May 122016
 

Hello everyone especially all of you students from Uppsala University, hope you enjoyed our little talks, I sure did.

Today we’ll be looking at creating a super simple shader which will make grass, or any object for that matter, maybe a flag or tree branches, flow in the wind, based upon a vertex paint and a single scalar value.

At the bottom of the post you will find a .rar file with a mobile (unlit) and a PBR version of the shader, ready to open inside of Shader Forge.

First up, a semi-short video where we look at vertex painting in Maya, 3Ds Max and Blender.

In part two we create the shader inside of Shader Forge.

Or if you’re in a hurry, here are the actual Grass Shaders!

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May 032016
 

eco tales sick of you villain

Recap 14 and you’re back? Guess the boys are more interesting to you than they are to me.

What they’ve been up to this week? Well Jona found 3ds Max 2017 and started boasting about knowing how the new UV mapping system works.


JOur Lech sure is a ray of sunshine, bet you can’t wait to meet him in game!
So what have I been up to? Well first of I’ve created this tutorial for the new 3Ds Max 2017 UV-mapping features.

It’s become quite popular as far as tutorials go, so why mention this here? It’s actually a part of our new marketing scheme, pushing out free amazing (we hope) tutorials which all reference Eco Tales in some way.

In this one it’s Lech himself being peeled by the new UVW scalpel, additionally there’s an ever present link to the blog, and once every so often I talk a little about Eco and tell people where to look for it.

In 72 hours it’s been viewed 750 times but there has not been any noticeable increase in traffic to any of our social media channels.

I also made this for Krister, I hope we’ll be able to show more of what this is soon!

EcoMay1st


Khas declined comment this week, I think what he did to my gcode has something to do with it.

FirstPrint

Krister’s print.

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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!

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Dec 152015
 

Wow! The weeks sure pass by in a jiffy when you’re having fun, and by fun I mean devving!

So far at least one hour per day with some days being closer to eight and most at around five to six hours.

December 14th

J Despite my fever haze I managed to read up on advanced facial rigging and create/steal some nice scripts. These will increase the speed of future rigs, super exciting!

I know that I, in the end, will be creating a lot of morph targets to bring the characters to life in game. To avoid a lot of work, I’m going to expand my facial rig to the level of a last gen AAA character. Create all animations for one character then using a hopefully, relatively simple retargeting system, to fit the same animations to all other characters.

Wish me luck… This is unexplored territory for me.

PyMel Python MEL scripts for rigging

PyMel, Python and MEL scripts for rigging


K During the days I work as a teacher, I teach game developemt at LBS Stockholm in Stockholm (surprise surprise) and this week is the last week before all the students leave for their holiday break, needless to say there is a lot on my schedule right now. Enough with the excuses, I managed to scramble together some time and researched some tools that might cmoe handy later in the development, biggest concern right now is how to handle the procedural dungeons, roll my own solution or buy one?

December 15th

J You know those pesky helmets and hairdos where your ears and/or nose clip through, but you know the design works better if you don’t have to make it thinker and longer? After all, wouldn’t the helmet just push the ears in?

Well, considering that I may at one point want a character to scratch its nose or flip an ear, I decided to add three more bones to my rig. This brings the added benefit of allowing us a simple animation state where we can fold ears and nose into for example a helmet or bandana!

This could be a smart solution

This could be a smart solution


K More teacher stuff happening today besides my baby brothers birthday, well at least I had the time to record a instructional video for my students on how time works in Unity, so if you understand Swedish you can enjoy that and several other game development related videos from here.

December 16th

J You’re probably getting sick of this guy’s face, the fact is however that for new characters to be made, this rig needs to be finalized first.

I think that enough of the rig is done now for me to start creating some animations for out little friend.

Face bones, for happy and sassy expressions.

Face bones, for happy and sassy expressions.


K I have begun work on cleaning up and abstracting some systems to release on Asset Store for others to use or learn from.

December 17th

J Created most of the controllers I will use to create base animations and future blend shapes.

Controllers are done

Controllers are done


K Today I finished work on the settings system and prepared it for the asset store where it will be available for free for you to use or learn from.

It is a basic XML based system with a in Unity editor and easily extendable.

UNity3d Settings Editor Window

XML Settings

December 18th

J Made a few expression tests, neutral, happy, shocked and angry which are now driven by a single float value, it’s working quite well.

Expression tests

Expression tests


K This was the last day before the break for the holiday at work, and according to traditions we finish with a big LAN party, now I took the time to work on continuing the work from the day before but know my brains is mush from lack of sleep so I will return tomorrow hopefully with some more work.

December 19th

J Today I skinned some clothes onto the fat man, this is going to be incredibly annoying to fit into a game ready equipment system.

Skinning clothes

Skinning clothes


K Having visitors over for the weekend did not leave much time for work so I am squeezing in some thinking and reflection time thinking about how the different systems will work together.

December 20th

J We’ve just bought a domain and registered a Facebook page name, here’s an idea for the Facebook group profile picture, it’s way too grey though, that’s sure as sure.

