illustration by Jaime Jones

In search of an aesthetic for the project we hit concept art blogs and forums searching for support studies and design reference. Besides the usual stumble to deviantart and behance I came across this site which proved very helpful.

The Feng Zhu School of Design also have character sheets by their students on their website. This is a great resource to understand how industry professionals present their work.

Bigger than just a Project

After attending Offset 2012 and more recently Dublin Web Summit 2012; it has become increasingly obvious to me that a product is no longer a product. Likewise a project can no longer be a project. They are a brand. A brand that extends beyond its primary form. A project is now part of a bigger story. In many ways it probably always was; only now the user takes it for granted that it is.

This concept has been proven countless times in recent years; one of which is the explosion of the “Angry Birds” merchandising. Plush toys, key-rings, graphic design, illustrations and a Tv show to name a few. Each helping each other – making the game a stronger game and a better brand. The success of the project is determined by how much potential it has and by how people know of it.

So lets pair things back. The primary goal: make a cool, good game. The secondary goal: make it known. Previous graduate projects have focused on the first aspect more than the second. I believe we need both. We should stop thinking about project and merchandising and advertising as separate entities and start believing them as the one item. The Brand. It is this that is key.

An interesting article about creative advertising in the form of a story or documentary can be found here. I believe this technique boasts a lot of potential for a preliminary demo of Astraeus that could be launched online and shown alongside the final piece.

Start your Engines!

Continuing on from when we last spoke, this post is going to focus on our preparation for part of the tech section of our pitch.

The prospect for any creative team of making a cool, fun mobile app ; seems to be all the rage these days. The first wall many teams run into is the level of programming involved. If that isn’t enough the prospect of writing your own game engine or learning how to use an existing one usually kills off the rest. But not our team. For the past three years we have been studying for our degree in Multimedia Design. We are designers, programmers, writers, film makers and audio designers wrapped up in a nice competitive little package. We are ready.

Being in the role as lead programmer; I was keen to get started and highlight potential issues early on – as to not waste time later on.

My first port of call was to ascertain what can flash do? How does it handle 3d? Can it? What engines already exist?

Over on Adobe’s site, they give a pretty good rundown on all their recognised 2d,3d and physics engines.

Continuing on from this resource I came across another Adobe sister site dedicated to Adobe gaming. This site was particularly helpful as it was more geared towards engines that perform well on the mobile platform.

From this preliminary investigation I already had a pretty good feeling that while Flash may be catching up in the 3d scene, it isn’t there just yet. However I was keeping an open mind about 3D and I chose to take a look at Unity.

At first I was blown away by its potential and the potential of our game but slowly reality began to seep in. Unity while a great package would require extensive learning of C# and Javascript. I have a good enough understanding of javascript but I realise my other team mates do not. To attempt 3D would probably be detrimental to the project.

We were being to lean back on AS3 with the aspiration of compiling using adobe AIR. Still the question remained; what engine?

This solution is currently being debated but our proposal is to use the Starling engine and the box2d physics engine.

Watch an example of both in action.

Click the html window and use the arrow keys to test the physics engine.

There are 3D libraries for flash like Away3d but like I said, they aren’t at the standard yet.