Saturday, April 26, 2014

Character Milestone: Textures & Materials

Here's my very first 3D character all textured and mostly finished. This is what I submitted for my "final" on the project, I'll probably go back and make a few adjustments based on critiques I received but I wanted to post this milestone as technically this was the "end" of the character creation project. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out for the most part, and I'm excited to improve my character skills in the future. 

For this phase of the project we retopologized our models down to roughly 25k. The textures were created with a combination of Photoshop and painting in 3D coat. Normals were done completely in 3D coat. Material creation was done in UDK.

Here are some links if you want to check out my process on this character!

History Of Game Art and Design: Analysis of Half Life 2

I posted a group presentation I took part in for History of Game Art a few weeks back. Groups of 4-6 people picked a game and were assigned to make a presentation and 10 page paper analyzing that game. My group chose Half Life 2. The topics we had to analyze were: Story, mechanics, defining the game using terminology, gender issues, visual aesthetics, influences on the game, and popular media at the time of the game's release. My role in these projects included designing the slides and overall look of the powerpoint presentation, analyzing the terminology, symbolism, visuals, and organizing and editing the paper. 

I learned a lot from analyzing Half Life 2. I was impressed by how well thought out and meticulously planned the Half Life series is. I had no idea how revolutionary the Half Life series was in terms of story and technology at the time.

Here's my group's final paper!

Friday, April 18, 2014

PyMel in Maya

In programming we've been learning python and MEL scripting in Maya. The tutorials have been kind of rough, but it gets easier as you go along. We're supposed to be thinking of ways to make our lives easier in Maya basically. Programming for functionality. Today we're generating 10 ideas for creating our own scripts. here are mine:

  1. A button that toggles discrete rotation, but also has an input in which you can set a specific degree of rotation. This is useful because when you go to use the discrete rotation tool you can pre-set the degree you want the tool to rotate and then continue using the tool with that degree of rotation without having to type anything in the channel box.
  2. A button that generates a certain number of a specific material (Like a lambert, blinn, etc) with different colors. This is useful when you're trying to quickly separate materials when preparing for import in UDK. 
  3. Another option would be to right click on the model and instead of "assign existing material" You would have a button to "Generate random material and assign.
  4. 3. A tool that splits an object down the middle of an axis and separates the parts automatically. This is useful because doing this process manually usually takes a lot of clicks. 
  5. A script that recognizes when UVs are overlapping and automatically moves them apart. This could be useful both as an organizational tool and for light mapping specifically. 
  6. A script that gives you the option to import a an object directly into a layer.
  7. A script that automatically clears your history after a certain amount of time.
  8. A script that detects when two faces are on top of each other in an object and highlights the area and puts out a text warning on screen.
  9. A script that after importing a mesh checks to see if there is already a mesh on the world origin, and if so, moves the first object away from the second. 
  10. A script that allows you to select an object, and when doing so basically isolates that selection so that all the other objects are still visible but are not editable. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Attract Trailer Research

The gameplay trailer for the next gen racing game "The Crew" stands out to me for a few reasons. Firstly, it carries you through the environment along with the action, and doesn't separate the two. Secondly, the camera moves are kind of strange and really interesting and have their own action packed choreography that rivals that of the cars. I love how the camera's movements are moving in opposition to the cars. Thirdly, it subtly incorporates the games features and showcases a few different locations in a pretty seamless way.  Additionally, the shaky cam adds to the action and gives a feeling that you're there racing along with the cars. 

I find it to be a really successful trailer and may actually try to adapt some of the camera moves to my own.

Mars Attacks obviously isn't a racing game, but given my level's theme I'm pretty inspired by the trailer so I thought I'd just throw it up here for fun.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

RC Milestone & Best of Ringling

So here are some shots of my level at the RC Milestone. RC stands for "Release candidate" which means the game is ready to release unless significant bugs are still an issue. The art, code, mechanics, etc. should all be totally finished at this stage. 

And this level actually got into Best Of Ringling! This means that my level was featured at the Selby Gallery on campus for accepted students day and the Best of Ringling Event. Only one other person in my class got in, and only around 9-10 total Game Art and Design sophomores from all classes were chosen for their racing levels.I was pretty excited when I found out, but bug-testing the day of the show was super stressful.

Friday, April 4, 2014

HUD research and Prototype

For programming this week we're focusing on creating the HUD display that will show in our levels. We're supposed to draw reference from the kind of car we made and combine that with something that will fit into our racing level.

Based on my inspiration I came up with this.
The lightSpeed indicates when a player boosts or is boosted.
It's very simple but I don't really want too much to distract the player from the level.

And here's the HUD with no Background.

And here's my inspiration process! (This might seem a little out of order because I wrote this section of the blog before creating my HUD)

My car is a 1969 Camaro. There's really not much exciting about the gauges and interiors of 1969 camaros, unless they're modded. Here are some standard and modded 1969 Camaro instrument panels and interiors

Not super exciting, but something old-school and basic might actually be good for my pinball themed level. If I wanted to make my HUD a little more exciting though I could always go for something a bit more inspired by modern Camaros. The "hologram" hud IS pretty cool and could potentially match with the neon lights of my level. 

To be honest, I'm more interested in matching my HUD up to my level than my car. My level has a lot of bright reds, blues, oranges, and accents of silver, so picking a color to stand out from that may be a challenge. In my level I recently designed the beginnings of what will be the "booster" in my game, (Soon it will be a particle system or animation and not just a static element) but I like the way it looks and I think it would make my hud pop. I also think this style matches the kind of cheesy alien invasion pinball retro thing I'm going for in the level. 

 (Beginnings of my boost) 

Here's some visuals that I think reflect the old school alien invasion thing. I think I'm definitely going to be stealing the yellow/red scheme with some silver accents. as shown in these 1950s horror movie posters.

And here's a REAL instrument panel with that color scheme: