Sunday, 31 March 2013

Carboot Time Exposition Update

With the showcase coming ever closer I decided to re-do my application form and get it approved soon. I heard back from Clare and she seems ok with the new idea.

This was the original application, I pitched to have the space look like the gallery from the game with red wallpaper and multiple pictures which  have monitors in them and they would show the final game and a slide show and other videos form the project. 

This is the revised plan. Now instead of mounting loads of monitors in frames on the wall, there will be only one monitor but on an esil. 

And this was the mock up for a single space away from a booth.

The final choice if this dose not work , is to project the game onto a large white space with a frame.

This is an old broken monitor I had in the loft and a frame i get out of a charity shop, not as fancy as i wanted but thought it could be a proof of concept if i got it mounted on the frame and on an esil.

This was the level of decorative frame I was looking for but this one was 30£ and that seemed to be the price online as well.

The next day went to the carboot  and got this stuff

2 monitors 3£ each(sturdy high quality)
1 large frame 2£
2 other monitors 1 20 inch , 15 inch (11£ the pair)

[19£ overall]

I tried this on an esil from the loft but its too flimsy and the clips only just stick out enough for a  frame . But iv been told i can borrow one from Abertay which are a lot sturdier and hopefully has bigger clips.

Luckily the monitor was exactly the right size for the frame, which is 20.1 inches

Unfortunity 1 monitor didint work , powerd on but a large crack on the screen 
and the second has a smaller crack at the bottom but might get away with it if i doubl mount the screen but im gogint o look for some monitors at the recycling centre in dundee.

to be continued!!! in dundee adventures.

Found out Where I am in the exposition ...
The HMC :D The fancy bit , I think I'm sharing a booth with Sam. So guessing that its sill the 4 corner wall set up things. 
Also they speld my name wrong on the email so might need to tell them that so they don't get it cut wrong in vinyl for the booth.(I emailed and its been changed)

And heres is the new monitor in the frame :

One small problem with this is that the frame is a diffident ratio to my laptop monitor and i had to add a paper mount to cover the edge of the lcd. This creates a slight overlap on some of the text , its all still readable but not the neatest. 
Il try to fix this, if its an easy fix. ie just changing the camera settings in the game I'l update it but it might mean that i have to reanimate all the slide in text boxes and stiff and i don't wanna do that because they all basically match up and that would be annoying to fix.

Anyway I'l see how it goes.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Heres My Game!!!

Ok so over the past few days iv been working on some of the final touches and bringing my game together, there are still a few minor things I will change, this is why I have ladled this version beta1. Most of the game is finished but a few tweaks and more testing are required before I post as completely finished  But I'm going to leave it alone for a little while and get to work on the Dissertation , i have 1000 new words and 3000 old words,  going to merge and fill in the blanks and emit some points.
Again this version is only for windows users. And sorry the files huge, 
Here is the link to the zip file containing the game:(you ave to right click save as)

Double clikc the 1startscreen or the windowed version and waitther is an instruction txt file in there somewhere. Have fun and feedback is appreaceated.
And in the next few posts I'm going to talk about all the changes from the alpha2 to the beta1.
Here is a screenshot of the start menu which i haven't posted on here yet.
More indepth post soon

Monday, 25 March 2013


Coming to the end of this sprint to get the agme fished for wednesday incase the contest creative loop requires the game to be finnished by then.
Had a meeting with Jamie Cross(Audio Guy) and we descused the kind of pices I shoul bee lookign at for the final

This is what he advised:

House (gallery level) :[Piano, slow]

Pop Art: [Jazz]

Watercolour:[impresionist, late 19th century, french]

Charcoal: [Russian]

Pen:[frantic, jaggy]
Dawn of the Night
Danse Macabre - Saint-Saƫns
Night on Bald Mountin
Saber Dance

Il post the new version of the agme when iv got all the audio in  :D,

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Realy quick update!

I'm working on the game again , and its coming along rely good and really fast. 
I plan to get it all finished for Wednesday and at this rate i think its possible , with complex audio as the only thing which may suffer :S.

