Ispiration – Fatal Frame

Jade pointing me in the direction Fatal Frame a game in which you have to take photographs of trapped souls in a strange ‘Silent Hill’ type town. The key things we took from this is the fact that it is a survival horror based game that is set on the gameplay basis of ‘run for cover’. This is a personal term I use for games which involve no actual or limited contact between the player and the enemies. Like, in fatal frame, you don’t actually fight the souls, instead you are equipped with only a camera; this camera acts as some kind of  ‘weapon’ in terms of the battle skills. I think this is a vital part to the actual process of our level design. As we want to go for a type of game in which the player doesn’t have a harmful weapon.

This is also similar to Clock tower.

On an side note…

As I was thinking  over the idea, I realised that some of the things that we want to incorporate link a film I once saw. It’s called Dumplings, directed by Fruit Chan, and depicts the extremes that a woman goes to remain youthful and beautiful. Now, I know that this doesn’t actually relate to our brief but in a way it does. To remain beautiful the women seeks a type of witch women who knows a secret recipe to make a certain dumpling that allows the eater, longer lasting youth. The actual secret ingredient for the dumplings is premature babies; which in terms of our crazy tribe religions I think something along those lines will work well. This fits in with the idea of pregnancy that I have been exploring. Plus, in general the idea that older people can gain youth from younger people. Almost like they are stealing life from them, similar to what happens in stardust and Hocus Pocus.

Also, on a side note, I incorporated some ropes in the prep room, as I thought that the side rooms needed more purpose. The idea here is that they are used as pregnancy rooms. I came up with this idea after thinking about the tribes culture in Cannibal Holocaust.

I was trying to find a good image of the part where they tied up the women during childbirth and and the female tribe people gather round her. I know this idea is abit extreme but I think it is well considered in terms of our concept. Especially the idea of these little cult things that the tribe see as normal but when the outsiders (Americans) come to the tribes land, they see them as weird and strange. I think this is the type of feeling that Will would experience when coming to the hive. He would be fearful but survival mode would kick in; as is the theme in most horror. I do also like the shaman in cannibal holocaust. I like the simplistic style, you know, he is just a guy with some straw on his head. He still induces fear though, just through his actions and far out style. Also, I think within the film, the fact that they cover there bodies in the white paint is quite a statement. It make you think why do they do this? Are they trying to be like the white men? Or is it part of a ritual etc? Maybe a certain belief that it grants them the power to eat other human beings? The theme of cannibalism is a strong idea within our concept as well.

Textures

These are the textures that I produced in between messing about with second life. I used a mixture of found internet images for the bones based one but for the rest of them I used photographs that I had taken in the first visual language brief.

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these are the original photographs that I used for the textures. I wanted to go down an original route as I didn’t see the point in finding images when I had these, that fit perfectly, at my finger tips.

Africa Influence

Throughout our development African designs, and concepts of religion etc have been a key influence in our process. I did spend a while scouring through the library for relevant books and managed to find this little gem:

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These are images from the book African Art, which I found particularly useful. The images i the slide show depict the basics of what I was looking at. I found the power sculptures very interesting, as the tribe we were designing would have used similar  items to symbolize power. This is where the idea of collecting trinkets from their foes came into the design, as I wanted to include it as it is used in many designs for strong powerful warriors. The other images were mainly influence for our colour palette and the textures that we made. I also found looking at adobe buildings useful because they made me simplify the designs for the hive; seen as the hive didn’t need to be spectacular, instead it should look earthly and home made.

Notes…

These are just the scanned in notes from the duration of the brief.

From here. these are brainstorming notes that myself and Jade produce on the conceptual side of the project.

Basically the above was how we first solidified our ideas. We just sat down with a coffee and talked over every possible thing that needed to be considered before we began the production of the hive!!!

Just some more sketches, I think I got a little too attached to the male warrior and the protagonist suffered as I didn’t spend as much time on him…

Also, the little sketch there is the idea of when the tribe finds the cavern with the huge rotting carcasses in it.

Managing our time.

Just some simple tick lists etc so that we stayed on track.

Sorry that these are all in written form, I find it easier to have it like this as I don’t need access to a computer to work from them.

Interior design – Pyramids

These are some ideas of what influence the interior structure of the hive. I based my idea on the interior structure of the pyramids. I wanted the hive to be very claustrophobic, so the pyramids was perfect. Instead of making the hive ceilings low like the pyramids, I decided to make them thin as I didn’t want to have to make an animation script that would allow the avatar to crouch constantly etc. I did have a few problems with this as some of my peers avatars couldn’t maneuver round the place, but that is meant to happen…

Alan Moore’s The Courtyard

Near the beginning of this brief Jade lent me her copy of Alan Moore’s The Courtyard. We initially took an interest in the style of the narrative within it, and especially the concepts of murder that it portrays. At first it was just a piece of random reference as it is based on Lovecraft’s Chtulhu concepts, but as started to solidify our ideas, Jade had a marvelous idea. As sort of a commendation to the courtyard, we based the actual sacrificial process on the way that the murders are committed in the book. The victims have their hands and head dismembered, whilst they have a star style shape cut into their chest/stomach. As we liked this idea, we developed it to fit in with our concept. Our sacrificial process involves the dismemberment of the hands, feet and head of the victim, this allows maximum blood loss in the fastest possible way. Then as a more religious part, they proceed to slice open the stomach in the star shape. The entrails and body parts are then placed in the six fire pits around the altar.

This is an image from The Courtyard, that depicts the idea of the cult style of religion. Using a direct linked image to Lovecraftian work will add a novel aspect because it gives players who are fond of Lovecraft’s work a knowledgeable similarity. As we didn’t want to have direct links to Lovecraft work, but we did want to through aspects in so that players would think ‘I bet they used Lovecraft as influence.’

This didn’t directly influence my concept work, but it did give a good insight into the way that the Lovecraft style works. It is very extreme, stylized aliens. Very typical but still unpredictable as they are often seen as a having strange and unusual traits, based predominantly on horror/fear. This fed straight into the designs, in the aspect of the weird little traits of the tribe, i.e. the idea of childbirth being portrayed as a sacred act.

Finding Inspiration from Second Life.

A while ago I trotted trough the virtual world of second life, in aim to find some suitable influences for the brief. I first got interested in the idea of visiting other people’s plots after reading about a virtual Silent Hill. For our brief, and especially the amount of influence the Silent Hill games have had on our development process, I thought visiting it would be very useful. So, I got some supplies and set off into the unknown! Sadly, I never did manage to get to the official one as it was shut down under maintenance but I did manage to travel to a few fan art ones. One that got my attention was Silent Hill, Toluca Prison, Kiore. Mainly because you are faced with this when you enter.

