Reflection On Creative Solutions

Creative Solutions has been an amazing opportunity to work with like minded people from class, we mixed perfectly and spread out the work load evenly! I felt my animating has improved since playing with these rigs and it is a contribution to why i chose to work on animating for my personal project for the other half of the module.

Projects dont always go swimmingly, at some point down the road we seemed to lose contact with our client causing the project to stop and float for a bit – we could had really used his feedback and guidance for the game to truly take shape but like i said in another post, i dont blame the client – shit sadly happens and perhaps he had stuff on his plate that needed his attention during the module – just hope all is well on his part~

 

No Contact From The Client

We have not heard anything from our client in a good while now, advised to reach out for him one of our team mates had sent an email regarding the next meeting we will have but to have no reply sadly – unsure what to do we asked our lecture and we were advised to keep trying.

I was concerned with the project at this point however i do acknowledge our client is running a business at the end of the day, his company is far more important than a university project i guess – though i hope we hear from him soon~

Animating the Characters!

When it came to animating our now rigged characters we were assigned to animate the characters in the shopping cart for Billy Goat Entertain although we were not told specific animations which made the job a little harder to guess what would be appropriate for the game considering we had only known that it is a basic A to B objective video game – with that i conducted a list on what we could potentially animate to go into Unity.

  • Idle Animations (For when the player is not making the character move)
  • Out of cart idle animations (For the character select menu)
  • Jumping animation (Maybe if the developers introduce a ramp gimmick in future)
  • Victory animation (For when the player completes the level)

These are the only things i could think that would go with what the game offers at this point an time and without guidance from our client there ran the risk of creating wasted work while it would prove beneficial for the showreel, it would not have use for the company (Yet?). After talking through this with the team we decided on the tasks on hand:

Myself will animate and report any bugs along the way.

Jakub will be continuing to refine the rig as i report any problems to him

John and Claire will be working on building the levels with appropriate prob assets though anyone of us will be more than happy to spread the work load along the way!

When playing with the rig i had found that the hands rig was not bonded compared to the rest of the body and reported this to Jakub immediately – i found it helpful that he was always easily contacted to lend a hand when i had a problem, truly a great asset to the team considering the work he put into the rig itself. He had resolved this problem ASAP and got me on the road to animating again (Thanks Jakub x).

The facial rig setup was so fun to play with, Jakub did tremendous with Claire’s base model! Only problem i had with the face setup was the upper lip how the middle seemed stuck when the mouth opened although in hindsight im sure a simple paint over with the skin weight tool would have fixed that.

Here are some points about the facial rig i had jotted down in a book:

  • Fun to play with
  • Easy and manageable for animation
  • Works with the style of the character
  • Could use a little more refinement in the weights
  • Perhaps unlock some of the controls to open up possible emotions

Potential Tutorials For Myself In Future (Free Time Stuff)

 


 

This was my first attempt at animating the rig properly after playing around with it for about thirty minutes or so, for this test i decided to follow SEGA’S mascot Sonic The Hedgehog and that iconic foot tapping he does when the player has not used the controller in a while (Usually around 10-30 seconds), Operating the rig into the key poses was easy enough and proved simple other than the FK joints in the arm causing some extra key frames being needed to avoid the character contorting or clipping through itself – the extra frames proved beneficial in the end as it added the weight i wanted when the crossed arms rested on the characters body.

For the Gothic girl rig when Jakub had transferred the skeleton over and had painted the weights for her i decided to do two animations with her which would blend into one another in game if it were to be used. I wanted to give her the intimidation appeal that goths typically are given in pop media such as Sam from Danny Phantom.

I had fun trying out animation her although i feel the animation was a tad slow so i simply sped it up by selecting all the frames on the graph editor then scaling them closer to each other giving it the necessary speed it needed for improvement, i was quite proud with the sense of weight she had when going back into her idle pose key frame though!

Looking at the teen character i wanted his idle animation to have a cool casual approach so again, i looked at Sonic The Hedgehog cause hey, he’s cool – to me. Making idle animations are easy as they come so i wont go into this too deep but simple rotations of the joints made this subtle loop animation.

Look at that cool guy! ^

I was asked to get my intended trolley animations done before doing animations such as idle so i chose one of our finished rigged models which ended up being the mum character and i wanted to do a idle animation on the Trolley as well as a jump animation as if she had went over a ramp in a level.

When i got feedback everyone was happy enough with her animation although she was too slow and her air time dragged out a little, so the speed was too slow essentially – an easy enough fix for the character and when i look back on it now i see how the animation dragging out too long could be a problem for the in game mechanics and physics for the environment!

After fixing up the animation i feel this version is better than the last, she could defiantly be shorter with her air time although this can easily be altered with the time editor on Maya.

Every cart themed game has a victory animation at the end of the level, look at Mario cart, Crash racing or Sonic all stars – all characters have a victory animation when completing the level, i only thought it would be natural for the characters in Super Market Shriek would react when completing the chaotic levels! This would only be a pitch for the client though, i am unsure on his views on this sort of thing for the game – i am completely unsure what he would like animation wise although here is hoping we get that much needed meeting during the week~

Here are all the animations i wish to pitch ideas to our client, the best thing about these animations with these particular models is that they can be recycled with one another for efficiency in the base game! I hope they prove useful for the team and that the animations are decent for the game.