Facebook profile pic

Facebook profile pic


K We have done a lot these past weeks and it is time to start thinking more about the story and aesthetics of the game  as its definition will affect a lot of the game itself so now with the holidays quickly arriving there is less time for coding work so I have begun looking into possible themes and settings of the game, looking into folklore.

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Dec 082015
 

Week 2 is up, what will we produce this week?

We’re still going at it, must be at 5 hours per day since the start of December, this was a great initiative by @nerdtimeblog.

December 7th

J I’m back to sculpting again, working on a pair of tier 1 boots for the adventurers and NPCs, just baked the textures before heading off to bed.

Boot workflow, may have gone a bit crazy here…

 


K The 7th of december me and my girlfriend celebrated three years together, a hell of a thing to do on a monday but still I managed to get in my one hour of gamedev, to Lindas great dismay, well I needed to get in some basic animations connected to the player movement, and I did.

 

December 8th

J After baking the shoes I painted them and added a nice matcap with some specular highlights, I do like this look, I took a few of my older assets, a pistol and a shield, edited them slightly and threw them into my scene. Makes me want to render the character and his clothing a bit more thoroughly but I’m afraid there’s no time for that.

Eco Dec 8th


K While we flesh out the game concept I am beginning to test some shop functionality, started out with creating a test scene working my amazing programmer art skills, Jona watch out, soon a will be able to make something more advanced than cubes… Cylinders coming up…

Unity3D Scene for testing.

 

December 9th

J This is going quite well, one hour per day has turned into multiple hours per day, today I clocked in at about 4 hours, in that time I managed to get this skeleton all jointed up and after a pass of geodesic skinning and about 25 minutes of manual tweaks, all that’s left is to make sure the fingers deform well as well as, of course, setting up the controllers for the rig!

Skeleton done, controllers to come!

Skeleton done, controllers to come!


K This day I turned to some of the shop functionality with the ability to place and pick up items for sale shown below with this poorly made animated gif that might or might not work in wordpress.

3D Test Shop

Test Shop with pick up functionality.

 

December 10th

J Today I started on the controllers for my rig, I’ve got the main functionality down, however I want to add a foot roll and a basic facial animation setup.

Would have been further along, however I noticed that chaning colors and freezing transforms was taking too long so I decided to create some basic Python script as well as a MEL script, I’ll convert this to Python later, however I just couldn’t manage in the time I had allowed myself.

Eco Dec 10th

Base rig and controllers

 


K I managed to squeeze in my hour in an otherwise stressfull day by starting looking into Dialogue for Unity which seems to be a really competent dialog system, and even though I’ve made a ton of these myself this will save us a lot of time and have a workflow much nicer than what I have ever accomplished.

December 11th

J The controllers are connected to the rig, there’s a foot roll, and the fingers are animatable, this will be by far the most advanced and easily handled rig I’ve ever created. Currently I have things like the foot roll as well as finger middles and ends connected to custom attributes but I’m thinking I will want these as separate controllers later on.

Rig day 2

Rig day 2


K Today I dwelled deeper into Dialogoue for Unity fixing some left overs from yesterday and looking into its localization functionality from, well… Today.

Oh, and if you are in need of localization or can offer help to indie developers, swing by the Indie Game Localization group I manage on Facebook.

December 12th

J I’ve managed to get a decent if basic face rig going, there will probably be some morphtargets as well in the future but, I think most of the work will be made using the rig.

Oh and here’s a gif for your enjoyment!

Rig Day 3

Rig Day 3


K On the twelfth day of xmas I looked into A* Pathfinding Project Pro for all our path finding needs. I have worked with this tool before a few years back and remembered it as being well rounded solution and well it has only gotten better since then.

I quick test scene later it is up and running with an NPC walking around in the shop browsing warez.

December 13th

J The rig is almost done, going to make a final skinning pass and then I’ll be creating a lot of wonderful morph targets, for now, here’s an old fat man falling over.

Falling Over

Falling Over


K It has been a rough week, we have achieved a lot so today after getting some work done on the dialogue and path finding of the game I decided to clean up the office a bit, something I have failed to do since I moved in here some time ago, well deserved and such a morale boost, so keep it clean, now for some much needed rest.

Clean office

Clean office

Nov 062015
 

Hej and hello follow devs!

(Längst ner på sidan finns posten på svenska.)

Today marks the release of the first KJ Interactive “3ds Max in Swedish” video, in cooperation with the Swedish High School LBS Gymansiet we will, on a weekly basis, be releasing these videos hoping to draw in a younger or perhaps even significantly older crowd into the wonderful world of 3D modeling.

Enough talking, here’s the video, we start by going over the interface.

Here you can follow the LBS Facebook page!

Of course you must also follow KJ Interactive on Facebook by now, but if you aren’t make sure you do for new tutorials in both Swedish and English!

Svenska

Idag släpper KJ Interactive i samarbete med LBS Gymansiet sin första video i serien 3ds Max på Svenska, för alla som vill lära sig modellera men som känner att språket har varit en barriär.

I första videon som du ser ovan går vi igenom gränssnittet.

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