Final examination

As the project is winding down, I would like to use this opportunity to share some of my thoughts on the project, my blog and outcomes overall. This has been a long year and in relation to this module, I have learnt a lot, both about the games industry and my own work habits/preferences.

First and foremost, what I have learned from this project has been both useful and informative. By questioning both what I know about art styles (Historic and contemporary) and how I interpret them, I have been able to discover more about their effective use in both as a games identity and as a gameplay mechanic. By going back and playing a number of older games that I remember having interesting visual styles, I have been able to discover a number of old methods that see far less use in the modern industry.

As far as my blog is concerned, the one big problem I have had is my writing style. Whilst I have attempted to write with a more informal attitude, I have found this difficult due to many personal reasons and my interest in the matter leads me to write in a way similar to my Essay writing style. Occasionally I believe I was able to work past it, but these rare occasions just made my overall writing feel inconsistent in some areas.

As for my outcomes, I feel as if they have allowed me to gain a far better understanding of the visual side of the games industry. Seeing how long term series manage to innovate in terms of their art style really taught me more about how visual direction is approached in development. Seeing games develop with vastly different art styles remain immediately recognizable made me seriously reconsider what I classified as an “Art style”.

Whilst I have not covered everything that I wanted with this project, I have gained valuable insight into the visual side of the games industry. In my future work, I believe I will be able to take this knowledge and work better with art teams. Whilst I intend to act with a design focus, being able to understand more what is desirable in terms of visuals to fit with my designs will be an invaluable skill to have. I have found this project both enjoyable and productive and am glad to have spent the time that I have on it.

Graphics VS art style

Earlier on in the project, I had a misconception that Graphics was a term very closely tied to a game’s art style. As I have looked more into the matter, I have realised that, whilst graphics have a had a large impact on how art styles have been developed over the years, art styles have often been created regardless of the technology available at the time.

A good way of being able to tell this is by looking at the development of the Character driven games (Sonic, Mario, Rare games ECT). Initially, these games were created when graphics were far more limited (NES, N64 ect) which limited how expressive their animations could be and how detailed their assets could be. As technology has increased, these games have, for the most part (Barring spin off’s) kept a very similar and identifiable art style that has only increased in quality with technology’s advancement. Another good example of this would be to compare the upcoming “Yooka Laylee” to its primary inspiration “Banjo Kazoie” on the N64. Both are heavily focused on characters and bright vibrant worlds and the only real difference in their art style is the quality of the assets on display.

With the dawn of VR and advanced graphics processing technology, video game graphics are likely to constantly increase (although at varying speeds) as time goes on. However, whilst new avenues might allow for art style trends to develop, often times they will not develop due to technology’s development rather based on how people interact with it.