Monday, 29 December 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy belated Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have a good 2009 everyone!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Student Rep

As no one in the full time community wants to step up to the plate and take on the responsibility of being our collective voice, I propose myself and if elected:

"I will solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of Student Representative of the students on the BA(Hons) Entertainment Media Design (full time) at St Helens College, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend their interests."

Barack Obama will only promise much the same and I am going to do it for nothing!

Visio (yet more file formats)

The pre-production module caused me no end of problems, with different file formats not communicating with each other. As is sods law the true extent of the problem I had only revealed itself at the last moment, as a result I struggled to complete all components of the module.

You should all be aware of the college’s inability to open docx files, in the fullness of time this will be resolved but perhaps not in our time. However the file format that I didn’t see coming was .vsd files, these are created by ‘Microsoft’ Visio. This program was mentioned during one of are get togethers, it is a great program for Gantt charts and brainstorming. My advice if you use it; be aware that it will only open on computers with Visio or a Visio reader, a way around this is to save it as a. jpg, as I have done in posting my Gantt chart and mind map to the blog. The .jpg file is universal and is available in Visio ‘file’, ‘save as’, ‘save as type’.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Drafting an Academic Paper part 2: initial draft

Hi all,

Part two of my academic writing example. Here's the latest draft. It is about 1200 words of actual writing with quotes held in reserve for when I continue with it.

You can now see that I have written the abstract section that contexualises the intent of the paper, and an introduction. The main section has been fleshed out with content. This section is still very rough but is beginning to say what I need to say. It lacks cohesion and clarity that future re-drafts will take care of. The draft ends abruptly due to the time allotted to writing. This is not a flaw nor is it final, just a place from where I shall pick up and continue.

From the comments I've added you can read my thoughts, rationale and future direction. Using the initial structure from my last post I can quickly begin writing again although I know that this will not be until after Christmas (after more reading).

You can see I'm adding my references into the bibliography as I write. This is because I am citing these in the text using the format (SURNAME, YEAR, PAGE(s)) next to a quote or reference. This communicates to the reader that the statement I make, or quote I cite, can be referenced back to source. This is so that the ideas can be traced backwards through the existing scholarly literature. Note how the references are listed. This is using the Harvard referencing system. For a fantastic and easy reference guide visit University of Leeds Library webpage. This will explain things in simple detail for you.

I've mailed this draft to my 3 PhD supervisors for a crit. I have a tutorial meeting with them next Tuesday in Edinburgh and I will post their feedback soon afterwards. I believe it is important to share this with you all so you can appreciate how to structure and write your own research. Please keep sight of the fact that you are at undergraduate level, not postgraduate, and only developing your academic writing. Therefore my writing style will be, by necessity, at a higher level than your own. Use your own 'voice' and Kate can then advise on strategies to help you keep it clear and concise.

Feel free to ask, comment, crit or ignore.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Format Help

Hey guys, im currently making my Pitch Bible using publisher and i need to change the format into a .pdf for submission so if anyone knows how to convert the files can you let us know on here cause it'd be a big help.

Wednesday Presentation

Note to full-timers

Just to remind you that the tone of your presentation is to convince not to explain us. The time to explain what you have done in the pre-production stage was during the group crits. Now is the time to pitch your production idea to the audience, show us what you will do and be positive and confident in your idea. Above all enjoy it!

20 minute presentation + questions.


9:00 - 10:00 Set-up in C431
10:00 - Miles Turner
10:30 - Jenny Swann
11:00 - Break
11:30 - Karen Costello
12:00 - Kurzon Morris
12:30 - Dave Roberts

Please ensure you're all in the room by 9:50 including the audience.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Vote Now!

Hi all, your vote is needed.

Matt Frodsham, a talented graphic design student who worked on the Traceur Tag video, has been shortlisted in a Panasonic design competition. Show your solidarity and help him win. Go to and vote. He has reached the final six entries and deserves the recognition of his abilities with a win.


Drafting an Academic Paper

Well done everyone today, Kate really enjoyed hearing all your dissertation ideas. To help you focus on how to begin writing your dissertation I'll put my money where my academic mouth is and share with you how I develop a researched academic paper.

