Wednesday, 13 May 2009


There For Tomorrow <3

The best band you've never heard of... When I can listen to a bands album and love every song on there they quickly become a favourite. I did need convincing on some of the songs I guess, not that didn't like it but I just had to listen to it a few times until I found the hooks. Sooo wish I could go see them at this years Warped Tour... just so happens to be in California when I'm visiting Boston in August :/ never mind eyyy

Linkssss =]
(also look for the acoustic version of this)

AND the cover song of Omarion's 'Ice Box' is pretty damn good

Ohh and not long now til their new album comes out on June 9th !!! ^_^ 

See ya ~Emi ^o^

The Days We Walked Are Over...

It's funny how some things end up working out... the future is so unpredictable! 

As much I loved the drawing side of game art, the 3d side turned out to be not for me. I did originally apply for both graphic design and game art at DMU, although I was accepted for both courses I thought going into game art would give me more of an advantage if I chose to work in gaming, which it probably would but that was more down to the fact that we'd have experience in 3d...

I'd rather go on a course that I fully enjoy all aspects of and perhaps give myself more time to think about what I really want to do as a career in the future. 

I have the interview coming up in 2 weeks so hopefully the transition will run smoothly, it will be a weird sense of deja vu doing the same interview as last year but atleast I know what to expect and really shouldn't be as nervous for this one!

I don't ever regret things, there isn't much to regret about this year though tbh I just treat it as a learning experience and if I hadn't chosen this course to start off with I would have never met such amazing people :)

and... DON'T WORRY of course I will come and visit you crazy lot in gameart I'm still in fletcher !!!!  

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Sunday, 22 March 2009


The year is over already?! Well the academic one atleast :/ It seems uni is in a different time zone to the rest of the world, it goes by too fast!! Or maybe that's just because I'm having way too much fun :D 

I'll admit once you get behind on things it gets very hard to catch up again, I would have been fine if I had kept up in the first place... To be honest I don't think having a 3 month summer holiday helped much as it is hard to break out of routine and regain the motivation to work again >.< 

To help with the transition back to uni I have decided to try and get at-least one drawing a day done in the summer, just to keep my drawing skills up to scratch and perhaps even improve them. Another thing that I will target is the subjects that I am weakest in, for example I would like to experiment a lot more with 3d studio max and turn it into something that I enjoy rather than struggle with :/

I am extremely grateful to have met so many people and made so many new friends this year, it just makes the experience a whole lot more enjoyable so thanks guys :D

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Actually turned out to be true... started trying to write this blog post and ended up doing some ink drawings ^_^

Seiken Densetsu: Japanese for 'Legend of the Holy Sword', known as the Mana series in the west. Square Enix has produced some of the most beautiful artwork that I have ever seen in a game. I absolutely love their style of drawing; the signature contrast of the cold and warm colours, the way the wash of colour is layered to produce stronger tones and richer shades... 

So this is kinda my attempt at their technique, starting with shells as they seem to be a frequent 'accessory' in mana characters... I did use a similar style in some of my a-level art work however I incorporated orange and blue hues into these ink studies.

Meh mine are nothing in comparison... obviously they aren't as vibrant or detailed... was just testing out some ideas anyway ^^ I think I will definitely start using watercolour pencils in my work more, they give such great colour pay off :D

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Friday, 13 March 2009


AKA 'Game Developers Conference'... well one of the things that first caught my eye is that the conferences taking place in March are being held in San Francisco! I've only been to America once and that's where we stayed for a week ^_^ though that was 2 years ago now eek!

Anyway on with the game conferences! Now it's not just handheld gaming consoles that will allow you to game whilst on the move, with mobile phones becoming more advanced they now provide the necessary battery power, graphics and memory storage to make game playing appealing and accessible. 

Also, with the latest designs in phones such as the iPhone bringing free internet access and 'applications' getting games on your mobile is now simpler than ever. Does this jeopardize the handheld gaming market at all? I think that with the better quality of games available for the consoles and with a more convenient control system they are safe for now... With practically everyone owning a mobile nowadays if they released a decent game for phones it would probably be quite successful. Another factor that would contribute to good sales would be that there is no need to buy a £100 console plus so far mobile games have been relatively cheap to download compared to the mainstream gaming consoles. 

