Mini Brief: Inventory

Brief

The aim of this project is to design an inventory. this includes that actual item the player carries around, for example, a rucksack or satchel, and also the inventory itself.This includes what it looks like and how it works. The final outcome will be a rendered 2d Image that shows how it could be used in a 3D or 2D game.

My Idea

Since I am currently working on a group project on a game adaptation of the children’s book, the wizard of oz, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to link to that and create the inventory for the main character, Dorothy. My initial Idea is to have a satchel that hangs to the hip of the character however, this could change after my research and initial drawings.

Research

To start off this project I looked at inventory from multiple different genres of games. This would help influence me with my design as well as the possible way in which it could be used as a mechanic to benefit the gameplay.

Skyrim

Skyrim has an inventory which is not visible to the player but can be accessed through the menu. This is the same when the player is inside of the inventory. There is no visual which gives an indicator of what the inventory might actually be, whether it is a pouch or rucksack.  The Inventory has a unique mechanic which is weight. Each item in the game weighs a specific amount. If the player’s bag limits exceed its limit then the player either moves slower or doesn’t move at all. This is an important mechanic as it forces the player to only carry the most useful items for that one quest. This also prevents them from being ‘overpowered’ as they can not carry all of the best equipment at once. This then plays into another game feature which is the skill. When the player levels up their character they receive points which they can spend on various different skills. One of these skills is weight. When the player upgrades this skill it increases the max weight limit, meaning that they are able to carry more items.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Similarly to Skyrim, Star Wars also has an inventory system which is not visible to the player. However, the mechanics of it are different. Instead of having a weight system this inventory has a limited number of slots. Each item takes up one slot and no more items can be acquired once all the slots are full. This is a common inventory mechanic used in MMORPG’s as it allows the player to carry the relevant items as well as a high amount of items such as health potions. The player is able to increase the number of slots in the inventory by spending the in-game currency which they acquire from completing quests and selling items. Another gameplay element feeds into this as players are able to become what is known as a ‘subscriber’. This is a common thing used in nearly every MMORPG and in this game it automatically gives the player more inventory space, therefore adding the pay t win element into the inventory mechanic.

H1Z1: King of the Kill

This game has a similar inventory style to Skyrim in that each item has a weight which affects how many items can be carried. However, the main reason I choose this game is because it has a visible inventory for the player. Since the player starts off with no equipment everytime they enter a game they have to scavenge it from buildings. The default inventory is only small until they pick up a backpack. The design of the backpack has been done to match the battle royale style of the game. When the inventory is opened the player sees a basic menu system that displays the character as well as all of the equipment they are wearing and all surrounding them. This form of inventory certain gives a realistic feel to a game as it physically shows where all the equipment is being held. It also adds the gameplay mechanic of wanting to find a backpack as the player will not be able to get many items that allow them to win if they do not. The final element of this game is the skins. H1Z1 is known for having skins that change the appearance of armour and equipment, they can also be applied to backpacks. This gives a unique feel to the player and makes them separate from the rest.

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds

This game is very similar to H1Z1 but the inventory has another gameplay element. This is level. IN the game the player has to find a backpack, just like in H1Z1 however, these backpacks are a different level. Each level of the backpack has its own design meaning that they can be easily separated from one another at a distance. This is not all that it offers as it also increases the inventory space of the player. Level 1 backpack can only carry a small number of items but the max level, level 3, can carry a lot of items. This adds to the gameplay as it makes the player continue to ‘loot’ for equipment even after they have acquired a backpack. It also gives them an advantage as a higher level backpack can mean that they can carry more health kits and ammunition, benefitting them in a gun fight. This has given me inspiration on how I can design my backpack to have multiple levels which affect the design as well as the capacity. For example, at level 1 the backpack can be worn and crudely held together with tape, whereas level 3 can be elegant and reinforced.

Initial Sketches

Starting from the design I used my usual techniques of pareidolia but controlled so that the outcomes looked like they could work as an inventory. I also practised drawing different types of inventory options such as a backpack, a satchel, and a knapsack. This helped me familiarise myself with them and possibly gain influence on how I could go about achieving my final outcome. I also experimented in drawing some of the different possibilities for my HUD of the inventory to get a sense of what would look and work the best.

