Final Pitch Preparation:
This week I prepared a PowerPoint presentation in order to pitch the idea of my final project, this presentation included the title of the project, its genre, the target audience and the intended platform. It also included pre-production work such as a design document, early concept art and prototypes of the project. For my PowerPoint I avoided writing too much text so that I could talk about the project more from my knowledge rather than just what was on the slide, I used the slides as prompts with the main bullet points highlighting key information.
5 Minute Speed Pitch:
To prepare for my pitch I practiced talking about the different aspects of my project, to do this I looked at the slides one-by-one and made mental notes of what I wanted to say for each, I also used the bullet points as prompts to talk about tangential information which was important enough to discuss but would have added too much information to the slide. By preparing for my pitch I am enabling myself to more easily recite all of the important information about my project without missing any key points.
Final Major Project 10 Minute Pitch:
Overall I was happy with my final pitch, I believe that I pitched relatively well and that I didn’t miss any important information due to my preparation. The feedback I received highlighted my need to conduct more character research so that the character I developed would have a strong backing, at the time my project was too focused around a single concept. Based on this feedback I will conduct thorough character research and develop a character design from this research.
For my work to fit the Sci-fi genre I will focus on how I model and texture the character, I will take inspiration from artwork and actual robots from media and real life. For the modelling I will focus on hard surfaces, rigid shapes and strong edges. When texturing I will be trying to replicate real world man-made materials such as metal and glass, I will achieve this by using different texture map types such as diffuse for the material, specular for the reflectivity and normal to add depth and detail to certain parts of the model.
The game takes place in an enormous futuristic metropolis with advanced technology, robots are commonly found serving a huge variety of purposes which could be anything from a menial labourer to a heavily armed security guard. In this town corporations rule and are beginning to automate people’s daily live with the mass production of robots for nearly every purpose, the citizens become more and more dependent on these corporations as time goes on and this power allows them a lot of control over the city. As time goes on these corporations slowly become less ethical and more corrupt due to the extent of the control they have, during the game the player will try to counteract the corruption of these groups through sabotage and guerrilla tactics. The focal point of the city is an enormous fortress of a skyscraper, packed with the most advanced security robots which exist, this is because this is the building of the most powerful corporation which is the leading manufacturer a every type of robot, the building is designed to defend their advanced research projects and the most valuable members of the corporation.
Within this document I describe the focus of my project, my inspirations, what I want to create and what I hope to achieve by doing the project. It also shows some examples of references which I may use in the following weeks. On the last page is the action plan, this shows what I plan to do each week and what resources I will require. For the first 5 weeks the action plan shows the blog posts which were outlined for us and for the final 5 weeks it shows the blog posts which I will conduct independently based on my personal plan. For each of these final 5 weeks I will compare my progress to my action plan to see if I am still on track with my work.
Character Design Research
To decide what I want my character to look like I must first analyse details such as the purpose of the character and the theme of the character. The purpose of this character is to serve as a mass produced security robot which is bought to protect private property, this will influence many factors of the design.
To start the robot must have an intimidation factor, advanced weaponry is expensive, so to get around this the manufacturers of these robots would rely heavily on how the robot looks, they would rather repel intruders by scaring them away than engaging them in combat, though they are capable of that too. When considering appearance I must factor in what makes a character intimidating, such as the size of the character and what it resembles, for instance animals which are commonly associated with fear such as spiders, snakes or any similar creatures. To investigate this I will conduct a research task about what makes a character intimidating and how I could incorporate that into my design, I will look at examples from real life and from media.
This robot is primarily a combat robot, so it would have some method of attacking an intruder, when considering this I must look at the previous topic of intimidation factor as well as practicality and the aspect of avoiding expensive, advanced weaponry which would makes these too costly to mass produce. To research this I will analyse different types of simple weaponry, this will include real life examples such as human weaponry and the ways creatures attack as well as different forms of media.
After considering both the intimidation factor and it’s method of attacking I will consider body structure, for example the shape and size of the torso as well as the number of limbs and what type of limbs they are. These will tie heavily into the previous two tasks, though I will also examine different ways of movement in creatures and how a body may remain stable considering the weight of different aspects of the body. I will conduct research for this and create concepts of how the character could look based on this research.
Finally I will consider the colour of the character as different colours have different connotations and I must consider these when creating my robot, I want the character to have a cohesive theme and will avoid using colours which don’t align with the this theme. After having done this I will evaluate my research and consider the benefits and what other types of research I could do related to this.
When looking into intimidation I must first consider what aspects of a character would scare most people and why so that I may apply this to my character’s design.
