Monday, October 29, 2012

More Updates - Paper Samurai, Nordic Sol, Iguana X

Hey guys, sorry it's been so long. Been working on quite a bit of stuff the past week and haven't had a chance to post any progress.

Paper Samurai:
First off, on Paper Samurai I finished off the combat system, got the enemy AI in the ballpark of what we wanted, and placed all the art assets I could into the level. We have some nice graphics from Joe Matison. He gave me the progress bar, slider, countdown text, and some placeholder characters to use until we get animations for the characters. 

Here is the end of the countdown, right before the action starts:

Here are some slashes when the characters meet:

 And finally, here is the conclusion...I lost...

As you can see, we still need some back/foreground assets so we can get rid of my horrendous ground placeholder. The characters are kind of blurry since I had to scale them down. I'll have to talk to the art team to figure out if we want them bigger on the screen, or leave them this small. Either way the art team will have to create the assets at the proper size so they can be crisp.

Nordic Sol:
Over the past couple weeks I've been working on the conversation system, and earlier this week David Fuson gave me some conversations to put in. I've completed the first conversation, a sort of introduction to the tutorial. I added little character portraits t the conversation window to keep track of who's talking. Ryan Hess also got the background put in, and they look great. We still need to get Mauritz(the main character) in and animated, as well as update all the graphics to the pixelated ones.We'll be having a meeting tomorrow where we'll get as many of the assets in as we can, as well as anything else that needs to be done.

Iguana X:
I've been slacking on working on this, but I got a cardboard box done. I'm pretty happy with the texture, though the corrugations are a little more apparent than I would like. There is also some weirdness on the top of the box where a seem is pretty obvious. Anyway, here it is:
Now I'll probably start working on redoing my magazines I made, I'm just not satisfied with them. After that I plan on texturing the magazines as well as texturing the boy's room.

Well, that's all for now! Thanks for checking in!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Few Updates - Paper Samurai, Umbra

Paper Samurai:

I'll start off by talking about Paper Samurai, our second Game Jam idea. We ended up only having two people doing the coding for the game, which uses the HTML5-based engine Construct2 . Since the code(Which consists of setting up events, not any 'real' coding) should be pretty easy, we figured we could handle having two people. Bryan Harlow is tackling the menu system, as well as a character customization system, which he has almost done. I've been working on the combat system and getting it to the specifications of our creative director, Michael Otten. All I have left to put in is the adjusted enemy AI and set up the animations, once I get some actual images I can use. More on that in a second... Also, we are setting it up for touch so it can be played on phones, tablets, etc. The code team is moving pretty fast through the features we want accomplished, I just hope the art team is working hard so we can keep on schedule.

Back to what I was saying about giving team members assets they can work with. I was given an document containing the line drawings of the character for the Jam. I was expecting to get either sprite sheets with animations, or at the very least a cropped image that I could just drop into the engine. While it is not that hard to crop them out of the original document and put them into Construct2, I shouldn't have to do that since I'm helping with the code. That's like a team working on a big game and the the art team giving the programmers 3DS Max files with the assets in them instead of exporting them and importing them into the engine. Then when the programmers open the Max files they find that not only do they have to export the asset, but they also have to unwrap it too. It is each teams job to hand over assets to the other team that are ready to be used by the other team. For instance I wouldn't give the art team a list of events that need to be in the game, in some random order, and expect them to do your job for you. Anyway, enough of my rant...It's just something that's been bothering me for a while now.


Since I was already making a post, I figured I'd throw up the models I made for this week. I did some cliffs that (hopefully) will be able to be used in lots of different areas, as well as some rock clusters. Here they are:

Here is one cliff set with two pretty rectangular cliffs.

Here is the same big cliff with a the smaller one more sloped.

Here is a rock cluster that will probably only be used as ground detail, it is pretty small.

And finally we have a large rock formation with a big slanted rock.

All I have left to do is make a some collision meshes for the big rock formation and do a few more concepts for tonight's class. After this week I should be able to start working on specific assets for our level.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Update - Nordic Sol

Some progress has been made on Nordic Sol since my last post on it. The biggest change I think was changing the art style to reflect that of another time, 8-bit! I think by this time we have all, or close to all, of the art assets converted into this pixelated style. This was decided by the creative director for Nordic Sol, David Fuson. Here is our main character with the new style:

I stole this from Dave Troyer's blog!
A couple of the team members finished up with some of their stuff; Ryan Hess made some good looking backgrounds and  Andrew finished up with the nice bunny animations, and they look spiffy! I set up a conversation system that should make it pretty easy to put in new conversations as we need to. We also have a level layout for the Tutorial Island, so we can start compiling everything. That will be probably be the most labor intensive part of this project, compiling everything. There are a lot of animation sets to put together, and specific events created. Once we get everything organized and figure out who will be putting what in it should go by pretty quickly.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Another Rock Formation - Umbra

Just thought I'd put up a picture of another rock formation I made for class. I don't like this one as much as the first one, but oh well. Here it is:

If I work up enough motivation tomorrow I'll throw up a screenshot of the floating landmasses I've made.