I have a paper to write for a January deadline as part of my PhD. I gave a presentation of the idea last Tuesday at a conference held in Edinburgh and from that I now need to write a draft. The whole paper is 3000 words and I need to write a 1500 word draft for Fri.

Have a look at the draft and either be inspired/ignore how I've done it. I am using working titles and I have pasted in relevant quotes from the research I've done so far. These quotes are helping me to structure each section. When I come to write the draft I will select a shorter quote from each paragraph to illustrate what I am writing about, or I will summarize the quoted text and synthesise the information with other text.

I will post the drafts as I do them so that you can see how I develop the thesis up to the final submission.

Feel free to post comments/questions and I will try and answer them.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

More Unreal tests

Hi all. Uploaded some more test vids here

Dissertation Group Crit - don't forget, and be on time!!!

Hi all, DON'T forget that Wed afternoon this week is a group crit/presentation to Kate. 10 minutes on where you currently are with your dissertation.

It is formative assessment so be there or we cannot gauge where you are work wise. I'll be there as 2nd line assessor AND if all goes to plan I will be able to introduce you all to our new staff member Dean Betton.

Dean has worked in the games industry at a senior art level for 20+ years in the UK and the USA. He has worked on AAA titles. He will only be meeting and greeting but I hope he can sit in on the crit as an interested observer as he hasn't been officially given a proper start date. He is eager to get started so he is visiting in his own time. That's dedication. :-)

Crit will begin at 2:00pm in C431. Please be punctual so we can all begin on time.

File Formats

Hi all,

Just to confirm the file formats that will be acceptable for assessment purposes.

The files that we are able to open and therefore assess are

Word = .doc or .rtf
Excel = .xls
PowerPoint = .pps or .ppt
Acrobat = .pdf

Please, please, please no WPS, DOCX, XLSX, PPTX or PUB files.

The new Microsoft Office files with X after the file name means older versions of Office cannot open them. Save any files down to a non-X format. (Don't get me started on Microsoft and their consistent non-global, proprietary, domineering approach to sharing of information. Corporate parasitic bastards! (OK rant over)).

Sunday, 7 December 2008

File Formats

Hi Dave,

A couple of questions for you.

For my final submissions (Pre-Production Module), I will be submitting a Microsoft Word document and a PowerPoint presentation. I use Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2007,

Microsoft Word 2007 generates a .docx file, this type of file does not open on previous versions of word. To view this type of file on an earlier version of Microsoft Word you need first to convert it to a .doc file. With PowerPoint 2007 I can convert the file so it can be viewed with earlier versions of PowerPoint. The problem with converting these files is that you lose some of the formatting and to my mind lessen the visual impact.

Can you open .docx files? Can you open PowerPoint 2007 files.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Unreal test vids

Heres a link to the unreal test videos that wouldnt work before.

Will post some more when I've finished recording them

Monday, 24 November 2008


Hi Dave im just wondering if you or anybody else for that matter could help me out with producing a Gant chart in Excel if that is the normal procedure? I havent got a clue about creating a Gant Chart so any tips or advice would be great?



My Life Drawing Class

Hello Peeps just thought i would share my Life Drawings with everyone ive been there 4 times now and its been along time since i done anything like this. The first week i found abit hard using pencil to loosen up my drawing skills, so i started using charcoal instead and i think it works alot better. I only get between 1 and a half to 2 hours each session, wish they lasted abit longer really. See what you think anyways?
Week 1 Week 2
Week 3 Week 4

Dissertation group crit/presentation

Hi all,

Kate would like you to come for a group crit/presentation of your idea so far on Wednesday 10th December at 2:00pm in C431.

