Saturday, 8 February 2014

Tanden Typhoon Assignment: Animation Part 1

 Animation Part 1
For our animation assignment we’ve been given the task to create, model and animate a ‘cart’ on 3DS Max which can range from something as simple as a shopping trolley, to a go-kart or even a racing machine. With taking this in mind our group has come up with the idea of using racing-karts and creating a mini-game for our original FMP: ‘The Depths Between’. The mini-game itself will be of something similar to games like Mario Kart Wii, Sonic and Sega: All Stars Racing/Transform and movies like Sugar Rush from the film- Wreck-It-Ralph.
Why Have The Team Chosen This?
If we were to incorporate this idea as an actual quest of the game, it would mean one of our team members NPC quests would have to be altered or even sacrificed to include this in. So far for the planning of what we shall make for the demo, we pretty much have everything mapped out in terms of events and quests- hence why this project wouldn’t really collaborate well with the main story. Instead we are giving the players an extra game to have fun with and explore more of the land: Purgatory from a different perspective rather than fully being an RPG/Action-Adventure genre game. In accordance to this it would give the players something else to do if we were to full finish this game and they get stuck on a certain part. For instance everyone in nearly every game will get stuck on a certain part that after a few goes becomes incredibly frustrating to work out, how we respond to this a completely different matter. Usually we all go on the internet to websites like: Gamespot, IGN and walk-through bloggers- but say you can’t find a walkthrough for the game you’re playing so what happens next?
 Some of us stubbornly like to stay on the game for hours trying to decipher what to do or where to go to do what or to defeat whom, other’s like myself tend to leave the game after a few tries and do something else for a couple hours before returning to the problem. Then there’s those that get put off the game completely and leaves it laying on the shelf for months letting it collect dust or give it a bad review and trade it in. If we have a mini-game for the consumers to enjoy and calm down from this experience, it could be a really good boredom and frustration buster which might give us better reviews and comments if we were to achieve this. Another way to look at it would be it could give us something to design for a younger audience as our main game is for teenagers and adults making it even more flexible for the family.
Our Mini-Game Concept
Already I’ve discussed where the initial thoughts have come from which is Mario Kart, Sonic and Sega and Sugar Rush, yet we still want to tie this in or have some significance to the main game. Each member of the team is to create a set kart that resembles their personal character in the story and develop traits are also similar to the creation’s part in the story. For example Leash is a wolf hybrid that wields a katana known as the Sparrow’s Wing, which helps her control her elemental powers of: Water, Wind and Ice. The other part of the plan is to design a race-course track around each person’s personal part of Purgatory, so that as the player progresses through the game (or demo in this case) each land becomes available to race in as well as the character. Already I’ve drawn designs for my land’s level layout giving a birds-eye view of the main part, footnotes to each little piece that has further sketches to show what I mean and ways of how the player’s might be able to enter this land to and fro; all that’s left if to design the actual track and what should be there.
Luckily we seemed to have managed to eliminate some constraints with what this assignment might have given us, which is how we could incorporate an animated kart where the Purgatory’s only transportation is creatures. Yet it still does give us problems.
Time is possibly one of our biggest problems as animation itself is a long and complicated process that can take months to create a decent length of film. Usually in an industry practice it can take an animator to make at least 3 seconds of animation a week, so taking this into consideration it would mean we have to be quick and extremely organised in how we arrange our time in not only build and designing our carts but animating them- especially if someone or some people want specific traits for their cart in the way it moves for acts. At the same time there’s also the level designing to be taking on board. Although it’s not part of this assignment there’s no point giving our cart nothing to drive along to interest our players, so in our spare time we must design and build our level environments for our kart to race around on.
Another major constraint in itself is legal issues as our game will resemble other games out there as explained earlier.  For us to avoid copyright we would have to alter the game quite extensively and only take pieces from games that’s given us initial ideas and concepts, at the same time we can also reference the pieces we’ve taken or had ideas from and show how we’ve added our own personal influence upon that idea so we can use it in our game. This would also go for when we come to design anything for any game, already I can understand I will need drawing references or racing karts so with each picture I obtain from the internet I can post the link within a bibliography of where I’ve found the picture or idea.
