Archive for avril, 2015

avr
03

Nothingness Answers with her Cheshire glare

This is really just an experiment in free verse. I started by writing down a memory and how it made me feel.
What I got was a sort of stream of consciousness. I read out loud, cut what seemed unnecessary, decorated what was left and repeated the process a few times until I was satisfied enough.


Nothingness answers with her Cheshire glare

I stare at the ceiling and the dark. Can’t sleep, can’t calm down.

I writhe in my bedsheets, comfort escapes me at every twist.

I wander. I wade through the winding thicket. The twinkle of invisible animal eyes follows me like the ringing echo of a curse.

Riddled with questions, with bullet-holes.

How did I get here? Where am I going? How did this happen?

Everything was going so well…

I know this is a lie-it’s all a lie. One big stupid lie. But I’m still trapped, still stuck here.

I raise my head, looking for the dawn, yet,

Nothingness answers with her Cheshire glare.

When I was smaller, I was afraid of the night. I wouldn’t even admit that the darkness was black. When I shut my eyes, I said I saw blue.

When I was small and frail and scared, I had a babysitter.

She told me a story about the darkness. It was the tale of a little boy, who was also afraid. Every night he would shiver and cry in fear. Until, one night, the little boy felt the gentle touch of a hand on his shoulder. He spun round and saw a great black knight, mounted on a beautiful and giant steed. Darkness was the knight’s cape. “I will protect you” said the knight “I will watch over you”

From that night on, the little boy was no longer afraid of the dark. He would fall asleep, finally feeling secure wrapped in the cape of the great black knight.

 – Julien Fenoglio

avr
03

The 100

The 100 #1

Poster for The 100

The 100 is a post-apocalyptic show based on the book written by Kass Morgan. The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors now live in a single massive station named « The Ark », where about 2,400 people living under the leadership of Chancellor Jaha. In order to know if Earth is habitable again, 100 juvenile prisoners are sent down on the ground. They are meant to find refuge and supplies at the old military installation in Mount Weather. However, they have landed a far distance from it and soon face other problems. Confronting both the wonders and the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community.

The show delivers an interesting point of view about how life on Earth could suddenly end because of nuclear conflicts, and how hard life would be if it really happened. Since the Ark is a place where any crime is condemned by death, the viewer can feel the desire for independence and freedom of the 100 teenagers sent on Earth. However, every short moment of happiness delivered in the show is instantly interrupted by awful situations (no spoilers here). Down on Earth, the “survival of the fittest” couldn’t be truer, and the fact that the teenagers have to put aside their differences to work together is really fascinating, because the transition isn’t immediate, and we see how the group evolves through time.

The main characters are really charismatic, and the greatest prowess of the show is that the notion of Manichaeism is almost totally absent: we can’t determine if a character is the good or the bad guy, since survival on Earth (and on the Ark) is only a matter of unbearable dilemmas.

To summarize, The 100 is a great show if you are a fan of post-apocalyptic series. The characters are appealing and very charismatic, and that’s why the show is so emotionally exhausting, since every choice our heroes have to make will have severe consequences. The concept is awesome and the series has only lasted 2 seasons for the moment (a third season is being prepared).

Erwann DEPAEUW

The 100 #3

Main cast of the show

The 100 #2

One scene of the show

avr
03

A day in the life of a 1st year student !

A day in the life of a 1st year student !

Hello!  My name is Valentin Erbüke and I am in first year.

A lot of stuff happens in this new school of ours. Some recent events are way more important and spectacular that today’s topic, but hey, when you are only in first year, you cannot participate in all of them. I’m going to talk about something I’ve lived. A horrible, awful experience every first year has had to go through, something so horrific that it affects the person for years and years. Even the third years can bear witness and you can see their terrified and lost glances staring into space when you mention this specific subject: “Les exposés”.