There will be presentations with FD Games year 2 in the morning in C431 so that MAY over run. So aim to get to the room by 1:30 to set up but be prepared to wait if needed.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Work in Progress

Hi all especially the full-timers,

A quick but important note to the full-timers who only have 4 weeks left on the Pre-production module. Remember that the Pre-production module is all about planning and preparing your idea for production. It is a time (assessable time) when you need to plan for the eventualities of producing your (mainly) levels. Ask yourselves the following questions:

Have I a clear idea of the ACTUAL tasks I need to do to complete the level?
Have I clearly planned my TIME to complete them?
Have I ENOUGH research to ensure that my level isn't just a re-hash of what has gone before?
Have I ASKED enough questions of the RIGHT people to ensure that my idea is of a professional standard?
Have I REALLY a clear idea who my actual AUDIENCE are?
Have I got a clear idea what MARKET exists for my idea?
Have I enough understanding of INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS and COPYRIGHT?
Have I really done enough DEVELOPMENT of my idea?

Remember you need to supply for assessment the following:

A rationale, gantt chart and research folder (20% of final module grade)
A design document (or equivalent) that summarizes ALL the pre-production work you've done since September (50% of final module grade)
A presentation where you will PITCH your idea at the panel audience - the aim is not to discuss but CONVINCE us that your idea is well conceived, well planned and achievable. (30% of final module grade)

Imagine the audience of the presentation have money to invest in your idea. A green light from them means you would be paid to produce your project. That is how you should think about your module work. Can I convince others that my idea will work. Be confident, be passionate but ensure you've thought of and covered as many angles as you can.

The next group crit will be on Wednesday 2nd December at 9:30am in C431.

Full-timers will have 10 minutes to demonstrate what they have planned to date and to discuss how they propose to document it into a design document (or equivalent).
IT IS CRUCIAL YOU BRING WORK TO SHOW. This includes gantt charts, visuals, roughs, sketches, thumbnails etc. At this stage you should be in the later stages of finalising your idea and locking the tasks down into your gantt chart to set yourself deadlines.

Part-timers at this last group crit before Christmas you will begin to discuss (with examples) how you're developing the project's rationale.

The Pre-production presentation for full-timers will be on Wednesday 17th December.

If in doubt book a tutorial to talk things over with me (some of you are already doing so). I can see full-timers on Thursdays and Fridays.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Character Modding for UT3 Engine

Hi Everybody...

I've been looking for tutorials using Unreal Tournament 3 Engine... this link will help those who would like to get some information on how to use it as well as Character modding. It's a forum but it has some useful coments and other links to the relevant information you seek. ;o)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Hi everyone. Dave suggested I should post some of my maps on here and show you what I've done. The first one is the floorplan of the mansion the player starts in. The objective of this part is to escape from the building but the doors locked, so the player has to search for the key. Which is where the second picture comes in. This is a puzzle in the library where the player has to move some of the bookcases around in a certain order to uncover the hidden cupboard behind one of the cases containing the key.
Also if you want to try the test version of this puzzle I made in UT2004, you can find it here:
If you have a go let me know what you think

Are you looking to do a character model in your spare time?

I know most of you character moddelers have choosen what you want to do your character on but i thought i'd throw out an idea. I'd like to input into my game a character moddel. Its a fairly complicated one but if you feel like a challenge and want to do a character in your spare time i would love to have a high polly count predator. I have low polly cont predators, aliens and many other models but thought that someone may want a challenge. (may be interested in a human infantry man (based from the film aliens)

If it worked and was a semi good quality i'd use it in my final project, of course i'd give all credit to you. And i don't need any paperwork just the model.

Either way keep it in mind. and if your interested give me a shout either on here or via my email.


My Rationale

Well my first post. To be honest i'm always at a loss as to what to say here so i not really posted anything. But i thought i'd post my rationale as it was writen for the group crit. After speaking to Dave i'm going to change it a load but at least you can see what i done and either use it to help yours or at least help you realise what not to do hehe. Either way enjoy or coment on it.

The Rationale – Brief

• What I will be producing
Aliens vs Predator: Reunion, is a game based in the world of Aliens and Predators. I will be producing the first level of the Predator Campaign. In the pre-production section I will be producing a Level Design Document for the first level of the Predator Campaign. It will contain maps of the ground, a positional layout of all the characters, objects, structures and obstacles. The production section will hold the final product. I will be using the Crytek Engine to produce this level as it is appropriate for both forest scenes and cave like environments. The level will include as much scripting as a non-modified engine will allow. A number of revolutionary concepts are being planned and will go into the Pre-Production section of the work.

