What now? The long road to making cool things.

Now I have finished college , I ask myself “what to do?” new projects maybe, trying to expand onto other fields such as programming in C#, Java or even c++ given the recent trend in those other languages popularities.

So after the recent synoptic project, it has come to my attention that now I have some free time on my hands; it also presents the best opportunity to dive deep into the programming world and I have a few recourses I can choose from such as the Unity Q&A Forums, Brackeys (YouTube) and also GamesplusJames (Also YouTube). With all that together, I can create some cool effects and also learn the basics of programming during now till September when I hope to go to University. That been said I do have other things going on in my life … I can’t be stuck behind a keyboard for ever I’ll go mad.

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Finishing year blog.

And here we are… Finished. Done. Cheerio.

And now is my time to show what I have learned or even taken from this course over the course (no pun intended) of 2 years.

Lets start with the beginning, coming into next-gen; happy, confident and enthusiastic to get my hands on what scrap of knowledge I could. I have done things from be part of a nationwide competition for 3D modelling, made things that I didn’t think I could do … ever and by this I mean create menus and creating VFX for games; motion graphics and making human faces and the odd body.

 

So yeah.

From the beginning of the year, I have found that my interests have shifted from doing games design to more of a film based environment… yes it’s late but never too late to find something new.

And there are two reason for this. One being that the placement from January to May really opened my eyes in what I can do in regards to moving from one field of creativity to another. Another reason is the intro animation of my portfolio (Link will be somewhere in here) the time it took to complete the whole sequence I pretty much learned both the shortcut keys and the many different effects to thus make my workflow faster. Now I barely even look at the keyboard for shortcuts.

 

 

So over after all that good stuff with the placement, I came back to finish with the synoptic project and that was also an eye opener but seeing that we had our imagined worlds prior to that in 2017, there were some familiarity to what we had to do such as the pre-production, theory, planning, documentation… all that fine exciting stuff.

Then we came to actually make the game and as per usual there were some both major and minor bumps along the way such as team members changing roles from time to time. Changing ideas, throwing away, making new methods etc.

but we grind ed throughout the majority of our problems and came out with a solid start, middle and ending to our game alongside some special stuff which I kinda wanted to include myself. That basically is stating I made the entirety of the finishing screen and personally I love it but there could be some things to improve upon in terms of animation… and that’s another thing I have to cover. Animation.

 

 

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I love Maya and 3D modeling as much as my peers on the course but I can only do animation on a node based system A.k.a “I can only animate on unity”.

I’ts because I understand the majority of the workflow used for Maya animations, I just can’t seem to get around both paint weights and IK handles (Still don’t know what they are) that being said I want to dedicate some time into both animation and programming before I hopefully set sail to university come September.

Snappy boi

I would finally like to write this paragraph as an overall statement to thank the staff of next gen, Three Motion UK ‘Including the dogs’ and my friends who I have spent 3 years with doing this course as without them I wouldn’t be here now doing what I do now. It’s just a question of where I will be in the next 5 years and we will have to find out.

Synoptic Progress.

We are coming to the end game of our projects and its safe to say that there is a more visual ending in sight.

By this I simply mean that its safe to say that there will be something by the end of the project and MVP can be shown by deadline. I have struggled a lot since the beginning trying to prioritize my coursework, placement & other personal projects all ready for the end of year.

Now I’m going to try and push myself to learn programming to thus understand not just how it works but also how to structure code in the future.

Visual the game is coming together a more assets are pushed through, I have also contributed into making other graphics and fixing some, there have been instances where some of the maps were not working, thus I went onto Photoshop and added the characteristics needed such as extra lighting on brighter colors or the need to add more white to an alpha map.

Tutorial Roomo

Speaking of which, this also was shown to be really handy when it came to creating emission maps although this time I used after effects to give the glow a more revealing effect then adding a drawn over effect so therefore the player can realize that the effect is active and working as it should be.

Emission maps making use of the emission maps.

This was then taken into account, so I then moved onto using the emission maps in programming, So firstly with the help of one of my tutors. There was two scripts created; one for the door and one for each button so therefore the player can open the door via a key-code.

Speaking of which, the key-code would be shown on a tablet placed on the far back corner of the room which would have to be traversed by the player, read, and then the player would follow the code shown in chronological order.

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Synoptic Project: Something visually new for gameplay.

I have tried to make gameplay easier for a player to follow; To do this I could do many things environmentally.

Light leading, sound, linear design, breadcrumb method (I’ll get to that later) etc.

But instead I wanted to try something new and introduce myself to the world of video effects in unity. So I went about researching how to play videos in unity as maybe a transparent floating icon to help the player understand the mechanics visually.

So I went about creating the icons first and foremost, it came in many different forms but I settled mostly around this design with a few tweaks.

Temple_Raid_ROCK.mp4

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Synoptic: Filling out the tutorial room.


It’s coming to the end of week 5 and we’re now in full control of our slippery slide from last week. With the burn down chart completed and updated, development can now go into full swing; lets start with Unity and all of its bits and bob’s.

Firstly, we now have a working mechanic that opens the door when the button comes on collision with another object such as a ball (that was actually set specifically). This was used by the animator window which I’m yet to understand as I needed some assistance coming into this entirely new tool.

It works by having an animation made to a specific object then, placing it within the animator depending on when you want said animation to occur or what you want it to be played in connection with or have connections for that matter.

Animator page
Animator showing open and closed states

I then proceeded to start the code with the help of the tutor as I had no idea how to link the animator and a C# script together. And this was the final outcome…

Ball_Trigger
Pressure activated door.

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Lighting in video games (Unity)

This is partially linked in with the project that I’m working on in college, and its to do with the lighting.

Now other than, animations, textures, sfx etc. It’s nice to take into consideration lighting because it can drive the mood equivalently to other branches of aesthetics. I have some examples of what I mean and some technical how to’s, so let’s get started.

Lighting in my opinion can be done at the beginning of development during the blocking process to get a feel of how the game will look with lighting and as a positional placeholder in case you may want to edit lighting further or later into development.

Or leave lighting till later in the midst of development therefore you may get a sense of how it may affect textures or the idea of getting other assets out-of-the-way first such as environmental assets, scripting A.k.a ‘making the game work first’.

You choose…

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My idea for my synoptic project ‘What if?’

What if you could do something, say something count back the hours, days even years to change something or do something… you wonder how it would have changed your life for the better or worse, we’re humans it’s in our nature to think ‘what if?’.

That’s the idea if my project and how to present it … well take Pixar’s Paperman for example. A perfect mix of both 3D and classic 2D we all know and love.

It tell a story of a man and a woman, two completely random strangers who have met each other through a mere accident… and because of that they seemed to have emotionally bonded to each other simply through a piece of paper. Here is the short film below if you haven’t already seen it yet…

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