Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Character Workshop: 27/10/15

In todays character lesson we focused on environments for characters. 

Our first task was to design a building for a video game character. I got given a 'Lady of the Night' from Fable 2.

After looking at my first design Justin suggested to try out some more feminine and circular shapes. 

We then got given the task to design a place with a certain atmosphere. Mine was 'Hazardous Arena'.



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Character Workshop: 20/10/15

In this weeks character lesson we were put into a group of 3 and given a video game scenario.

"1950s America is suddenly invaded by a host of B-Movie creatures, as cinematic monstrosities escape from their celluloid worlds. Characters will be drawn from the archetypes of B-Movie films from the 1950s, either the plucky heroes, or the monstrous creations."

I decided to design a possible damsel on distress/love interest stereotypical character found in those movies. The 50's reminded me of diners and I based her off a 1950's waitress.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Narrative: Style/Concept research

After speaking with Alan today he said that some of the thumbnails that I had produced were like robots found in the 50's and 80's. Alan suggested that maybe that 'robot eras' could be attached to the robots within our animation. Today I have looked into some eras of robots. 

50's Robot
What I've noticed about 50's Robots is they're very blocky and seem to have restricted movement. These Robots were often made from Tin. 

80's robot
80's Robots are slightly less blocky however still maintain a cubelike shape. They may find it easier to move. They seem to be made of plastic. 

Modern Robot
Modern robots take on a more spherical shape and tend to have more limbs meaning their movement would be easier. They remind of apple products and would most likely be made of a more efficient plastic or metal.

In terms of our groups characters this could mean that our newest robot is designed after the modern robot, the older, jealous one is designed from the 80's era and the older robots are based on the 50's era.

We as a group also discussed style and environment. In terms of style we were thinking dim cell shaded colours and a black outline. In terms of of lab we thought that it would appear well used, slightly messy but overall a dim and worked in space. 

I looked at some images as a possible source of influence, including different types of labs in order for us to get the balance correct.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Incredibles (2004) - Narrative Structure

 Figure 1. The Incredibles Poster 

The Incredibles is a Pixar movie that could be described as having a 3 or 5 act structure. It has a linear narrative, is easy to understand and follows the formula of Setup, Conflict and Resolution. This Linear narrative means that the film has an Arc Plot, in which action is rising and then falling within the film. At the start of the film, in Act 1, we are given exposition, this is where we are first introduced to Bob and Helen who, at this point in time, are the superheroes Mr Incredible and Elastigirl. An incident then leads to all superheroes having to give up their roles and we then see Bob and Helen living an ordinary life 15 years later. Bob finds his life mundane, he works a tiring job. Margaret Pomeranz mentions in her review that “Mr. Incredible is deeply depressed, he’s lost his identity. He can’t resist a bit of secret action on the side with Mr. Frozone.” (Pomeranz, 2015). Knowing that Bob has lost his identity we as an audience expect him to gain it back. These feelings Bob has lead to the inciting incident which is Bob losing his job. We then come to Plot point 1, having no job Bob accepts a job that only a superhero can perform.

Figure 2. Bob Still

We then come to Act 2 where Bob begins to face obstacles. Bob must face off against a robot on an island which is at first a struggle. Bob must also continue to lie to Helen, instead of telling her that he became a superhero again he instead says that a promotion from work means he’s working away from home now. However when Helen listens to Bob on the phone with another women she becomes worried that he is having an affair. Felix Vasquez talks about the issues the film deals with and describes The Incredibles as “a true accomplishment to be proud of which is an amazing fantasy tale while confronting issues of violence, marital troubles, adultery and monotony” (Vasquez, 2005). These issues not only teach the audience about how to deal with them but it also gives more depth to a story structure that can be seen as cliché and overdone. While Bob is still lying to Helen he continues down his lone superhero path however in the first culmination Bob is then captured by the villain of the island. We then reach the midpoint of the story when the rest of the family (apart from baby Jack Jack) head to the island to save Bob. At this point the children have to learn how to control their powers against the threats on the island. As we approach Plot point 2 the family is now working together as a superhero team. The family escape the island and reach the city this is where the movie reaches its climax as the family face the villain’s giant robot.

Figure 3. Family Still

As the Superheroes defeat the robot we reach Act 3 and the Third Act twist. The villain makes an attempt to steal baby Jack Jack and raise him as his own however it turns out that Jack Jack actually has powers which he uses to get away. The family are now generally happy about being superheroes and this is the films resolution. The ending of the film is a Partial ending, there’s still room for another adventure, possibly with the villain that turns up at the end. The ending however has been critised by some, R. L. Shaffer says that “it's a shame Pixar continually bypasses redemption for any of their villain characters.” (Shaffer, 2011). With the third act generally being a shorter part of the film it’s often that points like what Shaffer is suggesting may be cut out. The third act structure is often cristised however The Incredibles is a pastiche to Superhero movies which often follow this structure and therefore it was an appropriate choice to make in terms of narrative. This element of pastiche obviously leaves little room to play with narrative however a simple story leaves plenty of room for a creative and consistent art direction which is certainly the films strength.

