Friday, 22 April 2011

1.0 scratched, 2.0 scratched?

What do I expect of university? What are they for? I can understand they may seem like mundane questions but they answer you’d expect and what you actually get is a very different thing.

They say that university is all about independent learning from you receiving information from lecturers. This in itself is a mist, from what I’ve experienced so far I don’t receive information that I need or it seems a little too late. Each course and subject has its each way of producing information and learning, ours obviously is a little different as to develop you need to be able to have your own process with modelling and even so with painting and drawing.
It’s understandable in art but with technically usefulness you feel you’re not getting anything to help your development, it makes you question what you’re actually paying for. The main uses I see within university is that you get time to develop these skills while not worrying about a job counteracting that time, well most of the time anyways. You also get feedback that you can work with which you will not get outside of education, at least not critical feedback that is useful.

Out of three years of uni I expect myself to be developing myself as an artist and as a 3d modeller, in my first year I didn’t have a clue in where I wanted to be but heading through the second year you get an idea of what’s expected (in some ways) and also you understand more in what your good at and what you’re not. Personally I hate character modelling and design, used to enjoy it through college but now a days I find it painful, I want to be an environment modeller and artist, its enjoyable painting environments and creating a world and its aesthetics rather than people or characters. Having only one year left to see myself develop is quite scary considering how little I feel I’ve accomplished outside of coursework, with a freer learning curve in the third year I feel that I can batter through more experimenting and creating more work from my own ideas. I know most people can say well do it when you’re free but like I keep saying I feel I’m still trying to close down on how I work and methods meaning it takes me most of the time messing around before I slap together working pieces.
I’m looking forward to the freedom I’ll have next year, being able to get away from the box ticking work and being able to kick some ass, the freedom to do what you want is so much more liberating and enjoyable, which it should be. The working in freedom will allow me to more efficiently look back and see mistakes on a larger scale and being able to improve these is what I need. Within coursework I feel that I have to do things a certain way to get the grades rather than develop myself as an artist or 3d modeller, maybe I’m wrong and I’ve just turned work into this situation. Even more wonderful things to think about.
I would always say to people GO TO UNI, even if it’s for the experience and development, its allowed me to progress and change what I do, I may complain and argue against things but it’s still given me the opportunity to get where I am so far and fingers crossed go further.

Life changing or career building?

The idea of wanting people or preferring people from a liberal arts background seems to be a bit harsh considering how many games courses have been established within the uk alongside the amount of people who make themselves “game artists” through training and development outside of education. People who intend to do liberal or fine art within education experiment with forms of art i.e. expressionism, surrealism, etc. This will not be helpful for working within a games company; even if the game was looking for a surreal art direction the amount of art licensing would not be so extreme to allow their form of work to be useful. Of course people who have the artistic education background or even people who do it within their own time can be useful and affective artists within the games industry. Illustrators, graphic illustrators etc can be amazingly effective considering concept work; this then brings up issues of modellers for games from these backgrounds.

They may enjoy the artistic side of things but without a part of them wanting to gain the technically skills for 3d, mesh sculpturing and so on its still way too limited considering most concept people are only taking on for a short amount of time, by the looks of industry at the moment as well they’re not short on concept artists but more on modellers, programmers and visual effects people, so why would they want more people who can only do one singular act instead of multiple more effective job roles?

If people like this are willing to learn some technical skills then that’s great for the industry but...that is what we do now, we learn the basic technical skills needed plus develop our art skills. This then makes the argument a bit of a fail, if you want someone with art skills and some technical skill why would you still want someone who has a different art progression that could not be suited to the industry and attempt or even hope they’ll learn the technical skills required when we already do within these courses? IT MAKES NO SENSE!

The issue that may cause a plus note for people outside of the “game” art zone is their Imagineering skills, with not being drawn into the fantasy, sci-fi and non realistic net. You see so many copies and pieces of work that are all the same without any actual thought, were as some of the pieces you may see with people working on their own thoughts and outside of seeing “what’s cool with concepting” can be a lot more effective and great. Actual creativity? (Let’s not go into that)
This could be their selling point to people who come out of education thinking it’s all about monsters, blobs and giant goblins? Of corse these can be effective as well as the realistic stuff but you need variation otherwise you are left in the darkness wondering why people don’t appreciate your work. It most likely will all depend on what the company or studio is expecting their work forces to produce.

No creativity.

I find the whole talent versus development a hard one, you can see some people are creative but just don’t have the talent to produce a final outcome. There’s also the point that some people just use other ideas to produce something creative by tweaking things slightly, or just going with what’s interesting at the moment and being called a genius. I find creative a difficult concept, its so broad and un developed it becomes a cloud of dust that is judged by people who think they know what creativity is and if they don’t agree you become un creative, it relies on the idea of being recognised and praised so creativity becomes a brief rather than a development and production. It also seems that the art of brown nosing plays a large part in 2 sections, by being a pet you get more recognition so it shows that creativity becomes a little easier, secondly by having a pet you allow creativity to be less demanding because of the relationship with the person. I had hoped things like this would be left back in teenage days but it seems you can never escape these situations. It then makes you think is creativity a real substance, or is it just what people wish it to be?

I believe that interesting, unique or new ideas can be and should be labelled as creativity; if they work and become something then surely that’s what creativity is? Too many labels make others feel that something has to be creative especially when talking about forms of art, if an art critic says a piece is creative, most people attempt to act intelligent by agreeing with this....because that’s obviously a smart thing. A great example would be when we had the creative writing people in to give us stories in which we would illustrate scenes to. The whole load of them sounded sooo boring and ridiculous, yet it’s classed as creative writing, this is because of the genre and idea of their development within writing. It’s automatically classed as creative meaning that it will obviously develop into a creative novel or whatever. Yet with art it seems this all relies on the points I made before.

I don’t believe creativity actually exists, more of an idea in how ideas are seductive and interesting, thinking outside of the box is classed as creative, but if you make a clock out of an old shoe instead of going out and buying wood this is thinking outside of the it creative?
There is no real answer, people will never sway fully from what they believe to be creativity and talent, people that see the sun shining out of their arses will always think they’re random and creative and that’s why they love themselves and most of the time...they’re WRONG.
If daddy pays enough for you to look creative, you’ll be conceived as it, it’s a joke.

I wish I was a hell of a lot more creative than I am at this point in time, but every time I think ooo that would be a good idea, I always end up realising its just a development of things that already exist so its more of developing interest than becoming creative.

The industry?

Trying to find the actual big picture is like trying to find big foot, very little is there. I find articles talking about how someone thinks they know how to get a job and the process but you realise after sifting through about 12 pages of mess.....they know less than you. The other option you get is people from industry talking about projects and what their influences is but again, no real information that’s useful to us trying to enter this crazy world.

I’ve only gathered morsels of information over the last few years which still leave me pretty confused on how to go about getting to a point of environment art or modelling. Through university I’ve been able to develop an idea on what I want to do as a job in a subject area, working through character design and development and the same with environment work I have realised environments are where I want to be, I find character modelling personally mundane and boring, some people have a joy and excitement around character modelling but each to their own and even through development these personas grow.
With the attempt for me to become an environment artist or modeller I must now begin to simply concentrate on developing my ability on create more pieces of work to a better standard and even a way of working within this area better than I do at the moment. Currently our course (for me anyways)seems to keep me simply doing the work for our course and not having a real amount of time to get more personal progressive work done, but my summers will. Also having a more open way of working in the third year will have me working mainly on this theory, I need to become a better worker in technique and process and throughout the year this will let me grow into what I want to become rather than just doing work to tick boxes for university. Even the projects seem to distance me from attempting to grow in environment modelling but giving me time to character model, i.e. 2 months to create a character, which I hated on my own and then having to work as a group and not be able to really stretch myself out over a longer period, I would have been happier to make the whole level by myself and not create any character. I can understand 2 points within the course that these become a priority;
1. To see if character modelling can be done and for people who want to character model to show what they are capable of and develop themselves
2. In industry you won’t work on your own on a large project so by working in a group you can see how working with others on a real sized idea is.

The main facts I find online that are usually in articles concerning environment art is that instead of creating a whole environment you’ll be creating certain sections and as a team pulling these resources together to bring it all together smoothly. This is what I need to remember, for my objective in industry I need to know that mainly, I need to be able to blend with other peers work which I feel I was able to do within the group queens project.

