Dec 202016
 

We’re exiting the third week of December and with it a new artifact list has been made and followed, the boys have also thrown out almost every single asset store pack related to code and systems that they had bought and are starting fresh.

So far things are going much better and despite the more or less complete restart of the project code-wise, they’re already further along than after a year of trying to get the asset packs working.


J Luckily, the game is mainly graphics heavy, and everything done along those lines is still useful, but that’s not what you’re interested in, here are the new assets that I’ve made this week. Let’s just say that #OneHourGamedev has been more like 8 or more hours most days!

I started off with reworking the Counter so that it can more easily be upgraded, on display here is the third tire Counter.
After staring at my scene for a bit, wondering why everything looked terrible, I looked over my import export settings from Substance and changed all of my normals to OpenGL, imagine the normal blend an mix nodes outputs when the bake was OpenGL and the graphs were not. Makes you shudder doesn’t it?

I also worked on an incredibly silly digital asset, which in the end just turned out a simple static mesh.

In the second image from the top you can see the final result of a semi-advanced Houdini cloth simulation for paper pile creation, in the image above is the final non-optimized mesh.

As this was my first time using cloth systems, it took a few hours to figure out, especially difficult was getting rid of the insane flipping the thin paper meshes produced.

My conclusion is this, while it was fun to get into something new, there are better ways of doing this manually, on the other hand, I’m quite happy with the final result so I’ll probably look deeper into the cloth system when I’ve got the time!

I won’t post a more high resolution image than this, cause it’s a trade secret, or rather, knowing everything in advance would make playing the game rather boring. Anyway, almost all of the 14th went to writing things related to design and writing it down in the design document.

Starting to work on some tileable PRB textures using Substance Designer, still got some ways to go but I feel like I’m slowly getting there!

Got the lectern done as well, this one, like the counter is also a Tire 3 upgrade, wouldn’t want to show the shop off at the lowest level now would we?

Here are a few simple books which can be automatically placed along a curve using the Houdini Engine, placing these manually would take a few minutes, now I can do it in seconds!

A lectern without a book to write down your transactions wouldn’t be very useful, here’s your new receipts book! Also made in Substance Designer, I think it turned out quite nicely, in the future we’ll have a shader to allow your player character to write down things line by line!

 


K How trying to save time caused us to waste time. That’s the title for this past months working on this great game.

So what’s the issue then; well, the packs we bought are great in a way but often they try and do too much making fitting them in with the rest of the systems way too difficult. We had an animation controller that also had its own inventory system.

This inventory system wasn’t good enough and made it difficult to fit into our other bigger, better and bought inventory system that was also working on adding a quest system, which wasn’t going to work with our quest system. It all adds up and soon enough you’ve forced all the systems with duct tape to play a long without actually liking each other and adding a new system just gets increasingly difficult.

What we decided to do is slope all those bought systems, and sure some we will (might) use later on but after a much more thorough look on it because some things are just easier to do yourself and never ever will I again forget the design principle of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

After ripping out all that junk, all that junk inside our trunk (do you get the joke here? some nice programmer humor for you) I started with building a very small base for our inventory system. It will grow in a steady pace.

I also started working on a nicer GUI for the shop inventory, being only a two person team we decided to spend some money on the graphical assets of the GUI making it look good since we just don’t have the time for it right now.

WIP Shop Inventory

Progress of the Shop Inventory GUI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


If you like this post, then please consider retweeting it or sharing it on Facebook!

 Tagged with: , ,
Nov 292016
 

surprise_villain_01Bet that was your face when you saw my new eyebrows!

I’ve heard I’ll be getting a tongue and some shiny new teeth as well, but not yet… Not a priority they say…

 


J What a week and weekend! Black Friday really was a great one this year, allowing me to buy, among other things, the Substance Suite.

But I get ahead of myself, let’s start with week 37 which I dedicated to scripting new rigging tools for myself in Python. Since sharing is caring I extended one of them until it was user friendly enough for anyone to use.

