Apr 252017
 

Well we’re trying a gif this time since the over all theme of the post is motion, let’s hope it doesn’t free… eeze. Annoying, some kind of stuttering going on I can’t seem t… o be able to keep moving my face.

 


J Here we’ve got the first iteration of a Humanoid root-motion rig driving the movement of Lech, with an overriding generic rig for the facial bones to keep that beautiful face smiling!

Continuing on I’ve created a system for combining meshes in real-time, I say I but google and Simple LOD was of more than a little help!

The characters and animation systems of Eco has as you see been my main focus this week, and after looking through my import settings I found why my feet were slipping around all over the ground.

As you can see, the sliding feet is no longer an issue on the Lech below, additionally you can see one of his feet are planted firmly on a high ledge, the back of his hand is planted on a pole and his face is angled towards the camera.

Other than the sliding feet issue, this is all due to Final IK a powerful and easy to use IK-system which we’ll use to get our little Ecozens to feel more firmly planted in the world, literally, it will also be used to make the characters look at things of interest as well as, pick up and hold items, without having to create tens of new animations and animation overlays.

Looks a bit washed out though doesn’t he? Here’s a preview of the current lighting!


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Feb 242017
 

Some weeks ago we got together with Red Line Games and felt inspired to learn more about game development for Virtual Reality but this time we wanted to work with the Unreal Engine. Guess what we did? That’s right, we sat down for a weekend jam.

After a short brainstorming session we decided upon the idea of the player standing on a few rooftops while fighting of hoards of enemies trying to knock down your buildings, one level at a time. For your aid you can not only jump freely on the rooftops to gry and get to the best vantage point but you also have an array of weapons like a crossbow, different types of boms and can pretty much throw any lose objects as weapons like throwing knives and boulders.

Now this video only exists on Facebook because of reasons but it creates the perfect opportunity to come  visit us or Red Line Games there, so enjoy.


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Feb 032017
 

Waves!

Yes, that was the theme of this years Global Game Jam. The fourth year we’re jammin’ as KJ Interactive and the third year we’re doing it over at LBS Stockholm.

This year however we could not manage our own site at LBS Stockholm as the GGJ organization did not allow minors, it’s unfortunate as we had a lot of very excited teenage students go from full on excitement to sadness. We of course could not let this stop us! The site might not have been officially participating but we were there in spirit. *heroic music plays *

Our programmer Krister, who also works at LBS Stockholm was responsible for the event at the school, and while Jona, our technical art director was full of energy Krister was coping with a severe cold and all of the responsibility of managing the event.

We decided to work with two of the students that is part of Red Line Games and we wanted to try out VR and HTC Vive, a risky move as it was new techknowledgey for us and as Krister was running around putting out fires until late at night the first day, the rest of the team started producing graphics.

Red Line Games doing some testing

Doing some testing

Early the next day we started seeing major issues, the tech did not work as expected and plenty of hours later we had to come to the conclusion that we needed to scale it down, not wasting any time we rushed to have something done until the deadline. A day later and no sleep we just managed to have something we could stand by and we do believe that after all our troubles we came out with something of value as the others really enjoyed playing it.


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Jan 112017
 

Jona is working hard on making me look better, seems something about the lighting is off… Well, I look like this, this week, I wonder what I will look like in the next recap…


J So I’ve been sick as a dog the last two weeks with fever and what have you, but before that and even some time during I’ve been able to stay sentient long enough to create some much needed and some less needed but very cool things!

Starting off with something we really needed, new counters to put smaller items on, these don’t look too interesting but, they actually are, these are generated using my new Houdini counter generator, it’s not a digital asset as that would’ve taken much longer without giving any real advantages.

Instead it builds counters inside of Houdini based upon a curve, these are then exported as FBX-files which get a UV-pass in 3ds Max before moving through my counter Substance.

Since December is in my mind a time for creating quick finished assets within the scope of a single day, I wanted to take this chance to create an eye generator, here’s the first iteration, for this I’ve also created new eyes and a new retina which should look a lot better when PBR is applied.

Here are the new eyes rigged on Lech, there’s something missing, doesn’t look too good without shading does it.

In designer however, it does look a lot better and this should also be a lot closer to what it’ll look like inside of Unity.

Next up, with the eyes so much improved I wanted to go in and create some new teeth as well, here’s the final result.