Narrative Story Structure

Act 1

-  We are introduced to Mr Incredible (Bob) and Elastigirl (Helen) back when they were superheroes.
Inciting Incident
-15 years later Bob finds life not being a superhero mundane, this leads to him losing his job.
Plot Point 1
-Bob receives a path back into being a superhero and takes it but does so alone without telling his family.

Act 2

-Bob is forced to Lie to Helen, he faces off against a robot, which after a few years is a struggle.
First Culmination
-Bob is captured by the villain on an island.  
Mid Point
-The rest of the Family head to the island to save Bob.  
Plot Point 2
-The family work together to stop the villain as superheroes.
-          The Family face off against the giant robot threatening the city.

Act 3
Denouement 1: Third Act Twist
-          The Villian makes an attempt to hurt baby Jack Jack but Jack Jack actually has superpowers and is able to save himself.
 Denouement 2: The Resolution
- The family are happy being superheroes, but still remain secret.

Pomeranz, M (2015) (accessed 16/10/15)

Illustration List
Bird, B (2004) Figure 1. The Incredibles Poster (accessed 16/10/15)
Bird, B (2004) Figure 2. Bob Still (accessed 16/10/15)

Bird, B (2004) Figure 3. Family Still (accessed 16/10/15)

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Narrative: Story so far

I thought I'd put up a copy of the story we have so far. This is still being worked on but the premise of the story is there. 

Premise: A scientist has built a robot capable of human emotion. This Robot then becomes jealous of a new robot. 

Act 1
Exposition- We see the lab and the Scientist creating a new robot.
The scientist leaves the room the older robot can now see the new robot.

Act 2
The Robot begins to get jealous.
It compares it's body to the other robots.
It gradually gets more emotional from the jealously
The robot breaks down unable to cope with it's emotions 

Act 3
The scientist discovers the robot, broken down.
It is revealed that the older robot wasn't the only one and they were just another experiment stuck in a cycle of jealousy.

After speaking with Alan he asked us to work closer with our tonal montage, which means some adjustments to the story. He suggested having less happening at the start of the story which is something we are now discussing.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Character: Ideas and choosing an environment

After speaking with Justin he suggested that I pick an environment for my game because my cards were so vague. The crime element is making me visualise a broken down, corrupt and criminal city. 

I visualise the city itself appearing something close to the pictures above, this would be a pretty grim place to live in. 

I'm also toying with the idea of a more modern, futuristic city, but not too far from the present day, something possibly like from the image above. 

The mood and atmosphere would possibly resemble that of Gotham from the Batman comics which is quite dark and a bit moody.

So far in terms of ideas/stories of the games I have two completely different concepts. When I first got my cards I decided that most likely I'd be making a board game or computer game however when Justin suggested that the morality card could be a part of my gameplay and that the player would choose options I felt like it may benefit from being a computer game.

Idea 1

I feel like this first idea is a little cliche but the gameplay would focus around you making choices for your character which is leader of a rebellion/revolution. The more moral your choice is as a player the more civilized your revolution would be, however the choices you make also determine whether or not you are successful. The resistance aspect of it is obviously the resistance against the government/law. As for the crime, you could possibly commit crimes to further your rebellion, the crime would also be represented in the environment.

Idea 2

This idea is a lot more silly and I wanted to try something completely different for the crime aspect. I was thinking about what would it be like if animals led crime syndicates and that's how my idea came about. I was thinking about how a Godfather leads the Mafia and from there I came up with 'The Codfather' for a possible character concept. 'The Codfather' in this game would be resisting against the police force.

There are two different ways I thought about having the gameplay for this idea, the first is if this was a computer game then the player would play as a vigilante, resisting both sides. The player while playing the game is given the choice which side they should help as both promise to help benefit the city.

The other is how it would play if it was a board game. I felt like it could play out similar to games like Avalon (which was played on games night) and werewolf in which players are assigned roles and play out those roles. For example the rules could be that the mafia members know who each other are but don't know who the codfather is. The codfather however knows who the mafia are and is there to change decisions and ensure their team wins.


Character: Games Night

On Tuesday night we stayed behind to play board games and gain a better understanding of them and their mechanics. 

The first game of the night was Dixit (which I won! probably due to beginners luck...) which used cards to give you points to move round the board. Each player had 6 cards with images on and whoever was the 'Storyteller' had to place one of their cards face down and use a word to describe it. The other players then had to place one card down each to do with that word. The player then voted to guess the original card however the 'Storyteller' would only gain points if only a few people guessed, as every guessing or no guesses resulted in no points. The aim of this game was to try and pick a card that wasn't too obvious but would still get picked or to guess the correct card however this was based only on knowledge you may know about the storyteller. This made this quite a social and relaxed game.

We also played a game called Avalon. Players in Avalon are either on the side of King Arthur or Minions of Mordred. During the game the players will take it in turns to decide who goes on the quests, during these quests players can choose whether they would like to fail or succeed, one fail means the quest completely fails. Failed quests give a point to Mordred whereas completed quests give points to Arthur. This game was a lot more social than the last, we had to interact with each other in order to guess who to trust. It could be hard at times especially when you couldn't tell who was lying. 

