Completion Date:

Timeless Design Presentation

An infographic video presentation on how a game's art style impacts its long term playability, as part of a University assignment


TechSmith Camtasia, Affinity Designer

This university project aimed to create a digital presentation showcasing a specific design's evolution. Furthermore, the assignment required the presentation to span 5 to 7 minutes. To integrate the topic of design with the presentation itself, the decision was made to adopt an infographic video format, offering a dynamic and engaging medium for conveying information. The project focused on game design, particularly games that avoided photo-realism in favour of stylised elements: colour, light, and movement. Given that games are interactive, it was essential to incorporate an interactive element into the design elements. As movement serves as a cornerstone of gaming experiences, whether through character locomotion, narrative pacing, or animations, it emerged as the most natural and universal interaction choice. By embracing movement as a core element, the presentation aligned with the topic of games.

Infographics have long been recognised as effective visual tools for presenting complex information concisely and visually appealingly. These static graphics combine data, text, and visual elements to communicate key messages, making them popular in various fields such as marketing, journalism, and education. However, the rise of video formats has opened up new possibilities for enhancing the impact and engagement of infographics. Video infographics leverage the immersive nature of video to bring data-driven stories to life. By combining visuals, motion graphics, narration, and sound effects, video infographics provide a compelling medium for presenting information. The main benefit of integrating motion and animation is that it adds an element of storytelling, creating an engaging experience. Moreover, the audio-visual nature of video infographics allows for the seamless integration of narration, as the combination of spoken words and synchronised visuals can effectively guide viewers' attention.

Final presentation on the design of timless art-styles in video games

The design process for this presentation involved thorough research and a careful selection of game examples to illustrate the evolution of design principles effectively. Extensive knowledge and consumer experience in the gaming industry served as a foundation for identifying relevant games that embody the desired design aspects. To ensure accuracy and capture the essence of each game, reviews from the time of their release were collected. By relying on these sources, the presentation could accurately reflect the perspectives of the era, avoiding modern biases. Creating meaningful connections between the selected games was crucial for presenting a cohesive and coherent flow of information. These connections were established based on shared elements such as colour styles, movement mechanics, and common development or publishing origins. These links formed the backbone of the presentation, enabling a seamless transition between examples and facilitating a clear understanding of the design principles discussed.

Once the script research was complete, the next step was gathering appropriate media footage in the correct format for the video presentation. Due to using a standard widescreen 16:9 ratio and high-definition (HD) resolution, footage from older games and media had to be sourced from recent releases or higher-quality versions. For instance, footage from The Lion King was obtained from the modern 4K version, offering enhanced clarity even though the video would not be in 4K resolution. Similarly, footage from Super Mario World featured a modded widescreen format rather than the original almost square format. In contrast, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker footage was sourced from the Wii U HD version for improved visual fidelity rather than the original GameCube release. To add a personal touch to the presentation, sections of the script that included quotes from game developers required matching footage of the developers themselves. This approach helped to create a stronger connection between the audience and the developers, enhancing the impact of their words and insights.

In the final video, a carefully recorded script would be combined with smooth fade transitions between each segment, ensuring a seamless flow between games and media examples. Each showcased game would be accompanied by a small banner displaying its title and release year, providing viewers with immediate contextual information. Infographic elements, such as a scaling cube to illustrate movement or icons representing verbal examples, would be incorporated to enhance understanding and engagement. Overall, the design approach for this presentation will create a visually compelling and informative experience. By curating game examples, establishing connections, and utilising effective visual elements the evolution of design principles will be presented in an easily accessible manner.

The development of the video presentation began with creating the infographic introduction. This involved designing illustrations using Affinity Designer, including a game controller, film clapperboard, stage light, art painting board, and a cube. While these designs served their purpose well, special attention was given to the game controller, as it would also feature prominently in the video's thumbnail. To ensure a higher level of quality, the controller illustration was refined with additional details, such as highlights and shadows. Once the illustrations were imported into Camtasia, animation effects were applied to bring them to life. Techniques like sliding in on entry or scaling up and down in size were used to add motion and visual interest. In the infographic section, fade transitions were intentionally avoided to maintain a rapid flow of communication and facilitate seamless visual changes. A custom-designed banner title was also created in Affinity Designer, enabling easy text overlaying within Camtasia.

... Controller illustrator using Affinity Designer
... Layout of animations, effects, and transitions in Camtasia

To create a cohesive visual experience, the animation and fade times were synchronised between the information banners. This ensured that they appeared as a unified element with consistent movement, enhancing the overall coherency of the presentation. Attention was given to matching important visual elements with corresponding voice-over cues. For example, when discussing the release date of the game Moving Out, the date displayed in the trailer footage matched the accompanying voice-over, reinforcing the message. The development stage focused on leveraging visual elements and motion effects to enhance the overall impact of the video presentation. By designing illustrations, applying animations, and matching fades, the viewing experience effectively communicated the topic to the audience.

Several key elements were successfully designed for this video project's overall effectiveness. The flow of information from old to new examples was well-executed, creating a seamless, engaging progression. Including footage featuring various developers when their quotes were mentioned added a personal touch and showcased the thought behind the design discussions. However, certain limitations, such as the time constraint, influenced the direction of the video and impacted the depth of analysis in certain areas. For instance, there was a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the evolution of design elements within game series, like the transition from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker to Breath of the Wild and how these elements were isolated and reinforced. One aspect that could have been improved in the script was the mention of Resident Evil's praise for realism, which could have been misunderstood as visual realism rather than an appreciation for the realistic animation movement. Additionally, noteworthy pieces of information could not be included in the presentation, such as the advantage of non-photo-realistic games in terms of portability across devices with varying technical specifications. The success of Nintendo's Switch, despite its lower resolution compared to competing consoles, serves as a prime example of this phenomenon.

It would be beneficial to incorporate more infographic elements throughout the video to enhance future presentations, such as timelines and visually presented text for quotes and transitions. These elements help to seamlessly connect the various game and media examples, providing a more cohesive viewing experience. Moreover, the duration of the title banners in the corner should be extended to allow viewers sufficient time to read the larger titles comfortably. One area that warranted greater attention was the role of lighting in design. While colour and movement were emphasised within the game examples, the importance of lighting was somewhat overlooked. Integrating a more comprehensive lighting analysis would have added depth to the design discussions and enriched the overall content. In conclusion, while this video project successfully conveyed valuable insights into the evolution of game design, some areas could have been further refined and explored. By addressing these aspects, future presentations can offer a more immersive and comprehensive exploration of design elements, resulting in a more impactful viewer experience.

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