Category Archives: Rapid Prototyping

One Last Look (Thesis)

The development team of Maui, now formally known as Kokua game, is three members fewer than it was a year ago, and the way forward must still be secured by a publication.  With the combined efforts and blessings from acquaintances of the cohort, Maui is now ready to be pushed through the publication process on Steam.

Even with all that went wrong, we made the best of the situation by rallying at several points and making great progresses at various points in the development cycle.  All the team members have contributed in their own ways to the project, from the semi-working pathfinding for the NPCs, their “uncanny valley” appearances, a mostly working (if not dumbed down) AI system, to the huge PR campaign to promote Maui to random people that eventually led to the Steam Greenlight.  Indeed, the short crunch time has produced some spectacular results as it forced all of us to work that much smarter with our very limited resources.

With some adjustments to the curriculum to allow us to acquire more relevant skills earlier, such as basics to animations and tool use earlier, we may be able to remain the number one video game development program in the nation.

In any case, Maui is now on Steam.

Ruins (Thesis)

Got some great screenshots in the latest build, from the finished skybox textures and lighting.

It looks like I found a way around the broken image links by using image galleries instead of single images, and only show the previews as thumbnails.  So expect a retrofit of this site!

As another project, making some progress creating material scripts in Unity.

 

Looking for Trouble (Thesis)

WordPress has not been displaying images for a long time now.

To see images, click on the broken link icon.

 

The Successor (Thesis)

Yep, studio is undergoing a cut right now, will have to double up on roles and tasks.

Hold out for four more weeks.

Playing around with C# script in Unity for now, seems a public variable is useful to set properties in a single scene, as we may get bleeding, modify the script to only take unique item names.

 

The “rolling credit” effect is achieved by animating a camera downward, and transit to the next scene after a set amount of time.

Inner Peace (Thesis)

What have I done in these two years? Many, many things.  While most of them matters little for the time being, they do ultimately stack up in skill development – personal projects are quite valuable after all as they require a great degree of discipline to complete.

Gotten back into Pymel scripting a few days ago, the gist of it is simple: translate MEL commands used in Autodesk Maya to Python 2.7.  Main credit goes to Brian Salisbury for providing the original MEL codes.

quick_bar_preview

Most of the codes translate 1:1, almost taking up the same amount of space save for differing syntax, they are still the same contexts and runtime commands, however, there are some methods that are not as straightforward to translate.  From that the final file size is still only a few kilobytes at max.  There is also the issue of the delay in importing the pymel module, as well as the module taking up memory space.

Optimisation will be the priority at the end of this project, perhaps it can be done by modifying the pymel import to only target specific modules?

Fogbound (Thesis)

Working with map icons and indicators right now, not sure if I like how much the stand out against the background…

In any case, the alternative is to have brown, or at least very washed out icons.  Lono, the God of prosperity has an updated icon – from ship’s mast to rain cloud, and finally ending up as a typhoon (from his association with waterspouts).

Also, the “boss” levels in our game is now very purple, using re-coloured water as lava and lava rock.

 

Variables (Thesis)

Now that we have most of the core mechanics in the game down, we can focus on adding more life to the island as a whole.  The island will require non-playable characters, which will take a while to design and implement.  Below is our current line-up of characters.

character_line_up

While Maui is the primary priority right now, I can still sneak in a few developments on personal projects.  M2TW modding continues, this time with caparison, a component of war horse barding that was oddly absent in the retail version of the game for Middle Eastern factions despite of their wide spread usage in those times.  Here we have some Mamluk cavalries looking spiffy in yellow.

egypt_barded_horse

On a side note, future previews will be in the .jpeg format, to save on storage as high quality is not required.

Critical Mass (Thesis)

It should surprise no one that we as a team will have to take some artistic licenses when it comes to creating a heavily cultural-themed game such as Maui.  Much like Ochre, the direct Native American-themed predecessor, we found surviving artefacts somewhat… lacking in terms of palette even though they both came from very colourful places.  In any cases, here are the current mock-ups of some of the ui elements, for use in the “Halau” (academy/codex) system.

 

 

Interesting enough, in terms of colour palettes in historical cultures, some may be more flamboyant than we may have assumed initially.  Well known examples include Greco-Roman marble sculptures as well as the Chinese Terracotta armies that were not always the monolithic objects replicated by contemporary artists, but were actually gaily painted with elaborate patterns.  While the stone and metal cores endured the ravages of time and the elements, the visible pigments did not.

Were pre-historic Hawaiian artefacts the same? We certainly know that many of them were made out of bio-degradable materials such as plant fibres and bird feathers, the latter were indeed very vibrant – the humid, tropical climate of the island chain however do not help in their preservation.

Seeing is Believing (Thesis)

Now here is a curious thing, while there were no endemic reptile species (save for primarily marine ones like sea turtles) on the Hawaiian islands, there were tales involving giant lizards.  These mythical creatures were known as “mo’o”, it is unknown whether or not they are related to the geckos brought to the island during the Polynesian’s migration of if they are of another variety, like the monitor lizards or even crocodiles.  More (third party) sources here: The Sacred Spine

Another tale spoke of Moalii, the Lizard God of Hawaii – references are however few and far in between, as cited by this website: Hawaiian Legends Index (Moalii)   This may warrant further investigation in the future.

dream_lizards_preview2

“Lizard people” based on monitor lizards.

Form or behaviour does not seem to matter at all with these shape-shifters, and if anything, the only commonality of the tales were of the entity’s association with bodies of fresh water – lakes and ponds.  Like many other deities of the world, they may or may not be friendly to the new human denizens of the islands.  Due to time constraints, they may only be used as hostile, humanoid NPCs in our game, an unfortunate fact that just have to be accepted right now.