You are in a graveyard, with only one way out…the grave! I found this really interesting, and it also made me think about player interaction within second life. I think this is the thing that I am most worried about, seen as you have to make sure everything works right. It also seems like a lot of fiddling about but, it is, as I have noticed, what sets areas apart from others in second life. So, yes I jumped down the hole to see where I ended up, and low and behold I actually realised that this level had been set out as sort of RPG, like, you get updates in the corner of the screen which tell you things, i.e. ‘Player Yoyocrayon feels a presence behind them’. These are used to add atmosphere to the level, which I know isn’t really of any use to our brief but I do like the idea.

Oh yeah funny story here…I did maybe, freak out a little as I turned round to see this on the wall..Hehe hehe! It is a good example of how barriers within games can be used. For example when I came in this room, instead of looking around, I immediately went straight to the other door to see if I could get through the room; I was trying to progress. But when I got faced with the classic inaccessible door, I started to look round only to be faced with this…Oh yeah, also outside of this room, there was this little wormhead guy, who followed the player around when they were in a certain vicinity to it. It was pretty freaky because you just got glimpses of him popping up every now and again. Possibly, we could incorporate this into the machinima or actually make a script for it…if it isn’t too hard that is.

The use of daunting rooms is often used within games to induce fear for the player. Here, is an example of it within second life. You have to walk down this corridor to get to the door at the end, but you have to walk past all these cells. Now, the scary thing about this is that you can’t actually see what is in any of the cells until you are right next to them. I guess this is the concept of fear of the unknown, which will go well with our crazy tunnel system in the hive.

Another little gem is this town called Innsmouth, which is of course a fictional town in H.P.Lovecrafts books, and it heavilyCthulhu based. So, upon finding this place I went there immediately, and I must say it is a very nicely designed second life area.

This is just the info on it…blah blah blah.

The whole reason that this is such an awesome find for our brief is because of the atmosphere of this place. Everything seems to fit into this gloomy, post-apocalyptic styled setting. The dark pallet compliments the eerie-ness; and in a way if this was an actual first person game level, the player would have that absent feeling. That weird sense that they were never here nor there. Which, coincidently is what you get with Silent Hill. It’s the fact that you don’t know whether what you are experiencing is real or not; because you always get mixed messages.

In terms of the hive, I think that sort of eerie feeling is what we would like to achieve. We want the player to go into an unknown realm of possibilities. which with our concept /narrative is what would actually be happening. Will D will have never experienced anything like the hive before. I like this idea, because it is as if he experiencing things at the same time as the player. This is successful in mainstream games aswell. Take Bioshock for example, you are on a plane crash and then being attacked by crazy masked people and big daddies, and you only find out who the protagonist is half way through. Hell, you actually only find out why you are in Rapture half way through…

Elders – Male turnaround finished.

Finally got the colours base finished, would have done shading, but don’t have time to be faffing with Photoshop atm, so here you are =)

This is the annotated version of the turnaround. I messed about making sure that I jotted down all the bits and bobs that are included in the final design, as I have been playing around with this character for some time now. I’m actually glad that he is finished finally!!!

The main points from the notes will be highlighted in his pro forma, along with the colour pallet etc. I seem to be taking his less serious now I have produced this image…hink its because I spent a while practicing bits and bobs in sketch form before finalising it, and lets just say, the sketches had a rather comical value to them…

Yay, we have fire =)

Just checked second life and we have fire now thanks to Billy.

Only problem is that it doesn’t yet have any sound or a light source within it…and I cannot access it because it doesn’t have the no copy and modify off of it…. hopefully it won’t take too long to rectify, although I would have liked to have had all the fire scripts in by now, just so that we can figure out how the max three light sources at one time will work out in the machinima..

On another note, my computer hates second life at the moment. I noticed that certain bits and bobs had disappeared earlier like these –

I asked Jade to check for me as she was online aswell and she said they were fine on her comp, so I guess mine just sucks at the mo…. I apologise now if some of these posts etc are duplicated, I may have tried to rectify this before asking Jade…so, yeah. I can’t actually tell if there are two or one or none, so I’m stuck really…

Machinima

Seen as it is a day before the deadline, I decided to produce a quick mock-up of what the machinima will include. We voted to do a walk through as opposed to a narrative based one as we are pushed for time.

We start here:

Please excuse that I am using my own avatar instead of our Will costume, and also because it is meant to be in first person but my printscreen key has broken and I don’t know how to take a snapshot in first person mode in second life…

So, we begin at the top of the stairs and proceed down to here:

Here our character will look around at the scenery, trying to figure out what this place is. Also, please excuse the lack of light coming from the fire. I guess Bill hasn’t got round to doing that yet.

Will then heads over to the campsite, to see if there is any sign of life.

After realising that there is nobody to be found, he heads into the hive. The sense of scale here is important as the bridge makes the character seem insignificant .

Nothing happens as he enters so he starts to explore a little bit. He heads up the stair case after noticing the dinosaur bones and getting interested in the actual structure as a giant fossil if you will.

He enters the corridor of death and begins to get intrigued by the murals on the wall, which as he reads them, lead his eye to the spiral staircase.

Starting to get freaked out by the bones everywhere, he continues because his sense of adventure overrides the fear and anxiety.

He enters the ritual room to see NOTHING (ignore jade stood there!)

he explores the room, then with a slight sound from behind…

All three elders are stood staring at him.

So, he runs for his life!!! Finding the secret exit..

Getting to the bottom of the passage, out of breath he sees a room that is nearly fully blocked off due to fallen in roofs etc.

He temporarily forgets the threat above and explores the room a little, seeing the ropes and more murals about.

He finds the exit from this room and runs up the staircase.

He realises that he is in the corridor he started in, and looks round for an exit, in a panick.

He realises that the only way out is the original entrance he came in, so regaining his cool, he runs to the exit.

In this image the entrance now needs to be blocked off, this is from an idea that Billy had, that the doors close behind Will when he enters, thus trapping him in. I think it makes more sense if they close once the Elders realise that there is fresh meat.

So, now trapped, after looking round he notices an elder stood on the stairs to the corridor on death, so he bolts down this passage.

He is then backed into the corner by the elders, and he falls through the floor in this room.

END!!!! I honestly have no idea how to finish it. I realise now that it is extremely narrative based…but I think it should be all it first person, so you never see Will as he is a hero with no face type of character, similar to bioshock – all cutscenes are made in first person, so the player feels more involved in the game. I think this could work well, because we could have it half cut scene half, someone playing the game. Maybe we could get an external person from the team to actually play as Will whilst we record it, and us three act as the Elders??? Or would we have less control then? It would be like an actual gameplay trailer then… ME Likey!!!