In other news: I started working on the code for our next Game Jam, Paper Samurai, using the Construct2 engine. You play as an origami samurai and you dual other origami samurai. The combat is a simple timing style, you have an object on a line and you have to click when it is close to a mark. There will be three marks, and to determine the winner you have to get a s close to each mark as you can. Whoever is the closest after all three are added up wins the match. So far I have a all of that roughly working. I also have a rudimentary enemy AI woriking, I just need to work on getting the timing sorted out for when they 'click'. Next I'll probably work on setting up the character customization, but we'll see how tomorrow goes and if our creative director for this Jam, Michael Otten, likes the combat code.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Space Wings v.2! - Game Jam!

Well, here it is! I think this is the last version of the game that we'll be doing. It's still missing a few things, but it has almost everything that we wanted in it. Here is a link to the HatJam blog with even more information on what we've been doing.

Some of the things that were added since the last version are: 
  • Added the moonscape in background.
  • Added a  skydome with the stars on it.
  • Switched the health pickup to broccoli.
  • Removed the debug logs.
  • Added Security Cameras.
  • Added Mining area background.
  • Adjusted Boss and Player health.
  • Removed fall damage.
  • Added music.*
  • Changed Force Field switch to touch, instead of use.
  • And, added a pause menu.

I think that is all we added...

While we are done working on it, there were a few things that needed to be worked on. 

First off, the lighting was pretty bad since we kind of slapped the lighting in there so we could see what we were doing. Because of this we have some weird shadows and inconsistent lighting throughout the level.

Secondly we have textures. I'm pretty happy with the textures that made it into the game, but we were missing some pretty important ones...the enemies and the boss bros! Speaking of enemies, we probably should have spent more time trying to get the enemies to only move towards you once you were in view, and somehow make it so if you're firing and the enemies are offscreen, they won't be killed.

And third, we have hardly any sound. Next time we'll need to spend a bit more time on getting the lesser sounds(ambient, enemy, footsteps, etc...) But that is part of the next project.

Overall I think we accomplished what we set out to do. If anything we got a great learning experience out of it. Let us know what you think of it! Here is the link again just in case you overlooked it at the top.

*Note: The background song is called Kalimba by Mr. Scruff. It comes default with Windows.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Rock Formation - Umbra

I don't think I've posted anything that I've actually worked on for school, so here's a rock formation I modeled for tonight's class. I'm on the landscape team with three other guys. We'll be creating the floating landmasses in the game, as well as any rock formations, cliffs, or other things of that nature. We won't have to deal with texturing them, we have a whole team devoted to materials, and they do a great job!

Enough of my ramble, have some rocks:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Post Mortem - Game Jam!

Since the Jam is pretty much over by now, I figured I would write a post mortem summarizing my thoughts on the process and some suggestions for the next one.

**Warning- This is will be a long post. You have been warned!**

Here is a two sentence summary if you don't want to read it all: We set out to make a sidescrolling platformer involving a chicken with a laser gun attached to its chest as the main character. The principles behind it were good, but a lack of communication and disorganization fowled us up!

I guess to start off I'll go through the different steps; Brainstorming, Team Forming, Development, and Compiling.


Review: The brainstorming session for the game jam started out pretty well. We had the idea for everyone to write down two nouns(To decide the main theme/character) and put them into a hat, then everyone write down a game mechanic and put that into a separate hat. By doing this we got some interesting, yet wildly different nouns to try and make a cohesive theme for the game. The first nouns we drew were: Frogs, Chickens, Laser Gun, Trees, Space/Moon, and Generic Genitalia (Which we promptly discarded...) From there we came up with a protagonist of a frog riding a chicken that had a laser gun attached to its chest...pretty thrown together right? The setting we decided on was a moon base, and the trees were converted into broccoli to use as the pickup to replenish health.

After we were done with that hat we started drawing game mechanics from the other one. We pulled: Jumping and Maze/Puzzle. There may have been another (Possibly sidescroller) but I don't quite remember...  Anyway, we came up with a sidescrolling platformer as our game style.

This whole process was pretty cool, and helped us get some ideas that we (probably) wouldn't have come up otherwise. In addition to adding diversity to our brainstorming this also helped with keeping the creative authority dispersed throughout the group as opposed to one person trying to force their view of the game onto the rest of the group. We'll save that for a later game jam.

Suggestions: Overall this method worked pretty well, but there is one minor thing I saw that could have been improved. That would be having a little narrower range on the nouns, or being a little more serious about what nouns we are writing. I know we, as a class, like to have fun and joke around a lot, but we had some pretty ridiculous nouns that weren't really helpful in deciding a theme for the game. Other than that I liked the idea of drawing random ideas from a hat and deciding from there.

