Shrine: UV Unwrapping

This week I’ve been working on the least fun part of the 3D modeling, UV unwrapping. Thankfully Maya has a good set of tools to speed up the process slightly.

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Whoever developed the planar map tool at Autodesk has my deepest regards. SO MUCH TIME SAVED.

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Now obviously I’m nowhere near done yet, but I like to test my work incrementally to make sure the UV work I am doing in Maya looks good in other environments. I’ll go ahead and make a quick test FBX export of this model and plop it in Marmoset Toolbag.

Marmoset Toolbag 2 (Three is out but I have not purchase it yet) is a nifty piece of software that creates high quality renders. It’s also a great tool for pre-flighting models before importing them into a game engine.

Once I’ve imported the model into Toolbag, I’ll apply a texture with a visible grain, such as Marmoset’s preset rust texture, to see if I need to do additional tweaking to the areas I’ve already UV’d.

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Good news! The areas I’ve UV’d, such as the stairs, floor, and foundation, all applied the selected texture evenly and without warping. The areas that are circled in red show areas that I have not UV’d yet. You can see the obvious warping on the roof, and some of the supporting pillars that hold the roof up. The front panel of the building isn’t exactly stretched, but the resolution isn’t matching that of the UV’d portions. Now you understand why Toolbag can be a valuable pre-flight tool.

-Post commandeered by the US Claire Force

Anti-Drone Gun Modeling #2

UPDATE 4-21-17: I finished the model around August last year, but never got around to posting it. Here she is!

We now resume the blog post.

cyberpunkAntiDroneGun_USCF_small

I’ve made significant progress on the anti-drone gun model. Today I got all the texture work done for the stock of the gun- diffuse, occlusion, normal, height, and specularity. A few years ago I used Crazybump to build maps, but since then I’ve found cheaper and better software like xNormal and MindTex. xNormal is free, but from my experience the maps produced by MindTex are higher quality than those produced by xNormal. I brought the finished model of the gun stock and the maps into Marmoset for rendering.

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I’m delighted that the stock turned out so well. I might go back and change the orange and yellow lights on the stock however. In contrast to the rest of the model, they look flat and cartoonish. By adding a subtle gradient to the edges of the lights, I think I’ll be able to make it mesh better with its surroundings.  I’ll count this as a small victory, but I still have a lot of work ahead of me. In addition to making these changes, I have to finish tweaking the geometry of the gun’s body and texturing the rest of the model. I’ll see if I can finish this within two weeks.

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Better Tools, Better Art

Great news!

I am now the proud owner of an Intuos tablet! No more Bamboo Craft or buggy driver issues for me (hopefully)! With the Intuos drawing curved lines is much smoother, which I love. I’m also enjoying the heightened pressure sensitivity, because it was lacking in the Bamboo Craft. Now I can spend less time fixing grainy lines and more time on other parts of the drawing process. Lesson learned: when you have better tools, you produce better art.

mikoWIP

Now that I have new hardware, here is what I’ve been working on- she’s a type of Japanese shrine maiden called a miko. I got the idea for her when I was sitting passenger on a trip through New Mexico. Not sure how I was inspired to draw a Japanese character when going through New Mexico, but whatever. Maybe it was something I ate. Eventually I’ll use this piece for a character icon in an upcoming card game project. I’ll update with a new post as soon as I’m done with drawing her. Until then, thanks for reading!

-post commandeered by the US Claire Force

Frost Sword Concept Art

Here’s the second concept in the new rendering style I’ve been working in. This one actually took longer than the previous “evil” sword concept I generated two days ago, despite it being conceptually less intricate. I wanted to achieve a better sense of texture with this frost sword concept, and I like how the hilt ornamentation looks like frosted ice or glass.

Frost Sword

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Fix a Bug and More Will Appear

Hello my readers! It’s been another exciting week in FTD development. Those collision problems I had last week? No more. Those weird issues I had with the character’s movement? Vanquished! I’m happy to say that most of the problems I struggled with last week are gone, but as is always true in game development more have emerged. However, before I delve into what problems I’m running into currently, I’m going to cover how I ended up fixing previous issues.

Last week, I struggled with two issues: one, collision with the Light character and the walls, and two, the Light character continuing to move, despite the player releasing the movement key. I realized that the Light wasn’t colliding with the walls because only the wall object had instructions for colliding with the Light. For collision between a character and a hard surface to work in Game Maker Studio both objects, the surface and the player, must feature collision events referencing each other. By defining collision with the wall in the Light object, I was able to fix the first problem.

lightObject001

The second issue, the character’s continual movement, was fixed by assigning a key release event to the movement buttons. After a key is released, the character stops moving, until a key is pressed again.

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Now that I have those issues out of the way, I have several other problems I must tackle. Bugs aside, there were two things I wanted to get done last week. I wanted to implement all four characters into the game and set up the mechanic for the Darkness appearing randomly in rooms. I was successful in getting the four characters into the game, but I do not have their abilities functional (except for the Runner). I also don’t have the ability to control one character at a time and switch between them on the fly. Currently, the player is in control of all four players at once. When one moves, they all move in the same direction, and I don’t want that.

While I have a few ideas about how to go about fixing the character control issue, I’m not entirely sure how I’ll get the Darkness to appear randomly in the rooms. In my own pseudocode, this is what I think needs to happen.

