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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Zombie Monster Safe Haven

Alright so zombie and monster themed horror style video games are really awesome and popular right now. Three titles that are either good, or I'm anticipating to be good, Dead Rising (having more zombies than monsters), Left 4 Dead, and Dead Space (having more monsters than zombies). All of these are or are gonna be really cool games, and I myself cant wait to buy Left 4 Dead.

That being said, what's the point of this? Well I had an idea in my dreams last night. Basically you're just trying to survive in a city that is crawling with monsters and stuff. Wait that sounds like it has already been done hasn't it? Okay well lets make it MMO style.

I'm not exactly sure how MMOFPS's have gone in the past, but I know that I loved the one I played (Planetside). So this game would kind of have that feel. I haven gotten really too into the details of how it would work, but it would definitely require teamwork, and maybe even team dynamics to survive and move on.

It would probably be mostly quest driven. There's probably going to be several safe havens throughout the city which are well defended by NPCs (but maybe as server wide events they do get assaulted every so often). But you have to do quests for these safe havens, such as finding food, retrieving a stolen part of machinery, saving some stranded people, defeating a zombie monster which has grown too strong and dangerous, securing an area, protecting a convoy, sending a message to another safe haven, etc.

Quests and killing zombie monsters would gain you experience and levels, and you gain points and health and stuff like that to unlock better equipment and more specialized abilities. I think I would like it if there were no classes in this game, and you could build your character however you want. You could make him fast, good at killing a single zombie quickly, good at damaging multiple zombies quickly, with supportive defensive abilities, healing, purely offensive stuff, and I'm sure there are several tertiary abilities we could throw in like armor repair, lock picking, hacking, social engineering.

Now for the part in my dream. There were several people together with me, we all had weapons, I had a mini gun, a shot gun, a automatic rifle, a pistol, a drill, a knife, and some other melee weapon. And we were at what I can assume was the receiving dock of home depot (it was laid out just like the one I work at) there was a door to the right which was sealed off, a door to the left also sealed, and an opening in the front with three paths that lead to it. We heard some zombie monster movement and we all got ready to fight off some monsters, Most of them we batted away from far off because I had a mini gun and most of the other guys were good at actually landing hits, but a few did get in close so I switched to my shot gun and started blasting these little weird brain sucking monsters at close range. At this point none of them got close enough to harm me, but some other people did take some damage, but we won the battle. We have some down time so we all sit and talk, weird things that happen in dreams happen, and then I check out all my weapons. I'm pretty low on ammo for most of them, I look around a bit but dont know where to find any, so I go back into the receiving dock while the rest of the people are outside. Through the door on the right burst two people, running and fighting some more zombie monsters, and we hear more zombie monsters approaching from the front, we finish off the the monsters who were in the area I was in, and the two who came through the door get on some computers behind me, all I assume for some valuable data. the group at the entrance fight the zombies who are coming in, and I try to assist them, but I quickly run out of ammo with every weapon I have, all I have are my 3 melee weapons, and these 3 little guys come in so I drill one in the head, slash the other, and beat the last one with whatever other weapon I had. There were more zombie monsters coming from the front and the two people at the computers headed back for where they came, so I followed them. very fortunately, there was a electrically locking door where they came from (they must have hacked that too) And we were secured in this new area. I told them I had no ammo, but they dint really seem to care. I was with two completely new people, my original party had all perished in the fighting. We didn't get far before I woke up, but it was a really fun dream.

I'm not sure how to deal with death in the game, I wanted to have it so that you just go back to the last safe haven and lose all progress since you left that place, but that would be unfair and a lot of people would complain that they have to run back to the safe havens all the time. So I was thinking of some kind of global and personal averaging system. First the global average sees how long you lasted in the wild compared to everyone else your level, then the personal average sees how long you lasted in the wild compared to your other times. Then some algorithms are preformed based on where you fall in these categories and you save a % of the stuff you gained when you die. You should never lose a lot compared to what you gain with this system.

Its gonna work something like this, If you last 2 hours when the global average is 1 hour and your average is 1 hour, you're gonna save 100% of your stuff, but if your average is like 4 hours and you last only 2 hours, the global average being 1 hour, you're going to save only 75% of your stuff. Now lets say the global average is 2 hours, and you last only 1 hour, and that's your average, you're going to save about 40% of your stuff when dead. but if in this case your average is 30 minutes, you'll save about 65% of your stuff.

