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Author Topic: TMC's Space Ranger Dev Diary  (Read 133827 times)
fog
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2007, 12:55:39 PM »

Well, i've been umming and arrhing about this barbarian model.  He does look really cool, slick animation ect, but i'm not really keen on a hack and slash type of game.  Would limit the game style also. 

I'm more inclined to go for a halo style marine type of character that can shoot.

The current scenario i'm thinking of, is that the player crash lands his spaceship on an alien world, and has to travel about, exploring, collecting stuff to enable repair of his ship, or to find another way to leave the planet.

This opens up the game to all sorts of possibilities.  Graphics wise, it means i can use sci fi and fantasy stylle graphics, whereas the barbarian really is only suited to a fantasy type enviroment.
Just based on my own method of working, have you thought about approaching it from the other direction?  That is to say forgetting about what style of model you will use, any background story or scenario, and just concentrating on devloping the gameplay?  Then based on how the gameplay develops make your decision about your main character based on that?

While it's easier to visualise with a proper character in there, as soon as you do that you effectively limit your gameplay option as you discard potentially good gameplay ideas simply because they don't fit with the character you're now tied to.  Especially on a game like this where your design doc is just a basic idea and your development process is going to be fluid while you decide what works and what doesn't.

The only thing I really need to have in place during development is a good tune.  Somehow that helps me get the pacing of the game right.
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T_M_C
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2007, 10:52:30 AM »

Yeh, those are good comments.

I have actually worked like that before.  But for this game, it's really all about the main character.  I have a pretty clear idea of what i want to achieve, give or take and feel at this stage i need to get the main character right for the rest of the game to follow on from that.

Just my way of doing things really.

You never know, i may end up doing it your suggested way after all, have to see how it goes.


So, what did i do yesterday.
Well, yesterday was a rather frustrating day.  I found an old Unreal character, that looked really good, dug out aload of old motion capture files and started to animate him.

All looked pretty good in 3ds max, and i rendered out some running animations.  Max allows renders to have an alpha layer too, so thats all good news.

Anyway, once in game, he didn't really look that good, so i've ditched him for now.

Had another model, from Arteria.  He's actually much better.  But i only have him in X format with animations and can't load him into poser or max for renders.  Grrrrr.
So, unless i want to rig him myself in max, he's unusable at the moment.  And the poser renderer makes him look really cool, when i loaded him in as a single 3ds model.
So, i think today will be spent looking for various plugins.
I do have an X file exporter for max, but not an importer.  Sods law.

Tweaked the editor again, this is an ongoing process, as new features suggest themselves.

Also found a slight bug in the ladder code.  Grrr x 2.  So, i need to revisit that code to get it working properly.  I think i've come up with a new system.

Added a background planet to the current test level too.  Looks sweet behind the scrolling clouds.

Stay tuned.

TMC
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fog
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2007, 12:11:17 PM »

I have actually worked like that before.  But for this game, it's really all about the main character.  I have a pretty clear idea of what i want to achieve, give or take and feel at this stage i need to get the main character right for the rest of the game to follow on from that.

Just my way of doing things really.
Yeah I can appreciate that.  Luckily my "main character" is always the same white circle so I don't have that problem. Smiley (It's making a return in Tension too kids....about time "it" had a name.)

Added a background planet to the current test level too.  Looks sweet behind the scrolling clouds.
Just a though to complicate things.  Have you thought about making the parallax layers actually part of the level?  Keep the essentially 2D gameplay but at certain locations the player can go into the screen and the next layer of background. This one then becomes solid and the previous layer, which is now in the foreground, semi-transparent.

It shouldn't complicate things too much coding wise but would allow for a more believable world and some interesting puzzles.
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2007, 05:39:01 PM »

Quote
about time "it" had a name
Sam Wyatt Circle?

Quote
Have you thought about making the parallax layers actually part of the level?
I played that before, don't know anymore which game, (I think Jazz Jack Rabbit) but that's very cool and opens many possibilities.
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2007, 08:06:43 PM »

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about time "it" had a name
Sam Wyatt Circle?
Explain please? Smiley

Anyhoo way too long for a Binary Zoo name.  We only do one word titles  Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2007, 08:44:21 PM »

Sam Wyatt Circle <= "Luckily my "main character" is always the same white circle"
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TheKhakinator
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« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2007, 10:24:56 AM »

I have actually worked like that before.  But for this game, it's really all about the main character.  I have a pretty clear idea of what i want to achieve, give or take and feel at this stage i need to get the main character right for the rest of the game to follow on from that.

