Author Topic: Background Workshop II - Concluded  (Read 43379 times)

ThreeOhFour

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #60 on: 09 Jun 2015, 07:09 »
Not to cause a dispute, and I see your points, Misj' but I've changed exit locations slightly for clear readibility pretty regularly and no designers have ever grumbled about it. Maybe I've just been lucky! Just putting my 2c in!

Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #61 on: 09 Jun 2015, 08:19 »
Good to see you join in Daniel!

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #62 on: 09 Jun 2015, 08:36 »
...I've changed exit locations slightly for clear readibility pretty regularly and no designers have ever grumbled about it. ...
As long as the flow between rooms is still logical people probably won't mind. Also, we the player will be more forgiving with 'hard cuts' (character changing orientation between screens) when two screens depict very different scenes. Of course a design document is often rather dynamic and it's the artist's task to interpret it and make changes to the proposed layout where needed. But my biggest concern with Daniel's pieces is that his change broke up the flow between screens (especially when he put the bottom-exit at the top which would result in a near 180degree turn of the main character between screens).

Slight changes rarely breaks this flow. Going from one environment to another (e.g. from outside of inside a building) rarely breaks the flow. Going from an overview shot (map) to a detail shot won't break the flow. So basically there are numerous cases where his decision wouldn't affect gameplay or immersion. Maybe this is one of these cases (we don't know since we don't know the neighboring scene ;) ), but deviating from the design-document is something that should never be done lightly. The same goes for objects or NPCs described in the document; sometimes you - as a designer - will have a degree of freedom to change them, sometimes your job is simply to make sure it's all there in an as-good-as-possible way.


ps. I don't consider this a dispute, but rather a very educational topic when designing your background for a collaborate project (where someone else is the lead designer). You have quite some experience with that (and I don't), so it would be interesting if you could write down some thoughts about going from script to sketch (and final design); where you can be lenient and where/when you should follow the script more closely. And how your decisions - as an artist - affect gameplay or the gameworld.

ThreeOhFour

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #63 on: 09 Jun 2015, 09:40 »
Daniel's and loom's sketches are looking great, look forward to going over them step by step to try and follow the thought process.

As for usability/breaking the orientation, etc:

There's a really big difference in importance between an exit that leads into a scene and an exit that the player has to discover. If our first exposure to a room exit is the character entering a room through it, then the player is going to know it's there, as long as it is reasonably clear then they usually don't have a problem clicking on it. If we require a player to find it themselves, best make sure it's super easy to see.

Breaking the orientation has been super common since the early 90s. Sierra designers all designed games with continuous N/W/S/E exits that made up a big playing field, mostly because basically all those designers cut their teeth on games that used the parser and arrow keys, and it made sense to keep characters walking that direction when you control them with a keyboard. LucasArts games were designed to have players simply click on an exit hotspot instead of walking off a screen edge, and therefore you see the orientations change constantly. As early as the docks in The Secret of Monkey Island, you see the orientation change from an UP exit to a LEFT entrance when going into the bar and a RIGHT exit into DOWN entrance when you enter Melee Island town proper. It doesn't throw you off too badly because 1. You see the character enter the screen and 2. The exits are usually pretty well marked.

I often (not always, but often) actually reverse orientation when entering a scene, just so that I can have the same exit in the middle of the scene in both shots. Designers (and their design documents) are rarely designed around the clarity of a scene, it's usually more about getting various elements in and that's that. If something looks/reads/flows better without completely breaking the design, I say go for it. I changed the first scene of The Blackwell Epiphany from a flat brick wall to a big, long street shot with a tiny bit of wall on one side - and got away with it because it looked better and still had all necessary gameplay elements. I get programmer sketches where a certain scene is a wide, scrolling scene full of very little that I chop down to a single width scene simply because I know I can fit everything into the one scene and still look nice.

In summary: artists are cool, designers aren't always artists, clarity is more important than directional logic.

I'm sure you already know most of this, but that's my thoughts on "Screw designers, sometimes the artist gets to call the shots" :=

EDIT: I should also point out that once I have a WIP like I do here, I often give it to the programmer to put in the scene and make sure it plays okay. Feedback is always important before assuming what you have works and pushing forward with a scene to completion without anybody checking (because redoing a scene from scratch once you've rendered it neatly sucks :cheesy:)

EDIT2: I should also point out that I understand about wanting to stick to a rigid design doc as a challenge/workshop thingie. I was just explaining out my thoughts in regards to some of the points about having to redraw the rest of the scenes to match etc which seemed a bit extreme!
« Last Edit: 09 Jun 2015, 09:56 by ThreeOhFour »

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #64 on: 09 Jun 2015, 11:48 »

I started again as I wasnt happy with what I had, this is my second try, I think I have been over thinking it and gave myself artist/writers block!
I'm a little bit happier with this!

cat

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #65 on: 09 Jun 2015, 14:12 »
I'm with Misj' here. I think the bottom exit was the most difficult thing here (IMHO not the best design choice if there are other options) and omitting it feels a bit like cheating.