• Why
AVP: Reunion gives the player the opportunity to play three very distinct gaming styles as well as utilizing some of the best graphics currently employed in the games industry. To show that a previously established game and film series that revolutionalised the industry at the time of its release can do so again.

Above all I want to follow the intent of this module, I wish to show that I can produce a level design document using either an existing design document or an existing intellectual property. The reason for this is that in the industry I would not likely be producing something completely original initially and even when I get a job I will not be producing a design document I will be taking one that has been produced and I need to prove that I can work from something that has been produced.

• How
Using the Crytek Engine I will produce most of the first level. I will be using the Sandbox2 editor and will be using many of the integrated objects, including buildings and vehicles.

• When
I will have finished the pre-production part of the exercise for the December deadline and will then be able to start on the production of the level after that. The deadline is a date in May that is to be confirmed. I will be producing a schedule based on the pre-production information.

• Who
I will be producing the level based on the pre-production documentation. I will also be involving Alpha and Beta testers in different stages of the production. Alpha testers will be used to test different section of the level to confirm its viability for fun and the intent behind the section.

• Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual Property Rights is a concern because the level is based in an established universe. IPR is designed to protect the original authors of the work and to ensure that they continue to have a primary say in the work released. As long as I do not publicly release this I will not be breaking any IPR’s. All people who have access to this will have signed a non disclosure document.

• Audience
The audience of this game will include Horror, stalking and hunting fans. As it has 3 very different campains, it will appeal to many different FPS players. With only a few games that are horror based and even fewer that use graphics of such a high level it will appeal to many different types of gamers.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Level design

Hi all,

I came across this level design website for multiplayer maps which also has a PDF document that you can download to your pc.

I hope you guys find this useful.

Tutorial Times

Here are the tutorial times for everyone:

BRING ALL YOUR RESEARCH/WORK TO DATE so we can discuss your scheduling

Wednesday 12th Nov

12:30 Kurzon (done)

Thursday 13th Nov

9:30 Dave Roberts
10:30 Miles
11:30 Karen

Friday 14th Nov

11:30 Jenny (please confirm)

Wednesday 19th Nov

9:30 Dave Jones
10:00 Tony
10:30 Kevin

11:30 Steve
12:00 Scott

Post it to the blog

The links as promised from the last group crit;

random name generator, works brilliantly especially when you need lots of character names but not much time to do it

Warmachine, steampunk table top wargame, very heavy steampunk engineering

hope these help

Monday, 10 November 2008


Further to my previous post, ‘Help would be appreciated’ (8 November 2008). I have been advised that the Max/MSP/Jitter is the initial route to follow, ‘to better understand what I am trying to achieve’, I know that sounds like Zen philosophy but then as my old Da use to say ‘there is no easy way’..

My questions for our little community, does anybody have knowledge of said Max/MSP/Jitter? or know anybody who does? I think I am trying to translate audio input to images, for you lecturers who follow this blog, a contact in the film or audio departments will be followed up.

There is a ton of info on the web and more forums than you can shake a proverbial stick at but being an old fashioned sort, it would be good to have a one on one with someone who has the requisite knowledge, in a place where they always sell coffee. Hopefully they can put me on the right path or provide a route map to the right path (enough of this Zen).

Dave thanks for Stephen Malinowsk email, we have become e buddies. Once I have reached the seventh level of knowledge (I can’t help it), he has promised me unstinting assistance.


Student Forum Agenda

• Present
• Apologies for Absence
• Minutes of Previous Panel
• Matters Arising
• Student Items:-

* Enrolment/Induction (Foundation)
* Tutorials
* Workload/Timetables
* Transition Issues (Intermediate/Honours, if applicable)
* Resources
* Other

• Staff Items
• Any Other Business
• Date and Time of Next Meeting

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Apology + 1 rep down, 1 to go

Just a quick post to apologise to Tony. I said I'd get back to you last Thursday RE your idea. Unfortunately on Wednesday I succumbed after a really intense day to a really bad cold and was off work for the rest of the week. While off I was still going to read your document and feed back to you but unfortunately I couldn't access my work email to download it. Could you post it onto the blog today and I'll feedback as soon as you do. I think the problem is that my password has expired but the wonder of modern technology is that it doesn't tell me or let me update it unless I'm in work on a PC. 21st century, nowhere near.

