Oct 182016


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.

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Oct 132016


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.

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Oct 052016

sneaky_villain_01Well 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”.

Wip shop inventory

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.

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Sep 282016

Angry_Villain_01I’m a bit worried, soon you will know more about me than ever before… Not today… But soon.

For now though I must say that the guys are in more of a hurry than they’ve ever been, and it seems as if though they’re wasting time on a lot of frivolous things which do not seem appropriate at this point in time!

J Lech is always such a tattletale… It is only semi-true however, I’ve been working on something which I don’t know a lot about, writing a story line.

From time to time I bring out my little brown book and write some thoughts I have on the story.


This week I’ve written some new parts; mainly though I’ve spent time transcribing what I’ve written in the book using celtx.com. Why not have a little sample? As always, if you’ve got any type of feedback, give it to me… Baby.


Oh and if you’re wondering about all of the SEX stuff, those are just constant string variables; OBJECTIVE_SEX will actually turn into him or her, and SEX will be woman or man.

Other than that I’ve been continuing on hair, I’m not very happy with showing this off, and keep in mind it is very VERY WIP! I even wrote that on the image, to make sure no one gets any ideas.


I’m very close to considering creating hairdos using geometry instead, but we will see, I can’t give up on plane based hair just yet.

K We did have a nice little after work time lasting more or less the entire weekend and what ever Lech says it was well deserved but perhaps not that well timed.

Regardless of all the fun we had, I have had some great fun working as well but as usual when it comes to being a programmer there is nothing fun to see, especially since I’m currently in Linköping studying.


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Sep 192016


I’m actually ecstatic today! Why? Well the boys will let you know more, but we’re going to attend our first Game Conference! Why I care you wonder? Well, they are going to be bringing a lot of Mini-mes! 3D Printed ones, which you can paint!

J While a lot of the images this time are rather dull, what they’re leading up to isn’t, Lech spoiled it, but, we’ll be attending GameOn in Vilnius, Lithuania!

gameon hex

First up is the front of our new business card, with an extra spot to write down a personal mail adress should that be needed, what do you think? I like it clean, which means all of KJ had better like it clean!


Next up is a Lech! Ready for print, fresh off of the line with his new pedestal. You may imagine that this is needed for him to stand, but as I created the base model, I did keep balance in mind and behold! Below in Kristers post (I can hardly believe it myself) but Lech is so well balanced that he can stand on his own two feet!



We will be bringing quite a few of these little Lechs, so let’s hope the people at GameOn are feeling the painting mood and that our multiprint setup works!


I’ve also spent the weekend on looking into some more Houdini assets, I can’t get enough of the application, these are for another secret project, which I’ll tell you more about later!


K As our boss Mr Lech Plešec explained we aim to bring as many 3d printed miniatures of him as we can for you to paint on GameOn. Thanks to my day job as a teacher at LBS Stockholm we’ve been able to borrow a wonderful Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer.

I bet you’ve all seen our previous nice prints of Lech, however nice those were, Lech felt that maybe he shouldn’t be naked, especially not when we try to give those away by the billions. That’s why Jona spent some time creating a new model ready for print, same pose but with pants and a shirt on.

Well balanced Lech

Well balanced Lech

There is one slight issue with trying to print a billion small Lech miniatures with only one printer… Time! There isn’t enough of it, one way we tried to decrease the time were by letting the printer print several copies at one, now it doesn’t actually reduce print time but the time I need to be there to remove the old print and start a new one.

Ugly artifacts

Ugly artifacts

As you can see it made some really bad artifacts from when the printer head jumped between the two copies, also in the model itself some of the print layers was done in such a low quality we just couldn’t let it represent our beautiful Lech.

Well we are destined to print the miniatures one by one but we will bring as many as we can, but don’t you worry, we also have a little back up plan if we run out of them.




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Sep 132016


Almost didn’t catch the camera on time, loads of things have happened this week and there are some very exciting things on the horizon for the KJs, you should look at what they’ve been up to, looks interesting.

J Here’s something which most of the little Eco people will be quite happy to see, it won’t however influence Lech in the slightest.

Without wasting any more time, here’s the first hair prototype! Still not 100% sure if planes are the way to go, but sculpting each and every hairdo is going to take too long, and that may have decided this for me.


Above you can see what the hair looks like inside of Maya, not really the most good looking thing I admit, glad I managed to struggle through and get it into Unity, maybe I shouldn’t see this, but out of all the images in my part of the post, this is the most important one, why? Well, read on why don’t you?

Important to note is that all of the three meshes above, left : black alpha mess, mid : loads of planes, right : planes using the vertex normals of a sphere, actually have the exact same geometry.

Most interesting of the above is undoubtedly the model to the right, why have I edited the normals to make it look like that? To know this we have to deepen our understanding of how specular highlights (or in real world terms reflections) travel along a hair “surface”.

I’ll keep this short and sweet; since a hair “surface” in the real world is actually composed of thousands upon thousands of micrometer thin tubes, each of which has its own specular highlight. Any light falling upon this “surface” will be stretched along each strand defining it as an anisotropic or directional dependent light distribution.


Isotropic (uniform) – Anisotropic (directionally dependent)

Don’t take this as the absolute truth, in reality it’s much more complicated, however, this is how we can look at it when creating a shader to visualize hair.

