Viewing entries tagged
Green Business

       Do Serious games really work?    So do they?  Yes they do and we have metrics to demonstrate ‘ Return On Engagement ’!  Earlier this year Totem Learning designed and developed a game to educate business owners on greener IT practices. The game develops players’ understanding of IT issues within their company and supports them to implement better, greener practices.  A few months on, we can report that ‘Green IT’ has been a great success! The report has shown that learners finished the game with a full understanding of green IT practices. Not only was the level of learning very high, the game was so effective that it provoked a proactive attitude and action in many of the learners!            

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


           Here is just a cross section of facts and figures from the report:    92% of learners sought out more information on greener practices upon finishing the game    96% either have or are considering taking a course on energy saving business practices    23% are actively seeking assistance from local sources for implementation of these newly learnt practices, while 70% plan to in the near future    89% said they have, or would, recommend the ‘Green IT’ game to colleagues                  As for the design and enjoyment of the game:     71%  of learners found the scenarios and tasks within the game were directly applicable to their own companies.     59%  agreed the value of insights from the game were good or excellent.    And  79%  found it easy to use.   This is a brief look at the learning benefits achievable through using serious games but it is a brilliant outcome for this project and we are looking forward to sharing more great reports like this in the future! 

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DO SERIOUS GAMES REALLY WORK?

Yes they do and we have metrics to demonstrate ‘Return On Engagement’!

Earlier this year Totem Learning designed and developed a game to educate business owners on greener IT practices. The game develops players’ understanding of IT issues within their company and supports them to implement better, greener practices.

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       Is 'it' green?: Creating early character silhouettes    Use silhouettes to get your mind thinking in a way that strengthens your characters. When posing a character, it’s a good idea to act them out, in your head or physically. Take reference photos; posing helps you understand the stance and personality better. You can always pose a sketching Doll, or a Biped in 3ds Max, to get a better idea of shape and action lines too.  Action lines or ‘lines of action’ is a method used by animators. If these characters had animation: “what would they do?” It’s useful to think this way. It strengthens the character, giving it life, even if it’s not going to be animated.  Proportions take time to get right! Time was against me due to the amount of characters I had to design from scratch. I utilised a time saving method.. or cheated!. Rather than drawing from eye, I printed out and traced over a BiPed model in 3ds Max. I didn't have a light box or a Cintiq, so I used my computer screen as a light source using tape to keep the paper still. Later, I rescanned it with all the changes I’d made.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Line work refinement (important Illustrator and Photoshop knowledge)  Once happy with your sketches bring them into Adobe Photoshop and focus on tidying the lines. I added colour, thinking it would make it easier on the eyes, I don't recommend doing this as it didn't help in the long run. The colour pass comes after the line work so it’s best not to jump the gun. Stay focused on the lines for now and nothing else.   Adobe Illustrator Line work  Use the pen tool to draw out your lines. I found the inner lines worked best at 2pt and the outside line at 3pt. The thicker outside line helps the character pop.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Red Pen Corrections Line Pass  Always take a step back. Go make yourself a deserved cuppa and come back with fresh eyes. It’s easy to get too close to your work; spending far too long looking at it and not seeing what’s wrong. That’s ok. Step back, ask for someone’s unbiased opinion. My Creative Producer Paul Jennings (PJ), leading the design on this project, has a wealth of knowledge from years of experience managing art teams. He has a super eye for graphic design, alignment and balancing. At this stage I had a form of art blindness and needed his opinion. I couldn’t see what was staring me in the face.  NB: Taking regular brakes can help prevent art blindness.  A Creative Producer red pen pass was just what I needed at this time, highlighting the areas I needed to pay more attention to.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Come back tomorrow for a little about adding colour! 

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IS 'IT' GREEN?: CREATING EARLY CHARACTER SILHOUETTES

Use silhouettes to get your mind thinking in a way that strengthens your characters. When posing a character, it’s a good idea to act them out, in your head or physically. Take reference photos; posing helps you understand the stance and personality better. You can always pose a sketching Doll, or a Biped in 3ds Max, to get a better idea of shape and action lines too. 

