Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I was showing my work to a friend yesterday and I realized I had some things missing from here, one being the lighting assignment we spent like half the year on in 3d for games. So here are my screen shots from that. I should note that the lighting is all that was changed and all the assets and level design are property of Unreal.

Original Concept Paint Over:

Final Product (Top:Before; Bottom: After):

It changed a little bit from concept to completion because when I did the original concept I wasn't aware of all the cool things I could do with lighting. It was a really good learning experience.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Currently Playing: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days

It seems appropriate that at the beginning of this very long summer I start playing a game that revolves around counting the days. I've had this game in my possession for a while but haven't had the time or interest to play it. Honestly, even though I have played every other KH game out there, with much excitement and exuberance, I felt as though maybe I had grown out of the franchise. Kingdom Hearts was the first game I played on the PS2, Christmas day I believe in the year 2002. Coincidentally this was the same day I decided I wanted to be a game designer. It was so beautiful, it's beauty further enhanced by the fact that the last game system I owned was an N64 and there was quite a graphical leap there. I was easily hooked and reeled in, mesmerized by the pure feeling it evoked in me. But that was just a moment. Growing up and away from that I realized that it wasn't the most wonderful game ever made and went on to play new inspirations.
I digress...
358/2 days is not quite as beautiful as KH1 because even though I am playing it 8 years later it has the graphical disadvantage of being released on the Nintendo DS. It's still impressive for a hand held though. It's definitely not the big gray game boy I carried around in the little pink bag embroidered "Elizabeth" when I was a little girl. I seem to be running on nostalgia today...
This game is a lot like all the others, more like its console counterpart than the previous handheld KH game, "Chain of Memories", but there was one thing, a pretty small thing I guess, that stood out to me as being kind of special, and that is what the game calls "Intel missions."
The idea behind these missions is that you go to a new world and try to figure out everything you can about that world, the people who live there, what happened there, how things work in that society etc. without talking to anyone, just exploring the clues left behind. One example would be seeing claw marks in a castle and from that deducing that a beast lives there and is involved in some kind of struggle. What's this then? A lesson in environmental story telling? Yes, it is sort of given to you in a very direct way while in most games it's up for player interpretation and observation, but a lot of the time these very small details go unchecked by the average player anyway. It teaches you to pay attention. It really appealed to me because, as you all know, I have a bit of an affinity for deduction and pretending to be a detective, but also because I love environmental story telling.
What is unfortunate however, is that the game stops giving you these Intel missions pretty early in the story because your character is better suited to hitting things with the key blade than doing anything meaningful I guess. What really bummed me out was that there was no Intel mission for Wonderland...I really would've like to see how the game explained that one.

In general 358/2 days isn't bad, it's fun, got a decent upgrade system (known as the panel system) that feels a bit like packing UV's in Maya, a simple combat system, game play is a bit repetitive but jumping around worlds constantly keeps things feeling fresh, and I have no clue whats going on with the story, but hopefully that will sort itself out by the end.

So I guess I haven't grown out of it completely, it's sort of the same way I feel about Disney World. I don't want to buy into it, but when I'm there I just can't help it. Nothing like Disney magic to bring out your obnoxious inner child.

Lol^ amusing google image search result

I think next I'm going to play Metro 2033 and see how it compares to the book. Should be interesting.