Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Contemporary Design Essay Project Plan

Contemporary Design Essay Project Plan
Essay Title and Question
How have the issue of climate change and sustainability affected contemporary architecture?
Why I will answer this question
I watched a video and a TED talk with architect Bjarke Ingels in which he states the biggest problem facing the next generation of architects is climate change and sustainability. I found his ideas of ‘Hedonistic Sustainability’, to be particularly interesting. This idea questions the misconception that sustainability means sacrifice. Hedonistic Sustainability is defined as “sustainability that improves the quality of life and human enjoyment”. I will question Hedonistic sustainability examining whether sustainability is a moral burden and how much, if any, we have to sacrifice to achieve hedonistic sustainability in a design. Bjarke Ingles talks about architects having to design an ecosystem and shows his Danish Pavillion design as an example of how we can achieve hedonistic sustainability. Global warming and climate change are the biggest problems we face in the world, they are not limited to designers and they are serious problems that the world faces as a whole right now. Because of these reasons, it is important to examine climate change and understand how we can overcome it.
Key research areas
      Evironmental Design/ Environmentally friendly designs
Hedonistic Sustainability
Climate Change: why is it an issue for designers
History of green architecture
Problems with green architecture
Examples of architecture that embrace hedonistic sustainability
Current Laws/ legislations regarding design and climate change
Project Timetable
31st October
Begin research into key research areas and collecting information.
7th November
Continue collecting research, recording it all on blog.
14th November
Begin to plan essay structure and continue collecting research on blog.
21st November
Begin writing first draft using contact time when possible
28th November
Complete first draft, use contact time for improvements to essay. Continue recording all on-going research to blog.
5th December
Start making amendments to essay for final hand in.
12th December
Have all research recorded on blog and final essay completed

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Project Timetable and Artwork


After much consideration and research I have decided on these 6 scenes to base my artwork throughout the project.
Heimdall blowing the Gjall Horn
Aesir and Einherjer arming themselves
Thor Fighting Jormungand
Freyr fighting Surt/ Surt burning the nine worlds
Loki breaks free of chains
Nastrond, the shore of corpses

Project Timetable:

31st October 2012
Begin on-going research: sketches, planning for artwork, blog posts.
14th November 2012
Completed enough research to begin artwork, have all research on blog
28th November 2012
1st piece of Artwork Completed
12th December 2012
2nd piece of artwork completed
14th December – 9th January
Christmas Break
9th January 2013
Continue with Artwork and begin design book
23rd January
3rd Piece of Artwork Completed
6th February
4th Piece of Artwork Completed
20th February
5th Piece of Artwork Completed
6th March
6th Piece of Artwork Completed
6th March – 10th April
Make design book, finish any outstanding work: Blog, artwork.
10th April 2013
Print and hand in work.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Torchlight 2 level sketchup

Area 1

Area 2

Area 3

Area 4

Area 5

Future Norse Myths - Concept Art Project

Project overview
Use a story from Norse Mythology and set them in a futuristic/sci-fi setting. I will choose just one story and create artwork based on that story. I will create 6 pieces of concept art based on key scenes in the story. I will show my personal improvement throughout the story. Any research and studies relating to the project will be posted on blog. . I will use different tutorials from “Digital Art Techniques”; this should help make my artwork more diverse

What story will I use?

I recently bought this book to help me choose a story for my artwork. I have decided on using the Ragnarok story for my artwork. Ragnarok is the apocalyptic final battle between the gods and the giants in which almost all life is destroyed. Ragnarok is a very intense story with lots of action. There are many scenes in this story that could be translated into artwork.

I will use 6 of these parts of the story:

  1. Thor vs Jormungand
  2. Odin vs Fenrir
  3. Surt Burning everything
  4. Freyr vs Surt
  5. Loki vs Heimdall
  6. Nastrond, the shore of corpses
  7. Vile and Ve Chess board
  8. Aesir and Einherjar arming themselves
  9. Heimdall blowing the Gjall Horn
  10. Odin riding Sleipnir
  11. Skoll eating sun/ Hati eating moon
  12. Eggther sitting on grave mound playing harp.
  13. Loki breaks free from chains.
I need to weigh up the pros and cons of each part and decide on choosing the 6 parts that will tell the story of Ragnarok the best.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Ashley Wood Robots

When Video Games Invade Real Life

I watched a TED talk with Jesse Schell about the future of games and how games are slowly creeping into real life. I found this talk highly interesting and very disturbing at the same time.

Schell talks first about the unexpected success of social games such as Mafia Wars, Farmville and Club Penguin. These games are attracting to the user because they allow you to play with your real friends, they aren't just a virtual world anymore. Even outside of games there is a huge demand for reality, for example, reality TV and organic groceries. Schell talks about how authenticity is the most important aspect of products today. Technology and virtual worlds have cut us off from nature and people have a real hunger to reconnect with it, which is why reality is so important in today's market.

Schell goes onto talk about how games have already begun to slowly creep into our everyday lives with things like weight watchers points and air travel points. He mentions a virtual pet in his car that grows the more petrol you save, which has real effects on the way people drive. I think this is the most important point of the whole talk, the idea that rewarding people with virtual points for actions can have real effects on peoples behaviour. As an example, drinking Dr Pepper could reward people with 10 points each time they have a can and could award bonus points for drinking 5 in a week. This keeps a consumer interested in continues use of a product and increases the chance of a repeat purchase. Schell closes by saying that if everything we do is monitored by sensors and awarding us points, that we may be inspired to be better people.

