TakuChat http://www.takuchat.com Sat, 13 Sep 2014 08:09:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Game Art for Gamers 104: Color Theory http://www.takuchat.com/game-art-gamers-104-color-theory/ http://www.takuchat.com/game-art-gamers-104-color-theory/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 22:00:15 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26457

This week we’ll be taking a basic intro to Color Theory before getting into the more subjective topics relating to color. This introduction is important because we need to have an idea of why artists choose certain combinations of colors … Continue reading

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This week we’ll be taking a basic intro to Color Theory before getting into the more subjective topics relating to color. This introduction is important because we need to have an idea of why artists choose certain combinations of colors when it comes to presentation. Be sure to check out earlier articles focusing on “The Elements of Art” and “Principals of Design

Some of these topics i’ll be bringing up below do apply meaning to scenery and characters, but that’s not the focus of this article. Look forward to next weeks “Color Meaning” article for that.

A Brief Explanation of Color

I have no doubt you’ve seen a color wheel before. The color wheel is a representation of the spectrum of colors the eye can see. Below is a primary and secondary color palate using red, green, and blue.  Kind of looks like a Venn diagram right?

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This is what happens when you merge the primary colors of the spectrum. Merging red, green, and blue 100% creates white light. Here you also find the secondary colors of the spectrum Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow that are created when mixing only two of the primary colors.

So if you’ve used image editing programs like Photoshop and tried to make colors with a slider, you now understand why setting all the sliders to their highest results in white, and other variations create other colors. It is all based on the spectrum.

So the short explanation is that the color wheel is composed of the spectrum of visible light.White light contains all colors. The primary colors red, green, and blue can essentially be used to create all colors by adjusting each primaries value.

The Color wheel

So here we see the color wheel, this is our reference for a lot of what we’ll talk about in this article and in the future. As you can see very similarly to the image before, you have your primary and secondary colors, along with tertiary colors.

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(Source)

Now this is nowhere near a commonly used color wheel, but it does a great job of breaking down the colors. When it comes to creating color schemes you’d use a wheel that’s more advanced. Like the one below.

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There are also some very important lines in the first diagram. A triangle outlining the three different primary colors. And then another line drawn to adjacent colors, for instance blue and yellow. These lines represent complementary colors.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are colors that tend to look good together, and provide contrast.  Blue and Yellow, or Azure and Orange are easily the most commonly seen in media because of skin color; And also explosions…

If you look at the color wheel you’ll find that these color combinations I named are on opposite sides of the wheel.

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Complementary is the most basic of color schemes. It’s very frequently used in Battlefield promo images.

Warm & Cool

If you were to draw a horizontal line across Violet and Chartreuse Green on the color wheel you’d have warm colors on the top then cool colors on the bottom. Clearly redder tones are warm, bluer tones are cool. This is an example of feeling generated by colors.

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Here in this scene from Kingdom Hearts 2 you see Kairi’s home town outside of Destiny Islands, a similar setting can be found in Twilight Town also in the game. The tone of this scene might feel comforting and welcoming

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The majority of SSX 2012 stages are bathed in tones and tints of blue or cyan, note how the rails and arrows are red since the complementary of cyan would be most visible. The tone here is clearly less homey, you certainly feel exposed to the elements.

Tints, Tones, and Shades; White, Gray and Black

Keeping this brief, in the context of the color wheel, tints contain white, tones contain gray, and shades contain black. Can’t get any simpler than that. These terms are often used wrong, I think people ignore tint and tone most of the time and just use shade for everything.

So adding white, gray, or black to a primary would give it one of these three names.

Other Color Schemes

Lastly on this topic I’ll talk about some other basic color schemes often used. As with the previous concepts these can also present feelings and moods.

If you want to experiment with seeing these color schemes on characters or scenes I’d recommend using Adobe Kuler to play around.

Monochromatic

You might immediately think “Black & white” but the usual ‘near death’ indicator isn’t restricted to just those colors. Monochromatic can be used for any primarily single color scene.

image10

Probably one of the most well-known examples is the nuke scene in the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

And while CoD isn’t known to be a colorful game, this scene still provided an impressive contrast to the world you saw before. Grim and dust-covered. But monochrome isn’t just for depressing or dark scenery. It all depends on the colors used and context.

Some scenes use it to display fond memories and past events, or represent a change in emotion.

Analogous

The short description is three colors on the color wheel next to each other. For instance Cyan, Chartreuse Green, and Green. Which is a good color scheme to represent a forest and sky. Like this screenshot from The Witness on PS4.

image07

Triadic & Split Complementary

Triadic is an interesting color scheme that gives good color variety, It’s good to point out that more complex color schemes are where ideas like tint, shade, and tone become necessary to unify the colors. It’s important to identify where those colors start and what they’re mixed with.

Split complementary is cool because like complementary it uses opposing colors for contrast but in this case it uses two colors instead of one.

Imagine the points creating an elongated triangle on the color wheel, rather than the triangle we saw pictured before.

image03

Kite from .hack//Infection is a great example of a Split Complementary color scheme, his color scheme is essentially Red, Yellow, and cyan seen here in the “Tri-Edge” version of his character design. I used this version cause I still think this design is bad ass…Just sayin.

Rectangle and Square

This one is interesting because the points would make a square on the color wheel rather than a triangle or line. Possibly one of the more complex and difficult methods to use effectively.

image00

The best example I found is Lightning from Final fantasy XIII which uses a color palette that includes the 3 primary colors, and yellow tones.

Accent Colors

Accent colors are colors used to emphasize parts of a design. They don’t make up the main color of the design, but they provide a contrast from other elements.

image02

A good example is Milla Maxwell from Tales of Xillia on the PS3, You can see the pink ribbons and patterns on her arms are used to build interest on that aspect of the character.

1UP

For this week 1UP think of a character you’ve created in a game. So for games like Tony Hawks Pro Skater, an MMO RPG, or some other game that permits custom characters.

What colors do you usually use on the characters you create and why?

I for one have a particular fancy for dark-skinned characters with a bright hair color like white, light blue, or pink. The outfit usually varies for me but i usually go for a black outfit with red and blue accent colors.

Next Week

Next week we’ll take a look at color meanings, and how its affected many of our favorite games. We’ll also talk about how those color meanings change between cultures and countries.

For instance, white flowers are a sign of love in countries like america, but in japan and many other cultures white flowers are a sign of death given on funerals. So in MGS3/4 a Japanese game, an american soldier Big Boss puts white flowers on The Boss’s grave. Is this merely affirming her death? Or displaying Big Bosses love for The Boss?

We’ll look at this more next week.

