Project Archer Update 1

Project Archer is well underway, I meant to post this update mid-week but I got caught up with a few other projects and this post went unfinished for a few days. Basically at work I am taking on the role of programming, in addition to already being the only 3D artist, a 2D artist, and tech artist, and I had to rework Astro Joust’s character controller to fix bugs and make it a bit easier to manage. It’s actually be quite fun since I’ve been more of a programmer the last couple of years in my personal work anyways.

Now for a few tech updates revolving Project Archer:

1. Unity 2018.1 is here, and it is beautiful!

Project Archer will be created using Unity’s new High Definition template for their 2018 release cycle. This will allow me to do less startup work modifying the render settings, and post processing profiles in unity. Basically I get a great render out of the box.

2. Unity acquired the ProCore team last week. 

ProBuilder and PolyBrush are now free! Previously ProBuilder was known as one of the best level editing tools on the Unity Asset store, and PolyBrush is an amazing Vertex Painting and Mesh Sculpting tool for unity. Both of these tools will save me an amazing amount of time.

I’ve also been incorporating Cinemachine into the project and getting that to work. So far in Unity everything looks like this. (I am currently using the Standard Assets Character Controller as mine isn’t much to show off at the moment.)

That’s all I’ve got for this post. The other half deals with the actual level planning, but It isn’t ready so I am planning on getting that done Tuesday.

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Project Archer

Tomb Raider - Lara Getting Ready to Take a Shot
Tomb Raider

A couple of weeks ago I reached out to Jason Connel on twitter asking for some advice:

And I received a few replies from Jason, Andrew Wrisch and the Polycount twitter that basically came down to this:

So that’s what I am going to do. Using the bulk of my skill set in Environment Art, Game Design, Level Design, and Programming I am going to create a single level for a game that doesn’t exist.

The Last of Us - Promo Art
The Last of Us

This game will be mainly inspired by games such as Tomb Raider, Uncharted, and The Last of Us. The main playable character will be an archer, and the setting is an urban environment post AI apocalypse. I really like the idea of going a player trying to find supplies or survive by figuring out some platforming puzzles in an environment torn to shreds and littered with large derelict machines. Of course there would still be active AI machines as well, so stealth comes into the mix.

The first part of this project will be working on the mechanics in Unity3D, along with sketching and blocking out the level to showcase everything. That is what I will be starting on this week.

Goals for this week:

  • Character Movement
    • Walking
    • Sprinting
    • Jumping
    • Colliding with Walls
  • Camera
    • Moving with Player
    • Moving around Player
    • Blending between States
  • Level Design
    • Annotated Map
    • List of Props/Mechanics
    • Initial Blockout
    • Swappable Color Palette Texture for Grayboxing
  • Environment Design
    • Basic Narrative of the Scene
      • What happened here?
      • What is currently happening here?
      • Who Lives Here?
      • etc.



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New Site

After 3 long years I finally updated my portfolio site. It has been a long time coming, especially since my focus in game development has shifted over the past few years from Environment Art to Programming/Scripting. I still love both, but find that programming satisfies my problem solving craving much better than art does.

Still some work to do, I would like to populate my Github with some recent work and get a link going to that.
My resume also needs a big overhaul as I find it pretty dull to look at and not the best at conveying information.

If you want to check it out just go here

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CAGD 493 – WEEK 12

Between this week and last I barely had time for my project. Luckily I was able to squeeze out a redesign of my base sprite for punch. As I mentioned before I thought a lot of his original design was muddy when translated into pixel art, So I was able to finally rework it and hope to start working out a simple pose and possibly some quick animation for him in a sprite sheet.

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CAGD 493 – WEEK 11

Unfortunately I was unable to get anything done specifically for the class this week. Right now at work I am under a crunch. Currently I do not have approval to share any specifics on the work I am doing, I will see if I can post something later this week.

The basics for the system is to use Sculpted Character busts for a portrait system of a game. The sculpted busts, along with low poly meshes will be fed into a substance designer node network to randomize texture patterns, what high poly bakes to use, and colors. This system is then fed into a unity script that uses seeds to randomize the textures as well as low poly meshes to create different clothing, armor and accessories for the characters.