It is a very simple script that allows for easy skinned joints selection based upon your own naming conventions. It’s the first in a range of free scripts I’ll be making available via my new Gumroad, so check it out!

Let’s move on to some art, here’s the first edition of Lech’s new texture, completely generated inside of Substance Designer with procedural eyebrows.

nov26th_lechsubstanceeyebrows

nov28th_newtexture

Comparison between new and old.

In the end however, I wasn’t happy with the look of this newly generated texture, I felt it took some of Lech’s personality away, at the very least, it changed it, also, the eyebrows were difficult to control and looked a bit too realistic for my taste.

What happened next, you wouldn’t believe! I split the graphs… Let’s start with the most important part, the skin generator, it simply takes inputs in the form of the textures generated from the high poly and outputs three textures. Albedo, Normal and Rest (R: AO G: Metalness B: Smoothness A: Emissive).

nov28th_skingraph

Skin graph click me!

A final note on the above graph for the people interested in the “FaceTemperatureHue” frame to the left, it’s simply a lot of shapes that create a pattern of red, yellow and blue based upon the science of face color areas. Look it up, it really does add a lot of (make sure it’s VERY subtle) interest to the face, which, when it’s half of your character’s body, is very important!

nov27th_faceareashue

Next up is the eyebrow generator, which is a separate graph that can generate pretty much any kind of eyebrow I can image, it’s a bit clunky and when I start working on a mustache/beard generator I’m going to have to go about it more cleverly. As Neofur was also on Black Friday I’m planning on using the outputs from these to generate a separate texture for the inputs that Neofur needs as well.

nov28th_eyebrowgraph

Eyebrow graph click me!

Arguably more important than the graph itself is the parameters, here they are in all of their glory, rotating hairs, changing colors, moving, scaling and warping, what else could you need?

nov28th_browgraph

Here are three different brows that I’ve generated, once I’ve made the beard and mustache generator I’m probably going to recreate this one as well so I’m counting these as a low priority WIP for now.

nov28th_brows

Finally we come to this, the least impressive looking graph, it simply takes the bakes textures and inputs them into the skin graph, takes the skin output and blends it together with the eyebrow generator, in the case of Lech I’ve added some extra nose reddening since that fits in with his backstory.

nov28th_lechgraph

Combine graph click me!

Here are a few steps inside of Unity where I’ve been using the Amplify Shader Editor to put together a custom shader capable of using the textures that Substance Designer has generated for me.

nov28th_finallech

An important part of my workflow is that the UVs of all of our humanoids have the more or less exact same UV-layout, this allows me to use Transform 2D nodes to mask special regions and still know that the graph will work for another character.

Some things are not going to be the exact the same as you may imagine, Lech gets a small nose reddening and someone else may get some work done on a scar, something that is constant is however, lips and the fact that they are never the same size nor do they ever cover the exact same area. This is why there’s an extra, hand authored black and white map to take care of lips and mouth bag.

The final thing I worked on was an Ambrosia substance, not sure about it, why not leave a comment on it on our Facebook page, I’d love to get some input!

nov27th_ambrosia


If you like this post, then please consider retweeting it or sharing it on Facebook!

 Tagged with: ,
Mar 292016
 

Easter week and despite some fever going around, a lot of days off of work!

Before we get to the recap, we’ve got exciting news, we’re now live on IndieDB! Check it out and follow us there for all the latest on Eco Tales!

Now, without further ado, here’s what we’ve done this week.


JDon’t know if you know this, but the 21st of March is actually International Day of Forests! In celebration of it, I created a new tree in, what else, SpeedTree of course!

Happy international day of forests!

Happy international day of forests!

It is ALSO World Poetry Day which we celebrated by using @CrazyMinnov studio’s SALSA.

I’ve also joined a challenge on Artstation, it’s to create a 3D transport, something we will need in Eco, I moved it up the priorities list though, I can do that, I’m the Lead Artist after all!

concept art

Hippo concept art

You can check out the challenge and Eco Tales new Hippo, here, below is a shot of the hippo in Unity with a very simple texture, there’s a lot more to see in the artstation thread which I linked earlier.