FOOTNOTE: Cheers Ste, I think due to the apathy that we can take that as your nomination. Hello full-timers, no volunteers? It's your degree too! I don't want to start sounding like a broken record...

Ste, if you start soliciting some feedback from the part-timers for Wednesday. You know the score. Cheers

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Help would be appreciated

Visual Effect

Hi, I would appreciate any help offered, in achieving this visual effect.

Is it possible to do this in movie maker/any other software?

The notes would be imported into movie maker as individual images and at a given point light up. As you can see in the demo at any one time there can be 70 images/notes on the screen.

The images/notes will not be linked to sound but might be at a later date in the form of a split screen.

I know 'music animation machine' gives out free software to create this effect but this does not help me as I need to be able to manipulate the visual aspect of the notes as they travel across the screen.

If movie maker is a no go any suggestions of what software I could use.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Student Rep?

Hello peeps just wondering if anyone else has any suggestions on the Student Rep i think we need to keep the ball rolling on this one as i think Dave needs some kind of answer by monday. So as ive said before i dont mind representing the part - time students, if that is ok with all the part - time students. I spoke to Dave Jones today and he has no objection on that front, what about everyone alse who is part time?

Anyone going to nominate themselves for the full - timers then?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The cognitive style of PowerPoint.

As this module is about a presentation and their is a good chance this will be conducted via PowerPoint, 'The cognitive style of PowerPoint.' is an informative read. The author is Edward R Tufte. Google it, you will find plenty of threads, for those who want to read the booklet (20 pages) contact me. I would post but for copyright, though I could take a picture (pun) see my previous post 'An alternate view of Copyright'.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Group Crit next Wednesday morning

Hi all,

Good to see some movement on the rep front. This is a great moment in time that demonstrates the power of democracy and that extends to you guys. Let's see some consensus democracy at work in electing your reps (nice one Ste and Dave).

Anyway, back to the next group crit.

Room C431 Wednesday 12th November 9:30

10 minutes each person + questions

Full-timers you will present your rationale as to what and why you are doing your project (see below)

Part-timers you will present your idea so far from where your idea was 3 weeks ago based upon the feedback you received


The Rationale - what, why, how, when, who

Your rationale is essentially the brief you are setting yourself with you justifying WHY and HOW you will do the project as well as WHAT you will do, WHEN you will do it, and WHO needs to be involved.

The rationale needs to discuss issues of audience, intellectual property rights and market. Look to your module handbook for this module, to the evidence requirements of what you need to submit for assessment and the learning outcomes that need to be met. The rationale should be between 250-500 words only, and should set in a metaphorical stone, what you've been planning since September.

From this rationale you will in December set your work schedule, which will show how you will manage your time up until May.

Use the blog to post drafts of your rationale and to see how each other interprets this structure. Overall the rationale is in your voice, explaining your project and justifying it based upon audience and market.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Rep - you know you want to

C'mon, don't be shy let's have a volunteer.


Unless you are coming in for a tutorial this Wednesday you are working up your project wherever you wish to work.

For the next group crit Part-time students need to develop their idea further; full-time students need to have their rationale written (the brief). More of that later.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Group Rep and 1st Student Forum

Hi everyone,

Three important things to share:

Numero Uno - Group Rep(s) Needed NOW!

Do you remember my call on week 1 that you guys need to appoint a group rep to represent your year - you guessed it I need at least one plucky volunteer (2 would be great). Ideally 1 rep for full-timers and 1 rep for part-timers. You get your own uniform (I lie), you get access to the student rep VIP secret lounge (another lie) and most importantly you get to have a say on how the degree is run, contribute to acquiring resources and get the respect of your group (truth).

Use the blog to propose/nominate yourselves someone else. I'll need at least 1 rep for next Wednesday's Student Forum (see next point).

