Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Week 6 - Perplexingly Puzzling Story Strings

Hmmf. Hmmf. Hmmf.
I can't actually remember what happened this week. So I'll refer to someone elses blog to refresh my memory...

Aaah that's right!

We were shown the game engine today (AGS)... There are a lot of parallels to Photoshop and similar programs. In the way that you build up layers and have masks - also how there is not really a limit on the complexity and rendering of the project. Things can also be pixelated. It's basically a compiler. All the visual work will be done outside of AGS.

I remember there was a bit of a discrepancy between Cody and the rest of the story team, myself included, about the background rendering. The argument was this:

Cody for:
Painting all the backgrounds in photoshop or similar.

+ Transfer from 3d to 2d not required.

- Means that there may be stylistic differences between scenes, depending on who drew it

Us for:
Using 3d assets with texturing - completely modelling out the environment.

+ Flexibility of camera angles.
+ Assets can be reused and altered
+ Can be made to look photorealistic or simplified.

- Argument is: why create something in 3d, when it is just going to be flattened into a 2d image anyway? (on import into AGS)

I understand this logic. However this is just logic. After all, a film is just a series of still images.
Myst was all prerendered in 3d. Even though the environment doesn't physically move, the camera angles do. Which gives the illusion of moving around an animated environment.

We named the game today. Which was such a bad name that I'm not even going to mention it. It made me feel sick. It was the equivalent of giving birth to a beautiful baby and calling it 'biped' because it has 2 legs. Or calling a romance novel '2 bits of meat slapping together'. There was no consideration taken into the mechanics of the story, the psychology, the emotion, the characters, the switch to the parallel universe, the machine, the references to secret societies - in fact, the only thing it considered was the most superficial thing - the environment.
Even now that the name has been changed to Steam Shift, this seems to only have reference to a singular change in environment - rather than the deeper elements to the story. Even if it was pluralised to "Steam Shifts" would be an improvement as this suggests other changes in the game. Of which there are many.

I guess the only reason I'm complaining is because I didn't get a chance to contribute as I was caught up in meetings. One of my biggest strengths is branding/slogans and abstract thinking like logo design. Well it doesn't matter. Steam Shift will suffice.

Actually no it isn't the only reason I'm complaining. The name is what people remember. It is the first thing people see when they want to buy/download a game. When you are younger subtleties in names don't matter. However I believe as we mature, we are conditioned into seeking these things to get a clue into what sort of game it is.
Perhaps that is just me. No it can't be. I am not alone. I hope.

However I'm pleased with the name of our studio.

Iridescent Studios

Definition of 'Iridescent':

1. Displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow.

That is quite beautiful. A stunning name in fact. Makes me think of all the cultures in our class. All the influences, all the personalities. It speaks of playing.
I'm not sure if the person who proposed the name was aware of these wonderful relationships. It does not matter. Spontaneous things are usually the most fluent.

It's strange. We have such a deep name for our studio. Which is watered down [um or should I say evaporated] by such a shallow name for our debut project ->> product.

Ok I've vented. For now. The funny thing is. I enjoy discussing these things more than I actually truly care about them. Or do I? Sometimes I wonder.

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