A Healthy Snack

I decided to do this nifty post I saw on a protein snack company called P3. It caught my eye and had a lot of great things about its design I liked.

Draw Over 1

 

First was how they placed their log on the image so that even if you don’t see their twitter logo it catches your eye. It also stands out with its bright colors over the gray background. It has a very quick grab that leads to the next stuff.

Draw Over 2

The next thing is its flow. It flows in a nice arc from left to right and then back again. The picture and animation tell a quick story and as it is a GIF it tells it over and over again. It feels very natural in the way it spells out what is happening.

Draw Over 3.png

And last it shows easily how a bit of motion can grab your attention easily. The nuts and such fall down and are placed in a loop to where they never hit the hand at all. There’s a good motion blur to them as well denoting action. It adds to the whole piece rather well.

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Smash Bros. Ultimate – A Nod to the Fans

Nintendo’s E3 for 2018 this last month consisted of a lot of great games coming to the Switch, Most notably though was their announcement of a new Smash Bros game coming to the series. There was a good half hour dedicated to this game being shown off. The way they did it though was very unique to how they usually do it, and it had a lot of little side jabs towards the fans who are dedicated to this game.

First was their use of the Expectation Principle in a fun way:

Smash 1

They presented us with this specific logo. When the game was first teased a few months ago people speculated whether it was going to be a Port of the old Smash Bros game to the new Switch console. Nintendo never gave a specific word on it and now at the start of their presentation, they were showing the OLD LOGO.

That scared a few people and gave a false expectation for the rest of the reveal. Ultimately they revealed it was a completely new game and not a port at all.

Next was the Entertainment Principle. They made a funny jibe at what the players want with this slide. Alon with the one after.

Smash 2Smash 3

They were literally joking around with the hearts of everyone who was pumped for this game. They were pretending that they would simply explain what Smash Bs was..and end in two seconds. By the end of it, they got to share over 20 minutes of the game and all the new and exciting features it provided.

And lastly they used the Zeitgeist Principle to show off some new stuff:

Smsh 4

Thy added a character that not only is part of a large game that they are currently working on releasing but also one that fans had been asking for many many years. This was so timely and perfect that it adds a connection to the new game they are creating as well as a thing that gamers had wanted for a while.

Nintendo did a great job at mixing humor and fun as well as giving all what they wanted to get from this broadcast.

Reverse Engineering Nintendo

I love Nintendo, have grown up with them, have a great affinity for their style fo games etc.

So here is a look at some of their recent posts leading up to E3 here in America.

Nintendo Post 1

For this first one, we see they are advertising their line up for the upcoming E3 show. Here you can see the seascape principle of Consistency. They use the same colors throughout. The Red has become synonymous with Nintendo as well and it has a great amount of connection throughout their posts and their twitter site.

Nintendo Post 2-01

Here we see them selling their Nintendo Switch icon and showing that there is a great amount of push to have people bring their Switch as well. You can see they’re red connected here as well. This is a connection to the Value principle. They want people to see great value in their product, if they bring their Switch then they will be able to get a pin there adding value to what they already bought.

Nintendo Post 3-01

And finally, we see another Post promoting their Switch and its many uses as well. This is connected to timeless. They want their product changed into many different things and be used as a multi-use product for ages to come. It is not set for just this time but for many more to come.

 

I think Nintendo shoots very much for quality in their products and they use many of the Seascape principles for their company to reach people and keep them wanting to come back for more.

Ancient Realms: What Makes a World Feel Old

Hello again and welcome to another look at the video game world and its many wonders! Today we want to talk about something that most people are horrifically afraid of.

Old age.

But not age in people, no sir, we are talking about old places. Ancient places that haven’t seen the sun or the face of a man for thousands of years. So how do you do that? How can you create a place of such ancient feel that there is deep history rooted in the very walls?

Well, you wait a few thousand years.