So aft iv fixed most of the problems in :

Iv not coded up the boss ai yet 
or added loading screens or 
any audio
Dont want to make the new house scens till i get sound into 1.

Heres hoping i can get it done.
just so i show something here is a wolf for the watercolour level:

I started one at uni in 20 minutes but I had no reference so it looksed to real ish.

But this 20 minit models was just to see if I could do it, the finished one looks a lot cuter and fits better with the style:
Heres was the sketch sheet for it:

Anyway that's really the only new asset.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

What have I been up to this week?

Well, after the crit, i had a bisness meeting on Saturday  went well but after that I wanted to have the weekend off and it was st patricks night and that drank the day away over some games at a mates.   Then started the dissertation on Monday  Not concerned with a structure while writing this time I just rote down all the key methods used to create the shaders and effects iv been working on . I got around 1000 words out of that and hopefully most of it will make it into the final. I talked about how they work with images and gave examples of where they have been used be fore, advantages and disadvantages of each. SO i need to do a deconstruction session of artwork to tell how each of these techniques link to the physical media.
Then I fixed a couple of things which were mentioned in the crit.
Like the pop art character shaders being too dark , I also felt this and was putting it off but ounce someone else pointed it out it needed to get fixed.
Heres the new look shaders.

It just darkens the dots in the shade and still has a white highlight:

This is what it used to look like:

Also was playing epic mickey 2 to get used to the brush nunchuck and as I mentioned at the crit it is realy uncomfortable so may no be used, but.. while playing epic micky 2 the cut scenes intreeged me so i did a little media test to see if i could replicate the 2d visuals in 3d, I think i came pritty close.

Heres a video of the test I did:(Sorruy about the bad gradients, camstudio)

Its just basic because i didint have to much time to spend on it. But hope to work more on a shader like this after the project is done. I had the idea of a cloud map being able to be used for the painterly shading/ highlights could be effected by a shadow gradient to create the falloff needed to prevent a hard edge.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Crit Feedback

This is the stuff I rote after feedback:

"lot more feedback this time
ken came this time :D
Lynn mentioned a couple things about the styles, the pen sky and the darkness of the pop art

the why
everyone had something different to say about it.
At first they talked about how I could link it into another area to justify it

Then Brain said that they why is visible in the final project and the work that iv been doing . The piece almost justifies its self as a fight against the "boring" photorealism.

Then the topic came back round to possibly linking it to another research area but it quickly got brought back round to  self justification and just digging deeper in the process and derisions which lead to the game derisions.

The pop art level sticks out as being the only one which is not a media, its a movement  this could be justified with the design derisions and links to game play, choices."

So overall I reached my goal of getting a playable version of the game from start to finish for this presentation.
Time to start the dissertation and I feel the feedback from this presentation was good and lets me just talk about the project and design derisions inspired by the art and vice versa. I now feel its ok to not have to tie any other outside topics or theories for the sake of it. I will lead the desision with the opposition to photorealism games.

Final note, I did manage to beat my personal best as far as the slide count goes by 1, ie 50 slides :), its unimportant but just kind of happened. Lynn said that there was some slides which felt like padding but i think she is referring to the few slides where i said it broke and tried to find help. But i felt this use of these slides on there own needed don't to emphasise the emotions I was going through at the time and to create suspense.

For the final presentation I think I will try to keep it a bit shorter but when im breaking down techniques and stuff i dont know how long it will be , I'l do a detailed breakdown of all the techniques i used which are repeated throughout the project.
Talk about nodes , modelling texturing , Game engine tricks , outlines(scaled meshes)

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Art Collector Alpha 1(Demo)

Yip I got it all together and its been floating around the net for a few days now. Wanted to hold off posting it till the day of my presentation on the blog.

You have seen most of the development on the blog so here is the video play through:
Sorry about the slow frame rate again , I'm running this at 10 fps and the game runs at 60 on better pcs.
I recorded an run through on my flatmates pc last night which should look better , coming soon.

