Oulu Game Lab Week 12

Okay I shall be the first to point it out! There’s no week 11! “What?!?” or “Dear god no! no!” I imagine you are screaming at your computer, whilst others of you faint from shock unable to find words to describe the horror of what you have just read.

So let me explain to you why there is no week 11… it is a long tale and on that you may struggle to follow. I had Uni work to do so had nothing to talk about beyond “errrr I was writing a report durrrrr”. Yeah now we’ve got the sarcasm out of my system let’s give you a quick update about what was going on last week.

Last week I began working on textures for our game, learning how to unwrap the meshes and mark seams and trying to get a hang of where all the seams needed to be to get a decent template to create the texture on. I managed to get a tree canopy complete, using a pre existing leaf design and making a template over the top to get the right shape. Then using photoshop I added in the colour and texture to the leaf aiming to keep it in the same style as the rest of our game. I then duplicated the leaf twice to get a three pointed leaf, for lack of a better term. I then created three varieties of this, the greenest and brightest to go on the top layer, slightly darker but more leaves for the middle layer and then a much darker leaf that would cover the entire space to get the idea of depth to the tree canopy.

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There are a few imperfections that still need to be corrected, but now I am waiting on the bark textures to be made for the tree so I can get the assets to our level designer to implement them into the game.

Half way through the week we got some news about possibly being present at a gaming even very soon, so we had to shuffle the team around to get the priorities finished. So that has now left me with the task of creating an enemy 3D model for the demo so we don’t have floaty cubes to fight.

As of yet I have never made a 3D model of a character or animal, nor have a rigged/animated a model yet. However I feel up to the challenge despite admittedly being a tad daunted at the task ahead of me. I have about 2 weeks to get it done which given how much I learnt about Blender in my first two weeks of using it, I am sure that I can do this.

My other tasks for the week is to create the UV templates for Dom to make textures on then I will add the textures to all our environment objects. The pressure is most certainly on, but hopefully it will push us to do our best work yet. It feels far more real now then before, with the prospect of this all being in the open as opposed to the safety of our studio with a few select people seeing our work. The thing with creativity is that you will never be 100% happy with your work, but you have to get your work in front of people to improve. Hopefully it goes well at the gaming event, but if not then we will learn from the experience and use it to make a better game.

So that’s my quick little update for you guys this week. Keep tuned as I want to post something else this week to make up for the lack of posting last week!

Thanks for reading ūüôā

 

 

Bonnie The Brave: Space Courier

Okay time for a mid-week update! So as you know I have been working on a video game in my time at Oulu Game Lab and on Tuesday 13th May we finally publicly announced the game, which also enables me to show you more of what I have been working on over the coming weeks.

So let me tell you a little about what the game is about.¬†Bonnie The Brave: Space Courier is a colourful 3D action platformer in the vein of Crash Bandicoot combined with the exploration of Metroidvania games. It’s being developed by a team of 7 (including me) people with backgrounds in Media, Engineering, Art and Culture who came together as game development students to create something they love.

Bonnie Brave is a space courier transporting important cargo across the galaxy. During her journey her ship is attacked by pirates eager to get their hands on the Mcguffin, a powerful weapon ¬†Bonnie is transporting. Bonnie’s ship is shot down and crashes on a mysterious and abandoned planet, where she will need to fix her ship, keep the Mcguffin away from the pirates, and learn the truth behind the abandoned planet.

We are expecting to release the game in early 2015, but in the mean time if you’re interested to keep up with the project and maybe give us some feedback, then check out the facebook page;¬†https://www.facebook.com/bonniethebrave

Also check out our indiedb page where we are in the top 100 games in terms of popularity as of the time of posting!

Bonnie The Brave: Space Courier

Oulu Game Lab: Week 10

Ten weeks into this exchange trip sounds as if it should be some kind of milestone, however this will likely turn out to be the shortest of my regular updates so far. I won’t really know until I get going, anybody who knows me in person will know my way of working, jump in at the deep end and never have time for preparation. The updating of my blog follows a similar process.

Week ten has been one of the slowest weeks, having had to work from home for the later half of the week as someone had to be home to collect my laptop, although it never arrived. Worry not though, I went to go collect it from the distribution place in Oulu and working on it all weekend, hence the delay in this weeks post. Despite this lack of action, I have finally finished the 3D models for the foliage on the game, and whilst I am desperate to show you what I have been working on, I cannot as of writing. We were due to have a team meeting regarding what we would release of the game and when, which is when I was going to ask whether I could show you guys what I have been working on, however I don’t feel like that meeting is going to be happening today.