Lasso Technique

Before going further with any of the initial sketches I thought that it would be a good idea to give the lasso technique another try and see if this would benefit me in this project. This helped with giving me an initial shape for some idea, however, I found that the pareidolia was more beneficial as it was quicker and allowed more fluid shapes, nevertheless, I am glad I did this as it helped me create more designs before developing them any further.

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Developed Sketches and Final Idea

After developing some of the sketches further from my pareidolia I was able to come up with a final design that was in the form of a satchel. I felt like the satchel was the best option as it best fit the character, Dorothy. When doing the development I was influenced by the research I did into Battlegrounds and Decided that there would be different designs for the final inventory. These would act as three different levels, granting more inventory space in the game. The design would also be different for them as the bag would look stronger and more elegant as it increased in level. At the first level, it will look like it is crudely held together with pieces of tape and patched to hide holes.

Inventory HUD Final Idea

My final idea for the Hud was to show the inside of the inventory as it is unique and I have never seen it done within a game before. The ‘flap’ of the satchel would act as the interaction menu showing the different slots for the items. These items would then be shown stored in the back, slightly visible at the bottom of the screen. In most games the character can be seen on one side so that the player can see what changes have been made when they use an item. Instead of this on the right of the screen would be a pouch with a plastic doll of Dorothy inside. This would then change when the player uses an item making the game feel more immersive and unique.

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Photoshop

With my final Idea now ready I went into photoshop and added different colours to show the materials as they were not obvious before, for example, the duct tape on the level 1 bag. I also wanted to have each bag a different colour so that it represented the strength and elegance of the bag. For example, the level 2 bag would be green to show that it is for practical and outdoor use whereas the level 3 is brown so that it looks like it’s made of leather and is tough but also elegant.

Final inventory ConceptFinal HUD

3D Model

After finishing the final concepts for my bag I decided to create the Level 3 version in 3DS Max. This would allow me to visualize the final product in 3D form and what it would possibly look like within the game. This was fairly easy to model as it it was simply boxes beveled. I feel like this design looks even better as a 3D Model as the details, such as the straps are more visible and give more depth to the design.

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Evaluation

The final concept for the inventory turned out exactly as I imagined and I feel like it fits in well with the style of the Wizard of Oz game. My main concern when starting this project was that I was worried if the final outcome didn’t suit the character, however, I feel like the satchel suits the character and looks like it belongs to them, no matter what level version of the bag. By having three different levels to the back it adds another gameplay mechanic into the game as the player is forced to search for a better big so that they are able to carry more items.

Game Mechanics: Behavioural Momentum

This mechanic makes players have to constantly repeat something so that It is improved. This can be done in skills, use of weapons, etc. This is commonly used in role-playing and online games.

A good example a game that uses this mechanic is Runescape. In order for the player to level up, their character they must first level up a range of fighting skills. These are Attack, Strength, and Defense. To level these skills up the player must fight a certain amount of monsters until it eventually levels up. After leveling them all up a certain amount of times it then levels up the player. In turn giving them rewards.

Another example of a game that uses this is Elder Scrolls Skyrim. Depending on the type of weapon the player uses determines what skill they are ranking up. By continuously killing enemies with that weapon it will level up and give the player a choice of perks that they can unlock.

If I was to use this mechanic in my own game It would be like in Skyrim. The player makes progress through a skill depending on what weapon they are using and by repeating a task of killing a certain number of enemies.

Game Mechanics: Ownership

The Ownership mechanic is something that causes the player to create an emotional bond to and that player will never t want to lose it. This can be all different things such as equipment or characters.

The first example of his mechanic being used is in most mmo/ rpgs. When a player receives a piece of armour or a weapon that they like the design with they will try to keep it no matter what. Even if they receive a new piece of equipment that has better stats they will not replace it unless it looks like the piece they already own.

Games such as fallout use the emotion conveyed by the characters to create the sense of ownership. For example one of the companions in the game is a dog. Since the dog is a common pet the players will feel a sense of ownership to the dog as they can relate to the scenario and won’t want to switch companions.

If I were to use this mechanic it could be in any type of game but it would work best in role playing games.  His is because the ownership comes from the design meaning that it is unique and not like other designs out there adding to the popularity of the game.