Sunday, 5 May 2013

Level progression

I've kept development pretty conspicuous for a reason, secretz! but this is as it is currently, without the interior complete. I'll post more grabs once I'm confident this is practically complete, which is still a way off.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Assets - phase 1

The first batch of assets made for the mine-orientated level. Still plenty to go, needs more population.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Thrallhalla Progression.

D/N no speculars yet
Sticking to the concept as close as possible, with a few alterations. The shoulder strap has been thickened and the feet are a larger. The fur lining the cape was brought back so it stops once it reaches the bottom. The menacing thought I keep having is that it doesn't look 'right' at the moment, my hunch is that its because of two things, the cel-shading isn't applied and the cape/sash is static, making it feel a little clamped. I therefore need to research how to get the cape to be dynamic. I'm about to rig this guy, and export/test out the mesh/materials in UDK. Fingers crossed this will look alright.

UDK grab, cel-shaded and all...

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Thrallhalla WIP

I began modelling the second character of the level just to give myself a break from UDK and asset making (even though i've made only 5 or so) Its taken roughly two days to get it to this stage, although I'll spend the rest of the week and maybe next just finishing up some of the accessories in z brush and then work on the diffuse. He's 5,313 triangles, which is relatively in the same boundary as Penguin's 4.7k. My main concern is the cape, well cloth physics in general especially when he has the waist wrap sash too.

Things left to do;
-Horns sculpt
-shoulder strap

Thursday, 7 March 2013

UDK update.

So for the past week I've been changing things around in UDK, trying out new things and implementing additional animations etc...Here's a list of updates

Cel-Shading set-up

I've searched around on the UDN forums and someone provided a very simple way to create a cel-shaded look. I've slightly modified it to change the lighting divisions from 3 to 2 (Wind Waker) and removed the strange material-based edge detection it had previously. I plugged in the diffuse multiplied by 0.3 into the emissive to give it a bit of self-illumination thus making it more flat coloured.

New Animations and Animtree set-up

I've added a few extra animations to incorporate in Penguins movement and for use on the ladder. Here's a screen of the animtree as it is, but further modifications may be needed. (you probably wont be able to see any of the node names)
Ive set up four different speed instances for Penguins movement, beginning with a standard walk which is defaulted to directional controls. Holding Shift will give Penguin a small boost of speed to the walk i.e. fast walk. By default 'Left Shift' is assigned to produce the 'Walk' function and normal directional controls will be a 'jog'. But I chose to swap them. The next key function I added was through kismet, which was by key pressing 'Q' - which would cause a jog. The console command I assigned doubled the Setspeed from 0.2 to 0.4. Because the Animtree allows blending between the animations the fact that Penguin moves faster causes the animation to run off the 'Fast' animation - which is completely controlled by a blendbyspeed node. This node allows you to combine two animations, for example we have a walk and a run. The blend by speed gives you the ability to produce the animation depending on a set speed, so if Penguin is running at  a speed of 0.2, then the 'slow' animation will be registered. But if you change penguins speed to 0.4, the 'fast' animation is registered.
Finally, the last motion speed is the sprint, which requires both the jog and fast walk functions to be simultaneously pressed (Left Shift and Q). If you're wondering, I did base it off Assassins Creed.

Climbing Ladders

I added in the ladder animation. I'm trying to weigh up which is more appropriate to have, basic ladders or try out wall climbing. I've done some research into a good climbing system but the scripts are pretty much withheld by everyone who was successful, and it does seem a little complex for me to even attempt. So I kind of have to stick with ladders for now. Until I can get a good wall scaling motion; up down left and right - its boring ladders for penguin.

Basic Snow material set-up

I remember seeing a you tube video of someone who set up a shader for snow to appear on top of an object, no matter of position or rotation. So I thought it would be cool if I could implement this too, and a quick search through epic games forums pointed me towards a simple material set-up that does, on a more basic level, exactly that. And all I have to do is Lerp the diffuse with a constant snow texture and it should work every time. I tested it out on this pillar (udk's). Works on Penguin too, but its not needed on him.

So far it's looking promising, but I feel the need to continue to push and see what I can produce within my technical limitations. Then I remember my true purpose for this project which is game art, not game programming. I've got the basics set up, material functions are solid so I guess all that's left is to begin world creating. But before I begin, I strongly believe more concepting is required, so there's my next step.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Character Unlocked!

an agile, acrobatic staff wielding Rock-hopper. No name still- seriously terrible at naming things.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Into the deep.

I don't know how well this will look on other monitors with the darkness and what not but anyway this is a design for an underwater segment leading up to the previous concept (if you can see it)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Bringing it all together.

First things first, as much fun as it is to concept I can't but help worry on the fact that I'm blindly making stuff up without much point to them - so I though it'd be best to settle on a plot and direction for the level so I can focus on pushing that further. Fortunately the idea can still tie together what I've already done, but its going to be helpful from this point on. I've decided that the objective is to get from A-B, by various exploration methods like climbing, crawling and swimming (simple enough right?). A-B will provide the player with as much eye-candy as possible, which is why concepting is important. And finally - for Point B, Ideally I want a confrontation between Penguin and Thrallhalla...If I could Id set up a boss fight I would be overjoyed- but my struggle here is technical and personal limitations such as time and setting the mechanics up.

The main theme of the journey will be 'Approaching danger' like with most games and films, environments become more reflective of their present evil as you progress. Priorities are visual stimulation rather than game play mechanics, I just don't think I'll have the time to set everything I'd like up.

