Saturday, 24 November 2012

Elements of Game Design Part 5: Planning and concepting

Planning and creating concept designs was a practice that was particularly new to me since last year and definitely took some time to get used to. I found when I first started doing concepts last year was that I had a rather hard time kicking off the project. I used to start off my designs with just one vague idea and building upon it. However designs always end up being extremely weak by the time I ‘finish’ them.

Although I am relatively still weak to concepting ideas and planning my projects, I have looked more in depth in ways of how others go about concepting. One very useful advice that I hear and read up is to build up your own visual library. Reading books and travelling for example can be a good way to broaden your imagination. Drawing inspiration from other video games and films aren’t always the best way to concept your ideas from as from my own experience, find it particularly hard to try and make it look unique and not make it feel like a ‘watered down’ version of that design. As I said earlier with reading books, novels generally provide no pictures for you and the world of the book is drawn by your very own imagination. Drawing inspiration from novels can be a good way of getting ideas as they are (usually) bursting full of descriptive words and sentences as well as no previous picture that has been anchored into your head and everything concepted will be all from your very own brain.

Generic helicopter shape that sticks in my head..
One particular trouble I have when concepting is creating something out of blotting down shapes. It could be because my lack of imagination or too influenced by other’s designs but I can never really see anything out of the shapes I paint on. Another reason I find it hard is because when I design some say like a helicopter, I always have that generic helicopter stuck in my head as I don’t know many other kinds. A friend of mine gave me some very useful tips on how I can make the shapes a little more interesting by cutting up shapes and moving them around, duplicating them and pasting it onto another place on the shape. Definitely researching into your subject is definitely good to broaden your visual library. I had no idea that there were helicopters that looked very insect-like (even made my skin crawl a bit, I hate flying bugs!).

Seeing things like this can help you design believable ideas
Using the internet as a researching resource can be very limiting compared to books on certain subjects and novels because a lot of images in books are copyrighted and are not put on google for example, limiting many in depth research material for your projects.

Another thing that is very important thing that I really need to work on, is to manage my time for planning and concepting. Coming up with very few and weak ideas will almost always leave me with a weak final outcome. Time management and organising your time is very important. Being able to spend time and experiment will create better choices for your outcome as well as plan out your final idea rather than rushing random ideas into it.

Something that I also take into consideration is how things work. A good way of making an idea look and feel believable is to look at how things work in real life. Designing your ideas around things that work in real life can open up doors to your concepts, eliminating the need of having to explain how it works and increase your visual library.

I’ve recently heard about the concept artist Feng Zhu and have been listening to his tutorials and the way he works in the professional environment. He has definitely been an inspiration to me in the concepting area. I find his tips on digital painting for a beginner (such as myself) very helpful indeed!

No comments:

Post a Comment