Exploration!

Hey everyone! Gen here!

SO – the game is still in progress, but moving along quickly! There is indeed a pre-alpha version available to staff as was mentioned in a previous post, but there are still scripts of chatter and communication direction in the works as the levels are edited. Still, it’s amazing to be part of a project and see it coalesce into a cohesive product!!! It’s an exciting time!!!

Personally, I’m also having a bit of fun exploring new skills and practicing existing ones. Currently taking a Python programming class with MIT through edX…so will see how that turns out. (Obviously you can all see I’m all about online learning and alternate education along with the traditional. It’s helpful, especially when you have a busy schedule.)

But besides that, I’m exploring some concept art and perspective practice…if you wish to follow what I’m doing art-wise, my Instagram is primarily for that sort of thing: g.d.franco. Check it out if interested! Currently trying to improve with environment sketches and three-point perspective.

Speaking of art and games…very soon, I will be broadcasting a Twitch series on concept art, writing and a handful of reaction Let’s Plays. Mostly art and storyboarding, though. Upon the startup, I’ll be creating content for Legacy’s universe, specifically. Again, if you are interested, keep an eye out for the channel gdfrancoart. Coming soon!

Haha – lots of self-promotion in this post. But it’s an FYI, if you all are interested. No pressure!

Also, a question for anyone: does anyone want to see Legacy on a particular social media platform? There is Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook already, but is anyone particularly interested in a Legacy-centric Instagram? Or even later on, a newsletter production booklet of some type? Just throwing about some more ideas.

~G

 

 

Momentum!

Hey everyone! Gen here!

Just an update on the writerly side of things – everyone is working hard to complete Futuretech: Flight Academy, and already there is a pre-alpha (or rather, first-playable) version out to internal staff, which is awesome and exciting! So progress has taken a tangible step!

As always, the story is never, ever finished – and even now there are scripts being written for intros, radio chatter, reactions and briefs! The game flow and voice actors’ considerations dictate a lot of how that process goes, too.

And along with the writing comes new storyboards! Working on the trailer and changing an outcome for a character!

As people know, the game design document, comprised of pretty much everything that goes into the design process – art, writing, assets, published announcements, flow charts, info/lore sheets, controls, etc. etc. – is always changing, even up to the last second. Currently, the Legacy universe expands to its main game as well as Futuretech‘s, so a lot of its production is along the same story foundations. There’s a substantial amount of art and planning done already, and I’ve been looking into publishing processes for books lately – specifically art production books.

So, the question is…if our team could compile, publish and distribute a production book of sorts for Futuretech, would players be interested in it for an affordable price? Just an idea I’ve been kicking around for some time. All up in the air right now and ultimately up to the director, but it is something worth considering, what with many fans (including myself) being avid collectors of their fandoms’ production art books…

~G

Tribehacks with Todd Howard!

Hey everyone – Gen here!

SO yesterday was very exciting for me – visited my alma mater, the College of William and Mary, to see the keynote speaker for the third annual three-day tech development bonanza: Tribehacks.

Wonderfully, the keynote speaker in question was none other than Todd Howard, College of William and Mary graduate of 1993; also a top designer, director and producer working for Bethesda Softworks, specifically the Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises.

Needless to say, it was thrilling to see him present a humor-filled, educational talk about technology, games, and the development processes and preparedness goals for those trying to break into the industry.

I have a video clip here of not quite ideal quality, so mea culpa on that; I did not prepare adequately…but CWM should ideally have a recorded file of the keynote in their archives. I have contacted them for the recording, and they will release it once it has been approved in its entirety.

But for now, my little clip is on Youtube, if you would like to get a glimpse:

Tribehacks 2017 Questions

All of us were thrilled to go and see this talk; it was just a lovely event. Wish I was still eligible to register for Tribehacks, but that’s okay. Got some tips from the presentation in any case.

As always, Howard spoke of his philosophy for developing games, the three points of which are readily available online through Wikipedia and other sources like recordings from other talks:

  1. Great games are played, not made. Game design documents are constantly changed when played at the final.
  2. Keep it simple. Simple systems acting together create complexity.
  3. Define the experience. Design the game so that it provides the experience you want people to have.

And above all, to follow passions and keep learning. Know how to do a multitude of things so you have more to offer, even ideas-wise. Brainstorming was a key element to the process on which he placed high importance; he mentioned that at Bethesda Softworks he and his team often take part in one or two-week brainstorming sessions that he calls “Game Jams” in which they would just come up with ideas for elements that could be potentially included in the games being worked on, whether it be a storyline, a set of character or personality functions, environments, quests, etc., and then present it to the rest of the design staff. Just to keep their creative juices flowing, so to speak.

Some questions that I didn’t manage to capture on film here included an emphasis on education that is not directly applicable to the game industry. Traditional art, writing, science, psychology, philosophy, etc. Specifically for those who may feel that they have made an off-path or unwise choice in their studies considering their intention to enter the gaming world. Howard emphasized that it all came down to what you do with those skills. That the experience and education you have is just as important as the application and not to regret it, but to use it.

Just keep at it, even when it seems discouraging. Learn as much as you can, try different things and figure out how you want to fit in the gaming world – what interests you about it the most. And then acquire the useful know-how, like some scripting languages because, as he had said, “at the end of the day, it’s all just computer code that needs to be written.” However, he stresses that the focus should be what you love most in the creation process, because conversely, “there is always time to go back and learn the computer.”

