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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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


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Nov 162016
 

sneezing_villain01Hold o-o-oatchoonnn…

 

 

 


J Lech didn’t get a chance to say anything this week, and I don’t have that many words for you either, but let’s take a quick look-see at what I’ve been up to.

First up is a new rig for Ambrosia, or rather, the continuation of her rig, I’ve added some fleshy squash and stretch to her legs and I’ve also started to add some more definition to her face, as she’s a hero character that can only ever exist once in a scene, she deserves some more geometry, especially since the humans have already been refined.

nov8th_ambrosiaendoftheworldspecial

Doesn’t look like much, but here’s a quick gif of what we can do now, not that we’d want to.

nov17th_ambrosiarig

More importantly I’ve been working on the facial animations, specifically, I’ve been working on getting them into Unity, if you went to GameOn you’d’ve seen a rather sad preview of Lech talking to this female customer, her mouth open wide, jaw bouncing up and down and Lech’s disturbingly puckered lips.

After a few hours of trying to get the facial animations to work with the humanoid rig setting inside of Unity I switched over to generic, this is going to cause some other issues but after just a few minutes I had my first working animation.

Huzza! Sure, almost, you see, getting the animations to work consistently still wasn’t possible, despite my new exporter script helpers (I love Python!). Enter Maya Game Exporter, I might cover it in a short video in the future, for now, just try it out, it’s amazing. Using the Game Exporter in combination with some basic Python, everything works like a charm, every, single, time!

Here’s a short video on what it could look like (this is not what it’ll sound like though!)

I’ve also updated my post on Shader Forge vs Amplify Shader after the recent 1.29 SF and Beta 2 ASE update.


K So many things I ignored during the pre-GameOn event. But now I’ve had the time for some R&R and to handle most of those things and starting working on smaller fixes to get som functionality into a more stable state. So basically I’ve been all over the code base for some quality assurance.

Next step is either take what we have further to the next step or maybe starting on some dialog, but that sounds a bit early to me, maybe some basic customer behaviors, well it seems the next step is a meeting with Jona.


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Oct 292016
 

drunk_villain_01I’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!


 

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Oct 252016
 

derp_villain_01The boys don’t have time to talk, just come visit us in Vilnius for the GameOn expo!

 

 


KJ

Let’s just agree to disagree Lech, you can’t silence us, you need us!

This week we have focused on making a few things shine, the idea  was to start recording but we had some setbacks on that department, nothing we couldn’t handle but quite stressfull indeed.

We managed to get some awesome videos but you can’t see them yet, and if you don’t come to visit us on GameOn you just have to wait.

Well ok, we can’t leave you all empty handed so here, watch this hilarous video of this weird political dude.


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Oct 182016
 

angry_villain_03

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!

oct13th_newfaciallevels

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.

oct14th_whateveryfeelingatthesametimelookslike

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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