Go away....GAMES WORK

3d TV’s, kinect, ps move can all go to hell. I hate these new concepts of gameplay and the use they try to imply. I’m bitter towards these uses because they seem to be just a money making scheme with a different idea put forward to the public. Especially 3D THINGS! are already in a 3d we are being re-sold existing ideas?

It does allow more revenue to go into the games industry to keep jobs going with new projects and more developing to get people to realise games don’t kill people, don’t make people kill because there’s a cute lil doggy you can play with because your parents don’t want to get a real one...
It opens up a new idea of gaming to people who would mock us for sitting around a TV with friends have an epic time tea bagging and slapping the crap out of our virtual manliness.
This may seem “immature” to a lot of people but it’s because its not their interest, I don’t care about horses but I’m sure id offend someone by talking about how stupid they are for loving a horse...yes.

I think the companies knew this happens and saw a new way to make some new moola;
HEY, people don’t like sitting there shooting, beating or seeing imaginary things happening in games...they aren’t giving us any of their money.
Well why don’t we get them to do something they do like within an exiting new gizmo, we’ll charge a fortune and they’ll have to give us money.
Wait....most people like to dance and kids love fluffy things
KINECT, we will get them all to be our monkeys.
This sounds right to me, what else would you want to think.
People intend to say that it’s great, it’s moving forward, and it’s broadening the arms of games for people to get hugs from them, for money obviously. I should be happy that ignorant people know play games and actually enjoy themselves but I’m too bitter from the thoughts of the whole “YOUR BODY IS THE CONTROLLER” whispered all over my TV, I played the kinect for half an hour and felt like I had been told to basically give up a part of my life to do something I usually enjoy and hate myself for it.

Kids, adults, men and women have been playing games for years and that seemed to work perfectly with the pad and joysticks, so why make us pay more money for a new gadget that we realllllly don’t need, why not just attempt to open up new genres and studios to create games that give that relaxing enjoyable content? Does the kinect and move actually do this for the new gaming generation? Will it get to the point that we need to remove the controller all together? I hope to god not, this sort of change can kill games, they take it away to show you don’t need them it doesn’t work then they try bringing it back and games die all together. Touch wood...this doesn’t happen.

Sound in games

I looked back at the blog I’d written last year about the subject of sounds in game and my opinion hasn’t changed in what I think of sound in games and how I feel it can affect the player’s reactions within games.
More of an interesting thought on sound for games has occurred to me through doing work on our group level design project. While we were working through the level design process and creation sound was left in the background as a later thought considering all the other bits and bobs we have going on at the time i.e. modelling, texturing, development of level.
But...during the presentations of our years work it became such a shock on how even small electrical humming sounds or the submersion under water added a whole new impact to the project. I personally had only noticed the impact of using sounds after we had seen it in a different project, our main objective was to get the visual aesthetic correct and then worrying about other parts to add realism later on. Considering we could add around 7 sound effects and ambient sounds into our level doesn’t seem like a lot, but with testing it all out you see the major difference it actually does make to create a whole new feeling. I also feel that it’s more of a difficult thing to achieve than making the assets which we are already know how to do (pretty well), which makes it an very interesting challenge.
The impact of having those, little effects allow the world to become that something more than a simple level. It also adds mood and intensity to the genre of thriller horror. I find that most horror games
sounds is the most important element to be included, its adds suspense, terror and shock to the gameplay, creating a more fulfilling experience. This is were my new thoughts and appreciation for the sound being in games is now, seeing first hand that you work your arse off to create a actual game level and realise that you think you know how sound can affect gameplay, but then you experience its effects first hand through creation and truly realise how important and much of a need there is for it.

The issue that now falls upon me is how to collect, generate and use the sound effectively. We may only have a few areas that need uses of specific sounds it still needs to be understandably real to the environment and use in the setting, for example if our lift has crashed and broken, would it still have sounds being generated? Lift going up? Same with electrical sparks, the volume and intensity needs to be right otherwise it pushes the thought of a player towards questioning what the hell is that. Most of the times you won’t need to think things like this over too much but there are times you’ll just ignore it and this is just as bad.