I know my description is kind of exaggerated. It‘s been an experience really close to what you can see in the college or in high school. This is mainly why people tend to dislike it so much. In fact it is interesting enough for you not to fall asleep, because everyone gets to choose his own topic and so they put a lot of work in it. We had to choose a topic and develop a debate around it, and make a preview of the core of our oral in a written work. Sadly, I underestimated this part and I chose my topic in a hurry…

After this part, we had a few weeks to actually prepare the presentation in itself. The presentations were held separately on two different weeks. For two days straight we had to listen to our buddies non-stop for six hours, hearing their freaked out voice while they tried to maintain their composure for the whole twenty minutes of their lecture and feeling the intensity of the atmosphere when our jury made their criticism. Hopefully everyone chose a topic he or she liked, and the presentations were well done and enthusiastic. I’ve learnt a lot about people tastes and interest, and discovered a lot myself as well, since some spoke about topics I only knew a little about. We’ve heard about astro-physics, time-travel, Copyrights, Koreans cinema, viruses and parasites, Ireland’s mythology and beliefs, brains and robots. I myself talked about the story of television screens and how they have evolved to the current curved screens we can buy on the market. I guess everyone has discovered something he liked and ignored everything about. Overall, and mainly because everyone put a lot of work into them, we’ve been through four long and intense, but very instructive days. Now it is all over, and we are all dying to get our marks, that should not be long, but the waiting is stressful.

I witness it was a great experience, with its ups and downs, and I’m really happy not to have to go through it once again!

Now I’m finished, you can go on and read what has happened a bit earlier in the year: The Imagine Cup! (I believe someone’s been writing some stuff about it.. If not, I hope I’ve kept you entertained and that this lecture was not boring.)

 

Have a good day !

This article was realized by ERBUKE Valentin.

avr
03

They see me rolling… (Hits Playtime Game)

Bannière

“My name is Namaspamus, and I’ve lost my body ! Would you help me to look for it ?”

Namaspamus is a game that I’m currently making for the Hits Playtimes 2015 contest, an annual game-making contest for game design students.

The game is a 2D platformer in which you play Namaspamus, a head seeking its body. You need to make it roll in the levels to progress. You can also jump, but be careful : as a head, you can hurt yourself very easily ! Each impact makes you lose life, depending of the type of ground you land on.

You need to finish each level without being hurt too much, which can be very hard as you’ll have to go through dangers like enemies or bombs. Some levels will almost be puzzles in which you have to find the way to reach the end without dying.

There’s a use of physics to make interesting situations like chain reactions. It has a silly and absurd universe, and some cruel humor too : watching this poor Namaspamus getting hurt should be quite fun. The artistic style uses old paintings from the renaissance, and the tone is quite inspired from Terry Gilliam’s Flying Circus animations.

The name “Namaspamus” is based on a bad pun in french (we could translate it in “Gathernomoss” or something like that).

There are only 3 of us in the development team (the teams for the contest can have up to 6 people) with two game designer/programmers, and one game artist. The project is currently on stand-by because we have a lot of work, but don’t hesitate to support us by liking our facebook page !

https://www.facebook.com/namaspamusgame

You can also check our Devblog, even if its quite empty for the moment…

http://hitsplaytime.fr/namaspamus

You could find Namaspamus bouncing on your screen one day, so keep an eye out ! :)

Adrien Poncet

avr
02

Progregency – A neological essay

A neologism is a made-up word. The present article uses a few of them to make a point. Who knows, maybe someday you’ll find them in a dictionnary!

Progregency: rate of change of the demand of a person.

(portemanteau from progress and exigency)

 

Demand,’ in this essay is used to describe someone’s expectations and what they estimate is required by a task, mostly in terms of hard work.

During a project, a person’s demands almost certainly vary. Demand is extreemly important, as it is often what links a person to the way they work and thus to the potential product. That’s why it seems important -or at least interesting- to explore these variations and see how influential they are on a person’s mindset.

 

The following terms are used to describe someone’s mindset at a given moment. It’s more of a situational state depending on various factors like mood, the person himself, the object of potential demand, etc.

Rarely should they be used to describe someone’s actual nature/character as if it was set in stone.

 

Progregent: a progregent person has demands that grow with time.

By definition, progregents cannot reach their goals: they will always evolve as the project progresses. This means that a progregent person shouldn’t be put in charge of a project, as the potential members of their team wouldn’t be able to follow a progression that’s constantly demanding more.

Most of the time, a progregent person is more fond of the act of working itself than the completion of a task.

The progregent could be described as ‘too ambitious’, ‘eternally dissatisfied’, or ‘perfectionistic’.

 

Congregent: a congregent’s demands don’t change with time.

This means that the congregent is efficient at setting goals and keeping them for the duration of a project. It is better that a team leader be a congregent for they have a constant goal that everyone can aim for.

Congregency leads to the idea of wanting to reach a goal by all means, because of this, a congregent mind often likes completing a task more than working on it.

