Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Production Schedule


Dec 15-21: Cleaning the lines and colouring the walkcycle, turn around, picking up item etc.
Dec 22-28: Continuing with the walkcycle: add more key frames, solve scaling issues etc
Dec 29-Jan 4: Watch movies, game videos and animations to learn cinematography. Decide the title of the film (Very Important)

Finish colouring the walkcycle, turn around, picking up item sequence by the end of December


Jan 5-11: Collecting sound materials. Finish the sound design (4-5 minutes). Make a list of all music used for the credit roll
Jan 12- 18: Have the full animatic by this time. Make a list of names for the credit roll
Jan 19-25: Continue to work on backgrounds (at least 2 of them finished)
Jan 26-Feb1: Finishing the backgrounds of the rooms (at least 5 finished by this time)


Feb 2-8: Refine the animation in the animatic
Feb 9-15: Animating in-betweens (at least 5 seconds)
Feb 16-22: Animating in-betweens (at least 5 seconds)
Feb 23-Mar1: Animating in-betweens (at least 5 seconds)


Mar 2-8: Get feedbacks and continue on in-betweens
Mar 9-15: Colouring in-betweens (at least 10 seconds)
Mar 16-22: Colouring in-betweens (at least 10 seconds)
Mar 23-29: Compose a After Effect project of the whole film, Organize the files


Mar 30-Apr 5: Check how is my progress;
if not catching up on schedule, catch up using the beginning of April

Apr 6-12: Render the frame by frame animation in Premiere in high resolution and import them into After Effects. Test render the whole film: version one.
Apr 13-19: Continue to compose the materials using After Effect.
Apr 20-26: Show people what I have now and get feedback.
Apr 27-May 3: Hopefully the film can be finished by this time.


May 4- May 10: Put up an introduction entry for the film on my blog.

Rooms Comp

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Grad Film Discussion

Vanessa Schwartz

In the beginning sequence where the protagonist is running, it seems like that she is running away from something chasing her, which is not my intention. To make it clear that she is lost in the forest, it may be better to add a scene of her wandering and looking around, for example going into an open space with cut trees. Also it may be a good idea to add the beginning of the rain to indicate her reason for running: to look for a shelter.

Add above scenes only if I have time after the film is finished. Finishing the whole thing is the priority.

Production Schedule must be as detailed as possible. Down to every week and what is going to happen each week.

Martin Rose

The reception is usually located beside the entrance- make the reception desk closer to the front door.
When she goes to the reception, picks up the key and after the candle blows out, it looks like that she has gone into another door deeper inside the hotel, while my intention was to show her trying to open the front door again. Will add a shot of her walking towards the entrance to make this clear.

Purpose of the Game- The protagonist's goal is to get the key of the main entrance. To do so she ventures through each room, and get the key of the next room, and so on. To make it clear that she knows that she can't open a room before she gets the key, add an animation of her trying to open all the other doors but can't. The last door she tries is the only one that she can enter at the moment. This way viewers know that the story is linear; she can't progress to the next stage until one stage is cleared.

The room designs- they look pleasant and doesn't seem threatening. To add more suspense and make it more dramatic, place threats in the rooms. For example, crocodiles in the river, eagles, sharks etc.
Suspension bridge can be much higher. Make her small and high up to create tension.

Camera angles- viewers may lose interest when all they see is a profile angle moving from right to left. Borrow the conventional game angle but not restricted to it. Add cut scenes that shows a different angle.
Consider: first person shooting perspective.

Give the Layers different depth in After Effects to make it more interesting.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trying to open the locked door-First Draft

This is the scene where the protagonist finds out that the hotel front door has transformed into a locked door. She realizes that she'll have to get the key in order to get out of the hotel.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Background Design Concepts

The hotel interior:


Unusual Hotel Designs

While searching for references for my hotel interior design for the game, I found these two articles and find them very interesting and inspirational.