But if don’t have that much time in the development process we have to look for alternative ways to explain to our audience that the game they are playing has a deep history to it. It is not just a quick polygonal palace placed in a perpetual state of prominence. (That was some dang good alliteration by the way.)

We have to turn to other more complex methods to sell to our players that your world is thousands of years old. It hasn’t been around since June 4, 2018. No, it has been around for 10,000 years before that.

So what are these secret aging tips for games? I think they boil down into three separate categories.

Layered World Design, Art Direction, and Lore. 

 

Layered World Design

Map Dark Souls 1

So let’s start with designing your world. Look at the picture above. This is the map of almost all the areas in Dark Souls 1. It is split in three so it fits in a frame but do you notice something about it? It is built like a tower. Playing the game doesn’t feel like you are descending or climbing a giant tower though it feels like you are conquering fortresses, descending deep into the depths and fighting difficult enemies.

Dark Souls 1 is constantly looping back on itself so you end up popping back into areas you would least expect to be. Playing this game is stressful, but rewarding in your travels through these lands constantly making you feel a blend between each area.

But this tower feel adds a powerful feeling of age to every area you defeat. As you head higher into the top areas such as Anor Londo and the Dukes Archives as shown on the left side of the picture you see brighter colors. Things are crisper, there is less wear on things built and everything feels less decayed. Delving deep into the other hand of this world you descend deeper and deeper into the Depths, then into the flooded ruins of New Londo and finally down a giant hole into an inky blackness called the Abyss. The world here is broken, decayed, forgotten. There are ghosts here, not only that attack you but ghosts of things you saw above. Even the name of the far down place is a wry twist on the crisp clean area above, New Londo versus the pristine capital of Anor Londo. Here at the bottom of everything you see that nature has taken over. There is no wall that does not have a crack or a large chunk is taken out of it. This place feels dead. 

This dichotomous relationship between the top and the bottom is called “Strata” the layering of things on top of each other. In Dark Souls this serves a major purpose: It tells the story of the world almost silently. 

Basic background for the Dark Souls series is this: The world is in a cyclical lifestyle. If the First flame created a long time ago is not rekindled every so often the world will die and everything will go into the dark. So every once and a while your character, the Chosen Undead, must go and rekindle this flame starting a new era. Doing so burns the world and starts a sense of rebirth.

Essentially these areas that you go to are all previous eras. Because of the cyclical nature of this world, they begin to stack. Those on top being the newest, those on bottom passing away and being forgotten by most denizens of the world. This adds a profound feel to this world, and as you dive into each layer going down you learn better the history of the layers above. You see old kingdoms influencing the new ones lending to a profound sense of age in the Dark Souls World.

This kind of world building is not easy and takes a long time to do but if executed well can lead to a world that makes players think and strive to look for every inch of this world that they can get their hands on.

HK Map

 

Another game that does this well is Hollow Knight. Take a look at the map here and you can see the vertical feel of this game as well. You start in Dirtmouth where there are living NPC’s to talk to and converse. The world seems alive, people actually live there. But as you get far to the bottom and reach the Ancient Basin there are no NPC’s and in fact, there is hardly anything living there at all. There are no difficult enemies but those that scavenge off the bits of things long dead.

This has the same feel as Dark Souls 1 did. As you go further down you see the old roots of the civilization well above letting you feel that long ago in the deepest reaches there was a thriving kingdom. Ironically enough the farthest part in Hollow Knight and Dark Souls are named the same, “The Abyss.” This place is completely devoid of life and makes you feel like you have reached the beginning of a circle of Hell.

This layered feel in many games can really add a deep feel to world building and add the feel your players need to be immersed in the feel of an ancient land.

 

The Art Direction

Visual learning is one of the most prominent ways of gathering information for this generation and many others before us. We take a lot in with our eyes from colors to texture, determining softness and hardness and so on. The art style of a game really either sells or fails to sell the feel of a game when it comes to age. If you want a game to feel old, decrepit and disease-ridden don’t go with a simple polygon art style where everything has a clean edge and where things look cartoony.

