Propose and sketch out a prototype idea for a game for which you will develop an avatar based interface.
Design and build the assets for the avatar prototype
Present your work, including research and evaluation reports and process documentation
MY AVATAR GAME: BaLlBiT_fOS
Table of Content:
Brainstorm & MindMap pgs. 1-3
The winning idea pgs. 3-4
Research and development pgs. 4-13
Some executional details pgs. 13-19
Self evaluation pgs. 19-22
BaLlBiT_fOS: brainstorm and MIND MAP
When i started looking into ideas for the avatar game and interface, my first thought was to continue developing the character of my first hero vs villains game – Happy Vulture farm – the vulture.
I was convinced it would have been an interesting further development of the idea.
So i started working on the volture accessories and possible animations
I gave it a bucket and animated its tail and beak. on a separate file i animated its eye, the idea being that at each change of accessory he would blink at the player in complicity.
BaLlBiT_fOS: the WINNING idea
But… in my mind there was another character that wanted to have its ‘coming out’ and was getting really impatient so by end of november i completely turned around and away from the vulture further development and went into first development of my other concept and character, BaLlBiT fOS, a cross between a Ball and a Rabbit from Outer Space, a naughty, mischievous Ballbit that has a proper attitude toward the world, it’s the fool, the clown, the buffon, the goblin, the mischief in all of us, that is what it represents.
there were a couple of fundamental reasons why i turned away from the vulture and back to exploring this character instead.
firstly, the idea that i wanted to differentiate as much as possible my creative approaches, explore new stories and narratives, alternative angles if the same kind of vision that drives me, my curiosity, my journey.
secondly, it’s a braintrick. as you will read from my self evaluation notes, i think i need ot be more disciplined and allocate more time for this, to focus more. this is a trick that i know works with me: to start something and put it out there, because once it’s out, i cannot but start fiddling with it to make it better, develop it more etc. If i leave it in its embrio form, a sketch somewhere, an idea and a couple fo screen shots or else, it will stay there for years, and i basically make myself miss the train.
BaLlBiT_fOS: research and DEVELOPMENT
Ballbit_fOS is a naughty adult character for adult game players, for people who know the world in its so many different faces and tones and shades, for people that are mature enough to understand playfulness is key to our well being, mischief and stupidity that make us laugh is like meditation for the soul. I want to convey that there are multiple realities and it all depends on our attitude towards what we see ì, what we want to see, aìhow we decide to see it and therefore act upon it… i believe the world can be in a much happier place if only we were a bit more open to our own stupidity and to constant change and transformation: because the beauty of all this journey lies in that nothing stays the same and the reason we are still here is because we are an animal that can adapt and therefore aìevolve quickly: we need to nurture change and diversity because that is what makes us survive in the chain of nature. Evolution is about adapting to eh world’s constant changes, not to get stuck into one vision of the world. And embracing stupidity in its purest, cleanest, most honest form i believe helps us going through this constant change with a smile.
I want to tell the world our journey is a happy place full of adventures and changes, things do not have to be taken always so seriously if we want to play this game called life happily, and that is what ìBalbit fos is about.
First and foremost i therefore decided to make a quite clear statement: this is non-gender specific, sorry. It is a statement of intents, because it is the first and clearest step and proof that this avatar is about change, diversity, stepping out of the grid. Do you enjoy the idea of playing with a chacììrachter that makes you think already at the first click about diversity, change, transformation, poke, mischief, cultural boxes and naughty activism? If so, please come on board, you are in for a treat and a thoughtful smile. It’s about being aware of our little crazy obsessions, about the fact that we are so human and full of fails, about the fact that there is nothing wrong with it as long as there is respect for the others, as long as we don’t impose on others, as long as we laugh about our stupidity and failures in a conscious adult manner.
So ballbit fos wants to be a bit kinly but with a laugh, it wants to be a bit pushy but with complicity, it wants to push you out of your comfort zone but always by holding your hand kind of light motiv. It wants to be rough but cute at the same time. It’s what you would call an experienced fool. And here he is in all its drawing beauty (B/W china).
And that is more or less my vision and relevant consumer insight that is behind the idea, conceptual development and creative execution of my cutely mischievous BaLlBiT_fOS: a naughty lovely cRoSs between a Ball and a Rabbit from Outer Space.
Another Part of the decision process was looking at possible accessories and how to deliver the mood of the character and its changing mood depending on the accessories the gamer decide to give it.
