I’ve been to my first expo and the boys did an excellent job… Well I expected no less with their experience. They’re currently gathering their thoughts, so check back soon for a more detailed post!
KJ Oh Vilnius, the memories you’ve given us.
A few hours was all it took, a few hours and the science of aeroplanes landed us in the somewhat scary outskirts of Vilnius, Lithuania only to arrive in its beautiful but cold city center in which our lovely hotel was located.
We did to stay in and work a lot but the booze was cheap and the food was good and plentiful, a combination that kept us up way past our bedtime.
The GameOn expo was great, we got some fans and made some friends and (kinda) soon(-ish) you’ll get to know more about what we actually did there!
They better not dirty the wall when they hit it, it needs to look pristine for GameOn or we will lose customers.
Also, it’d better not be green, I don’t like green.
J I’ve been remaking the face geometry of our little Eco characters, it’s taken quite some time but in the end I feel that it has been more than worth it! I’ve also added functionality onto the rig, I’ll be uploading a gif soon but for now, check out these images!
I won’t show everything off, but here are three base emotions, I really hope you can tell which they are, do sent us a tweet at @EcoTalesGame if you can… or can’t! Looking at these now I feel the need for another joint in the middle of the brow area, all of these would look better that way.
Can’t wait to add a tongue and retexture those teeth, here are all of the current emotions active at the same time, with my face GUI overlay active… I’ll be creating a different type of facial GUI later on. It’ll be pushed off to the side and mainly be controlled by sliders and… Well, you’ll see it soon(ish)!
Finally, while Krister has worked all weekend long, I’ve been on a conference with my day-job in Marseille, France, here’s a short video of a meeting I didn’t attend this Sunday!
K Oh wow, the days are just flying by and GameOn weekend is closing in.
So what we are aiming for is to show off some (as much) of the basics in the shop and that is what I’m trying to do while Jona is trying to produce as much cool content he can while also working on his presentation. As the days and weeks are starting to blur in my head it’s difficult to keep track of the progress and I’m not going to cheat and look in past post and just wing it.
I’ve made some improvements to the display cases and that GUI with item preview, they will probably not be entirely complete for GameOn but it basically work good enough for us to show off.
With that we also have the base for a garbage bin where the player will be able to place the items she no longer wants to give room for the finer wares to sell.
Besides that I’ve also included the base of the shop customization GUI or at least a part of it as you will be able to change some of the aesthetics of the shop as well or at least most likely be able to place furniture and other things around.
For this upcoming week we will most likely focus on putting everything together for GameOn and maybe smaller amount of work on the game itself.
If you like this post, then please consider retweeting it or sharing it on Facebook.
They’ve not been doing too bad this week, I think, it’s hard to tell as that Unity something or other system they got access to, sort of murdered the entire project or so I’ve heard, they may have some more thoughts on this.
J Let’s see, well other than losing a rather silly amount of work this weekend, things have been going alright for me.
Let’s start with one of my favorite projects right now, improving the Eco rig and adding geometry to the face region. I do this when there’s time, as, when the first video for GameOn is made, I’d very much like the facial deformations to look a lot better than they do currently.
This is just a single image to show off quite a few hours of modeling and skinning, this could to some sound like terrible timing, however, I really want to get this done before too many characters are skinned.
To the left is the old face geometry and to the right the new one, I’m also looking into fixing the teeth and creating a tongue, but this will have to wait until after GameOn.
I’ve also worked on some merchandise holders, one for clothing, one for swords and then finally one for very valuable swords and other long treasures, we’ll see about third one, but variation is king!
Oh and, if you’re here for the Unity shader node comparison, then this is the post you’re looking for, more info will be coming once I have the time to take a deeper dive into this exciting subject!
K Hello surfer smurfs!
What an intense week, the stress is starting to get to me and I feel a hundred years older but luckily there is just a few weeks more before returning to a more humane work load.
I have continued my work settings up a solid base for the shop, prototyping the interface which will look like crap for a long but function better and better as right now we don’t have a focus on the GUI graphics.
I’m not going to show it of quite yet but I will tell you how we almost… Well not everything because we are smart and we take back ups but at least a few days work.
First off I’m going to thank the project manager of the Unity3D Collaborate project because had a small and somewhat innocent passive aggressive meltdown on twitter in which he replied and then took down the details to have something to work with.
For most projects Collaborate seems to work great but me and Jona have had issues since we first got accepted into the beta program (this is why we do backups but still, we do it regardless of its status).
We have always had issues were Collaborate tells us it cannot move files so every time someone had made commits we had to remove everything and download the entire project from scratch, a total pain but but not painful enough for us to not struggle through it.
What brought us to our knees in tears is during one of these moments when we had to download everything again it decided without us committing it that all scene objects needed to loose its connection to prefabs and/or scripts. All our bases belonged to them.
When me and Jona work together, physically we maximize work and minimize everything else (hence the me feeling old and broken part) so way to late and way to sleep deprived we start fiddling with this in panic mode. His version doesn’t sync, my version doesn’t sync… And for the rest of the night we keep telling old war stories drenching our tears in the finest of liqueurs and bad movies.
When I finally made my way home and collapse in my bed but unable to sleep regardless of my heavy head and drowsy mind I get up to get my backup working, the project on the server is dead. I create a new one, I recreate all the work I’ve lost and then. Finally… I can fall asleep.
Well well well, look at all of those nice images popping up in this post, I must say, I like them a lot, especially the first one.
That old man reminds me of someone, but the hands are much too large, so it couldn’t be…
Grrr… That Krister makes me look like a fool with that obviously Photoshoped gif, I in no way walk like that, nor do I have a twin, but at least… It looks like I’ll be able to earn some money soon.
J I’ve continued with hair, I’ve tried to sculpt some nice hair, used sculpts as a base for planes and by now I’m getting mightily impressed by the folks out there who are creating beautiful game res hair, especially long hairdos.
Up first is a new hair shader for planes along with an updated character shader which takes a map input to change the scalp color according to the applied hair, this will also be used for stubble and beard-area color manipulation.
Next up I’ve created a new character, any likeness to a real world individual is strictly coincidental, but if he was based on a real life person, who do you think that would be?
I’ve also looked into thr Amplify Shader Editor as an alternative to Shader Forge, I’ll do a write up on it next week and while it’s not done yet, you can read the initial report here.
K Look, I have graphics! Even though it is heavily on the WIP side it is still not that bad for a programmer, considering I did it all without help from Jona “the graphics guy”.
Work in progress shop inventory
What I’m basically working for is for the player “that means you” to be able to place your wares on the display case for your customers to evaluate it before making the decision to buy or not to buy.
When it is all done different types of wares will have different types of display cases that bests suits the item in question, a sword for example will stand in a weapon rack while a potion might best be placed on a cushion on a table.
Well I hope to be able to show some more in the future but it’s difficult being a programmer and all. Until then, tuodelo and tudela.
Disclaimer : This post is a constant WIP, I try to keep it updated but I may not always have had the time to look into the latest patch!
First off, there’s a tl;dr at the bottom. Secondly here’s a third look at what I’ve found while using Shader Forge and the Amplify Shader Editor, we’ll start by taking a look at two simple node networks that do the same thing and look at the output code.
Continuing on I’ll write some thoughts and finally a few lines on how I use (both) of these in my Eco Tales : My Item Shop workflow.
Shader File : An SF .shader file contains the actual code for vertex and fragment shaders in three passes for forward rendering; this gives of a file filled to the brim with information, 390 rows to be precise in the case of the forward version found below.
The deferred version adds a deferred pass and weighs in at 538 very interesting lines of code!
Shader File : An ASE .shader file contains a single surface shader, it’s very easy to read and it’s remarkably similar to the way I’d’ve written it by hand had I not used a node editor, very possible to write and the one found below measures in at 68 rows, should you wish to compare, just download both of them.
Shader Forge (as of version 1.29)
The play test : After updating to version 1.29 I’ve yet to get any crashes whilst entering play mode. You will have to make sure you compile the shader before entering into play mode however as it locks into a “Saving…” mode if you have not, this forces you to close the window and reopen it.
Another issue is that, if you “Maximize on Play” and have Shader Forge as a non-floating window, it will auto-shut down forcing you to reopen it.
Usability : The way it’s possible to hold down a letter/number to quickly get to a node is wonderful, holding 1 will allow you to pop a Value node down, holding L will send up a list with all nodes starting with an L, it’s a wonderful system once you’ve learned the shortcuts.
There is a code node currently available, it works well but is cumbersome to work with, sadly as of today that is the only way of getting a “custom node” into Shader Forge.
Final Thoughts : Shader Forge does in many ways feels like a complete package, there are some things which are not optimal but once you get used to them, you’ll be able to manage just fine.
As for if the package is still alive, as of Unity 5.5 there have been some issues reported (I’ve yet to experience these personally), the main huge asset breaking issue was resolved instantly and therefor I’d say that, yes, Shader Forge is still alive. If you’re looking for speedy updates and customizability, you may want to scroll down to Amplify Shader.
With that said, it’s an amazing package and the node part of the interface at the time of writing works better than Amplify Shader’s does.
Is it worth its price? At $90 it’s “expensive” as far as asset packs are concerned, and certainly more expensive than Amplify Shader, in many ways it’s still ahead of Amplify but unless a 2.0 is somewhere around the corner, this may not stay true for long. With that said, I in no way regret the money I spent on Shader Forge, despite now having access to Amplify Shader, I would buy it all over again.
Amplify Shader (as of version 0.2.6_dev01)
The play test : I’ve yet to experience any crashes while using ASE in play mode.
Usability : It’s feeling less and less like a beta. As more and more nodes are added to the asset, things are really looking bright for Amplify Shader, these, of the ones I’ve tried so far, also create really manageable code which is, incredibly easy to read.
However, there are still no real shortcuts that I’ve found, other than N for comments; and using RMB to open a window with a search, containing a lot of, if not cryptic, then less intuitive node names than those found in SF; SF’s hold a letter and select is by far my favorite way to place nodes.
Finding nodes by the string compare doesn’t really work either as a lot of the node names can be rather strangely named, some of these could be named by the community however, and that may be the reason.
Which leads me to the customizability of Amplify Shader, it’s in one word “incredible”. Users can easily code their own nodes which can then be shared with the community, sometimes they’re even added straight into Amplify Shader itself.
Is it worth its price? As of beta 3 it’s $30, that’s a steal, even if the only reason you buy it is to create base shaders to expand upon, it’s worth it.
My workflow on Eco Tales : My Item Shop
A workflow that I’ve found to be rewarding is this, I first, due to the ease of prototyping within Shader Forge create the sample shader here; then, when I feel that the shader is done, I’ll remake it in Amplify Shader, should this not be possible, I’ll keep the Shader Forge shader and then maybe, I’ll be able to create an Amplify Shader version in a few betas.
Next up, the shaders, feel free to download and have a look!
As of right now, I’d go for both, Shader Forge is “expensive”, but working inside of it is fast and intuitive, not to mention that you get the actual code which you could look through and learn a thing or two.
Amplify Shader will surely only get better, and at its current price point, it’s a steal, the shaders are very easy to read and with some work, Amplify has the potential to take the throne from Shader Forge.
Here are a few tutorial-series I’ve made to show off the workflow, so far only Shader Forge is represented below.
If you like this post, or think others may find it useful, then please consider retweeting it or sharing it on Facebook!