The congregent could be described as ‘consistent’, ‘stable’, ‘obstinate’, or ‘stubborn’.

 

Regregent: a regregent person lowers their demands with time.

The regregent usually lowers their expectations in order to make sure their task is doable.

Regregency is defined by the realisation -or supposition- that something is not actually feasible, most of the time, a pessimistic point of view leads to a goal way lower than initially intended.

Because of this, a regregent is most of the time relieved that a task is over, and won’t be that fond of working even if it’s to put the final brick.

The regregent could be described as ‘lazy’, ‘fatalistic’, ‘pessimistic’, or ‘realistic’.

 

Why is it important to know?

When working in teams, it’s obviously important to know your team mates and how they work.

Progregency helps understanding how you and others might approach work, and allows you to stage your demands better and understand their potential evolution.

 

Of course, progregency isn’t useful alone, for it depends on the initial demand. Someone might be congregent, if their initial goal is too high to be feasible, they will need to lower it.

 

I hope those terms can be useful to those of you who are wondering what group they belong to!

avr
02

Game Development Tips for Wannabes

How to begin game development when you don’t know a thing ?

 

Intro

If you’re reading this, you are probably willing to develop your own video games. Before going any further, I have to warn you : Reading this post WILL NOT make you a good game developper. To be very honest, the only way to make good games is to make a lot of crappy games. Like, dozens of them.

So, you want to develop your very own First Crappy Game. Where to begin when you’ve never done anything close to it?

 

1 – Programming

The thing that’s most probably blocking you right now, is the programming part of your game. Programming is a very specific skill, that needs you to learn a whole new language and way of thinking. Well, believe it or not, if you can’t program at all, that’s actually not a problem : There is a lot of middleware available, such as Game maker or Construct 2. They are very easy to use, and will allow you to make games without writing a single line of code. So, if you’re not a programmer, the first thing you have to do is to download one of these two, and learn its basics. It shouldn’t be longer than an hour or two, really.

Go ahead, do it. I’ll wait.

Now, if you’re a seasonned programmer, and you already know a programming language (or even more than one, who knows?), then you might want to use this knowledge, and you’d be right. So, just use Unity, that runs on C#, or Unreal Engine, that uses C++, or Flash, or anything else you feel comfortable with. As long as you keep in mind what you already know and what you need to learn to begin developping your game, you should be fine.

 

2 – The Idea

By now, you should have the technical skills to develop your game, and you should know where to find any piece of knowledge you could be missing (if you don’t, just google it. It’s that easy. Being stuck sucks and someone online probably has the answer to your problem anyways).

To begin developping your game, the only thing you’re missing now is an idea. Just keep it as simple as you can : your goal now is to finish your game, be it the simplest, or even the worst, that has ever been made. If you’re lacking inspiration, just begin with a standard top- or side-view game, the rest will come later. An idea from an other game is totally OK if you can’t find anything else. Don’t worry, more ideas will pop up as you develop games.

 

3 – Aesthetics

By “aesthetics”, I mean the assets of your game, for instance the environment, the character animations, and the cool sound your avatar produces when he punches an enemy, but I also include all the things you can put in there to make your game “feel” better, such as particle effects or the fact that the screen shakes when everything around you explodes.

I’ll be honest here. I don’t think think aesthetics are essential when it comes to creating your very first video game. Don’t get me wrong : I do think they can make the difference between a bad game and an excellent game. Just don’t waste all your time and energy making gorgeous sprites if the rest of your game just sucks.

What I’d recommand for a first game is, as always, just to keep it simple. If you feel inspired, you can create assets by yourself, or else you can use some stuff you found on the Internet (just make sure it’s free ! Take a look at these sites if you don’t know where to begin).

 

4 – Iterate !

When you begin developing your game, don’t worry too much about details. I know it’s hard not to correct that-minor-bug-that-you-could-totally-fix-if-you-just-had-three-more-hours, but you have to put the core features of your game together first. Having a working game is only the first step, and you need to get to it as fast as you can. That’s why I’d recommand you create games with simple mechanics at first, so you can see the result of your work very quickly.

Once you have worked on your game enough for it to be playable, you can begin iterating on it, which just means improving your game, correcting bugs and adding features, until you get bored or it seems finished enough to you (depending on which happens first).

And that’s how you develop your first video game.

