When you put a game into your favorite gaming console, more often than not you're thinking about what objectives you have to do or what level you want to play. Not often do you consider the craft of video game making. Major triple-A titles have studios with a load of employees who work on a single game for years at a time. There are storyboard artists, concept designers, voice actors, directors and all manner of people to make a video game great. These days, video games are on par with movies in terms of budget and the number of people who work on them.
Much like motion pictures, video games take so long to be made because they have to be worked one layer at a time. For example, the voice actors can't do any work until their character models are put into place. The Storyboard artists can't do their jobs until a script has been written. How good or bad a game is can be measured in part by how well a team works and how good of instructions a director can give. Many of the people involved in video game making depend on the choices made by the director.
We love the artistry that goes into video games and are in awe of the sheer mass of math that makes the game run. It's a growing art that has changed and improved over the years as technology improves. With each passing year, the visions of directors become reality in pretty amazing games.
25 She's Got The Look
After a story has been created, one of the things creators look at is how they want their characters to appear. For a game series like EA's FIFA soccer games, it's fairly simple. They could very easily get regular people to play soccer in motion capture suits. Since it's not a game that is character driven, the characters don't need to have recognizable traits. They just need to fill in space, and that's what these lovely ladies are doing here.
24 The Hills Are Alive
While there are many virtues to static backgrounds, most of the games made today need backgrounds that move. They may not contain the same level of detail that static backgrounds can have, but that doesn't mean they're any less immersive. In fact, developers have to include even more detail and life into their designs when the background can move because players are able to interact with more and have a feeling of motion. That feeling can help a game feel more alive and immersive.
23 A Colorful Ride
While backgrounds are being made, character creation starts. The way characters look are based on concept art. The artist takes a look at what the character is like and creates an idea of how something should look in the game. Yoshitaka Amano is one of the most famous concept artists for the PlayStation console. The most famous of his works were with the Final Fantasy franchise. One of the ones he worked on was Final Fantasy Seven. Here, we see Cloud on his motorcycle. With as monotone as Advent Children was, perhaps this design would have been advantageous!
22 The Angel Of Balamb
Amano also created some concept art for Final Fantasy 8 as well. One of his most well-known designs was actually never used. He imagined Rinoa to be blonde and have a pallet of warm colors of red, orange and brown.
Concepts and final products can be very different.
It's nearly a complete opposite from the cool-colored Rinoa we got in the end product. In the end, Nomura's design for Rinoa was used as he was head designer. He wanted her to be cute, not overly beautiful. This is a great example of how things change during production.
21 For A New Generation
For many fans of hardcore video games, Doom was the bee's knees. It had everything they could have wanted. It did fantastically both with critics and fans. Fast forward to 2016 when fans anxiously awaited the reboot to the game. Would it be any good? Before they had time to worry, though, game developers were working tirelessly to get the look of the monsters right. They had the basic pixel art from the original game, but since this game was going to be in 3D, they wanted the enemies to look spooky but recognizable.
20 The Only Useful Models
Before much of the visible work of a video game can be made, game developers must create character models.
Character models give a guiding look for the game.
These are either sketches or renderings (depending on the art style) of each of the important characters, so that other creators can put those characters into the game and give them life. Here is an example of a character model from the game Mass Effect. These show the character in 360 degrees to give others an exact model to use in their work.
19 Got No Strings
After creators have gotten the design of the character down, it's important to figure out how the character would move. When you're doing motion capture, it's easy. You can see an example of it in this picture for the game Detroit: Become Human. By having computers capture the movements of the actors, it gives a much more diverse feel to the motion. Most games have pretty basic move animations. By using motion capture, the look can be a little more human.
18 The Key To The Perfect Beard
It's pretty startling to see the before and after of this picture of Ellie from The Last Of Us. These are Ellie before they render her textures in. The hair is the craziest thing to me.
Textures add so much to the game.
It reminds me of a mosaic you'd see an elementary school kid do. The way textures can enhance a character is incredible, to say the least. Imagine having to play The Last Of Us without its textures. It would be a completely different experience!
17 Back To Low Res
There is a way to decrease the quality of your Skyrim game so that it can look something like this. This is an example of what a game could look like with unfinished textures. Right away you can tell there is a huge difference. Putting textures in games (particularly open world games) does take a lot of time and work, but it can make or break the game. It adds so much to the immersion and world building, besides giving the player something to look at and do.
16 Do A Barrel Roll
It takes a certain brave kind of person to do stunts for video games and movies. This guy, Eric Jacobus is one of them. You may know his work if you have seen the game God Of War interview process (2018).
Stunts give games life.
He was approached by the studio in charge of the motion capture for the game who had seen his work on YouTube. He didn't really even have to go through the because they liked his work so much. Honestly, his work speaks for itself.
15 An Animated Character
Introducing Lani Minella. She is an incredible actress who has voiced a ton of characters in video games. You can hear her in games like World of Warcraft, God Of War, and Mass Effect. Voice acting can make you look a little silly because you have to support the animation in energy and tone for your character. Lani Minella's characters have ranged from young child to older woman. There are ways to move your mouth that affects how you sound. It's pretty crazy.