For the moment I’ve created a new texture set for teeth and eyes, however, since I’m using the same EcoTales PBR shader, I’m probably going to add this into the character’s main texture, that’s the true beauty of Substance, I can just change the UV layout completely, blend the final eyes and teeth on top of the character and bam, done!

By now I’ve made this look a lot better again, but this pre-pre-alpha picture still gives you an idea of where we’re at with the art currently.

With that everything made before Christmas has been posted, Happy Holidays (in retrospect) everyone!


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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Dec 152016
 

I’ve finally been given an improved look, after having been converted into something called PBR och Physically Based Rendering, I now look good in Maya again, since evidently, showing off my splendor inside of Unity for these weekly faces is too much of a bother for our esteemed artist.


J I do really love this part of the year when creating one day assets becomes a main focus, now that won’t always be the case, but let’s see what I’ve managed to do this week.

First up I’ve created a first iteration of the Eco Tales : My Item Shop logo, as you can most likely tell, it’s not something I’ve been employed to do in my days as artist. This was done through the 5th and 6th, during these days I also produced all of the content and new texts for our new website which was finalized on the 7th! But more on that in Krister’s part.

I’ve also started re-creating my shaders inside of the Amplify Shader editor, I’ll update my post on these two packages asap!

I’ve been wanting to get a more painterly look to my substances and with this door I think I’ve finally found a good balance of time vs. result. This does require a few minutes of sculpting in zBrush or Mudbox but I do mean literal minutes including the extra export steps.

Next up we’ve got some curtains, these are going to be customizable, for the middle part that meant just cutting out some geometry to create straight and concave versions, for the sides it’s going to mean some manual work. Working on a new shader for the cloth right now so it should turn our great!

Today I spent… Quite a lot of hours creating this semi-procedural counter, since it’s going to be upgradeable I decided to do it in Houdini, allowing me to change everything I need even after having finalized the asset. It did still need a separate UV-pass but thanks to Substance and ID maps, creating variations will be done in no time. This here btw is a Tire 2 counter!

On the 11th day of Christmas, Jona gave to Eco Tales, a red Sparisoma, faked blue water and some sand on the bottom of a bowl! In PBR Unity time saves you.

Such an incredibly productive week and as I’m writing this, it’s Thursday of week 41, imagine how productive that week has been if this is when I manged to finish this post!


K

Do we have a cause for celebration or what? Well. Yes we do!

You see, making web sites is something I loath but something that needs doing regardless. Therefore I’m extraordinarie happy to have finally completed the work on the new site for Eco Tales: My Item Shop together with Jona.

What we went for this time around was a simpler page doing a better job at explaining and showing of what kind of game Eco Tales will be.

I’m not going to get into details but you should rather jump on over to ecotalesgame.com and have a look, you wont be sorry. But hey, don’t take my word for it, just have a look at this awesome preview, just look at those colors…

Eco Website preview

Eco Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Dec 062016
 

happy_villain_03#OneHourGameDev has started, it’s a very nice concept started which we joined last year, well, we won’t be worse this year, just look at me! My face and eyebrows have been updated by way of substance!

Isn’t technology wonderful?


J I threw the first days of this week into the last post, so if you want some Ambrosia, check it out!

For me the most important thing about this recap is December 1st, this means the start of the one hour game development initiative and while one hour doesn’t sound like a lot, it is if you count it as one additional hour of game dev!

That’s how I’ve chosen to interpret it and this one hour I’m spending on things which will be easy to show off and hopefully started and finished within a single hour!

dec1_substancewindow

First up a window substance, I’m thinking it’s probably too photo-realistic for Eco but some minor tweaking should fix that, just the albedo with a normal map, alpha and no roughness should work well!

dec2_rooftilesubstance

Second is this roof tile substance loosely based upon this tutorial, because, learning from your seniors is the way to go!

dec3_bitvssbsar

Another few hours of work on the roof tiles, most of them spent on trying to make the sbsar work inside of Unity and while the substance can’t be used currently (it looks horrid despite the CPU engine looking good in Substance Designer), I’m still very happy with the ease of bitmap export. I’ve left a post on Allegorithmic’s forum but if you know why, please leave a message on Facebook!

dec3_shadersandroof

Here’s the old texture as compared to my final substance, it will be viewed from the ground so I think this will be more than good enough!

dec4_fourfirstcharacters

I’ve also finally found the Gradient (Dynamic) node, amazing node which allows me to easily change skin colors of the Eco characters. The names are liable to change but for now we’ve got Elvira, Dortmund, Lech and Triarii.


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