Spine stairs that aren’t really spine stairs.

In our concept work we wanted the bones found in the cave to be incorporated into the design of everything. In some cases this worked out, and in other it didn’t.

This is an image of some stair that inspired the design of the spiral staircase into the ritual room.

Now, don’t get me wrong the stairs I produced do resemble these stairs, but I did have difficulty with the actual incorporation of bone style structures. So, when you look at the design of the hive it is very man-made, almost to man-made. I think the reason for this was simply because I struggled with the build itself. I was also pushed for time as I had concept work to do. So, the actual prototype of the hive isn’t what it should be in some places, which I think is because we tried to achieve to many things with the textures instead of using a few extra prims or even a sculptie to achieve a more accurate design. But I was pushed for time and the other two team mates seemed to have other roles to accomplish, so I didn’t want to harass them by giving them more work. Team work is a tough cookie to figure out…I don’t actually know who has done what as most things are missing from blogs; but i guess that is a lack of communication.

All the bits I intended to write about, but forgot about,,,until now!!!

Ok, so this is just a catch up post of some screenshots I had in a folder.

When I found some time, I added in the detail in the ritual room, so that it stuck to our original concept. We simply have the fire pits, which sadly I doubt we will have time to put mangled remains in, but hey! The altar is now completely covered in blood, to give an obvious focal point to the player; as it stands out from the room.

For our murals, myself and Jade decided to place them in the prep room, sort of like a ‘bible’ as to which the sacrifice can look at and realise their fate; a final reminder of an ultimate sacrifice, if you will. The image above shows, the first mural that Jade produced for the team, Once we got this into second life we decided that instead of it being on one of the walls in the sub rooms, we thought it should be the first thing you see as soon as you enter the room from the stairway. This also gives direction to the player, as our concept follows a non-linear narrative, we wanted obvious things for the player to notice, but not too out-of-place things. I think this is important because, I personally find that with linear games you tend to take minimum awareness of your surroundings, whereas puzzle-solving linear games and non-linear games need to have more detail and purpose placed into their design. After all, most non-linear games are based on a player searching for something. So you need to become immersed in that world to know what you are looking for. I know this is a little off subject, but is it a good thing to make certain things hard to find? Take Fallout for example, that games sticks so closely to its core concept that sometimes, you run past a key item like five times before you manage to find it. These are the types of things that I have been considering in terms of the design of the interior hive.

So after all this debating, we decided to place the main mural on this wall straight ahead. Oh, by the way, the mural is designed based on the idea of  the star points and the eye, which we took from the graphic novel The Courtyard by Alan Moore, which has a core Lovecraft theme.

So, Jade whipped up an intense mural alpha channel that was used in the sub rooms of the prep room. This sticks to the idea of an obsessive nature to the tribe, the fact that they repeat things over and over; and all in the name of religion! This idea then got developed by myself to become the phantom walls to the actual sub rooms. This is half fictionally based, to add an essence or a reminder to the player, that this is still a game. I got this idea because I originally thought it would add a nice touch to the prep rooms by separating each room; which links to the idea/reason for the sub rooms, being these mini ritual rooms. In which the sacrifice is left for periods tied up, for multiple reasons. I also so think it adds a nice mythical edge to the room, and it looks really nice aswell, especially at night.

 

This is a first person view of the prep rooms. As you can see, these phantom walls, make the main mural have a higher directional value, but the player can still choose to explore them aswell. Basically, a non-linear design within a single room. Which, to be honest I think I subconsciously designed it this way, through the whole process of having to change it into sub-rooms; this offered up this possibility.

Just another shot of the phantom walls.

I am the rope queen. =) After Annabeth showed me a little trick of how to create real looking ropes and knots, I got a little obsessed with them. It isn’t all in vain though because they are a key part of the design of the hive, they were here from the offset as the things that kept the hive suspended.

I felt and still feel that the hive is lacking objects so, I made this really simple skull mound. I know I shouldn’t worry in too much detail about the objects as they aren’t one of my roles, but I do feel that the use of roles within our group sometimes goes a little off track. I reckon it’s because of ownership.

And finally I understand the textures panel…

It may be the end of the brief, but I finally have full control over the textures. YAY! I actually cannot believe I had so many problems with such a simple thing though. I think it was trial and error mainly, like remembering to check if I’m on the select face tool and making sure the objects aren’t linked together.

There are a few slight issues with some of the textures like the image above, the lines don’t quite match up in a few places, but I honestly don’t know how to rectify this, I spent hours fiddling with the damn thing, just to try to make it flow as a whole. Which, I think is the best way to look at it, after all this is only meant to be prototype, and considering the issues we have had, in the real world it would have solved masses of problems in the actual production and further development of such a game.

Sorting the textures out.

Just spent some time sorting the stretched textures out in second life. I know it is no excuse, but I think they keep stretching because I always forget to click edit linked before I begin changing things in the texture panel. This was the room with the most issues highlighted in the beta test. So I decided to re-do it. I altered the plan slightly, as I needed a texture for the walls that could be used both ways up, as you can see in the image above that the skulls on one side of the wall were upside down. Now, I couldn’t actually do anything about this as the surface in which the texture is placed is a hollowed out cube, so the whole floor,ceiling as walls are one big face! So I used another piece of feedback – add in more murals as they are cool – and decided to kill two birds with one stone. I made a pattern that initially started as a randomly placed mural, as seen here:

The plan was to place these on either the walls or floor, or maybe even have them as objects to pick up and decipher. BUT after doing a test of this texture on a wall, I decided that I actually really liked how it fit in with what we were going for. So, I quickly pieced together 8 of these stones into a seemless texture that could be applied to the walls and ceiling. Luckily it worked out really well.

I managed to match up all the textures on the wall, so it runs smoothly all the way down the corridor better, plus the colour scheme fits in better with our original designs. For the floor I simply used an image off the internet of some bat bones that litter the floor of a cave, so it still is a floor of bones, just in a different form. I like the new outcome of this change, as I think it fits more with the overall feel of the place. I think the design of the writing on the wall was inspired by films like The Number 23, and The Ring, especially because of that obsessive nature of the ‘evil’ thing. I think generally the idea of something or someone being consumed by an unknown force is pretty freaky, which is why it is used within all genres of horror. In our concept, the idea that I wanted to put across with the murals in this room, was the idea of a story. A story that started off innocent but suddenly becomes clouded when the Elders are born. I shall go into more detail of this in another post, but for the aesthetical value, I think these add a nice touch, the protagonist could analyse them as part of the machinima? Possibly?

Today I made a light beam!

