Aug 102017
 

So it’s been quite a long time since the last update, but here are some exciting news about me, Ambrosia, your pet Hippo, remember?

 

 


J Due to me having never really gotten as deep into rigging as I’ve wanted, this dev diary has somehow been over 2 months in making! The sad/funny part is that what I’m showing off isn’t even finished…

So what have I been doing over the last two months? Well other than private maters and generally creating some scripts to help me with rigging; rigging is exactly what I have been doing.

Below you will find a lot of images of Ambrosia inside of Maya as I slowly but surely create a rig that even a very meticulous animator would enjoy working on.

Body joints and first IK leg setup | June 5th

First up we’ve got this image of Ambrosia’s body skeleton, may have gone a bit insane with those tail joints, but as long as I end up with somewhere around 100-120 joints including the face, I’m not going to fret over it.

Looking at the front left leg, you can see that it has brown joins rather than purple ones, this is due to an IK-chain having been installed, what an IK or Inverse Kinematic solution allows you to do is to, in this case, move the leg using the foot rather than by bending the knee.

Here you can find a rather more technical explanation without Game of Thrones references for what IK vs FK is.

First pass on facial joints inside of Maya  | June 6th

Next up is the first facial joint pass and with this I landed on 104 joints, a small enough number considering it’s a character with a face setup, however, with too much control, the animations would take a whole lot longer to create and with the relative low resolution of the mesh and the distance she’ll be from the camera, this will more than suffice, it’s not Uncharted 5 after all!

What may be interesting to some who are just getting into rigging, is that the joints seen in the picture above are not the skinned joints (this is actually true for the first image as well) instead this is a second skeleton to which the skinned skeleton has been parent and scale constrained.

Why do this you wonder? Well, one reason is that doing something wrong is less likely to break the entire rig, more importantly however is the fact that this new rig doesn’t have to have the hierarchy needed in a skeleton which is going to end up in a game engine! What this means is that I could for example create a reversed foot, allowing me to animated her fot rolling from her heel rather than from the ankle where the final IK-handle is positioned.

WIP Ambrosia controller setup | July 3rd

Here is a view of the first controller setup, roughly one month after the skeleton was finished, let’s just say I learned a lot during this time and no small part was spent reading books on python and starting my own rigging library.

The legs are the only things actually done in this picture, but they can do pretty much anything you could ever want, including automatic and/or manual squashing and stretching!

I found that creating custom controllers can be quite a pain, especially if you want two curves or more in one, but with some scripts which took… Days to write, I now save a few minutes every time I need a new controller, in a few years I will have made up that time for sure!

Body controllers version 1.0 and facial controls version 0.1 | July 23rd

Twenty days later, minus twelve days of vaycay in Murica and the body rig is finished, this includes a very cool spine controller allowing for some rad squash and stretch action… yo! Look at her, isn’t she cute?

First version of the Ambrosia Substance and facial controls version 0.7 | August 9th

Jump to today, or yesterday as midnight was now more than two hours ago, we’ve got brow, eye, nose and cheek controllers. Exciting! Other than a preemptive turning 30 years ancient party which lasted for 3 days and a 4 day visit to Lion Game Lion in Croatia I’ve ben working on this little girl.

From the last picture to this one, roughly 42 hours of work has been done, the next rig I make will definitely go a lot smoother and faster, those weights are driving me mad, mad I say!

Ambrosia Facial Rig V 0.73

Since moving images are a lot more interesting and well, since I figured you may want some proof that I’ve not just created some splines in a Maya scene, here’s Ambrosia going from upset to happy!

Important to note is that other than opening her mouth, none of the mouth controls have been setup, so look forward to much nicer looking smiles, aimed at you inside of the game!

Perhaps more important still is the fact that this texture is far from done, due to a new UV setup and engine change, I decided to create the new texture using only Substance, so again, look forward to a much cuter Ambrosia in the future!


That’s all for this recap, I’ll do my best to get a new one up faster next time, with that said though, KJ has just started working on its new official project Beneath the Waves, this game will be produced in conjunction with Red Line Games, make sure you check it out!


 

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Jun 042017
 

It’s time for another Dev Diary!

 

This one looks like it could earn me some money, once you start peddling the gods inside of your new store.


JThis week it’s time for something new, an art asset overview video, as I migrate assets from Unity and create new assets for Eco Tales I’ll be creating videos like this to show you all what is happening on the art front.

As for the Dev Diaries. they will also continue, but art will rarely be mentioned inside of those videos.

