Pause Menu Research

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For the pause menu we want a simplistic design as it acts as a main menu as well as the pause.

A lot of pause menus contain 3 basic things: Resume, Options and Exit.

However, as our game is just a demo, we don’t need to worry about options and exit as we don’t want the players at the exhibition to be able to adjust the game and potentially break it so there are only 2 aspects we need to worry about.

The pause menu needs to contain two options, Resume and Restart, this will allow the player to either stop and then continue the game or once a player has left our game at the exhibition, we can quickly press restart and allow the game to start again from the beginning.

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Character Selection Research

Its actually really hard to find games which have an onscreen character selection option. A lot of the design are only visible when pressing a particular button and then disappear once released. This is a clever way to do it as it de-clutters the screen when in-game and allows more screen space for the player.

I found 2 exampled which I really liked when researching Character Selection.

The First is the Game Boy Advance Game Teen Titans. When you hold down the Left Trigger the character selection menu is opened until the left trigger is released. To select the character, players hold down the directional arrows in the direction of the character they want and then release the button to select it. When a character has been selected a pulsating, spinning ring surrounds the character, making it stand out from the rest and noticeable for the player.

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The second design is the character selection wheel from Grand Theft Auto 5. To open the wheel, players press down on the D-pad then use the analogue stick to choose the character, this is shown by darkening the colour surrounding the selected character.

Once again, this type of character selection only appears when the player wants it too and disappears once the choice has been made.

For our character bar, I was hoping to have a constant on-sceen display but it might actually be better to have one that disappears and reappears as the player only really needs to know who they’re selecting as once selected, the chosen character will be obvious and a display will be unneeded.

Stamina Bar Research

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Most stamina bars seem to take an simplistic form and in a bright colour making it highly visible and noticeable to the player. They generally take a form that suit the style of that particular design, i.e. Skyrim = Celtic.

Normally stamina bars are joined with the health bar, and the heath bar is the most prominent feature whilst the stamina bar is tucked underneath. However, as our game has no health bar to worry about, we have free reign with the stamina bar and can make it as decorative and dominant as we like.

At first we wanted the stamina bar to take the form of a decorative pattern, with swirls and snowflakes but I feel this kind of design will be too complex and end up being camouflaged against the background. The best solution to this is to follow suit of previous game designs make the main body an actual bar and then decorate the bar with swirls, snowflakes and dots.

Video Game Dialogue Boxes

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I looked into a variety of dialogue boxes from many games to get a feel for the a general style that most games use.

A lot of the text boxes are simplistic and are basic black in colour with white text. Some are given unusual shapes or patterns but most remain uniform.

However one thing I’ve noticed is each design suits the type of game extremely well. Harvest Moon’s is very basic in style matching the 8-bit environment. Fire Emblem’s is very fantasy, regal in design. Animal Crossing is bubbly and fun just like the game. This works to my advantage as it means I can take inspiration from how these games went about creating the dialogue boxes and apply the same technique to mine.

I want to use the whole fairy-tale, book style we have going on and implement that into the design somehow, these are some really quick mockups I did before coming to my final designs. Obviously it was before I received the character portraits so I heavily improvised haha.

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Hyrule Warriors – Narration

In Hyrule Warriors for Nintendo wii U, There is a narrator who tells the story of the game and in-between each level explains the context and what is happening. I really love the way she speaks accompanied by the imagery and backing track. I’m hoping I can use the inspiration from this to my cut-scene similar as I think the way the narrator reads it has a very fairy tale-esque style of speaking.

Hopefully I can capture the same essence within my story and create the same atmosphere/feeling as the above example has.

Writing the new introduction to the Cutscene

I wanted to go much more in-depth when rewriting the first cutscene as now i have a lot more free reign.

To do so I needed some help with wording and used a few sources to assist with this.

Forest name

  • I needed to come up with the name of the forest that Olga and Otto inhabit and where the player starts the game. I was really struggling with this as a lot of the name i thought of were to cliche or over done. To assist i used this website:
  • http://samkeddy.com/forest-name-generator/

Vasalisa’s Dialect

  • I wanted to incorporate Russian style dialogue in my work as much as possible to make it authentic so looked up how Russians referred to their mother and father. Although this isn’t a fully “Trustworthy” site for answers it provided me with the information I needed.
  • https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080208093838AA19sxB

The new beginning

A long time ago, in a kingdom far far away. A haunting Ice Wizard plagued the land. The king and queen despaired over what might become of their beloved kingdom and prayed for peace and hope.

However, all was not lost. The queen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl they named Vasalisa. Vasalisa was no ordinary girl, she was blessed with a magical fate that could finally bring peace to the kingdom. The king and queen kept the child hidden and raised her in secret for many years, but eventual word spread over the kingdom.