 

Game Art for Gamers 104: Color Theory

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[Reviews] Movie Review: Reign Over Me http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-reign-over-me/ http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-reign-over-me/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:12:02 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26497 Of his films that I’ve watched, I never thought of Adam Sandler as a serious or skilled actor, yet here he is as Charlie Fineman, a man who still grieves years onward from the loss of his family in the … Continue reading

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Sony Pictures, Relativity Media, et al. - Reign Over Me - movie poster - from http://www.movieguiders.com/2011/11/reign-over-me.html

Of his films that I’ve watched, I never thought of Adam Sandler as a serious or skilled actor, yet here he is as Charlie Fineman, a man who still grieves years onward from the loss of his family in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Despite some missteps in other areas, the movie treats its setting and context with respect, and there are no jokes made at the expense of this disastrous day’s victims or even of the terrorists, who are simply referred to as monsters–“humans” would be better, but the word choices could have been and sometimes are much worse. Don Cheadle plays Sandler’s former college roommate Alan Johnson, a dentist who spends much of the film helping Charlie emotionally recover. (Adam is “Charlie,” and Cheadle is “Alan.” Don’t get confused.) Their friendship forms much of the core of this film, and on the whole, that story is something of a pleasant surprise.


The best of intentions?

Set against a very simple title introduction and opening credits, a man (Sandler’s character) rides a motorized scooter through the mostly empty streets of New York. Several of these calming scenes are found throughout the movie as well as on the DVD menu, and they create a relaxing break from a story that sometimes tries to fill itself with too many conflicts and risks losing its footing. One of these cases begins in the very next scene: Cheadle’s character, who is married, is forced to contend with a woman who immediately begins flirting with him during her own dental visit. If this otherwise earnest drama is having second thoughts about its intentions and is deciding to be a comedy, it’s not working, and these scenes feel as awkward and deeply inappropriate for the audience as they do for the woman’s unwilling “recipient” even when the surrounding context is given detail.

By coincidence, Johnson stumbles across Fineman as the latter walks out of a hardware store carrying buckets of paint, but Charlie is listening to headphones and is unaware of who and what is around him. Alan’s own parents are shown to have a terrible relationship, even going so far as to watch the same television program in different rooms, but little enough is done with this dispute that it feels like a halfhearted attempt to further darken the setting. (Its outcome also comes across as a random occurrence instead of a logical event and doesn’t really help to develop Johnson as a character.) The man and the rest of his family get along well enough, even as Alan has to feign enthusiasm for a photography class he got signed up for without his knowledge. Tellingly, after one character mentions Charlie losing his loved ones even though its implications are far beyond her understanding, Alan’s silent face carries a “there, but for the grace of God, go I” expression in one of the movie’s most striking scenes.

Sony Pictures, Relativity Media, et al. - Reign Over Me - Alan and Charlie - from http://www.themoviedb.org/movie/2355
True friendship is worth holding onto, even when it’s hard.

When Alan once again catches up to Charlie for a drink, the latter doesn’t remember his old roommate at all, despite memories being brought up that make for surprisingly low-key and effective comedy. Charlie, in a broken voice, speaks strangely of taking down a “colossus” while on a sort of dimensional journey. Though not always likable because of his erratic behavior, he arguably has some of the most polished character development in the whole movie. Why does he wear headphones? Music has become a huge part of his life, as shown by his enormous record collection. Why does he rattle off trivia facts like nursery rhymes? He’s probably had a lot of time to think. Charlie’s depiction as being mentally and emotionally unwell earns the audience’s sympathy without coming across as being permissive of his more negative personality traits.

The valley of the shadow

Charlie’s own home is a tiny, lonely apartment that looks like a never-finished construction project, save for the lovely kitchen, which gets remodeled over and over. This setting importantly showcases a metaphor running through the whole movie, where he plays the video game Shadow of the Colossus and uses this as a coping mechanism. The depiction is respectful: the movie doesn’t belittle Fineman for the way he spends his time, and the game and its objective aren’t seen as trivial even when being used for comic relief. The main character is tasked with hunting down and slaying these beasts whose height cannot be overemphasized. As the movie hints, much of the game’s focus lies not in brute force but in an understanding of the environment, part of which involves climbing onto these giants. Hence, the message of the game is the same as of the movie itself: sometimes the hardest part of overcoming a problem can be knowing where to even begin.

Consider the tragic context of this movie, then consider this. The colossi in the game are rarely the aggressors. While they will and most certainly can defend themselves, you essentially kill these majestic beasts because you were told to do so, with little if anything else to go on. These game-playing segments could have used a simple and generic game that perhaps left little room for critical analysis, and as this excellent Kotaku article shows, they very nearly did. Instead, these scenes that barely even focus on the “real” world in the sense of the film become some of the most taut moments in its whole story. By the way, this game came out in late 2005, so Charlie Fineman would have taken at least four years to work through his grief, even if he had magically managed to do so in time for the game’s original release.

Sony Pictures, Relativity Media, et al. - Reign Over Me - Charlie playing Shadow of the Colossus - from http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/video-game-appearances-in-film-  a-community-compila-244713
One by one, even giants can fall.

Moving on from that, Alan Johnson’s flirtatious patient apologizes for her earlier actions but still wants to flirt and eventually to perform oral sex on him, which is mentioned in strong terms. Visibly upset, he kicks her out of his dental office, and she speaks of having an “odd sense of intimacy” toward him without knowing why. It’s a wonder these scenes don’t ruin the movie, but her unwarranted behavior does give Fineman and Johnson a reason to form a bond, at least when they don’t end up fighting each other. That being stated, Donna Remar’s background feels like one of the few in this movie that actually focuses more on a slow yet terrible degradation of circumstances as opposed to random and unexpected disaster.

Sony Pictures, Relativity Media, et al. - Reign Over Me - Charlie on scooter - from http://scooterandhum.blogspot.com/2007/04/reign-over-me-poignantly-examines-911s.html
Not wearing protective gear is the least of his concerns.

Most of the sexual references and talk in the movie don’t make a whole lot of sense except in Charlie’s case: though he makes perverse jokes about numerous women, he doesn’t seem to have a visible outlet for his desires, never mind one that actively benefits anyone other than him. He’s possibly “frustrated” at having no one to come home to, which in principle he brings up late in the film. Even this doesn’t give reason for his and others’ use of anti-gay slurs as insults–in public–in New York–and all of this just comes across as being needlessly divisive in a film one might reasonably expect to want to unite its audience.

The two male leads eventually play-fight in good spirits over their taste in music. Charlie loves Bruce Springsteen, for example, but has a mind-boggling knowledge of the medium. At times, however, these lighthearted moments are overshadowed by an excess of drama: Alan has to deal both with Charlie’s occasional but severe paranoia and with further aggravation from Remar, none of which do any favors for Fineman’s personal needs. Some of these issues feel relevant to the story, particularly the ones dealing in some way with Charlie’s inability to overcome his state alone. Others, like a ridiculous dispute between Alan and his wife thanks to his ongoing communication issues, feel less like contributions to the film’s subject matter and more like problems that are simply thrown in so they can be solved, even if the movie’s ending does leave some questions open.