This is part of the feedback that we got the other day, so I quickly whipped this up. Just simply using an alpha channel to create the illusion of a light beam that fades out.

It was really simple to make the alpha channel in photoshop as it is just the gradient tool, I did consider adding in dust particles etc, but I thought this would be better achieved with an in game particle effect, which I think one of my team mates is looking into making…??

From here I fiddled about in second life making sure the texture was right on the cone prim, and also making the cone a decent size. Sadly I could only make it 10meters long as I only had a 40x40x40 mega prim. So it looks like this from this inside.

I think it works well, especially with the blue tint on it. I mean you have to look up to notice it, but it does give an eerie effect to the room. I’m starting to think we should have made the fire blue…

Sharing the concept!

Throughout the brief, myself and Jade have been sharing the concept work, fairly equally. I haven’t ever had to share concept with anyone else, but on this brief I am glad that I have, as I found my time stretched with the building of the hive etc.

Even though I don’t have the time to actually do all the character’s concept work, we have managed to work something out. Jade has taken on the lead conceptual role, as she is making the textures for the build as well as doing the majority of the environment concept art and two of the characters as well. Whilst she is doing this, I have been busy building in second life, focusing on the interior of the hive, with Bill doing the exterior. For me this was an unusual role as I am more interested in the concept side of things, but I still have two of the characters, all the proformas and generally all the narrative aspects plus the ‘how this all fits together’. So, I suppose I am technically a sort of leader?? Just on the basis that if something doesn’t fit with the concept it shouldn’t be in our area on second life really.

Anywhose, I have found working as part of a concept team very interesting. I like the combination of our styles more than anything. Sort of like mincing together two demented minds, formed from years of playing survival horror games.

Back to the point Zoe! We have been brainstorming about the female elder character, which has undoubtedly been under quite a lot of debate. At first we swayed towards her being a siren style character who lured the prey into the hive, but after consideration, she started to become more of a tougher, battle hardened warrior; similar to the male elder. From this Jade started designing her, and she is looking awesome. WE decided that she should be almost like a geisha (I love how I always pull inspiration from books!) nearly fully covered up in some form of clothing, but with a a certain piece of skin showing, that is a direct contrast to her clothing. So, Jade suggested she has really dark skin, with lighter clothing on. I like it! Can’t wait to see it.

Elders – Shaman Ideas

Even though Jade pretty much saved my life by doing the main concept work for the Shaman Elder, as I had to build the hive in SL, I managed to do a little bit of concept work for him. Based on this design by Jade:

I came up with this image:

I found it useful doing this, as it made me consider why the design was like this(on top of what Jade had already told me this is). I analysed the image a lot, coming up with why he would be like he is in terms of the visual difference with the Male Elder. The Shaman is a lot more open with his appearance, whereas the male Elder’s face and shoulders are completed covered. The male elder is designed to induce fear, he is a warrior, whilst the Shaman is there to offer wisdom and is the only one who can perform the sacrificial ceremony. The shaman only comes into contact with innocent blood, which in the tribes society/religion makes him the strongest of the three Elders, with the other two acting as his bodyguards if you like. The female and male warrior’s are allowed to take blood from their victims, to regenerate as well as having the sacrifices blood. They arent’ allowed as much of the sacrifice as the shaman though because they aren’t as sacred, within the religion.

Elders – Male Warrior Turnaround

From starting with an initial sketch on paper I developed the design into a full turnaround. Compared to the original, this is the more complicated one. I decided to go down a route which meant that this particular Elder was fond of taking ‘trophies’ from his fallen foes, both human and animal. So, his ‘skirt’ is now made up of a mixture of tied together pieces of both hair and hide. There are just enough pieces to cover up genitals and keep him decent, I doubt a gamer, female more so, would want to be faced with that imagery whilst cruising around trying to kill an Elder. Plus, it’s generally avoided at all costs in games, usually fully nude scenes have strategically placed objects. Anyways, back to the point!

In terms of taking this into second life, we are going to face a few difficulties! The hair/pelt attached to his mask is going to be hard as, it will need to be made up of a number of prims. The problem is the actually volume of the hair, as I have tried to design it so that it looks matted and in grained with dirt etc, which has made it become slightly held in place but still able to move. I don’t actually know if that is even possible in second life…? Well, hopefully it is, if not I guess it is just one of those things that will have to be simplified for the game mechanics. Designing for games is way too complicated for my tiny little brain, you have to consider everything!

Feedback from the beta testing.

We did a little exercise the other day in which everybody had a half hour session beta testing everyone’s game levels so that they could get feedback on it. Our groups feedback was overall very positive. Here are the key issues that need alterations:

– There is a gap between the bridge and the hive, which is just big enough to let the avatar fall through.

– Textures on some walls appear upside down, and some are stretched

– The use of similar textures means it is easy to get lost.

– Ropes are too flexible

– Lighting needs to be considered

Luckily all of these are either in the process of being changed or are easily changeable in SL, so we have no problems to worry about here.

The positive things from the feedback are as follows:

– Textures work well, especially the phantom walls – suggested we add more of these, with the murals on? I think they may work well in the ritual room, but whether I happens is down to the amount of time left.

– The layout is good, fits together well – also seemed  positive thing that it was confusing.

– Mist on water is good.

– Campsite and Bridge concept is good,even though it doesn’t directly relate to the brief.

The last points from the feedback are things that were confusing to the testers because thy don’t know the concept behind the hive.

– The main issue was the relevance of the objects used and the idea of the campsite etc, but this i all explained in the concept work done.

– The atmosphere was questioned as well, obviously because we don’t yet have  an enclosed space. This will be the last thing we do on the project in SL, so it is understandable why people got confused. Also, we plan to have it lit by fire light, which wasn’t in place for the testing.

As I write this post, I am aware that the majority of the issues have already been taken care of by both Bill and Jade, all that is left to tick off this list is the textures and the ropes flexibility.

My love of second life is starting to grow thin.

I am having a wonderous battle with second life currently; all those bits it decided to duplicate in exactly the same place, are all popping up now as I start applying textures. Oh, but this isn’t the worst of it, earlier I had a lovely time trying to move the hive into position in the lake, half of it deleted on the first attempt and the second attempt, well, lets just say certain parts decided not to move with the main structure…even though I shift-clicked around 50 times before trying. So I pretty much wasted the first half of the day trying to figure out why my little love affair has started to go pear-shaped.

The re-build

We have an invisible wall to make sure peeps don’t fall off the stairs whilst walking up there. I don’t think it was massively necessary, but it was fun to fiddle about with now my x and y coordinates are on diagonals again. Oh, how I missed those days.