I will, of course, also be making a post on the entire Hippo-project once it is complete.

textures 3d coat 3ds max maya

Hippo in engine with test textures

Not a huge deal but while I was looking at the scene I got entirely fed up with the ugly green pants that have been hanging around for about three months, so I turned them into a light leather armor.

Ugly green pants turned into light leather armor

Light leather pants


K

Hello, hope you’re having a great time this eggcellent (see what I did there? It is Easter, a week we celebrate the egg) week.

This upcoming week is Easter and being a teacher I have that week off so I can dedicate that fully to Eco Tales.

Well anyway this week I’ve managed to squeeze in some work but not as much as I’ve wanted to of course so this recap on my part will be short.

I’ve really only done some ground work with the player input and the camera improving it and also some ground systems that really only effect us developers so yeah…. That’s it, no nice pictures, no, no interesting tales no nothing so hopefully I will have more to show you next week but I bet Jonas recap above mine was all the more interesting (I wrote this before him so I haven’t read it yet).

 Tagged with: , , , ,
Mar 212016
 

Two months now, time sure goes by quickly when you’re having fun. Which we are! A lot of nice things have been said about the game since we went live last week.

What is the game really about many have asked and well, we’ll get to that soon!


JSo what have I done this week? Mainly painting swords, but it’s been a busy week at work so I’ve done way less than I wanted to.

Here’s the main villain on Sketchfab!

Looks mad doesn’t he, might be because you haven’t yet liked our Facebook page! So get on over there and like it!

Four low tire swords for sale!

Four low tire swords for sale!

We’re going to need a lot of different weapons and armours for the adventuring part of the game, I’ve had my fun creating these four base swords which we will need when we show off how different sword weights influence your adventurers’ swings!

Next up is the first set of armour and the interior of the shop where you’ll be able to sell these wonderful swords to customers and even friendly adventurers looking for an upgrade.

Alright, phew, so, I’m not really known for my 2D skills but since we want feedback from fellow devs and gamers I’ve got to bite the dust, would you like to see an adventurer you hire in @EcoTalesGame wear something like what I’ve painted below?

Speed concepts

Speed concepts

Here are two variations of a low tire leather armour, one of them complete with a duelling vambrace, the 3D version will most likely look quite different and naturally be a lot more detailed, there’s also a high tire steel armour on display.

While these wouldn’t land me a job as a concept artist I know what to take away form them when I go into 3D, and that is enough, time is a precious commodity after all.

Since we’re on the subject of concept art, the right most one is my first attempt, I spent way more time on it than any of the others, most of that time was spent just rendering each piece, and putting them into layers. I never stopped to consider the change in silhouette or if the design was at all interesting.

photoshop concept

Time waste traps!

Isn’t it lovely, that amount of work and dedication put into each piece of the armour, named layers and a pattern layer not to break what’s underneath… But in all fairness, isn’t it just… Brown? As well as dull design-wise? It barely changes up the silhouette and… It’s brown, I don’t be dissin’ on brown but how about throwing in some blues? Like in the second concept that took a fraction of the time.

Learn from my mistakes young pawans and sithlings, first silhouette, then values (enough to bring out a shape), after that toss in some colour and voila, concept art! Want my number one time saving tip? Well, you’re getting it anyway!

  • Set your brush to 100% opacity with only line thickness based on pressure.
  • Then try to use no more than 3 colours/values to define your concept.
  • You know you can’t make it perfect so you’ll stop as soon as it looks like the design you’ve got brewing inside of your head!

Oh, back to the number four again, including the fit female we now have four body types. These three body types will be what all other human males are built upon, we’d love some feedback on this, different enough or nawwt? There will naturally be more skin tones and different characters will have different faces, but model-wise this is looking to be it!

Three male bodies and one female so far.

Three male bodies and one female so far.


