Sunday, February 7, 2010

Level Design and Narrative Design progression

What a busy week it’s been! Lots and lots of work have been done and I’ve nearly finished my game proposal documents for my two main projects which is great. I’ve also been experimenting with Google sketch-up for level designs and it’s turned out pretty well so far. On top of that I’ve been playing around with UV texture mapping on Maya and have nearly finished the work for my little robot.

A selection of screenshots from my level design in google sketch-up

One aspect of my games design I have been working on heavily over the last two weeks is that of the game mechanics and with this I really feel like I have achieved something with both my main mechanics for each game being strong and sturdy. Getting this right has allowed me to focus on building the narrative for my first project around the game mechanic and with the second game expand on other mechanics that will enhance the overall game experience. Now that I am coming out of my game proposal documents I really need to focus on building a plan to build a demo for each game as well as work on level designs for each and really nip these ideas in the bud.

I’ve been continuously looking at inspiration around me for visuals, mechanics and narrative design and with a whole host of interesting games such as Heavy Rain coming out it will be interesting to see how their interpretation of narrative and games design pans out. With game play that almost seems to incorporate interactive cut-scenes will this be a step forward for games with narrative or be too close to film to separate the two different mediums?

Heavy Rain Cover

Heavy Rain Screenshot

Personally I see the art (and yes I did use the word art) of merging narratology and ludology to be something different to the cinematic offerings of film and can strive to give something more meaningful on an interactive basis. I do not think cut-scenes are particularly the way forward to blend these two areas together and see real-time scripted events similar to those of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves a more interesting way of bringing narrative together with the aspect of play.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot

David Cage
may not see Uncharted as the mature game he would want to make yet who can argue the fact that the scripted events helped add immersion to the game and if we open our minds who is to say the same ideas cannot be used in other genres as well.

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