Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons game review

Category: 3D Animation, Design, Expert insight, Game Development, Gaming, Interactive

Brothers A Tale of Two Sons, released on multiple platforms in 2013, is a game developed by Starbreeze Studios and published by 505 Games.  Brothers is a third person, single player cooperative game in which you control two separate characters with one controller. The left hand side of the controller allows you to move one of the heroes, while the right hand side controls the other.  Using this unique control scheme the player must navigate a fantasy world which has clever puzzles and tasks that require the player to use both avatars at the same time. The obstacles, while not mentally challenging, are never the less extremely satisfying to solve due to the coordination required to complete the tasks.

Game review by Mike Porter

In the beginning of the game, you see a young boy at the top of a hill in front of a tombstone.  A flashback shows the boy and his mother in a boat, the mother falls overboard and dies, leaving the boy alone and frightened.  The boy is pulled back to the present, where his older brother has news that their father is ill.  Both boys rush to their father’s side where a healer tells them that they must journey to a faraway place to find an elixir to save their father. The player learns these things, not through dialogue, which consists of a made up language, but rather through the actions of the characters.  Expressive acting and emphasis on certain words allows the player to gather the information that is needed to complete a task.  This enhances the fantasy aspect of the game, rather than hindering, leaving the player to sort out the solution to each puzzle.

The art aesthetic of the game is a combination of the Fable games and a Miyazaki film.  There are lovely medieval villages, creepy caverns, dark and dangerous woods and an epic battlefield, which happened to be my favourite part of the game. Having played a vast number of games, I can become pretty jaded at the level design, or tasks that are required of me to accomplish a goal, however I actually giggled with glee during the battlefield sequence of the game. The animation is one of the highlights of the game, as each brother’s personality plays out in how they move and how they interact with other characters in the game and each other.

In regard to the technical aspects, the third person cameras work quite well and allow for the artwork to shine. The camera moves fluidly and cinematically, moving farther away as the avatars are separated on the screen and closer in as they move together. The game is built on the Unreal Engine and makes use of the power of the engine, without going crazy with all the features that engine has to offer. So there are normal maps and bloom, but the use of a painterly palette mutes some of these processes and make it feel as if it belongs, rather than being utilised because it was available.

There are some less stellar points to the game, such as the repetitive type of puzzles or barriers and the fact that some of the characters speak without moving their mouths, while others look as if they are actually speaking. Another shortcoming is the length of the game, which I was able to finish in around 7 hours. However, these minor annoyances can be overlooked since the experience delivers on an interesting mode of play and a visual wonderland of a strange, yet familiar world. I found this gem on Steam during a sale and spent only $7.49 US, however the game is well worth the $15.00 US that is the normal sale price. I highly recommend playing this game and I hope that Starbreeze Studios continues to create more wonderful experiences with an emphasis on emotional storytelling.

Mike Porter is an all-around nice guy and also the Programme Leader of the Game Art course (Bachelor of Creative Technologies) at Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand.
Mike started his game career back in 1995 in Lewisville, Texas. Over the last 15 years, he has worked in several different companies both in Texas and in Seattle, including work for Sierra and Microsoft Games Studios. He has created 3D artwork, level design on various games, for various platforms including Dreamcast, PS2, PC and Xbox 360. His roles included Art Lead, Environment Art Lead, Vehicle Art Lead and Level Design Lead. Mike was even lucky enough to work with the great people at Bungie for a short period to help ship Halo 3.

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor Software Engineering (Game Programming)
Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art)

Get in touch now:

 

NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts in Game Art
Bachelor of Science in Game Programming

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FIELD’s Forays

Category: 3D Animation, motion graphics

Aaaahhh FIELD, you’ve done it again. How can we resist your beguiling and complex imagery? We can’t. This time around the creative duo, consisting of designers Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn, teamed up with Sedition, sellers of original digital art to create Forays. This series of limited edition art works exist as both static images and as short films. The clip from above is a montage of the films put together by Sedition. What a watch! It’s a stunner.

Forays is in keeping with FIELD’s philosophy to ‘explore colour, life and infinity’ through creative technologies, as it does just that. These CGI animations offer a sensory experience as unknown (but somehow familiar) lifeforms pulsate and float with intrinsic energy. Warmth and coolness are simultaneously explored as snowy dust appears to singe and burn, and human parts eerily simmer and smoke. Titles for each of the static pieces such as Forays: Object II – Thermoception and Forays: Scan III – Somasexual connote organisms and the machinations of the natural world.

