LIMBO: Review

 

LIMBO is one of the most special games I have ever played.

I wanted to write up a quick review for this game despite it being about a year out of date; but recently the title became available on Steam and so I’ve finally had a chance to play this game after waiting for ages.

In short, LIMBO is a platforming and puzzle solving game with a stunning art style. You play as a nameless boy who has just awoken in Limbo (otherwise known as the edge of Hell) and to say anything else of the plot would ruin it for you. Though, that said the game is minimal in every regard, including the enigmatic plot.

LIMBO is a great example of visceral storytelling and the mute protagonist reflects perfectly, the world of barren despair and death which you traverse. This game world is a punishing one; you will die often – the developers coined LIMBO ‘- a trial and death game’. But that’s fine, the puzzles escalate to an almost punishing level by the end but once you come to the solution you might kick yourself that you did not realise it sooner. LIMBO’s gameplay is roughly 70 percent reliant on these puzzles and so it is testament to the level designers at Playdead studios that their puzzles can be only slightly frustrating but always solvable without guides. I had to only quit the game once when I was stuck on a puzzle, but after stepping away and coming back to it I worked out the solution.

I finished LIMBO in  3 sittings, and for a game that took me about 4/5 hours to complete that should reflect the addictive nature of LIMBO’s gameplay and immersive gameworld. But whatever you do, don’t be put off by the short campaign length. There’s no multiplayer but I am already excited to replay LIMBO, it is the perfect length for a game as avant guard as it is.

I must not finish without talking about the game’s stunning art direction. I have played many beautiful, cinematic games with Shadow of the Colossus being my other most notable choice for amazing art in a game. However LIMBO is completely unique and instead of being grand and epic, it is suitable poignant and minimal through it’s clever use of black and white, the dusty vignette and the constantly flickering light sources, a reminder of lights preciousness and frailty.

Overall I could not recommend this game more. It’s beautiful, addictive and totally unique.

I don’t review games enough to give it a numeric score but this is my final word on LIMBO.

Buy. This. Game. 

LIMBO is available of XBL, PSN and Steam. 

Don’t Be Creative, Be Passionate

Now, don’t take the title too literally but consider this. Don’t come up with ideas because they are different, nurture them because they matter.

Hey Guys,

I hope everyone is having a good Monday, I wanted to write a post today for people who work in creative fields. Followers of this blog will know I’m a student, and so perhaps speak with a certain sense of optimism, but I feel my point here today is applicable to anyone looking to develop any kind of creative work.

This idea came to me yesterday, when after spending the weekend working on a couple of separate projects, I ditched them. I realised that I didn’t really care about these ideas, and I was developing them as a priority above my other work because I thought they were pretty avant guarde. Except they weren’t, they were crap. One I will admit, just needs a lot more development if I’m ever even to consider picking it up again in the future, but the other one is my primary example for this post.

Flying horses. Nay. Flying Toy Horses. My idea was this: I picked up these plastic model horses about 6 months ago because I thought I could use them for a mini-project. What I eventually tried to do, was animate still images of them with the distortion pin tool on AAE; creating a super slo-mo sequence of them jumping off of stuff. I ran a couple of renders, still not 100% but prepared to keep an open mind. Yesterday I finished two test renders, they had immaculate masks and lighting effects so they look relatively believable. My animation was good too, the motion of the legs, head and neck being key to the movement of a horse. But then I watched them back, and yeah, technically they were ok, but I was hit with two thoughts. What does this mean? And Why am I doing this? 

I was doing it because no-one else had; I’d side-tracked projects that mean a lot to me because I was in a rush to stand out. That’s not how you create art, that’s how you create shite. I took a step back, saw what i was doing and abandoned the project. I’m now refocusing my efforts of two of my large projects. In particular, my dissertation project for my final year at university. It’s sometimes hard to work on because it reflects some personal memories and intimate relationships, but so far it’s coming out well and I have no doubt that when I finish it, it will be a triumph. The project is called ‘3 Hours’ and I will add a link here when I have finished rebuilding the promo page.

This post isn’t for self-promotion though, it’s a thought on how sometimes it is so tempting to try and stand out, we breach our own values of quality. Gimmicks aren’t respected and never deemed as classics. So take your time and create the fantastic, powerful work you’re capable of. Impress yourself.

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

The Most Beautiful Time-Lapse Videos EVER

So I have always loved time-lapse videos, I think they’re stunning and truly reflect that if you have a patience, you can create memorable pieces of art. I actually think I might have done this post before but who cares, the game has been changed by a release this year that blew everyone else out of the water. I’m going to keep this post very short as I am very busy today; but just watch the videos, it’s half and hour well spent.

The Mountain 

The best video online right now; stunning, haunting and moving. The best of the best in my opinion.

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull

The first video I saw in like this, I love that there is motion in it too; it must have been so hard to calculate!