All of this will be fed into multiple characters in game, using secondary cameras rendering to portrait areas on a player card.

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CAGD 493 – WEEK 9

Finally! This week felt great, I actually created something, or the first draft of something. I went back through my thought process last week and realized I need to start more basic. I attempted to draw and pose Punch all in one go, when really I should have just tried to draw him and get a feel for how his forms are created. Now my goal is to rework this sprite so that the actual size, shown in the preview window, doesn’t appear so muddy.

As for other artistic endeavors I did a lot of miniature painting this week. Really liking the progression I have been making with it. I ordered and already received the 2nd, and last kit, after these I am on my own. The first kit focused on setting up a base color, using washes, then dry-brushing to get a look, and the 3 finalized minis are what use that concept. The new kit is all about layering and glazing to build up great shading on minis.


And for the sculpting update, I spent the week waiting on shipments to setup a hotbox to soften my clay. Using the oven or microwave was a bit tedious and I wanted a more reliable method, so I googled around and found this:

I have all the parts as of yesterday, I just need to build it as the CGCookie tutorial subscription expires in 3 week.s

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CAGD 493 – WEEK 8

Had a realization this week. I am not good enough to make a character yet. I tried for a few hours to sketch out Punch, but ended up getting frustrated near the end and just making a sloppy mess in a desperate attempt to make anything work and build off of it.

I think the concept is just a bit beyond me at the moment and I need to focus on smaller shapes. So after hours wasted on that end I decided to focus on basic geometric shapes as I realized I had never even tried this yet. I setup a canvas of 32×32 and started with flat 2D shapes. Then went back and recreated their 3D counterparts.

I’ll be using these as base shapes in my material study project, but I also plan on expanding these alone for shape studies now as well since I have identified that as a weakpoint in my pixel art knowledge.


In terms of other art skill progression I learned this week, I started learning two hobbies I have been meaning to get into for a very long time. Mainly because I had some shipments and preorders all come in at once.

The first new skill I started working on was Miniature Painting. I haven’t done any painting in a long time and I have always meant to learn how to paint miniatures. So I bought a kit that comes with 3 figures and a bunch of paints to sort of get into miniature painting. Most of this was to prep for when I get my GKR: Heavy Hitters box from Weta. I backed their project on kickstarter at the level that I should get a ton of unpainted mech miniatures to have fun with.

The next thing to work on are these figures, but first I have to reform one of their swords.

The second hobby I started, then had to put down for a bit, was sculpting. I bought a bunch of stuff for this a long time ago but was never able to get into it. Then a couple months ago I saw this book on preorder so I nabbed it. 

THEN CGCookie started their Sculpt Box Offer and I bought that. 

I am currently working on CG Cookie’s first little tutorial monster, but I have to wait for a heatlamp to come in as I have no real reliable way to heat up and soften my clay. 

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CAGD 493 – Week 7

Over Spring Break I tried to tackle Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of Pixel Logic, and it is a good thing because Chapter 3 didn’t really have many exercises, the problem is that neither did Chapter 4.

Chapter 3 was mainly about color, the issue with attempting to create an exercise is that in order to create a color palette I need something to work on. It did have a lot of good information though that works in addition to common color theory.

For example when working on shadows it suggested instead of just value shifting (moving towards black) you should hue shift as well, either towards violet or towards yellow. Hue shifting towards violet is much more common due to it being the darkest hue and yellow is the lightest.

It also talked about shifting saturation when playing with shadows and light values. Playing with dull highlights/vibrant shadows, vibrant highlights/dull shadows, and other combinations like pure flat, can give you many options when creating sprites.

The last good bit of information it had was to use grey as a filler color since it blends towards the main colors complement. It helps a ton in different lighting settings. An example shown was a grey tree trunk using purple for accents in a night scene creates a brown looking color to the viewer.

Chapter 4 was all about sprite readability. Mainly talking and showing examples of how to work with detailing sprites in various sizes. Readability goes DOWN when a sprite gets smaller because you have less pixels to work with. I haven’t covered the second half of the chapter yet as it gives a lot of shape examples that I want to work though on my first pixel art.