14 Ready For His Close Up
Something that is a little different about the motion capture for Until Dawn is the fact that the actors also wear a little camera while filming so that the crew who will be rendering the video can get their facial reactions as well. This adds to the immersion and believably of the actor's performances. Their makeup isn't just black ink, either. It's a special paint that allows the computer to pick up how the face moves. All of the effort was worth it though, as the game was ranked as one of the best of the year.
13 Did You Hear That?
Meet Gary A. Hecker. He's been a foley artist for several years working on various projects including Sam Raimi's Spider Man and League of Legends. The foley artist is one that uses everyday objects to make the noises you hear for everything in games and movies. There are a lot of tricks and tips, but since you have to make a sound for literally everything, it takes time. But the little noises that go into games and movies can add so much to games and movies, so doing a good job is important.
12 Better Together
Now an unfortunately cancelled title, Guillermo Del Toro and Hideo Kojima had a promising start for the Silent Hills franchise in their playable teaser. It had a solid demo and was building quite a bit of interest.
The right team-ups make the best games.
Unfortunately, it was dropped by Konami to everyone's dismay, and left now to the ruins of time. The important part about this entry though is the fact that film legend and gaming legend were able to team up to create something truly amazing.
11 Keeping It Real
Motion capture is really an art. There are so many bits to think about when you have to shoot a scene. there's audio, there's choreography, there's prop use. And you can bet there is at least one studio employee for each of those. I also love in this picture that you can see the woman in the background with the audio device, picking up the lines the actors are saying. The Last of Us easily earned game of the year, and it's all because of the hard work that the employees at Naughty Dog.
10 A Varied Voice
Nolan North is arguably one of the most famous voice actors of this generation. He has had an incredible number of iconic roles that has put him into the homes of many people time and time again. Part of making a video game is utilizing talents of people in many departments. Of course it doesn't hurt to have someone who has a household name attached to your game. At the end of the day, the art of video games comes down to business, which is a necessary bad, it seems.
9 I Understood That Reference
As seen in the image above, there are times when celebrities agree to have their likenesses used for video games. And occasionally it can get kind of odd. (Case in point, Michael Jackson in the game Ready 2 Rumble). The cameos can help to boost hype for the game as well as give fans a chance to play as or against their favorite celebrities. It's kind of cool to see what projects celebrities will sign off on. And which ones they won't.
8 Can't Afford Me
There are cases where celebrities or studios will not agree to allow the likeness of a character to be used in a video game. Most often this happens in video games of movie tie-ins, such as The Bourne Conspiracy (as seen above).
Titular characters need to be recognizable.
Sometimes, just as the last entry, a celebrity cameo (or lack thereof) can change the reception of the game. It can hurt because the connections made to the character are gone with the changing of the protagonist's look.
7 Stuck In Development
Sometimes video games take too long to make. We're looking at you, Kingdom Hearts. So studios will green light spin off games in order to keep fans happy. So in the aforementioned case you get a ton of lore-heavy games that convolute the story line while developers can learn how to utilize the new engines for the intended consoles. It can be a welcome addition, but it is also a delicate thing for developers, as new lore has to be considered.
6 Worth The Risk?
Loot boxes have gotten a bad rap recently with the question of if using them can be considered gambling. In theory, it's a good idea because using in-game money to gain perks is nothing hard. The trouble comes when it becomes blatantly obvious that studios have included this simply to make a few extra bucks. It's a hot debate, and one that makes many fans irate. Whichever side of the argument you're on, it's an interesting question, and one that doesn't have an easy answer.
5 Betond Motion Capture
This is a motion-capture shot from Beyond: Two Souls. Like many other motion-capture shots and footage of the process, it gives a bit of an insight into the kind of work it takes to bring something like this from a script to a scene. It's pretty crazy to see the kind of thing that has to happen to make these games! The final product certainly doesn't look anything like this; that's for sure. Really cool.
4 Making A Plan
Every video game has to start with an idea. How things are going to move in the game, how they'll look- even down to how it controls. If you click here, you'll see a pretty cool site that further describes all aspects of making a game, especially making a flow chart of cause and effect. You as a developer have to decide what items are going to be important for players to interact with. Much like the picture above, if you're going to create a franchise, figure out how they all fit together.
3 There's A Math For That
I can guarantee you that if you're reading this article, you've either played Pokémon or watched at least one episode of the show. If you've played the game, you understand how tense it can be to watch the Poké Ball that captured a much-wanted Pokémon shake before either deciding to stop or break apart.
The chance of catching a Pokémon isn't random.
But did you know there's an actual equation for it? It's not just random; a computer decides your fate. You can see the entire equation (and it's long) here.
2 A Solid Style
As stated before, a lot of the success of a video game relies on the director. Pictured above is acclaimed game director Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame. Although no longer working with Konami, Kojima has created some groundbreaking works of art that have given him quite the fan base. If the director has a clear idea of how they want the game to go, then it makes everyone else's jobs easier. There will be a reason for nearly everything. If a director has no real direction, than the game has a higher chance of being a flop.
1 Picturesque Sights
Once a director has their vision and the game has done the sufficient planning needed to get going, one of the things that has to be created is the background. This is an example of utilizing artists to create a truly fantastic game.
Good backgrounds can immerse players.
This picture comes from Blue Tea Games' Dark Parables games based on different fairy tales. (Honestly, go play it if you like hidden object games. They're amazing!) By having a static background, you give artists the ability to put in so many intricate details.