Where the heart is

Two observations stick out for me at this point. The first is that this movie could have been done with any tragedy. The 11 September references are usually subtle, and the grief that Charlie Fineman slowly but surely comes to openly express has nothing to do with a nationwide sense of loss–which isn’t really brought up–and much more to do with his own personal mourning. There are no “9/11 families” support groups on display, and one scene that feels like it could have given one character a small taste of another’s profound experiences becomes underutilized.

The second is that the movie’s definition of “family” comes across as slightly odd. Charlie’s in-laws, as characters, are not nearly as interesting and multilayered as he is, and his interactions with them are not enjoyable to watch as they continually try to push themselves into his life when he wants to be left either alone or with people he deeply trusts. There are brief glimpses into the unreliability of power as the in-laws are given input into decisions made on Charlie’s behalf but are unable to force him to do much of anything. Fineman spends a lot of his time with the Johnsons and especially with Alan, so much so that this almost begins to look like the inverse of one of those films where a black character is trained for greatness by a white family, but the story pushes Charlie’s in-laws on him almost as much as they themselves do.

Sony Pictures, Relativity Media, et al. - Liv Tyler as Angela Oakhurst - from http://lovelylivtyler.com/movies/reign_over_me/?  tab=showpic&cat=_987&fcat=987&sort=category&count=87&origpage=1&picno=22
She eases a mood just by entering a room.

In one of the movie’s most disturbing and unnecessary scenes, Charlie shows up at Alan’s office and is freely let into a room with an unconscious patient. There’s a ‘joke’ about Alan’s assistant being foreign and incapable of English, but it’s a lie, and Charlie, an individual with a tendency to become hostile and violent at a moment’s notice, doesn’t actually have the privacy he thinks he does. The movie thankfully tries to wash itself of this direction: as therapist Angela Oakhurst (above), Liv Tyler plays one of the calmest, kindest characters in the whole film and is probably one of the best things about it.

Along with Alan, Charlie goes to visit Angela on his own terms, and her room is as pretty as she is. She speaks of having lots of experience with loss and grief counseling, and the men talk among themselves about her breasts. Their attempts to hide this from her are singularly the funniest thing in a movie that otherwise veers between being sedate and melodramatic. Angela is consistently polite to Charlie and the other characters, but the movie at times repays her by making her the butt of jokes, including one particularly odd moment with an unwarranted lesbian subtext that isn’t even her fault. Fineman talks absently to her about his hobbies–movies, music, drum playing, “Colossus”–and when he directly admits his attraction to her body, she handles this very professionally. She does eventually try to motivate Charlie to openly discuss his life and family so he doesn’t waste her time and his by showing up at her sessions without much of anything to say.


When he finally does, however, Sandler’s unknown-to-me acting abilities really show through, especially when the somewhat graphic descriptions of his loved ones’ fates begin appearing. Of the film’s depictions of raw emotion, these are much more welcome than Fineman randomly lashing out at whoever or whatever is around him, no matter how understandable the reason. At one point Charlie glimpses an old-fashioned romance movie and becomes deeply upset over what he sees, in a much darker version of a scene the next year’s Wall-E would use as a character motivator.

At this point late in the story, I’m reminded of two films in particular, Silver Linings Playbook and The Artist. Reign Over Me seems to stick to its mental-wellness setup in a way the former did not, as well as making extended use of an admittedly cheap appeal for drama in a way that the latter did not.

Discussions among a variety of characters of what to do about Charlie remind me somewhat of Big Daddy but come across as less of a blatant appeal to the hero’s wishes than that film did. It almost does the reverse and makes him more of an object than an agent of his own story. Fineman does stick up for one character he’d treated less than ideally, making for a somewhat refreshing sight, and while the movie’s intent behind another character’s interactions with Charlie becomes a little too obvious, this doesn’t feel blatant for most of the film. He himself doesn’t significantly develop throughout the movie, but this is one of the few cases where I think that’s justifiable–some people need time. They can’t stay insulated forever, but they also can’t necessarily be rushed.


The film intentionally ends without answering all of its questions, but at least for the time being, Charlie seems to be well off and to know that he is loved and cared for. He shows himself to be capable of making some basic decisions and of interacting with certain special people, at the very least on his terms. A number of the background-music interludes feel unwelcome, but the piano score running throughout the film is subtle and wonderful. Minus a strange sense of humor that avoids the subject of terrorism but insults other individuals and groups at will, the movie gives the impression of at least trying to pay its context and setting respect, not feeling anywhere near as exploitative as it could have. For better or worse, the movie doesn’t bother to explain its Shadow of the Colossus metaphors, so analytical skill and research of the film’s production can be valuable. That being stated, its depictions of a video game are among the most respectful I’ve ever seen in a movie.


Conclusion: Beautifully ugly

September 11, 2001 is not a day America will soon forget. It and its aftermath have paved the way for hope, fear, love, anger, depression, joy, division, and unity alike, and films using it as a backdrop can vary in demeanor as much as can ideas of how the day and the events that led to and from it ought to be treated. Consider Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, which felt sweet but rather simplistic. Then consider United 93, a powerful movie that is also horrifically brutal to watch. Reign Over Me did not need to mention these attacks but also did not particularly waste them. This is a small-scale movie where victory and heartbreak are unpredictable and often connected. The movie’s distractions with far too many disagreements and squabbles come across as an unintended critique both of itself and of American culture, but the production knows on some level that it should be working toward unity.

In America, this is National Suicide Prevention Week. Yesterday was the central day, and if you or someone you love will need someone to talk to, people are available. Reign Over Me’s execution doesn’t always meet its aim, but it is deeply aware of how its broken people need love. When I first played Shadow of the Colossus years ago, long before this movie came out, my initial impressions were of a gorgeous world containing scenes filled with raw power, as well as pacing issues if one had difficulty navigating the vague setting. Either way, however, I grew to love the game and its art, minus the hardware-straining graphics that this film’s late portions show off all too well. Reign Over Me isn’t quite so polished or focused, and its pacing suffers at times as a result–but when all of its pieces come together, it becomes a film worth appreciating not for what it could have been but for what it truly is.


Image credits (property of Sony Pictures, Relativity Media, et al.)

- Movie postersource
Alan and Charliesource
Charlie and Shadow of the Colossus – source
Charlie on scootersource
Angela Oakhurstsource


This article was originally written and published on my movie review blog, Projected Realities.

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AKB48 are in this random Super Smash Bros. 3DS promo http://www.takuchat.com/akb48-random-super-smash-bros-3ds-promo/ http://www.takuchat.com/akb48-random-super-smash-bros-3ds-promo/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 23:12:49 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26431

This sure is weird, and it’s really just like a clip show, but if it’s your thing watch it- More from TakuChat Super Smash Bro’s new footage,new characters Super Smash Bros gets 3 new characters Little Mac joins in Super … Continue reading

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This sure is weird, and it’s really just like a clip show, but if it’s your thing watch it-

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Final Fantasy 8 review http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-8-review/ http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-8-review/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 04:43:24 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=24948

Another day another Final Fantasy Review, this time I’m reviewing the controversial Final Fantasy 8! The Story “At the forefront of a rising tide of violence brought on by Galbadia’s war declaration is a SeeD cadet named Squall Leonhart. Serious … Continue reading

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Another day another Final Fantasy Review, this time I’m reviewing the controversial Final Fantasy 8!