Instead, go with something like this:

bloodborne key art and concept art video game on playstation

Bloodborne sells its feel so well through its art direction. The dark greys, the bloodred, and dark greens and faded yellows do not make you want to eat off the floor anywhere here. Here you feel the gross feel of a broken city, a forgotten people and a sense of disease permeating every brick and wrought-iron fence.

Decay is used so prominently in this game to give a feel of old. You can’t find a single brick that is perfectly made, there is no wall that doesn’t have pieces taken out of it and almost everywhere you find some sort of liquid splashed on the ground. The colors chosen sell that you are in a broken and slowly dying world.

If there were three words to describe this world they would be, dead, mutated, and, diseased. The way that every creature is covered in blood and that no human looks like they have ever taken a shower really pushes the feel of dead on old onto the scene.

 

 

Anor Londos

Another great way to make a game feel old is to bring back things from old games. If you already have a base built then having a player turn a corner and walk into an area that they loved from a previous game can be a nostalgic trip. If you look at the top two pictures though they did something different in each one.

In the Zelda games on top on the left is in Ocarina of Time and the right is Breath of the Wild. Though they look similar, and they are in the same ‘timeline’ since they are the same building, the one in Breath of the Wild is strikingly different. It is falling apart and collapsing.  Ruined by years and age and then finally broken apart and ransacked by the war that existed before your waking.

The picture below that is Anor Londo from Dark Souls. The one on the left is from the first game and the one on the right is from the third. Though the one on the right looks perhaps more bright and vibrant on the outside it is merely a false edifice. I remember traveling through and playing the first game and reaching Anor Londo, this monumental palace that is pristine and alive, fighting knights and finding a giant, traveling into this fancy castle. Then I recall traveling through the Dark Souls 3 version, walking past the dead corpse of my Giant friend, fighting the same, albeit much older, knights and walking into the main cathedral only to find it covered in rotting flesh and dead slime from the new inhabitant of the castle. What was once the hub of prosperity and wealth was now a forgotten and ruined cathedral brimming with filth and with death, completely forgotten by the rest of the world, only hanging by a thread.

This to me was one of the greatest examples of feeling old. It wasn’t asking me to imagine a fictitious past where something happened but it was an actual past where I participated. A place where I once was.

The art in the game, this visual aspect of making something feel ancient plays a gigantic role in selling this age to the player. If you are walking into an old castle that has been deserted for hundreds of years because a dragon took up residence inside, it shouldn’t have lighted candles, a big closed front gate, and perfect carpets. It should have a broken and scorched front gate, scattered and broken furniture and a singed and burned carpet laying on the ground. It should feel like a dragon ripped in here and took this castle. These things tell a story beyond simple words and hint at a past that you are coming after.

Players can pick up those clues pretty quick and it feels rather rewarding when walking down a hallway when you notice blood streaks on one of the walls warning them of an enemy who is perched around a corner. In even the longer sense those clues can give your player an understanding of an event that took place years before they stepped foot in this area. It gives evidence of a history long passed.

Ancient Basin

Sometimes its the small and unnoticeable things though. Obvious clues won’t give the same reward to a player. But take for example this picture of Hollow Knight. This area is called the Ancient Basin. And while it already has “Ancient” in its name there are some subtle almost subconscious clues that this place is very old. The “architecture” of this place is different than other places. Throughout the game, you see many many shells of various bugs from around the kingdom. But these shells are different looking. For one, the shells behind are gigantic. It makes you wonder, “what kind of huge creature lived in these shells?” Also, a neat clue is that these type of shells are those that look very familiar to the ancient crustacean creatures that lived on our planet. They are a nod to the subconscious of us the player.

The greatest story can be told silently through the artwork. 

 

The Lore

 

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This perhaps is what many people see when they think of a history of a game or background to any sort of game series. The lore of a game is such that it can tell the story in full through the text. Many times though it is not so straightforward or easy to understand. This tends to lead many to speculate and have different “lore discussions” on what truly is going on in a game.

