Imagined Worlds: Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is obviously one of the most common things that someone thinks of when they think of ‘Art Movements’ and ‘Imagined Worlds’. Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that survives on the “high tech, low life” motto. This movement consists on advanced technology as well as scientific advancements and achievements including information technology and cybernetics, all resulting in breakdown and rapid change in society. The plot of most cyberpunk themes will include AI (artificial intelligence) and hackers working against or alongside mega corporations. All set in the near-future post-industrial dystopia, however, not always dystopia.

Cyberpunk is thought to have originated as a new wave science fiction movement of the 1960’s and 70’s in New Worlds magazine (beginning in 1936 as ‘Novae Terrae’ and changing to its current title in 1939. Ending publication in 2014 due to lack of subscriber funds). This magazine began encouraging and inviting stories which would showcase new writing styles. Authors started to then create a world in which society coped with a constant upheaval of new technology and culture, known to the world now as Cyberpunk.

Image result for cyberpunk art

Cyberpunk has been a theme throughout many movies, one being Columbia Pictures 2015 hit, chappIe. In this movie, the consciousness of two humans (characters Deon and Yolandi) are transferred into machines, alongside the main robotic character becoming more human-like and developing its own feelings and choices. Many of cyberpunks elements are obvious in these two main points, the artificial intelligence being the main one. Another plot point which ties this movie to the cyberpunk genre is in the movie the police robotics must be shut down, this causes riots to occur as there isn’t as much law enforcement. This is a key point in the social order of the Cyberpunk genre. Another movie illustrating this genre is Ridley Scott’s 1979 mainstream hit Alien. Many will say it’s hard to fit Alien into the Cyberpunk genre, but hear me out. The main creature in the franchise, the Xenomorph, is a genetically engineered weapon. A biochemical weapon. Cyberpunks main elements include scientific advancements, genetically engineered biochemical weapons fall under this category. Partnering this fact is the search for a new habitable planet throughout space for humans to inhabit, this movie is set in a dystopian future. Robocop is a perfect example of a Cyberpunk movie. Set in the near-future dystopian city of Detroit, Michigan, the city is on the verge of collapse due to financial ruin and high crime rates. Choosing to turn cop Murphy into a cyborg after being gunned down while chasing a gang, they create the ‘perfect’ police robot known as Robocop, following the main rules; “Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law” as well as a 4th unknown classified directive. This movie is advertised as cyberpunk, which in itself is enough evidence of the themes of the movie. Many being cybernetics, robotics (police robotics similar to the ones mentioned earlier in chappIe), dystopian near-future city setting. What more is needed to show cyberpunk is a direct influence to Robocop.

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Games have their fair share of cyberpunk themes and elements. The Deus Ex franchise is probably one of the most well-known cyberpunk games. All games of this series are set in the same world; an Earth which has evolved into a dystopian cyberpunk society. Several societies compete for world control throughout the series, as well as the main character being ‘Augmented’ following cybernetics by having a cyborg arm etc. All of this, as well as being advertised as cyberpunk, show that this series has direct ties to the cyberpunk genre. Remember Me is another game with cyberpunk aesthetics. Set in the futuristic city of Neo-Paris, Sensen is a popular brain implant, allowing 99% of the population to upload and share memories as well as remove negative memories. Major companies use this as surveillance to monitor crime. Memory hunter and main protagonist Nilin and rebels known as Errorists try to bring down the system. This game is filled with cyberpunk references, from technological advances to scientific advancements. Brain implants which allow not only the owner but others to see, and change. Very cyberpunk. Watch dogs 2 is probably a game what most wouldn’t consider cyberpunk or have links to cyberpunk, but you’d be surprised. Watch dogs has 3 main cyberpunk qualities; major companies fighting for control, technological advancements, and rebellious society. San Francisco installs the Central Operating System, known as ctOs, connecting anything and everything in the world together under one network. Exploiting this information to other companies for personal use, allowing criminals to be created and deleted from the records. Hacker group Dedsec seek to show the world what’s really happening and bring the companies and ctOs down. Technological advances and rebellious society, check. What about cybernetics? One of the main character’s and a member of Dedsec Wrench has created a mask which allows it to portray emotes and various eye expressions through small square shaped bulbs which show pixelated symbols. The mask also provides a voice modulator which gives his voice a more robotic tone. Technically, this counts as cybernetics as he appears to control this with his eye movements and pupil tracking, creating blinking movements as well as basic facial movements. Despite this technology supposedly existing today, this is the only character who uses it.

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To conclude, I believe Cyberpunk, as an art movement, has directly had an influence on games and movies and the world they exist in. From things such as futuristic robotic police forces to being able to rewrite and erase memories at the push of a button, the world created by those in New Worlds has evolved to much more than they could have possibly dreamed of.

“Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being. Ans we can do most anything to rats. This is a hard thing to think about, but it’s the truth. It won’t go away because we cover our eyes. THAT is Cyberpunk”

            Bruce Sterling

1 Drawing a Day Challenge – Stone Bridge

Day 1: An Old Stony Bridge

17669053_10212461802050060_730817797_oReference: http://artprompts.org/

Once this prompt came up on the screen I immediately had an idea for how I wanted this image to appear. This image isn’t complete however, but I am hoping it will be completed to use in my Portfolio at the end of the year.

I started by drawing in my guide lines to show a rough place where I wanted certain things to go and block out the rough layout of the drawing. I started by drawing in some bricks underneath the bridge and shading to show shadow and depth. I then drew in each brick round the arch and shaded them. I started on the right side of the bridge by drawing a brick, shading, then drawing another and so on. This was to get a true rustic feeling, like it was made with any rock that was there and was made to fit together regardless of the size, I made sure to show this by including rocks of various sizes and fit them in together. I did have bricks on the left side, but they did not fit well with how the others looked so I decided to erase these in order to improve and make them fit with the style and appearance of the others.

This roughly took me about 40 minutes.

Synoptic Project – Update (22/03/2017)

Today we had a meeting to discuss our current progress on our Synoptic Project, Treasure Island.

We have created an island which we can use to reference models as well as test game assets. This is a huge step for the project as now we can start adding models to the environment once they are completed and textured.

This also means that we can further incorporate the stylized look to the assets ans endure it matched the environment and feel of the experience.

We have also made changes to things such as how the game starts out as now that the deadline is approaching the things we would like to do would need more time to complete and aren’t as important.

We are now focusing on our MVP of an environment in which the player can walk to the treasure chest and complete the game. We will be sure to mention our future plans for the experience such as more exploration and how we can expand the aim of the experience.

Synoptic Project – Update (08/03/2017)

My group project is to create an interactive VR environment based from the book written by Robert Louis Stevenson.

So far the team have started building assets. We are currently in the stage of UV Wrapping as well as texturing the models. As the environment is quite stylized we have agreed on hand painting all the textures to keep with the theme.

I have completed the design for the map which will be used in the environment. Currently I am texturing my model for a Canon for the ship. I am going to hand paint the wood in the next few days in order to finish the model.

I am also creating concept art along with Lyndi. This I am going to try and focus on on a Wednesday after the completion of the model.

TI_Map.png

Design for the map of the island

Synoptic Project – Treasure Island

My group project is to create an interactive VR environment based from the book written by Robert Louis Stevenson.

In this story, written in 1881, tells the story of a boy names Jim and his adventure with Captain Flint’s old pirate crew on their search for Captain Flint’s lost treasure, with only a map to guide them to it’s location. The story ends with the crew finding the lost treasure and swearing to never chase something like this again.

The environment would guide a player to the location of treasure by following a map. Once they reach the treasure, they will dig it up and that will end the VR experience.

The overall look of the environment would be stylized and almost animated. It would follow a similar art style to that of Sea of Thieves. This design is simplistic, as many of the models would be low-poly and would use high to low poly baking and textures for details. This style would make the models easy to produce, meaning more can be created to fill the environment. Applying different textures will help give the illusion of different models. The colour palette is filled with vibrant blues, greens and yellows. This makes it eye-catching and visually attractive.

The MVP of the project is to have the environment complete, as well as generic audio and some intractable objects. Once this is completed, the next objective is to have it playable from start to finish.

My job role is Production Lead. I am in charge of the documentation as well as organizing the SCRUM sessions with the rest of my group. I am also working on the concept art for the game as well as some 3D models.

Synoptic Project Presentation

For my synoptic project, I chose to focus on a place or building of significant interest.

I chose to pick Atlantis, as many people spend their lives dedicated to the discovery of the city if it was real, and where it’s true location lies. This could be used in museums or documentaries of the theory of the city existing. The environment would be constructed in 3d and would be a fly through panning around the city.

I chose to do a version of the city as it was before it sank into the ocean, with structures similar to Greek architecture and in a realistic style. The city would consist of a road with the main temple, along with some small street market vendors.

I have chosen to do both the interior and exterior of the temple as well as the main street in front. Both areas would include elements consistent with the theory and document described by Plato in 360 BC that the Atlanteans were highly advanced for the time of the civilization and were renowned scholars. Most of which specialized in science, medicine or the arts.

The main focus would be the temple and it’s interior, and the street would be expanded on once tasks became complete. There would be plenty for people to complete such as decor items for the market as well as inside the temple itself.

Creative and Technical Modelling 2

I have updated my design of the cyborg arm slightly.

Today I have begun to model the arm. I have started by constructing a low poly version I can take into Mudbox and add further detail to bake down. I followed a YouTube tutorial to get the general arm shape for the base, I then began to modify the model similar to my own design. So far I have added the shoulder plate as well as some wires near the wrist area.

So far I am happy with how the model is turning out. My next step will be to finalize the low poly version and take it into Mudbox.

So far, I feel like I could improve the model by making the wires more relaxed and not as rigid and unrealistic, as they don’t seem to look right on the model and look too stiff. I liked how the shoulder plate turned out, as it was easier than I thought it was going to be.