He suggested solutions and I wrote them down and discussed them with him.

The end result of this exercise!

By doing this exercise, I found that we were able to quickly discuss many creative ideas for how we can make the other animals of the game feel important to the player, and how their role can be made very clear. It also helped us establish the story a bit more together, so it was a really useful exercise!

After the lecture, Louis and I discussed the other suggestion brought up by the team who reviewed us which was music. We had considered previously, but not in great detail. So to remedy this we made a list on the minimum sounds/music we want to include in the game.

  • Animal sounds- fox, sheep, horse, cat
  • I could also potentially record myself saying ‘Mr. Fluffypaws’ in an old lady voice for the grandma
  • Music: at least 1 – a happy sounding track that feels very Farm like

We also made an audio channel on our discord in order to organize any audio we may find.

References:

Haryanto, B., 2019. How To Do Crazy 8’S Remotely. [online] Medium. Available at: <https://uxdesign.cc/how-to-do-crazy-8s-remotely-223d7fbd5e98> [Accessed 15 October 2020].

16/10/20

GAM701

Today, I did not do any university work until the evening, as I was working as an ambassador for the Games Academy’s Virtual Open Day. After this, I was supposed to have a call with Louis to discuss the story of the game in more detail, but we both ended up being too busy. However, I asked him if he was okay with me going ahead with working on the story, and sending him drafts to critique and suggest changes to. He said he was fine with this, and that he was happy with the direction the story was going!

I worked a little that evening on the story, and also on the weekend. Over the weekend I managed to complete the introduction and also the fox route of the game. Here is a sample of some of the writing that I have done on that particular route:

I am happy with the direction in which it is going, but I need to speed up with creating it. I aim to finish the story on Tuesday afternoon, as on Monday I will need to focus on GART702 work, as I have not been able to do any since last Tuesday. I am struggling still with balancing my two modules, and I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment.

I will work hard and smart tomorrow so that I have some good stuff to show on Tuesday. I will also re-assess how much time I am spending on GAM701 in comparison to GART702. I feel once I have the bulk of the work done for the visual novel, that I will be able to work more on my art. However, I am aware that after the game sprint is finished that we are very likely to be given another task straight away. Therefore, I need to speed up with my GART702 work in order to make sure it keeps up to schedule.

Despite these issues, I am still very proud of my development as an artist. I have finished many new pieces recently, and challenged myself in ways I have never done before.

Posts so far:

Week 1 Reflection

Week 2 Reflection

Week 3 Reflection

Week 4 Reflection

Week 5 Reflection

Week 6 Reflection

Week 7 Reflection

Week 8 Reflection

Week 9 Reflection

Week 10 Reflection

Week 11 Reflection

Week 12 Reflection

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