Anyway, heres a sketch of an approach towards Thrallhalla's domain.
I had two ideas - The water pool at the bottom will be where'd you surface from, and the path leading towards this would be an underwater stage. You would simply climb out the water onto the snowy path and make way for the gate.
The Second idea was the water pool would extend from a narrow waterway valley/cavern which you could use a row boat to travel on. probably would be cooler.

Saturday, 23 February 2013


Feeling extremely exhausted today, but I've managed to push out another concept. This is a sort of entrance way, it could be a good first vista to start off the level - having some kind of high-walled/crevasse type path leading towards it. Or it can serve as Thrallhalla's domain - looks sinister enough.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Polar Pass

Polar Pass - A network of tunnel systems that links to every other village from Frostin (Penguin's home village) underneath Mount Frost Peak.
I'm going to try and blend together an 'around the mountain' and 'through the mountain' approach to these network tunnels. I do like the idea of going underground to get to places, and it wont be anything like sinister dark caves, but it gives the player a nice break to step outside for a bit too. These are initial concepts, so hopefully more revisions to come.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

UDK begins...

I remember, before even writing up my final brief that if I were to do an environment I would have to make it third person, and doing a little research I was quite put off by the look of Unreal script. I didn't want to tamper with anything outside of my comfort zone. But recently I've been thinking, that maybe 3d character art just isn't my thing - I find it incredibly boring. Whereas I usually find environments inspiring.

So basically there's a change of plan to my FMP pipeline, and that's perfecting the character I've already made, then using him as a third person player in a full fledged environment. I was put off, until I managed to get it working...
(note that everything you see is placeholder esp. animations (minus the Idle are just edited motion capture files I did in Max, Id rather try traditional)

Idle (player start point) A pretty basic stand still motion, but needs work

Running away - Another consideration; Facial Rigging in UDK
otherwise he'll have that permanent derp face


Needless to say I think I'll enjoy the revised project, but don't worry, if I plan my time accordingly I can actually fulfill the 3D character side of my brief by completing it after the environment. But I'm going to solely focus on making something cool in UDK. Once I get Penguin rigged 'perfectly' I'm going to begin on the environment.

Anyway, going back to the Third Person setup I managed to figure out, there are a few things I need to tweak - which looks like more script. The camera controls the looking direction of Penguin, on a XY axis, which in a way is okay but the camera feels very rigid. You can rotate it up and down, but ideally I want it to be able to orbit Penguin without him moving with the camera. The second thing I need to tweak is the movement backwards, because upon release of 'S' or back, or whatever, Penguin snaps back to face forwards (the 'Idle' animation which is facing in the X direction). My theory is that I can plug in some extra nodes into the Animtree to work around this, its just probably going to be a bit of trial and error.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Character Reveal! - Baron Von Polar

So initially Penguin's nemesis was going to be the Walrus-type character, but after being told it wasn't intimidating enough, he's been demoted to a regular boss rather than the big fish - and his replacement is here ; Baron Von Polar. (I think a Polar Bear is much scarier than a Walrus). Here's some concept sketches of what I've come up with thus far, but there's always room for critique while this is still in the development stage.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Penguin WIP

So the first character I'd do had to be Penguin (just note, that I keep calling him Penguin cause I cant craft a suitable name for him yet...until that day comes, ill stick with the most original thing I can call him...) I approached the character differently, in respect to the aviator by zsculpting then retopologizing. I used a rough base mesh, but found that doing things in segments works a lot better, then mashing normals/ diffuse UVs into their respective texture sheets.
The stage above took roughly two days to get to, zbrushing on the first day then retopologizing/baking normals on the next. He's roughly around 3.5k triangles...which isn't bad!
    I'm gonna jump forward a few days to show the progress since (this is turning into Art Attack - here's one I did earlier), which is basically making the backpack, the mallet and 90% completion of the diffuse.
This is a Max view port screen print, not a render, with consistent colours enabled.
It's this type of flat cel-shading I'm going to try and achieve in UDK, hopefully.
 And this is basically what I need to do next. I've got most of the animation side of things sussed out, rigging/eye movement, but I'm wondering if its possible to switch out the texture of his eyes to say a 'closed eyelid' text for example - and if this texture swapping can be used on individual material ID's because at the moment the eyes and the body are one mesh, with 3 material IDs + 1 for the mallet. Time to do some more research.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


I've been so secretive about this project, so I'm just gonna drop this here.

When I get the time I'll write up some background stuff.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Seal Clubbing

New character! Say hello to Clubber, Penguin's best friend. I'm still concepting this guy (obviously) but I'm keeping the design pretty similar to Penguins'. At the moment I'm liking the first,fourth and fifth character's colour schemes....but the vivid colours may be detracting from the 'cold' theme. Another wave to follow.

I'm digging the charcoal and yellow one, it goes quite nicely with Penguin's blue outfit as well as the adjacent lime green one, but the lime green and khaki one complements Penguins blue outfit pretty well too. (lime green and khaki clearly not done before, totally not the colour scheme of my aviator...*shifty eyes*) I've got to remember that the pair will be pretty much be next to each other 'in-game' (all hypothetical of course) most of the time, so they have to look good in unison, not just individually. So in perspective:

They both look alright, but I think I need someone else's opinion. Personally I'm more geared towards the green.