The Story

“At the forefront of a rising tide of violence brought on by Galbadia’s war declaration is a SeeD cadet named Squall Leonhart. Serious to a fault, Squall has earned himself the reputation of being a lone wolf.
A chance encounter with the free-spirited Rinoa Heartilly, however, turns his universe upside down. Having thrived on discipline, Squall finds Rinoa’s carefree attitude fascinating. Yet there is no time to ponder these thoughts, for the job of dealing with the sorceress behind Galbadia’s irrational hostility has fallen to SeeD and Squall.”Official Introduction

Rinoa-Meets-Squall-For-The-Second-Time-In-Final-Fantasy-8While the story in final fantasy 8 is seemingly rather straight forward at first, the game does not keep that going throughout its entirety. The story quickly takes on a more grandiose feel to it, with it traveling across the world in epic fashion.

While I enjoyed the entirety of the games story the part that is most memorable for me is easily its opening , the pacing throughout the opening of the game is something truly special and rare in the game industry. While the game doesn’t shy away from large action pieces and epic boss fights it uses much of its time to develop the characters and the world. By doing this the games later sequences become far more meaningful than many other RPG’s and games in general.

So in short the story is wonderful, with truly great characters that have actual character growth and feel believable.

The Visuals

“I brought the wrong map…” -Laguna

The Visuals in this game are wonderful, while the character designs are slightly extravagant they don’t feel overdone or awkward, and unlike many games the characters leave a good visual impression and are memorable.

Beyond the characters Final Fantasy VIII has some of the best Monster designs I have ever seen in a game, its Bahamut alone trumps most games entire cast of Monsters.

Outside of character designs the world and technology are beautifully designed, there are of course multiple continents in the game and with them unique visual flairs, while they look different in appearance they also feel as if they are in the same world which is wonderful.

The Combat

The way I see it, as long as you make it out of a battle alive, you’re one step closer to fulfilling your dream.-seifer
The combat in FFVIII is easily one of my favorite in the series, while it is vastly different from previous titles it still manages to have a feel of familiarity about it. The largest and most important difference to the combat is the Draw and Junction Systems. Instead of leveling up or buying materia for new spells you instead have to draw them from your enemies and from locations. By doing this you can gain these spells and equip them to your character making them more powerful, the Junction system is a pretty awesome system once you get the hang of it, and it leads to some seriously slaughters of bosses if you know what you are doing.

The game of course also includes summons, while being slightly different from previous Final Fantasy’s they still serve the same basic effect, with the exception that they can be killed if their HP bar is drained.

While many people thought FFVIII’s combat was boring or to complicated I personally thought it was a nice change from the overly simplistic mechanics that most JRPG’s seem to adopt. The combat is flexible and based purely on strategy rather than how much you simply grinded low level enemies. By using the mechanics effectively you can easily beat the game at level 30 without to much trouble, but sadly many people didn’t give the combat a chance or did not full understand the mechanics so it is often disregarded when talking about mechanics or the games as a whole.

The Music

Train Train, Take Us Away, Take Us Away, Far Away, To The Future, We Will Go, Where it Leads, No One Knows-Selfie( is weird)
When talking about Final Fantasys music people will almost always start talking about VII’s, VI or X; much to my dismay people rarely ever speak about Final Fantasy VIII’s music. The music in VIII is truly astonishing, from the “O Fortuna-esque opening to the Gorgeous end song Eyes on me the soundtrack never lets up in being purely amazing.

Below is an example of one of its more peaceful songs-

The Exploration and Everything in Between

“Bwahahahaha”- Random Boy
Exploration in Final Fantasy is a pretty important thing, and luckily for us Final Fantasy 8 has got that handled! In Final Fantasy 8 there are tons of awesome and varied locations, and of course through the game you get to use multiple vehicles, such as a car ( that can run out of gas ) and later on you get the Ragnarok, which is probably the coolest flying vehicle of all time. If exploring is your fancy then Final Fantasy VIII has you covered for sure, just beware The Island closest to Hell, it lives up to it’s name.

Now we are going to talk about my glorious addiction, that of course being the Triple Triad Card game, I’m not sure what about it that kept me coming back, but from beginning to end I kept playing this mini-game. One of the things that make it so great is that you’ll find new challenges for it throughout the whole game, be it different regional rules, or new people to duel, there is always something new, and it is amazing.

Beyond that there is your typical sidequest, like extra summons (though it should be noted that these summon side quest have a bit more to them then your average ones), super weapons and tons of special items and small little character moments spread throughout the world.

Over all

Life’s pretty boring without you as entertainment, my man.-Kiros

To put it simply the game is wonderful, the visuals are some of the best gaming has ever had the music is wonderful and enchanting and the story is something truly speculator with the only real complaint I have being that the combat takes a while to get used to. Other then my one minor complaint I would say that this game is definitely top tier and worth the time if you are interested.

I feel like a helpless puppet being manipulated in some major scheme.-squall

 

Final Fantasy 8 review

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This is what a HD Spyro remake could look like. http://www.takuchat.com/hd-spyro-remake-look-like/ http://www.takuchat.com/hd-spyro-remake-look-like/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 03:39:01 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26435

Over on Deviant art user Helen91 made this Gorgeous render of Spyro, this image of course is a pretty solid indication of what a proper HD Spyro game could look like, Don’t get your hopes to high though, there is no hint … Continue reading

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Over on Deviant art user Helen91 made this Gorgeous render of Spyro, this image of course is a pretty solid indication of what a proper HD Spyro game could look like,

Don’t get your hopes to high though, there is no hint or anything of a proper Spyro game or remake being in the works, if anything I say expect nothing because Skylanders is extremely profitable having earned over 1.5 Billion dollars, yes Billion.

If you are one of the many poor souls who wants Spyro to make a valiant return, well then all you can do is sign petitions and make some noise!

Now here is a reminder of what happened to poor Spyro-

But there’s more! As you no doubt know, Spyro is a pretty famous and loved series, and just like many others there are fans remaking/ continuing the series.

That’s where Youtube user Pinballdude97 comes in, on his account you can see videos of his progress with making a Spyro game. In regards to it Pinballdude97 said ” Remake wise, not sure if the story is going to follow the old ones but mechanics will be the same/close as possible.” meaning it will likely serve as a spiritual successor to the series.

Things may seem bleak, but there is hope.

