Friday, March 28, 2008

Vacation Sketching

Here are some sketches that I've beeing doing during my vacation. Mainly cafe sketches and life drawing. There's also a page where I was analyzing a telephone pole and an apartment building. Often times, I'm asked why a video game company would need a concept artist when the game takes place in a modern day setting. I mean, couldn't you just have the 3-D artists look up reference photos and model a building as is? A concept artist is more than a copy-ist. Otherwise we'd be called copy artists :) Concept artists can be a useful tool for an art director to communicate a unified vision to the 10 in-house and 30 out-source 3-D artists. As a concept artist, I also bring an attention to detail to the table. For example, if told by an art director, build a telephone pole. At first glance, "telephone pole" is a word that we all have a point of reference to, which in our imaginations look like a 1st grade cartoon from the flash card labeled "telephone pole". This is sufficient for us to go through life with a passive picture in our head to recognize a telephone pole, but not necessarily to create a telephone pole. To create a telephone pole, you must answer several key questions such as," How tall is the average telephone pole? How many telephone wires do we want attached to our telephone pole? How is the structure planted into the ground? Are there ancillary attachment pieces such as street signs, street lights, and garage sale posters? Is the telephone pole located in a rural countryside or in a metropolitan city (such will determine style and period)? Do these telephone poles act as cover objects in our world (in which case, the base should match cover dimensions for the game)? All of the questions above lead to answers which will give a prop character. We've all seen boring looking props without a whole lot of thought put into them, but sufficient to communicate what the object is supposed to represent in a virtual environment. But as "Next-Gen" games (which by now should be labeled "Current-Gen"), we need to pay closer attention to such details. And in order to save art directors from sitting in further meetings than he should, concept artists can provide 3-d artists with enough information to build from without worrying if the tone of the object created is correct.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Female Officer

Another Sketch night theme this week. Did this diddy real quickly. Theme was female officer. Thought I'd not do a sexy pin-up.

Army of Two is a great game

I normally publish my sketches on this blog, but I just finished playing Army of Two with a friend of mine and had a blast. I applaud the hard working talented developers over at EA Canada. They've delivered a game experience which is on par with Gears of War. This game is fun, addictive, and beautifully crafted. If you enjoy playing co-op games, get Army of Two and tell your gamer friends to get it as well. To my surprise, there are a lot of average reviews out there for this awesome game. I feel that many of these reviewers are prejudice against EA. In my book, Army of Two should be getting a solid 85-87 Metacritic score (which BTW, is what the reader reviews have been ranking for this game). I have a theory that reviewers judge EA games harshly, and in the case of Army of Two, they give some pretty weak arguments. Some have said that this game should not depict the fantasy of being a mercenary. That it's too close to home. But I would argue that many of the popular games out there, with high meta-critic scores, do this, such as Grand Theft Auto, which puts you in the fantasy world of being a criminal, or Mercenaries which also put you in the role of a mercenary in a real world country. The fact is, video games are here for entertainment not education. If a game is fun, then it has done its job. Other arguments I've heard is that the single player campaign is too short. Yet this game has a longer single player campaign than Gears of War which garnered a 94 Metacritic. I think my biggest qualm about the haters out there is that they don't realize just how difficult it is to make great games. There are substantial risks, and when a company decides to put a lot of production value into a game such as Army of Two, they expect high sales and high metacritic scores. When people just bag on a game because they feel like that's a way of sticking it to the man, it actually results in "the man" not taking such risks anymore. The chief complaint of a lot of haters out there (that there just aren't a lot of good games these days), are the architects of their own undoing. What I would like from those of you gamers who are reading this (all 6 of you), to play Army of Two for yourselves in co-op mode with a friend and then judge if you had a good time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Scooby Doo

Bunch of guys at work and I have decided to do a themed sketch thing on a weekly basis. I'm way behind, sorry guys. I'm on vacation dammit! But since I came up with the subject, it wouldn't be good to let everyone down. Here's my interpretation of Scooby Doo.