Hello everyone! Week 6 has now passed and things are getting closer and closer to getting finished for the GGC.
I’m going to talk a little about what I’ve been doing this week, and that’s animation of the main character. I had animated the rough animations for the character a week or so before this one, but those were placeholders, and needed to get changed or polished. So this week was only polishing and creating new animations that were needed for the character.
So let’s talk about the running animation of the character, undoubtedly the one animation I put the most work into.
The main character is a child that has wings instead of arms, and hides them under his/her poncho, not using them except for flying. This was troublesome throughout the whole process of animating since I have no idea how a character moves without arms, since there are a lot of things to consider, these being balance and general movement.
When animating, one usually want to exaggerate movements in order to make the characters intentions clear and easy to read. This of course depends on what kind of game you make. A super realistic game most likely won’t exaggerate their movements all too much, since they want to keep it as close to real life as possible. While in a cartoon game, an example could be that arms stretch back and forth and move in a unrealistic way.
Speaking of arms, they are important in movement to make something feel like it’s in motion. The arms help counterweight the rest of the body when we move, hence why we usually move our arms automatically when moving around. So for this animation, I had to imagine a person running without arms, as well as trying to exaggerate this movement.
I ended up running around our office, looking like a confused bird while desperately trying to figure out how the heck you move without arms. The result was that it’s very awkward to someone that’s not used to it.
I started making the roughs for the animations, which is easy enough. It all comes down to placing key frames on the “extreme” poses that the character will make, in this case; when the character lands the feet on the ground.
After that, it’s about placing more frames in between the main frames in order to get some proper movement, much like the GIF image below.
After that comes fleshing it out, which is essentially putting more and more frames in between the ones you have until you get fluid motions, adding movement to the torso, hips and head. No arms in this case… no arms.. yeah.
Anyways, once I had an iteration of the animation I was happy with, I could start polishing the animation. The GIF below is the iteration I went and polished.
Now I had the main animation done, had the footslides gone and managed to get a pleasant swing on his/her body when running. Now I could polish it. This step is pretty much the same, put in more frames, alter them so that is looks and flows better. I had a problem now though, the character had a stutter when the loop closed. This was caused by the first frame and the last being the very same, something you usually want when making a cycle of some kind.
I fixed this by making the last frame similar to the last one but not the same. This ended in a smoother transition on the cycle. I also changed the motions on the body, making the swinging less aggressive and a bit more smooth and subtle. aaaaand that was pretty much what I did with that.
I could go through every single animation that I did, but that would end up in me making an entire essay about the process, which I will do anyways. BUT NOT HERE!
The GGC is coming closer, and nerves are starting to die slowly.
Hello everyone, late post for week five of production… where not a lot of things happened.
So during week 5 I had to work a lot with the presentation for the GGC as well as finishing up the logo for the game. The week before I had made several different iterations of the logo, but with no success. We wanted a logo that would represent our concept of wind. I took the cloudy shape from the earlier iteration and ditched the feathers, since they didn’t really fit into any of the concepts and it was just difficult and tedious to implement them.
Once I finished the last concept and got it accepted by the rest of the group. I handed the concept over to Oscar Mohlin in our group to make a vectorized version of it in illustrator, as well as make changes to make it more clear and easier to read.
The final result looked more cloud-ish and organic than my concept was, and he managed to implement the feathers into the whole thing. T’was a good day. because now I could finally focus on finishing up all the animations for the game.
And that was all that happened during that week, believe it or not. anything that is worth mentioning anyways.
Week 6 coming up soon. The end is drawing close!
Hello everyone! Last week I didn’t have the time or energy to write about what I did and how it went. That’s why this will be a double update of what I did last week and this week! Let’s start shall we?
During week 4 I was working a lot with creating a logo, and most of the week was spent thinking about how to make it look good and still retain the feel of the game… Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far with this. I mostly sat and drew different versions of the logo with little to no idea what I was doing. We also changed name for the project to Clouds Below instead of Exploring wind, so I had to take that into consideration.
These are the different versions I made:
Other than the logo, I made a really fast sketch of a stone door that’s supposed to block the players way until they’ve solved a puzzle.
So during this week. I’ve been working with the presentation for the GGC, making a very rough draft of what I should talk about and how.
Other than that, I’ve started with animations for the character! Since we only have one character in the game, it will be nice to be able to focus these last weeks on the animations and the presentation. So with the animations, I have created early animations for the running and the idle stance. I don’t have any footage of that right now, but will show it in the next blogpost!