Speaking of my first pixel art I finally have a goal to work on this week in terms of a portfolio piece.

I want to work on this character from Rocket Volley, a project I worked on 3 years ago in 3D. We had come up with some really cool character concepts and I want to see how I can flesh them out in 3D.

In addition to this I also wanted to start work on a compilation of material studies using this as an example. I will generate various material types to work on, or steal the ones shown here, and recreate them at various pixel sizes like 16×16 / 32×32 / 64×64


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CAGD 493 – WEEK 6

Anti-Aliasing sprites is really interesting… and hard. The main focus of the second chapter of Pixel Logic is Anti Aliasing and how/where to use it, if at all. The main argument against using AA comes down to a couple things, Art Style, Asset Timelines, and sprite size. But I am here to learn, so I have to use it while learning!

Again this week I had to make my own little exercises, mostly by copying examples in the chapters.

The first exercise I tried with this method was a failure and I quit part way through, basically I didn’t want to keep going with it as my replication wasn’t enhancing my knowledge of the subject. I was placing the pixels where the examples showed off, but I didn’t know why, and without the images there to go off of I would have been lost.

Luckily further into the chapter the Author starts talking about the actual rules for creating AA.

The first section talked about working you way up with simple straight lines (at any angle other that 90 degree increments they are jagged). So I created a straight line, along with one using a slight curve. The Author also talked about practicing with one color first before moving onto multiple.

The next exercise is a bit more advanced, it is about using AA to create better, smoother curves with your color tints. Your Convex curves follow a pattern of the curve center using lighting colors, while the outsides use darker, Concave follows the opposite rule. The Darker colors will push into whatever you’re curving (the object with similar tones, while the lighter colors will expand it, helping create more gradual curves out of less pixels.

The bulk of the rest of the chapter was a bit more of a DON’Ts section with examples of what not to do, things like banding, where your AA has a similar thickness to your base shapes. Banding makes very blocky looking shapes and works against the goal of AA.

The next chapter is all about Color and I hope that very soon I will be able to start working on my own images, I plan to take some drawings or sketches and turn them into sprites as practice once I have enough knowledge.

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CAGD 493 – Week 5

Due to an unforeseen family emergency this semester I have to travel out of Chico frequently, which means I have a whole lot less time to be around my computer, a lot of that missing time is time I dedicated for this course. As a result I needed to figure out a secondary project that I could easily accomplish on my laptop, in much more sporadic work periods.

I order to keep on track with the course and not go down the easy route of programming (and not make Frank mad at me picking a programming project) I have decided to finally learn pixel art. It is a project I have been meaning to pick up, but never found much time to focus on it, and settled on waiting until after school to do. So for the weeks in which I cannot focus on a 3D modeling task I will instead be working on learning pixel art. Starting with the awesome series Pixel-Logic by Michael Azzi. It is an indie go-go campaign I backed years ago and so far has 6 out of 12 chapters complete.

This week I worked on chapters 0-1 of Pixel-Logic.

Chapter 0 is basically just an introduction talking about the differences of pixel art and other digital arts.

Chapter 1 focuses on the importance of line art. Unfortunately Pixel-Logic doesn’t provide any premade exercises to follow along with, so I tried to make up my own during the readings.

The first exercise I decided to do was cleaning up brush strokes to have better line art flow. The top row is my initial stroke while the bottom row is my cleanup.

The main idea behind cleaning line art is to follow a stair stepping pattern, moving from big to small and never mixing up pixel sizes unless you are trying to change the direction of a stroke.


The second exercise was based on a section where the author discuses different types of line art, one of the types is selective and they mention that the reader should study pokemon sprites for this style by breaking them down, so I took some of them and did that. You can see from the way the line art was done on the sprites that they really incorporated the lighting of the characters well.


Sorry they don’t scale, will have to find a better way to do that.


Next week my goal is to either do some 3D art on my character project, or if I cannot, work on 2-3 more chapters of pixel logic.

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