This is an article which discusses the aspects of monsters and what makes them scary, the parts I found most relevant to my project were the discussing of phobias and the idea of a monster exhibiting an “otherness”. On the topic of phobias the article mentioned Arachnophobia as the most common phobia, this is very important for the design of my project as it is the most applicable to character design. When considering “otherness” I must try to create a design which doesn’t look too similar to something from our real world, if the character appears too humanoid then people may personify them and be less intimidated by them.
This article covers spiders in specific and what makes them scary. These factors in particular are very relevant to the design of my character:
“Psychology professor Jon May said their angular shaped legs, dark colours and the fact they move unpredictably are all things we are hard-wired to fear.
He said studies have shown that people tend to dislike angular shapes and prefer curved ones, have bad associations with dark colours, and prefer creatures we feel we can ‘understand’.”
When working on concepts for my character I will consider these points, I will try to use angular shapes and avoid curved shapes, I will also focus on the use of darker colours which ties into the later research on colour and their connotations. The idea of “unpredictable movement” evoking fear is also something I will consider when developing the character.
This article covers shape and connotations in a larger sense, but this can be applied to character design as a whole. In particular I will be looking at the meaning of shapes and which is the most relevant to my project.
“Circles protect, they endure, they restrict. They confine what’s within and keep things out. They offer safety and connection. Circles suggests community, integrity, and perfection.”
“They are warm, comforting and give a sense of sensuality and love. Their movement suggests energy and power. Their completeness suggests the infinite, unity, and harmony.”
“Squares and rectangles are stable. They’re familiar and trusted shapes and suggest honesty.”
“Squares and rectangles suggest conformity, peacefulness, solidity, security, and equality.”
“Triangles have energy and power and their stable/unstable dynamic can suggest either conflict or steady strength.”
“They represent dynamic tension, action, and aggression.”
From looking at this analysis of shapes and meaning I may conclude that triangular shapes are important for me to consider as they represent aggression, action and conflict. When analysing existing designs I will have to consider shape as an important factor.
Now that I have looked at what makes a character scary in a broader sense and how shape factors into this I will look at specific characters and creatures and analyse what makes them intimidating.
H.R. Giger’s “Alien” is a character design which is heavily focused around intimidation, in particular I notice that this overlaps with my previous research in a few ways, for example the colour scheme is very dark, nothing about the character is bright and it is mostly different shades of the same colour. The legs and claws have a very angular shape which relates back to the previous analysis of spiders. In regards to shape the tip of the tail, the claws and the legs all incorporate strong, triangular shapes into their design. The design also has that sense of “otherness” or “unknown”, there are no creatures on Earth which look like this does, the creature also doesn’t look very human due to its leg shape, tail and the lack of eyes. Also the proportions of areas such as the head and the hands are very different to that of a human.
This is a Chryssalid from Xcom: Enemy Unknown, this design also relates strongly to the previous research. The colour scheme is all dark, except for the glowing eyes and the ends of the legs which resemble bone. The legs and the claws are extremely angular and have a triangular shape. Similarly to the last character there is nothing on Earth which quite looks like this design, the design also doesn’t look human for many reasons such as the leg shape, the glowing eyes and the hunched torso.
In summary there are several important factors I must consider for the appearance of my character: angular shapes (limbs in particular), dark colours, sharp triangular shapes and making the character look like they aren’t from this world. I must also avoid making the design too curved and I must consider how the character might move as they would need to move quickly and erratically.
For this topic I am going to consider what types of weapons would be most appropriate for the design as this must fit the purpose of the character. This character is designed to be a security robot, it is also designed to be cheap to make for the manufacturer. Due to this I believe that melee weapons would be the most appropriate as they are simpler to produce and don’t require ammunition. I will also be considering how the intimidation factor plays into this and how that would affect it’s weaponry, the weapons may be part of it’s body rather than a separate entity as most weapons that people use are held in their hands and I want to avoid parallels to the way humans use weapons.
The first type of research into weaponry I did was human weaponry, although I want to avoid using weaponry which parallels the character to humans there are a huge amount of interesting and unique weapons which I can’t afford to ignore. I focused mostly on unusual weaponry as they would be the least iconic and could push the character design more in the direction of the unknown and unusual. I looked at these articles in particular:
The ones which caught my interest in particular were:
The New Guinea Spear:
The Hook Swords:
From the lists above I can see these five designs being incorporated well with the design aspects I have already considered, such as the angular shapes and the unusual feel of the weapons. I can also see these weapons being integrated as part of the robot rather than held weapons which I want to avoid. All in all these designs are very interesting and will be considered when making concepts for the character, I could alter or even combine these designs together to create unique even more unique looking weapons.