The links are:

In Pictures: the World's Most Unusual Hotel Lobbies

The World's Most Unusual Hotel Beds

Edit- More Designs I've found

World's Best Hotel Design Details

10 Spectacular Hotels That Make Us Say Wow

From Pillow to Pool

Stunning Underwater Hotel: The Water Discus

10 Wacky Bedrooms

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gameplay Sample Video

I have been thinking about how to make the gameplay interesting; the last concept was mainly about running around talking to characters in the game, which needed to be supported by strong story and interesting dialogues, which are difficult for me to come up (I'm not the best in writing dialogues). After brainstorming I've came up with the concept of switching between the normal and the fantasy world by a mirror. This way the gameplay involves some puzzle solving which I'm more interested in.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Game Layout Test Video

This is a background layout test video for my game project. This is done in After Effects and the walk cycle composed in Premiere.
I wanted to see how the side-scrolling part of the gameplay will look like using this background style.
I will add hair movements to the walk cycle later.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Project Proposal-Dreamscape Cruise Line

Michelle Chih-Hua Tseng

Senior Animation Project Proposal

Dreamscape Cruise Line

I am creating a side-scrolling adventure game for PC about the protagonist encountering music lovers on a cruise trip. The story will explore themes of friendship, and the dilemma between dream and reality. 

The story mainly revolves around the protagonist, Kirsikka and a girl talented in singing, Elize, and their friendship developed during the 14 day cruise trip. Elize and Kirsikka's first encountering is not without obstacles; at early morning, when Kirsikka approaches the front deck of the ship, she hears a singing voice, and is attracted by it. It is the voice of Elize. However, when Elize realizes that Kirsikka is listening to her singing, she runs away in surprise and embarrassment, leaving Kirsikka confused. Later, the two of them meets by chance in the library. It becomes clear that Elize is modest yet lack of confidence, due to her being laughed at for being serious at practicing singing. Knowing that, Kirsikka brings her to the music performance at the cruise theatre and proves to Elize that practicing music isn't something embarrassing. After this event Kirsikka and Elize become closer and meets more often. They may spot a whale together; attend a performance together; Elize also becomes more willing to sing in front of people, although still only in front of Kirsikka and Elize's parents.
  One day Elize tells Kirsikka that she has been thinking of becoming a singer on a cruise in the future. Elize is passionate about the ocean, and she can use her singing talent to get a job. But suddenly the ship starts rolling, and Elize immediately feels uncomfortable. After sending Elize back to her room, Elize's parents tell Kirsikka that Elize is troubled by seasickness whenever she goes on a ship. It would be difficult for her to work on a cruise ship in the future if her seasickness continues even after she grows up. Does that mean Elize has to abandon her dream? Kirsikka thinks that is too cruel, and thus starts looking for the cure for seasickness, and also tries to contact the amatuer musicians she has met on the cruise and performers of the musical show for a personal meeting with Elize to encourage her. 

Visual treatment & production process
All visuals will be drawn digitally by digital painting programs, mainly Paint Tool SAI and Adobe Photoshop. The characters are designed in Japanese anime style because I have been greatly inspired by Japanese anime facial features since childhood. The background image and the characters in the foreground will use different finishing techniques in order to make the characters stand out against the background. The characters will be coloured using cell-shading. The backgrounds will be more realistic, and will change according to the time in the game. For indoor or night scenes the lighting will be dimmed, depending on the mood. The game allows the player to explore freely. In the beginning of the game, the protagonist wakes up in her room on the cruise. After a brief introduction to the controls, the player is free to explore the cruise. The time span for the game is two weeks. every hour in the game equals to 1 minute in real time. Non-Player Characters will be assigned their appearing time at certain places; for example, Elize will appear on the front deck from 6:00 am to 8:00 am. If the player goes to the front deck during that time, an event about the protagonist and Elize's first encountering will happen. 

Sound treatment
The game will be music-driven, while some spoken dialogues may be included. Sound effects will be used in places where I want players to pay attention. Throughout the game, Western ethnic music that are either mysterious or melancholic will be chosen to create an unusual mood. In the more Victorian inspired scenes, traditional classical music works to create familiarity between players and the game. Ambient sound will be used in the quieter scenes in order to make the aural space more real.

