Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Personal Gaming History ~ Handheld's & the PlayStation early years

Around the age of 10 I was introduced to handheld gaming when I received a Gameboy pocket for my birthday, the idea of being able to play videogames on the go amazed me although the reason I got one was simple; Pokémon.  Probably the biggest game to impact my childhood, and regardless of the craze that swept the nation, still remains a solid game and one that I still play to this day.
The Nintendo brand of handheld consoles I would continue to buy with each iteration, for the sole purpose of playing each main instalment of the Pokémon series. Sure I’d play other games as well, but it was that damn electric rodent that kept me coming back for more. 

Super Mario Land 2: The first game I played on the Nintendo Gameboy, and one of the only Mario games I ever really played to be honest. Continued my love of platform games into the handheld generation. 

Pokemon Blue, the first Pokemon game I played. The very concept of forming your own team of monsters and going on an adventure with them blew my mind, and the fact that you could link your game with a friends Gameboy and trade and battle with them pretty much dominated my break time on the school playground. 

The follow on games to the original Pokemon games, Gold, Silver (and later Crystal versions) would not only continue the winning formula of the series they would live up to the hype of the original games and improve on them in every way. I always remember beating the pokemon league and finding out that I was able to travel back to the previous games map, and explore that all over again.....Classic

The PlayStation one was my first step into fully 3d gaming, and didn't disappoint. I got one a lot later than most of my friends, my mum actually bought the new PSone smaller model by mistake for Christmas, though was still awesome as i imagined. It was the games id play one this console that would cement my ambition of wanting to design games for a living.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape was the first game i played on the PSone, and was a solid platform game (they were still my favourite type of game at this point). I still love how people question everything about games today, yet back then no one raised any problems over the fact that this guy was running around with no arms or legs...ahhh, memories

Crash Bandicoot, back before he became an exhausted mascot that just begged to be killed off... 2 and 3 were awesome games that were genuinely fun to play, and made use of ridiculous humour to add to the experience

The Tomb Raider games were some of the first I played on PlayStation, and I was god awful at them. After awhile though, I really got into them, and loved exploring each new exotic location. I probably sucked so much at them to start with, because 3 was the first I played and that game just wanted anyone who played it to die repeatedly at every opportunity

Another awesome platformer, the first 3 Spyro the Dragon games are still some of the most fun I have played.  Had a wicked sense of humour that is still reflected in Insomniac's current games (Ratchet and Clank), and a random vendetta against sheep

Never really enjoyed playing racing games, though I loved the driver series on PlayStation 1, mainly because it threw you into an open world and just allowed you to drive about exploring and annoying the law. I guess it was the game that would get me into Grand Theft Auto when i eventually got a PS2

Tekken 3 was the first in the series i played, and i loved it despite never really being that good at beat em ups. I just loved the varied range of characters, they were as diverse as you could possibly get. And who didn't love beating up that bloody panda with Yoshimitsu? Animal cruelty at its finest, and most ridiculous

Actually had the first metal gear solid a few years before i properly got into it, on account of me being so terrible at this whole concept of stealth at first. Once I did though, I discovered a game who's story and characters would really stay with me throughout all my years of gaming. Hiding in a cardboard box whilst smoking never got any cooler than in this game

Final Fantasy is the most influential game series I have played, and has influenced my decision to work in the games industry; as soon as I saw the worlds these games opened up in front of you I saw the potential of what you could do with video games. FF7 Introduced me to the series, 8 showed me how each game could be so different and 9 would become one of my favourite games of all time, everything from its art style, epic story, diverse characters and incredible soundtrack demonstrates everything a game should be in my opinion

Around the time i started getting into the Final Fantasy series they began to re-release the previous instalments on PlayStation (with the exception of FF3). They gave me the chance to see how the series progressed, and each game was awesome in its own right even with their old school graphics. 6 is definitely one of my favourite final fantasies, its such a massive and epic game that continues to rival many modern day RPG's

Friday, 9 December 2011

Personal Gaming History ~The SEGA Years
The first time I remember picking up a joy pad must have been around the age of six. My dad had bought me and my sister a second-hand Sega CD System with a load of games for Christmas, and I always remember the first game I ever played; It was ‘Mickey Mouse: World of Illusion’, a side scrolling platformer full of colourful Disney graphics and cool level design. It really captured my imagination, and amazed me at how I could interact directly with these characters and worlds. 
From this point on I was hooked.

Despite having a Sega Mega Drive with the Sega CD expansion, I rarely used the CD part, mostly as the games were either absolutely dire, or direct ports of Sega games i already had (and somehow worse quality despite being on CD. It also crashed at every opportunity, making even casual gaming a pain in the arse.

