Game Art students' New York trip helps their design ideas take off

Game Art students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) visited New York’s Intrepid Museum to help them bring their game designs to life and inspire their work.

The group explored the detailed design of the USS Growler, which is one of America’s first nuclear-missile submarines, and got a behind-the-scenes look at the realities of life on board, which will help to inform the intricate designs they create as part of their course, as well as in their future careers.

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The students, who were meant to visit New York in January as part of the trip that was cancelled due to heavy snowfall, also got to take a close look at British Airways Concorde and the aircraft carrier Intrepid.

Archie Whitehead, a final-year Game Art student, said: “This kind of stuff is really good reference. Personally I do a lot of sci-fi designs, and the key to good sci-fi design is grounding it in reality, so you want to take a lot of the space language and a lot of the details from real things and be able to mix it in with your own designs.”

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Throughout the Game Art course students are encouraged to use reality to inform the designs for their games and many of them have included aircraft, ships and spacecraft in their work.

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The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum they visited is located inside an aircraft carrier next to the Hudson River, and students had a close look at a range of fighter jets, ships and spaceships to inspire their work.

They were also able to take in the city’s famous skyline and other details of the city, which will provide real-world knowledge for their game designs.

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Game Art student Josiah Cuffley-Thorne, said: “It’s so awesome. I’m an environment artist, so being in a huge metropolitan city like this, you just don’t really get anything like it in England.

“I’d never have this opportunity if it wasn’t for #DMUglobal, especially to see all of the things at the museum today, like the aircraft carrier and the submarine.

“This is actually the only US Navy submarine that you can get on, so to get that reference was incredible. It’s amazing here, I love it.”

The visit was the first academic activity for the group, which was part of an itinerary arranged by lecturer Michael Powell.

He said: “If you want to capture something authentically, you have to go to the source. Once you get inside the ship itself you can go up on the bridge where it’s controlled from and it’s got all the controls and all that detail that you need to put in to your games to make them believable.

“Designs have to be built on stuff that’s real, so even though you might be taking it and modifying it, it’s better to take existing design ethics that bind in to your own work because then it becomes authentic.

“Rather than rely on Google image search, which is all two dimensional and you don’t get any ambience, we encourage students to visit places like this and just appreciate it. It’s so cool and it’s also so complicated.”

The group plan to continue their New York-based research this week with a visit to the American Museum of Natural History, which will feature dinosaurs and outer space, as well as a number of other exhibits to inform different aspects of game design.

As part of their New York itinerary the students will also take part in the event at the United Nations headquarters where DMU continues to be involved in a global initiative to offer worldwide support to refugees.

Posted on Wednesday 6th June 2018

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