Team Forming:

Review: This was the beginning of the disorganization that would plague the rest of the Jam. We loosely broke up into an environment, level design, and a code team. Each team broke up to decide what assets/classes needed. This was pretty chaotic... Each group had a different variation for the game, and there was very little communication between the teams. At one point in the night the level design team asked the coding team a question and the response was, "We have that in the game?" The level design team was mostly responsible for adding new things, but there wasn't very much talking to each other once the initial concept was made. We finally got a list of all the assets and classes that would need to be made and dispersed for the night.

Suggestions: The first thing I would recommend is once everyone has chosen a team that each team decides a team lead. All the team leads can get together and discuss what has been done, what needs to be done, and pass off completed assets to the respective teams. The team leads would also help keep the teams on track and organized. The second thing would be having a more organized meeting for choosing teams and dividing assets. This would help with keeping the view of the game consistent between the groups, as well as providing a better understanding of what each team member will be responsible for.


Review: This was, for me at least, the vaguest part of the Jam. I only knew what two or three people were supposed to be creating. It wasn't until near the end of the development stage, when the blog was started, that I found out that we had assets ready to be implemented. There was very, very little communication within the team. This led to some people not working on anything after the first asset, since they didn't know what else needed to be done. That led to us missing important assets, like the switches, force field, and some of the code. Overall, this step felt the least organized and probably the step that needed the most improvement.

Suggestions: I think just having the team setup from above would help immensely. If we also have a blog setup to track progress, having the team check it somewhat regularly to get an overview of what has been completed, as well as what is still left to be completed.


Review: This was a mess... the major hardship was getting all the assets and putting them into one package. The reason this was difficult was because a lot of references were broken in the code due to the paths being hardcoded in the code. There was also the problem of having missing textures, or unwraps that didn't quite work in UDK. Some of these things kept the game from truly being testable since it would only run in the editor and not in the 'full' game environment. This is also where we found out that we wouldn't be able to implement the HUD due to a lack of knowledge in how the HUDWrapper class works and not being able to figure out a workaround. During this process, we ended up creating some last minute models and classes to get the game to work more like we had originally imagined.

Suggestions: I think this might work better if each team would put the assets they created into the level themselves. That way the people who are more knowledgeable in that area are the ones implementing them, instead of one/two people at the end trying to learn on the fly how to make things work. This was most apparent when the animations were being implemented, and Andrew had to quickly learn how to set up the anim trees and implement them in the level. To facilitate this it would be helpful to have a place where the current build of the game could be accessed by anyone(Or just the team leads) and still be up to date, instead of trying to pass around the level to whoever needs it.


Overall, this project had little to no supervision to help with keeping the different groups organized and compiling a cohesive package. Having a actual team and team lead will probably help with all aspects of the Jam. Also with more communication we'll be able to identify what assets still need to be made, and assign them to people to get them done. With a little more planning I think the next one will go much smoother.

Thank you for sticking around till the end.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Long Awaited Post - Game Jam!

It is finally here!

Thanks to Andrew, we were able to get all the errors preventing the game from running cleared up. I was able to package the game into an executable file. Clicking here will start a download of it. There are still a few little things we need to add: an endgame screen, broccoli health pickups, some sounds perhaps, and possibly some other things I'm forgetting. Oh, we are also missing the textures on all the characters except the main, yea... Other than that everything is mostly how we envisioned.

Anyway, we'll probably have another build out once we wrap those loose ends up. Until then enjoy this one, and don't forget to check out the actual Jam blog! I'll also be posting a post-mortem of the whole game jam process in a day or two going over what I thought about it, as well as some suggestions for the next one.

Thanks for hanging in there guys!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Some Textures! - Iguana X

Here is the tank and stand that I posted the other day with all the textures applied to them.

Now that they are done I can start figuring out what I want to model next for this project. Maybe some clutter for under the bed, or the bed itself, depending on what Andrew (You should check out the picture of the desk/chair/computer he posted for this.) wants to model. Ryan Hess, the creative mind behind this animation, has started on the concepts for the boy and iguana and will be modeling and animating both of them.

On another note: I noticed that if you click on some of the images in my previous posts the color would be way off from the smaller image. I tracked this down to images that I save directly from the 3DS Max render window. From now on I'll save it out through Photoshop, which seems to resolve the issue. Sorry about that guys.

Update - Game Jam!

Well, I think the level is about as good as it's going to get without dumping a lot more time into fixing/figuring out little things. We have just a couple more assets to throw in, but things work more or less like they should. Unfortunately the HUD wasn't implemented, I was having a hard time getting it to work correctly. The menu works though!

I'll have to talk to Dave or Andrew about the game crashing when played in anything but the editor... Hopefully we can get it straightened out so we can actually get this thing into an executable and be done with it.

Anyway, here is a screenshot of the cafeteria area of the map:

And here is the force field barring the way to the cafeteria, as well as the first boss, the Fat Bro:

Thank you for hanging in there with us as we are working through our first Game Jam!