Block 2 – Days 9 & 10

Hey all! A little late report, but through the magic of WordPress, it’ll look like it’s published on Friday! Mostly because it’ll be easier to follow the workbook that way.

Anyhow, so what have I been up to the last two days? Well, I’ve written a total of four entries now, complete with screenshot examples, reference citations and all, so things are looking good for the guide.

On Thursday, I went to school after lunch in order to get some variation in my work environment. I got a couple of entries written and I found that some methods require a lot more documentation and examples than others. For instance, the first entry I wrote about lighting a player’s path took just a little more than two pages, whilst the entry on color coding in the environment (see Mirror’s Edge) is approaching four pages total. The amount of documentation I provide is also dependent on how much I gathered from my research, of course.

On Friday, I wrote more on my third entry and wrote the fourth one too. As I mentioned, the fourth one, on color coding, took a few pages to write and as such also took some time to write. I’m very satisfied with the result of the entries so far, which in turn has provided me with more motivation to shape this little guide into something really nifty.

I said I’d provide you, the public, with an example of an entry from my guide, and here it shall follow!

Entry #01: Light the Way

General Description:

Light the way” refers to the method of drawing attention to the correct or optimal path for the player to take by lighting it up. Of course, this highlighted path could also be one that is out of reach at first, a future path that the player might take later on.
This method is especially effective if employed within a generally low-lit environment, or if used in conjunction with complementary colors in the lights. As such, the lighting of the path stands out more in terms of contrast, drawing the players attention.

Function:

As mentioned above, this method works by directing the attention of the player. How is this achieved? Contrast is a key element to this method, be it through brightness or through the color of the light. The players attention is diverted towards the point of interest because of our reflexes, because a bright light at the end of a dark room seems a safer place to be. It grants us a point to orient towards, a point that stands out from the rest.

This method is described, in detail, with several examples in Magnar Jenssen’s article Functional Lighting on his personal portfolio: http://magnarj.net/article_funclight.html

Classification: Environmental

The method is classified as environmental, as the highlighting of a path is most often, as found from my research, a purely visual cue used to lead the player forward.

Samples of Use:

(Click to enlarge.)

Example 1: This is from an early point in Bioshock (Irrational Games, 2007). The doorways are highlighted to guide the player towards them. Its use in this particular area might appear superfluous, given that both doorways lead to the same point. However, by establishing this particular means of orientation early in the game, the player is familiarized with it from the start. As such, there is less risk of the player losing direction when this method is in use later in the game.

(Click to enlarge.)

Example 2: Another example from Bioshock. The path to the next objective, behind the players current view, is obstructed by a locked door. Turning around reveals staircases leading upwards, where a warmer light shines on what looks to be a control panel of sorts. The subtle contrast in the lights temperature makes it stand out from the otherwise coldly colored lights in the area.

I hope this helps in understanding the layout and feel of the guide better. After all, I could just go on and talk about how much I’ve written but never show anything until it’s done, but it’s a lot more fun and personal this way, is it not? It’s an opportunity for anyone interested to leave a bit of feedback too, if they so desire.

That’s all for this week. I’d provide the standard Friday reflection list, but I feel there’s enough of a wall of text here already, so I’ll probably write one on Monday instead.

Until next time!

Marcus out.