Hello everyone and welcome to week three of the project, Exploring Wind.
So this week, I’ve been working a lot with the character after we got told that our current design’s silhouette was a bit too close to a concept we had taken inspiration from. So I took on the task to redesign the poncho that the character is wearing to make sure it gets it’s own, unique look.
I started out with making small thumbnails using only gray scale to make silhouettes of different designs. The less it resembled the original concept we looked at, the better.
The first design of the character had a very round, bell looking poncho, that was one big piece of cloth, much like the original concept. I tried to make the poncho into several different segments and layers, ensuring that I could play around with the silhouette. The design to the far right on the thumbnail picture was the one I decided on in the end, thinking it had a nice feel to it.
After the decision, I simply remade the front view of the character’s poncho into the one in the thumbnail by erasing and adding to the old one, which let me save some time since I didn’t have to redo the whole thing.
After the designing of the hood was over, I could go back to making assets for out 3D artist, This time pipes and the pendulum. not much of the week remained when starting this, so I was thankful I only needed to do the pipes and the pendulum, since they were simple making.
And much more than that I didn’t have time for! Lots and lots of discussions with the character designer took most of the time during the week. But all discussion is good discussion, as long as its relevant to the project 😀
And that’s all I had for this week! Stay awesome and stay tuned for next week’s update!
Hello everyone, it has started, the big game project. Where we have 10 weeks to create a slice of a bigger game concept.
Our game concept is called Exploring Wind, an adventure game where the focus is exploration and puzzle solving, where you can walk around a vast world while progressing through the story. However, since this is far to big to complete in 10 weeks, we are instead creating a vertical slice* of the concept where we focus on getting the mechanics and the feel of the world right. So while not a finished product, people will hopefully somewhat get the idea of what the full game will look and feel like by playing the vertical slice.
*Vertical slice: a vertical slice of a game is much like a demo, where the main mechanics and functions are shown to give the players a general feel of the game.
During the first week of production I’ve been working with conceptual art for the game, making concepts for objects in the world, giving the people in the team ideas of how things could look and so on. I’m gonna show you the once I made this week, and add some comments on them. Have fun!
Various concepts on what the village and island (pillar) would look like.
Concepts of different objects that will be build in 3D and placed in the world.
And that’s all I have to show for now. And this was only the first week of proper production. I will be posting more the coming seven weeks! I hope you enjoyed.
As I was in Japan during the week my classmates played boardgames for the first time, I missed out on making the very first analysis. I have now played and analyzed the game Carcassonne with some help from some friends that were willing to play the game with me. And now, without further ado, the analysis!
I have played the board game called Carcassonne, a strategy based board game where players fight, or cooperate against one another to claim the biggest amount of land. The game consists of big puzzle like pieces that the players use to expand their property. Thanks to this dynamic way of placing random pieces as you go, you will never have a game session that is like the one before it.
When a player begins his/her turn, they start by taking a tile from the draw pile. There is only one way to place the tiles that the players pick up, and that is next to another, existing tile that is of the same terrain type. This makes for some interesting ways to place your tiles, and also gives a lot of variety. When a tile has been placed by a player, they can choose to place a follower on any of the existing terrain as long as it does not interfere with other followers on the same tile or connected to the one you currently want to place a follower on.
Best parts of the game
The feature that stood out and was really great in Carcassonne was the tile system. The tiles make the game different every time you play it, and makes things more interesting and exciting, not knowing what will happen next. When I played the game with my friends, we played a downloadable, virtual version of the actual board game, so instead of physical tiles, we just pointed and clicked wherever we wanted to place the tiles. Playing the virtual version felt great. Even if we lost the whole puzzling, sitting at the table and playing kind of feeling, we still had a blast playing it without any problems or misunderstandings about the rules, since the computer keeps check of those things.
The other thing that was great was how the game makes players interact differently with one another in a blink of an eye. The game encourages team play, and at the same time it wants you to back stab your comrades in order to get the upper hand and take the lead. With these things affecting the game, it makes things a lot more interesting and fun. The early stages of the game, people will try to help one another to get a hold of some land before they start sabotaging for the others to prevent them from gaining enough points to win. This was a lot of fun and just plain good design in my opinion.
