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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Sep 282015

Hello UE4 devs!

Last week I bought you this post, Lightmapping 101, however, I neglected to add a section on auto-generation.

Would you like to know how to never worry about lightmaping for the rest of your life?

If you’re working in Unreal Engine 4, you can start by watching this, the shortest video ever.

Disclaimer! While this is a must for prototyping, a sharp project may need custom authored lightmaps, check out last week’s post for a quick intro into the world of lightmaping in 3Ds Max, Maya and Blender!

Loads of Love

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Aug 272015

All the characters we know and love, Cars, Wall--e, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monster's Inc, Ants, Ratatouille, Up and just now Inside Out!

Khan Academy just released their new series “Pixar in a box”, and it is just as awesome as it sounds! Together with Pixar, they have created an extensive set of videos on how they create their movies from both a technical and artistic viewpoint and how, two so different kinds of people work together to create the movies we all know and love.

Too many words will just lessen your excitement so without further ado, here’s the link to the Khan Page containing Pixar’s tutorials!


Personally, I can’t wait to go through these, maybe it’s time to take a few days off of work, on thing is for sure, it’s gonna be an exciting and enlightening weekend!

Enjoy yourselves and learn, learn, learn!

//Jona Marklund

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Aug 132015

The thing we’ve all been waiting exactly one year for has arrived, that’s right, it’s time for #SIGGRAPH2015!

Last week we were (finally?) allowed a sneak peak into Autodesk Stingray, a new engine for the development of games made by Autodesk, with the promise of incredible workflow between 3Ds Max/Maya and Stingray, I must confess, I’m intrigued.

So, back to Siggraph and the unveiling of the new extensions for Maya and 3Ds Max 2016. Extension 1 which will be available on the 11th of August for 3Ds Max subscribers and on the 9th of September for Maya subscribers will include a few things which I personally am very excited about!

Autodesk 3Ds Max 2016 Extension 1

  • Geodesic Voxel and Heat Map solvers are finally coming to 3Ds Max, this means we’re finally getting some long awaited skinning improvements, test these when you can!
Heat Map

I’ll update the post with a video showing off this skinning method in Maya soon!

  • Max Creation Graph (youtube) will be receiving controllers especially made for procedural animation!
  • A new “Game Exporter” which will not only work with Stingray but also update (replace?) the old FBX Export tool to better accommodate for game assets made for engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine 4!
  • Stingray live link, which’ll allow for instant updates between Max and Stingray.
  • A new updated 3D Text tool, finally!

Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 1

  • Stingray live link, Maya also gets the instant update feature, however in Maya you will allegedly be able to do quite a lot more as far as editing goes!
  • The already existing “Game Exporter” will be updated (watch out for a video on how the current one works for Unreal Engine and Unity.)
  • Hypershade gets procedural texture nodes.
  • The new updated 3D Text tool.
  • Scalable Vector Graphics will now be supported, making 2D vector based art from Adobe Illustrator and the like easy to handle in a 3D world.

Look forward to more coverage of the most interesting things for Unity and Unreal developers unveiled at Siggraph 2015!

All the best!

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Jun 142015

One of the best part of working as a game dev teacher as well as what I do over here at KJ Interactive is that LBS Stockholm can buy the cool tech, and I get to use the cool tech, and that is exactly what I did not many days ago.

Tobii and SteelSeries worked together to create a consumer friendly eye tracker, and for you that are not familiar with what that is I give you a short description.

Eye Tracking attached to a screen.

Tobii SteelSeries Eye Tracker

Eye tracking is a device or task of surprise, surprise… Tracking your eyes, and to be exact, what you are looking at on a screen, this can be used to analyze how users interact with software, web sites and so on, and also as an input model, seen most recently in Assassin’s Creed Rouge.

Well, the school has two of them and as I am suppose to use it for teaching and the kids are home during the summer I took them home with me to try them out and get me some brain smarts.

Before I go deeper into this I will give some credits, I will begin with Roland Koch from  a composer and sound designer I’ve worked with previously and and currently and will continue to work with, you can check out his work and follow him here:

Littorina Sounds on Facebook


I also used some graphics I found online from the following sources:

Game Art 2D

One Point Six Studios

Jelly Doom

Screenshot eye tracking

Jelly Doom

Is what I sou creatively made, you play as a wheel chaired girl whose brother stole her so critical means of transportation leaving her stranded on a weird floating in the air island and these yellow jellies keep jumping out splashing on the ground filling the increasingly narrow space with jello-fluids threatening to kill her unless she shoots them first with her L.A.S.E.R gun, I know, it’s an awesome idea.

The mechanics is you have to shoot the Jellies and you aim with the help of an eye tracker or mouse if you want to try it but don’t have an eye tracker. Every now and then a new Jelly jumps out and bounce around and if it drops from a small platform it will increase the level of Jelly blood until it threatens to drown you.


Setting everything up was a breeze, from installing the device (have some requirements like USB 3 etc) and after getting the SDK from Tobii (the have packages for Unity, Unreal and more) I started coding and it was all quite simple, the only issue was the extremely jittering, at first I thought had spastic eyes but after researching it for a few hours in front of the mirror I came to the conclusion that I might have a lot of issues but spastic eyes was not one of them. Having to deal with this issue was not a major issue, slowed it down, lerped it and made it work just a lot of slower than I initially had hoped for.

Jelly Doom Unity and VS 2015 screenshot

Screen of development of Jelly Doom


I have’t tried eye tracking in any games so maybe you can do some awesome stuff with it when it comes to controlling a game but I saw some drawbacks when it comes to using it when speed is an issue as well as accuracy and I also have a difficulty seeing it being a major part of game mechanics, and thinking about if for an hour or so you know I’ve fully visited the problem.

I can kind of see it as a tool in a horror game, getting under the players skin if he ever gets so scared he closes his eyes or shows erratic eye movement you start the Sound Horror Intense Terror-treatment but it would be interesting to hear your ideas on eye tracking and game design.

You can see a short gameplay video below or download it (KJ – Jelly Doom) and try it for your self, should be playable with a mouse as well but our QA-department doesn’t exist just so you know.

Hope you all enjoyed it and get to try some cool tech on your own, I would really like to hear about it and of course get to know about any new interesting tech out there.

// Krister

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