Ratchet and Clank Series
(Playstation 2, 3 & PSP)
The Ratchet and Clank games have always been a source of influence and inspiration in my projects that have allowed me to approach from a more stylized perspective, as the depiction of characters and sci fi worlds in this series are incredibly imagineered and original. The robot pirates in 'Tools of Destruction' were definitely an influence in the decision to make the focus of my project around rusty robot characters, as they posses incredible silhouettes that give each design a great attitude.
It's these sort of dynamic and interesting shapes and recognizable poses that i have concentrated in my own thumbnails and designs, as its one of the most important aspects of character design. Not only in terms of design, but also I wanted to aim to create final characters in real time engines that also possess the same standard and quality shown in this game series, though weather I am having the realistic but stylized look seen in these games or a more cartoon/cel-shaded surface quality to my final model surface materials, I have yet to decide. It is one of those areas I want to make sure I get right, as I want to have my characters possess quite a lot of detail, regardless of how stylized I make them, and I don't want to lose any sort of that detail or detract from it with my choice of shader's or materials.
Primordia is a point and click puzzle game that was recommended to me after I presented my final ideas for characters to the rest of the class for feedback, as it's characters focus around old steam-punk like designs that inhabit a world of the same style. After researching the game through game play videos and a lot of the character artwork, I found that Primordia is an old school point and click adventure with gorgeously hand painted in game artwork, that depicts a ramshackle world inhabited by robots that look both parts organic and machinery. I love how everything in this game just fits together so well, a consistency that is shared between both the world and the robots that inhabit it, which shows their connection and history with the surroundings they have lived in and built.
Also, the fact that the robots themselves are made up of organic shapes and smooth lines, gives them unique characteristics that make them more human like than the average robot design. The steam punk elements come through in their choice of wearing attire and intricate design work on their body surfaces, which all contribute in making a very original and somehow, believable world.
Construction Cancellation Order -Short Anime Movie
An anime short movie, recommended to me by a friend a while back, for its similarities to its theme of 'abandoned robots' that it shares with my FMP. It was created by the same person responsible for cult classic Anime movie 'Akira' and shares the same attention to detail and style seen in that: The story follows the inspection of a production plant that is being run by robots in the middle of a swamp, and has fallen under disrepair under the failings and unfailing dedication of the supervising robot worker to the task he has been assigned (to the extent that the whole thing is being run into the ground as a result). The whole setup and vibe has a very 'Twilight Zone' feel to it, and keeps you engaged to see what happens until the end.
I found it a very haunting and interesting comparison to my own approach of what would happen when robots are left to their own devices: where as i have taken the approach that they would develop into personalities of their own, as seen here without human intervention they carry out their programmed tasks to a scary degree, disregarding the safety and well being of the entire facility in order to make sure their orders are carried out to the letter.
I liked the simplicity and practicality of the worker robot designs, looking like an extension of the facility itself... which they kind of are, all being linked to some distant super computer by extension cables. It's these cables that they drag along behind them, their colour changing eyes when they sense hostility and their jerking and foot dragging movements that really give them that creepy and dangerous feel, that humans should really not venture into this abandoned project.
The whole movie is clearly an observation on how far we are willing to go with relying on technology, and the dangers of doing so... which is perhaps a more serious aspect compared to my projects themes, but still definitely # a very interesting take on a similar subject.