Learning the basics of game design


Learning the basics of game design

Moviestorm for game designers

University Campus Suffolf, Ipswich, UK – BA (hons) in Computer Games Design

For students wishing to pursue a future in game development or interactive entertainment, Philip Jackson uses Moviestorm as it allows students to start immediately building sets and animating characters “out-of-the-box“.

Using Moviestorm as part of their ‘Anymation and Machinima’ module, the brief was to create a short film. Intentionally broad in scope, this allows the students to express themselves creatively. Some students took scenes from film or TV as their inspiration, others looked to video game trailers or music, or simply created their own characters and narratives.

“It was an interesting experience that produced a broad scope of ideas. It’s important for games designers to understand different creative disciplines to help with idea generation.”

Philip also had students who were interested in 3D modelling create some Moviestorm “content packs” as part of their dissertation.

“They received good support from Moviestorm and it was a valuable experience in building interactive assets for a professional platform.”


Philip finds that not only does it give students the opportunity to exercise their creativity, it is useful practically in helping students design cut-scenes, game walkthroughs or to assist them in developing their narrative, storyboarding, scriptwriting and modelling – all useful transferable skills for games designers.

“Moviestorm’s a versatile piece of software and a valuable addition to the game designers tool-kit.”


Student proposals and finished movies

Brinsley Blackwood – The God’s Son

The scene to be portrayed in this machinima project is a take on the last supper (Judas’ betrayal) being delivered in the context of a Godfather/Goodfellas-esque gangster movie, set in Jesus’ home/back room. Using the bible passage Luke 22, verses 1 to 23 as a base, this scene will end with Judas being shot – taking place before the arrest of Jesus within the original context.


Daniel Backham – The Sacrifice

A trailer style clip based around the theme of sacrifice. The story of the clip centres on a group of soldiers desperately trying to hold off a horde of zombies. The leading officer orders his troops to retreat while he holds them off, sacrificing his life in the process of saving a civilian. There is no audible speech, as well as minimal sound effects in the clip, as music will be playing throughout. This is similar to that found in trailers for games such as Dead Island and Mass Effect. The theme and emotion will be conveyed through the use of the music and through the actions of the characters themselves. The type of music that will be used will be orchestral style by Two Steps from Hell, who creates music for trailers. The specific song is called Heart of Courage. An example of this can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISzK6e237II


Luke Norman – Soldier’s Soliloquy

“The summary of my Machinima is an “abstract art” piece that is supposed to depict the stress that soldiers in war may go through.

In my Machinima it takes us through the mind of a sniper as he tries to prepare himself for killing a target, he finds it difficult as he starts to relate with him and when the shot is taken a wave of regret and empathy hits the soldier as he starts to fear what his family would go through should he be killed in battle.

I chose an Original Soundtrack from metal gear solid as I feel it best accompanies what I was trying to achieve with this movie.”


James Brittain – Abraxas

“This Moviestorm movie will be a music video for the Rolo Tomassi track ‘Abraxas’. The movie will primarily function to accompany the music but will also chart the feelings of a man who is experiencing a panic attack.”


Matthew Nunn – Matthew Nunn Film

“What I am proposing to make is a 90 second political satire film that features David Cameron as he would talk to the public as most party leaders would in a political part broadcast. This will be entirely satirical humor, no slapstick etc. The Cameron character will touch upon some of the issues that have been raised since they have been in power, which will consist of the question
of power balance in the coalition, the new healthcare bill, and the big society.”


Michael Murphy

“I will be creating a simple original piece involving 2 basic characters inside a mysterious room with a little equivocal message.
The Machinima will have a strong visual style, hopefully to emphasize the simple settings and plot. The characters I will be using will be minimal and expressive, and all shot to make the most of the stark sleek black and white filter giving it a monochromatic cell-shaded effect. This filter can be seen in the middle segment of the image below. Light will play a major role in this piece.”


Amber Crowder – The Domestic Scene

“A short domestic drama featuring two characters. The scene explores conflict.”

More info

Eddie Duggan: Senior Teaching Practitioner, UCS`

John Bowditch: Games Design, University of Ohio