I really enjoyed this talk, I think it gives insight into where games are going in the future. I can't say that I would look forward to a future with a total gamification of life. Sensors watching our every move and awarding us points and 1ups for everyday activities seems a breach of our personal privacy. It's quite unsettling that this may be a future we cannot avoid. I do, however, find it very interesting though that we could actually become better people if this was how the world worked, by being rewarded for positive actions. The total gamification of life would merge the real and virtual world and potentially inspire people to be better, but I think the issues of privacy are too great to ignore.

Link to talk:

Good Design and Bad Design

Good design and Bad design

It is hard to say exactly what makes a good design and what makes a bad design, it is completely subjective. A piece of design that is aesthetically pleasing for one person may not be for another, in reality a good design is one that meets the requirements given.

Good Design - is an example of good web design. A simple colour palette and layout does not distract the user from any information on the website. A good design should avoid being fashionable, this way the design never feels antiquated. Googles logo has changed very little since the company began, the same goes for the layout of the website, not much has changed since it all began. Googles logo is timeless which is why it has stayed the same for all this time, similarly coca-cola is another a great example of good logo design it too has changed very little over the years.

Google from 1998
Google from 2012 is a website that we are all very familiar with and will most probably use every day. However, even if someone isn't familiar with google it's unlikely they would have any problems using it. All the information on the website is no more than 2 clicks away.
Accessing features other than the search engine are displayed at the top of the page.
If you have an account set up with google, it can be easily accessed from the google homepage allowing you to view your profile.
Google is one of the best pieces of design we use day to day. It's simple aesthetics and ease of use make it one of the best websites around and why it is an example of good design.

Bad Design - Al Yaqoub Tower, Dubai

Al Yaqoub Tower is a 60 storey replica of Big Ben currently under construction in Dubai, UAE and is a great example of how not to design a building. First of all the building is in terrible taste, it looks tacky and the fact that it is a rip off cheapens the whole design. Unlike Google's logo and webpage layout, the design of this building is far from timeless. This building looks bad now, imagine it in 20 years from now.

Other Bad Designs:

Anything by Anish Kapoor, in particular, the ArcelorMittal Orbit built for the London olympics:

Also Olympic related, the London 2012 mascots:

They look like the weird offspring of Sauron and the Teletubbies.

Torchlight 2 Level Design

Game: Torchlight 2
Genre: Action rpg
Platform: PC

The game play in Torchlight 2 is not narrative driven and is more focused on the pacing and difficulty of the levels. The game is orientating around exploration and grinding for levels and better gear. That does not mean the game is devoid of narrative and will therefore be worthwhile creating a basic narrative to accompany the level. Game play is intense non-stop action, it isn't very often that you get a lengthy break from fighting while progressing through a dungeon. Regular enemies typically aren't too hard to kill unless they occur in large groups. Boss fights can last up to 5 minutes, require you to find a strategy that works.

Paper Based Level Designs

Setting: Forest/ Mountainous region
Objectives: Battle through dungeon and kill boss.
Optional/side objectives(picked up in dungeon): Burn down hostile camps, rescue hostages.
Mechanics: Breakable objects, secret areas, champion and boss enemies, chests, random events (quest givers, rescue hostages), boss fights, Steam achievements, shrines (temporary stat boost), traps.

I recorded this video to demonstrate basic game play elements in Torchlight 2

Paper Based Game


  1. Create a paper based game that requires 3 people to play.
  2. The game must be set on tiles.

  1. The game requires 3 players. Each is given a character sheet at the start of the game with all players stats.
  2. 2 players attack and 1 defends. On the attacking team, there is a healer and an attacker. The healer cannot attack and the attacker cannot heal. The defending player takes control of his own unit and multiple enemy units.
  3. Attacking players start in the safe zone and defending player starts in the area labelled next zone.
  4. Attacking players must reach the next zone.
  5. On a players turn, the can choose to move or attack/heal.
  6. Players take turns to roll a 6 sided die. This roll determines how many tiles a player can move. Alternatively if the defending or attacking player chooses to attack, this is how many hit points are taken. This can also determine how many points the healer can heal.
  7. Players can only attack or heal if they are within 1 tile of an enemy or teammate.
  8. Healers use resources to heal. For example if the healer rolls a 6, then 6 points should be deducted from his total resources.
  9. Blue tiles are used for replenishing a healers resources. If the healer lands on a blue tile, they pick up a card from the healer pile. This determines how much resource they restore.
  10. Green tiles are pick ups that the healer can keep withing his inventory. The pickups may benefit the attacker as well. They can be used on a players turn.
  11. If either player on the attacking team dies, they can respawn in the safe zone after missing 3 turns.
  12. The game is won when both attacking players reach the next zone or if both attacking players are killed.
Early level layout. A maze meant it was harder for players to engage in combat. A large open level is better suited for this game
The biggest challenge was trying to make the game so that it had to be played by 3 players. We had to make the attacking players dependent on each other, which is why only one can attack and the other can heal. Also only the healer can pick up loot which may benefit the attacking player. 

A lot more work needs to be done on balancing the game such as how many units the defending player should control and how many hit points/resources each player needs.