Oh, and download this to your phone you know you want toooo ;)

On a different note, I remember when I came for my interview at DMU and my lecturer showed us one of the 'serious' games that was being developed ('dying dave' I think it was called? or something...) for educational purposes such as training to be a nurse. The idea is that you can simulate the situation without having to face the consequences if they go wrong. I think it's a great way of improving their experience without the risks of doing it in real life, so they can practice until they feel they are ready.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Personal aspirations and goals

I think somehow I've always known that I wanted to be an artist, it has just always been something that I'm good at and can thoroughly enjoy. There are so many different divisions that art comes into, which I was really made aware of when applying for university- I didn't even know game art existed as a course until I looked through courses at DeMontfort uni o_O 

I think it is so important to question if you are truly happy on the course that you are on... I mean if you decided later that it wasn't for you would you consider it a waste of 3 years or a learning experience? 

At the end of the day art is my passion and even so far this course has made me develop my drawing skills immensely because although previously employed tone, light, line, composition etc. into my artwork I wasn't as aware of perspective and to get the form right you need to be able to judge the angle effectively. 

I have learned the significance of actually getting out of the classroom and drawing from real life, as to get a sense of depth and movement from a drawing, it can really only be achieved from viewing the reference first hand.

My first academic year is only just coming to an end and I feel I have really gained a lot from it, furthering my skills as an artist and broadening my understanding of other artists techniques and influences. I am hoping to at least develop the quality of my work to an industry standard that I could apply in my future career.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Life changing or career building?

Depending on the roll that you apply for, the qualities that are sought after in the game industry vary. I think having that experience and training in the chosen field that you want to work in must pay off in the long run. There is no end to creativity, but I fail to see how you could harness this potential without the necessary skills. 

Found this on the corporate page from Nintendo's website -
'Developing a video game takes the skills of many talented people. Programming knowledge is a must. A good background in C++ can go far. Other classes that are helpful include graphic design, computer modeling and animation, and mathematics.

There are also some helpful courses that may not seem obvious: history, philosophy, creative writing, logic, music appreciation and drama. All of these help in character and story development.'

So as you can see one of the most important requirements is an understanding of programming o_O do I learn any of that? I can use the 3d modeling software to an extent and am improving my drawing skills gradually but I don't actually know any programming as such... As for the 'helpful courses' I suppose this could count as creative writing, plus I did an A-Level in English Language which probably increased my vocabulary and comprehension of English. Oh and an 'appreciation of music', I have that too ;D It's not like I listen of one kind of music, I will actually give anything a try. I think for me it has to have a hook, where there's a certain part of a song that I will repeat it for just to hear that one part. 

For the majority of my education I didn't actually know what I wanted to do, so I stuck to both creative and liberal arts courses to keep my options open for possible career paths. I think doing this has expanded my knowledge of subjects and confirmed the fact that I will always end up going back to art.

I do think they structured the Gameart course well in that it covers the most of the requirements key to becoming a successful game artist and so hopefully will result in a high employability when I leave to join the industry.
See ya ~Emi ^o^ 

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Game music

Far from the tinny sounds of past consoles, gaming music has evolved to become a key feature in today's games. Building tension, raising the adrenaline... to make a gamer truly feel part of a game. 

In Super Mario Galaxy, when you first start the game the music is understated then as you progress through the game collecting more power the music crescendos into a full orchestra. 
The live instruments are powerful and add a new found depth and expression to the game.
In each location there is a different atmosphere which is created by the music.

Game soundtracks are not something I listen to like a CD, however I do have some of the tracks off Burnout 3 Takedown... although that actually is 'real' music I guess. I think it matches the game well as it is music that you can enjoy listening to in the background but not so overpowering that it distracts from the gameplay.
It is important that the pace of the music is consistent with the gameplay as it would seem out of place if your character was for example fighting a boss to calm, relaxing music o_O
Especially in action games, the music has to sync with game control.

Music is integral to all games, although some rely on it more than others...
In Electroplankton, experimenting with the visual 'characters' conjures an aural simplicity that is actually extremely effective. In Zelda Ocarina of Time, the ocarina plays tunes which enrich the gameplay by offering keys and events, and is very inventive in how you make so many different tunes with just 5 tones.

Somehow got onto listening to the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire... It seems to produce an energy which is motivational and exotic sounding and captures the upbeat 'feel good' aspect of the film. I haven't even seen the film yet, but just listening to the music alone really makes me want to watch it!
Don't remember where I found this but they did a good job! Especially love the guy jumping around as Mario haha just shows how much of an influence even the music has an effect on gaming culture, and from the audience's reaction you could so tell they recognised the tunes:

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Blue Steel

Never seen this movie before but Zoolander came on e4 last night and it has got to be one of the funniest films I've seen in a looong time :D In fact pretty much any film with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson is always hilarious.

Watch it... it's so hot right now haha

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Game Engines

Hmmm where to start with this one... Truthfully I don't know a lot about game engines so I will try and write down what I have learnt about them. It is more economically viable to reuse a game engine to create a different game. 