Adobe Master Collection Student Edition: 250 CAD per year
Music: $30 maximum for every original music piece
(Will be using free music as much as possible)
Background: maximum $20 for every commissioned background artwork
(Will be mostly done by me or found on websites that provide background graphics for free)
External hard drive: $99~150

Story Themes

When writing my story focusing on the interactions of characters, the elements of conflict must come into play to make obstacles for the characters. In the meantime, I want the story to include these themes:

Friendship: the protagonist meets other characters on a cruise, and after the cruise trip ends they will all return to their normal life and may never meet again. They will learn to treasure a short time together.

Self confidence: The characters the protagonist meets are all ametuers who enjoy what they do, but are somehow unsure of their abilities. The antagonists would be the people who are ignorant and deny amatuer practices. The protagonist helps the characters to regain their confidence by letting them meet the audiences who support ametuer practices.

The protagonist meets a girl who dreams of being a singer on a cruise trip, and they will discuss issues of self confidence during their cruise trip together.

Important scenes:

1. Protagonist hears the singing girl singing. The girl is embarrassed and runs away.

2. Protagonist and singing girl meets again. The girl introduces herself and apologize for running away. She explains her lack of confidence and thus is uncomfortable being heard singing. The protagonist says that no matter the quality, everyone should have the right to sing.

3. At the same night, when the protagonist comes out of the theatre one of the actresses is outside, and people are taking photographs with her. As she finishes the protagonist compliments her. She thanks the protagonist but says that it's normal because that's her job. She then walks away.

4. The next day the protagonist meets the singing girl by chance again. They begin to promise each other to meet everyday on the deck.

5. When the singing girl talks to the protagonist a few days later, she says that being a singer on the cruise must be great. She likes singing, plus working on a cruise enables her to be closer to the sea creatures she likes. In the end of their meeting suddenly the ship starts rolling, and while the girl says she's okay, the protagonist notices that her steps aren't standing properly. When the protagonist returns to her own room, she notices that the ship rolls the whole day and the whole night.

6. The next day the girl didn't show up on time. The protagonist waited for an hour but she still hasn't appeared. The protagonist thinks it is unusual for the girl to abandon her promise, so she goes to the girl's room. With her parents at her side taking care of her, the girl is suffering from a serious ship dizziness. According to her parents her ship dizziness happens every time she is on a ship. They tried to stop her from coming, but since the girl really loves ocean they were unable to stop her either. She is too tired to speak.

7. The next day she feels better and can talk to the protagonist, but she also thinks that she has no chance of being a singer on a cruise if she continues to have ship dizziness. Plus her ability is no where near a professional singer. She is wavering between what she want to do and what she can't do. The protagonist doesn't want to see her depressed and want to let her regain hope and confidence.

8. During the game the protagonist befriends some ametuer musicians or music lovers. She thought that if these people were to put up a mini performance, the girl may be influenced and sing along with the group.

9. When the cruise enters the part of ocean where there is less rolling, the girl gets much better. Then the protagonist puts up the mini band to show her. She is surprised, first by the fact the the protagonist prepares this for her, also by how the people enjoy their own music so much. She is moved and joins the performance as the vocal. By knowing that there are people who like her songs, she feels that she can have the courage to sing in front of people after this day.

10. Time comes when the cruise has to end, and they wave each other good bye without exchanging any contact numbers. They believe if one another gets famous someday, they'll definitely meet again.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Game Background Artworks and Sketches

These are some of the background artworks & sketches I have created for the side-scrolling game.

First, let's start with the map of the cruise:

The story of the game mainly happens on the 11th and 12th floor of this cruise ship. If time allows, it would be wonderful to expend the story's happening place to other floors, but in the meantime I'll focus on these two floors.

The game starts from the protagonist's room:

In order to take the elevator, the protagonist will first go through the corridor:

The elevator room on the 11th floor:

Elevator room on the 12th floor:

The deck:

The buffet:

Outdoor buffet:

The restaurant:

The front deck:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Art Style Inspirations-Super Dangan Ronpa 2

These are some games that have inspired me when choosing what art style to use for the game. I would like to introduce them individually in order to show what direction I will be pursuing.