I want it to work based on bell curves and statistics and stuff. What i have in my mind is a really fun system.

Now an idea I've been thinking of throughout this is when someone dies, they should be able to play as the zombie monster they become, or play as a zombie monster in another part of the city. They will have an opportunity to kill another player with RTS style command over one monster zombie (point and click where they want to go) and they can only see a small area around them, and anything that makes noise.

Which brings me to zombie monster behavior. I want them to mostly act in packs, and react to things based on short range sight, medium ranged scent, and long range sound. If they hear you, they'll try to go where they last heard you. If they smell you, they'll stay in the area until they can see you, at which point they will attack you. You could potentially have them stalking you around the block if you don't want them to fight you, but you cant shake them beyond the range of smell, and you're really quiet at sneaking around too. Perhaps sneaking would be another ability, and scent masking, and why not, hiding.

What I have envisioned here is like the Counterstrike Source zombie servers mixed with Half Life 2 Zombie levels, mixed with Dead Rising, mixed with Left 4 Dead, Mixed with Planetside, mixed with City of Villans/Heros or WoW. And this game would be the cake resulting in these ingredients

Friday, September 26, 2008

The school quarter is over

Wow, I've been so busy with things this quarter. Ending relationships, portfolios, animations all over the place. But here now I want to update you on some things that have happened

September 9th, 2008, my 8th quarter portfolio review. I had to throw together all of my best stuff.



I thought that mixing everything up would make for the most interesting portfolio, because then it wouldn't be like here's 6 examples of animation, then 6 of drawing, then 6 of Photoshop, then 6 of modeling. Which seems boring to me, but my instructors disagreed. They also told me to throw out that illustrator piece, which I admit is a really bad piece in retrospect.

They did tell me that my animation is my strongest point. I have Randolf to thank for that mostly. His Acting for Animators class really helped me grow in that sense. Kevin told me that most of my traditional stuff was lacking in things like core shadows, and he went on this spiel about drawing, which really inspired me to start drawing again. I should always be happy to draw but I was so stressed out by this project most of the time that I had no time to draw.

The project I am referring to


For the past 15 weeks I had been slaving over this project. Trying to balance life, work, school, girlfriend, other classes, and this. One of the aforementioned things left me which made it easier to focus on. But with the completion of this project, I am incredibly happy, and stress free. And when I finished the clean up stage of this project, I started drawing again. All that was left was the composting stage, which went over very well. I threw it all together in after effects, a program which I had shallow experience in (Normally I had only used it to compile my renders). It was surprising to me how intuitive it was.

While giving me my final critique, my instructor, Ken, told me that I had made great strides in my story telling abilities. Which I myself have noticed, I'm definitely at least 10 times better than I was at showing anything than I was when I started school. But I do need to work on my basic drawing skills more, and I'm coming along with those pretty well. Ken also told me that for the most part, my composition and shot selection was really strong. He gave me a few suggestions to make it better, for example, having actual contacts scroll instead of scribbles, and cleaning up the scanner thing better in that scene. Reworking the over the shoulder shots to have a better composition and put the girl in a better position, and giving more time to the jaw dropping to better show that emotion that he should be displaying.

All in all, I'm really happy with what I've accomplished this quarter. I've also learned recently that Photoshops brush tools are quite excellent and comparable to painters. However I still don't know if I can throw out painter yet. Things like glow brush are too great to get rid of (see my rotoscoping example in my portfolio).

Here's a modeling assignment I did, I just rendered a quick 3/4 to 3/4 view rotation of my face, yes, that's right, my face.


All in all, I'm very pleased with how this quarter has gone. I'm a much better artist, a much better animator, a much better modeler, and most importantly, a better person.

I just checked on my grades, and I know if you're reading this you will want to know what they are, well without further adieu:

Sociology : A-
Acting and Movement : A
Hard Surface and Organic Modeling : A
Advanced Traditional Animation : A
Character Animation : B-

Not bad huh? Its not showing my GPA so I'm gonna shoot Jon an email in a little bit.

That's all for now. Maybe I'll post of some of the drawings I've been doing some time. (but don't hold your breath on that)