As I recall, Zelda Link's Awakening used the game engine for 'Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru' (or in English- 'For the Frog the Bell Tolls'), which is apparently shares mutual game design elements, and there are also references in the Zelda game - Richard, one of the characters from the previous game makes an appearance, and is surrounded by frogs which I guess makes sense seeing as they were quite a major role in the game. Another indication of the game is that the music played in Richard's Villa is a remixed version of the Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru overworld theme.

Moving on from Zelda ramblings, for sequels at-least reusing a game engine is a valuable resource for producing it quickly and easily.

According to wikipedia : 

'Modern game engines are some of the most complex applications written, frequently featuring dozens of finely tuned systems interacting to ensure a finely controlled user experience. The continued refinement of game engines has created a strong separation between rendering, scripting, artwork, and level design. It is now common (as of 2003), for example, for a typical game development team to have several times as many artists as actual programmers.'

Which is good news for me as an aspiring game artist, the more jobs that are available the better ;)

Proprietary technology - ' Companies that are able to develop useful proprietary technologies in-house are rewarded with a valuable asset: they can either use it exclusively or profit from the sale of licensing of their technology to other parties.' I think industry standards won that debate, as there is less of a risk factor.

Additive and subtractive environments refer to the way in which the 3d world is created. In additive, there is a void that must be filled in order to produce a landscape for the world. The problem with this is it is prone to ‘leaks’, which is basically a hole in the game. The opposite of this is the subtractive method, where the designer takes an infinite solid and picks away at it until there is a space for your character to exist in. 

On a separate note, I remember when I was in Japan and was on the coach on the way to the hotel and got really excited when I saw the Capcom factory just because I recognised from one of my games how cool am I... haha XD

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Gaming Cultures

<== Kinda looks like something out of space invaders... saw this whilst on holiday in Vienna and being a geek decided to take a picture of it haha

Gaming really is becoming more and more integrated into everyday culture, thanks to the growing popularity of 'family consoles' such as the Wii, just about every household now has a gaming console.

Tamagotchis were all the rage back in the 90s, and were something of a phenomenon as all little kids became obsessed with the cute little pixels. It was easy to see why, it was like having a mini pet that you could look after and was dead cheap to get ahold of. Unfortunately I think it got to a point where they were banned from schools as they were distracting us too much from our schoolwork ^^'

There is an internet slang that has arisen through games, such as 'noob' or 'pwd' which is interesting to see how it developed. Another way of determining the popularity of games: "as i recently discovered, there is a simple way of locating this percentage of the population - whistle the zelda theme tune in a public place".  

I did used to go on a site called Gametalk back when I was 12/13 years old, it was nice to discuss the games you were passionate about and to get help when you were stuck on a game - it provided a sense of community. Around the same time I did go on MSN a lot more and did have people that I would talk to on there that I would necessarily know in real life, however I'm not as naive as I used to be and don't add people on facebook etc. that I don't know/recognise :/

This made me laugh...
Yes... Pokemon flavoured icecream :) I wonder what it tasted like? I was going to get it but I really fancied a chocolate icecream so I decided to be boring and stick with the safe option :P

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Games Industry

Oh god where do I start with this one? Every wednesday we get a lecture on how there are fewer jobs becoming available due to the credit crunch etc. which actually does scare me to death :S but there's still time for things to improve...

There are several different careers within the game industry, Game programmer, Game designer, Level designer, Game producer, Game artist, Game tester... It just shows how diverse the variety of roles there are available, so people can have many different backgrounds and still apply to work in the games industry if they choose, which also shows the intense competition that us students alone face when we head into the world of work. 

Recently games companies are reaching financial strains which is forcing many of the smaller ones to either join the larger companies or risk dying out. This results in a loss of jobs which makes it even harder for us to apply for jobs in the industry... Who knows what the future holds though, maybe in a couple of years when the economy gets better smaller companies will be the ones moving the innovation forward by thinking differently.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Thinking outside the box...

What is creativity exactly? It's kind of a hard concept to describe as there are so many different ways to interpret it. I'd say that creativity is the process of generating ideas and following them through to produce a successful outcome... although that sounds almost mathematical? Creativity to me has always been about artistic expression. I find creativity to be very much to do with the arts and the visual representation of things. It's also related to thought processes- When I visited the Tate Modern a couple of years ago I saw the 'Lobster Phone' by Salvador Dali, where he took two ordinary forms and turned it into something that was intriguing because you just wouldn't normally see a lobster and a phone juxtaposed together.

