I intended to do more of the exercises on RealWORKS; however, this has not had a look-in as this weekend, I have been very productive and I have taken part in a game jam called Ludum Dare with 5 other people on my course.
The final game was a third person action game called Le Gardien (the janitor in French). We did not completely finish the game as we ran into a few technical hurdles towards the end but we did get as much of it done as we could and we submitted it before the deadline.
If you want to have a look at the game, you can download it here: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/48/$251691
Otherwise, here is a video which shows some of the gameplay.
The game jam
The Ludum Dare game jam began on Saturday at 2am and lasted until Tuesday at 2am; although we officially began work on our game on Saturday at 9am.
This was a great experience as it has been a long time since I have worked within a team to collectively create something. It was also good to get to know some other people on the course and work with people who had different skills and talents. We all had a range of skills which we offered and brought to the project to make this game work.
The theme of this Ludum Dare game jam was revealed to be Deeper and Deeper
We collectively discussed ideas that we could come up with to fulfil the theme of deeper and deeper and we filled in a brainstorm with our ideas using a tool called Miro (Miro, 2021). We also merged a few of our ideas to come up with newer ideas – a bit like how I generated ideas during the first rapid ideation session.
Eventually, we came up with a game concept in which a janitor works at a science research facility. One day, he forgets his car keys, so he has to go back into the building to retrieve them after the site has been shut down. However, he discovers a terrible secret as to what really goes on at the facility and he must fight back against all the guards. As he does down each level, he uncovers more sordid details.
We use Trello to assign various tasks according to our skills and abilities. I was assigned the roles of modelling various objects to go into the environment, as well as character animation for the janitor and all the enemies.
I modelled the numerous chairs, a science lab table and a few decorative plants. For this part of the project, I decided to be brave and avoid using tutorials wherever I could. The reason for this is while tutorials are a fantastic resource, they can slow you down as they go into really deep detail. As this is a 72 hour game jam, we were limited by time so I had to maintain a medium working pace, which was neither working so slowly that I do not deliver any assets but not rushing work either. I learnt this through using a tutorial for the Curupira project during the second rapid ideation session.
Additionally, I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could get with modelling using the basic skills I already possess. While I have come to the conclusion that rapid ideation sessions – of which a game jam is considered – are great for pushing the skills I already possess to the limit and to challenge myself to use these skills creatively within a short time space, they are less efficient for actually learning brand new skills. As I have very basic modelling skills, I wanted to use this as a challenge to push these skills further and develop them further.
Here are some of the environmental models that I made for the game. I also textured them.
Next, I did the character animation for the player character (the janitor) and the enemies (the guards). It had been a long time since I did 3d animation specifically so I did need some time to get back to grips with this and other aspects such as the Graph Editor for fine tuning animation.
Most of the animation was done by me in Blender using keyframes, but towards the ends as we were becoming strapped for time, I did take advantage of Mixamo to find some stock animation to apply to the character rigs.
I also made a title card to go in the menu. This was done by lighting and then rendering the character using a built in Render Engine in Blender called Curves. I then created the title card by adding the rendered image to a background, along with the name of the game. I passed this onto our programmer Georgi who then created the menu.
This project has been a great experience. Even if we did not complete everything and the resulting game was very glitchy, it has been a great collaborative project and I am keen to do more team work. I have decided to make more of a point of participating in team projects as one of my goals for this course.
It had been many years since I did 3D graphics in any large capacity, but making a 3D game has actually made me realise how much I missed it and also how many areas within it I have yet to explore. I have decided that I particularly want to pursue producing 3D artwork during this course, as well as how to use 3D models within game engines. I want to explore more areas of this in details, which include modelling (both character and environmental), animation, rigging, texturing and dynamics. While I have not developed any concrete plans for career paths yet, I will certainly consider career options according to these interests.
I am required to create a video for this unit which makes up 80% of my grade in which I highlight everything I did and what I learnt during this unit. The video cannot last longer than 5 minutes and I need to give priority to both the rapid ideation sessions I did, but I would be keen to include this game jam in the video as it has been such a significant and productive learning experience for me.
Blender Foundation. 2021. Blender (2021). [Software]
2021. Miro. San Francisco, CA: RealtimeBoard, Inc.
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