Check out Sedition for more on these ambitious digital art works. We’re fans of FIELD here on Frontier, I recommend that you check out our last article on another of FIELD’s creative feats!

Renee Barker

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Diploma of Digital Creativity
Diploma of Creative Advertising
Bachelor Software Engineering (Game Programming)
Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art)
Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)
Bachelor of Media Design (Graphic Design, Interactive, Motion Graphics)

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Contemporary Music

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Digital Media Arts
Bachelor in Animation
Bachelor in Game Art

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Eager by Allison Schulnik

Category: 3D Animation, Animation, Film / Multimedia, Fine Arts, sculpture


Once in a while you come across something so gobsmackingly amazing you can’t wait to share it with everyone you know. I have been a bit beside myself waiting for an opportunity to post this magical claymation video by artist Allison Schulnik. “Eager” is set in a fantastical world of dancing ghostly figures, swaying carnivorous flowers, a boneless horse and creatures that melt from one state into another. In this world everything is melting, oozing, growing, merging and transforming. The only constant is change, as the cyles of life and death swiftly flow into one-another.

Claymation is a bit of a favourite of mine when it come to animation, and I have never seen it been manipulated in this way. Schulnik has an incredible mastery of the material, managing to guide dancers through mesmerising movements, and mould the faces of flowers into monsters in a seamless transition. Prior to her current reincarnation of an artist she studied dance, this explains the deft skill with which she evokes such elegant movement from clay. The video is accompanied by a perfectly matched soundtrack— a haunting bespoke piece of music by Aaron M Olsen.

 Allison Schulnik is an artist that works in several mediums, though her work is populated with a host of recurring characters and landscapes. Her paintings, often huge in scale, are rendered in thickly textured, whirling globs of paint, making the progression to claymation seem quite natural. Schulnik still paints, exhibiting on a regular basis. She has made several animations, including a video for Grizzly Bears’ “Ready, Able” and has taken part in multiple film festivals. What an inspiring maker! But enough words, dim the lights and get ready for a mesmerising journey. The video starts off slow, but stay with it and be greatly rewarded.

Anna Tokareva

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Study options

Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)
Bachelor of Media Design (Graphic Design, Interactive, Motion Graphics)

Get in touch now:

 

Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art in Painting and Visual Arts
Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts
Masters of Art in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies
Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Digital Media Arts
Bachelor in Animation

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From game to reality

Category: 3D Animation, Animation, Design, Game Development, Gaming

There is a lot going on at the NewSchool of Architecture + Design in San Diego these days. For example, turning into the new study hotspot for cutting edge digital design and production disciplines. The institution has teamed up with the award winning Media Design School in New Zealand to launch programs in 3D animation, Game art & programming, Graphic & interactive design.

This already sounds really cool but on top of this — they built a sci-fi space suit! During their first research project their brief was to create a life-sized costume for an Autodesk digital game character, Sven from the game ‘Hyperspace Madness’.

It’s interesting to see how you take something from the digital space and recreate it in the physical reality. This project was a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary collaborations throughout the campus. Worth to watch the video to see the process. Also, you can read more about the project here.

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Study options

NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation
Bachelor of Arts in Game Art
Bachelor of Science in Game Programming

Get in touch now:

 

Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor Software Engineering (Game Programming)
Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art)
Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)
Bachelor of Media Design (Graphic Design, Interactive, Motion Graphics)

Get in touch now:

 

VisionFest Video Competition!

Category: 3D Animation, Animation, Design, Film / Multimedia, Fine Arts, Illustration, Music, Photography

Are you into creating moving images? Do you want to travel and get exhibited?

15-60 seconds of awesomeness packaged into a short video is all you need to enter the Frontier VisionFest competition. Keen? Well you should be, the grand prize will blow your mind – an all inclusive scholarship with flights to ArtFest, Santa Fe in the U.S of A! ArtFest is three weeks of creative wizardry with workshops held by international experts, covering multiple disciplines in art and design. This is your ultimate opportunity to travel and grow as and artist / designer.

On top of this the best work will be exhibited at the Outdoor Vision Fest, a series of events with environmental and interactive projections around the campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Add this to your resume!

Sounds like a dream? Well it’s not, so get to work!

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Study options

Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts
Creative Writing and Literature Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Contemporary Music
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Photography
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Photography
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre Design
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre Performance

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