  • Create a global timer object (timer1)
  • Create another global timer object (timer2)
  • Create Darkness object and sprite
  • Set time1 object to count down from 60
  • Create a room object and sprite
  • Create multiple instance of the room object, but assign them different names, ie Room1, Room2, Room3 etc.
  • Link room object to timer1
  • Assign randomize function to room object
  • Assign replace sprite function to room object
  • When timer1 reaches zero, replace room sprite with Darkness object and sprite
  • Have timer2 go off so that timer1 is repeated

I think this approach is the best way to get the random Darkness appearance function to work. At this point I’m not going to code the Darkness to kill anything or destroy rooms, I just need to make sure that I got the random mechanic working. I need to get the random mechanic working perfectly, because later I’ll be implementing the glyphs, which determine the chance that the Darkness will appear in a certain room.

Problems aside, I ended up getting a little sidetracked and started messing with some of the basic HUD elements of the game. Below is a mock-up of what the HUD might look like.

gameplayHUDmockUp

As useful as HUDs are, even the best designed ones get in the way sometimes. One of the functions I want the player to have is the ability to toggle the HUD on and off. I went ahead and created one of the HUD elements to test out the toggle feature, in this case the game’s timer.

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Now I know once I work on the HUD in the future, I can give the players the ability to toggle the HUD on and off at their own whim. So what’s on the FTD development menu for this week? I have three items I want to have implemented by next Sunday.

  1. Get the randomized Darkness appearance mechanic working.
  2. Limit player’s control to one character at a time
  3. Get some of the other character’s abilities implemented.

Well, that about wraps things up for this week. There are a few official Game Maker tutorials that I think will help with the development of FTD, but I am open to suggestions and tutorials on Youtube/Vimeo/etc. If you see a tutorial that you think will help, by all means, send it my way! It will be appreciated. USCF over and out.

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Announcing New Game Dev Project!

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I did it! I finally did it. I decided to pay the $100. Now I’m a proud owner of Game Maker Studio and I feel awesome. And also ready to make a game. For now, I’m going to call this game Fight the Darkness, because until something novel comes along, it’s the title that I have stuck in my head and I can’t get anything else to stick. The idea for this game has been stewing in my head for about three weeks. It all started after I had a strange dream about a labyrinth rendered in Pokemon Gold/Silver style graphics, and about some students trying to outrun a multi-eyed demonic spaghetti noodle.

So what is Fight the Darkness? It is a 2D, top-down roguelike in which the player uses the abilities of their four characters to track down and eliminate the Darkness, without getting eliminated themselves. These four characters include:

  • The Rock- Is able to break down obstacles and bust open locked doors, but moves slower than the other characters. If he is caught in the same room as the Darkness along with another character, the player can choose to sacrifice the Rock to save the other characters in the room.
  • The Runner– The fastest moving of all the characters. The Runner can also pick up and carry another character, but for a limited amount of time. Afterwards he will be tired for a few seconds and will need to regain his strength.
  • The Peace– Has the ability to stop time temporarily. Moves at a normal rate.
  • The Light– The only character with the ability to defeat the Darkness. The Light has a slightly larger radius of light around them as well. Moves at a normal rate.

In order to win a level, the player must have the Light occupy the same room as the Darkness. The lose condition is if the Rock, the Runner, and the Peace are absorbed by the Darkness before the Light occupies the same room as the Darkness. The Rock, the Runner, and the Peace can be absorbed by the Darkness if they are in the same room as the Darkness (without the Light present), or if any of them are in a hallway when the Darkness appears. Below is an example of the win condition, because the Light is in the same room as the Darkness.

FTDdiagram5

Levels are comprised of hallways and rooms, shrouded in black. At the start of each level, the four characters spawn in random areas, and a timer begins to count down. Each character has a radius of light around them, revealing area as the player moves them.

FTDdiagram2

The player can toggle between characters to move them appropriately. It is advantageous for the player to discover as much as the map as they can, because revealing more rooms gives the player more places to store their characters when the Darkness appears, and more opportunities to find the Darkness.

FTDdiagram6

After the Darkness appears in a room, that room is destroyed, along with any non-Light characters within it. Then the Darkness disappears, and the timer resets. This mechanic repeats until the Darkness is destroyed, or all characters are eliminated.

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When discovered, rooms display two very important types of information: a fraction and a glyph. The fraction represents how many people can fit into a room at a time. For example, a room bearing 0/1 can fit one person at a time, 0/2 two people, etc. The glyph represents the likelihood the Darkness will appear in a room. Ten glyphs represent the likelihood the Darkness will appear in a room, but it will be up to the player to pay attention to environmental hints as to what chance each glyph represents. How those environmental hints will manifest I’m not sure of yet, but it is something that I am currently mulling over.

Creating this game will be a challenge for me, especially since I have only produced games in groups, but I believe it is necessary to my advancement as a game designer. If the game becomes refined enough and I believe it has a decent amount of “fun” to it, I might consider submitting it to Steam, or the Google Play store.

Game development is a journey, and like all sojourns, it is best shared. I welcome comments and input about my projects, or if you have a Game Maker resource you’d like to share with me, by all means send me a link to it! I appreciate everyone who has been reading this blog, and I hope you all look forward to future posts about Fight the Darkness and other projects of mine. Till next time, USCF signing out.

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