 

Conclusion

What to do once you’ve finished your first game? Well, there are a lot of possible answers to this question, mine being “Just make a second game. And a third one. And then another. And another again.” It’s simply the best way there is to improve !

Here are a few general tips that may be useful if you keep developing games :

Keep it simple : Getting small games done is better than giving up on bigger ones.

Be creative : Try to make every game you make different from the previous one, and from any other game out there !

Have fun : What’s the point in making video games if we don’t enjoy ourselves?

Keep learning : Once you’ve made a few games, try to get out of your comfort zone !

– Ask other people to help you : Making games with other people is easier, more effective and much funnier than doing them on your own !

Share your games : Showing your game is the best way to get feedback and advice ! Talk to other game developers and participate in game jams to get valuable experience and meet lots of interesting people !

Henri Couvreur

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02

The Step by Step process of an art commission

WARNING: The final piece presented in this article depicts a nude woman. Those who do not appreciate such visuals may not engage in reading. Also it’s a pretty lenghty article due to pictures. :)

In the vast world of modern art, Internet has become a great place to share your work for everyone to see. Upon seeing an artist on the net whose work tickles your fancy, why not approach them and have art made for you and you only?

I was approached by an Internet acquaintance for an art commission of his player character in a MMORPG called Final Fantasy XIV, a game I’ve been playing myself for a few years now. It is not unusual for artists on the Internet to receive requests from gamers, and it’s been known for a while in the game’s community that I was one, so drawing this piece was a really fun and lengthy process that I enjoyed very much!

The commission requested a single pose of the character in full view, nude and resting on their side, rendered in 2 distinct ways: in color for one and in a thicker, black and white only linework for the other.

After collecting screenshots from the requestee’s character ingame (a brown-skinned, white-haired cat-woman wearing shaded glasses), and discussing the details of what he wanted to see in the final piece, I finally got started on it! (using my favorite art program Paint Tool SAI)

Let’s draw a cat-lady lying on her side!

Now when you start a sketch, you may be tempted to dive immediately into the finest details of your piece, with every lace of clothing and every straw of hair carefully drawn out, but that is, infact, very likely to confuse you in the later stages! You don’t want to see a character with perfect hair in a broken, awkward position do you?

  • No indeed, when I start to sketch a character, I try and focus on the POSE itself first, having a rough idea in my head of how it’s going to look and using circular, loose brushstrokes to place all the necessary body parts in a composition that works. If a part doesn’t sit right, now’s the time where I just erase it all and restart, with no level of detail whatsoever. I use a simple, thin brush that allows the drawing to be as loose and messy as possible, and when I’m finished setting up the pose, it generally looks like this (with a few stronger strokes to mark « strong points » in the pose or show its borders more clearly):

01

 

 

Pretty messy isn’t it? You can barely make out the character herself. But we’ll get down to detailing it later, what’s important here is that the pose sketch works for you.

  • Next part, you start actually drawing the character, following the guidelines you just set up for yourself. I like looking at the reference screenshots I took prior to drawing once in a while to make sure the character is recognizable (hair style, body type, chest size, age etc etc etc)

Again, the lines don’t have to be cleanly cut-out, I’m still using the same brush as for the base pose sketch. I roughly sketch out every different part of the character (body, face, ears, tail & accessories) on a different layer for easier refining.

At this point I’ve already spent around 30 minutes to an hour on the piece, depending on the complexity of the pose and the number of accessories, and I’ve already modified a few key points of the pose to make it work better (tail going to the left instead of the right). For the ears and tail, in addition to the character’s screenshots, I’ve looked at reference pictures of actual cats to determine their position on the body easier.

rough character sketch

 

 

 

  • I then remove the pose sketch layer, place a few values using greyish blue and roughly sketch out where the shadows are going to be placed. After this step, I sent out the sketch to the requestee to make sure they like it before continuing more in-depth. I am now roughly aware of what the final piece will look like too.

03

 

Already looking like something nice, doesn’t it? But let’s not stop here and go further into details!

The first part of the commission involved a sharp, binary black and white only strong linework, to show the character’s strong & feline side, along with resembling the style of the original game artwork.

  • I thus remove the value layers, take a black, sharper ink brush, and refine the character as much as possible, allowing thicker lines in shadowed places and thinner, spaced out lines in lit-up places and in the fur of the tail.
  • The muscle build of the character is enhanced via short lines that define the joints and how strong they are.