And if you want to play it here it is for windows only :

I posted it on Blender NPR aswell , link here:

Feedback welcome but remember that its still alpha , the story is non existent at this time.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Xpadder over keysticks

I just bought xpadder, its like key sticks but slightly more coustomisable and has a nice UI and its half the price, at about £6. 
Als as seen in the pic below you can easly adjust the deadzones of the anologe stick whitch is good because my left stick pulls slightly to the left and with key to joys defalt settings this constantly moves left :(.
This program is worth the £6
And it now works perfectly with the game :D whicth is also up and running with all playable levels...
Post coming soon with actual download!!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Unforeseen PROBLEM :S (HELP!!!)

I got all the levels ready to stitch together into one project. I loaded in all the scenes into  project and when i tested the level switching it switched ok but the controls in the loaded level is broken :(.  The jump works but the movement dose not. I tried a couple of things to fix this but so far nothing helps . I suspect it has something to do with duplicate names as when i opened the other scenes in the project it shows as objectName.001, this is what blender dose when something is named the same. 

I think i could get round this problem by changing the names or names in scripts but i dono what but to change yet , iv posted it up on blender artists to see if any of the helpful people there can help :D
Heres the link:

Will hopefully get this fixed soon as this is the first playable alpha and its soo close to working :D cant wait to see what you guys thing when ur actually playing it  :D

Friday, 8 March 2013

Pop Art Level First pass

its time to make the final level which weirdly is the first "style" you come accross.
I decided to take the level out of  the kitchen setting original planned and moved it to a generic room due to it being hard to fit a belevible kitchen design around a room wit 4 doors.

I looked at a lot of pop art room designs by Lichtenstein and made some of the elements to populate my room.

I started off with making the basic room shape and made materials which match the dots and lines on the walls of the originals. (i grouped the important nodes so i could reuse them in other materials)

I then made a sofa as it appered in a few pictures.(I added the outline later with a scaled inverted mesh)
I drew in some outline in the texture to help define certain edges that wouldnt get shown by the mash outline.

Then I madea table and some plants and reused the texture from the old pop art test.

then another chair:
This only has a scaled mesh on the back and it tapers towards the botoom to avoid weird mesh isues.

Then in imported th roor from the house level and straightend it up because it looked weird when it was squint in pop art land.
Then i rigged the door and  animated it to simply open and added a little bounce back. Then mate this animation trigger when the player is neer the door and then close again when the player moves away.

I put arrows on the back of the cans to help tell the player where to go to get to the exit .
I also removed a can in every room to give the player an idea that they are going in the right direction.

I added a few more props and paintings whitch help make the room fill up.

Here is the level in action:

Monday, 4 March 2013

"Do you ever sleep?"

This is the most asked question at my presentations. 
The tradition was started but Ian Donald during the final presentation to outplay in 3rd year.

It has been mentioned a few of my 4th year progress presentations and in the motivatonal presentation we game to the 3rd years today :D

The answer to this common question is yes. 
I make sure to get a good night sleep. During game jams and coursework hand-ins  i don't think iv ever did a whole nighter as i just dont see it as productive. I would just get relay tyerd and make silly mistakes. Plus if im doing coursework or work for some kind of deadline the night before i should be ashamed.
I also make sure i have a ruteen:
Wake up 
have breakfast (cerial){dont feel right if i skip this}
do work 
eat biskits as snacks, 
Have dinner between 5 and 6 
work some more, if I'm getting bored ply a game or watch a film. 
Then go to bed.

On top of I get frequent headakes witch usually stops me in my tracks and demands a nap, but sometimes i can just work though it with the help of a cold eye mask with eye holes.

The last night of an adventurous game jam would mabie be the only acseption for staying up.

Mabie this should be my new bisness card :P

I know this is mean as a silly question and a compliment and i like it but i do think its important to have a ruteen in place.
And oh ye

OVER 9000

Page views , thanks people

Updating the art collectors house

Im trying something different for this post , im writing the post as im making stuff in blender and then posting progress. This will make the post a lot longer but a lot more indepth and can track any mistakes or changes i make. (let me know if anyone likes thi sapproch better or not, i think i would like to see the final things and how i got ther rather than the whole prosess.)

