Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Uni Tomorrow, At Last

It's been a surprisingly long summer, and like most people, I didn't do as much as I had hoped, but I'm still pleased with what I did do. I learnt a lot about composition, 3 point perspective and being more loose and imaginative with my environments, as well as stuff like refining digital images better (vignettes, grain and colour filters are a blessing when used smartly, not liberally).

This is a traditional drawing that I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I started it two years ago and then pretty much didn't touch it until a month ago over summer, then finished it in around a week. It's the largest traditional drawing I've done; 16" x 22", of model Allison Harvard. Mercedes Helnwein's works were a large inspiration, as I've been a fan of her rendering ever since I first saw her work. My only regret with the image is the grain of the paper spoils the rendering in areas, lessening the chiaroscuro.


Some more random sketches, alongside stuff for my FMP. My favourite idea so far is definitely a Studio Ghibli/Imperial Boy inspired city in the sea. This idea is also helping me to improve my perspective and ability to render depth and liveliness in images.

Over summer I did try to complete my backlog of games; I kept buying cheap games and bundles, because, well, I like games! They all added up though and kept distracting me last year, so I hope by blitzing through them this summer I can not be distracted as much in my third year. I also did the other social stuff, like meeting up with friends, frequent bike rides and such.
I managed to complete over the summer the following games, complete with a brief (hopefully artistically relevant) review of what I thought of them:

Runner 2 - Fantastic art style and soundtrack, humorous yet uninteruptive story and addictive gameplay, not much more to be said.
Bastion - Far better than what I anticipated, beautifully told story and great gameplay and soundtrack.
Bioshock - Probably good graphics for it's time, far more impressed by the non-linear environments and varied combat though. Story was also smart and interesting.
The Bridge - Super-indie and pretentious game very reminiscent of Braid, but incredibly well designed and hand-drawn puzzles that never made me feel too smart or too dumb; complete with vague open-ended story (I like stuff like that).
Crysis 2 - Fantastic use of engine, considering the textures and models seemed inferior to its predecessor. Combat was also just as good but the story was rather boring.
Dark Fall: Lost Souls - Nicely pre-rendered environments & atmosphere for a point 'n click, but story, voice acting and objectives were all too downright bad or vague to fully enjoy without needing a walkthrough.
Dead Space 3 - Gorgeous atmosphere in the space levels, and good graphics and presentation overall, a decent game in its own right, but when compared with the original Dead Space, and even Dead Space 2, a massive let down for fans of horror and immersion; tried to appeal to all the wrong audiences.
Far Cry 3 - Blood Dragon - Far more than just a cliche 80's video game re-skin; great story and new locations make it well worth the money, especially if you never played Far Cry 3.
GTA III & Vice City - Kind of felt obligated to play these with the release of GTA V being imminent at the time, having started my GTA career with San Andreas. Still impressed me even with their old age, despite the extremely unforgiving AI and bad luck that often befell me.
Lone Survivor - Despite the awkward controls and retro-esque (and not in a good way) visuals, a surprisingly immersive game, with the atmosphere and story greatly helped by the audio. Not many games get me genuinely attached to characters, as I did when i befriended a cat I named Sunny; the only other sane life in a zombie infested city.
Max Payne 1 & 2 - Like GTA, I felt obligated to play these after completing Max Payne 3. Fantastic noir storytelling, more-so in 1 than 2, and great gameplay and attention to detail, more-so in 2 than 1. Great graphics for their time, with level design that's sadly rarely seen nowadays. Remedy are definitely a company that has never let me down.
Medal of Honor (2010) - Probably one of the worst games I've willingly played. Abuses every single trope and cliche of modern gaming - story, audio, gameplay; everything. Also very glitchy for a big budget release, incredibly short (not even 4 hours) and generally very boring, although it did have some occasionally redeeming qualities about it.
Remember Me - This got a lot of hate for its linear gameplay and awkward fighting controls (although I thought the combo system was actually pretty fresh), but the art direction, graphics and audio were all fantastic, definitely a more enjoyable game if you're an art student.
Scratches - Another horror point 'n click with nice pre-rendered locations, but definitely not scary enough. The puzzles and story line were interesting though.
Slender - The Arrival - A major overhaul/remake of the popular indie horror Slender; short with a forgettable story, but very immersive, with nice environments, atmosphere, audio and tension.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - Wanted to hate this because of the pretentious writing and next to no effort from porting from iOS, but ended up enjoying a lot of aspects, such as the environments (running theme here), soundtrack and story.

So that's it for all the games I completed over summer. Part of my OCD wants me to mini reviews like this for every game I've ever played, but I don't really have time for that right now, got a rooftop project to be doing! I'm glad visual design and game production merge into one this year, it's less jarring when you have to switch between two vastly different projects over and over again over small time spans.

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