During this process I’ve also altered the original sketch and shortened the arms to make them more reasonably proportioned.

04

 

At this point, the first part of the commission is done, as I remove all of the sketch layers still present underneath the linework before saving it for later delivery.

  • The shadows are made with thick strong lines that merge with the outline of the body parts. Certain areas like the face have an entire side left black to show the shadows.

 

  • The thicker the line, the thicker the muscle is. The general impression must be of strength and wilderness. The white areas like the tail’s fur and the ears have thinner, multiple lines to render fuzziness & softness.
05

The first part is finished!

 

08

Details of the face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09

Muscle lines on the thighs and belly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s now make the second, and most lengthy part, the colored version! I have already spent over 2 to 3 hours on this piece, but we’re far from done yet!

 

Part II: The Color

 

Now that we have a neat looking sketch and have finished the first part of our commission, let’s move on to the lengthier process of coloring!

I was honestly tempted to be lazy and use the finished binary lineart as the base for color, but it wouldn’t have turned out so good in my opinion, so I decided to make a new lineart especially for color, working back up from the base sketch.

Details: the earring witha  touch of color and the hair

Details: the earring witha touch of color and the hair

 

 

 

 

  • Using a thinner, gray brush, I make a thinner and fuzzier lineart that will harmonize with the soft colors and shading later (a few things were tweaked in the process)

 

  • This lineart is purposedly lighter than the black one, to blend with the colors more easily.

 

  • Certain details of the drawing, like the earrings and eyes have been refined to stand out more easily.

 

 

 

 

Once this is finished, I have a nice lineart ready for color! The time spent on it varies between another hour to 2 hours.

06

  • Note that the « muscle lines » present in the binary black & white first lineart have been removed to give a softer, feminine feeling.

Now the final step, color!

I begin by laying out a base hue for the skin. The character is fairly dark-skinned, so I chose a mildly warm, reddish color.

10

You may notice a few areas that have been left white, these are areas that are illuminated by light and thus bring volume to the piece. The painting technique is uneven to mimic a certain kind of skin texture. I also paint the inside of the ears that are not covered with fur.

  • Then I add a new layer with a mask, and use a more saturated, red hue to shade areas, and a lighter yellow hue to give a bit of variation to the skin complexion. The white areas are still left white to keep the light and volumes.
  • The lips and claws have been shaded to look more red/pink than the rest, to keep a feminine, sensual side. Touches of white on the lips give them a glossy look.

11

Time to paint the hair and fur!

  • With a new layer, I use white and blueish gray to paint over the hair and fur. The grey serves as shading and most of the white fur is left white.

 

  • In the meantime I also painted the shaded glasses with brown and yellow to give it a golden/bronze aspect.

12

Most of the painting is done, then I focus on certain areas that need highlighting and touching up like the eyes and earrings.

  • They have a base color layer, a shading layer, and a highlight layer with very light colors to make them look bright instead of dull.
13

Eyes, earrings and lips with base colors and shading, no highlights yet.

14

Eyes, lips, earrings and glasses with highlights (gold blue and beige).

It’s done!

angelica_color

At this point, aside from a few touchups on the colors and possible fiddling around with layer hues, the painting is complete!
The color being the longest process, the final amount of time spent on this commission was around 6 hours!

I deliver it to the requestee within the next hour, with a message of thanks for their interest in my work. The next day, I got a message from them: They loved it!

I’m looking forward to more commissions. This really was a fun piece to do, especially on a game that I like so much!

This article and the artworks presented within it were realized by SAFFAR Laure-Hélène aka Adagio Fantasque.
Final Fantasy XIV is made by Square Enix.

Artist’s galleries on DeviantArt & Tumblr

Thank you for reading!

Recent comments

  • DigZon technology

    18 août 2015 |

    Keep up the great work ethic.

  • insurancewhisper.com

    10 août 2015 |

    This article has inspired me. It’s profound, interesting and worthy of a positive comment. I try to give good content its due and this deserves a top rating. Thank you.

  • Mathieu

    22 mai 2015 |

    Very interesting article. Could be usefull to me in 2nd year, that is if LePivain makes us study this one.

  • Mitzi

    15 mai 2015 |

    This article and many other on your page are very interesting.
    There is a big chance to go viral.

  • admin

    10 avril 2015 |

    Beautifully written