Friday, December 21, 2007
EA Concept Workshop
I just completed a 5 week concept workshop with EA Games with 11 of my peers. It's been while since I had the chance to do some visual development, but I had a blast! I learned some great photoshop techniques and it was really interesting learning about the games process as opposed to the feature or tv industry. Things move at a different pace, and a lot of the work tends to be "photochopped" where painting is combined with photographic elements. In the end, the message is that it's all about visual communication and getting that point across. I wanted to post all the work I did good and bad, just to see what strengths I have and what weaknesses I need to work on.
The overall project was that each of us would create one level of our own video game concept based on certain character mechanic constraints. I really enjoyed the creative freedom of creating my own game and world regardless of how it would sell in the real world.
My game was called "Anna and the Queen" and was based in Victorian Era London. Queen V has become sick with power and has let the industrial revolution take over her country and her life. She employs the use of industial robots to patrol and control her people. She intends to rule the nation forever and is slowly becoming more machine than human in order to do so. Meanwhile, the main character Anna learns that she is the rightful heir to the throne. With royal blood, she is able to control the 4 elements of nature through the use of an ancient amulet. With the great power, she realizes that it is her duty to save London from the evil despot and restore honor to the throne and the country that once held such high and righteous ideals.
Week One was about establishing the look and world of our game and capturing it in a single photoshop concept piece. Here, the robot minions spot Anna as she enters Westminster Abbey which has been converted into am industrial factory.
Week Two was about characters. We had to design the hero, the boss and the boss' minions. My main character was basically an answer to most video games today which either have a male hero or a big-chested uber-heroine. I chose a strong willed young girl as my hero character. My minions are broken down into the Bobbies which are drone-like and easy to dispense, and the Queen's Guard who are more difficult to bring down. My one regret was that I never got to fully develop my main boss character, Queen V.
Week Three was about the space within the level. Here we see a cutaway view of a cathedral that acts as a gate to the inner-kingdom. The cathedral is based loosly off of Westminster Abbey and works within the original concept piece from week one. The red lines indicate the "Alpha Path" which is unique to the game industry. An "Alpha Path" can be thought of as an ideal path for the main character within a level.
Week Four was about storyboarding out a IGC sequence to introduce a boss character. IGC stands for "In Game Cinematic" and is a short movie that usually advances plot within a game where the player stops controlling the main character. This sequence introduces a mid-boss Big Ben and occurs after you get through the cathedral gate into the inner kingdom.
In class, we worked on creating an environment using photographic elements.
Week Five was about creating an object within the world of the game. I chose my amulet as my object since it plays such an important role for Anna. I wanted something that looked solid but somewhat natural and mystical. I used a technique they showed us involving 3D. I modeled a rough version of the amulet in maya, and then painted over the top to get the final result.
That's it! Next semester, EA Games has invited us all back to enter into an internship, and I'm really looking forward to improving my overall skill set.