When I was younger I used to love doing craft activities, I would make my own birthday cards, jewellery... would you say that it was creative because I chose to make it myself rather than buy them?

Okay, so from researching creativity I have found that I'm kinda getting mixed up with creativity and innovation, so what is the difference between the two? I mean creativity is about the ideas but I suppose it's more of a mental process... Innovation is taking those ideas further and converting them into original yet useful concepts and applying them in a commercial aspect.

<= In Japan the way the food is presented is highly important, even more so than in European cuisine. The Japanese chefs will go to great lengths to think of creative ways to display the food so that it is visually appealing. I remember when I hosted Erisa, my partner in the Japanese exchange I participated in way back in 2005, she would photograph the meals we made for her which I guess was really sweet because she must have thought they looked pretty good!

As for who actually 'does' creativity in games, I'd say most of the positions definitely involve creativity one way or another. The artists are creative in the most obvious way, with concept art being a development of the ideas they produce. The art director has to manage the artists and have a creative overview of what the game will eventually look like. It is a skill to be able to influence peoples imagination with writing so to make the story line believable and realistic it requires creative output on the writers behalf. I believe creativity is enhanced by technical constraints, as it pushes the programmers to think differently in order to come up with a solution to the problems they face.

I discovered some of Henry Moore's work when researching for one of my A-level projects. His sculptures to me are creative because of the way he deconstructs the shapes of an object into simple forms which make them appear almost abstract yet still able to be recognised as a whole. I also like the fluid curves of the sculptures and think it compliments the environments he places them in.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Game Design: Gameplay

Gameplay is what you make of it, it is not only the interaction with the console but the fact that you can control the fate of your character. Some would say that gameplay is the core characteristics of a game and would involve tutorials, high scores, saving progress etc. However it is not necessary to follow by these 'rules', in Electroplankton the staple elements of the videogame landscape are eliminated to let the player explore new means of gameplay. 

Is gameplay important? I think of gameplay as the means of how you progress through a game, what challenges or activities you participate in to get that to that higher score or next level. Even if there isn't a point scheme as such, what is it that drives you to maintain an interest in the game and find it fun?

The Nintendo DS brought a new form of gameplay to the scene with the touch screen capabilities, which allowed the development of new genres of games. Nintendogs for example wouldn't have been as effective in convincing us that it the most realistic of virtual pets, with the ability to stroke it, bath it etc. in a way that feels like it is more than just a game.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Game Design: Story and character

In 24 your perception of who appears to be on the good or bad side basically gets completely turned around. Not wanting to spoil the series if some of you haven't watched it, I will just say that not everyone is who you think they are and it's the characters that you aren't watching that suddenly find themselves at the centre of the story. It does create unusual twists in the plot line which in itself makes the viewer immerse themselves with the depths of the story. Another interesting concept they added to it was that each episode was in real time. The reason I discovered this series actually is through playing the video game, which links the 2nd and 3rd series of the program.

It is important to relate with the characters in a plot in order to feel connected yourself. In the Twilight series and His Dark Materials I felt I could share the protagonists concerns, especially since they are both teenage girls and so was a similar age to me when I was reading the books. I like the way the stories start out innocent and unsuspecting then you discover how some of the characters have a dark side and you feel empathy for the main character as you feel they have also broken your trust. 

In Alice in Wonderland the characters are colourful and vivid but seem strange when placed in moody background.

The way the characters react to each other is also important, which is where secondary characters (bit parts) come into the equation. Much thought has to go into the design of these characters as they surround your player and interact with them.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Game Technology

Looking at all the games systems that I've played on I'd say they're all pretty easy to get the hang of, although I didn't start gaming until the 90s and by this time the structure had been modified to make it more user friendly so you could enjoy the game without having to consciously think about which buttons you should press and so on.

There was a time around the mid 80s where games companies were experimenting with various external hardware ideas to regenerate an interest in the market again after the 1983 video game crash, creating additions to the consoles which were appealing because it presented gaming at a new angle. Yeah, it was a gamble with some of the new products they came out with and some of them weren't that successful but hey it's through trial and error that eventually they got it right.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

Nintendo has proved that the d-pad/AB button combination works wonderfully for so many games and the design is still popular with todays 7th generation consoles.

I think in terms of complexity the gameboy was probably the best way to introduce me into gaming, it is easier to get the hang of 2d games as the controls are a lot simpler... I mean I was only 10 when I first went on it but even my 3 year old cousin can play on my gameboy no problem o_O

It is amazing to think of how far gaming has come since it's early days, it has definitely progressed gameplay by providing the means for improved graphics and methods of controlling the game. The introduction of new innovative technology such as the wii and ds has extended the gaming audience dramatically as it presents the consoles as something that is accessible.