I feel as if socialising was a key aspect of both games mechanics, without speaking to each other it would have been harder to play. Both games were about strategy but it wasn't a clear answer to work out so there was a combination of both strategy and luck. The games were also pretty short and you could come back to again pretty easily without being bored. 


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Friday, 2 October 2015

Big Hero 6 (2014) - Archetypes

Figure 1. Big Hero 6 Poster

Big Hero 6 is a film in which we can identify hero’s journey archetypes. Our protagonist is Hiro who is the Hero of the story. Hiro is a young boy and has yet to discover his calling. We watch him grow during the film and see how he personally deals with tough issues. Hiro leaves his ordinary world behind and takes up a new world in which he is a superhero.

Figure 2. Hiro Hamada

At the start of this story we are introduced to a Hiro that doesn’t really acknowledge his full potential, McLaughlin touches upon this in her review “Hiro, having already graduated from high school, is a bright spark with no direction.” (McLaughlin, 2015). This lack of direction is frustrating to Tadashi, Hiro’s brother. Tadashi can be considered the Herald in this story because when he takes Hiro to his university he gives Hiro direction in his life, a call to adventure. Hiro and Tadashi are also orphans meaning that Tadashi could also be considered a Father or a Mentor to Hiro as he guides him and is somewhat an authority to Hiro.

Figure 3. Baymax 

Unfortunately Tadashi passes away during the film meaning that Hiro not only loses a guiding figure in his life but also must grow and come to terms with his brother’s death. Hiro finds a new Mentor in Baymax. Baymax is a healthcare robot which Tadashi built. Baymax stays with Hiro refusing to shut down unless he says that he is satisfied with his care, during this time Baymax provides motivation and guidance in a very honest and innocent way. The honesty, innocence and also growth of Baymax’s understanding also suggests he comes under the archetype of the Child. Being a healthcare robot Baymax can also be considered to be part of the Mother archetype. Baymax cares for the Hero, providing ways to help Hiro feel better such as providing hugs as shown in figure 3. The traits of the Mother are also described by Fitzherbert Resembling a cross between the Marshmallow Man and a hot air balloon he is a cuddly life support system (soft on the outside and in) who attends to all the health and emotional needs of 14-year-old Hiro” (Fitzherbert, 2015). This cuddly, soft and loveable appearance of Baymax creates a soothing and nurturing feel to Baymax’s character.

 Figure 4. Big Hero 6 Team 

Later in the film Baymax accidentally contacts Tadashi’s friends from university to help Hiro deal with his grief. During this time Hiro forms the titular group, drawn from his science-nerd chums, pimping and weaponising their own inventions.” (Jolin, 2015). This team that Hiro creates is essentially a Group Hero. As you can see from figure 4, Hiro takes each one of their creations, considers their personalities and draws up superhero costumes for them. They help Hiro during battle therefore Go Go, Honey Lemon, Fred and Wasabi are his Combat Allies as well as Hiro’s friends. Fred, the comic relief of the group, can also be considered the Trickster with the mischief he causes. During the film the Big Hero 6 team go up against the Shadow, Robert Callaghan, who’s intent on destroying Krei over the loss of his daughter. Callaghan mirrors our Hero because he too lost someone he loved, he represents the dark path Hiro could have taken if his Allies were not there to support him. Big Hero 6 is clever in using it’s archetypes to show that it’s possible to deal with grief and that love and support go a long way. 

Archetypes summary

Hiro Hamada
The Hero – Protagonist of the story, we experience his growth through the film.

The Mentor  - Guides and motivates Hiro.
Mother – Cares for and nurtures Hiro.  
Child – Has an innocent view of the world.

Tadashi Hamada
The Herald – Gives Hiro his call to adventure.
Father – Is an acting father figure and somewhat authority figure.

Go Go Tomago, Honey Lemon, Wasabi
Combat Ally - Is part of the big Hero 6 team and Hiro’s friend.

Combat Ally - Is part of the big Hero 6 team and Hiro’s friend.
Trickster – Is the comic relief and likes mischief.

Big Hero Six (team)
Group Hero – The team defeat Callaghan together.

Cass Hamada
Threshold Guardian – When Hiro crosses the threshold by interacting and following Baymax he sneaks past her.
Mother – Aunt Cass is Hiro and Tadashi’s guardian and cares for them.

Abigail Callaghan
The Maiden – She has been sleeping the whole time in a place of purity.

Alistair Krei
The shapeshifter – We are unsure what his intentions are throughout the film.

Robert Callaghan
The shadow – Not completely evil but wants to destroy Krei for revenge. Fuelled by his loss of Abigail.


Illustration list
Hall, D/ Williams, C (2014) Figure 2. Hiro Hamada (Accessed 01/10/15)
Hall, D/ Williams, C (2014) Figure 3. Baymax (Accessed 01/10/15)
Hall, D/ Williams, C (2014) Figure 4. Big Hero 6 Team (Accessed 01/10/15)