Moving on from the Logo design I decided to re-address the characters, looking primarily at the Carrot Character. So I started by sketching out some possible characters. There are a few various styles and some are more pleasing to look at than others. Whereas some are more suitable than others.
From here I moved onto iterating the various parts that would make up the face of the carrot. Breaking down the Eyes, Mouths and Noses, and creating multiple variants until the final design emerged its weary head.
This now gives me enough information to begin the basic final design of the Carrot character, but I still need to give him a personality before moving onto the final render. Watch this space!
Well it’s been awhile since my previous post, not to say that I have been slacking. I have actually been doing some traditional sketching and development (as well as exterior work) that has eaten into my time. However, enough with the complaints and excuses, I have slacked of a little with the project and that is all that is needed to be said. With this in mind though, I have been producing the logo for the game, going from the selection of a type face that is both suitable and appropriate for the project, through to the development.
Now, I’ve found that there are a few different types of font to start with, such as Roman serif, Roman sans-serif, Roman script and Roman ornamental. Theres Blackletter, Monospaced, Symbols and others in between. Choosing the right type of font to start with has a real importance to the direction that the font will take and what it will communicate.
There is a lot of variation in each of these, but you can see that they are fairly distinctive in how they feel. Serif’s appear to be the most formal. However, sans-serifs are clean, sharp and crisp. Scripts are more elegant, soft, flowing and almost feminine, blackletter is clearly old and antique and monotype feels geeky and clearly something like symbol is hard to decipher.
There was a lot I had to learn about in regards to the appropriate use of type, for example the difference between fonts and typefaces, Kerning, Capitalisation, Size and Leading to name a few.
Taking size as an example, I have found that the size that your type is displayed at along with the amount of white space, conveys a different message. Taking the below images as an example, the image to the left is bold and brash, it shouts at you, making its point there and then. Where as the image to the right is more quiet, peeking curiosity, it is almost telling you a secret.
Next I looked into capitalisation, this is also something that can portray a specific message, All uppercase lettering appears loud and brash almost as if you are shouting at the audience. Whereas all lowercase has a more friendly feel to it.
The communicative requirements were also something I pondered on for quite some time, if I was primarily looking at producing a piece as more of an aesthetic to give the user a feel of spooky but friendly fun, does it need to be legible? I mean, we are all capable of associating to logos and icons, so is this a route to explore? After some deliberation I decided that YES this needs to be legible. and so I set about continuing my research and development, finally narrowing down my choices.
As you can see from the above image, I was looking for a font that would help communicate beyond the word its self that this game is a little creepy. This decision came from designing this game for a target audience that has no age restrictions. So I needed to establish a font that would look friendly but creepy yet not scary as such (gotta think of the kids) in both a visual aesthetic and in the meaning of the word. This lead me to limit my selections down to a single typeface that will be used thematically throughout the project, starting with the Title and Logo. Horseshoes by Lauren Ashpole. I will of course purchase a Licence for this font when the time comes.
Ok, ok, now for the big reveal about my use of the written word. I’m dyslexic! (maybe not that big of a reveal due to all the spelling mistakes on this blog lol) Not many people are aware that there are differing forms of dyslexia and for myself in particular, I read words through the outlining shape they make more that deciphering the individual letters of the words. This has actually helped me in the creation of this identity/title/logo, as I wanted to ensure that the visual aesthetic of the work also communicated on a very easy to understand level. So I began altering and refining the chosen work to adapt its original structure when written by scaling and minimally rotating some of the individual letters. That has ultimately enabled me to find what I believe through research and experimentation to be the most appropriate design for my project.
Moving into Adobe Illustrator I began to experiment with making the type face look spooky (enter the Slime). However, after a few days playing with creating slimy letters I decided that the over all feel just wasn’t working. The colours chosen where too vibrant and the slime looked more like snot that an oozing ectoplasm. So I have started over and feel that this time round it appears to be more appropriate. There is still a lot of work to be done and maybe even some additional variants but here is where I’m up to.
I’m sure you can see what I mean about it looking snotty. Any way, here is the version I am currently working on.