The Unseen Sea

A fantastic video that focuses on how clouds look during time-lapses; stunning.

Sorry this has been such a short post guys, but I’ve got stuff to do!

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

The Balloon :: UPDATE

Hey Guys,

So I just wanted to let you know that I decided to change my approach to my current project ‘The Balloon’. You may have seen my previous post saying that I was developing ‘The Balloon’ in mind of making it a kids book; but then I though about it more. I realised if I made it into a web-comic like Diary of a Boy at Sea then things become a lot more simple.

I see it like this:

If I try and make it a kids book, am I going to go and try and get it published? No.

As a kids book, will there be a bigger work-load? Yes.

Will I have more fun drawing my own project? Yes.

Will more people be able to enjoy it as a web-comic? Yes.

Easy really huh? So that’s what’s happening now, you can see below the first page, but I won’t be posting anymore until it’s finished!

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

 

New Website Plans

Hey Guys,

Hope you’re all good; just thought I’d update you guys on some of my plans to update my website. As someone passionate about design and effective functionality, I’ve had a re-think about my portfolio site. I’ve been inspired by endlessly pouring over other designers sites, and though I am not a designer through and through, I am highly creative and I feel my website could be a little better looking.

So I drew up some very early concept images and am in talks with my amazing friend Harry Finn (Seriously, he’s a web-design guru, you might want to follow him on twitter too); he’s told me it’s possible and is hopefully going to help me through these changes.

See what I have planned below, I think it has a good balance between a clean, functional design without being to distracting. The designs (rough as they are) are mine so please don’t copy them, if you do however take inspiration from them I’d love to see how they come out!

Let me know what you think please,

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

 

Gallery Page

Single Image Page

Video Page

Good-bye Objectivity, Hello Me.

So, I started this blog to link people to awesome pieces of creative work online, be it videos, photography or whatever. But, I find that within a busy university schedule to tweet these things is much quicker than writing a summary of it. If anyone is reading this and still looking for that kind of content, perhaps you might want to follow me on twitter. If so, please check out my twitter profile.

But as I have just alluded to, I will be moving away from these kind of posts on this blog and instead aim to keeping anyone that is interested updated on my work; so here we go!

MY PROJECTS:

For anyone that visits my portfolio site you may be aware of some of my projects that I do and am interested in; but for those of you who haven’t seen yet, I will just quickly link you to a few things that are finished.

Pancakes and Apples (Diary of a Boy at Sea) 

So this is a short web-comic that has been doing the rounds online, I have been getting really positive feedback from my followers on twitter and would love to hear more from other people; there are no comments on the actual pages at the moment though and I’d love to get some hard-copy feedback!

Sense – Datum // Her Egg

So, I am a keen writer and I love trying to write short stories in between working on my larger projects (more below); here are two stories that I have finished that I have submitted to a short story contest and I would love to get some feedback if you guys have the time (Sense-Datum was a university assignment that I got a first for by the way! :D )

CURRENT PROJECTS:

So I am working on a couple of big things at the moment, but most significantly is my primary project: 3 Hours.

Whilst at the moment I am trying to keep this project a little secretive, I want to raise a bit of awareness and develop an enigma around this project. However I will be updating the preview page soon as I feel at the moment it is a little too elusive. For now I will say this; 3 Hours is a digital narrative experience, it’s going to change the way you can read a story by blending multiple writing styles seamlessly. Stay posted, it’s going to be good. For now, please check out the preview page.

For anyone that has stuck through this post, thanks a lot, it’s really nice to get support when I receive some. But don’t worry, my posts will not continue to be this self-indulgent and promoting! Instead I will just aim to keep you guys up to date with stuff I am doing and stuff I think you should check out too; hopefully this should lead to more consistent blog posts.

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

404 Page Inspired Design

Hey Guys,

So I just finished off making my 404 page and though it’s nothing too fancy I did experiment with some more creative images to substitute the typical ‘404-Not Found’ error message. Find below a collection of 404 image banners that you are free to download, edit and use on your own sites; if you do this all I ask for is a comment on this post saying which one you downloaded and where your site is availiable so we can all see it in action!

For those who are unsure, just click any of the images then click ‘View Image’ then click  ‘save image’ from there to get the full size.

– Mirrored 4’s with center 0 –

——————–

– Vertically mirrored 4’s with connecting 0 –

——————–

– Mirrored 4’s with overlayed 0 –

——————-

– Reminds me of Egypt for some reason; parallel 4’s with 0 on top –

——————–

– Flipped and mirrored 4’s with overlayed embedded 0 –

——————–

– Made to look like a vinyl record; 4’s drawn in lines with 0 as disk centre –

———————

– Probably my favorite design; mirrored 4’s with stylised 0 –

——————-

I Hope you like these designs guys!

