A New Direction and IGF

It has been a while since I last posted anything here, mainly because of the upcoming IGF deadline that was fast approaching to submit our thesis game to.

About 2 or 3 weeks before the deadline; we decided to change our first person shooting game into something completely different. Still keeping the 360 degree camera in the game, we decided upon a bullet hell style of gameplay. Where the player would have to make it from point A to point B avoiding certain projectiles, if the player got hit then they would have to try again. Another type of gameplay we included was a similar objective as before, but instead of just avoiding the projectiles; the player also had to collect other balls that are bouncing around the level. Once the player collected all of the required balls; the level is complete.

As a temporary team role system, we chose several people to be leads of specific roles, such as design lead etc. I volunteered to be art lead for this period of time for the final push to IGF and the team appeared to be happy with it. My role as art lead is to come up with the list of art assets that is required for our game for the IGF submission, as well as dividing tasks up between the members whilst making sure each person is happy with the tasks they have been given to make their enthusiasm high.

The main thing we needed to get done for the game was to have it textured, so I set each member of the team to come up with at least 3 ceiling, wall and floor textures for the game, which we achieved within a couple of work days. Looking back, I should have made it so that each artist come up with a set of textures that blend well together as a set, so 1 ceiling, one floor and one wall texture per artist. Which I think would have worked better than the initial way I set out the tasks, but I learned from my mistake.

We have managed to submit the game for IGF and are still currently working on iterating the art, design etc. for future builds.

The homework has begun

Now we are into the third week of the semester, and the homework is starting to get more intense. My animation class has dished out a flour sack model (fully rigged) that we have to make jump.

One of the problems I encountered whilst trying to animate it was with the ears. I set the model in its starting position, then set the key frame for it. I then tried to set it to its next pose but the ears would be stuck where they were in the last key frame and wouldn’t budge. I eventually found the issue in the attributes editor and change the ear dynamics from ‘evaluate’ to ‘static’, hooray it worked.

My task for the thesis game I mentioned in my last post is done, or at least, the first pass of the model is. The laser gun I modeled had some feedback from my colleagues which I iterated on. One of the main pieces of info I had was that due to our 360 degree camera view; the weapon would benefit visually if it used more negative space, so I changed a few things in the initial design to try to fit the game’s needs. Here is a quick screen shot of the model:

gun2 gunside

My next task is to design a rocket launcher, I got the specs from the designers and started to concept a few ideas. I started out with a standard looking gun, but started to work on an idea based on the ammo capacity the gun is supposed to have. The capacity is 3, so I thought that I could make a fun design based on this. Right now, I am currently developing a triple rocket launcher design which has one barrel for each of the character’s hands, and one above the head which is being supported by beams from the other two barrels. Here is a preview of its current stage:

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Finally, as for environment art, nothing much has been going on at the moment apart from submitting a written proposal about our chosen concept and theme for our project. I have however been testing out normal map baking from my high poly models to my low with little results so far, maybe I just need to keep adjusting the settings and something will happen.

First Week Back

So, my first week back into my final year, after a long and boring summer which mainly consisted of going home to the UK for a few weeks and sorting a lot of financial stuff out.

This is the year I have a point to prove, not just to myself; but to my thesis team, my teachers and employers, and even potential future employers.

I am in full focus already for all my classes, all homework done so far, and I am even pushing myself to test new things out in Unreal Engine 4 for my environment art class. Even though it’s not essential this week, but still I feel this class would be the most unforgiving if I fall behind. So I have looked at potential concept references to use for the environment I am interested in.

I have never modeled a sci-fi environment before, so I started looking at stuff like futuristic shopping malls, city streets and spaceship bridges etc. I want to make an environment where the textures change.. kinda like those LED ad boards you see in Vegas which constantly change. Here are some of the references I looked at:

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Image converted using ifftoany

Ehawkcp future_scenes____shopping_mall_by_anasrist Kelvin_type_bridge_(concept_art)  prometheus-still-bridge prometheus-still-bridge2  starship_bridge_by_ravital-d3dhsf7 starshipbridge-740x300

And here is a quick test scene I am working on, just for practice:

Spachip Comp

Aside from the environment art class, I have my thesis game. The first week back started with a meeting with our tutors, and a guideline of what we need to push for, in order to submit to IGF.

My first task is to have a standard laser gun modeled, UV’d and textured by September 3rd. So far it has been modeled and UV’d. And I should have it finished by tomorrow (September 1st) at the latest.

Gun

Finally, we have round 2 of animation class for our game arts track. As always, the teachers are great, and they gave us our first unofficial assignment just to get back into the swing of things.