The Ice Wizard was furious “How dare someone challenge my magical power! No one can beat me! And I’ll make sure they never do…”

He ravaged the land, destroying town after town, storming his way the castle.

To protect their child, the king and queen left the castle under the cover of darkness and escaped into Winter Wood Forest. They travelled as far as they could into the dense woodland.

One morning Vasalisa awoke to find herself alone, her parents nowhere to be seen. Vasalisa called to them. “Mama?” “Papa?” But there was no answer.

She began to wonder through the forest to search for them. A storm began to fall and it was getting harder for her to push forwards and see.

I am much happier with this. I provides depth, a motive and establishment. This is only my first draft so it may be subject to change but I’m pleased with it.

Meeting with Adrian

Pasted Graphic

On the 17th of March I arranged a meeting with Adrian Baxter so I could ask him some questions about After Effects and find out what the best way of creating my cutscene would be.

I was hoping he would give me some pointers on how to:

  • Create fade in, fade out transitions
  • How to add a back page
  • How to make a hardback book
  • The best way to make my book animation

However, he told me what i was trying to achieve was quite difficult and i would have to first 3D model the book in Cinema4D and then export it to Adobe After Effects. This is a big issue for me as I am not a 3D modeller and have little to no skills in it. There are some templates and bases available online but I feel this would be cheating and i don’t get the satisfaction of saying I made this.

I have found a way around this set back though and after getting it okayed by Charlie I’m going to make the front cover separately then have the story start somewhere near the middle of the book.  I’ll use transitions to move between the and that’ll also add to the whimsical atmosphere.

Adobe After Effects

As preparation for next week, I have been watching tutorials about the basics of After Effects and how to implement a story book turning pages. Although I’ve never worked with After Effects before, I chose to use it after researching into the best way to create my cutscene. After Effects has a lot of useful tools/features built into it such as a page turn effect and a quick but effective snow effect.

Originally I was going to use Sony Movie Studio Premiere 13 but as its more of a editing tool rather than a implementing tool and I feel After Effects will suit my needs a lot more.

Tutorials:

Brief intro to AE

https://youtu.be/Bex2hJsGyjU
Snow effect

https://youtu.be/0tvLEH9_tiE
Page turning

https://youtu.be/mbZSVIPVc7Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY8qKUVJZsE&t=559s

Inspiration

https://youtu.be/aZpZbwGAJYk
https://youtu.be/HNus685DNeY

Fire Emblem Birthright/Conquest/Fates

Recently I have been playing Fire Emblem Birthright and the way the dialogue is displayed and works is really nice and has inspired me to try a similar method in our game.

(If you want to skip to where the dialogue starts its at 5:55)

I think it would fit our game quite well as the cutscenes are fully narrated which is like we’re doing but when it comes to in-game dialogue the full sentences are written out with a portrait of the character and what emotions they are perceiving as well as a short piece of audio relating to the dialogue. Although it is only a small piece of audio it allows players to get a chance of hearing what each character sounds like and the particular way they would say stuff depending on their emotion. Sometimes it can be a full sentence or just a sound effect like a grunt or ‘tsk’.

If we used this kind of method within our game it mean it’ll be a lot easier if we did want to voice the characters as it would cut down on spoken dialogue whilst still having fleshed out, readable dialogue. I feel this will help the characters feel more relatable and human as it gives them a real voice whilst still giving the player something to read.

Software to consider

I’m considering finding a software to download to assist me in writing scripts. I feel this will be more useful that Word as it comes pre-formatted and saves data, which in the long run will save me time and assist me greatly.

A lot of the software I have found are extremely pricey and we do not have the resources to obtain it. Therefore I will be looking into free alternatives that will hopefully do the job just as well as I only need it for the most basic features.

Here are some of the programme I have found:

Trelby seems like a really well rounded software that provides a simplistic userface with many useful tools. HOWEVER, Trelby is currently unusable on mac which means I would only be able to use it on my PC.

Screencraft is good as it allows unlimited revision tracking and professional formatting but you can only work online with the free version. I feel this would be suitable more for people who collaborate and need to constantly share with each other.

Page2stage is only for windows and I’m unsure on the user interface

Plotbot works online and has an awful interface. It would be great for mock-ups but little else.

My other resort is to use a template from word. This will allow me too work offline where ever but restricts me as too what i can use tool wise as some of the other programmes provide better services, allowing me to work more fluidly.

After looking into as many free services as I could, the biggest issue i have found is that most programmes work exclusively on windows platform only, whereas I want to be able to fluidly move from my macbook to my pc with no issues. Therefore I am going to try out both the word template office has provided and screencraft.