As I began placing Jade’s textures, I started noticing problems. One of them was that the original floor texture for the hive had too much of a contrast in the light and dark colours, which made it obvious that it was a repeated pattern. So, Jade whipped up this variation, wich works a lot better. It has less obvious bits in it but you can tell close up that its got a slight colour gradient to one corner; maybe I’m just picking this out because I have been staring at it for way too long…

We have an issue with some overlapping texture, that this image doesn’t do any justice! It is in the prep room, on the floor, where two square floor prims overlap. The only way I think of solving this is if I  lower one of the prims, as I have done this in other places and it has works; they seem to rub when the surfaces are closer together.

The altar that looks like a turtle shell. This wasn’t our intention, but now we have done it, I rather like it! I like how subtle the grooves in the altar are, almost like its innocent, but when you look at the side of it theres all this gummy blood… Possibly need to add more blood to the top of the alter actually. As Jeff pointed out, it looks like a stewing pot for cannibals.

I love this texture. Its our exterior bone texture, an as you can see I am applying it to everything simply because it is our best texture so far. What I have noticed with it, is how well it works with our other textures. I think it throws a slight hint of colour in amongst the grays and blues, this add wonderfully to the feel of the hive. It makes it seem more alien; which I think was needed as with the whole build I struggled using the limitations of second life and my inexperience, to make the hive look organic. Th textures really add to this, it gives it this weird alternate reality feel, similar to the Silent Hill games, which is good really as it means we have stayed fully on track. Much like in Fallout 3 where you go to Tranquility Lane and everything turns to grayscale, when you enter the hive it sort of messes with your mind. The structure is solid, exact and very much mn made, whilst these odd grays and blues leak all around th floor, walls and ceiling, it induces a level of fear based on the unknown. I think this is a good thing because I think originally it is what we wanted to get out of our concept, but because I built it and I’m not great at building it, this is where it suffered in the transition of concept to reality; but with Jade’s ‘take’ on the texture instead of going for a basic realistic visual side, we have this weird, haf hard-edged, half delicate, soft curves, almost like vines. This is what really sets it apart from everything else. So, really, me not being able to figure second life out has meant that we have created something out of this world.

Some quick floor plans

I have just rectified a potential problem in SL. Chris pointed out to me that when he tried to walk around our build, he got stuck in certain places. After having a quick look I realised that the problem had been caused by the duplication of our build. I still have no idea how this happened, so I have rectified it as much I can tell is wrong!

Anyways, these are simply some floor plans of our build, depicting the new plans, after I made changes during the build.

Character Development

I have been messing around with our protagonist, trying to make him look abit more rugged. I prefer this style a lot more than the previous ones I had been doing. I think it works better; it adds a more believable sense to it, but I’m not sure if that’s just because I feel more comfortable drawing in this style.

I changed the hair, by adding more of it, but I still wanted it to look nice but unkempt at the same time. I changed his under clothes in more suitable ones; I went down a thermal approach by adding in nicely thick pants (I am aware his legs look crazy, still not great at drawing them), and instead of a shirt and tie we have a lovely polo neck jumper. The coat he is in, is a tad too fashionable, so on the turnaround I shall make it slightly less fitted around the waist, the end of the sleeves should be tighter, still need to add in pockets and make the collar less for show, more purposeful. Just generally make it more useful, I think these problems are here because I used some fashion images for reference but hey, it might add to the user playability. Also, this just popped in my head, maybe add in some gloves? It would make sense being in the freezing Antarctic, for him to have gloves.

Apocalypto

This film is relevant in terms of the Elder design. As you can see the design/style of the characters fits in well with the vibe that we are going for. I am just going to use the visual aspect of these designs to help create realistic tribe style head-dresses and clothing. I do like how extravagant these designs are, and would like to incorporate that into the designs, but I am unsure how hard they would be to build in SL. Which seen as we don’t have much time left, I doubt they will be finished in time…

I seriously need better time management skills, but I seem to work best under pressure? Why can’t these too just co-exist in harmony?

A place which will always be relevant.

In terms of creature design, you can always be sure to link back to at least one of the masses of Pokemon. Cubone is a very basic concept of what I shall put into motion with the Elder designs! Is it a bad thing that when I thought of the Elders wearing bone Armour, I thought of Cubone? I guess its relevant to some level…even if it is just a nice reminder of youth!

Animal Anatomy

I had a look at animal anatomy from the book Mountains of Madness to get ideas of what bones we could use for the build and the character design.

The giant penguins did stand out from the books description, so I have found a basic bone diagram of them. I would like to go into much more accurate detail with my designs, but as I find my time ticking away I have had to sacrifice multiple things just to make sure the actual thing gets built! So, I have taken this ref into account but I doubt it will show in the actual build! Its a shame really!

Will D Character Inspiration

Now I don’t actually watch Fringe, but as I talked to a friend about the brief and our bullet points for the main character, they mentioned the character of Peter Bishop.

The thing that drew me to this character is the fact that he is an intelligent individual, as he has an IQ of 190 and got a place at MIT – awesome technology university – but he also has a bad streak. He dropped out of college and falsified a degree, because he had serious gambling debts. In terms of our Will D, I think looking at Peter B, inspired me to keep him as a sort of a bad character who should have been good. I think this could come about due to his civil service, maybe go down a Jacob’s Ladder route, saying that his mental breakdown is due to his experiences of the first world war.

I will go into this in more detail in the character pro forma for Will, but I definitely think it is a good idea to go down the mental stability route, as I think it works well in-game narratives. A good example of this is Batman:Arkham Asylum; the player is thrown into a world which steadily falls in and out of reality and dream/nightmare. In the game this is due to Scarecrow’s ‘fear’ inducing drug, but I think we can play around with the idea of a dreamlike mental state of mind.

Other good things to look at for this are, The Cell(film), just because it ventures into the mind of a killer, but also as Jade mentioned a while ago, Silent Hill. In one of them, I cannot remember which, you play as a male character who always sees female representations of enemies, and this is because of his sexual frustration that is consuming his mind in Silent Hill. Obviously, I wont go overboard, with reasons, explanations etc for the characters as I have other work to be doing, but it does help me to understand why and often how he would react to things.

Just a side note here: the idea of this mental instability could be due to the Great Depression? Maybe he has family back home that he is worried about?

Build Part 5

This is a review of everything that happened yesterday in SL on our plot.

This is the preparation room so far, I had a few problems getting the height of it right as my avatar couldn’t walk through the doorways =S. After all the testing ad fiddling about I made it a realistic room height, around 3 meters, but as you can see it is very claustrophobic in third person. For our machinima, as far as im aware we were going to hae it in thrid person, which may cause problems as this room and the corridors and stairways are very tight. I built them to just fit an avatar in, which now is problematic. Probably should have taken Annabeth’s advice into account when she said to build things slightly bigger for third person… Hopefully we can work round it.

