Archive for December, 2011

Video Game Review – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Main Character - Carl "CJ" Johnson **1

Video Game developer Rockstar Games have raised the bars when it comes to violence, sex, controversy, graphics, and bad a** motherf****** characters with its extremely popular Grand Theft Auto Franchise. The latest installment  – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has been highly anticipated by fans of the series ever since Rockstar  Games announced the game a while back.  I have gotten the chance to play and review the new game and in my opinion the people at Rockstar Games have created a masterpiece. But before I continue about the new, let me quickly discuss the history of the Series.

Originally the first two installments Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto 2 was presented in the top down view and was available on PC/Windows, PlayStation, Game Boy Colour (GTA) and PC/Windows, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Game Boy Colour (GTA 2.) The story/game play was made up of levels that required the player to perform a series of objectives that required some sort of crime. The further you go the more points you archived and the harder the levels got.

GTA

Top Down View: GTA **2

Moving on to the next two installments Grand Theft Auto: 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City were released on the next generation of game platforms the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Thanks to the new and improved technology the Grand Theft Auto series converted from the top down view into the 3D gaming Category. The story/Game play improved now added elements of a third person shooter and driving game. The biggest update was the games have now turned into a open world sandbox map which allowed players to move across a large city that you could beat up pedestrians, drive cars off huge jumps and plenty more side games.

GTA 3

3D View: GTA 3 **3

Finally Moving on to the bigger news my review – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

GTA SA Box Art **4

  • Official Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Website
  • Developers: Rockstar North
  • Publishers: Rockstar Games & Capcom (Japan)
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Open World
  • ESRB Rating: Mature 17+ PLEASE NOTE THAT TITLES RATED M (MATURE) CONTAINS CONTENT THAT MAY BE SUITABLE FOR PERSONS AGES 17 AND OLDER. TITLES IN THIS CATEGORY MAY CONTAIN BLOOD AND GORE, SEXUAL CONTENT, STRONG LANGUAGE, INTENSE VIOLENCE.

This Installment of the series features the largest map featured in any Grand Theft Auto game. San Andreas is fictional state that combines three major cities based on real life cities; Los Santos representing Los Angeles, San Fierro representing San Francisco, and Las Venturas which represents Las Vegas.

MAP of San Andreas **5

The main character you play is named Carl “CJ” Johnson and at the start of the game explains that CJ is returning home to Los Santos arriving from Liberty City. CJ is returning home after being away for five year because his mom recently passed away. Upon arrival CJ is stopped by two police officers Frank Tempenny and Eddie Pulaski who are actually played by Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Penn. The officers have crossed paths with CJ in the past and are very corrupted. CJ then returns to his home in Los Santos and runs into family and friends. CJ’s older brother Sweet Johnson is surprised to see CJ returning and accuses him for the death of mom and the abandonment of their neighborhood gang also known as the Grove Street Family. Now Cj’s objective is to earn the respect of his brother by joining the Grove Street Gang to rebuilt their neighborhood by fighting rival gangs by stealing guns and killing in order to get back lost territories.


Through out the as game you assist the corrupt officers for several jobs and fight rival gangs by invading their neighborhoods with your fellow gang members, the story keeps getting intense and you are assigned more tasks. You meet your neighbor OG Loc and assist his music career goals from becoming as a weak fake gangster by reuning the music career of OG Loc’s rival Madd Dogg. Once you earn enough respect from the Grove Street Family your objective is to find out who killed CJ’s mom.

Gang Drive-by Shooting **6

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas also features a huge soundtrack from the time era the game is based when your cruising around in a vehicle with the radio on.  You have 11 different radio stations to choose from; RadioX, K-JAH, RADIO LOS SANTOS,  WTCR are just a few that feature different genres, talk shows, news, and end even commercials. Rick James, Boyz 2 Men, KISS, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Bog Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, 2Pac, Cypress Hill, Guns-N-Roses are a small portion of artist featured on the games soundtrack.