As new technology developed people suddenly became more aware of games. As with advancing computers, the design of consoles were pushed to fit the latest technology such as increased memory, better performance and graphics, whilst streamlining them to appear less bulky- making their exteriors more attractive in the home.

With the latest generation of consoles being so technologically advanced it's hard to say what the future of games will look like but I look really do look forward to seeing what they come up with next!

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Or so the story goes...

As a gamer it is almost always the story-line that pulls me into the game and makes me want to play it a million times over even after I've completed it. It's the same as a book where you know exactly what will happen but you still get a thrill from reliving the excitement of discovering the plot and learning more about the characters.

The majority of games I play are RPGs/action games, which are pretty
much meaningless if there isn't a decent story to follow. I personally find the storyline for Zelda: Link's Awakening particularly compelling. It is a GBC game so the graphics are okay for a handheld but I guess this is what a game needs when other aspects are lacking. Saying this, looking at the graphics of the ps3 or xbox360, as breathtaking as the visuals are i'd rather play a nintendo console anyday just because the storylines tend to be more involved and make me actually want to play the game.

Another example of the importance of storylines in gaming is to maintain the players interest. Obviously not all games have a story though, arcade games such as the original mario series didn't have much of a story to go by (defeat bowser, save princess peach...) yet this didn't detract from the gameplay which was basically just plain addictive. I think I prefer games with more depth to them as it makes the experience more realistic.

I think the reason some games at the moment aren't so great is because the stories have lost originality and impact, there are a lot of games out there (3rd party games in particular) that just have no passion whatsoever and they're just boring to play.

In the Harvest Moon series you create your own story for your character, it is the choices you make that determine certain aspects of the game, with there being many variables in the game in how you decide to spend your time each day such as how long to spend on livestock, planting vegetables etc.

My favourite story line is in the Sword of Mana, there are a lot of characters and I found it interesting how they all turned out to be linked. You can tell a lot of thought went into the story, with there being a choice of which perspective you can follow- at the start of the game you can choose to be either the male or female character, but depending on which you choose takes you on a different route in the game and it's really interesting to discover how these two seemingly separate stories are actually entwined which is what captivated me about this game.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Art Direction

The role of an art director is to co-ordinate the efforts of the various artists working on a project. Even if the game does not have a theme as such the designs still have to be consistent in order to fit into the game.

I suppose the managerial responsibility of the director limits their creative output as it is more of a overseeing and guiding of the other artists who produce the actual artwork. I would have thought the art direction in games would be similar to films with the evaluating of the same aspects for example characters or scenery.

An art director who I hugely admire is Hayao Miyazaki as his films are just breathtaking in terms of visuals and story line. I think all Studio Ghibli films are pretty damn good though my favourite has to be Spirited Away, where Miyazaki did such an awesome job as an art director expressing his feelings and life experiences within the movie. Also the way each scene has been hand-painted just gives so much more depth and truly shows the skills of the artists.

It seems that to become an art director you would start as an artist first and work your way up- as to help guide the artists in an effective way you would need to be able to relate and have the knowledge and experience to deal with the problems they encounter.

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Monday, 26 January 2009

Game Design

I've been reading Junichi Masuda's (director of gamefreak) blog for a while and it seems he always has a particularly interesting insight into the world of game design ==>
You should check out his posts even if you're not so much a pokemon fan, I like the way he breaks down the mechanics of gameplay and questions the underlying structure of games in order to make the games they are developing even better.

Sooo about gameplay... In magazine reviews when a game is being rated the gameplay will be one of the aspects beings assessed but this is always separate from graphics or sound etc. Gameplay could be described as the interaction between the user and the game, how it progresses, the way the controls work...

At the moment gameplay is being pushed further than ever to create a new experience for gamers, the nintendo wii for example using the remote to produce a whole new genre challenging the concept of gameplay. Speaking of different genres, it seems that what you can expect from a game in terms of gameplay depends on what category it falls into.
Board games are traditionally intended to be played as a turn taking based multiplayer game, with 2-4 players being the average. The majority of computer games are single player and gameplay varies drastically between each genre whereas most board games tend to be the whole 'first one to finish wins' concept.

BTW, a pacman board game??? :O it's cuuute!

Oh and I thought this was just hilarious, but does make me think how far should we take gaming in terms of realism?

See ya ~Emi ^o^

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New year!!

A new year, a new start... eek it's 2009 already when did that happen?! I am hoping to be a bit more organised this year, I got about 4 diaries/2009 year planners for christmas so I'm all set haha :D

Happy new year everyone!
See ya ~Emi ^o^