The “not so good” parts of the game
I have been thinking a lot about this one. It is very difficult to find something bad with a game when you have had so much fun playing it. I am trying to look at the game from an objective point of view and to give it a fair analysis, and this is what I managed to find: The random element in the game can be a bit frustrating when you need a certain tile the most. Since it is random, you have no control whatsoever on what tile you are going to get next. I had a situation where I had build a giant sized castle, with only one piece needed to close it up. The whole game, I did not manage to close the thing up because I was not lucky enough. This takes some fun out of the game. And while the tile system is super great. Having the choice to save a piece for later would not hurt the player at all. This is the only thing I could think of when it comes to “bad” things about the game. Some of this might just be frustration or something similar, but toning the random elements down a bit might just help a little. This would require a lot of testing however, and I am sure that the creators had the random frustration in mind when creating it.
The Core game
The game consists of different parts depending on how many expansions you have for the game. The base game always comes with tiles and followers however, and is always included in the game no matter which expansions you have.
The game comes with a set of different tiles that are shaped like squares, these tiles have different prints on them, representing several kinds of terrain, among these are:
Rivers (these were the extra tiles included in the expansion that I played with)
Each of these tiles can be fit together with another almost seamlessly, making players able to play the game in a puzzle like manner, where they have to fit the shapes and different terrains efficiently. Among these tiles there are also churches, these however are placed in the center of its tile, and cannot be merged with anything else than a single road.
These are the other objects present in the game aside from the terrain tiles, and work as a resource for player to utilize for points. These have the same colour as the player and you get seven of them initially. The player can place these on any tile to make them amass points depending on where they are placed. When they are placed on different terrains, these switch into another state. There are four different states they can turn into:
Farmer: The followers turn into farmers when placed on open fields, they will give points to the players at the end of the games depending on how many cities are directly connected to the farmers tile or a road connected to a farmer. The farmer is permanent.
Knight: When placed in a city, the follower turns into a knight, who will generate points depending on how many tiles large the city it is placed in is.
Thief: The thief is created when a follower is placed on a road. These will give the player points depending on how many road tiles it is from the position the thief is standing and the towns connected to that town.
Priest: Priests are followers placed on a church tile, giving points depending on how many tiles are directly connected around the church.
The followers are a big part of the strategic thinking the game requires from the players. And since the followers are scarce, one has to be careful with where they are placed. There is not really a “Correct” way to place the followers, it all depends on how lucky you are with your cards and how you can predict future outcomes. There is always a risk placing these followers as the game can change drastically in many ways. Making sure you have a safe city or field are practically free points, but one actually has to find and create these safe locations.
The most interesting system
Playing a few rounds, I got to the conclusion that the city tiles were the most interesting to me. These tiles can be placed if it is connected to a road somehow and will most likely start out very small, but can expand into this giant fortress. Building cities are risky though, because the longer you want to expand it, the bigger the risk of an opponent stealing a part or possibly sabotaging it completely. However, if you do manage to create a huge city, you will haul in a lot of point in one swoop. I found that the best way of building cities is making small ones at the start and creating one city as far away from everything else as possible to avoid possible obstructions for sabotage. Then I would just place followers in each small city that I made, so that I would not be completely destroyed did I not manage to complete the big city.
Looking up the recommended age of the game since I played a virtual version of the actual board game, it says “from ten years and up”. I can agree with this, since the game is fairly simple with no text based knowledge needed to play. All you need to know are the rules which basically are “expand”. The act of placing shapes that look that they fit together is also fitting for a younger audience and is most likely appreciated, and it is a good game to play with family or friends.
The game is designed to be played by two to five players, and with each added player the game changes quite a bit. Since more players are active, more strategic thinking is required and more possibilities are available. Sabotage is also more viable and creating small pacts is an effective move for the early segments of the game. But with more players, more chaos follows. Roads are built everywhere and followers are placed rapidly, this makes placement much more important since you are now competing with more players for land. This is only what I experienced however, but I see it as an interesting element on how the game changes with more players.
Carcassonne is a strategic tile placement game where followers and smart tile placement are the key to victory. It can be played in various ways, going from being very aggressive to being almost completely passive. This dynamic creates a lot of opportunities for cooperation between players and even sabotage and creates a very special game session every time you play it. The game uses a system where people draw tiles on every round, when a tile has been drawn, they can choose to place it or skip their turn. This however is a flawed system in my opinion, since the random element to drawing the tiles can be very frustrating and luck based. There is nothing else that I think is negative however, and it balances very nicely otherwise. The game is fitting for ages of ten and up and can be played by the whole family and/or friends. I do recommend this game strongly.
