The art of an other world : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Design at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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This creative research seeks to develop a foundation of core design principles for an original theatrical musical set in a fictional video game, Other World. The resulting design will facilitate a visually consistent source material for the conceptual design of the game, and its adaptation to theatre. Other World is an original, Broadway-bound musical which is set within a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) video game. Weta Workshop was tasked with concepting the look of Other World, and I was the Art Director for the design process. Original Broadway productions are usually less successful than adaptations (Davenport, 2014), as they often lack an established aesthetic or any stylistic constraints for the production. In comparison, theatrical adaptations from film or even print media have the ‘blueprint’ of source material to provide a design foundation. In addition to having no pre-existing content, this project sets up a complex challenge in the need to both visually reconcile the contrasting media of digital games and theatre, as well as to safeguard the aesthetic as it is adapted to a musical production. In my role as Art Director for Other World, I intend to explore the process of creating a rule-based visual style guide for this original MMO world and to use this as the basis for the creation of a key character and environment within the game. I will then explore the design process for the retention of visual integrity for this character and environment as it is translated from its original digital video game context to that of physical theatre.
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