This shows what the structure looks like so far, and to be perfectly frank, I think I have done a good job! I’m thoroughly proud of how it has come out, even though it isn’t perfect and I have had to change some bits and bobs. Overall though it is very well design (not blowing my own trumpet) I think the way all three levels seem to fit perfectly on top of one another adds to the realistic feel of the structure as you walk around it. For the brief as well, I think it is a strange but good outcome. It will look awesome half submerged in our cavern once I lower it in =)

The last thing to do in the structural build is to complete the last room, the submerged armour room. I’m very glad that this is the last thing to do, minus all the detailed bits. I’m starting to get sick of looking at this beast everyday!

Jade is awesome! After failing at building in second life, she became the resident texturer. So she hs been testing out a few in SL. This one I especially like. It just an alpha channel of a dinosaur fossil, but i think it will look really creepy inside the temple; we are going to have them randomly placed in the hive and around the exterior cavern. Possibly a good idea to make a few more than just this one!

This is the hive in its texture, that Jade passed on to me last week, but I totally forgot. I think it is really coming together now. (Even though I doubt we will get everything done in time =S) The texture is meant to be half web, half stone – well our version of stone; crushed bones, calcavite and clay =) – and I think it pulls it off quite well. The only problem is that from this distance i looks really cool as the texture is really big on the structure, but when you zoom in, o for instance the character walks across the bridge to it, it looks really blurry, so we may have to increase the repeats per face.

Here we have a test of a texture that could be used in th corridor of death. We want it to be like the underground cave thing, i Paris ( i forget its name) Basically, we want the walls to be constructed out of piled up bones with a bit of cement in there for good luck. The image above is a test idea of using three alpha channels to get a 3D effect, but as you can see, it doesn’t work too well. Instead we are going to try manually piling up bones in Photoshop then using offset to make it seemless.

The hexagonal room.

So I am finally around half way through the build, and have come across he hexagonal room, alternatively known as the preparation room. I noticed that because I changed the idea for the main staircase, that this has thrown everything off track… So, to make it work I have redesigned the hexagonal room so that it fits better. The problem lied in te fact that my original scale was way too big for what I could possibly do with 10 by 10 prims. So I have altered the hexagonal room into this shape.

We now have four side rooms that act as the holding place for the murals, this has been derived from the original idea to have the murals on pillars that were situate in a circle in the center of the room. Due to the room being limited to a certain size, it wasn’t feasible to have both the murals and the prep materials in such a small space. Hence, why we have side rooms.

I’m not sure whether I have mentioned this before or not, but the idea of the murals being on stones in the middle of the room came from the storage chamber in Blade that contains all the texts that depict vampire law.

This may be a little late.

I have just managed to watch the back-end of a TV two-part drama called Shackleton. It charters the journey of Shackleton and his crew as they sail to Antarctica. Even though watching his would have been useful during the conceptual stage of this brief, I have found it very interesting, as it allowed me to see how my character of Will D fit into the actual characteristics of Shackleton, a real life explorer. I also managed to go down the right path in terms of the clothing/costume that I developed for Will D; which means I have no need to make any changes. Yay! My intuition has paid off.

Build Part 4

I think I need to chill with the build parts, I seem t be doing a lot; but everything is so important to the final outcome! Everything that gets changed in the build needs documenting, so I guess I have a valid reason to be here writing away.

After deliberating the previous idea of the entrance, I redesigned the whole bottom of the hive. It still looks like the original concept but I have used sphere instead of a cylinder, As I was able to use the dimples and partial cut tools to my advantage.

The bottom part has been achieved by using a ring with a hell of a lot of alterations!

With the entrance done, I could continue on with the internal structure of the hive.

This isn’t the best image but I really like it as I am now feeling more confident about this whole thing. I am actually really enjoying the challenge of building; even though I’m not that great. Anywhose, I really like the way this is going in terms of the alterations to the original design. I think it will really encompass a certain feel of level design. The atmosphere I believe will be similar to Alien Trilogy (Game) as I remember (its ten years ago since I played it!) it’s very structured in the “human” built areas but then you just fall (literally) into the Aliens side. The design of the two is very different. I think this is similar to what I imagine this level to be like when you play it. The structured rooms allow the player to experience a human built “alien” environment to what they are used to or expecting. BUT this is combined with the natural structure of the cavern and the rock face. I think the corridor of death (we really need a better name) is a perfect example of this, as you walk down it th walls will gradually merge into dug out holes in the cavern. I think it could be quite surreal, which inevitably will add to the other-worldly aspect.

Build Part 3

My head is begging to get very confused as I attempt to work out these crazy mathematical equations. It seems so far I have been working the hard way. I had somehow managed to rotate my hive so that it was on a quarter, which meant hat the Y and X axis were moving everything in diagonals. After realising that all I had to do to resolve this was link everything and spin it round, I did so immediately. Sometimes I wonder why I always get stuck learning the hard way.

Anyways managed to get the first part of the corridor of death (this is its code name) finished. thoroughly happy, even though I’m still really slow at building things in SL.

I’m still building things really big, half of this is because I often misjudge things in SL and te other half is because I drew the blueprints very big, and sticking to that scale is making things massive.

I have encountered my first dilemma; seen as the bottom of the hive is a mega prim cylinder, I have been having issues trying to figure out how to make a doorway cut into this prim. After much trial and tribulation I realised it wasnt possible. So, I have alter the orignal plan to have the main staircase running down the full wall; instead I will double back the staircase on itself, and wherever it comes out shall be our entrance. So I have placed a twist in the cylinder with a small path cut aswell, this gap shall be our entrance but I am unsure whether to block up all the other parts or to make multiple entrances? possibly ones leading to other hives, that are unfortunately inaccessible due to the destruction caused hen Will D decided to drill a massive hole into the roof of the cavern!

It is quite hard to see on this screenshot but to make it a tad easier, that little black dot is my avatar, stood on the main staircase.

I have actually just though of another problem. Nowthe hive is encased, there is no possible way of placing the secret staircase into the back of it. I need to seriously re-thing closing the cylinder up, everything was so much simpler when the hive just moulded into the rock face.

P.S. Don’t things look boring without textures on!!!!

Final Scale Drawings

Finally got round to uploading these! They are the final two scale drawings of the hive. Drawn to the scale of one square equaling five meters. I’m not sure my build is actually to this scale so far =S but I hope this isn’t a problem. I am finding it difficult to build seen as I have to build in the middle of the sky as opposed to being on ground level, seen as we no longer have a floor.  It was definitely the wrong idea to start with the cavern instead of the hive. Something to make note of in the future.