Here’s a video of a test I created for Legends of Aethereus back in the Unity 3.5 Alpha, look at the black hair, that’s what I’ve been babbling about for what must feel like ages!


Here’s the texture that currently drives the hair, two small patches of thick and thinner clumps of hair which have been placed with a few percentages of randomized scale and rotation. R and G controls alpha cutting; B and A controls alpha blending.


Finally we have the in engine result, where I have, for now at least, skipped everything we just talked about. Instead, every hairdo currently undergoes two separate shader passes, the first one, is a double sided alpha cutoff, and the second, an alpha blend to create the thinning at the edges of the do.

Looking at the outline of the hair, you can tell that I’ve made good use of the manipulated normals, using a Fresnel effect to highlight the edges and make it look even more as if it’s a whole rather than a load of separate planes.

I might be back next week with an aniso-shader, however, I’m afraid it’s going to look too photo-real, and that’s not something we’re looking for.


With a lot of hair research, creating and trashing, the only other thing I’ve had time to create was this bush, at the time of creation I thought that the difference in hue and brightness of the different leaves was enough, looking at it with fresh eyes, I realize that this asset will need another hour.

Now I’ve only got one more paragraph until I’m done, if you look at the leaves, could you guess that they were created inside of Substance Designer? Pretty cool, isn’t it?

K We are on a roll, we have some super exciting news that we won’t be sharing just yet.

We have been putting more focus on the shop part of Eco Tales this week and and will continue doing so for  some time now. I’ve started with the customer and shop interaction and more specifically I’ve begun with pathfinding.

In the store the customers will be able to walk around, look at the goods before possibly come to the decision to make a purchase and if you manage your store like a pro you want it to be full of customers and that is why we have pathfinding with local avoidance so the NPCs just wont stand tightly squeezed into a small shop but they will walk around the other customers to get to there point of interest.

Pathfinding with RVO local avoidance

Pathfinding with RVO local avoidance

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Sep 052016

Thinking_Villain_01I see something brewing off in the horizon, they’ve gotten a lot of hours in this week, sadly, I’ve heard, something called “Collab” has made sure that most of those hours have gone to redoing work which has then had to be re-downloaded and redone and… Well, they’re not happy, so I can’t get this grin off of my face.

J Holy handkerchief basket! What a week! I believe there will be enough said about Collab, so I’ll hold my piece.

What then have I done? I’ve redone all of our shaders, there were issues with Roughness not updating in deferred mode, now that issue is no longer around.

I’ve also created cloth and detail versions of our standard PBR shader.

More importantly is the awesome Shop/Building creation tool I’ve been working on in Houdini, it’s going to be amazing once it’s done, I’ve been working on it since Friday morning so it clocks in at around 35 hours as of this first version.


“Oh girl-boy, how exciting, a grey box!” Well, don’t judge a mesh by its vertexes, let’s check it out inside of Unity!


Now that image contains nothing which should be thought of as final, think of it as a pig with some make-up on it! Still, a pretty cool start wouldn’t you say? One of the most annoying things to me at the current moment is the extreme angle of the corners, I really don’t want to have to create a load of extra points in a curve to smoothen them out, manual labor is definitely not the way to go.

Sunday Morning 11AM (Turtles in time anyone?) Using the power of DSL I’ve finally manged to update to the latest Houdini daily build and now, three hours post install, this is what we have.


The difference may not be apparent to someone who hasn’t been working on it for almost a full work-week, however, if you look at the corners, you can see that they are now rounded, something which was barely possible before the update to the PolyBevel node.


I am currently left with only one corner issue, Houdini crashes whenever I try to combine the curve and have the PolyBevel work on my first and end points, to be fair, this isn’t that big of an issue, looking at the above screenshot, I’ve simple placed the first and last point on a straight part of the wall, no need to bevels!

“Straight lines?!” You say. “How?” You say, well, let’s just say I’ll be writing a short post on extending the Houdini Engine using Unity Editor scripts, possibly later in the week.


This is the final image for this week, the smoothing may or may not be a good idea, this amount at least feels a bit much. I’m having a bit of an issue with getting inputs to show up as I create more of them, however, I’m sure that is something we’ll see a fix for in upcoming daily builds!

Now then, let’s end the post with the thing I enjoy the most, VFX and Shaders, here’s a prototype potion shader, I think it’s pretty cool, what do you think? Leave us a message on Facebook!

New potion shader test

Toodles y’all!

K Now I’m not the one that usually falls into the pit of despair but in the current disrepair of of a little tool called Unity Collaborate that is currently in beta I find myself too close to that edge.

Now don’t take me for a fool, I’m very much aware of the meaning of beta but when you put forth a tool so utterly useless in its current form you have to begin questioning the very fabric of reality.

In every step Collaborate turns into a major issue, from downloading an update to committing your work, from files that cannot be moved, updated or just exist at all and the only solution is deleting the project and re-download everything from scratch and then maybe it will work… Maybe. So in all honesty this is more of a pre-release of the alpha.

Now of course these issues never stop us, we are KJ after all so we do get things done, just not at the speed we would like to and soon enough you’ll see what I’ve been up to.

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