Just my way of doing things really.
Yeah I can appreciate that.  Luckily my "main character" is always the same white circle so I don't have that problem. Smiley (It's making a return in Tension too kids....about time "it" had a name.)

Added a background planet to the current test level too.  Looks sweet behind the scrolling clouds.
Just a though to complicate things.  Have you thought about making the parallax layers actually part of the level?  Keep the essentially 2D gameplay but at certain locations the player can go into the screen and the next layer of background. This one then becomes solid and the previous layer, which is now in the foreground, semi-transparent.

It shouldn't complicate things too much coding wise but would allow for a more believable world and some interesting puzzles.
Paper Mario 2 had that move-into-the-background thing I think. I know that some 2D platformers have anyway. Oh, perhaps it was Donkey Kong Country...

You could just call it White Circle, WC for short, and then people will come up with other fitting acronyms with that, like Water Closet. It'd be kinda like the BFG.
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« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2007, 10:31:14 AM »

Quote
Just a though to complicate things.  Have you thought about making the parallax layers actually part of the level?  Keep the essentially 2D gameplay but at certain locations the player can go into the screen and the next layer of background. This one then becomes solid and the previous layer, which is now in the foreground, semi-transparent.

Thats actually a really cool idea Grin

I did plan on having the character walk into and out of the screen, but planned on loading in new levels when that happened.

I'll have to think about it, as the layers which are further away are smaller.

Now thats got me thinking.



Yesterday, saw me revisit the ladders code.
I thought up an easier way of doing things, and it resulted in me taking out code, instead of adding some.  Thought up a different method of ladder and floor placement, and it's alot better now.  Much easier.  Smiley

Spent the rest of the day editing various graphics, adding alpha layers, cropping images and generally tidying things up.  Also blurred the foreground images.  Just enough to lesson their appearence.  First attempt at it was over the top and made them almost invisible.

This morning i thought up a way to add an option to each image, to make it move.  This means, that not only can i aimate and rotate background images, but i should also be able to make them move too.

This brings up the possibilities of having say, spaceships in the background, fly past, or a flock of brids flying by, the moon scrolling across the sky ect.  A small effect but should allow alot of scope for making interesting backgrounds.

Should be pretty easy to implement.  Famous last words.   Shocked

I've also decided to have a go a rigging that arteria marine space man model.  I've had a go at rigging before, and it wasn't too succesfull, but i've got my mits on some tutorial videos and it all seems quite straight forward.  Wish me luck.

Rigging, for anyone who doesnt know, is the process of implementing a skeleton structure, inside a 3d character model.  When this skeleton is animated via animation data, like motion capture, the 3d character mesh deforms and bends with it.

Very clever stuff.  Smiley

So, another busy day ahead.

TMC


P.S.  Loved paper mario.   Cheesy
« Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 10:43:54 AM by The_Masked_Coder » Logged
TheKhakinator
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« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2007, 11:04:42 AM »

I taught myself rigging from the internet. Was fun. The animation is crap and the voices are drowned out by the music and the modelling terrible. But it was fun to make (was for a multimedia project, everyone else used Bryce 5, I used Max 2.5, and 3.)
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lp_8x1QtR8[/youtube]
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« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2007, 11:58:54 AM »

I taught myself rigging from the internet. Was fun. The animation is crap and the voices are drowned out by the music and the modelling terrible. But it was fun to make (was for a multimedia project, everyone else used Bryce 5, I used Max 2.5, and 3.)
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lp_8x1QtR8[/youtube]
Ha ha. Love the disclaimer at the end Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2007, 10:28:29 AM »

Cool, good for you mate.

I have new respect for modellers and animators.

Yesterdays effort didn't go too bad, considering i'm a newbie at rigging.

I got the model all rigged up, took ages, using the physique modifer in max.

But, the end result left alot to be desired.  I loaded in some motion capture data and had him running about and jumping ect, but the mesh was distorting quite alot.
It's a very fiddly business rigging.  Some damn vertices were a nightmare to select and deselect.   Shocked

So, he's basically half finished at the moment.