I have also noticed that the bottom of the hive in the front view is really thin. I need to make some amendments in SL.

The images use the same key as before.

Build Part 2

I am getting somewhere! At an extremely slow pace =( I have been working all day and so far have made the ritual chamber and the spiral staircase that leads to it.

So this is where we left off in the previous Build post. after a hell of a lot of fiddling about I have managed to position the middle platform in, Some thing that does worry me is th fact, that this thing is so big!!!

Even though in my head I would have liked the central sacrificial bit a tad larger, I was refrained due to the max meter prim limit. But I still think it does its job, It does look a tad lost in the center of the bigger floor, but if you think about it, only two people would have been in the central part – the shaman Elder and the sacrifice whilst he other villagers would be situated around the edge, witnessing the ritual. So, basically a lucky fluke on the floor plan =)

I moved onto the central staircase, as I thought it was the most strategic point, start from the top and work my way down. I tested it out using my avatar, just to make sure it would work, as I had some issues with the ritual chambers floor, as I had neglected a massive hole that ran along the edge of the main sphere. Although it was quite fun watching my avatar fall through it, I needed to make sure it was correct as we don’t want anybody falling through floors during our machinima filming or just in the beta testing stage.

Another problem that arose was as I placed my spiral staircase under the entrance to he ritual chamber, I realised that there were going to be some holes in the flooring due to having two circles facing opposite ways.  I corrected this by building up a back plate, that can be seen in the screen sho above. It isn’t in our original blueprints but I do like the style of it, it makes it appear more like a grand chamber as opposed to just an open semi-circle. Another thing that I do really like the style of the architecture, as everything seems to be on multiple levels, and it gives off a very welcoming feel. I know this isn’t the atmosphere we were going for, but we can achieve that by placing this into a massive dark box, with only torches as light sources.

This is jut an idea for a camera angle that I could use in the machinima. I think it gives a daunting feel, especially considering that he Elders are looking down on the protagonist as he enters the room.

I’m happy with the progress and believe that I am working so slow because of the complexity of our build. Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I like a challenge.

Build Part 1

As I came into SL this morning I found another random addition to our space. It is apit of spikes that Billy mentioned last week, I suppose he is testing out the idea. I do think it is abit too Indiana Jones, and As I now know how much room the hive needs, I think we need to scrap the exterior idea of the mountain pass. Instead we should utilise this space for the interior of the cavern.

Anyways, so far I have had a good start to the build. The hive is a very hard thing to make.

As soon as I made the top of the hive I realised just how big it was going to be. This is whywe need to seriously re-think making the outside of the mountain, we should just make an interior ofthe cavern by my opinion.

This was my intial idea t make the hive, but as you can see it would need to be tilted a hell of alot to allow for the stairs, so I am going to tilt the cylinder at the bottom to make it appear more slanted, but this does mean that the sphere and the cylinder wont join perfectly. I suppose we have to just go with it =)

Making our original concepts work

As we have been playing around in SL, the general builds so far have been drifting further away from the original concept idea. So to make sure that we don’t go off track and just start building stuff for the sake of it, I have put together this side view plan so that we can stick to what makes sense. I have done this as I feel that new ideas have been added, up until this point and I don’t think it is a healthy way to be working. Instead we should be focusing on an idea that will work, not only aesthetically but also in terms of the back story/narrative ideas that we already have.

This is my drawing, of the basic idea, but when you combine it with te concept art that both myself and Jade have been producing at a steady pace, it does make total sense.

KEY –

1 = Entrance Platform
2 = Bridge
3 = Hive Entrance
4 = Central Staircase
5 = Blocked Cavern Entrances (either with rubble or a solid door)
6 = Preparation Room
7 = Staircase from Corridor of Death to Preparation Room
8 = Mural Wall ? (It was just an idea. It would face the staircase and there was nothing else to go on it, so thought it might be cool)
9 = Corridor of Death
10 = Spiral Staircase
11 = Ritual Chamber
12 = Secret Staircase from Chamber to Preparation Room

Now my next move is to head into SL and start building this. I shall post my results.

A bit of advice

Seen as we are doing scripting at the moment, I managed to steal a chat with a friend that works professionally as a programmer. He doesn’t work directly in SL or even in games, but he did a programming degree in computing, so he knew what he was talking about. I found the talk really useful as he told me what it was like in his various previous and current job in a professional manner. I also found out some little bits and bobs that are probably really simple but I thought they were interesting! For instance, the reason that the script is tabbed in, is to make it easier for other people to understand. So the only things that should go at the edge are the beginning and end of scripts. He also stressed that one of the best skills you can have is not to be able to actually write script from scratch but to instead be able to read it and know where it has gone wrong.

I know these may not fully correlate over to game scripting but I did find the chat useful, mainly because I have found scripting quite interesting and would consider doing more of it in the future.

Animating the avatar

Today has been a very useful day for me as I have the job of making the avatars for our 4 characters. We have been using avimator to create animations for our avatar. We are only doing basic stuff, like making the avatar hold a flag type object, but avimator seemed very easy to use. So I think I wont have much difficulty making the animations we need. That is a good point, we actually need to decide what animations we need.

Anyways, this is my successful, flag holding avatar.

One thong that I would like to note here, is that the fact that you can preview you avatar sitting, standing and flying is really cool! I’m beginning to like SL.

We then moved on to learn how to make the avatar sit successfully using our own animation.

I found the tutorial fairly easy to follow, as we used the same method as before with the flag.

My main concern at the moment is that we need to have these avatars build as well as the environment in 10 days time. I have delegated myself the avatars as I did the majority of the original concept for the characters. Whilst Jade and Bill can build the environemt, altering any thing that doesn’t fit in well. etc.

Our options for building the hive.

We have three options for building our hive. The first is to make a sphere with a cone like shape at the bottom of it. Second is to have a lot of donuts shapes in various sizes that are placed on top of one another to make a more bee hive based shape. Finally the last is to twist a donut into a flat half sphere sort of shape (shown in the screenshot).

For what we need the best option is going to the sphere as we need to cut a hole into it from the center that will allow the player to climb stairs into the room.

So far in SL

Bill has been working on our build today within SL.We utilized the terrain and have built up four walls that are our cavern frame.

We had a presentation today in which, we were asked to walk around our build so far. The feedback we got was mainly that we needed to focus on the interior as opposed to the exterior. So we started building mock ups of the hive, theoe shown in the picture is extremely small, but is the approach we are going to take fr te build. As, Annabeth has shown us various ways to get the natural feel to the building.

Also, I am not sure why there are some giant steps, a half done bridge and a waterfall within our build? As these clearly aren’t in any of our orignal concept art.

