Diablo III!


Just so you don’t all think that I’m dead I figured I would share what I have been up to. I have been spending the past few days since I finished and wrapped up all my uni work detoxing. By going to Legoland and playing Diablo III!

This is my Wizard in Diablo III it’s my main character that I am currently doing my solo run with. I have a Female Barb for random multiplayer and a Female Demon Hunter for my co-op run with a friend.

Overall I am loving Diablo III it improves on its predecessor in every way.

I’m planning on doing a big design focused post after I have finished my Normal Mode playthrough (which will hopefully be sometime next week) so stay tuned!

A Quick Note

It’s gonna be quiet around here for the next week or so for two reasons:

  1. Diablo III
  2. I’m going away for a few days (My fiancé is taking me to LEGOLAND!!!!!)

Yes my life is awesome! 😀

But I will endever to post a couple of things if I can while I’m out and about.

Conversations About Games Episode 2 – Max Payne 2 and Titan Quest

In this gripping instalment I talk about Max Payne 2 & 3, Titan Quest, Grim Dawn and of course, Diablo III.

The quality of the video is choppy at best for a few reasons. Mainly because I decided to use something else apart form iMovie to make it. This is because there is a huge bug in iMovie that causes the sound to go majorly out of sync with the picture on any videos you put in a project. So this lead me to stupidly try Windows Movie Maker (never again!) which ended up being the source of the crummy webcam footage you see before you. I finally moved onto Adobe Premiere and with some coaching from my fiancé I managed to put the horrible mess of a video together.

To top it all of after I finished putting it altogether and uploaded it I was watching a video in QuickTime and realised I could record in HD from my iSight camera in QT with no problems at all! Why non of the sights I was look at for good programs to record webcam footage mentioned QuitTime is beyond me!

Anyway it is what it is. Future videos will be a lot better put together!

Websites For Budding Game Designers

Now that the major parts of my degree are over and done with it is time to step things up a notch on here!

Let’s start things off with a list of awesome game design, game design theory and smart game journalism websites that every would be game designer needs to check and use regularly.

These are some of the sites I use regularly and if you have any more suggestions please feel free to mention them in a comment or note on this post or by dropping them in my Ask Box. I’ll have a look at them and then add them to the list. The plan is that I’ll repost the list every couple of months with new additions and updates.

So let’s begin!

The Game Design Tag on Tumblr

Our quite little corner of Tumblr is slowly growing and every day I am impressed by the ideas and quality of work on display. From people showcasing their work, to people posting links and production images from games both old and new. The game design tag is always an interesting place to check out. Hats off to you guys! Seriously, I mean it.

Game Pitches

A website my tutor shared with us all. It may not be updated regularly but when updates do come they are usually really good. Pitch documents, presentations and game design documents from some of the industry’s most well known games and franchises. Go check it out and loose a day or two reading all the documents and presentations!

Game Development StackExchange 

It may mainly be a haven for games programmers and the more technically minded among us but game designers need to have at least a passing knowledge of programming and how it works to get by. Just spend an hour or so every week exploring the StackExchange and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll pick up.

The Psychology of Video Games

Not a website I check regularly but when I do they always have some interesting articles on how games and certain game systems effect the player and their engagement with a game. It will give you some major food for thought both on mechanics and the morals of them and game systems in general. Well worth checking out.

Gamasutra

This is one that everyone should have bookmarked already. The key here though is not just to check out the Design section. Explore the whole site; Programming, Art, Audio, Production and Biz/Marketing all impact on game design. Keeping up your knowledge of these areas even on a basic level is a must.

The Brainy Gamer

Michael Abbott’s blog is always a good place to go for higher level discussion and discourse about the games we play. Some great recommendations on books to read and other places to visit. It is also now home to The Smart Game Catalogue which you need to check out.

The Escapist

It may be a big news site but The Escapist’s contributors constantly throw out interesting points of discussion. If you just go their to check out the videos you are missing out on loads of interesting articles and content relating to game analysis.