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Expand Your PS4 HDD And More On The Cheap http://www.takuchat.com/expand-ps4-hdd-cheap/ http://www.takuchat.com/expand-ps4-hdd-cheap/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 21:47:39 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26388

With the impending release of Destiny, I’ve been finding myself wondering how exactly I was going to make space to actually install the 40GB game on my PS4. I’m the kind of guy that hates having to uninstall games just … Continue reading

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With the impending release of Destiny, I’ve been finding myself wondering how exactly I was going to make space to actually install the 40GB game on my PS4. I’m the kind of guy that hates having to uninstall games just to make room for other games, which would explain how I was down to 25GB of open storage space on my PS4’s HDD. And why my Steam library is slowly killing me.

Then this happened….

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Hot dawg! Look at all that room for activities!

 

 

I now have over four times as much storage space as the stock PS4 HDD with the added bonus of doubling my total storage on my PS3 and being left with a 250GB USB 3.0 portable HDD. And I’ll show you how you can do the same thing for the low, low price of $89.

 

 

Step One: Buy the HDD.

This one to be exact.

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Seagate Expansion STBX2000401

 

 

Rakuten.com, Amazon.com and Newegg.com all sell this HDD for $89, which is already a significant savings off the retail price. And if you can find it at your local Best Buy store (I couldn’t), they’ll price match any of those sites as long as the item is in stock and not sold by a third-party vendor.

Now, on it’s own the external HDD won’t do you much good. That’s where Step Two comes in.

 

 

Step Two: Take the thing apart.

HEADS UP – While none of this will void the warranty on your PlayStation hardware, it will void the manufacturer’s warranty on the portable HDD.

See, the thing is inside the casing there’s just a standard 9.5mm 2.5″ laptop HDD. This one to be exact. And as you can see there’s a pretty substantial price hike for the HDD by itself. Logic defied.

So what you want to do is use a thin, rigid plastic object such as a credit card (I used a guitar pick) and work around the case to pry the two pieces apart at the seams. Just take your time and don’t force it too much and you should get it to pop off in no time. It’s only held together by small clips so it’s just a matter of popping those out of place.

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You can sort of see the pins holding it together in this photo.

 

 

Once you’ve got it apart you’ll find the HDD being held in place by rubber feet covering the screws. Pull it out but don’t lose those, you’ll need them later. Remove the screws and save those for later as well. Next, remove the foil covering the USB-to-SATA connector and then gently remove it from the HDD. Voila! It’s now ready to be swapped into your PS4. Just make sure you properly back up your PS4 saves or your PS3 data beforehand or they’ll be lost forever!

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The guitar pick is the real star here and we all know it.

 

 

And this is where I link to Sony’s own FAQS on upgrading your PS4 or PS3 HDD. It’s a pretty straightforward process for both consoles.

 

Step Three: Extras, extras, extras!

You can get even more value out of your purchase in a few different ways. For instance, I only had a 250GB HDD in my PS3 so I threw the PS4’s 500GB stock HDD in there and doubled up on storage. Not bad considering I was down to 5GB.

Or if you’ve got a larger capacity or equivalent HDD in your PS3 already you can just throw the stock PS4 HDD back in the enclosure the 2TB drive came in. And that’s where those rubber feet and screws from Step Two come into play. You’ll want to screw those into the side holes on whichever HDD you’re putting in there and cap them off with the rubber feet which will hold the HDD securely in the case. Plug the SATA-to-USB board back on, pop the enclosure back together and you’ve got yourself a speedy little external HDD to use for whatever your heart desires.

So in the end, I’ve quadrupled my storage on PS4, doubled it on PS3 and now have a 250GB USB 3.0 HDD to use for my Wii U, Xbox One, PC etc. All for the price of one collector’s edition. And you can too.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

 

Expand Your PS4 HDD And More On The Cheap

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Here’s a small glimpse of God Eater on the PlayStation 4. http://www.takuchat.com/heres-small-glimpse-god-eater-playstation-4/ http://www.takuchat.com/heres-small-glimpse-god-eater-playstation-4/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 21:40:07 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26379

The God Eater Twitter account has posted a short Vine of God Eater 2: Rage Burst on the PlayStation 4. Check it out- Expect to see more in the coming weeks. More from TakuChat God Eater 2: Rage Burst coming to PlayStation … Continue reading

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The God Eater Twitter account has posted a short Vine of God Eater 2: Rage Burst on the PlayStation 4.

Check it out-

Expect to see more in the coming weeks.

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Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Final Trailer http://www.takuchat.com/kingdom-hearts-2-5-final-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/kingdom-hearts-2-5-final-trailer/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 07:54:04 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26369

Well Square enix released a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 2.5, this one is being dubbed the ‘Final’ trailer. Check it out- Kingdom Hearts 2.5 releases in Japan on October 2nd, in North America on December 2nd and finally in … Continue reading

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Well Square enix released a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 2.5, this one is being dubbed the ‘Final’ trailer.

Check it out-

Kingdom Hearts 2.5 releases in Japan on October 2nd, in North America on December 2nd and finally in Europe on December 5th.

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Indie Developer Paul Huban Lost His Connections Just for Re-Posting a Video on #GamerGate http://www.takuchat.com/indie-developer-lost-connections-just-re-posting-video-gamergate/ http://www.takuchat.com/indie-developer-lost-connections-just-re-posting-video-gamergate/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 02:57:27 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26348

For the past weeks and particularly the past few days the #GamerGate tag has been met with a lot of attention. It seems the community that rallied together against people like Jack Thompson, has now been divided. But in the … Continue reading

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For the past weeks and particularly the past few days the #GamerGate tag has been met with a lot of attention. It seems the community that rallied together against people like Jack Thompson, has now been divided.

But in the midst of all this, the Indie Developers both sides claim to support, are in a position to lose a lot.  In the case of Paul Hubans,”connections that took years to forge could be undone by a single tweet“.

I apologize but rather than impose my perception of what he experienced I’ll instead display the tweets below in context so you can see for yourself.

Yesterday, September 2nd Paul Hubans posted this tweet. I had personally witnessed a lot of this a few hours after the first tweet.

Almost immediately following was a negative response by his peers.

But also immediately following was ton of support by gamers, over a short time getting a +1000 followers in return.

Eventually to help clarify his situation, and sincerely apologize to the people he believes he hurt he stated he would make a video about the whole situation. Which you’ll find below.

Other Developers

His story isn’t alone either, there are a number of other developers claiming the IGF judges made almost no effort to review their games based on the tracking of their games. They’ve also stated that since writing the article a number of other developers came up saying they had the same experience (some of which you can see in the comments).

In light of the $95 entrance fee, we believe every developer deserves a fair shot at a nomination.

Judges not playing a game they are assigned to judge, for any number of minutes, is simply not acceptable.The Rotting Cartridge

A Similar Scenario

Another Indie Developer Jennifer Dawe actually tweeted about a similar experience to Paul relating to her experience with Zoe Quinn.

She provided this image of the conversation, the tweets by Zoe Quinn are from her old account and have since been deleted.