You see above many different pictures of varying games and different items, NPC’s descriptions and, logbook entries etc. that show their lore and their world through these key things. Sometimes you talk to an NPC who tells the character of the old war they fought in giving a small piece of a larger picture. Or as it comes to Dark Souls every single item has a description from the smallest Dagger to the heaviest armor set, it has something to say about the world in Dark Souls. Or in the Metroid Prime trilogy, everything is scannable to the point where you can just walk through a room and not scan anything but opening up your scan visor will teach you about the many different alien races and civilizations which you are trapesing through.

Whatever the way may be there is always something to read and understanding to be had from these pages, logbooks, or dialogues. But as mentioned before they should not be overly verbose. Reading a Dark Souls description of an item usually raises more questions than it makes answers. There is a fair amount of speculation made and hundreds of YouTube channels that are now dedicated to simply the lore of such a game. People can make a living off of this lore.

As you create more than just simple text you can explain not just ideas of the land but the sought after Game Feel, the stuff that keeps games alive in the minds of hundreds if not thousands of people. Helping them think of concepts, ideas, stories, tales, histories and many more in the fictional land you have created.

So, in the end, why is it a good idea to make your game feel old, feel ancient? Well really it’s not just about feeling ancient, it’s about making your game feel believable, unique, and alive. The irony of that last one is that a world that is focused on feeling dead can feel very alive in its death. It feels believable. These many games do so very well at making their worlds feel old because they sell it in many ways. They create a rich history behind their worlds, whether visual or written. As you strive to create a world you may ask yourself those questions. Is it believable? Is it unique? Is it alive? These questions can drive what you feel as you explore caves underground, uncover a forgotten kingdom and learn why it was forgotten in the first place.

Remember that Worlds have no end, and as we create them we bring the fictitious more into reality.

Thanks for reading!

Join us next time as we talk about:

Neverending Adventure: Cycles in Gaming

Nintendo of America – Twitter

Introduction:
Nintendo of America always seems to have a good impact, they make me want to support them and love hat they make. Their social media accounts are no different. They post good content, new variations on their existing IPs and relevant info on their upcoming games and events.

Analysis:
They also do a great job of branding their things together. They have made a great many systems yet their logo and their feel feels very similar and hast changed much.

Color COnnection-01.png

You can see here in their twitter age that they are promoting their new system, the Switch. They used the exact same colors to brand the switch, their main focus, as they did the original Nintendo logo. This connection makes it feel whole.

Contrast-01.png

One of the things well done here well is the contrast. The red they use is such a bright color that it can be sometimes overwhelming and so they added green accents here as well to make it feel less alarming. Also subconsciously the colors green and red together make us think of Christmas with gifts and excitement giving the same feel on this page.

Symmetry-01.png Here at the top as well we get the symmetry of the Switch. It is their prime focus and selling point right now and so the group needs to show both versions of the switch. It is split right down the middle is a great way to show the connection to the product.

Conclusion:
Nintendo’s work in making their social media look professional yet still enticing is a very clean and bold move. Their style is super simple and yet draws attention to all the people who wish to follow them.

Id Vox Designs – Personal Manifesto

Ever since I was little I always loved to create. Drawing, clay, woodworking, I love creating something from scratch. Now I love making others happy and enjoy what I create. My desire now is to make things that connect with people and connect others together. My design business is focused on making designs that people can wear or have around their house. Things that are unique, fun, and tell a story. These can be shirts, poster etc. but something that someone really wants.

I want to connect with my audience as a friend and be able to ask what they want and then make it. Work on making broader designs for a wider audience but also work on making designs for the individual.

Even if I don’t ever see the smile on their face when they open the package or try on a shirt for the first time I want to make others happy through designs. A laugh, or a nostalgic thought, I want others to fell something through my designs.