Game Informer

If you live outside of the USA like I do the Game Informer website is a godsend. In the past year or so they have started putting up more and more content from and related to the monthly magazine. (WHY NO INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS?!) The area of the site that has the greatest interest is the Monthly HUB pages that tie in with the big focus, Cover Stories, of the latest issue. These are more than just slowly teased out previews. There is always a lot of content related to the game’s production and design process. Game Informer is also home to this wonderful piece of inspiration by Ken Levine from 2010.

Edge Online

The online arm of the UK’s game industry focused magazine. Lots of content from the magazine, lots of links and news articles that are actually relavent and lots and lots of job listings!

Penny Arcade

I cannot stress the growing importance of Penny Arcade as a hub for all things gaming enough. The team that run the various elements of the business know what they are doing and do it extremely well. It is not just because you have video series like Checkpoint and ExtraCredits finding their home on PATV. Or the brilliant webcomic that started it all. You also have things like the slowly growing PA Report which is quickly becoming my new favourite gaming news and discussion site.

So that’s it from me, for now. So do you guys have any suggestions that I can add to the list?

Honours Project Master Post

This is the Master Post for my Honours Project – DD3992 – For the Game Design Enterprise Course at the University of Central Lancashire

Production

Related Blog Posts: (Oldest to Newest)

Documentation

Time Travel Game:

Superman: Man of Steel:

Visual Design Document and Game Wiki Comparison 

Game Design Wiki and Visual Game Design Comparison

While the two design methods used in my honours project are vastly different and have their own major selling points and downsides. The conclusion I have come to is that both are good for the game designs being presented.

The Visual Document suits the Superman: Man of Steel idea perfectly and allowed me to showcase the design in a larger than life and colourful way. It allowed by its very nature the inclusion of all the image files used in the document that add to the overall look and feel for the game design. The document itself flows from one section to the other and presents things to the point and with the minimum of complication.

The Game Design Wiki suited the Time Travel game perfectly because it allowed me to take the time to explain the more complex ideas and concepts behind the game design. The document itself is presented in a way to easily explore and navigate.

The things is I can not actually come to a conclusion as to which method is better. I think in future, now that I have perfected the Visual Design method I will be able to generate contented for such documents at a much faster rate. As for the Game Design Wiki I am comfortable with editing and organising them now and the merits of presenting the design in an ordered maner make it stand out.

I think in future I would try to use an amalgam of both methods to present a perfect game design document. With the visual aspect covering the spine of the documentation and delivering the key information and the wiki giving you the finer details of the game design.

Visual Game Design Process

You can view the Superman: Man of Steel Visual Document by heading, HERE.

The process for creating the Visual Document for Superman: Man of Steel was a long and fraught process of trying and failing with multiple variations on the idea before coming to the final method used. But while difficult to pin down what was needed the process of creating the document has a few good points and of course some bad points too:

The Good:

  • The way everything is presented in the final document shows how strong visual presentation of a game design can be.
  • Everything featured in the document is presented in a very direct and easy to understand way
  • The format of the document also makes it fairly easy to navigate
  • I am personally very pleased with the finished results of the document

The Bad:

  • The learning curve and iteration process for the Visual Document was steep. Lots of testing was required before I was happy with the style and format I eventually went for. I had to go back to the drawing board a number of times too before coming up with the more long form but simpler presentation method used.
  • The time it takes to produce the document is lengthly to put it lightly. In the end I had to cut around a third of the planned content from the final document due to time constraints. Each page of the document has to be laid out and planned down to the smallest details while still making sure that it is factual, to the point and presenting the game design ideas.
  • To sum up the learning curve and time it took to generate the content for the document has somewhat outweighed the merits of the method

One major think that I have taken away from the project though is that is have improved my overall document formatting and presentation skills exponentially.

Looking into the theory behind the present information via presentation then adapting aspects of it to suit my final document has given me a much greater understanding of how documents should be laid out and presented.

In the end I am happy with the finished result despite the need to cut a lot of the planned content for it. The document speaks for itself and shows the game design in big, bold and bright way which is more than fitting for the subject matter for the game.