Gladys Frank

Lost in Farlands

Bachelor of Design Interactive Unreal Engine Shaders and Post-processing Stylised Environment Abstract

Explore an environment that colours cel shaded graphics based on player's proximity.

Lost in Farlands is a game that aims to capture the feel of cel shading graphics you see from old consoles games. Explore a 3d space in a first person view environment.

Using cel shaded graphics, how can this enhance the player’s experience?

The game engine I used was Unreal Engine I found a liking to it during game jam weeks in class. During development, an unknown I encountered was how can I replicate old graphics, and make it look appealing? A text that relates to my area of study and beneficial to help my unknown question is - Escaping the World: High and Low Resolution in Gaming. The text talks computer game graphics, high versus low resolution. They mention an interesting point why anybody would want to develop with less realism. For my game, I wanted what appeared in the game to stay artificial. The text says that high resolution graphics aren’t always appropriate or desirable (Serviss, B. & Seligmann, D.D.. 2005). Which I fully agree with. Game graphics may struggle to catch up with the art world, or meet player’s expectations on an emotional level. Trying to replicate realism usually ends up unnatural. The text ends with, the fate of graphics for games remains a mystery. It predicts that technological advancements will come up with innovative ways to recreate the real world (Serviss, B. & Seligmann, D.D.. 2005). There will be new ways to capture feelings, and incite emotions. These steps for immersion in games, is an evolutionary cycle that will enable the player new capacities. How does this text relate to my research question? This text is making a comparison between high versus low resolution, my game is low resolution. And there’s many elements that impact a game’s overall immersion. The choices of colour, and scope of visuals. These are separate to high or low resolution. Even the shape and form contribute to immersion. Cel shading is an interesting medium because it can go both ways, you have the hyper realistic kind and simple cel shaded. I chose to have my game simple; I could had made it realistic, true to life. But the reason I did not do that was because I wanted the graphics of visuals to stand out. With this choice it impacts the immersion level of the game. To help with my methodology I look into texts from Espen Aarseth, who is a computer researcher. Aarseth states that different genres and different research interests determine which category the researcher focuses on (Lammes, Sybille. 2007). My focus is on cel shading, and exploration. I pay attention to the landscape, how a player navigates in the world. After computers and video games became popular. There has been a movement of study, of humanistic design (Aarseth, Espen. 2003). This would make sense as computers are being used by humans, and as developers we must study human behaviour. Play testing is encouraged as human players make unpredictable actions, which is why I chose to keep my game linear. The unknown that I had encountered, but overcame. Was trying to achieve a retro style of console graphics. I constrained the level of detail, used low poly graphics and limited colours.