VidAngel – Getting the Good Stuff

What is the main purpose of the post?

This post is to try and get all those fine people who wish to watch good shows but also want to not have any of the not appropriate stuff on it as well. Trying to get people to sign up for VidAngel.

Who is the audience of the post?

It’s centered around Mormon culture but also reaches out to those people who just want to have a clean setting for entertainment.

How does the post connect with the audience?

It’s connecting with them through things that they would love. It is important for them to be able to have good shows on their channel so that people will want to sign up for them.

What value does the post provide to their audience?

This gives them a greater and better variety of shows to be able to watch to filter the shows they want.

How does the post’s design connect and communicates with the audience?

It is very centered around the show itself and just as another piece to show how people would be able to find things that interest them a lot.

What metrics (likes, shares, re-tweets, etc.) will be used to determine if the post is successful?

For them, it is how many different likes and shares and comments they get on it to show how many people see and interact with their post.

The Nintendo Switch, a Switch in Direction

Nintendo’s New Audience

Nintendo has always been a family-friendly audience, one that sticks totally to making sure that there are games for kids to play. But when they introduced the Nintendo Switch you can see that their audience has shifted. This was a game console and they knew that with the failure of their previous console they had to change things and aim for a different group.

th

Check out this video on their music choice, characters and feel of their new console:

Nintendo’s audience was now a group of much older people. As you can see from the screenshot above there are no kids in this picture. These are college age to adult people having fun at a gathering together. By doing this Nintendo was able to reach a much larger audience who actually had some money in their pockets.

The design of their new system matches the mobile feeling of these kinds of people because of the ability to remove the system from its dock for on the go play. Nintendo’s design and production of this new device hit a new realm of understanding of their audience.

And it worked. Their new thought on direction paid of n the realm of millions of Switch systems being sold and are still selling so fast. I think we can all learn a great deal from this type of marketing, finding the right kind of people and then branding the feel, design, and mechanics of a product towards that group. Thanks, Nintendo.

 

 

Revisions

brochure-templatebrochure-template-revised

Changed: I looked at my old piece of what it looked liked and decided that the font and text were badly aligned. I realized that it really threw off the feeling and flow of the page and So I decided to change where all the Edges of all the body paragraphs ended up. I also changed all the fonts to a smaller font of 10pt to fit better and be aligned.

TIME SPENT: 30min

business-card

business-card-revised

Changed: The one problem with the business idea was the fact that there was no direction with it. And so I sat long and hard to really what this design was really about. What is the company really making and what are they saying? I decided to make it a new Retro Game Design company and added the Logos to pop/ Therefore I put them in a color that was not like the rest of the Picture to stand out.

TIME SPENT: 30min

final-webpage

final-webpage-revised

Changed: I thought I did very well on this one but when I went back to it I realized that there were some pretty big things that I could change. Fonts were the biggest of all. The titles on the three bottom icons were originally very difficult to read and had a hard time being able to notice that they were connected to the underneath. So I picked a different font and realized that it was a much better fit still in that category. Also changed the position of a few minor pieces for better flow such as at the top. Also realized that there was some hard to read font on the bottom so changed it to a better font.

TIME SPENT: 50 min

montage-project-cropped

montage-project-revised

Changed: This one was the most difficult because there weren’t a ton of elements to work with, but  realized that I absolutely hated the font I chose and decided it would be a lot better if it was spread out and a different font. So I chose a much better font and placed it better. I also Chose to make the end letters larger to add the symmetry. I also changed the glow to an inner glow on the Silhouette to make it better looking.

TIME SPENT: 45 min

virtual-reality

virtual-reality-revised

Changed: I really liked this one as well and so decided that the bottom needed to be a bit more organized. It seemed out of place so I made a cross of the VR icons and made them better aligned. It looked much better after that. I also move and aligned a few more shapes and made the entirety a bit more pleasing.

TIME SPENT: 45

 

TOTAL TIME SPENT: 3.3 Hours