And that’s my analysis on Carcassonne! until next time. Cheers!
For assignment 3, we were given the task of finding concept art, or making your own to create a 3D model out of. What we did not know however, was that we would make concept trades when everyone had chosen and written a background on our characters.
This was the concept I found and wanted to create, but traded away to Oscar Mohlin, in the link, you’ll find his work on the concept.
The original creator of the concept is called Fightingfailure on DeviantArt.
About the character:
Name: Distant Feather Tawhito
Gender: Male Age: 11, He is very mature for his age however, having a good sense of duty.
Physical health/ attributes/ handicaps: He is a healthy boy with a lot of energy and playfulness. At the same time he is very interested and serious when it comes to his shamanistic duties.
Movement: He runs wherever he goes, his movements are a bit clumsy because of his very big poncho however.
Appearance/ Hygiene: Hito does not care all too much about his appearance, he has his big poncho covering most of his body, a headband to keep his dishevelled hair in place. And two giant feathers that he got as a gift from the great eagles, which are his most prized possessions. Favourite food: Despite being small in size, Hito eats a lot more food than most of the tribesmen, he does really enjoy when he gets vegetable stew with lots of meat in it.
Intelligence: Hito is incredibly eager to learn new things, and is a natural talent at shamanistic magic. And being the youngest shaman-in-training they’ve had in the village, he is very skilled when it comes to communicating with the eagles.
Culture: The tribe that Hito lives with is a peaceful people that respect nature and lives alongside the giant eagles of the green plains. The village folk worship these giant eagles, using shamans to communicate and take care of them. Becoming an Eagle shaman however, takes many years of training in the old arts of magic. History: Hito was brought by an eagle to his tribe when he was a baby, with only a blue orb around his neck on him. The shamans of the tribe saw his green eyes and pale skin as a revelation from the spirits, and took him in as one of their own, teaching him the ways of the shamans. Hito was a natural when it came to focusing and controlling the spiritual powers of nature. He could also at a very young age, talk to the eagles at will. This shocked the shamans, since it usually takes half a lifetime to learn such complicated magic. Religion: He comes from a village that worship giant eagles; Hito himself is the youngest eagle shaman-in-training in the village’s history.
Income: They do not have a currency in the village. They all distribute and share their food, crops and water like a big family.
Education: Hito is studying to become a shaman of the village. Why did he have choose this occupation?
He was raised in the ways of the shaman; it is expected of him to become an eagle shaman of his village. And he is happy to do so. Hobbies: Hito really likes learning new things and exploring the fields with his pet; Breko, hoping to find treasures or ruins to explore. When he is not exploring or learning new things, he sits atop the eagle nest, talking to the great eagles, asking them questions so that he can take part of their wisdom, or he just sits with them cuddling.
Family: The village is his family, with the head shaman being the closest thing to a father he has.
Friends: Hito does not play all too much with the other children of the village, since he has shaman duties and practices. He does have his pet as company most of the time, called Breko.
Inner rhythm: Hito is calm and collected most of the time, thinking carefully about his next moves. He is still a child however, and does get spontaneous from time to time. He also finds himself pondering on where he came from originally, who were his real parents, what kind of village could be found there?
His main goal in life: He wants to become the head shaman one day, making his village proud.
His biggest secret and why: The great eagles once told him that grim times were on its way, an entity that spouts fire wherever it goes, and will turn the great green fields to ash. The eagles told Hito not to tell the others, as it would just cause panic among the villagers. They did tell Hito that he had a part in solving this problem, just that they have to wait a little longer until he was able.
Does anyone else know this secret? Who? Why?
Only the eagles are aware of the incoming threat
About the game:
What platform(s) is it aimed at?
PC, ps3/4 , Xbox one
Who’s your target audience?
People from 14 and up
describing the game world in one paragraph:
The great plains, with grass and trees as long as the eyes can see, with ruins spread out across here and there, architecture from another time long forgotten, a time of great prosper and bustling cities. The world is now silent however, with small tribes spread out across the fields, and giant eagles ruling the skies. And who knows? Maybe the constructs of old are still operational somewhere in the world? This is nothing that the little shamanistic village knows about. But maybe they will soon enough?
Giant feathers x2
This was the written information I made about my character, and gave away to Oscar, so that he could identify who he was, what he did and so on, bringing that into his 3D modeling.
And that’s all I have about Tawhito the eagle shaman.