When researching creatures I focused primarily on insects, these were the lists I looked at:
And these were the insects which I felt had the most potential to be incorporated into an interesting and unique design:
Black Bulldog Ant:
Golden Orb Weaver:
All of these insects have interesting aspects to them which could be incorporated into the design of my character, the ant has enormous mandibles, the scorpion has it’s iconic stinger and the Hercules Beetle has it’s unique horn. These will all be strong influences in the design of my character.
To begin with I researched robots from different forms of media and from real life, these are links to the websites I used:
These are the ones which had the most interesting and relevant design to my project:
Dog from the Half Life series:
ED-209 from Robocop:
When looking at these images Dog has the most unusual appearance to me, its “face” is midway up its body and the whole robot is hunched over, this would work very well with with the intimidating theme of the robot. It has a strong sense of ‘otherness’ and doesn’t quite look like anything from our world, the closest comparison I could for its design would be the body shape of a gorilla when walking on all four limbs. For Wall-E I thought that the head and arms were quite interesting, the head is quite an unusual shape and looks very unique and the hands are relatively large compared to the rest of the body which brings a lot of focus to them. For ED-209 I find it interesting that the head and the torso seem to be a single part.
Here is a selection of creatures both real and fictional which have interesting body structures which I haven’t already covered:
With all of these creatures the common theme is that they are hunched and have their arms positioned relatively low down, I would like to incorporate this into my design, but I would need to be careful and consider weight dispersal and the centre of gravity for the character. For this I could also look into the number of legs or if they use their arms to hold themselves up like Dog from Half Life. Bowser is a character which relates strongly to my previous study of shapes and meanings, many parts of his body have a triangular theme, such as his hair, his claws and the spikes on his back, this leads to him appearing very aggressive which fits perfectly with the role he plays which is the villain.
For this section I will create concept art for my character’s body structure and weaponry, I will try to build off of the research I have conducted and previous pieces of concept art.
Design 1 Concept 1:
This is a basic concept of a body structure I could use for my character. This concept was based of of the idea of a hunched torso with a low head, I tried to keep the shape angular throughout, though the end result doesn’t look particularly intimidating. I do like the design though, I feel it has a lot of character due to it’s strange form. The hunched form with low arms was partially inspired by Dog from Half Life and the claws were inspired by the Katar. I believe the legs are the least interesting part of this design and in the future I will look into variants on the leg design.
Design 1 Concept 2:
For this design I took inspiration from both scorpions and the Hercules beetle to make a tail-like appendage which reaches over the top of the robot to attack opponents, it also increases the overall height of the robot to make it look more intimidating.
Design 1 Concept 3:
This design is a variant of the last one, I chose to use two smaller overhead limbs rather than one large one. I was hoping for the character’s silhouette to closer resemble that of some kind of spider, but all of the limbs were too small compared to the rest of the body. To improve this I could reduce the size of the torso and head and aim for the limbs to be thinner and more angular.
Katar inspired claw:
For this concept art I focused on creating a claw hand with an emphasis on triangular shapes, it was inspired by the Katar which I found when researching weaponry earlier in this post. Mechanically this claw is meant primarily for attacking, but it also has added functionality in the ability to hold things, though perhaps not very precisely. The ability to hold things could be used for general functionality but it could also be used in combat to hold an opponent.
As mentioned earlier darker colour schemes tend to be the most intimidating, however I am going to research specific colours and their connotations to see how I could properly implement them. These are the sites I used:
After looking at the meaning of each colour and how the darker variants of these colours affect the connotaions I can conclude that the colours most relevant to my design would be black, grey and red. Black is described as a colour which represents “power and control”, it is known to be “intimidating, unfriendly and unapproachable” and “radiates authority and power”. These are all relevant and play into the existing concept of the world and the role which these robots play in it. Dark red is “associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.” it is also related to “energy”, and “evil”. Dark Grey is associated with being “serious, solemn and inflexible” which is very relevant to the robotic theme.
In conclusion I believe this research task was extremely valuable and has helped me consider not only what aspects I could incorporate into my character but also why. By looking at the basic concepts such as shape and colour and how these affect our responses I can extrapolate this when looking at existing characters and consider why they look certain ways. By examining different types of weaponry, interesting insects and the body structure of certain characters and creatures I can get a better outline of what I might like my character to look like, this also allows me to have many sources of inspiration. Having researched all of these topics I can develop concepts for the character as a whole and for different parts of the character such as the limbs or the head., this moves me closer to having a final design which I can begin to prototype and eventually complete.
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