Saturday, 24 March 2012

Game Design project "Have fun" aproximately 4 days

I make no secret out of the fact that I chose to leave it until now to pursue this project. I could go into detail about how I was struggling to finish my current game productions project and trying to get my visual design work up to speed, but the industry has no place for whinny excuses. So this will be my attempt to produce a concept, theme and supporting artwork for a video game in just under 4 days. God help me...

I will begin by producing a list of rules I believe are crucial to effective environment design in games:

1. The environment must be relevant - by this I mean there is no point creating an explorable location in a game if it isn't worth exploring. Why create a long corridor if it serves little purpose? In Silent Hill 2 the main protagonist, James finds himself walking down a long, dark, narrow stair-well which takes almost 2 MINUTES to descend. The relevence of that staircase was that it was a metaphor for his descent further into hell. It also added to the tension, forcing the player to constantly consider whether they should have turned back by now.

2. The environment should be visually stimulating - whether its a tropical rainforest filled with lush greenery or a murky dark passageway, the location needs to strike the player as being just that. There should be a sufficient amount of detail to the environment as well as mindful judgement when it comes to a choice of appropriate props and their placement. On top of this there should be a level of artistic finesse to the location, afterall, they represent the game visually and the rest of it would suffer if the graphics weren't up to scratch. A bit of imagination also goes a long way.

3. The environment must be believable - by this I mean the player should feel complete emersion at all times. If there are any hitches, such as a horse floating 20 feet up in the air (I'm looking at you Skyrim...) then the player is instantly reminded that what they are playing isn't real. Furthermore props and other features must be carefully considered; if something minor in the background is drawing far too much attention for no apparant reason then the designer did a pretty poor job. If a switch looks like it should be able to be pressed, then it should be.

I think those 3 rules about sum up what I believe makes a good game environment. From here I will start considering the concept for my own game idea...

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