 

What makes this game stand out compared to the other Grand Theft Auto games is it customization. You can get a haircut, tattoos, shop for a new out fit, hit the gym, car tuning and even grab bite which all these are required to move up in the game. If you go to the gym and gain all muscle your stamina while running becomes short.

Gym - Dumbells **7

Workout - Benchpress **8

Tattoo **9

Barbers - Haircut **10

Overall I love this new chapter to the Grand Theft Auto Series. The Story is the best part making you feel like your living in the 90’s in the west coast in the era when Dr. Dre and Snopp Dogg were signed to Death Row Records. There is about 30 hours of story game play, small side missions taking the role of the fire/medical/police services, and unlimited hours of time spent just cruising around the city getting in trouble to see how long you can last before the police catch you.

The Good: Huge map, lots to discover, long story mode, custom character development, great dialogue/script, fun side missions.

The Bad: 2 player mode could be better (slows down frame rate)

Rating: 9.5/10 – Excellent

Images:

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Skate Deck

This was my final assignment for my sketching and communications class. We had to create a design for a skate board and it was a requirement that we used a predator theme.

When I was thinking about what to do for my design originally was going to draw a bunch of sketches of monsters, dinosaurs, evil comic book characters, etc and bring them into Adobe Illustrator to recreate into digital vector drawings. However I was inspired to do something different,  I looked through my old photos of my old dog Primo who passed away in February 2011. Primo was my favorite dog ever because I grew up with him since I was 10 years old. Primo was a Rottweiler and he was the most friendly dog with humans but when it came to the rats, squirrels, and other furry creatures in my backyard Primo was a natural predator. I remember one night Primo fought with a raccoon family trying to steal from the compost bin in my backyard and all I can say is that the racoons family lost a member that night.

So the final product included:

  • My initials JD which is also the logo as a pattern
  • Primo the predator
  • Quincy the prey
  • Killa-Kill is a quote from the movie Half Baked that features Dave Chappelle (Killa is the name of the dog in the movie who also is a Rottweiler)

Now entering the Third Dimension!!!!

I have never made anything 3D ever… until now!!! These were created using Adobe Illustrator and was part of a final project for class.

 

First one i made is a Christmas tree because its the holiday season.

Second one is a wood Television with some sweet ninja assassin video playing.

 

Character Illustration

For this project we were given the task to take a original pencil on paper sketch or drawing and use Adobe Illustrator to convert that art into a digital vector image. The catch was that we needed to contact other artist and ask them permission to use their artwork opposed to using my own art. First I went to deviantart.com and browsed a bunch of sketch drawings and sent out around 20 emails to all the artists explaining that I am in school for digital media arts and what the project was. Surprisingly I got a lot of reply’s back giving me the thumbs up and permission I needed. The next step was to choose 4-5 pieces and send them to our professor in order to get a drawing approved so that we can start working.

The sketch art that i got permission from the artist and the approval from the professor is called Tea Time.

This Artwork is done by Maru89 on deviantart.com and takes all credit for their work.—> http://maru89.deviantart.com/

During the early stages of production i had alot of trouble shooting with the layers. This screen shot is a perfect example, in the first layer I created the hand  in its full entirety before realizing that the tea cup is in between the fingers. So i had to play around with creating a layer with the index finger to put over the cup. Also i had to use the pathfinder tool in the handle of the cup so the hole can see the palm/thumb on the first layer.

Here i duplicated the shirt.

The reason why is chose to do this is because if you look at the original, the lady is wearing more than one layer on her torso. I simply took out some of points and changed the coulour.

Making the eyes was alot of fun playing around with the gradient tools. It was very tricky getting the right sizes and blends.

Ive put alot of hours into this now and am almost done. My hand hurt and i was sick of listening to the clicking of my mouse. Most of my time was put into the torso and the hat. The hardest part was figuring out all the components of the hat and arranging the layers in the hat took forever. Also i wanted to make sure all the colours mixed and blended well which tool almost an hour experimenting.

Finally done!!! Isn’t she beautiful? I added a gradient in the bottom layer to give the effect her sitting down on a something and i think it works quite well 😀