Numero Dos - Group Rep(s) need to attend Student Forum

Next Wednesday there will be a student forum held at 1:30 in C431. Held in conjunction with FdA Computer Game Design students it is your opportunity to discuss your needs, gripes, positives and influence the development of the degree. The forum is student-focused and led. Staff team discusses at a future meeting the points raised. This forum happens twice an academic year and is crucial to the degree. Student reps lead the forum but any student can attend. In fact we recommend that you all attend.

Numero Tres - Room change

From now on when we meet for crits or tutorials it will be now in C431. J313 has finally been benched and networked as a teaching room Yay! The next group crit is soon and I'll post that separately. If you think you need a 1-to-1 tutorial sooner i'm free this Thursday or later this Wednesday afternoon. Email me to arrange an appointment time.

That's all for now. Spread the word!

more links

Turbosquid's site was mentioned at the last group crit, ive been checking it for free models to use and its coughed alot of interesting models so far (how many I will be able to use is still undecided)

also on the forum theres job listing if anyone is interested (both paid and free)

alot of the better work costs a fair whack of money however

there's also a great looking free aliens character

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Traceur Tag

The biennialFreerunner Blog has now been published. It documents a 6 month multi-disciplinary CG video project collaboration between De La Salle School and St Helens College.

You can check out the work involved on the project website

Monday, 27 October 2008

An alternate view of Copyright

Question. Sherrie Levine took a photograph of Edward Weston's photograph of his son, did Levine breach copyright? Follow this link to an article by Abigail Solomon-Godeau but beware as reading it plays with your mind.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Cheers for the links

There the art site that can help loosen up your drawing. Anyone else wanting to improve their drawing this site is good - since one of the best ways to improve is life drawing and if your like me you cant aford it.

To loosen up your drawing, first off the best way to do it at first is traditional style but you can use a wacon tablet. Select '30 second drawing' to start it off. To start with only try and get the stick figure down: the spine, sholders, hips arms, leg and head - also try and include the rip cage after you start getting used to what needs to be done. Once you start getting good at this you can start trying to add more shape to the body but dont get tided up with detail, you want to focus on getting the shape down with the propotion right fast.

hope that makes sence, and if helpful

Good stuff

Thanks Karen and Dave for the links.

For figure animation make sure you all buy this book. It's fried gold.

The Animator's Survival Kit:
A Working Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Computer, Stop-motion, Games and Classical Animators

by Richard Williams


Harvard referencing:

Williams, R (2001) The Animator's Survival Kit: A Working Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Computer, Stop-motion, Games and Classical Animators, Faber and Faber

Unreal links

Hi! Here are some good links for tutorials in Unreal for those interested.

Hope theyre helpful


Hey Guys and Girls.

Here are a couple of links that I spoke about today.

Here is the Bizarre Creations link to their jobs... (If you select a job it then gives you a brief to that position)

Here is the link to that animation I was talking about...

This is a cool website showing 3D artist work. It's from professionals so please don't get to disheartend, its inspiration...

The last thing link is for the environmental artists, the architect is a guy called Norman Foster who is quite famous....

anyways, hope some of these links have helped you all!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Wednesday's Group Crit

Hi all,

Just to announce that Wednesday's group crit will begin at the regular time of 9:30 now.

Bring yourselves, your ideas, development work (basically WHAT you've been doing for the last 4 weeks) to discuss. I'll be facilitating the crit but you yourselves will run it. 20 mins each. I will be strict.

I'm looking forward to an exciting idea-fest we can then develop.

PS: Those who didn't get a chance to speak last Wednesday go first this Wednesday.


Sunday, 19 October 2008


Just thought that i would post up a few ideas that have been going through my head at the weekend. As the title suggests these are very basic and rough just wanted to get a mood and feel for the task ahead.

Feel free to comment if you want?

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Pre-production Presentation Deadline

Presentation and Evidence - Wednesday 17th December
9-30 onwards [room TBC]

  • 20 minute presentation of final concept to an audience of peers and assessors

Supporting Evidence (to submit in digital form)

  • A rationale
  • A project management schedule
  • A design document or equivalent evidence demonstrating development of concept, market, audience and distribution method
  • A research folder supporting the development of concept

Grade Weighting
20% Research and project management evidence
50% Design Document (or equivalent)
30% Presentation

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Haiving set out my brief which may change slightly i sent it to my mentor in Sony John Dwyer and he said that i need to breakdown and set my self a schedule to follow so that i dont start lagging behind with my workload. So see below to how he told me to set it out it may help everyone else to do the same, just a suggestion. At the end of the breakdown i sent it to John and he seemed very pleased with it so ive added he response as well :)
Breakdown of workload to be done?