 

K I have managed to spend my entire weekend on Eco Tales, pure joy!

Swordplay

Warrior poses with Butcher Sword

The combat in Eco Tales is physics based meaning that if the weapon actually touches the enemy during and attack there is a good chance some serious damage will be dealt, unless your Kung Fu is weak of course, but remember practise makes perfect.

So one of the things I have done this weekend is prototyping such a system and we now have a beautiful (programmer made) area in which you can try your chances against a dummy trainer.

A game like Eco Tales requires some fine tuned camera work and animations and I believe that is something that will require our attention throughout the complete development time of the game but I believe I got the first system ready for testing and evaluation to see if we need to rethink it all together or go forward with this style.

Well after such a great weekend filled with much work and little sleep I think I deserve a trip to the gym and some housework so I will hopefully hear from you next week for some more great news and progress.

Feb 262016
 

Yesterday I got a question about creating a quick sketch for a new boulevard in the municipality of Stockholm, naturally, having never done anything like it before, I agreed.

For this assignment I was given a 16 hour deadline and decided to use Unity as a tool to build up the area, I started up with a simple SketchUp model and a plan drawing straight out of AutoCAD.

Sketchup Base 3D Model

Base non-UVed boxes

With most things having to be done in post-production, I still wanted to get some nice lighting out of Unity, additionally, having the main textures already applied and corrected according to perspective when entering post would save a bunch of time.

Having used 3Ds Max for. Wow… This month marks my tenth year anniversary of opening the program for the first time, I went with that.

Look at that, my first finished model, isn’t it lovely… Hah, if I had a penny for every time I got bullied by my friends at Uni for it, I would never have had to start working at all. It’s even copyrighted, one of them still uses it as avatar on Steam… But I digress.

Ten year anniversary

Ten year anniversary

Modeling the street, UVing the parts that needed to be textured, the creation of some nice chamfered edges around all small parts of the environment, as well as the placing of most props was done here.

Finished 3Ds Max

Final 3Ds Max model

Next up was textures, the old classical workflow of tiling images from the area specified wouldn’t work for two reasons, it isn’t built and creating textures that way takes a long long time, therefor I decided to go with Substances, I love working those graphs!

Sadly though, while I would’ve loved to get deep deep into Substance Designer to create all textures, I knew there was no time, as such I used Allegorithmic’s Substance Share and merely adapted the graphs for my own specific needs.

Since the final product was to be a still image, I found that floating geometry can be used for things other than normal maps.

Substance Share

Fake it until you make it!

The area was close to a park and I wanted to have trees with a nice correct lighting throughout the leaf crown of every single tree, while this is certainly doable in Photoshop, finding and cleaning images still takes a very very long time.

Instead I risked a gamble, bought a license for SpeedTree and got started.

Roughly 6 hours into the process.

Roughly 6 hours into the process.

SpeedTree is wonderful, I will make sure to write something on it later on when I start using it for hand painted trees in our game, Eco Tales.

Here’s the final Unity3D scene, my screen shoot tool sadly can’t get any of the post processing in on the capture, so I had to forgo it, but with it activated and a few more hours, I’m sure Unity can measure up to Unreal Engine 4 when it comes to visualization projects.

Base picture from Unity

Base scene from Unity

A tip on layers when working on something like this, make sure you name them, doesn’t have to be spelled correctly or well thought out, but trust me, it saves you a lot of head aches, especially if you have to reopen the file again.

Name your layers

Name your layers

This is the final image after 16 hours of work and a lot of back and forth, more work will be done, the trees need to have a species change and there should be more people lulling about.

If you had to guess, what part of the image do you think this image is trying to sell you, which design element is for sale? Tweet me @Gruckel I’d truly love to know if I’ve managed to sell the correct ting here!

Version 3

Version 3 of project Opp

After initial feedback and some back and forth this is the final image we’ll be taking to the client.

Camera moved for final version

Camera moved for final version

The ease with which SpeedTree allowed for quick iteration of the look of the trees as well as species changes has been truly invaluable.