Another way of plagiarism would be to copy someone’s motion cycles for animation and claim it as their own. This isn’t fair as people really do take the time to sit and study how someone or something moves, drawing up a rough storyboard and then placing it into a video-editing software to see if that piece of work actually moves correctly. In my group I plan to try and cover what motion cycles people would need for anything to move in our game so they’re not hindered, which would speed up production time and it wouldn’t be classed as copyright as I would be breaking down the movement of the object, at the same time it also shows if I were to go into my dream job I could be counted upon to create fluid movements by studying things instead of relying on others to create an animation cycle.
Although this is not much of an issue for our group, another constraint would be ethical reasons and how we not only represent characters, but the karts as well and their part in the game. When creating a kart we are basing off our characters and mine personally isn’t a wolf so it wouldn’t offend anyone, yet if we were to have a coloured guy in a horrible ‘mean-machine’ of a kart and the only one being a malicious person then that would start an ethical upset. When creating a game you have to take into consideration what could affect people if we use stereotypes, so going back to our scenario earlier we could make a white person have a very similar kart so those who might be hurt by that would see we are not being prejudice. For sexism we could have it where a player could choose the same kart a male character would have and vice-versa for the males then another obstacle on this game would be religious views. When building the race-tracks we would have to research on a country is we were basing the track there so we don’t unintentionally upset people, for example if our course was in Vietnam we wouldn’t be allowed to show a red poppy as to them this symbolises war.
What could be the final restraint for the team would be if we wanted to sell the game. Obviously we couldn’t sell this game like we couldn’t with the main product. Reasons for this are simply we are using programs that cost thousands to run and use which are supplied by the college as well as licenses to make games- not sell them and again supplied by the college. Another thing would be if we did raise the money to buy the programs and licenses, we still wouldn’t be able to sell the games as we’ve already or will submit these in for our BTEC diploma which would create a lawsuit as we’ve traded our work for a grade that can help us later on in life. Again it depends as we could split the profits with the exam board, yet it would mean making everything in the game again on our programs as the original would be made on the college’s facilities, which would waste our time even further.
Now if we look at personal constraints instead of a team’s each person is going to differ. Usually these constraints might be more focused on the design of the person’s kart or even layout design. For me personally I don’t think I’m going to have many constraints apart from time, there is going to be a part of my level that the player have to steer through a herd of Paradoquins which is my creation for the game. Paradoquins slightly resembles closely to a Sklepie, these mythical beings are half horse and half fish with the front half being the horse and the rest of it being a long tail. Paradoquins have the front half of a horse and the rest is wrapped round into a ghostly trail that becomes more translucent as you go down which can be a problem- not only to animate but to model as well.
Target Audience
As our main game is aimed at teenagers and adults we are considering having this mini-game lowered to children at around 7+, which would show the audience that we are versatile in making games for a wide range of target ages rather than sticking closely to teenagers as we feel more confident in than zone because we are teens. With having it aimed at children it would also benefit a family who enjoys playing games and if the children did like the racing then maybe they would want to play the real game of ‘The Depths Between’, later on in life which might increase sales of the game in the long-run if we were allowed to sell this.

For the design of the game the level layouts aren’t going to be as dark themed with the possibility of adding more of a cartoon approach and bright colours to being something virtually realistic. In the racing games mentioned before people usually crash into boxes that gives the player’s an advantage to use over others for a short period of time. If our team were to create something similar where the ‘treats’ or ‘prizes’ were wacky and relate to the game in some fun way, like in Wreck-It-Ralph durong the Sugar Rush game the prizes were being hit with ice-cream or cherry bombs which relates to the land they’re in as it’s all sugary and sweet things. If we done something similar that would appeal to a younger audience instead of it being morbid with lots of fantasy violence. Another way would be to make the characters and karts ‘chibi’ or cel-shaded like that out of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, giving them funny or cute appearances which would tie in well with the idea of wacky prizes.

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