Posts Tagged ‘Ex-Sword-Stential’

It’s that time again!

Posted by
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 11:07 pm

Playandrate*witty, intellectual, vaguely pop-culture oriented comment about playing and rating more Ludum Dare entries*

Hey, everyone! I’ve finally managed to settle in a bit to continue playing your games. I know we had quite the lengthy experience last night, playing a very enjoyable (but lengthy to stream) board game created during Ludum Dare — but we’ll be going back to our regularly-scheduled list now!

I’m going to continue to play in accordance to how people show up in chat via the stream, to give the best personal feedback possible. Just remember that I will be playing all the games on my list regardless, so even if you don’t jump in during a stream, I will continue to play, rate and give feedback to your entry when I’m able to!

Looking forward to seeing you there! :)

Sword_Click_HereDon’t forget to PLAY & RATE the game I worked on: EX-SWORD-STENTIAL CRISIS!

It needs more love.

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What time is it? Time to play and rate some games!

Posted by
Friday, April 24th, 2015 11:24 pm

PlayandrateWalk right in, sit right down, we’re gonna play some real cool games.

Night two and I’ve already got quite a substantial list to work through.

Don’t worry — if you don’t want me to play your game until you’re around, I will keep it on the list until you are! We’re cool about that ’round here.

I also had some curious people watching the stream last night — feel free to pop in and just discuss game development if you wish. It’s totally awesome and completely acceptable to have micro-discussions and the more people other than myself giving feedback , the better. I go over a lot, but I can’t discuss everything! It’s simply not humanly possible. 😀

See you soon!

Sword_Click_HereDon’t forget to play and rate EX-SWORD-STENTIAL CRISIS!

Ex-Sword-Stential Crisis — Day One Development

Posted by
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 12:23 am
Sword_Click_HereCLICK HERE to play EX-SWORD-STENTIAL CRISIS!

So by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, we were all patiently waiting for Daniel to finish up his work on “Rocket Fist” so he could submit it to the contest and we could finally start putting together our game for Ludum Dare. In the meantime, I had already passed the concept art on to Rachel, who started on the base goat model. I’d already started on Rusty and was already thinking about how I was going to put together clumps of grass to be effectively cut.

rusty_swordModeling Rusty was honestly the easiest part of the whole process. 😀

Admittedly, grass is not one of my favorite things to do in 3D. I knew it was going to take me a couple of tries to get the grass exactly how I wanted it. Having grass in a game that has volume and substance to it is not only really rare to see in large quantities (as putting a lot of polygons on grass is super-hella-wasteful in terms of resources), it’s also something that’s generally reserved for large plants, because that’s how the grass generally ends up looking when done in this style.

The overall challenge for creating the grass was to:

  1. Make the clumps of grass visually appealing for the player.
  2. Make the grass look like grass, and not large-leaved plants or bushes.
  3. Have it take up as few polygons as possible. but still have volume.
  4. Create more than one “variation”, including cut versions of the grass.
grass_stuffHere are my 3 finished grasses (cut/whole), the finished bases for the grass (far left) and the scraggly rejects in the front.

It took me a few attempts. I moved up from bunching together separate strands of grass, to forming a clump of thin grass and attempting to deform it, and then moving up to creating a large-leaf plant on purpose, where I then positioned and sized down the leaves to create sensible blades of grass.  I used the soft-selection tool to shape the grass into different forms. I then removed the tops half of the grass to give it a trimmed look.

Daniel then implemented an awesome physics explosion/animation for the cut grass pieces so they’d burst and fall and splay all around when you destroyed a grass clump. It was a fantastic touch, as the sight of all the cut grass on the ground really gives a sense of accomplishment and adds some texture to the otherwise flat-colored ground once the grass stalks disappear.

At this point, Rachel had finished the base goat mesh and passed it off to me to get it ready for rigging. To prevent unwarranted deformations in a mesh when being animated, you absolutely must model your meshes to facilitate movement. You can do this by creating cuts around joints, giving more polygons to places that squash and stretch (knees, shoulders, elbows), and giving fewer polygons to the inside bend of those joints.

goatFinished goat model. You can see where the cuts were made to facilitate squash/stretch around certain joints.

Since we wanted to have two types of creatures instead of just one (to give some visual variety to the environment), a sheep model would also have to be constructed. As I planned to make a new sheep model out of the goat model, we went right to work as Daniel (begrudgingly) started rigging and animating the goat. I deleted some of the body, sized up the existing mesh to form a bulky wool coat, and Rachel reformed the horns to be twisty and twirly.

goat and sheepSheep and goat models side-by-side.

