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jmau0438

Creating Art Bible/Style Guide

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I've working through the conception phase of a title I'm working. I have a background in both art and engineering, and I'm a fair writter, but I must say I'm far more of an engineer. Most of the documents I have produced follow an APA style technical format. So far I have produced an inception document, a conception document, and a game design document. The last thing I need to start working on is an art bible/style guide. I'm afraid I'm really clueless on how this is done. I searched the internet for examples but haven't found anything really helpful. I suppose I could "Mickey Mouse it" and just write something, but I'd love to do this the right way. If done well, I'll have a wonderful example for future projects. Could someone PLEASE throw me a bone?!?! I really want to wrap this up so that I can start working on the TDD and get prototyping. Thanks in advanced fellas (and ladies).

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Quote:
Original post by jmau0438
So far I have produced an inception document, a conception document, and a game design document. The last thing I need to start working on is an art bible/style guide.

Question for you: what's an "inception document"? I'm always happy to learn new things. Maybe I've already written these but never heard them called that before?

Comment: all these documents fall under the category of game design documents. Although those documents are vital to a game project and although they all require writing, this topic probably belongs in Game Design. The Writing forum typically exists (as I understand it) for story writing, journalism writing, that kind of writing.

Finally, to answer the question: The kinds of things you should put in your Art Design Document (your Art Specification Document, your Art Bible / style Guide) are:
1. A list of all the graphics needed. How many 2D objects? How many 3D models? How many environments? How many animated characters? etc.
2. style guide (the artists have to know if the game is to be cartoony or gothic or future shiny or what).
3. Other. Is this to be motion-capture? (For example.) What file formats do the art assets have to be in? What file-naming convention is to be used?


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If you are who I think you are then you have no doubt written something similiar before (I'll bet identical in purpose and possibly format). An inception document is quick one page document (maybe two, but I stress the maybe) containing a properties table (title name, genre, target audience, ect.), one-sentence-marketing-description (OSMD), hook/high-concept (usually one-to-three paragraphs), and a bulleted list of key features. They can be drafted rather quickly and are meant to be a starting point in conception. I made a template for this task years ago when I was still teaching, I'd be glad to send it to you if you like.

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There aren't any other Tom Slopers that I know of.
What you call an inception doc, I call a concept doc. 2 pages.
What you call a conception doc, I probably call a treatment. 10-20 pages.

I still think this belongs in Game Design, not Writing, but I'll leave it to another mod to move it if s/he agrees.

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What you call an inception doc, I call a concept doc. 2 pages.
What you call a conception doc, I probably call a treatment. 10-20 pages



I surmised as much. In this industry it's not uncommon for material of similiar context to be known under different aliases.

Quote:
I still think this belongs in Game Design, not Writing, but I'll leave it to another mod to move it if s/he agrees.


If you think I would get a higher freqency of responses, is it possible for you to move it know? I don't mean to be a pest, but I would really appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks [wink]

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Yeah, those terms are new to me as well. 1 pager is a concept or sell sheet. The 10-20 pager is a treatment or a game design overview.

Anyways, for the style guides at my company we've always produced a PDF with the following:

* Introduction - Summarizes the doc and provides a brief overview of the visual intent for the game.

* Characters - This includes concept art for the characters, descriptions of the characters, charts that pose the characters against each other for scale, and possibly multiple iterations of some of the concepts if it is still up in the air for specific parts of the visual design of the characters.

* Storyboards - These are 2d representations of what some of the key action shots with look like, as well as how the progress.

* UI - Description of UI intent, breakdown of the UI elements, and mock-ups of the UI elements.

* Environments - Description of the environmental intent and environment concepts.

* Camera - Demonstrates intended camera angles using environment and character mock-ups.

* References - Various inspirational works.

The specifics vary a bit per project, such as if a game is prop heavy, there might be a section with props in it or the such.

Separate are production asset lists (i.e. Excel sheets), which get into the nitty gritties of the specific assets needed.

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Quote:
Yeah, those terms are new to me as well. 1 pager is a concept or sell sheet. The 10-20 pager is a treatment or a game design overview.


Yea, like I said more of the same. That's half my problem. I'm certain I've overlooked some good resources due to the naming conventions of design documents. O well. Some questions...

1) Could you define "Environmental Intent"?
2) To paraphrase you state...

Quote:
...and possibly multiple iterations of some of the concepts if it is still up in the air for specific parts of the visual design of the characters.


Is this just a page full of pics, are should additional information be including along with them. If so, could you give me an example?

3) Again, to paraphrase you state...

Quote:
... Camera - Demonstrates intended camera angles using environment and character mock-ups.


Unfortunatley I must raise my hand on this one. Could you explain this process and how to best communicate the desired effect(s) to the documents' audience? This is kinda of big one for me as I do have quite a bit in mind for the camera.

4) One more time...

Quote:
...References - Various inspirational works.


When you see something in a work of art, be it a character, environment, or object, how does one best identify and communicate aspects that are relative/important to whatever might be invisioned? I (naively I'm sure) would assume you simply circle what it is you are talking about and direct the reader by some visual que (arrow or something) to a dialog communicating your interest. I'm sure this sounds a little amateur (probably because it is), is there a better way? Do you know of some format or guideline to follow?

5) How in depth does your storyboard have to be? If seen alot of examples on this, and most are creating downright comic books. Although I can draw a little, I'm afraid I don't have this kind skill, nor do I wish to create an illustrated novel. I merely wish to get the point across. Any suggestions, best practices?

6) Do you know of any good sources where I might find examples of an Art Bible (or any of its many aliases)?

I must apologize for the bombardment of questions, I just want to get this right. Thanks

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I realize this is almost 3 years after the last reply to this thread but I find the questions in the last comments relative to what I'm wondering now myself. If anyone would care to respond I know I'd appreciate the feedback.

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