I intend to do between 10 to 15 hours of work per week whilst I am on the pre production stage of the course this will consist of 24 weeks in total breaking this down this will give me 360 hours of time needed to be put aside to complete my objectives.

These are the following stages of my Pre-production stage of the project.

Research Material
Initial Sketches and Ideas
Finished pieces of work
Blueprints ready for modelling in 3DS Max

Weeks #

#1 Research 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#2 Research 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#3 Research 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#4 Research 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#5 Research 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#6 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#7 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#8 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#9 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#10 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#11 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#12 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#13 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#14 Initial Sketches 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#15 Finished Pieces of Work 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#16 Finished Pieces of Work 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#17 Finished Pieces of Work 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#18 Finished Pieces of Work 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#19 Finished Pieces of Work 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#20 Finished Pieces of Work 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#21 Blueprints 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#22 Blueprints 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#23 Blueprints 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
#24 Blueprints 12 hours Dissertation 3 hours.
Excellent Steve. This is exactly what we would give to our Dev manager who would Excel it up into a doc and keep track of progress.I would suggest that you hand this onto your Tutor with your Brief and then keep tabs of it yourself on a wall chart. Its really good to do it that way as its very visible and you can chart your progress and see how well you are doing. Great work.
John DwyerSony Computer Entertainment Europe

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


Hi guys well since we never had a lecture today i started my initial brief just wanted to make a start it isnt the finished artical still needs fine tuning but see what ive done and all comments positive or negative are welcome :)


Back Story

The year is 2098; Earth as we know it today is dying with the aid of air and land pollution the human race have colonised other planets to ensure their survival. With the depletion of the two pole ice caps, major flooding has been created causing major weather fluctuations. Earth is now kept in near complete darkness with violent weather conditions ranging from freak dusk storms to hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as constant downpours of rain.

During the colonisation of other worlds the U.W.L. (Unified World Leaders) agreed to form a corporation called the D.I.C (Duplicates Individual Consortium) to create Human Cyborgs to aid the Human Race in the colonisation of other worlds. With the huge advancement in robotics and medical science the D.I.C. created Human Cyborgs called Equivalents.

Equivalents are near on perfect replicas of their makers and it is very difficult to distinguish between the two. Equivalents have superior strength and intelligence as this was required for the heavy workload that was required throughout the colonisation of other worlds. Throughout the years Equivalents had multiplied by the millions and had even formed their own communities throughout the new formed worlds.

With the Human Race now seemingly safe from distinction, the U.W.L. agreed that all Equivalents should be decommissioned immediately. This formed wide spread panic within the Equivalent society and they decide to fight back.

Many decades later and the war between the Human Race and the Equivalents still rage on with no end insight. With both sides knowing their strength and weaknesses the struggle seems never ending but at some point one side will come out victorious…


The creation of characters for the Humans and Equivalents.

Time period

The year is 2120 there is a war going on between the human race and human cyborgs called Equivalents. With other worlds now colonised the battle has begun and survival of each race hangs in the balance. Advancement in weapon technology has not evolved much further on than in today’s society although some major advancements have arisen in recent times mainly the use of laser technology however this is at a very early stage of the process.


Humans = Humans have been around for hundred of thousands of years and have survived and adapted to every given situation. With the introduction of the Equivalents the human race are facing their biggest challenge to date and their mission is to eradicate the Equivalents once and for all. It was now up to the D.I.C. to undo their previous work and bring back order to all the colonised worlds.

Equivalents = The Equivalents main function was to help the human race colonise other worlds in order for the human race to survive. With their main priority now done the human race saw no need for the Equivalents to survive, the Equivalents deemed this unacceptable and decided to fight back. Equivalents are not much different than their makers but seemingly having superior strength and intelligence.