Anyway, as a result, i've dug my credit card out today and bought a new character mesh from turbo squid.  Looks really cool.  I'll let you know how he turns out.

I've got the background image movement code in there and working now.  Looks really really cool, even if i say so myself.  I've now got, layered clouds slowly drifting across the sky as well as a rising and setting moon.

The code is only half finished, but the result so far more than justifies the extra work.  That editor is just growing and growing.

Today see's me continue coding on the movement routines, modifying the load/save/ delete image data to take care of the new additional movement data for each image.  And i'll be rendering some new character images.  Fingers crossed, as that new model cost me and arm and a leg.   Shocked

Plenty to get on with.

TMC
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« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2007, 02:46:24 PM »

rigging is easy to do, hard to master. And sometimes, no matter what you do the model is just not going to look good. Fixing distortion problems involves changing the algorithm used to distort the mesh and weighting vertices. and man, that's pain in the ass to do manually. In lightwave though you could generate these smooth weight maps quite easily which helped a lot.

speaking of rigging attempts, I'm sure you have seen my giraffe animation. But you haven't seen this:
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UJ-bkrAuwE[/youtube]
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« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2007, 06:01:13 PM »

Love those.   Smiley You can handle our TV advertising campaign  Tongue
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« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2007, 10:20:58 AM »

Quote
rigging is easy to do, hard to master. And sometimes, no matter what you do the model is just not going to look good.

Oh, yeh, i totaly agree.

Max has several rigging options, an old physique modifier and a new skin modifer.  I have tried both, with equally bad results, lol.  Well, i do consider myself a coder first and not an artist.  The skin modifier uses envelopes, to weight verticies based on distance to the bone, whereas the physique modifier seems to just link verticies directly to the bone. 
Dabbling with modelers is really out of necessity as i find myself editing alot of models instead of creating them.

Unfortunately at the moment, i'm limited to using a public computer for net access, as i've recently moved address and your links don't show up.  Grrrr !


Well, yesterdays purchased model, turned out great.  Spent all of yesterday setting up and rendering animations.  Quite a time consuming business but the end results are looking good.  The new model is a quake / unreal type of Marine, with a BIG GUN  Grin

This morning was a bit bizarre.

Decided to have an early morning coding session to finish off the new movement routines, but i couldn't open up my source code in the ide.   Shocked
Mild panic ensued, but i got it working again, after importing and exporting the source through various editors until the default ide accepted it.  Wierd is not the word for it.  I could rename the source to a text file, copy and paste it into the ide and compile and run it.  But would it load it, Nope, just kept resseting the ide.
I've been using the default max ide but think it's about time i changed over to a 3rd party one.  Good job i'm obsessive about back ups though. Smiley

Currently, reformatting my pc.  I do this on average about once every 2-3 months.  Keeps a clean system for development.  After a while, when the hard drive starts to fill up and slow down i find it neccesary to reformat.  So, out comes the win 98 set up disk, fdisk, and a reformat and then to reinstall xp.

Today i want to finish off the movement code, as i don't want to forget what i was doing and have to relearn what i've already coded.

Such is the life of an Indie.   Grin

TMC


« Last Edit: October 13, 2007, 10:22:44 AM by The_Masked_Coder » Logged
fog
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« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2007, 10:57:31 AM »

Decided to have an early morning coding session to finish off the new movement routines, but i couldn't open up my source code in the ide.   Shocked
Mild panic ensued, but i got it working again, after importing and exporting the source through various editors until the default ide accepted it.  Wierd is not the word for it.  I could rename the source to a text file, copy and paste it into the ide and compile and run it.  But would it load it, Nope, just kept resseting the ide.
I've been using the default max ide but think it's about time i changed over to a 3rd party one.  Good job i'm obsessive about back ups though. Smiley
lol.  Yeah there's nothing like the panic that sets in when you think you've lost a load of code.  If ever I really lost a big chunk of code I couldn't bring myself to write it again so I'd be starting a new project.

Currently, reformatting my pc.  I do this on average about once every 2-3 months.  Keeps a clean system for development.  After a while, when the hard drive starts to fill up and slow down i find it neccesary to reformat.  So, out comes the win 98 set up disk, fdisk, and a reformat and then to reinstall xp.
Man either that's mildly obsessive or I need to reformat. Smiley  My trusty old desktop hasn't been reformatted since I got it 6 years ago!
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