ThreeOhFour

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #66 on: 09 Jun 2015, 18:35 »
Updated my original post with more problem solving...



More details about the process in original post.

Sox: I like this design much better, it feels more natural, flows better. A couple elements I noticed:



Where the blue line is you have the back edge of one building and the front edge of another on the same line. This really flattens them out, try either making them overlap more, or show some space between them, and you'll really enhance the sense of depth here. Where the red lines are, you have three lines (4, really, with the one behind, now that I look again) converging on a single point. Again, this makes the depth harder to read. Dropping or raising the top of the building to the right of the one with the angled roof would help resolve this. These are both examples of tangents, which I talked about more here.

Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #67 on: 09 Jun 2015, 19:36 »
Regarding the exits:

I think we should try to follow the script as closely as possible.

It's nice that the script involves some tricky stuff, because it pushes us to help each other, instead of cruising along on our own.

I'm having issues with the south exit myself and I think it's good if we try to come up with solutions to this mutual problem instead of dodging it.

I do think however think that Daniel's solution works quite well, perhaps could be more titled southwards, but I don't think it needs to be completely vertically south.

Ben's solution is borderline as well I guess, but I think it's more about getting the sense that you're coming from the angle of the camera, or thereabouts.

Edit: I'm short on time on weekdays, so I mostly have time to sketch, but will try to put in some comments.
« Last Edit: 09 Jun 2015, 19:38 by loominous »
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Misj'

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #68 on: 09 Jun 2015, 22:17 »
Just to show a little progress.

   

It's not there yet, but it gives me a guide as to where I want to go with it. I decided to specifically not to copy Loominous' example. As a result I ended up with different areas of interest. I wanted the highlight to be more on the line of action (walk-area) without it making the floor too boring. I also needed some for the passengers to give them an interesting contrast to the background.

Some areas of interest (like the paperboy) are now far more in the shadows, but I think that adds to the 'dicey' character that was intended (and missing from my initial sketch).

I've also added a lookout because lookouts are cool. He will get some flags or something to help the ships dock, like such a guy at the airport. This also breaks up the dominant sky. To the right I've added some telescopes to add to the control-tower feel of the harbor-master's office and to break the right with some interesting shiny objects.


ps. man it's saturated now...way to saturated. But since this will be mostly a guide I should be able to fix that later on.

pps. edited my original post.
« Last Edit: 10 Jun 2015, 22:22 by Misj' »

Cassiebsg

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #69 on: 09 Jun 2015, 23:08 »
Updated original post here!

Okay, been puzzling a bit with trying out my design into 3D, but it's not really working, so today I took a bit of time to sit and do some "doodles" on paper, to try and workout my space. Think I got something that might work, will have to go back to blender and try it out, since there's a few shapes am still unsure (and my lose doodle doesn't help much).

Here's my latest update (check original post for details).




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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #70 on: 10 Jun 2015, 08:18 »
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Misj'

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #71 on: 10 Jun 2015, 08:56 »
I want to try and put some thoughts down for each of the pieces today. I hope to update this post for each of you.


references for Ben:
boat on dry-docks, boat on dry-docks, the Brandaris (wiki), the Brandaris




« Last Edit: 10 Jun 2015, 22:04 by Misj' »

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #72 on: 10 Jun 2015, 12:19 »


Sox: I like this design much better, it feels more natural, flows better. A couple elements I noticed:



Where the blue line is you have the back edge of one building and the front edge of another on the same line. This really flattens them out, try either making them overlap more, or show some space between them, and you'll really enhance the sense of depth here. Where the red lines are, you have three lines (4, really, with the one behind, now that I look again) converging on a single point. Again, this makes the depth harder to read. Dropping or raising the top of the building to the right of the one with the angled roof would help resolve this. These are both examples of tangents, which I talked about more here.


is this better?

Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #73 on: 10 Jun 2015, 19:36 »
I'm sorry that I haven't given any feedback so far guys. I find it rather difficult in these early stages and my head is sort of a mess desperately trying to figure out how to fit all the requirements in the narrow space of a background. I don't like my earlier attempts so I tried something new. I am starting to see the benefit of doing a thumbnail first :D



What I like about this setup is the big ship that I can board, I'll attach a rope ladder so it's clear that you can enter the ship. I really liked the way that Ben made the harbour masters building stand out by it being the only building that faces us. I tried to mimic that, but adjusted it slightly and just made the other buildings stand further back and simpler, except the church but that will be in the very back. I think there is still room for some stalls and luggage. Still trying to figure out how to make it look dicey and I need to place the potted tree somewhere.
Other problems, the way south leads to the sea :S and there is no room for other ships other than perhaps a sloop on the right side of the dock.

Got some  new inspiration from this image.

1. the docks
2. the path west leading down through the rocks to the docks
3. harbor master's office
4. market square that still needs stalls and a tree.

 

I've been thinking of a story as well. I'm actually working on a game (not sure if I will ever finish it but meh). The main character is a pirate that has been in some sort of trouble because he wakes up with a major headache trapped in the inn cellar. He only has a faint memory of a woman laughing and long red hair. When he realizes that he is trapped he manages to escape the cellar floating on a rum barrel on an underground river. He almost drowns when the water rises but with the help of a friendly ghostly pirate manages to escape and washes up on the shore of the island (just below the inn). He needs some way to get away from the island before his escape is noticed by his abductors. When he walks along the cliffs and reaches the beach, climbs up the docks and finds himself in this scene.

Ha, I do love bored panda. This could make an epic sf background, 3d cube with stalls and docks on different levels. It's all too clear why the plants are in pots. Doubt if I'm skillful enough to make it work though :( Thought it might inspire any of you guys though.

« Last Edit: 10 Jun 2015, 20:48 by Ykni »

Cassiebsg

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #74 on: 10 Jun 2015, 19:39 »
Thanks a lot for the feedback Misj'. :)
I also normally prefer lower camera angle, though that is the easy part when working with a 3D model, just lower the camera. (laugh)

The "dark streets" was me trying to mark the walkable area, really. :-[ And experimenting in the 1 drawing with maybe using a cobblestone street. And for the foreground, I thought that silhouettes of traders and their stuff could just fill that patch of "white" on the lower left. I'm not sure I want to close the courtyard like that, though. So I'll play with it a bit more and see what comes out from a quick 3d model.

@Dropped Monocle Games, from your new draft the only thing that jumps to my eye, is that the 2 buildings (behind the stalls and previously marked in red by ThreeOhFour) are still using the same line for the end walls. I would probably extend the building on the right a bit more to the left and give them some touch/sharing walls space. Or you can go the other way, if you wish some apart space between the two for a small narrow street. As is it's looking a bit odd. :)

EDIT: Just adding a small updated picture with my 3D quick model (not finished, barely started really!)... Original post with more "details.
« Last Edit: 10 Jun 2015, 21:58 by Cassiebsg »
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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #75 on: 10 Jun 2015, 20:46 »
Misj', thank you for doing such a detailed review! I totally see where you are coming from. The inspiration for my scene was the Wikipedia page of Gdansk, a city I'd like to visit one day. The row of colorful, embellished houses looked so inviting to me, also the flair of a rich Hanseatic city with merchants and trade.

I will try to find a way to keep the original setting but make the composition more interesting. Maybe having the houses in different sizes and positioning some to the front or back might help? I will also try the suggested cliff version in this context.

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #76 on: 10 Jun 2015, 22:26 »
I didn't have time to comment on all the pieces yet, but for Ben, cassiebsg, cat, and Daniel I have put down some thoughts. Hopefully the rest will follow tomorrow.


ps. also, I've updated my original post.

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #77 on: 10 Jun 2015, 23:06 »
Update 10th June
I didn't have time to write any step by step. But don't know if there is much to say.

Thanks Misj, I will certainly play around with moving the camera back which looked pretty nice.

I still haven't had time to give feedback, I will try and do so before the weekend.
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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #78 on: 11 Jun 2015, 07:49 »
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ThreeOhFour

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Re: Background Workshop II - Started!
« Reply #79 on: 11 Jun 2015, 08:34 »
Sox: Yep, although be wary of the bottom of the tallest building's roof and the top of the one next to it, they almost make a straight line. That should be a pretty simple fix, though.

Misj': Excellent points, you've given me a lot to think about. Thank you!