Ok so the first thing i made was the art gallery / collectors house, this is the hub world which u use to go between pictures.
The scene was updated slightly since the post with the 360 controller.
since then I also scaled the level by 1.5.(Note i centred the orojin and changed to 3d cursor type, then scaled everything in edit mode, as you get problems if u scale things in object mode sometimes, especaly with collisions)
By scaling thi  the camera dose not clip as much through walls as it did before and it seems like a good size now.

Ken brought up in a meeting ounce, how dose the player know where they have to go. I answered with aether speech bubbles or audio cues or footprints from one painting to the next .
SO here I have made a simple footprint texture and made separate objects for the different stages which can be hid or deleted depending on where the player has to go next:

I made a door which can be reused through the house and re-textured for the pop art level:
this door is a little big due to scaling up the level at the start but i would rather it be to big than too small and make the camera twitchy. Texture will be updated as-well.

I made some simple picture frames and mapped them to a basic texture sheet:
After having the basic rectangle shapes i made stuff squint to ad a more cartoonie feel and make it more visualy interesting and unique. Il put a serise of planes behind them with all the images needed.

Then i made a lamp for wall decoration:
uvs arent the best but they will do for such a small pice of scenery.
Heres it with textures: 

from there i ambient occlusion baked the walls and added the wallpaper layer using multiply blending mode.

I also made an Ao map for the wood areas like the floresa dn the attick walls:

I added some spider webs in the attic.
The web texture has an alpha channel and the opacity of the white lines is set to about 60%, the alpha type is set to basic alpha , not cut out.


I then made an image 4x4 with loads of images to fill the frames with I drew a mix of famous artwork and half way through decided to add some of my work but i feel the versions of existing artworks are the most effective and have a nice charm to them:
I carfully placed these images in the frames in 3d using snap to vertex on the frames.

Then i made the images for the actual paintings youl be exploring.
I put them in 1 texture to cut down on materials needed.

The pop art one kind of looks like a Julian Opie painting.
Then i needed a way to tell the player how to enter paintings and this is done with a plane whitch moves in from the side of the screen when the player can enter the painting.

Here is the scene in action:

Just need to link in the other levels and get them to work now.(more problematic than I thought)

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Family friendly?

Iv been thnking about my dissertation question a lot and at the moment there isn't relay a why and its been the question everyone's been asking me from the start. I touched on it being a fight against photorealism and a styalised art direction being a good time saving  and there for money saving alternative. Also that hyper realism is just getting boring, and the inclusion of guns is a game play essential for a lot of titles. This leads into the violence in games argument but il try to stear clear of that for thenow.
Not to say that i don't like playing realistic games such as heavy rain, uncharted and others, i just prefer making more stylised experiences which can be played by everyone.

After watchin this, he talkes about the best seeling games of all time and that 3/4 of them are by Nintendo  a family friendly company, so there is also a market out there for this kind of thing.

At the DCA event we were invited to show off our game to children (go away mr bear) the kids loved the art style and the same could be said with the game we made in Dare plus (Antons Adventure) 
We had a brief chat with someone for the government working in  the gaming for children department or something along those lines (@derekrobertson on twitter) and he seemed realy interested in telling a story using the types of 3d / 2d crossovers that this honours project is all about. 

Screenshot from go away mr bear (3d)

Image of antons adventure: (2d)
Antons Adventure avalible on google play (Android)

Fourther thinking about this made me realise that this is a value I try to encorpurate into a lot of my games. The idea of it being family friendly. And I think that this is  good reason forexploring these 2d styles in 3d, as a story telling device to engage children but still be enjoyed by people of any age.

I also thought about linking religious views into the dissertation and discussing basic human values but I think that is going in a sightly different direction that I first intend and I already have enough contravertal debates in the project, are games art? is pop art art?, violence ? there should be enough to talk about there in my essay.