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       Is 'it' green?: Incorporating character stereotypes            Stereotypes in the Design Process    
  
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
         

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Always reference from real life. I restricted myself to certain nationality groups. My aim was to capture a typical Slovenian/Italian etc   face type; taking into consideration features such as eye shape, skin tone, hair colour, etc. Often determining these traits are big generalisations and not factual. But it is a good exercise to have recognisable traits in your characters. It helps people easily associate your character with the nationality, age group, occupation etc your character belongs too.   A great example of this in practice is Wallace and Gromit. Many of the characters are ‘stereotypical’ British people. They have bad teeth, a fanatical love of tea, an insatiable appetite for biscuits and a dubious taste in clothing!      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Stereotyping traits can refer to personality, such as a love for tea and biscuits, or physical traits like bad teeth. When considering the latter it is always best to get a wide sample for inspiration, then pick out the most commonly occurring similarities. Take care to be   aware socially when creating characters. My teeth are lovely and straight, by the way, but I can’t resist a cup of tea!     
  
         

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     This is an example of my influene. I took inspiration from specific people in the limelight so the audience can easily connect with them. It’s always good to base characters on celebrities or actors, loosely. It is a great starting point. You may also find your characters become influenced by family members or work colleagues.        

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IS 'IT' GREEN?: INCORPORATING CHARACTER STEREOTYPES

Always reference from real life: I restricted myself to certain nationality groups. I was aiming to capture a typical Slovenian/Italian etc face type; taking into consideration features such as eye shape, skin tone, hair colour, etc. Often determining these traits are big generalisations and not factual but it is good to have recognisable traits in your characters so people more easily associate with the nationality, age group, occupation etc your character belongs too. 

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       Is 'it' green?: decision making with design            

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Nicky Rhodes  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Step Two - Narrowing it down  So now you have your initial research done. It’s time to break it down into categories. This will help build a clear picture of what to focus on.  With Green IT, I took the styles I thought best appropriate for the brief and split them into similar looking sections. Doing this helps to work out what style I want to achieve. At this stage it’s still ok to not know exactly what you want and you're allowed to get it wrong. This is a good process to narrow down your options to design styles which suit the brief and you are happy to pursue.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


        Decision making time!  I find this stage super tricky. I loathe making decisions. I’d rather merge all the styles and ideas together but this is an ill-advised method. It can become time consuming, messy and often doesn’t work out in the long run.  If you find things are getting tricky- you can't find the style you want and nothing is working out- go back to the previous step and do some more research. You might just stumble on something better.   Looking back, the images I have chosen all seem similar. I had drifted back to my comfort zone without realising, doing exactly what I wanted to avoid.  Back to the initial research stage; this time you know what you're not looking for. You have come a bit closer to the style you want through eliminating those you don’t.        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


        Even after the decision making process you can still add or take away pictures that are more in fitting with what kind of style you want to achieve. Styles can be merged together or influence each other too. There is never a right or wrong way as long as you keep all your research in this way you will be ready to work in a clear and focused direction.  Three mega things to take into consideration:  -     What stands out most?  -     What styles connect with each other?  -     Which path is most efficient? (Depending on your project length and budget, you may need to be limit how far you stretch yourself)     Back and forth  There are still a fair few styles on those pages. But narrowing it down, we are starting to see some strong themes emerging. For example: a cut out style with flat defined lines. The only images that are swaying focus are the Monkey Island and Rayman imagery. These indiscretions become easy to spot using a layout like this. It saves time and lessens headaches, allowing your brain to focus on creativity.  Refinement- Last-ish step before we start the design process.  Now you will be able to see that I have taken out loads of images and added Scooby doo character stylings into the equation. I have done this because it’s all part of the refinement process. You can take away images… it doesn't matter how many. As long as you're left with a range of images that help you work towards your desired style, you’re making progress.  As you can see I’m very indecisive and want to pinch bits from different images. This isn’t wrong, if anything, at this stage in the process, it makes your work unique and hopefully best tailored to your brief.   

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IS 'IT' GREEN?: DECISION MAKING WITH DESIGN

So now you have your initial research done. It’s time to break it down into categories. This will help build a clear picture of what to focus on.

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