With the Sculpture JAM we were tasked with creating an artefact from our game universe out of any material we want such as foam board, wood or maybe plastic etc. However, due to all of the weekly projects i initially fell behind in terms of putting information up on the blog as a way to document my work throughout the first semester of the course. This meant that i completely forgot about the overarching task which was the Games Design Document, where we needed to have chosen a book from the list and researching into areas branching off from that. However, i hadn’t done this yet and so had to briefly research into the basic areas that i initially thought of during the tasked reading, just to give me a basic idea to work with during the JAM.
This lead me to research into possible areas that mirrored the idea that not everything is as it seems, such as illusions such as stereograms which are 3D objects hidden within a 2D image which can only be seen by moving the image at varying distances. Doing this causes your eyes to lose focus on the pattern, and by moving the image away and restraining from focusing again you will begin to see the hidden object. The illusion was first invented as a way to test peoples ability to see in 3D and proved that depth perception happen within the brain rather than in the eye which many had believed. I also looked into other elements such as Mazes, as from the side or entrance it seems harmless until you step inside and realise how disorientating it is to endless pathways. the idea of a maze or labyrinth almost embodies this idea which i initially though of whilst reading The Variable Man.
STEREOGRAM: GO SLIGHTLY CROSS-EYED TO SEE THE IMAGE
However, although these might be interesting avenues in which to construct a game idea around, i felt that attempting to create a game artefact from these concepts would prove to be a difficult task. This is simply because trying to physicalize something that is a unique experience to the person viewing the illusion as everyone’s eyesight is different. Due to this i decided to look into other areas that i picked out from my chosen book with regards to highly destructive weaponry, which originated from a section which described the aftermath or a mountain range which had been completely destroyed, in an attempt to kill this man from the past. This lead me down the past of existing and advanced weaponry which would come together to create a type of military themed sandbox game where players can detonate various weapons to see their destructive power.
I wanted to create something that would embody the idea of advanced and destructive weaponry other than a simple bomb or possibly a type of military aircraft such as a Spitfire, Lancaster, AC130 or Eurofighter Typhoon. However, i figured that creating the tube-like shape of the main body of the aircraft would be difficult and would need several layers of foam to get the desired height before carving to shape. I then moved on and looked into naval ships as i felt that it would be more manageable to create as they are most often than not very beeline in shape. This lead me to look at the most advanced naval ship in current military fleets which is the modern Destroyer as it has surpassed the Battleship with its ability to house several different types of weaponry and systems. I looked into destroyers to get a clearer idea on what the overall designs are like as well as the placements of turrets and missile launchers so i could create my own destroyer.
Creating my Destroyer:
The two main types of destroyers that i looked at were the Type 45 which is the most recent construction by the Royal Navy as well as the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer which is currently commissioned in the US Navy. Both ships overall designs are fairly different with only small similarities between them, however these are features such as a bridge, forward mounted gun, missile launchers and hangar. I took both ships and inspected them in a way where i can take each section and decide how feasible it would be to create the shape of the ships hull out of thin foam board. Due to the complexity of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in terms of its central mast as well as other minute details which would be next to impossible to recreate. Therefore i decided to take inspiration for my destroyer design from the Type 45 destroyers commissioned by the Royal Navy.
I initially drew out the main deck of the ship to get an idea of the overall size the ship would be in terms of length and width as this would enable me to plan out where each section of the ship would go and how much room i had to work with. From there i started with the front of the ship where there is a gun turret, but i decided to add a second turret for a more formidable design as traditional ships only have 1. i then moved length ways along the ship creating the bridge, superstructure which would house all critical systems i.e. SAMPSON radar system and PAAMS, followed by two missile launchers. This is a large increase to the amount seen on other warships as they would normally house all of them behind the front mounted gun or near the back of the ship. mine however will be placed side by side in front of the hangar for helicopters.
Once the ship had been designed from a top-down point of view, i then moved onto the side profile of the ship, and achieved this by drawing horizontal lines in front and behind all of the sections. This allowed me to draw the correct width and could now begin with the height of each section before taking it to Adobe Illustrator and making the lines clearer ready for printing. Once this was done i took all of the sections from the top-down point-of-view and positioned them on a separate page to use as a template for later construction using the foam. I also did this for all of the side-view sections taking into consideration that i would need to cut out each section twice for the port (left) and starboard (right) side of the ship. Initially, i was going to print out the ship sections in A4, however there was a possibility that it would be too small and fiddly to construct, which caused me to move to A3 where the pieces would be larger and more manageable. Unfortunately, even though i believed that i saved the file repeatedly, the only version i have includes the top and side profiles alongside all of the pieces from the top without the ones of the side.
I started by getting the largest pieces cut out first so i new i only had the smaller sections left to do at later stages, which meant i could cut down section of foam to make cutting more manageable. Much like drawing the ship, i started with the main deck before and moving from the front of the ship towards the back creating each section separately before combining them at the very end once everything is completed. Over the course of making the destroyer, i found that there were certain areas where i struggled to get the desired shape, which required me to use a hand-dryer to heat up the foam enough for me to bend it to the shape i needed. Other areas included the need to trim off sections that needed to fit smoothly after bending the foam out of shape, as well as making declines for the front facing turrets. Not only this but i also wanted to add a type of railing around the superstructure of the ship which meant that i had to cut those sections in half and slowly carve away until i reached the edges. When the entire ship was completed i started with the front section and began hot gluing them to the main deck of the ship where i had previously marked where they needed to go. This meant that i didn’t run into many issues when final construction began, other than needing to remove the railing from one part of the ship to make room for the funnel (exhaust).
When the ship was finally complete i added small pieces of wire as well as tiny foam rockets, which would appear to have been fired from the launchers located in front of the hangar as if it were in the middle of an attack situation. Only the work that had been done up until this point was shown during the critique at the end of the week however, however if i had more time i would’ve liked to have painted the ship. This would be done by painting a dark base layer before repeatedly painting over it in lighter tones of grey until the desired tone was achieved, before moving onto dry brushing any scrapes or battle scars.
Overall i really enjoyed this JAM as i felt that it enabled me to think outside the box in some respect due to the complexity of the build which would’ve been near impossible to create in the time-frame given. Not only this but it also allowed me to try out varying techniques to create the look that i wanted such as using a hand-dryer to bend the foam into shape as i didn’t have access to a heat gun. Ultimately, I’m happy with how my artefact came out at the end of the JAM and i now have the skills necessary to complete other similar tasks in the future if they are required.
(Header image taken from: https://www.tes.com/lessons/nn70obw0dkhJrg/sculpture on 19/11/2017)