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NOL: THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE

CHARACTER DESIGN ・ ENVIRONMENT DESIGN ・ VIDEO GAMES

APRIL 2012
Collaboration with: Jordan Lang, Hunt Library, NCSU Design and Computer science schools

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CHASING 'NOLEDGE'

Plunging into a new field helmed by two-dozen young, hungry professions as itching to make their mark as you is no easy feat, but that's exactly what NOL was. Created as a semester-long, extracurricular video game collaboration between the NCSU schools of Design and Computer Science, NOL was the first of its kind. Brought on under art direction Jordan Lang, I worked diligently as a concept designer and artist- developing characters and environments as NOL evolved from one type of game to another... to another.


NOL started out as a much more childlike game than it would eventually evolve into. At the initial concepting meeting, seven of us sat around a table and discussed the merits of different kinds of games that could be made with duel motion-tracking consoles (one of the pillar requirements of the project), and the idea of a 3D platformer quickly emerged. Taking place within the Hunt Library itself, the game would pit the players as "Guardians" against a thief who had stolen the Knowledge core of the library. Catch up to them by dodging obstacles and you save the library. Fail? Everything crumbles down around you.

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The initial passes I made at the Guardians were directed by Jordan's idea for them and the design language of the Hunt Library itself- composed of interacting, floating elements of futuristic polymers and glowing lines.

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As the project matured, so did the Guardians. My glass-and-metal designs were fit for modeling, and I got to work creating the grand-slam final designs for the game... only for direction to change, again. But I don't give up that easily!

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Taking us into the final push for the Guardians, I approached the design with the same materiality, but a lot more maturity than the previous designs. Gone are the giant, glowing discs for eyes and the oversized hands and feet. These are geometric, clean, and impressive robots that are out to save the world: they had to look cool.

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My final design hand-off to Jordan, he would take the Guardians to completion in the realm of 3D modeling while I went on to tackle the Knowledge core. There would be four Guardians (two per console) to hunt down the Thief. Each had the appearance of possibly being a human in a suit, but clear underlying mechanical elements, taken from the previous designs.

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The Knowledge Core, a great temple where all of the knowledge of the library was kept. Essentially a technocratic temple, I approached it by taking the Hunt Library and essentially re-orienting it and applying various adjustments to make it work as a brand-new structure. Who says subtlety is dead? Also at this time, I would create a skyline and skyboxes for the final game.

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NOL is now a permanent resident of the NCSU Hunt Library, and the only game of its kind in the pixel-powered Game Lab!

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