Towards the end of last year, we had the opportunity to chat with some students at the Academy of Design Toronto (the RCC Institute of Technology) about a game that they developed called Legends of Goldwing. Dubbed by the team as “How to Train Your Dragon meets Crimson Skies“, this game has you fighting as a mythical beast over your territory in a dogfight to the death.
We put some questions to Kevin Moodie (Artist), James Reinelt (Producer) and Trevelyan Des Rochers (Designer) about their cool project.
TT: What drove you to make this game?
JR: My biggest motivation was the fact that I was one of the original game designers for Goldwing. I was the one who pitched the game to the class and convinced them that it was the right game for our class to create. Taking on the role of the Producer made the game that much more special to me. It was more than my idea, it was my responsibility.
Were there any truly difficult parts of animating a dragon?
My biggest challenge for animating the Dragon had to be the wing animation. It was the first real 3D model I had to animate for a game. It was time consuming, a lot of learning how to do things on the spot, and making sure that the Dragon worked properly in the game when it looped its flying cycle.
Where did you find inspiration for the dragons that you created?
The biggest inspiration for the main dragon model came from bats. So as the animator I looked at a lot of bat animations. I also looked at the dragon from Beowulf, and everyday birds (e.g. Seagulls, Robins). Anything that helped me understand how flying creatures work. I also took a little bit of creative freedom, and added some of my own imagination to a few of the animations.
Which was your favorite level to play?
Moon Peak. I built that level last knowing it would require the least assets. I always intended it to be about player vs. player skill without too much distraction. I think it has a great atmosphere for that, with the moonlight and torches, more like an gladiatorial area. I certainly wasn’t the most skilled player on the team but it made for some interesting grudge matches. And there is just something about dragons in space that makes me happy.
Which was your favorite level to design?
The Boneyard. The sandstorm and rock gave me a chance to have more fun with cover and setting up attack/evade flight paths. What I love in these types of games is cutting it as close as possible, just shaving around the corner and pulling up. The real fun of that level was the dragon skeleton. I had been working on rocks and sand for so long it was great to get to make a dragon myself. The skull alone had great paths, I loved flying in the eye and trying to make it out before the sand would rise and kill me.
Any thoughts about introducing NPCs into the mix?
Personally I believe that you can never go wrong with co-op. Adding in enemies for you and your friends to take out would be a nice change of pace without really sacrificing what the game is. As for story-based NPCs I’m not too sure, you would have to ask the guys in charge of that sort of thing. I prefer my dragons as animals.
The Bone Yard.
Quick fact: Kevin originally started out in IT Management and made the move to videogame design.
How was the transition from IT Management to your VG design?
Surprisingly I felt relieved. At the time I couldn’t see myself going into anything that wasn’t IT related, but after a couple years in I realized this wasn’t for me. I needed something fun and exciting. Even though I’ve only been drawing for about two years there was a passion that rapidly grew within.
Do you find yourself applying anything from what you used to do to your current role?
The programming portion of IT Management: not so much. However, it did help me keep in mind that technology changes continuously and since I would like to become a concept artist I have to consider what those changes are and apply them to my designs so I can get desired results.
What is your favourite sketch application and tablet interface?
My tablet of choice is the Intuos 4. I bought the small because I felt I needed something portable and not so clunky. Hopefully my skills will improve to the point that I can purchase my first Cintiq. My go to application is Photoshop (CS5). It is fully equipped with various types of brushes and shortcuts, which enables a smooth workflow. Also, if I would like to do a few quick sketches I like to play in Sketchbook Pro.
How long is the VG Design program at RCC – for anyone that is interested in enrolling?
This program is six terms, three months per term.
Do you ever have guest speakers come in?
When we were enrolled there were no guest speakers.