Getting Started in Game & Film Design.

Greetings Fellow Readers,

My name is James Morris and I am a Film and Games Designer ranging in the Generalist fields of 3D Arts,

Now what exactly is this and what do I mean by it, well It ranges and branches off in a number of different sectors of the industry.

I was inspired and influence by many things over the years, that sent me in a slow but inviting direction into the world of computer graphics or in abbreviated terms for some of you (C.G.I), most notably was my fascination on how my long favorite film trilogy of all time Lord of The Rings was created, with its spectacular graphics and Visuals and the superb acting that made it blend together seamlessly, not noticeable till you scrutinized it, but that was the fun of it, you could enjoy the films, the story and the plot and it would not bother you.

Same Instance of imagination and creativity applied in the games era as well, as computer games revolutionized  time and time again, I tried to keep up with demands of hardware and top titles to keep me entertained with their new worlds and the story they told, and how the MMORPG and Open world games allowed you to tell the Story in you own way in your own direction, in my case it was Crysis with a plot so strong I enjoyed every second till the very end and I actually wanted more, unless it’s a movie, it was also my first time I had seen graphics that were so realistic I had only dreamed about for years, brought to life with Cryengine 2, this, along with my average knowledge in the 3d arts allowed me to explore a new direction, that I decided to parallel with my film work, some would stop and think of certain thing to focus on, from gaming to film, adverts commercials, graphic design, and the features that revolve around them modelling, concepting, storyboard, digital and traditional, but no, I decided to learn it all as much as I can and teach those around me who wanted to get into the same state of mind and career as I was heading, doing my best to start them off, spending hours a day, most notably a Swedish friend who I had taught for 3 years and still asks my help to this day, this along with the fact he has produced a small game of his own and working on my current as well, can really be a sense of Achievement, but were come back to that.

Now enough about me, you came here to understand and get a foothold so that’s what I will do, now I bet some of you at some point in your lifetime whether young or old have had some story you would want to tell, or a Concept of an idea you want to sprout, some think films, but most now days think, how could I put that in to a game?

Well there’s the simple way and of course the hard way, that evolves a much less defined route, and you most likely get lost somewhere along the way, I’m just here to help you along that narrow road, shall we begin?

In the world of 3d or art in general, you have to have to start with an idea or a story that will develop further into something new and exciting, that hopefully people will enjoy to watch or play, as an example for the upcoming development of my game Planet X75, I started off with a story that I was originally writing for a novel but edited to fit the games genre.

I began writing 3 years ago and still am working on it and correcting it as we develop, the ideas were there I just needed to get them down, now as a rule you don’t need to spend this amount of time on it, as I did, I was still quite new back then. The basic rule of thumbs is to write what you think and edit later, planning is the most important part in game design, from mind mapping, brain storming to general overview and synopsis of you intended audience, objectives, goals, achievements, even plot, and why people would want to play it.

This is the format of Design in My Current Game:

Idea-Story- Plot – Brainstorm – Initial Planning – Objectives (Goals) – Sketches – Concepting -Story boarding(optional) – Initial Assignments to sections (Modelling, Texturing, coding, Artificial Intelligence, Story Developer (Single Player or Multiplayer, depends if your doing MMORPG, FPS, Exploration, Simulator, e.t.c), lighting, rigging, skinning, Games Engine choosing (unless your making one yourself from scratch),  in game concepters, Environmental Designers, cinematic’s (CGI Film standard), Level Designers (General), (optional Generalists) – Combining the project sections (Code, Levels, Models, AI, Engine Base, Logins) – Alpha / Beta Testing – Post Fixes, Feedback from Beta – Post Development – Bugs Checking – Patches / Updates – Advertising – Release – First Month testing – Full updates and progress if you decide to improve the game from users feedback as the game is enjoyed by the players within – SDK? – User Input/ Content (Possibly?) – Finally Completed, (though you can add more).

So I have covered the basic principals you need for Designing a game, brief intro to script design and the ideas, that become the centre of your project, something you always want to change, time and time again, mainly because you will never be satisfied with the first thing you think of, you want to perfect it more and more till the very, can be very daunting and annoying, but you will not be able to help your self when you get started.

Now I will be covering more in depth topics into each item mentioned above in Design format section about what each one is, why it’s important, how to achieve a good result, how long you should spend on it and who is the person you go to if you can’t do it yourself, over the coming weeks.

To be honest I was quite insane to take on learning everything as a generalist artist, but once you start, you can’t really change, you’re stuck, so I advise for the future to all who are reading. Learn what you’re good at and what you are passionate about, hopefully everything should turn out how you intend.

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