After we had created crates with different genres in mind, which you can read about in this blog post, we had to choose one of the three boxes we had created and optimize them, preparing to make Uwv maps. The optimization was normally done to your models by other colleagues, so that they could look at the models with fresh eyes and hopefully find the problems with them. This however, was not the case for me, since during that week, I was away at the Tokyo game show in Japan at the time. When I came back from the trip, I was a bit behind schedule with the optimizing, and had to do it on my own. I had no problems with this though, and only had minor optimization problems with the crate I had chosen to continue with, which was the thrash can. The other two models had some problems, especially the treasure chest that I made, it had some serious issues with overlapping surfaces, and was quite the hassle to fix.
After finishing with the optimization for all the models, I had to start with Uwv mapping, one of the things that I thought was really hard at the time, and still have issues with sometimes. Since this object was fairly simple, it wasn’t all too painful to divide the thrash can into smaller bits and make it flatten out. It did take a while though, figuring out how the seams worked etc.
After the Uvw mapping, it was time for the texturing. I did this by putting the uvw map into photoshop, and applying textures that resembled rusty metal and concrete. This was not enough though, since I had to define the dirt on the trashcan and make it look more grimy and dirty. By putting it into Mudbox, I could paint these details directly on top of the model instead of having to do it in photoshop, and I must say, it is very, very nice to be able to do so.
After quite a lot of working with making the dirt and grime look good and in the right places, I could start with the specular map, something that I had not done before at all. I started with making my diffuse map black and white, where the light values would reflect more light and darker values would reflect less. I had a bit of trouble with this since the model was so dirty and dark. What I did was that I put pure white on the spots that had spots of visible metal where the texture had peeled off, and using a airbrush to add some kind of turbulence to the lighting, since the surface of the thrashcan is very bumpy and craggy.
Last bot not least, was the Normal map, This I had to redo several times, due to some problems with making it correctly. The first time around though, I just dropped the specular into Crazybump and made a specular. This caused the surface of the normal become extremely bumpy and just looked awful. I fixed this by actually working around with crazybump for a while and making all the details less extreme on the normal. In the end it worked pretty nicely for being the first time one had worked with such things.
When all the texture work was done, all that needed to be done was to apply everything and throw it into UDK to see how it looked, and I must say that I was pretty happy with the result.
So what did I learn from the first project we had? Quite a lot I must say, I learned a lot about the workflow when working with 3D, how to optimize and how to make textures, specular and normal maps. I also learned how Uwv maps work and how to use them correctly. I actually made a 3D model a long time ago where I made a Uwv, but after this project, I realized how wrong I did everything on that model.
And that’s pretty much what I can tell you about the thrashcan project. Until next time! Cheers.
We got the opportunity to scan our faces by taking photos from different angles and putting them into a program called 123D catch, which glues everything together to create a mesh of your face! I was impressed to see how the program worked and applied all those photos, took the information it needed and created a face on its own, although not perfect. It was super fun to see and to experience. We did this preparing for a class assignment where we tried making face topology on a premade or our own faces.
Starting with the topology was hard to grasp and to apply to the already premade faces, as well as your own. I could not use my own face because it looked like I had run into a truck at high speeds. we started out by simply placing faces manually around the eyes and making sure that there was an equal amount of faces on each side of the eye. The reason they should be equal in faces is so that you can animate them properly, and it helps to make the topology optimal.
It was a lot of picky work, but in the end, it looked pretty good to me. we also made the mouth in the same patterns. One was also supposed to merge from the mouth to eyes in some way, I did not have the time however, since I struggled with my own face in the beginning.
We did go through some pictures during the lecture, showing how the topology is very similar on almost anything you can encounter in the 3D world. Any creatures face has a similar topology, if I got everything right.
Having the lecture was super useful to have, since we could use it for the upcoming character modeling assignments and I must say. If we didn’t have this lecture at all, the making of the face of my character would have taken ages and ages to complete, and heck if even would get it right to begin with!
On the picture above you can see what I made with the time we spent on making the face topology. I only got so far sadly, since I struggled quite a lot getting my own face appear on screen… and you can see how that went. Starting with the minor topology on the very inner parts of the eye was hard to get right the first time. I even had to remake the whole eye once because I managed to fluke the symmetry up. The mouth was not as tedious as the eye, and went quite quick to finish up. what was annoying with the mouth was the fact that I had too count all the time! so many faces to count over and over again to make sure you actually had an even amount.
And that’s what I have to say about that lecture, it sure was great! Until next time. Cheers!