An attempt at scripting

This is my first attempt at scripting, as I missed the previous session on it. We were scripting sound, and I must say it was much more simpler than I had expected.

These screen shots are just for my personal reference so that I can go back if I get stuck again. They highlight basic sound animations within second life.

I couldn’t quite figure out how to do the randomized loop for the clock style sound, but I managed to get the simple timer loop. =)

Particle Effects in Second Life

Today we have been playing around with a script that allows particle effects. I came into the lesson late as I had a meeting but I picked up the general gist of what was going on. It seems like it is just messing about with values for the various bits and bobs.

At first I struggled and got stuck with 5 pink orbs floating really slowly out of the invisible box. It took me at least 10 mins of messing around to figure out how to make more orbs appear etc.

This is a texture placed on the orbs. It does look very strange having little square pieces of stone floating about, but Jeff used a texture she had previously made of a cloud, and it looked cool. I can definately see the potential.

This is my attempt at making smoke. Haha, I still have no idea how to do it properly…

For our sunken temple, there are a few occasions which could use the particle effects. For instance, the mist that lies in the ritual chamber of the hive.

Character Concept Work – Elders

I have been working on some initial ideas for the elders visual design. Trying to incorporate bones into their design. So far, the rest of my team seem happy with the way they are going., so it’s all good on that front. I think I need to work on the amour a lot more, possibly make them fully encased in it? Or incorporate th idea of  “leathered” skins and pelts. I am finding this aspect of armour very hard. I suppose it is because I have never drawn full body armour before. Probably why I am steering towards the less is more approach.

I’m liking how human they are looking – I think this needs to spill into the interior design of the hive.

Character Concept work – William Dyer

These are my initial ideas for the character of William Dyer. I have taken a classic 1930’s gangster approach. (Any excuse to watch Public Enemies) I do like the way this idea is going, ad so do my other team mates. From the Presentation, it seems like a unique approach, the other groups doing this brief, who are keeping it 1930’s have taken a more Indiana Jones, classic explorer design, whereas I am trying to go for an ex-pilot approach. I am aware that I have no idea whether the USA did the same national service as we had in the UK until 1960 but if not h can maybe have lived in the UK ddurin hi teenage years or maybe h was born over here and left when he was 25 to take up a job at a University in America. Who knows? Anyways, this is a starting point.

Good points

– definately keep the aviator jacket, just need to develop this concept further. Think it should be more stylised – possibly get some crazy pockets in there, so he can keep all his gadgets on him?

-Keep the detective look, possbly watch The Thirty-Nine Steps (original) to get a feel for an espionage film noir style of character, or maybe even dabble in a Scarlett Pimpernel-esque style?

Bad points

-the face, I need to get away from the ‘hot’ look that is going on. More ruth and rugged – ex-serviceman, use older posts on Brink, the ruth, scarred fighters. Possibly Zoran Lazarevic, antagonist in Unchartered 2? Or is that going a tad too far?

-his hair is in a classic style frm this era, but he wouldn’t just be cruising around in the Antrarctica with a comb and gel, so maybe take into account how long it has taken him to travel to this place, will he have stubble? Most likely he would have gotten a plae to the bottem of Argentina, then a boat to Antarctica. So, he can have a full on beard, that he has recently trimmed with scissors due to the iminent boat landing. So, his hair would be overgrown, hmm, i’m thinking Die Another Day style – you know where he gets captured in the prison for ages and they like torture him.

These last two pages are some little bits an bobs about accessories etc.

Exterior concept work

Whilst I have been working on the character design for the sunken temple brief, Jade has been working on the exterior design for the “hive”. After our brainstorm the other day, she began a few simple concepts of what it should be like. Funnily enough she seemed to draw pretty much what I had in my head! The idea is to have a cavern in which there is a subterreanian lake that the “hive” is suspended above.

We are still working on whether to have a bridge that goes to the “hive”, as Bill mentioned that he liked the idea of a temple tank. This is a floor plan he came up with for his idea.

My main concern with this idea is that we were trying to push two very different ideas into one. The “hive” is a very organic structure that is meant to reinforce the ‘alien’ aspect of the brief. I think it is the best approach as it makes the concept fit in with what we are going for. The idea is meant to be ‘alien’ to the protagonist but not ‘alien’ to the player. This is a key underlying feature of most games nowadays.They need to allow the player to relate to the concept so they base their work on easily recognisable objects etc. hence why we chose a hive as ref. With the temple tank, I felt that it was too stark a difference, the hive is organic, the temple tank is man-made. Another problem that I foresore was that the temple tank wouldn’t have fit in with the timescale that we were working with. My concept had been based on Neanderthal men who built the temple using the found bones in the cavern, so people from this era wouldn’t have had knowledge to make a stone temple tank, especially on the scale we were talking about. The initial concept also ruled out the idea of higher beings, so we couldn’t just say that some other, immense race came down and taught us how to build, much like the Predator race teaching Mayan’s in the AVP concept. Plus, I may be biased because I’m more prone to fantasy over sci-fi realisation but, this idea seemed a bit lame to me. Finally, my last concern was that the protagonist, William Dyer, being an explorer, may have been on expeditions to India before he came to this sunken temple, so if we just placed a replica of a traditional temple tank in the lake, he would be like, why would there be an Indian semi-religious object here in Antarctica? It collides with Jade’s Western African based influence for both the characters and the hive.

So, after a quick debate with the team, we made a compromise to change the temple tank into pretty much just the lake from the original idea. Bu we hope to keep Bill’s idea of the underwater entrance, possibly even make te hive a lot bigger and make it half-submerged. This is due to Bill’s aspect of gameplay, as the temple tank would have acted as a trigger system or entrance to the hive in which the elders were. I personally am steering towards a fully submerged part of the hive, as I think it will make it appear more run down, for want of a better phrase. Plus, then we can get some crazy level ideas based on research into games like TR and Fallout that incorporate underwater aspects of problem solving.

How to steer clear of being too Giger

I think a lot of links from this brief can be made towards H.R.Giger’s work, so I am going to try to stay as far away as possible from being ‘obvious’. I think the idea that we are working with currently is going really well. I think the Elder’s can be alter so that they aren’t too ‘alien’ to the viewers but in terms of Will Dyer, they are some preposterous creatures! I don’t want to go too overboard with the whole bone armour idea but I do very much like them being so encased in this armour and the ice(possibly) that they no longer appear human.

Something that I do want to take from Giger’s work is the mood that he creates through the use of composition. All of his work, whether painting or pen, has this awkward feeling to it. They seem ‘alien’, for want of a better word, to us as human beings. This eerie theme is something that I do think would translate perfectly into the brief.