So instead of giving it a specific environment, that would have closed the possibilities, reduced them to the look and feel of the environment it is in, i decided to simply change colours of the background as the accessories teìhemselves are clear and distinctive enough on the kind of mood and world they represent but without a specific environment to see them in the whole story and game behaves more like a book rather than a film, in the sense that you choose the accessory and therefore a clear mood but you are still free to imagine which world Balbit for will use that accessory in.
Here is the colour palette of the background
And character and accessory digital development
The Avatar: its accessories mindmap and narrative…
Initially as you can see i was keen on creating quite a few accessories to make up for the lack in gender choice, so that the player still has at least more than three basic changing options. I was planning on having piercings, a gag ball, a gas mask, different tails and maybe even rabbit-tunnels for the ears.
At the end though i finalised only three accessories, i chose the ball gag, tail and gas mask. Reason is time as always, i did not have time to finish all, gven i lost my usb and three weeks worth of work just before submission date. The reason i chose the accessories i choose is because it leaves the panorama a bit broader as it mixes clearly kinky accessories, ball gag, with clearly a la mad max steam punk after was ones, gas mask, with cute manga style ones, tail.
This way the overall vision stays that one of an experienced fool, that can go from cute to kinky to warrior to whaìtever and is not stuck in just one basket (the kinky one or the steampunk one or the cute one). This executional detail again represents and supports my vision of the game as i wrote before, that one where there is not one world or one only reality but multiple so we are not stuck, and neither my character, into one specific mood and way of seeing the world but we change, from cute to kinky to warrior to whatever else….
In fact after i thought this through as per the above thinking process i realised i wanted my avatar to show both its side and front view so that the whole character is represented and kind of shown in all its changed glory. How does the accessory impact its physicality, how does it impact its movement, how does it impact its naughtiness…. Etc.
Some EXECUTIONAL DETAILS:
Here is how i developed the final digital files, got the references above, and made my own digital version of those, for both the tail and the ball gag. For the gas mask instead, as i really liked the deviantart productions, i looked for one that was on their website available and free to use in terms of license. And i found actually my favourite one that could really play well with the avatar. Here it is.
My gas mask of choice: what a beauty! and free of rights!
The beauty of this mask ìis that it is not just an accessory to be added to the avatar, the beauty of this accessory is that it really changes the whole feel, look and actual physicality of the character, so that the concept of changing an accessory visually makes the gamer understand that it also changes the whole character mood, vision and reason to be. The ears change, the face shape changes, the way in which it can move changes too.
So ideally each one of those accessories should point straight away at the gamer that accessories changes means also character profile changes, not just the mood but also its look and feel and therefore ‘executional’ (the creative execution) world to live in.
This is also why, when i prepared the gas-mask animated file and made a mistake in the animation i decided to keep in in a later moment as soon as i realised it would help deliver the above concept of overall character change for each one accessory. The mistake is that there is a keyframe, inside the animation of the avatar when it gains its gas-mask, that basically shows the character for a second both with and without the mask in its front view…. That is a strong visual actually because it remind the gamer of the character in its naked form and it also reminds the gamer of the fundamental concept of not keeping things too serious, always having a ìn element of complicit poke, complicit joke, complicit laugh. That is actually how it looks to me in the animation…. As if the avatar was blinking at me in complicity with me at playing with accessories and moods.
Here is the steps by which i literally developed the accessories in their digital form.
And now background, animation and therefore character soul in…
Here are the other two accessories with respective color palette applied, prepared, cleaned, optimised in photoshop and ready to be used in flash.
And here are the actual flash swf files as you will see them in the ‘docs’ folder in the google drive, under ‘avatar’.
Last but not least, this time i am not forgetting sfx, i want a specific tune, i want the KFL tune what time is love, i want it specifically for the ball gag accessory as it links perfectly, and for the time being i am leaving it also on the gas mask and the tail but it is a place holder, i want the music to link and be specific to the accessory so that i can add another layer of characterisation and narrative of Ballbit fos adventures!
(i am not able to upload the mp3 on this blog as to have this feature enabled i’d need to pay a monthly fee which i am not prepared to do, sorry)
I have produced a tune specifically for example that has a whip sfx that could work amazingly well with the next kinky accessory i’ll give ballbit fos, a proper, always genderless, dominatrix/master kit.