(Fiddling with Creation Kits and Mods and being active on coding or workshop communities always helps, too. It was nice to see how knowledgeable and curious he was about different mods people came up with, noting that it was the little ten-minute practical fixers to the games that really impressed him.)

But I know now I’ve got to get on those C#, C++ and Python classes now, despite being a mostly right-brained creative type. Blerg! 🙂

A New Toy – I Mean, Tool!

Hey everyone!

Gen here!

So…just a very small bit of news that I wanted to share (because I am still so excited about it): I bought myself a present. A large, expensive present. A Wacom Cintiq 13″ HD touch drawing tablet.

And it is LOVELY. SO lovely. If any of you aspiring or accomplished artists out there are considering it seriously, GET IT. I have been putting it off because of the price, understandably (it costs about as much as a computer), but found a deal for a refurbished one and took it as a sign. Ha ha.

I must say again – worth it.

With digital tablets, it’s sort of been a given that there’s a little disconnection when it comes to the drawing/painting process. You’re drawing half-blindly, staring at the cursor on the designated computer screen as if it is your last hope. And it is, really. That’s your drawing point. (Anyone who uses a tablet, this is baby basics of basics, I know.) Your hand is drawing on a surface away from the actual image being rendered. It’s weird, but you normalize the feeling and that disconnect because you want to create pretty art. It’s like playing a videogame, but for drawing.

The Cintiq, of course, eliminates that disconnect; you draw directly on the screen. It makes a difference. Already I’m noticing a faster speed to creating digital artwork now; there’s more control in each stroke too. It’s a fairly customizable product and you can adjust the lighting and settings as you wish.

Anyway – thought I would let you guys know!

~G

Happy 2017!

Hey everyone! Gen here!

Hope everybody had a lovely New Year’s! I think most of us are happy to start afresh, and not unwilling to let 2016 pass us by. But lots of great things happened too; lots of milestones made, social issues brought to the forefront, environment and animal protections and of course, our art/entertainment industry is growing and changing for the better.

And so have its independents! 😀

A lot is planned for 2017 for us, so this year should prove to be exciting in that regard. As for one of the initial goals for this year, the official trailer for Futuretech Flight Academy will be coming together! That will definitely be thrilling to see!

Otherwise, at least for my corner, working on final touches to that trailer script and storyboard set. It is mostly organizing and re-editing the content I have for Legacy after that!

Will blog again soon with updates!

~G

Importance of Diverse Characters!

Hey all!

Gen here! Again!

Just some thoughts on story development and character design. Of course, at this point, everything is fairly thought-out and nearly in its final stages for the Futuretech Flight Academy upcoming game. There’s some amazing concept/modeling/design art happening in regards to vehicles, weapons, environments…and characters!

There are, basically, unlimited discussions everywhere that analyze the significance of representation in all types of entertainment media – but especially within the realm of videogames now. This is natural, as it is a massive genre that has exploded along with the advancement of technology. Videogames are so versatile, and can really be almost whatever the audience wants – whether it’s a simple game of online Scrabble to Robot Unicorn Attack, or from Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto to VR gaming. There are fitness games, self-help games, adventure puzzle games and violence/horror simulators. This is a genre approaching the vastness of film and literature.

Yes, I know I’ve said this very same in a previous post some time ago. But it has only grown more true, I think.

This is why it is important to appreciate their power. Videogames are now part of the Humanities. They have been for a long time. The simple fact is, they significantly influence culture; especially our culture.

It is extremely important to recognize this.

Depending what the overall goal/purpose of the game is, there is a measure of responsibility upon the creators and the fans. (Yes, the fans. The great and terrible forces of fanbases are not to be underestimated!) It is always important to include all types of people in all types of life. It is important to represent them in our characters that we relate to and identify with in our media; in our humanities. It is particularly important to include diverse characters within games – because we do not merely stand by and watch; we take part in them.

Of course, the story may not support as much as is needed or wanted, but then questions need to be considered. We need to ask ourselves why. Is it for marketing purposes? Is it for historical accuracy? Is that version of historical accuracy accurate itself? Are stereotypes played into for a statement and/or purpose or just because that has been the status quo?

Obviously, no one is perfect. And group projects always must come to a compromised result/end product – that is the nature of them.

But it is our goal to always improve. This is only one area, of course. But we as humans tend to be drawn to the characters of a story, of a realm – so it makes the most sense to start with their transformation and development. Diversifying them and making them relatable both – is the key.

 

 

A Trailer in the Making!

Hey everyone!

Gen here!

So lately what I’ve been working on – in addition to a lot of other things – is the writing and storyboards for a spot reveal trailer for Legacy Futuretech Flight Academy. These tend to run about a minute to a minute-thirty seconds. Teasers tend to be shorter, around thirty seconds. Although of course, these terms are not absolute and a teaser may be two minutes while a spot may be one. It depends. Especially between large, multi-million studios and, say, indie ones. 😀

For writers – and artists too, with visual language – the formulaic plot line is your best friend. Or rather, becomes your best friend very quickly when it comes to writing or drawing up anything visual for trailers. You know, that witch’s hat structure that English teachers have drilled into your brain: Exposition, Rising action, Climax, Falling action, Resolution.

Although an enduring trend nowadays is to either end on a climactic note – because obviously companies want you to be hooked and want to know what happens next – or to avoid too much resolution, especially if the franchise and/or game is character based. It’s interesting, and makes sense. This format works very well; it’s comforting, the audience is used to it, and there is an assured effect that comes from utilizing it well enough – people are intrigued by your product. This goes for films too.

Just some thoughts here at the start of November!

~G