This time we take a look at some high tier furnishing for your shop as well as some item containers and even some edible items which will be found both in the adventuring mode and inside of the shop mode!

Without further ado, the art asset overview video!

Please let me know your opinion of this format either on the video or on Facebook, I really want to know what you think!


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Jun 012017
 

Hello fellow devs!

Here comes a short post about a video I recently released on how you can setup Volumetric Lighting inside of Unreal Engine 4.16+

First up, the video itself, it in short walks you through the settings you’ll need to change to make Volumetric Lighting possible.

I’ve also thrown in a few things that I found to be fun and interesting, mainly how you can easily setup your materials to create art direct-able areas of fog using particle systems.

 

Here you can download the mask texture found inside of the video, just right click and “Save link as…” Download Volumetric Mask Textures


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May 262017
 
K Hi there, time for a new Unity tutorial.

Now you might remember my old image map tutorial, well I remade it in video for your viewing pleasure.

This is basically usuable for raycasting an object and get the color of the pixel on the texture you hit. This can be used to create a color picker or an image map, where you have a texture with different hot spots.

 

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May 242017
 
K Once again I went to Jönköping Sweden with my students for LBS Game Awards [SV].

It have been a long year with a lot of hard work as usual for my students. Once again that paid off and sure, I’ll take all the credit… But if they ever deserved some it’s now.

Well to start things off we missed two hours of the event due to a broken down bus, missing all the speeches from the jury. But we did get there in time to win some awards.

We won best graphics with Owen’s Rumble and we won best technology and second place for best game with The Adventures of Commander Sid.

Down below you can see a perfectly edited film about our day, so if this game dev business doesn’t pan out I can always work in the movie industri.

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May 202017
 

Oh boy, oh boy! Look at how sparkling my skin is in this new engine the “Unreal Engine”.

Word on the street is that this isn’t even my final form!

 


JHello Eco Tellers or… rather Eco Listeners,
I want to welcome you to a new stage in the life of Eco Tales’, one where it’s gone from being the studio’s main game to a Jona’s favorite side project.

I want to start off with what has been going on behind the scenes and then at the end of the post, I’ll write a bit about what this means for the project and why this has happened.

First up, an image of Lech posing inside of the Unreal Engine, this is the first version of my Eco Skin shader or… I guess they’re called Materials now, that’ll be hard to get used to.

I think it’s a very good start, especially considering that the textures are auto-generated inside of Substance Designer, his eyes do look a bit dull and dead, but he doesn’t have retinas in this version so worry not, Lech will be his old grumpy self soon enough.

I’m going to test Dev videos and see if those are of interest to you all, please leave a comment on the video or on Facebook if you like the thought!

I will also create art asset overviews something I loved to watch when I was a student and Wolfire Games showed off their game Overgrowth.

(In the future I promise better audio and more interesting deep diving videos, a moving image says more than an image which in turn says more than nine THOUSAND words!)

Onto some Q&A.

Why has this happened?
Eco Tales : My Item Shop is a very large project, it’s two games in one and for a budding studio, it’s just too large of a commitment.
(Don’t be sad, I’ve no longer got a working Netflix account so I’ve got all the time in the world!)

What does this mean?
This means that Eco Tales : My Item Shop is now a one man project, but don’t worry about me!
I’ve always dreamed of one day creating a game all by myself; and Eco Tales : My Item Shop has been brewing inside of my grey head goo for almost two decades by now, long story short to me this is just a fun challenge.

What will KJ do now?
I will take the fifth on this one but let’s just say it will be VeRy exciting!


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May 202017
 

This week I (Krister) had the oppertunity as a programming and game development teacher at LBS Stockholm [SV] to visit the Nordic Game Conference. The largest game conference in the north.

My first visit to this conference in sunny Malmö.

Nordic Game Conference 2017

Nordic Game Conference 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic with Unreal was major sponsor of this event and a lot of other great companies including Unity was here as well. To schedule all the talks was no easy task to say the least. With speakers from major companies to some awesome indies showing us their work or teaching us a plethora of subjects.

Testing all the great indie games was beyond awesome and to see how strong this community is during the Nordic Game Awards showing support to each other.

The conference was great and meeting up new developers are always nice. Overall you can’t have a bad time during these events, everything from what you learn during lectures or whom you meet. The only downside is the Swedish prices of alcohol, not like Vilnius and GameOn.

If you understand Swedish and are interested in education you can read my summary from the perspective of a teacher here.


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