Monthly Archives: August 2016

Pursuit – A Painting Project

Introduction: Pursuit is a Japanese style decorative painting I designed, and painted with my sisters over the summer of 2016.

pursuit_unhung
Pursuit

Time: 4 weeks | Roles: Designer – Painter | Team Size: 3

Design Goal: To create an aesthetically pleasing well balanced Japanese style decorative painting.

My Contributions: As the designer of this project I researched, and drew the initial sketch of Pursuit as well as painting and supervising the whole of the way through.

Development

Pursuit started with a need for decoration, a desire for an oriental style painting, then a theme of the pursuit of ‘something’. Next a sketch with notes on elements that formed the foundation of this project.

Pursuit - Initial Sketch
Pursuit – Initial Sketch

Considering what I wanted, I paid Kuwait’s arts shops a visit for canvases. On finding said canvases I collected the dimensions of what was available.

Canvases
Canvases

Using those dimensions I created my desired layout with Google Sketchup, which I then printed to scale on A3.

Pursuit - A3 Layout
Pursuit – A3 Layout

With a layout I began the process of a creating a more detailed sketch, starting with drawings of more detailed items based on research of images reminiscent of Japan. Images such as Matsumoto Castle, the Cocoon Tower, Torii gates, wave styles, clouds, and villages.

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With a solid idea of various details for the painting I sketched up a detailed draft of Pursuit on a to-scale A3 layout.

Pursuit - Detailed Sketch
Pursuit – Detailed Sketch

Once the detailed sketch was complete, I next created a digital copy by scanning the document. Using the digital copy and a projector I traced each section of the painting onto its respective canvas.

pursuit_projector

Meanwhile we constructed a easel to hold every canvas in the correct layout. In addition I thought it wise that before the first brush stroke, to create a colored digital image to help in visualizing the final product.

pursuit_digital_color

Continue reading Pursuit – A Painting Project

Painting IndoPak Independence in Pittsburgh

The 14/15th of August is Pakistan and India’s Independence day. As part of the celebration a bunch of Carnegie Mellon (CMU) students planned to paint CMU’s famous fence in both nations colors. Some friends and I tagged along to help out, and be a part of the old CMU tradition.

Independence_night_photo

The end result was something to be proud of.

Independence_painted_fence

An Impression of 140

Melding music and game play is an interesting area of game development which games such as Crypt of the NecroDancer, Beat Buddy, and Guitar Hero, have explored. Whilst exploring my own shamefully large collection of untouched games on Humble Bundle I happened upon the game 140 which makes its own contribution to this area.

140_game_logo

With lead designer Jeppe Carlson, (co-designer of the well know title Limbo) 140 was created by Carlson Games. Paraphrasing Jeppe, he describes 140 as an old school platformer, where the challenge is in syncing up your moves, and jumps to the music controlled elements.

After a short time with 140 I thought to briefly note my impressions of the game.

Disclaimer – This is not a  thorough review, but notes of an impression based on approximately 20 minutes of game play. Everyone is fallible.

Impression Notes

  • On launching 140, the first thing that hit me was its minimalist art style. Its distinctive color scheme made it easy to identify puzzle patterns, and game elements.
  • In 140, music is at the heart of its game-play with appropriately pulsating background, and game elements used with rhythm based mechanics to make interesting puzzles.
  • 140 relies on players exploration of controls as I noticed no traditional tutorial which can be fine. Although some helpful information based on monitoring of the game state is good e.g explain to jump or move if a player hasn’t moved for a long time.
  • Like other titles in this area 140 suffers slightly from issues of repetitive music. This issue I believe essentially stems from player progression which is something hard to control. I felt this game handled this issue well by splitting music into short levels.

140_game_elements

  • The difficulty of the game quickly ramps up, likely making it less accessible to the casual gamer. On the other hand though, this meant 140 presented more challenging puzzles, which is delight for some. It’s good that the creators of 140 realized the game difficulty, and employed frequent checkpoints through out the game.
  • 140 bravely deviates off a more traditional pattern of game mastery by transitioning to a hail shooter from a rhythm based platformer at the first boss fight. I found the hail shooter boss encounter to be a disproportionately high increase in difficulty from the challenges before. The encounter left me frustrated (maybe I just sucked bad). Perhaps an easier encounter, or a series of checkpoints through the boss encounter would have been preferable.
  • Raph Koster said ‘noise is patterns we don’t understand’, and so it felt appropriate that the ‘death blocks’ were static noise. 140s creators took this concept even further during the first boss fight as static noise breaks down into music.
First Boss Fight
First Boss Fight
  • Like other titles in this area of game development, 140 suffers from issues of repetitive music. This issue I believe essentially stems from player progression which is something hard to control. 140 tackled this issue well by shortening levels, and splitting up music into those levels.
  • I liked how the levels key (item objective) was innately tied to the next level through music. When hearing the keys music was excited thinking about how it would later manifest itself as a mechanic.

Conclusion

All in all I enjoyed 140, being a nicely designed little gem it was a happy little surprise. Budding game designers should definitely give it a play as its a game well focused on how to meld music, and game-play.