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Fortunately Jennifer, she was “only lucky [she] was already earning money from a steady fanbase prior to that. And continues to do so today.

Looking back its likely that many developers are in a similar situation for one reason or another. But it’s alarming that having a particular view can have such a strong impact on an Indie Developer. From these experiences it looks like hate not only spreads from a minority of gamers, but a minority of developers too.

Indie Developer Paul Huban Lost His Connections Just for Re-Posting a Video on #GamerGate

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Game Art for Gamers 103: Principles of Design http://www.takuchat.com/game-art-gamers-103-principles-design/ http://www.takuchat.com/game-art-gamers-103-principles-design/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 22:00:44 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26227

Now that you’ve been briefed on the Elements of Art, it’s time to see how these elements can be combined in different compelling ways. Designing a scene is central to the artwork and can be effectively an art in and … Continue reading

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Now that you’ve been briefed on the Elements of Art, it’s time to see how these elements can be combined in different compelling ways. Designing a scene is central to the artwork and can be effectively an art in and of itself.

Each one of these principles could easily merit an article on its own, but that would defeat the purpose of this article. All we’re doing this time is building awareness that these ideas exist, and displaying examples of where you might find them. These ideas span across character design, level design, cinematics, and pretty much anything in games.

Expect us to go into more detail in the future, I’m sure a lot of you are eager to learn but I’m asking for you to be patient and discuss the contents of the articles as they come.

Also understand that my application of these principles can be in either a limited or a broader scope. Meaning the principal might be applied to a logo, a character, a stage, or an entire game. That’s simply how broadly these concepts can be applied to a game.

There are a few more Principals of Design than Elements of Art. The principals are: Balance, Movement, Rhythm, Pattern, Emphasis, Proportion, Variety, Gradation, Contrast, and Unity or Harmony.

Balance

Balance is the equalization of elements in art, it is not to be confused with Unity. There are three kinds of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.

An easy example would be the Triforce symbol, its design clearly represents a symmetrical balance. This is commonly seen in icons logos. You’ll also find symmetry in most character design.

Asymmetry is an important one as well, it is commonly found in character design and certain scenery. A good example is Drake’s half tucked shirt from the Uncharted series, or the off centered crest on Bayonetta. On a larger scale, how a castle might have a nice and neat side, but one side seems battle damaged. Asymmetry can build interest and complexity.

Radial symmetry is a little harder, the first thing that comes to mind is radial menus. This is a very commonly used user interface system thats usually easy to handle if its well designed. But radial symmetry is most commonly used to design areas of gathering.

It might be used as the design for an arena, a temple, or anywhere people are likely to get together. A good example is the nexus in Demon Souls.

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Movement

Movement is not literal but an impression. Sometimes the arrangement of objects can guide your eyes movement through a scene or character. Simply moving or looking like you’re moving isn’t enough, where is that guiding the viewer?

Call of Duty is a game thats made wonderful strides in this department through its campaign. The game tricks you into going with the flow and looking where it wants you to look by moving characters or objects in certain ways.

In this example, you’re following a soldier to a ledge and you slide down. As you slide down without warning the character immediately turns around leading your eye and your movement to follow his lead. This is an excellent design example of how movement can involve a viewer without being immediately obvious.

The very same effect is common anywhere from character design to scenery. For instance, in the scenery below from Borderlands 2, the slope of the rock formation, and the arctic lights guide your eye between various interesting objects.There might be a particular pattern that your eyes follow around the image.

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Movement can also be achieved through contrast, implied lines, and patterns.

Rhythm

Rhythm is a type of movement that derives from regularly or irregularly repeated objects . This is probably more common in level design than anywhere. This is not to be confused with pattern although the concept is similar.

For instance in the mobile game Tiny Wings available on iOS. The gameplay centers on randomly generated waves that the bird slides on to fly. The hills and the design on them can be described as having a rhythm.

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Recent and past Mario games are also a fantastic example of rhythm in a more complex form. Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U uses this constantly in its level design and presentation, as you see in the image below. Were this rhythm not there you might have a hard time navigating stages. In this case the rhythmic jumping of the fire dragons gives you information on timing, it’s easy to assume when the next dragon is coming and when you should stop progressing. Meanwhile it also looks really cool displaying that rhythm like that.

083114_0145_GameArtforG5.pngPattern (Repetition)

083114_0145_GameArtforG6.jpgPattern is different from rhythm because of its stark consistency, and its repetition it’s not really intended to create movement which separates it from Rhythm.

A great example is in Metal Gear Solid 4‘s GW Server Room, the design of the servers gives a graveyard like appearance. It’s stark and lifeless in this room.

Patterns are also a major part of game design and characters; you see repeating symbols, shapes, and colors to help you understand the world better.

For example, the yellow ledges in The Last of Us indicate climbable objects. The Red glowing eyes of the Helghast in Killzone indicate your enemy. The recurring save point in many RPG’s is a constant reminder to save. These are all easy examples of patterns in a broad scope.

Emphasis / Contrast

Emphasis is the act of placing greater attention to certain objects or areas. This can be made by sudden or sharp changes to an area implied or otherwise. Contrast is a good way to describe how this can work.

Contrast is light and dark, orange and blue, dirty and clean, etc. And is central to a interesting visual presentation.

Contrast can build emphasis by highlighting one or multiple subjects in some way.

Bioshock Infinite had a few great examples of this…

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For instance, in this scene from a recent DLC for the game, the characters face is illuminated by the fire compared to the background, and also demonstrates contrast in colors too.

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In this scene the intense red color and glow of Songbird’s eye forces you to look at it and follow its motions during the scene.

Proportion

083114_0145_GameArtforG9.pngThis is a word you’ve likely commonly heard in various contexts. Proportion is the relationship of objects to the whole and to each other. Proportion can be applied pretty much anywhere. The size of one character to another, is a good example. Generally in games, it’s important to emphasize proportion so players don’t get confused.

For instance if an enemy is larger than you, you’re more likely to believe it’s more powerful or that you should avoid it.

Proportions can also define characteristics, for instance artists often use headcounts for characters proportions. For Bravely Default, a character’s artwork is roughly 7 heads high, while the chibi styled in game character is about 3 heads high. The difference is while one looks more serious or attractive, the other might seem cute or immature instead.

Variety

Variety is made through diversity and change, this can be done using different line types, colors, and shapes.

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Sunset Overdrive seems to be really good example of this, as each screen shot seems to want to throw as many colors at you as you can take. It does this while still maintaining an overall visual feel and consistency, which is an impressive success.

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But the game most people are probably familiar with having variety is Katamari Damacy, another game that likes to throw as many colors at you as it can all the time. Whether it’s the giant rolling ball of everything or when the game feels like throwing a flurry of hearts at you. There’s always something different being thrown at you.

Gradation

Gradation is a lot like Value, but this is in relation to composing a scene. Maybe it’s the transition of a dark urban setting into a bright city, the light at the end of a tunnel, or maybe the fog on the horizon.