Peace,

Matt  :)

 

Top 5 Videos of the Week [20/02/2011]

So as I have been away for a while this T5V has a few entries from further back but they are still as strong as ever; this week we have the video game trailer that has everyone talking, John Malkovich being… well, John Malkovich, a stunning piece of animation work and I bit of film relief in anticipation of the Oscars, so enjoy!

 

1) Dead Island: Official Announcement Trailer

We start this weeks list off with a biggy; this trailer has been buzzing around the internet ever since it was released, and rightly so. This cinematic trailer tells the story of a family of three who are under the attack of… well zombies. The hype has been so massive in fact that the movie rights have alreayd been sold… Crazy.

 

2) The Blackwater Gospel

 

This is one of my personal favorites from this weeks list; TBWG is an animation piece centring on the paranoia in a small isolated town after the undertaker arrives. The resulting piece of work is a visual masterpiece that must be seen; watch it NOW.

 

3) Niteo

Ok, I’ll put my hands up, this is a bit of self-promotion. This weeks number 3 video goes to… me. I made this video a couple of weeks back and I thought this may be a good way to get it out there a little more. The ffect was very simple and cheap to make; it just took a vase of water and some glitter paint. I mounted my camera close to the vase ful of water, and as I poured the glitter paint into the glass, the glitter and paint seperated in a really beautiful way. I like it guys, please don’t forget to ‘like’ if you have a vimeo account :)

 

4) Butterflies

 

WARNING: DO NOT CONSUME ILLEGAL STIMULANTS BEFORE WATCHING THIS CLIP. I mean, technically you shouldn’t anyway, but what I’m saying is, this video is VERY trippy. Somehow it has something to do with butterflies, but in reality, this is an exercise in heavy post-editing and freaking people out. You’ve got to appreciate the level of work this must have taken, but personally… I got scared.

 

5) The Final Chapter [CLICK HERE FOR WEBPAGE]

We finish this weeks list with a very special entry. Those of you who read my previous article may have already seen this, but in for those of you that haven’t, you’re in luck. I had to repost this because it really is a feat like no other; this vimeo project drew the community together on a collaborative piece of work like I have never seen before. The idea being that this whole video was filmed in segments by separate directors, each segment ends in a still, then the competition opens again and the next segment must start with the still image that the last segment ended with. It’s simpler than it sounds trust me; but that’s why I  have linked you to the blog instead of the video, so that you can read the background into the project and watch the separate clips should that be what you desire.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks list, click here to see last weeks T5V.

Niteo

Hey guys,

I would like to share with you a new video of mine, I am very happy with how it turned out. The effect was rather simple in fact, I just poured some glitter paint into water and filmed the outcome. I really hope you enjoy this short film and if you do, I would greatly appreciate it if your shared it with your friends.

Thankyou,

Matt  :)

Top 5 Videos of the Week [16/01/2011]

First things first; I’m sorry. For anyone who comes to this blog at all regularly you will notice that posts have significantly plummeted over the last fortnight, and for this I apologise. Sadly as I am in exam mode, revising and sitting different exams I am not really able to afford too much time to the blog right now. However I finish my exams this Monday and I hope to become a lot more active again, with at least 2 or 3 posts a week (including T5V). But anyway, I will not neglect this weekly segment (even if I am writing it on Friday!); this week I was actually able to collect a good range of videos, so I will not be featuring only vimeo videos this week. We have a unique band video, a park tour unlike any other and then a couple of (as I hope you’ve come to expect from this feature) fantastic concept design work, enjoy!

1. Light Works

An absolute corker to start off this weeks list; Light works is a very short video showing of an incredibly unique take on the brokeh technique to write out a quote. Not much else to say, other than we should applaud creativity like this when it comes along, one of my favorites from this weeks list.

Video: Supernormals

(Click here for behind the scenes video)

 

2. NYC – Mindrelic Timelapse

If you remember last week I was expressing an interest in time-lapse and this week is no different; this is probably my favorite video of the week. I love the music and the shots make a seemingly normal city into a work of art. Plus panning and vehicle mounts spice up this otherwise limited technique. Fantastic.

Video: Mindrelic

Music: Down to the Cellar by Dredg

 

3. Four Guys One Guitar

We’re halfway through the list and time for a little relief, here’s a quirky little video from Little Comets playing one of their songs all on one guitar! Though I must admit, the singers vocals could be a little less ‘screechy’…

Video/ Music: Little Comets

 

4. Green Lake

This is a great little video about a place called Green Lake, where whilst it functions as a park most of the year round, during the snow melt between May and July it gets filled with water and becomes something completely beatuiful in it’s own right! I would love to go there!

Video: Wolbromia

5. Envision

The thing I love about this video is that it’s filmed; I know I post a lot of animations of after effects work but every now and again it’s nice to see what can be achieved without computer simulation. When I watched this video I really imagined what it’d be like to be in that room, experiencing the colours and light and I hope when you watch it you feel the same.

Video: SuperBien

Please leave a comment saying which video you enjoyed the most.