Sfx placeholder: Please see folder sfx in the google drive
I have another 2 mins tune that i produced just with the sounds of woods, wind, nature, that i could easily adapt for the tail accessory.
So that would be my ideal for the sfx.
And now to the … self evaluation
As per my Computer Game Studies essay, the thoughts below represent most general things i need to improve.
what I found hard: I really find hard to get a proper grip on all the different software.
Please do not get me wrong, this is not a discharge of responsibility, the following is actually an honest take-on-responsibility, mainly discipline I guess. so… the bottom line is… I need to find more time for this, I find it really hard to get things working straight away. for instance… I have a mac with gm2 we work on pc with gm1.4, the computers at school have adobe 7, I have adobe 6, so I need to do some things with my computer and not from school, I do not have word, so I need to write at school or – like i am doing today – directly on the google drive using google docs online, I lost my USB one weeks before submission, I lost three weeks worth of work (the other 3 months I saved on another drive as well luckily), I cannot really practice at home, I have to work 3 days a week with a 6am start, lessons are three days a week with a 7am start… sometimes I also need to breath…. so I should really stop working and only doing this but I can’t afford it in London. I just can’t so am going to stick to doing as best as I can with the time I have and rather do little but as good as i can, rather then loads but poorly. And i am trying to put as many character ideas i have out so that – even if at embryonic level – they are out and public, i secure my space in the gaming panorama by publishing anything finished asap so nobody else can do the same and at the same time, because i have put something out, i am pushed to develop it further.
One silly little example of the frustrations of not being a software nerd and therefore not having the tools as perfect as they sìcould be is that i realised there was a mistake in the flash file of the tail accessory – the gag has disappeared off stage, there is a problem with the stage size or something… but i can’t correct it for submission because i am at home now and i developed the final file at school which means… my adobe 6 is not gonna make it to modify that only mistake without me having to redo most of the file because school adobe is version 7.
I really do care about the creative concept and the execution and I do have a clear vision of what I want in my avatar so I am not going to compromise on quality just for quantity. Now it is my time to do things exactly the way I want them, for what I can, to show to the world my perspective, my individualism, my character so I shall, even if only a little because …
I AM TOO SLOW, I NEED TO GET MUCH QUICKER AND TO DO THAT I NEED TO HAVE TIME TO PRACTICE.
I mean I head also some kind of technical problems but they are quite easy to fix, it’s more about having the tooldìs ready and working and me having good knowledge of those tools.
Good thing is that I at least made a timing and tried to stick to it, I was quite in good shape until I lost the USB and that is why I am actually able to submit something because I was in good shape up until mid January! so lesson learn from first term, always try and keep your work up-to-date on all your drives. lesson learnt from second term: now get a proper grip on the software.
what I enjoyed doing: I love developing the idea, planning the structure of the idea, its conceptual development, its aesthetics in relation to its vision. I love my character, feel it, it’s part of me.
Basically I love doing in computer gaming what I loved doing for 20 year in the communication industry: creatively strategize a concept and bring it to life as a Master Puppeteer.
I am good at coming up with original but relevant ideas, building structure and narratives behind ideas, I am good at making them with legs that can walk a long way, I always make sure they are in some way relevant to a specific audience both conceptually and aesthetically otherwise they won’t last or hook.
I am not so good at…. the production side of things.. That is where I am slow but I think it is also because I am such a generalist, a bigger picture kind of person that the details come always after for me (and take loads of time because I focus my energies firstly on the idea creation and strategy).
what I can do best: I am pretty eclectic in my skills, I mean I am a good creative strategist and I know that from my successes, I understand consumers and the importance of insights to be relevant to them, I know how to create a story that can grow in years, keeping innovating without changing its initial concept, I have a good understanding of music and can produce it, I know very well the links between sound and movement as I have been a puppeteer in my early career and am now an animator (concept is the same, only difference that puppeteers give life to physical puppets, game developers give life to virtual puppets).
so… from what I say above it seems like… I am all set for success, if I can have enough discipline to focus on it and not get distracted or side-trapped by London’s expensive life. I have decided to solely focus on school and give myself a chance to see if that really makes a difference. if it doesn’t I am missing something and it’s not worth, I missed the train kind of thing. but if it does (and I am pretty sure it will), I will enrol in the second year and keep it as that, no job, not my cosy flat and a room somewhere instead, but much more time to actually give it a proper 100% go.
So let’s see!