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Fog is probably the most popular form of gradation that’s been used in the industry for a long time. It’s often used to create a gloomy atmosphere, but also helps mask draw distance issues.

Another form of gradation is focal blur (aka. Depth of Field) which is similar to fog in that it affects the impression of depth, but its used to bring objects into focus. As seen here in Battlefield 4 the characters face is the sharpest object in the scene while the background falls into a blur. This effect is processed by a gradient of sorts.
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Surely there are many more ways to show gradation but going over them all would take up the page.

Unity and Harmony

Unity relates to a sense of oneness, wholeness, or order in art. Where you would combine similar lines, shapes, colors, textures, and more in an artwork to create harmony.

You can think interconnecting arms of characters, the link of a chain, or even a flow between objects.

I think this is a difficult concept for games, and I was having a hard time finding a proper subject. More often than not, games seem to want to show diversity more than anything even if the scope of that diversity might be narrow to some.

But the strongest example of unity I can think of is in Okami when you rejuvenate an area.

Watching this sends chills down my spine, the game is doing everything it can to inspire unity. First to revive the tree you had to actively draw a circle which can mean unity. The tree then spirals into flowers and radiates its power to the area around it.

While doing so it’s like the whole world goes into a unified dance, even the water seems to be jumping happily.

And this isn’t the only sign of unity in the game, it’s brimming with it in symbolism at every turn. Leading to display unity in one of the best endings I have ever experienced.

1UP

The 1UP for this week might be a hard one. As I explained with Okami some games can be described entirely with one of these principles.

There are many games where the design seems to focus on one of these principles over another.

For example, the transition in Okami from darkness to light as you travel is a form of gradation. If you were to see a map of Okami’s world as you traveled you would see a world being gradually revived by light.

Find examples like this, where a Principal of Design might describe a games visuals or overall experience.

Tell me your ideas in the comments, and keep in mind there’s really no wrong answer.

Next Week

Next week will be an introduction to color theory. Color theory is fairly scientific, but gives some basic ideas for why some color combinations work well together over others.

Game Art for Gamers 103: Principles of Design

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Dragon Quest returns to PlayStation Consoles with Dragon Quest: Heroes http://www.takuchat.com/dragon-quest-returns-playstation-consoles-dragon-quest-heroes/ http://www.takuchat.com/dragon-quest-returns-playstation-consoles-dragon-quest-heroes/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:49:20 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26294

Square Enix, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force announced Dragon Quest: Heroes will be releasing on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. They also announced a special edition Dragon Quest Playstation 4, which you can see below ( the slime is … Continue reading

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Square Enix, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force announced Dragon Quest: Heroes will be releasing on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.

They also announced a special edition Dragon Quest Playstation 4, which you can see below ( the slime is a usb cover).
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Oh, and there is of course a trailer.

Dragon Quest returns to PlayStation Consoles with Dragon Quest: Heroes

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God Eater 2: Rage Burst coming to PlayStation 4 and Vita http://www.takuchat.com/god-eater-2-rage-burst-coming-playstation-4-vita/ http://www.takuchat.com/god-eater-2-rage-burst-coming-playstation-4-vita/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:24:57 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26285

Bandai Namco Games announced that God Eater 2: Rage Burst is coming out for Both the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 . No Western release date is known. Here is the trailer- More from TakuChat Here’s a small glimpse of … Continue reading

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Bandai Namco Games announced that God Eater 2: Rage Burst is coming out for Both the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 .

No Western release date is known.

Here is the trailer-

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Persona 5 coming to PlayStation 4 http://www.takuchat.com/persona-5-coming-playstation-4/ http://www.takuchat.com/persona-5-coming-playstation-4/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 23:18:59 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26286

During Sonys latest TGS pre-show Atlus revealed that Persona 5 is coming to both PlayStation 3 and 4 in 2015. Here is the trailer- More from TakuChat Atlus: Persona 4 Arena Region Locking Not A “Slippery Slope” Persona Q, Persona … Continue reading

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During Sonys latest TGS pre-show Atlus revealed that Persona 5 is coming to both PlayStation 3 and 4 in 2015.

Here is the trailer-

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Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will release within the year. http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-type-0-hd-will-release-within-year/ http://www.takuchat.com/final-fantasy-type-0-hd-will-release-within-year/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 22:37:29 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26209

In a recent interview with Kotaku Tabata pretty much revealed the release window for Final Fantasy Type-0, he did it by saying“We probably wouldn’t age another year until it’s released,”. So, expect the game before August of next year. Now, … Continue reading

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In a recent interview with Kotaku Tabata pretty much revealed the release window for Final Fantasy Type-0, he did it by saying“We probably wouldn’t age another year until it’s released,”. So, expect the game before August of next year.

Now, a lot of people have been wondering why they moved the game onto the Playstation 4 and Xbox-One, and really the reason is pretty simple,in regards to that Tabata said“We really do want the PS4 and Xbox One install base to grow in Japan as well, so we do want a release as quickly as possible.”

To further drive that point it Tabata went to further say “We do hope that it becomes the first basis for Final Fantasy XV when we release that globally,”. Meaning this game is being released on those consoles as a way to prep for Final Fantasy XV, or in other words a way to get Final Fantasy fans on the next gen consoles to increase XV’s sales.

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Game Art for Gamers 102: The Elements of Art http://www.takuchat.com/game-art-gamers-102-elements-art/ http://www.takuchat.com/game-art-gamers-102-elements-art/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:00:28 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=26134

Introduction Be sure to read last weeks post for more information on who I am, why I’m writing this series, and what you as the reader should do. Back in High School in freshman year the very first thing I learned … Continue reading

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Introduction

Be sure to read last weeks post for more information on who I am, why I’m writing this series, and what you as the reader should do.

Back in High School in freshman year the very first thing I learned in art class was the Elements of Art. The Elements of Art are essentially words used to describe an image or the creation of one. Its a good simple concept to start with.

It’s in important to know that these elements can be found in any game in some way. And are a very basic way to identify what makes up the visuals in a game. These elements have been a central part of gaming since the beginning.

The Elements of Art are line, shape, space, form, value, color, and texture.

Line

discLine is the most basic form of art, it is a one-dimensional object. The best and most literal example of this is Pong. This was as core as a game could get visually.

But Line has more complexity than scribbles on paper, modern games like the classic Line Rider and Free Rider use line to create the illusion of depth and form for their levels. Free Rider being the best example, has tons of stages that give the illusion of depth to one-dimensional objects.


There were also a number of “3D” games that were entirely wire-frame, Star Wars Arcade is one of the most notable examples. It used lines to define starships, and create depth in perspective while riding along the Death Star.line2

Shape

shapeYou can easily think of shape as filled in line objects. And as the word states, these are flat objects that look like certain things.