Pre-Production – Year 1

To collate as much research material as possible via images taken from the internet, magazines and books these will then be then used to create my initial ideas. Films = Blade Runner, Total Recall, Runner man, Star Wars Series, Aliens Series, Serenity, Minority Report and the Matrix Trilogy. (Others may follow)
Plenty of initial sketches formulating in rough sketches of ideas on how my characters are to look and stand. Also what clothes they shall where and what weapons that they shall have.
The creation of final / finished images that are to be as my final pieces of work using Photoshop and other applications.
Final blueprints to be taken into 3DS Max for creation.

Production – Year 2

To create at least 2 Human characters and 2 Equivalents ready to implement into a game engine using 3DS Max as my main tool application along with Z-Brush to create normal maps etc.

Creation Budget is to comprise of the following:

9000 tris max for everything (everything = characters, glows, effects, artifact, weapons and their effects, steeds, pets, twins, multiple characters, summoned monsters and personal equipment)
1 x 2048 Color Map
*1 x 2048 Reflection Map
*1 x 2048 Specular Map
*1 x 2048 Specular Color Map
*1 x 2048 Normal Map
*1 x 2048 Bump Map
*1 x 2048 Opacity(transparency) Map
*1 x 2048 Glow map*1 x 2048 Glossiness map

* Optional

Final images of the 3D models that I created depicted in a mock up game environment again using Photoshop to give an impression what my models shall look like in-game.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Wednesday's lecture with me is cancelled!

Hi BA's, hopefully you all have had my email telling you I'm stranded in Edinburgh due to a train strike. If not and you're reading this, guess what? Yep I'm stranded in Edinburgh due to a train strike. I'll have to travel back on wednesday so I won't be in. That doesn't mean you get a free session by no means. Get on developing your project ideas, post some visuals to the blog so I can at least remotely see what your planning. Check your email for further pointers as to what to do. Please try to pass this information on to as many of the group as possible. Please accept my apologies and I'll do my lecture next Wednesday. It was a good one too! :-(

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Pre-production Tools - examples

Hi all,

As promised here are the examples I used in Wednesday's pre-production lecture:


Pitching Schedule example

Source: Dave Wood - New Media Bazaar


Rough Working Schedule and Task Analysis example

Source: Dave Wood - biennialFreerunner


Narrative Path example

Source: Dave Wood - BiennialFreerunner


Thumbnail Sketches example

Source: Stas Krakiewicz - biennialFreerunner


Photoshop Sketch example

Source: Stas Krakiewicz - biennialFreerunner


Quick Storyboard example

(link to pdf to be added)
Source: Dave Wood - biennialFreerunner


3D Modellers Design Document example

(link to pdf to be added)
Source: Dave Wood - biennialFreerunner


Animation Pitch Bible with Episode Guide example

Pitch Bible [PDF]
Full Concept Bible [PDF]
Source: Cake Entertainment


Pitch Bible Blogs & Info

Cartoon Creation Blog

The Pitch Bible: Just The Essentials

Sexy Videogameland Blog

This is another games blog by journalist Leigh Alexander. She is news director at Gamasutra.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Guardian Games Blog by Aleks Krotosky


Here's a link to Aleks Krotosky's Games Blog on the Guardian website. Aleks has/will have a PhD in social psychology at the University of Surrey and is an authority on social aspects of gaming. She used to be a presenter of the late 1990's games tv programme bits (anyone old enough to have watched it, or is just me then?) Check her out, her posts may help you with aspects of your dissertation.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Games Research Websites

Hi all

Here are some Games Research websites that may help you with your dissertation:

Digital Games Research Association

Game Studies: International Journal of Computer Game Research

IEEE Computer Society Task Force on Game Technologies (TFGT)

Eludamos - Journal for Computer Game Culture

Game Research: The Art, Business and Science of Video Games

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Welcome to your BA blog

Hi guys,

Welcome to your very own blog. This is a place to post examples of your work and research that you think your peers will find interesting. It's totally voluntary.

The blog is a great way to keep in touch, feel that you're not too isolated, and see some great work.

I'll post examples of interesting work, URLs that will be useful and documents you'll need. So use it but don't abuse it.