The biggest game I played on this system that I still regard as an all time personal favourite to this day is Sonic The Hedgehog 1 & 2 (I wouldn’t play 3 until later on). Me and my sister would play these games for hours on end, both on our own and in co-op (id usually end up with Tails what with being the younger sibling)

Golden Axe: another great game to play in co-op, loved the fact that you could ride creatures to use against your enemies. Though those bloody skeletons.... good job you could trick them into falling off conveniently placed cliff faces, though why they screamed like girls when you killed them is anyone's guess

LANDSTALKER: The Treasures of King Noel, the first RPG I ever played. Pretty much SEGA's attempt at competing with the Zelda franchise, though they did a good job at it as this was a solid game that really gave the immersive experience of entering another world and I lost countless hours playing it. (Also like that the dialogue shown above seems to have been influenced by Mr T)

Thunderhawk: Probably the only game I played on the Sega CD that was actually quite good,  the very fact that I could play as a helicopter pilot in first person really blew my mind at the time. Despite the fact that I cant really stand FPS today, at the time I would spend countless hours flying around, and basically having fun blowing things up (the times it wouldn't crash anyway....which was most of the time)

Other games that I loved during this time were Streets of Rage, Shinobi, Cool Spot, Toe Jam and Earl, Eternal Champions and others too numerous to mention. The Sega years would definitely begin my interest in games, and in particular the characters and the design that went into creating them.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Work Review ~Bradgate Park

Final Piece for Bradgate Park observational work. Took the same approach to this piece as I did my two-point architectural work, by focusing on a centrepiece in the overall picture to cover as much detail as possible. The tress in bradgate are amazing, which is why I decided to focus on one of them, and as the day was really foggy, they created an awesome image against the shrouded environment so I just had to draw one for my final piece. 
I think the detail I captured on the tree shows how much time I spent studying this subject as there was so much detail, that each tree had its own character, so tried to make this evident in my final. 
Like with previous pieces I wasn't that bothered about the area surrounding the centre piece (except the area in the foreground and around the trunk base), so this is probably an area i could have added shading to to show what was displayed around the main tree. 

Work Review ~Dinosaur Bones

Final piece of Dinosaur Bones from the New Walk Museum. Probably my favourite topic that we have focused on so far in Visual Design, as drawing anatomy is something im interested in the most and as it was Dinosaurs it made for a more intriguing subject. 
As I wanted to get as much of a full dinosaur into my final as possible, decided to choose this subject (as the one in the main room was too large and was difficult to fit most of it in my line of sight), and I also found the bone structure of this one very interesting to try and capture.
I think there a few inaccurate areas on this piece, probably the skull which should have been slight elongated, and also some of the small details around the rib cage are a little off. But apart from that Im quite happy with how this picture turned out.

Work Review ~Car Two-Point Perspective

This is my final for my Two-point perspective on vehicle work (mostly focusing on cars). 
I really struggled with drawing cars, not so much getting the perspective correct, more the actual shape of the car, though I tried to push myself as far as I could with this project by focusing on a lot of difficult cars (ones that looked as little like boxes on wheels basically), and is why I chose a car with quite a curved frame for my final to see if I could nail it.
I think in terms of lighting, and rendering, again these are areas im probably best at, though technically as an observational drawing of a car, there are lots of parts on it that are incorrect; Wheels are off balance, the wind shield isn't wide enough and not quite the wrong shape, and the back end of the car slopes down too drastically. 
Cars are definitely and area I need practice on more it would seem.

Work Review ~Two-Point Perspective

Final piece of two-point perspective observational work, I decided to focus more on refining my sketching style so that it closer resembled the tone and dimensions of the actual architecture, instead of being in a more sketchy style like previous final pieces. 
I think the way I focused on the building front helped in keep the eye focused on the most important part (so is where I focused all of the intricate detail), and as I gradually focused out the detail as the street went further away kind of gives the piece nice depth of field. 
One thing i probably should have done on this piece is add shading to the street itself, as i focused on just the architecture giving a 'floating' effect.
I also think some of my perspective lines are slightly wonky, and even though not a massive problem, still annoys me into wanting to get these important details spot on the next time i do two-point perspective.

Work Review ~Archway

This is my final piece from my observational work of the old archway. As I spent so long trying to capture all the details on this piece as accurately as possible, I decided on keeping it just line art as I think if I did some rendering on top of this a lot of the detail would be lost. I think that by focusing on all the key shapes and perspective, I was able to have everything in the right place as I saw it on the street.
I think there are several areas on this that could do with a lot of improving, the main one is I think I need to do a version with some sort of shading. I was thinking of making a copy of the original, to then experiment on in ink or something then I’d have one copy demonstrating my detail skills, and one demonstrating my shading abilities.
I also think that by focusing on the archway alone, I neglected detail elsewhere on the piece (such as the walls and trees closest to my viewpoint) and makes these areas look a bit bare. They probably would benefit from shading, or toning when I do another version.