So I think this week I’ll talk to you guys a little about what I have taken from this stage of work. For one I have learnt a lot about Blender. As you guys have seen, I have been doing a lot of tutorials and I am regularly doing stuff on it for fun now. But more importantly I’m learning first hand the importance of the ‘fail faster’ idea. When I first began my 3D models I was fixated on getting them looking right, but as the days have turned into weeks and we have found ourself a third of the way through the making of the demo, I decided to just get it done. What I have produces is by no means the most attractive 3D models I have made, but they will do. The game doesn’t emphasise the visuals and given the extent of the work we still need to produce I will take what I have made.

I also learnt a new technique that sped up my production of some of the foliage, using a 2D plane with a texture and alpha to get good looking leaves. I have replicated this in practice but not yet in the final models. So the next stage for me is to make the textures for these models and start moving them into our demo level on Unity.

Unity is still a gap in my knowledge at this point. I have been so focussed in learning Blender that Unity has fallen behind, so ideally with time I would like to start working on some Unity tutorials to start filling out my knowledge of the game making process.

We also had an update on what Dominic and I need to produce for Coventry University whilst we are out here, a report on our experience in Finland. This is in place of a report based on the second and third term at University which we missed most of, so are unable to give a full report on the finished process. This is likely what I will be spending most of this week on as the 19th is the deadline to hand this in.

So what else has been going on this week? Although not OGL related I have been learning more about modding games, in particular Oblivion, since my laptop has arrived. It seems like something that I may try my hand at over the summer when I have more free time as modding has been the route for a few people to get into the industry, and would help get some of my work out in front of people.

Next week I will hopefully have a more visual post for you, as I know reading through all of this is way less interesting than looking at some cool images. I want to work on a lot of 2D stuff as well as finishing off the foliage models with some nice textures to give you lots of content for next week.

So that is about it. Thanks for reading and please offer any feedback you might have whether it be regarding to my writing or my work, or even if you have any questions or topics you might like me to talk about.

Oulu Game Lab: Week 9

Okay so it is a delayed update this week owing to a 4 second animation that took over 4 hours to render… yeah I cannot have my new laptop arrive soon enough! So let’s start off with showing off some high polygon asteroid 3D models/renders created in Blender. This was super fun to make, if at times frustrating with Blender crashing every 5 minutes. As Jussi pointed out these would be unusable in a game, but this was more to see how far I could push the software/hardware to create a model. I managed to get to 3.8 million polygons in the model which makes it look awesome but was very unstable in creating it.Asteroid_ModelAsteroid_Render01¬†¬†Asteroid

I spent Monday learning a technique to be able to make super low polygon foliage using just textures. This should be really useful for helping decorate some of the environments in the game and make it feel more substantial and like the player is really in the setting. Of course I cannot show you the results yet, but as soon as they are done and I have permission from the team I will be posting them here and on my deviant art page if you are interested.

Tuesday was interesting as I spent the day learning more about texturing objects in Blender, but also took part in a Board Game design workshop put on by Jussi. He recommended this to me as I want to have a more active role in game design in the future and board games work very similar to video games when designing mechanics, and is a good starting place for beginners like myself.

Planet_Earth   Alien_World

Wednesday was spent creating more models in Blender, and refining those I had already made. They are definitely starting to take shape now and with some good textures can be ready for our demo pretty soon! Which good as we decided on a deadline for Friday 9th to get these foliage models ready. Thursday was a bank holiday here so it was a day off, although I spent the day attempting an animation that didn’t want to work. For some reason the fire animation tool and I do not get on well…

I spent Friday learning something way overdue for an artist at the level I want to be; Colour Theory. Using some of Andrew Prices tutorials where great for this and I now have a decent understanding of which colours work and what styles and techniques can be used. This will be useful for the next stage of my models which is the texture creation. I spent the rest of the day carrying on with the Blender models, nothing too exciting, and then on the weekend I created a short smokey text animation, which was the cause of the delay to this weeks post… so you had better watch it… all four seconds of it. Sure it’s nothing special but for a first time effort I will take it, I will try have a higher resolution one up when my laptop gets here. Hopefully in the future I can move on with some more complex animations, especially when I have a more powerful machine to work off of. I also started work on a cliff face model, the work in progress render being below alongside my animation.

So that’s this weeks update, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Please offer any feedback you can whether it be on my writing, content or even my models and animations. Thanks for your time, and see you again next week, hopefully with a new laptop!

Cliff_Face01