Apr 132016

We’re almost at three months and things are starting to shape up, we’re still some ways away from showing off any actual game play, but behind the secretive doors of KJ Interactive studios, there has been sword swinging, that’s for real and for true!

J I’ve continued looking into shaders and post effects this week. Last week I showed off the first version of our main VFX shader.

This week I show off, what may very well be the final one, check out this fire burning in the forests of Eco!


I’ve also looked deeper into fonts, Alegreya has for many reasons been on top of my list for Eco Tales, but readability would be a problem within the game itself, so after roughly two seconds of googling I found Alegreya Sans, it was as you may imagine, love at first sight.

Not our logo!

Not our logo!

We’ve also changed the name! The old one was very descriptive, sure, but it lacked a certain… Punchiness… So, Eco Tales : My Item Shop, short and concise isn’t it?


ZBrush Hippo

The gear of our friendly little hippo is also coming along nicely, imagine filling all those boards with baskets and sword sheets! Quite the little carrier isn’t she?

Mainly this week I’ve been working on look development, getting colors and lighting to where I want it, more shaders are needed and while the standard shader looks good, it’s not possible to get where I want with it.

Going to further break it down and rewrite the overall light functions so that SSAO and other screen effects still work the way they should (my last toonish-reality shader really screwed the SSAO up).

K Well well well, lucky number eleven, just writing that sentence got me in the mood for Lucky Number Slevin, great movie, I mean not like The Room or anything but then again, what is? Anyways it is time for eleventh recapitulation of Eco Tales: My Item Shop so here goes.

If you remember from last week I’ve been working on the “soon” to be announced webpage for Eco Tales and it is getting ready, now we just need to set the texts and Jona needs to produce the graphics for it but as web development is not exactly what either one of us fancy and there is a bunch of more important and more exciting things to do on Eco Tales it just might take some time.

On that page you will be able to subscribe to our news letter and as an extra treat if you want to subscribe to us via E-mail so you don’t risk forgetting about us you can sign up here for future news letters, and I can’t stress enough that we will not misuse your e-mail adress in any shape or form, this is strictly about Eco Tales: My Item Shop and until our dedicated web page is up you will not be able to unsubscribe in any convenient way but that will hopefully soon change.

So back to what I have actually have done on Eco Tales, that is why we are here after all.
What we have now ins still early in development and requires different amount of work to make them as good as possible so keep in mind that everything you see is in test phase and considered temporary..
  • Player movement – WASD style moving the player in relative to the cameras view point.
  • Camera movement – Follows the player allowing for rotation around the player which snaps back to default view, zooming is also possible.
  • Inventory – With one equippable sword with temporary GUI.
  • Attacking – You can swing your sword around hitting things, a successful strike will not achieve much currently but the basic system is in place.

Below is a quickly recorded video with excellent programmer art and showing a small bit what I have done this past three months.

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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

Sep 062015
Working on Chummy Fishes game

Working Hard

We are students our entire lives, not perhaps enrolled in a school per say but everyday we learn, experience and grow, or this would be true if you applied some thought into it.
Active learning put the responsibility of learning into the hands of the student whom actively trues to learn by engaging in activities such as reading, writing, discussing, analyzing, reflection etc, etc. It is this blend between acquiring the theoretical base with putting your knowledge into practice and ending with thinking about what you learned and how you learned it.

You can read all you want about walking but unless you put one foot in front of the other you will be standing still and unless you think about how you got from point A to point B you might find yourself not being able to apply your new experience to similar situations, you will stuck walking between point A and B never reaching that green grass over by the C side.

I believe this to be true on all subjects, you can read about history but formalizing your thoughts and putting them on paper will help the theory stick in your memory and you just might gain some deeper knowledge thinking about why and how something came to be rather then just when it happened.

We as gamers/game developers or aspiring to be might already know the importance of game and play in learning, much of my English comes from playing tabletop RPGs and playing computer games and this same idea can be applied to learning with gamification, encouraging engagement by having fun. This seems to be something our brains love and I would like to take the time to recommend a book called Theory of Fun for Game Design by Ralph Koster, now I would say that this book is worth reading despite the fact that you might not want to learn game design.

Moving on… There is one more major factor in achieving that level of skill in whatever subject you want to master and that is time, time spent in practicing and reflecting about a subject will bring you that much closer to your goal and that is what I take with me from Malmcolms Gladwells book the Outliers where he talk about how it requires 10 000 hours of practicing in the right way to to achieve world class expertise in any skill. Now whether that is true or not might be up for debate but I believe he is correct that it takes time.

This is why I made this small code example letting you see when you might be an expert if practicing the right way by calculating how long it would take for you to have reached those 10 000 hours if you spend x numbers of hours per day.

Taking a break from work.

Relaxing after a hard days work.

So take a look at what you have to do and happy practicing just don’t forget that enjoying life is key for a long healthy career as well so do not forget to have fun every once in a while like us.

Practicing hours per day if starting today you would be finished in 2018-02-23
You would be going for 0 years and 0 days.

P.S. And of course you can have the code as well, I have written it in C# so if you want to code then please enjoy.

[expand title=”C#”]
using System;

namespace _10kHours
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            UInt32 hoursPerDay = 0;
            DateTime finishedDate = DateTime.Today;
            TimeSpan timeSpan;

            Console.WriteLine("How many hours per day do you want to practice?");
            string answer = Console.ReadLine();

            while (!UInt32.TryParse(answer, out hoursPerDay) && hoursPerDay > 0)
                Console.WriteLine("Invalid input, please try again.");
                answer = Console.ReadLine();

            finishedDate = finishedDate.AddDays(10000 / hoursPerDay);
            timeSpan = finishedDate - DateTime.Today;
            int years = timeSpan.Days / 365;

            Console.WriteLine("Practicing {0} hours per day if starting today you would be finished in\n{1}.",
                hoursPerDay, finishedDate.ToShortDateString());
            Console.WriteLine("You would be going for\n{0} years and {1} days.", years,
                (finishedDate.AddYears(-years) - DateTime.Today).Days);

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