The pattern was moved to where it will actually be placed in real life, most post effects were reusable with slight changes to masking areas.

With the extra hours I also managed to add some post-rendering to the trees and some improved shading on the people.

Another thing which didn’t stick out enough on the original was the seating wall which will run along the entire boardwalk, with people placed there in a seated position this has become way more obvious.

Most interesting of all in a way was the fact that the original seated tables for cafés were switched out based upon how they looked in the last image, creating this image has in a way already payed for it self!

 Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Feb 182016
 

Here we are, the 4th recap week of Eco Tales, time sure does fly, we’ve done some work and had some fun, celebrated an old man turning 30 and two cruises having sadly stolen a lot of our time.

J I’ve been painting a lot lately, trying to get better at it, the progress is slow but steady and, in my own humble opinion, things are starting to look rather good!

A new workflow I’m trying out is creating a simple base in substance designer, it may look something like the following image, a simple tiling pattern that has some random rotation and lightness variation, I generally also add some scale variation.

These variations, at least as far as scale and rotations are concerned are extremely subtle, +/- 1-3% in scale and +/- 1-3°. Giving a range from 0.97 – 1.03 and -3° to 3°  respectively.

Substance base

Starting point

Next up as in case of these cobblestones, I select a base color and using the lightness variations from the base texture, I also alter the hue slightly on each stone.

In this case, the texture is of a seemingly grey material, however, nothing in nature is ever really truly without at least some measure of color. Here each stone has a unique hue at an intensity of about 3-5 on a saturation slider in Photoshop.

As you stare at the texture, I doubt you can tell that some of these has a green base and some a pink one, but that’s not the point.

In this case I’ve also laid out some base lighting. For all of my textures, the light will be coming at an angle similar to if the sun had been up but mostly covered by clouds, since, without a light direction, everything will look dull and washed out.

Cobbles Draft

Cobbles draft

Next up is an almost finished piece, a simple brick texture, next I’ll be adding some mid-range details.

Look at the brick second from the bottom on the right side of the texture, see that dent? This would be a mid-range detail.

After that I’ll be adding some surface details, scratches are a good example of this, but not too much, as these will tile, you don’t want anything which will make that too obvious.

In these the hue variations are even more subtle, ranging from slightly more yellow on brighter tiles and generally slightly more red on the darker ones.

EcoTales Bricks

Bricks at 90% done

This here plank texture on the other hand, I’m calling done, this is a level of graphical fidelity that I can feel proud about. There is room for more mid-range details and most definitely some surface details, but sometimes, very often actually, less is more.

KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid, remember this acronym, it’s true within all walks of life.

Another great tip while we’re on kissing, just say “Hi”, if the interest is there s/he will be more impressed by that, than any variation of ; “Hi, I might not be Fred Flintstone, but I can still make your bed rock.”

Aaand… Back to textures, were I to revisit this in the future, I would probably add some hue variations, writing this, I’m fairly sure I will.

Another very likely case is that I will use these textures as a base for broken and or dirty variations which I will “paint” onto my buildings and environments using vertex colors and a custom shader I’ve written.

Eco Tales Planks

Finalized plank texture

Finally we have something that I like to see in games, decals or big broken parts of otherwise perfect buildings etc, painting it like this, makes sure the breakage looks and fits into the background; see how the unpainted plaster leaks into the crevasses between the bricks? Pretty nice isn’t it?

Now consider that the purple plaster part is transparent and we’ve got a recipe for success!

We could even throw our planks and cobblestones under a nice broken plaster and whop, the house is suddenly unique.

Damage to plaster

Damage to plaster


 

K What can I say, it is that time of the year when students are beginning to care about their grades so I am totally swamped at work which leaves little time for ECO, I have managed to squeeze in a few hours at the expense of my social life but sometimes that is required, ECO deserves it, but I have not much to report I am afraid, hopefully I can squeeze in a few more hours this weekend.

 Tagged with: , ,