Super Dangan Ronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Academy

Publisher: Spike Chunsoft

This is a murder mystery game with a group of students being thrown on an island, who are suddenly forced to live on the island forever. The only way to return to their normal lives is to murder another student without being found the culpit.
The screenshot shows a scene where the students still aren't told the fact that they are forced into a murder game, thus the colouring is still bright and colourful. I will use a similar colour palette for my backgrounds, since my setting is on a cruise with bright sun and a peaceful mood.

Animation Style Example

I have created a short sample animation using the style of my character design. Short animations like this will be inserted during the main events in the game. This scene is where the protagonist first meets the singing girl.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Animation Sample- Animating to Dialogue
This is an animating to dialogue assignment done in fall semester 2012. The dialogue is taken from random movies, and students get to animate their own visuals to go with the dialogue.

Background Research

After watching several inspirational game videos (ex: Oboromuramasa) during summer, I've realized that my interest is on the background art of the games. Considering the game genres that enable me to focus on the backgrounds more, I've adjusted the project to be a side-scrolling adventure game. Instead of venturing through different towns, the story will happen on a cruise ship in order to make the art-making more manageable.

Style references:

The protagonist, Kirsikka, wakes up in her room on the cruise in the beginning. It is her first day on the cruise; she went on this seven day trip in order to have one chance to relax before going into her first career.

She goes through the corridor and sees an old and friendly cabin crew.

Uniform reference:

"Welcome to the Dreamscape cruise line. Have you had a good rest last night?" The player answers with yes or no. Yes-"I'm glad to hear that. Hope you have a good time in the following week with our cruise." No-"I'm sorry to hear that...Did the ship roll too much last night? I hope our service will make you forget the unpleasant experience."

The cruise has 12 floors, and the protagonist's room is on the 10th. 

When the player walks to the front deck, Kirsikka hears the singing voice of a young girl. She stops and listens quietly till the end of the song (10~30 seconds till the end?)

Kirsikka claps for the girl. The girl turns around and sees Kirsikka; she is surprised and embarrassed at the same time. When Kirsikka tries to approach her, she runs down the stairs on the other side of the deck to avoid Kirsikka.

If the player follows her behind, the player will see the girl running to her room with her parents opening the door for her.

The player will always have the freedom to walk around the ship. When the player walks into the library on the 6th floor, Kirsikka sees the same girl picking up a book.

As she realized Kirsikka is standing beside her, she apologizes for running away. "I...I'm sorry for running away earlier. not used to being heard singing..." It depends on the player to either say nothing or to compliment her. If the player says nothing, the conversation will end. If the player compliments her, she'll reply with "Is- is that so? I-I'm not sure how to say this, but thank you..." and she leaves the scene half embarrassed yet half happy.

The next day, when Kirsikka visits the buffet,

she sees a 16-17 years old boy wearing headphones holding spoons and making sound from bowls and cups and glasses filled with water.

"Whoa!" he hides the spoons when he sees Kirsikka, "Don't tell the staffs!" Kirsikka shakes her head meaning she won't say anything. "Me? I'm just practicing my skills as a musician!" "Well...I know this cannot compete with the REAL musicians, but I like the sound of these guys." He hits one of the bowls making a single sound. "If there were a band where they accept this kind of instrument that'll be nice..." He then walks away.

Thinking back of the two people she met who likes music, Kirsikka begins to think that making them meet may be a good idea. Maybe they can even start a little band.

On her way back to her room she sees the old cabin crew again.  "Hello," he says. Kirsikka notices a piece of grass on his cleaner cart.

"What is this, you say? It's a musical instrument from my home country. An old tradition." He blows the leaf to show her the sound. "There are less and less people who learns how to blow the leave whistles." He shakes head with a mild smile. "Thankfully there are young people like you who is interested. Only if there are more people joining to gain this ability..." Hearing this makes Kirsikka's idea of making a music team more solid.

(to be continued)

The Division-an online game