Shape is when gaming became more complex, the objects that were formerly lines were wanting to become identifiable shapes. Take the games on the Atari 2600, where shapes were big news. Iconic titles like Combat, Asteroids or more advanced titles like ‘Pitfall!’ used various shapes to make their impression.

In the image above from Pitfall you’ll see the shapes of trees, alligators, skulls, and more.

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Modern games make wonderful use of shape too, in this example from ‘Limbo’ Silhouette or Contour might be a more proper term.  Here you can easily see the iconic shape of a boy and a spider.

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Another more recent game Donkey Kong Country on the Wii U uses silhouettes in a number of stages. This is interesting because the majority of the game is colorful and bright. You might think turning everything to shadow might hamper your experience but this is where the power of shapes really shines.

It’s not just seeing the iconic DK tie or Diddy Kongs hat and shirt as bright red shapes, but you make out gameplay elements too. You can identify the mere shape of objects you’ve seen before or even new ones as they come. Even identifying the shapes of enemies who were formerly full of color. And you make this transition completely naturally as you’ve played the game.

Shape or silhouette plays a major role in identifying an object, you could almost take any of the most iconic characters in gaming, take nothing but their shape and still easily identify them. This is good character design, this is how those characters are so well-known by any one.

Space

Space is a little harder to define when it comes to gaming. To me it’s harder to define without going into design principles. But think of it as the space surrounding what could be a focal point or focus of a scene.

For instance when a game presents you with a large space between you and your enemy. Illustrating that a direct approach might leave you exposed. Space has much relevance in gaming. I also brought this up in last weeks 1UP post.

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An interesting example is The Unfinished Swan on PS3, this game makes an astonishing example of Positive and Negative Space. There is no shading only the identification of shapes to find your way around a once completely white world. You fill this white world with black splotches of paint as you navigate.

I won’t go too much into the idea of Positive and Negative space, but as you see in the image above you can look and understand the relation of objects by white space around them.  This game uses a literal artistic term as a sole means of game play, and that is truly impressive.

Form

If you thought shape and form were the same thing you are mistaken. While line is one-dimensional, shape is two-dimensional, then form is three-dimensional. With form, shading between light and dark give the impression of depth to an object. The easiest examples are 3D games.

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Here in Metal Gear Solid on the PS1 shading is added to the Cyborg Ninja to give the impression of a complex form around his chest. Shading is a powerful way to make normally flat surfaces seem more compelling.

shade 2This was a big tool in games as old as ones for the NES and SNES to make their environments and characters more interesting and iconic.

Here in the original ‘Super Mario Bros.’ you see form in the blocks, the clouds, and the pipe. Sadly the only shading that could be afforded to Mario at the time was the mustache to bring out his nose.

Form and shading can be very complex to implement. In a realistic setting, it takes into account lighting, shadows and reflected light the latter only making into video games in the last few years. We’ll go more into this in a later article.

But not properly handling shading can leave a scene feeling awkwardly flat. For instance what if you jumped off a ledge and couldn’t see your shadow as your approached the ground. You’d likely get the impression you were going to fall forever, before you unexpectedly hit ground completely unaware how close you were.

Obviously this is important for games. better shading means better depth perception. simple as that. Theres many nuances to depth perception in form you might never casually think about.

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The Uncharted Series for instance has always had superb shading, but the most recent title on the PS4 is of course pushing the envelope. If i’m not mistaken, you can see the green of the forest reflecting to his face! It’s worth mentioning that with a strong enough light source (like a flash light) you’ll find reflected light in The Last of Us back on the PS3.

Value

Value is the relation between light and dark, this applies to colors too. Value and form are very closely related, after all proper shading is given with proper values. This can also be applied to differentiating objects, or bringing objects into focus. A good way to check the value of an image is to see it in gray scale, usually if an image looks bad in gray scale it likely has problems in color.

Since I don’t believe there’s much benefit explaining this further; here’s something nifty. Below is a LCD test, it’s something you can use to test what kind of color range you can get on your display.

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Source

You can click the images above, each block on those images is an individual shade. The reality is if your display isn’t showing all the blocks individually you’re potentially missing out on detail you would see otherwise. It’s possible that an object that’s supposed to be easily visible could be washed out.

This is why all artist find it important to color calibrate their screens so they always see the most optimal image and color ranges.

Artists will also do studies a lot like this where they will mix colors with black and white to create a value scale; training teach themselves to shade between colors. Value is important for an artist to learn, and also important to you as a gamer that your TV display that value they create.

In fact I recommend looking up calibrating your monitor right now.

Color

FFT-WotL_artWhy mention color when I just mentioned value? Because it’s a completely different beast. The colors artists choose evoke emotions. The hue, value, and intensity of a color can mean many different things to many different people. This is a topic too big to cover in this article, but its one of the most powerful things to learn, recognize, and talk about.

The developers Square-Enix and a lot of Japanese companies, are really good at using colors to define characters in meaningful ways. Even the most curious of outfit appearances can pack so much meaning into a character. Yet it’s incredibly easy to overlook these details. Most of us just go with a natural impression.

But whether you examine these characters as you meet them or look at them much later. Understanding why they look the way they do can bring a whole new level understanding to a characters personality, goals, and even fate.

These meanings are entirely subjective though, and you benefit more by getting different viewpoints. After all no single person reacts to a character the same way, and one person might see something you don’t. This could be due to cultural differences, or lifestyle differences.

Texture

Texture is where it all comes home, texture is surface differences. Or to put it very simply, the difference between a rough or smooth surface. Texture is that final major touch to add realism or detail to what’s being presented.

textureKojima Productions has already announced their intense focus on textures for Metal Gear Solid 5, and it shows.

Here the difference in texture of the blood and scars on his face, the roughness of his hair, smooth shininess of his suit, matte straps, and the shiny metal surrounding him makes an overall interesting visual impression.

And while texture mainly applies to surface quality, in games it can apply to shading, lighting, and far more. It depends on how much detail the developers want to “Bake” in or let the engine handle. This is another idea best suited for another article. 

1UP

The one up for this week is finding or thinking up examples of games that have demonstrated these elements. I’m expecting this to be a little challenging to identify but I’m hoping you’ll get the point once you’re looking for them.

For instance, what games used line not just because of the times, but as part of the experience?

How does shape effect iconic characters in games like DOTA or League of Legends? As illustrated in these guidelines for DOTA character creation released on steam.

What are some impressive examples of form in the games you’ve played?

What games used shading in a weak way that it hurt the experience?

Being aware of these ideas is the first step, finding them is easy in comparison.

Be sure to post what you’ve found in the comments! I’ll be making a post later this week further discussing your selections like I did last week. So look forward to that!

Next week

Next week we touch on the Principles of Design, these are concepts for arranging the elements of art in a compelling way. The composition of lines, shapes, form, value, color and texture is an art in and of itself.


And I’ll have many interesting images to show.

(Retro images Source)

Game Art for Gamers 102: The Elements of Art

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