Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thoughts and Design... Today, talent systems.

well after talking with some coworkers the other day i wanted to explain my thoughts on why i disliked talents so much in world of warcraft or other games.  it's not that they are a bad idea to have but i haven't personally seen improvement on those in a long time.  the good part about talents in games is that it's a slight adjustment to your character so that two of the same character can play differently.  shitty part is that you then play like 1 of 3 types of your character.  it gives the illusion of choice  which is great and the default look and workings of a talent system also work great however it's getting a little outdated.  all i had to do was google talent system and i get a plethora of images of all the same thing but with different art.  stats and everything don't really matter at this point since what i'm looking at improving is it's overall way you get talents.

first problem with talents is there is usually 2-3 different choices and there are always 2-3 different choices to go and adding more talent choices isn't necessarily the answer if you want to the player to have more options.

second problem is they are all linear. not moving in some sort of way that allows the character to make their own choices and make that avatar unique to them and their play style.

third problem is that if you go one way you can't really go back if you decide you don't want a talent in one area, as well as if you have the option to mix and match you frequently miss out on the final talents in all areas.

ok so google has this to show us from the ever so popular games of world of warcraft and borderlands with their talent systems.

the same similar problems show up in each one.  it's a branch of 3 paths with a couple of choices that all lead to single and powerful talent specs.  if you start one path you immediately have made your choice and then mix and matching isn't as fun because you basically have to downgrade to try weaker talents meant for lower levels not knowing if it's all that worth it anymore.  this is one way to keep players from being over powered when in fact players like to feel overpowered and like to feel as if they have beat the system you've laid down.  my goals in design are to let the player make their own decisions and mix and match how they want.  give them the freedom they deserve to make their play style their own and not punish them for spending a talent point in something when after trying it realizing they didn't like it.

so how i determine that we solve this is to think more like a web rather than a box of possiblities.

ok so instead of making it so 1 talent now unlocks access to 2 more talents of that type and so on, i believe it should be more of a unlocking level 1 circle of talents gives access to all of circle 2's of talents.  circle 2 then unlocks all of circle 3 and so on. this provides the player with a way to customize a character to their liking and giving them a much larger range of possibilities but also a simple path if they feel like just sticking with one type.  it also makes it so that the player doesn't ever miss out on that final talent point in the other areas while still supporting multi talented system.  i also believe that the player should be allowed to take away a talent in one area and put it into another at any point in time.  trial and error is a fun part of design and i believe that talents is a player designing their character, that and it sucks not to have the chance to play with all aspects of the game without their being some sort of negative consequence for it.  so if a player wants to spend 2 or 20 hours perfecting the perfect system or mix in match in the midst of the field, then i say let them, if that's what they have fun figuring out, then i think it's great.

i believe systems in games should offer a realm of possibilities rather than just giving the player a single guided experience.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Twin update...

i'm continuing to try and get better at sculpting, anatomy, and hints of stylization.  ignore the face for now.

i was hearing from people to stylize it a bit more and have it look more like the twins original concept.  my original goal was to land somewhere in between real and stylized but i think i went a little closer to real as time went on so hopefully these adjustments will help.  i think i need to thin her out a bit still to match the concept as well.  also something is still up with the shoulders and i need to play with them a bit more to figure out what i need to do.  oh yeah, i hate sculpting feet too...  and hands...

i feel like i don't need to update this much but i also feel this may be a good exercise in updating this blog on a regular basis as well as for me to better see my progression over time.  right now i'm improving slowly, but i feel like i'm learning a lot and i'm remembering a lot about anatomy that i forgot so it's been a good exercise so far.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Twins mini update

Small little update to show the work i got done today compared to yesterday.  she's coming along in the body but the face needs a lot of love still. trying to balance out the manga/real look.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


ok so jason chan's work of the creepy weird twins was my choice for my next piece. 

i think it gives me a chance to do something outside of that toony look but still keep it slightly stylized. as well as if i do this i get two models for almost the price of one!

ok so i tried a bunch of different things to figure out which work flow is best for me since i've been away from characters so long, especially more real looking ones.  first i tried just modeling it for zbrush which failed horribly.  i'm much more used to traditional means so modeling it straight out with no side view and front view was kind of hard. haven't really done it that way in awhile.

embarrassed to even show this but hey it's process.

next i said screw it to this whole thing.  modeling it out wasn't working. even if i did want to take it into zbrush later.  so i went straight to my new friend i made last year...

good ol zspheres.  you get really bad topology with these but i find it so much easier to get my shape down.  at first i was going off the super stylized sketches that had the long legs but i changed that during sculpting.  looking back that was dumb to even make them that long.  oh well, live and learn.

so i started sculpting from that piece of crap round blob and got this basic body that's got some more realistic proportions
now like i said topology with zspheres sucks so there are few iterations in the head and many in the fingers. such is the curse of zspheres.  so i decided just to make a good base mesh that had the decent proportions and i could throw away later.  by no means is this a final sculpt at all.

so i took that and put it in 3d coat and made this mesh

got some crits on it that i still want to fix but this is my new female base mesh that i will use when sculpting females from now on. case by case of course.  so it's made up of mostly quads and now when i want to sculpt a female character i have a mesh already available so i don't have to go from scratch anymore, cause screw sculpting hands over and over again!

ok so now comes the fun part, the actual WIP of the final high poly i'll use.  it's still very early on so don't judge too much but i think it's coming along and the base mesh is relatively friendly. only a few things to fix.

the only parts i'm having the most trouble with is making it look like the twins but at the same time work in 3d.  the faces are the hardest part because the look a certain way in the concept but to get that to work in 3d really doesn't work from too many angles.  however i'm still working on it everyday so we'll see what happens tomorrow.