Chris Geoff (art team lead), Jack Hamilton (character artist), Callum Roberts (generalist) - FuturLab - first panel talk of a day, concentrated on an indie 2D game Velocity 2X, currently in production, scheduled for 2014 release on PS3, PS4, PSVita and STEAM. FuturLab is an indie game developer based in Brighton that been around for 10years. This talk was mostly about pre-production stages, which I will shortly describe in bullet points below (as I've got loads of notes and found it extremly useful and good!):
- 2D games - cheaper in production, require less tools and is less time consuming than 3D, allow to concentrate on quality;
- art style for V2X - style that can be easily adapted between artists;
- in V2X more charaacters were introduced; different alien races that had to be easy to recognize on a small PSVita screen; used Alchemy for exaggerated sketches to explore different ideas (that were never meant to be used in game);
- environment art - vehicle and prop designs had a strong shapes, resolution was an imortant factor (PSVita little screen again), concepts are finished in similiar feel to the general art style;
- useful tip > if it doesn't fit now it won't fit later (so move on!)
- animation - 2D hand drawn animation (tose guys are crazy!) that suited general art style better than 3D (however 3D was used for prototyping and timing tests); 60fps for smooth times; hand drawn animation vs puppetry animation;
- used Unity as an interface for constructing game and then transferred it into the engine.
Kevin Carthew - creative manager -Team 17 - independent studio based in Wakefield, founded in 1990, well known from games like Worms, Alien Breed and Superfrog. Team 17 is currently developing titles for next gen and mobile platforms. Kevin talk was about How Animation Improves Interaction and concentrated mostly on animation in games (for some reasons all the BAF Game speakers were obsessed with animation and animation only, while we wanted to listen more about concept art and game engines ;)). Interactions during the gameplay shouldn't be disturbed by animations, like during QTE (God Of War, Heavy Rain, Beyon: Two Souls), but should be carefully planned. There should also be a reward system in game, which explains why free-to-play games are so popular (e.g. Candy Crush). Animations should be fresh and interesting, multiple animations used for the frequent events. Procedural animations are much better for video sharing. Animations should fit the content of interaction, should have a meaning and be fun.
Brian Horton - senior art director - Crystal Dynamics - worked on major franchises (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, Star Wars). Brian talked about his challenge when working on Lara Croft from Tomb Raider series, a very popular game character. His task was to bring back the Tomb Raider brand and make it interesting again. He talked us through his though process and what he wanted to achive in a newest game with young Lara Croft.