This, by far, is the most effective way to create diversity in your models — like the three R’s: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. The more you can cut back, stylize and re-purpose already existing assets, the easier time you’re going to have completing something a bit more complex. Since Daniel had already rigged the goat (which has the exact same major joint groups in the same spots as the sheep), all he had to do was copy the weights from one model to another and — tada! Two rigged and animated animals, ready for slaught  — er, I mean, observing! :)

And the goat was promptly imported into Unity and given ragdoll physics! The. End.

In my next post, I will talk about making simple textures that look great, creating the overall level/environment and the most interesting job in game development, ever: the chaotic task of placing foliage.

Ex-Sword-Stential Crisis — Day Zero Development

Posted by
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 6:54 am
Sword_Click_HereCLICK HERE to play EX-SWORD-STENTIAL CRISIS!

When the theme was announced on Friday evening, Team Infection’s Daniel Snd and Thiago Adamo (PXLDJ) hurriedly sat down with Rachel Rios and I (Taunia Sabanski) and we immediately had troubles coming up with a simplistic concept that people likely would not have thought of yet. After ditching an overly-ambitious idea about WW2 and bird poop, we ultimately resorted back to one of the first concepts that were pitched: “You are the weapon.”

At this point, I expressed extreme frustration at how most people seemed to be falling into the trap of handling the concept of “An Unconventional Weapon”. With this sort of theme, most people were focusing on what their weapon was going to be, rather than how the weapon would function in terms of play and fun-factor. Instead of going from game play concept to weapon, people were going from weapon to game play — I wanted to be extremely adamant about not falling into that trap. Game play and fun-factor would always come first — the weapon design would then follow.

As we began pondering exactly how to implement the sort of game play we wanted, Daniel started messing around with Unity. It was then that he made a simple sword shape, enabled movement on the sword shape, and began laughing.

He then sent us this.

The collective shouting of “THIS IS PERFECT!!”, “OH MY GOD YES!” and “LET’S DO THIS.” could likely be heard from orbit.

The concept of the game simply fell into place after this. Naturally, it was decided that the sword should cut grass. Now, not wanting this to be “Lawn Maintenance Simulator 2015”, we decided that this would be an unconventional sword — an enchanted sword, with a face, a name and a personality. A pacifist sword, that disliked killing things.

Our sword was then named Rusty, and given real googly eyes.

Why googly eyes? Because we could.

At this point, we were pretty pleased with ourselves, but we couldn’t start work on the game yet. Unbeknownst to most, there was another game that needed to be finished and submitted to another contest (Daniel Snd’s “Rocket Fist”) on Saturday evening that was monopolizing Daniel’s (and Thiago’s) time. I helped where I could, but our Ludum Dare development was tied up until the submission deadline for “Rocket Fist” wooshed past.

In the meantime, I worked on some concept art, as I knew Rachel Rios needed solid references to assist in creating 3D models. I also decided this would be the best way to solidify our color palette, stylize the graphics and map out exactly what we needed in terms of “loose” assets.

 Swordguy
Here’s Rusty.

I had initially wanted to give Rusty hand-drawn/animated eyes, a mouth and eyebrows. I’d also wanted to position them on the blade of the sword. I realize now that you likely would not have been able to see the eyes. I wanted the hilt to look like the collar of a shirt, and be representative of his body, but with how the googly eyes got placed, the hilt still looks like the collar of a shirt — but the blue jewel and blade look like a giant tie. So, you end up cutting grass with his tie. Which is awesome.

Animals

Here is the concept art/3D reference and color palette for the animals.

As you can see, we also planned on having chickens, but simply ran out of time. The method behind the madness of having goats and sheep is that we could use one rig and one set of animations for both, as well as use a modified goat mesh for a sheep mesh. With minimal alteration, we could have two animal types meandering around instead of just one. I’m fairly sure that if we had chickens, they’d also ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO lay eggs. There is simply no working around that.

Environment

Environment concept art/3D reference and color palette.

As you can see, the trees also didn’t make it past the cut. Simply not enough time. Also, we had planned to have a “sword in the stone”-esque platform to act as a “start and/or end level” — this also didn’t make the cut, though it was simply superfluous to have it in the first place. We wanted everything realistically destructible to be destructible. We wanted sign posts to become chopped up, and trees to leave stumps when hit multiple times. We had also planned destructible fences. Again, all superfluous.

I’m starting to really realize that all my years experience scaling down and scaling down and scaling down projects has really been worth its weight in time and effort. It really is something you need to learn to do — simply, how to strip projects down, realize what you don’t need, get rid of it as quick as you can and implement what you do have to its utmost potential. Figure out what can be re-used, reconfigured or most easily created, and prioritize accordingly.

More on that in my next post. :)

 

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