Friday, 21 December 2012

Elements of game design, part eight: Documentation

Even though the mere mention of the word 'documentation; is enough to bore anyone who hears it, the process of careful planning of all your work from start to finish is what defines a successful project from one that's doomed to fail. As all projects work to a (usually) strict deadline, mapping out the development before you actually begin the creative process is usually vital, to set out all of the activities you will need to cover throughout the whole project.
To Prepare for the upcoming documentation I will have to do throughout my FMP in third year, I will now write up a practice run to try and nail down the fundamental information needed for any game idea. As industry requires any creative person to be able to work alongside a combination of briefs, timetables and technical specifications, its good practice to write up my own as well as see how it could be utilised later on.

Project Outline
My personal aims include creating a fluent document that states all of the ideas and specifications I will need to layout my plans for a game of my own concept and design. Through the process of planning and documentation I plan to learn the skills necessary to carefully plan every aspect and stage of my work, from concept to final, which will provide me with good experience for future projects (especially my third year FMP).
The platform of choosing would be current generation consoles, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and the Wii U, though I would also make the game available to pc gamers to reach a wide target audience across as many platforms as possible. The game would be available through digital download, therefore cutting costs on a physical release, and making the retail price lower than most new releases.

Games that are similar in certain aspects: Enslaved: Odyssey to the west features a world overrun with robots and old technology. And Red Dead Redemption, as my concept is inspired partly by the wild west setting and open world. 
The game itself is an action/adventure, with platforming elements to promote exploration. The games USP Is the ability to take any material you come across in the world around you and use it to adapt your character to whatever situation, to help progress throughout the game. As you play an old model robot, the ability to modify your character is key to upgrading your skills as well as changing your appearance throughout the course of the game. The title is aimed at not only the usual audience of males between 15 – 20's, but also looks at younger audiences with a stylisation that is universal such is used in movies and animation by Dreamworks and Pixar.

Films such as Wall-e and games like the Ratchet and Clank series are similar in style and concept to my idea, with their own unique take on the sci-fi genre. My idea takes the idea of the lone robot character into a vibrant alien world like those seen in the Ratchet and Clank games.
I will use 3DS Max for creating the elements of my idea in 3d, utilising Photoshop for the texture maps. For testing my assets in-game I will use the UDK Editor, to see how my creations work within various conditions.

Technical Specifications

Lead Character
A clunky old robot, based upon humanoid proportions. Exaggerated features that are made up of varying parts that are falling apart due to age. Dressed in wild west attire, wide brimmed hat and ragged poncho to mirror the desolate and mock western style surroundings.

Triangle Count: 8000 Tri's
1x1024 and 1x512 Diffuse texture map
1x1024 and 1x512 Normal Map
1x1024 and 1x512 Specular Map

Reference Imagery:

IG 88 ~Star Wars Saga
Clint Eastwood ~The Good, the Bad and The Ugly
Robot Pirates from Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction

Non-Playable Character
Scavenger style drone robot, built in the appearance of a metal vulture: used by an old government to search out valuable scrap to re-use. Are hostile towards the main character, due to his parts being constantly replaced with the scrap parts they are programmed to search for.

Triangle Count: 5000 Tri's
1x1024 Diffuse texture map
1x1024 Normal Map
1x1024 Specular Map

Reference Imagery:

Scavenger and Vulture droids respectively from the Star Wars franchise

A rusty old hoverbike that has been scrapped together, much in the same aspect as the main character. Though futuristic, is still an inferior mode of transport compared to the rest of the worlds alternatives. Is used to traverse large open areas, and also to reach those areas not accessible by foot.

Triangle Count: 3500 Tri's
1x1024 Diffuse texture map
1x1024 Normal Map
1x1024 Specular Map

Reference Imagery:
Classic Motorcycle
Speeder Bike ~Star Wars

A majority of the areas or levels featured in this game will be large scale and open to explore at the players own pace, and will range from wild-west style ghost towns where old mechanical structures dot the landscape, to overgrown and abandoned forest reserves to bustling future metropolis'. The more populated areas of the game will be more restricted in terms of exploration, to save on memory and amount of intractable assets required to make.
The technical spec's for each games area will vary greatly, though they will feature assets that include overgrown ruined factories, various abandoned vehicles and crashed spacecraft, and other relics of and abandoned world the main character is part of. The opposite will also be included though, with new futuristic constructs and architecture in one of the game worlds few thriving cities. A smaller area that would feature as the game's early stage, would be at least around 15,000 tri's, with various assets with their own 1x512 diffuse, normal and specular maps. As you progress through the game the stages will be expansive, though because of this it means re-using the same assets wont be as obvious and will save on resources.
Finished assets will be manipulated into place using UDK.

Reference Imagery:

Old Wild West Ghost Town
Krell Canyon: From Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction
Ruins from Enslaved: Odyssey to The West
Props and Scenery Objects

A laser carbine, styled in the same fashion of an old fashioned rifle but with a cobbled together appearance to show it has been hand made from old materials. Various other weapons will become available throughout the game, though none will exceed the budget.

Triangle Count: 1000 Tri's
1x512 Diffuse texture map
1x512 Normal Map
1x512 Specular Map

Reference Imagery:

Various blaster type weapons from the Star Wars saga

No comments:

Post a Comment