The task was to play around in Maya and animate something.. anything we choose. So I modeled a pine tree and put a basic skeletal rig in the trunk and paired it with the whole model.

The animation I made for the tree was supposed to be a wind swaying one; but it turned into a wacky dancing tree, kinda like the end of Guardians of the Galaxy but nowhere near as graceful.

Here is the tree with the rig, I will post the animation video at my own expense later on:

tree

Until next week.

EAE Day

So EAE day was upon is on Tuesday 28th, and I had two games to show, the first is obviously is Sensory Overload, which is the thesis project of course. The second game is the one I worked on at the GApp lab which is Called ‘Tetra Ski’.

My main focus on this post is about Sensory Overload. Our team had four computers set up for multiplayer, and we also had candy to give out to willing participants, as well as barf bags in case of anyone who got dizzy looking at our funky camera for too long. But thankfully that never happened.

Our game went down well and we received some great feedback from people who stopped by and tested it, both industry and general gamers.

Here is a beauty shot we used for our poster:

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That is it for this post, until next time.

First Draft of Weapons

So as I said in my last post; I am a weapons artist for our game. So I designed them based on our 360 degree camera which looks a little like this:

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As you can see, there is still some work to be done on the distortion of the camera on the gun, but we have all summer to fix that.

Here are some weapons that I designed:

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I decided to go with a wacky feel, so I looked at Ratchet and Clank weapons for reference. The three types of weapons are as follows: A standard rifle, a multi-directional shooter and a rapid firing weapon.

After a little iteration based on the fact that they are supposed to be energy weapons; I changed a lot of stuff on the standard rifle based on constructive feedback. Here are the next iteration of weapons:

Capture

As you can see, I removed the scope from the rifle and added power cells. You will also notice that there are no triggers on the guns. Due to some research; I found that most cartoon styled games that have guns, do not have triggers in their design. I wanted to follow this for our game as we have decided upon a cartoon aesthetic.

 

Start on Thesis

10 games became 5, the 5 games that made it were: Reload 360, B.E.S.T, Ochre, Binoral Sound and Crash City.

After crunching numbers from the scores given to us by the industry panel, Out of the Box actually made the top 5 but was swapped out for B.E.S.T for reasons unknown.

Since our game did not make it; I had to join a new team, and since 3/5 of the games that made it were serious games; I decided on not joining those based on the fact that one: I am currently working on a serious game in the GApp lab, and want a game designed primarily for player’s entertainment for some diversity in my portfolio, and two: I would much prefer to work on ‘fun’ games if I ever break into the games industry and would like more experience in that design field.

The team I chose was the 360 Reload game, a first person shooter game that enables the player to see 360 degrees. My role in this team is 3D Artist, mainly on creating weapons for the game and helping on other parts if needed.

More on the next post.

Prototypes and Final Cut

So, after a few weeks, we created a prototype that was going to be presented in front of a game industry judging panel, they consisted of several members of game studios such as Disney, EA and Epic Games etc.

Our prototype game come out good and we had several mechanics in our game such as controlling brightness, colour and frame rate, in order to get past puzzles.

Here is a link to our prototype of ‘Out of the Box’:

One thing i would say about the industry panel, is that they seemed to ask a lot of questions about marketability for our games. I believe that the questions weren’t really suitable for student games as these types of games aren’t realistically designed to compete in the market. So in that respect, I felt that this part of their feedback was unhelpful, but the rest of the feedback about design, aesthetics and ideas were extremely helpful.

The 10 games were cut into 5 for our final thesis projects and unfortunately, ours didn’t make it, but more on that next post

The First Round Cuts

All the game pitches were heard over a tiring and slightly dragged out two days, and the professors gave their verdict on the games that they thought had the most potential based on what they heard from the pitches.

Our task was to form at least 10 teams by next class and have at least 3 members varying in disciplines. I had been called by Drew to join their jiggle team, which would have been a great laugh as I know Drew likes to have fun based on my experience with him in the GApp lab. But I decided that the game I would have more creative design freedom on was ‘Out of the Box’, a game where you have to use the game options in order to solve puzzles and progress.

First Week Back

So the first week back consisted of coming up with our own individual game pitches, so that was 60 pitches which were heard over the next two classes. I teamed up with Russell to pitch a game idea based on the Myo armband, a device that fits on the arm and can sense muscle movement and control objects through wifi by detecting muscle patterns used in various gestures.

The game we came up with is a musical conducting game, where you would control an orchestra as a maestro and use your hand gestures to create the music. This game also could’ve  branched out into playing air instruments, for example, making guitar chord shapes with your hand in order to learn how to play the guitar. But all this was relying too heavily on a product that was not yet fully tested.