Month: April 2015

Week 13 – Tools n’ Mods n’ Games

The Abandoned School will be picked up on when classes are done, or possibly dead week. I want to go all out on that project and I just haven’t had the time I want on it.

Instead I have been working on a lot of projects that I can easily spend a half hour, hour, or so on at a time, and see a noticeable improvement.

1. Level Creator in Unity
Last week I had started on a level creator using unity’s editor scripting. After rethinking what I wanted the goal of this level creator to be I thought it would work out much better in play mode. Basically I want this to be an accessible tool to be used by modders or level designers. I want to cover some advanced features, while at the same time allowing people with little technical skill to draw out makes and generate them easily. The best way is to build this into its own executable that can be saved out and sent to unity or a game later on.

Main Features so far include a pixel drawer and a map generator. Neither are anywhere near feature complete but they will be the first two things I finish. After that I am going to work on more advanced features to add. Like selecting individual meshes and editing their properties or textures.

I also think it would be nice to put in a brush based system to lay out random props that don’t conform to a grid for more organic games.

Above is the current pixel drawer. Right now you can’t apply it to the map generate mode but it isn’t far off. Also I want to add some more controls for navigating the canvas and other things. Right now you can only use the middle mouse wheel to zoom-in and zoom-out.

Here is the current map generator screen. It has mimiced maya viewport controls since they are the ones I am most familiar with. Right now you can load in a map from its file location in your system. I want to look into doing a quick file browser type window. Right now a very temp object selection works, which will eventually bring up a object properties window on he right side so you can change parameters and other things. I also will be adding more customization into the left hand side like choosing which meshes go where based on colors.

2. The next thing I have been working on is Killing Floor 2. Not much to show here as I am just getting familiar with the game and current level design. Look out for more on this later as I want to create my own map and possibly multiple maps/mods later on.

3. The last thing I have been working on is modding torchlight 2.

This is something I will be teaching over summer, but I love the game and will probably be creating my own mods in this in the future as well.

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Week 12 – Level Generator

Abandoned School Post will be Sunday. Today I will be showing off the current progress on my level generator for unity.

Basically I wanted to be able to take small images and use a color ID like masking method make a game level editor out of it.

Right now what I have is this:

1. Take a small image using basic colors

2. Throw it into an editor window made in C# in unity that will parse through and pick out the colors.

3. Insert some game Objects and hit Generate

Right now that is all it does. The next step is to give it more customization options through the meshes itself. Such as having a generic “wall” game object that can change meshes based on what side it is on. Or a Props game object that randomly generates various props using the placement I give.

I want all of that exposed in editor scripts, along with lots of substance parameters on the textures of whatever meshes I use.

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Week 11 – Busy Week

Had way too much to do this week so I spent the time I did have towards lots of research of my current project and the next. I will post midweek (Wednesday) with actual model/texture updates on the project.

For now here are some things I found this week.

1. How to create your smoothness map for Unity 5 inside of substance painter from Wes McDermott

2. Super PNG, a plugin that promises to fix many of the issues found with Photoshop’s handling of PNG files. Haven’t used it yet as my use of photoshop has fallen off the last year or so, but I have some plans for something in photoshop soon, maybe i’ll try it out.

3. A video series on how to model various nuts/bolts by Mike Hermes. Which pairs very well together with Digital Tutors recent series on floaters.

4. The well known polycount user known as Earthquake, or Joe Wilson if you want his real name has a great thread on working with normal map bit depth.

5. Another post/question started by Earthquake, but solved by another user gives a great answer for anyone who wants to create an environment in UE4 to use as a cube map in something like marmoset.

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Week 10 – Abandoned School

A day late, but with much more content!

First, I decided my new project will be an abandoned school. This way I can mess around with tile flooring/walls, decaying areas, foliage, etc. Lots of fun stuff I either love to play with or stuff I have been meaning to get my hands on more (foliage). The image posted above shows off what I am currently playing around with in engine lighting wise. Because UE4 uses an eye adaption setting by default I’ve had some issue getting my lighting to be consistent between sessions in UE4.

This is the lighting in the scene without eye adaption.

And here it is with eye adaption.

Also the original image of this post is what the scene looked like when I opened UE4. The reason I think this is happening is because when I opened UE4 this session my camera was already inside the room. If I had flown out of the room with my camera and come back it would have probably ended up like the lighter image above. I am going to have to keep this in mind as I move forward because it is the best way to get lighting accuracy in dark areas. Our eyes adapt to the environment so having a room that you can barely see in makes little sense when there is more than enough light pouring in for our eyes to make things out with.

The current blockout is a bit further than this but is sitting in maya at the moment. I’ll post a screen shot of that later in this post. But for now I want to go over random discoveries this week in terms of other blogs/sources.

1. This week GDC updated the vault with all of the 2015 talk stuff. This means new free talks as well. I am still going over these, but my favorite so far was Ultimate Trim which went over some cool tools and methods for creating modular assets. I really like how they did the paint brush effect with vertex colors.

2. One of my favorite things this week was the release of the Substance Maya Toolset. Being able to bake everything inside of maya speeds up my work potentially a ton. I no longer have to swap between the programs to problem solve weird baking issues caused by mesh errors. I can handle all of my baking problems before switching programs.

3. Something else to note from this week. As I mentioned last week I have been spending some time recreating the character controller of my old game prototype LITTLEbit. One of the biggest helps with this has been the Math for Game Developers by Jorge Rodriguez on Youtube. One of my biggest issues back in the original controller was being limited by collision detection. My character could only go so fast. With the help of this series brushing up my vector math knowledge I was able to recreate the detection scripting and have so far been unable to break through walls with my character even if I am going 100 times faster than I ever intend it to go.

4. Another good resource I found this weeks is A Practical Guide on Normal Mapping for Games. I was hoping it would have a bit more in depth info on unsynced workflows but there is a ton of info in here that I wish I knew while starting out. I hope I am not breaking his request of not posing the guide without his permission by just posting to his polycount thread. If I am sorry.

As for that blockout, here I am. Going to play around wit the layout and small prop placement all weekend it seems. At the same time I will be listing off what I need to model/texture/etc. Hoping to have the floors and the walls started texturing by Monday.

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