From this to this
This is beginning to feel more like what I want, it has an earthy undertone (Thanks to colour choise) but is looking a little too creepy for what I really want. That I hope I can dilute with some additional graphics on the text. Vines, leafs, bite marks, cuts, bruises etc.
First, some visual research thanks to Pintrest and Google Images I have collated a good amount of visual reference of both Carrot Characters and plane old Carrots. This will greatly aid in the design of the Health and Zombie versions of the Carrot character (watch this space)
So… one of the fundamental mistakes I made during the initial design of the game (more specifically the characters) was an assumption on the classification of my Vegetables. Initially I had designed characters based from… a Potato, a Carrot, a radish, an Onion, Broccoli, a Pea and a Pumpkin. There are some mistakes in there as some of them are not VEG!
Original Zombie Pea Design
Original Zombie Potato Design
Original Zombie Pumpkin Design
Original Zombie Onion Design
So I need to look into my food a little further if I plan to make this accurate. One of the main reasons for this (aside from the game title being Vegetrouble) is that this will allow me to expand the initial idea into other food groups for sequels. Anyway enough of that old stuff for now.
Now onto the important part, the research. Of course, there are a lot of things we eat that we may think of as Veg but let me tell you… tomatoes, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Sweet Peppers and many more are not actually Veg. I always believed in the classification based on a simple couple of rules, if it grows above ground and carries its own seeds, it’s a Fruit. If it grows in the earth it is a Veg. This is still a good method to use as it is fairly accurate. However, following these rules, where would you put things like Broccoli, rhubarb, Lettuce or Peas for example? This is what prompted me to begin researching vegetables (oh the excitement is just bursting out) so I could just find out what was appropriate to use and what wasn’t.
So, after some reading up and generally researching around the exciting world of Fruit ‘n’ Veg, from a botanical stand point you can define a vegetable as all other parts of a plant that are not the seed areas. This includes the leaves (like you find on a cabbage, sprout, or lettuce), the stems (such as rhubarb or celery), the roots (like carrots, spuds or radish) and even the flower buds (cauliflower, broccoli).
All this research has lead me to the following list of potential characters for the game.
Pea (solo or in pod)
So I thought it would be prudent to upload my personal design process, much like many others, I follow a simple 8 step process. But first let me tell you that I have been looking around at some other design processes today and surprise surprise, they all have a very similar trend, I’ve found that the Design Council sums this all up in a handy little guide and description on their site. It breaks down the design process into 3 areas (Discover, Define and Develop) that are easy to remember. The 3 D’s are then broken down into sub categories to help you get to grips with this process of working. Below is their process and a link to the original. I strongly recommend having a full read through the original because they also break down each of the sub categories to help you better understand all these stages.
I will upload have uploaded my design process soon, but rather than just uploading a written list I’m going to create I have created a design and presented it visually, when now It’s done you’ll find it Here.
So, When I initially started playing with the Idea of developing the Vegetrouble game (a game born from a 24h game jam event with a few Uni friends) I started with one of the most fundamental mistakes, I turned on a computer and opened some software, from there I started to develop characters. Now despite my years of practice and ability to do this, we all know that it is a mistake and something that should have been started on paper, well to be honest it did kind of start on paper. You see, I started designing some basic characters for the game on paper and then delved into the software and progressed from 4 characters into 7 all digital 2D final designs and was never really fully happy. You see, when it comes to the design process I have a rather large lack of confidence, primarily with my ability to visualise on paper (sketching). I have now realised that this is a primary opportunity for me to better my visualisation skills.
Moving on, I begun to develop the game in the same manner with little regard to the initial stages that would ultimately help direct the project and give it drive. I have been through stages where the initial idea has changed, where the aesthetic has altered and even been forced to change mechanics and even the target platform due to not fully realising what needed to be done and just wanting to go and make something ‘cool’.
Well, no more of this nonsense, from now on we have a new slate, it is clean. There is nothing but an initial idea and some residual memories of a past incarnation. This blog will now serve as the archive for the entirety of the project, pass or fail. You will see everything, from initial ideas, mechanics design, level design, character designs, props and objects, menus, GUI’s HUD’s, planning, research, user testing, documentation and presentations, I could go on, but you get the point.
(This project and the development blog are created to aid my students with effectively managing and evidencing a project. Just do the work!).