 

 

Environment Ideas For The Game

When it came to the base game it will be based inside a supermarket setting, so with that we also pitched the possibility of having other themes such as space, fantasy, history ect… where as myself and another team mate felt we should had stuck with the base game as it was already under developed as it was, we did not need to add to our schedule whenever we could spend the extra time making the base game more appealing and polished. We ended up doing another theme.

With that i started looking into the base game first.

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We could have a level that leads like the shoppers journey, starting off at the beginning of the store, the player will have to navigate through the isles and avoid potential dangers that will knock them of the edge of the map or cart them off the trolley causing a GAME OVER window. We could even have a different game mode that the player will have to collect particular items in the store from a list and get them to the end of the level in one piece, this would add some diversity rather just the A to B objective game play.

There could be another level that reflects the ending of the shoppers journey when they leave the store and have to find their car in the big busy parking area that has moving traffic that can knock over the trolley and causing the game to lose, though these are just spit balls at the moment – i will forward these to Clair and John who’re working on level design. I am just helping with concepts until i get the models from Jakub so i can animate

designjjjlevlweeeee

One of the popular alternative themes for the game was a medieval market, i went ahead to do some basic 3D modelling and paint over them on Photoshop, we were shown this sort of technique from Alec in one of our lectures during this semester so i thought id give it a try and see what i thought and maybe this technique would work better whenever working on something like a short that requires key pose drawings in the scene to help with animating, i seen something like that in Blizzards breakdown on their Overwatch shorts once!

 

Game Development – The Character Development

Will wanted us to to make the character look appealing in a diverse way so anyone could pick up the game and be able to click with that one character that catches their eye, with our game being a supermarket themed game we decided to list of people you would normally see in a store surrounding.

  • Colleagues
  • Managers
  • Cleaners
  • Parents
  • Children – Toddlers – Babies
  • ¬†Teenagers
  • Groups of friends
  • Guide dogs
  • Elderly

We also talked about what kind of shopper stereotypes we could add in, i found this video that would probably explain what i mean by stereotypes for shoppers or better put – what retail workers have to put up with from the general public.

As well as those ideas, we also thought it would be cool to also throw in some more crazy ideas such as a medieval market or a space odyssey!

Although when we brought this up to Will, as much as he liked the spontaneous ideas that we as a group spewed at him, it was considered best to go with a simpler approach to optimise game play rather than make a stunning piece of work that plays bad. When thinking about this as a gamer i do see where Will is coming from, we see so many beautiful games nowadays that play horrid (Sonic 06 im looking at you).

So with that we decided to get down and start mucking around with different styles for Will so that he would have a variety of pieces to look and choose from.

Character inspiration mood board-

From our collaborative research on some character designs, myself and Claire had found these sort of styles interesting enough to mix with the inspired style the company had originally went with. Keeping in mind we know the character will need to fit inside a trolley cart in the game so we figured a Pixar stylised approach may be the best direction forward to achieve what Will wanted (simple with arms) – i also threw in Adventure Time in the mixture as the anatomy of the characters would be great for the flexible nature that the game may need when it comes to other game mechanics such as picking up items or having more characters in a trolley cart.

Some of my favourite attempts with the character design side of the module, i wanted to mix the various inspiration we had found and implicate it into some sketches – my group were happy enough with these designs and Will was particularly interested with the anatomy of these images below;

He commented on the anatomy, he quite like the unrealistic proportions of the “characters” (One on the left is totally not an attempt of me…) on how the forearms were beefy compared to the more slender legs – i was surprised he would had even acknowledged these as its my typical style of drawing human characters; he also likes how the male on the left was a man but still have feminine appeal to him – i do tend to make my male characters more girly….

When it came down to the final decision on how our characters would look, we as a team decided to stick with the more cartoon style which would resemble a mixture of adventure time and Pixar anatomy – i am unsure if i liked the direction of this as it seemed too simplistic or that it was dived into too quickly without considering other alternatives though i digress, we stuck with these little guys!

When it came to modelling the characters on Maya, Claire was pretty eager to create a base design which we were happy enough to allow her to fire on and do that whilst i continued to think of simplistic designs to make all the characters different.

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Will really liked this design sheet as it stayed true to what he wanted, various character designs with vibrant colours.

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Claire did such a fabulous job on this base model! Go Claire!

base1

When Claire was done and happy with the model, she had given Jakub and myself a base to add various clothing, haircuts and optional accessories to her created mesh.

Unsure on how to model clothing onto a character on Maya, i had to look into a easy enough method that would help me produce the target amount of designs that were needed for the next meeting. I came across a very talented 3D artist¬†who goes by the name “Maya Sensei” i watched the above tutorial to get an insight on how i could make my clothing designs.

Following the tutorial was easy enough and i manged to create my first design in 3D, i wanted to make a hipster like character with a vibrant apparel and as an added accessory I gave him cute little pixel geek glasses. I found the process fun and it proved very effective for this type of model, the reason why i did not go into much detail for this is because the camera of the game will obviously be far away from the character thus making any detail modelling go to waste as well as the time spent doing the work – i feel like we should let the image textures do the talking for detail although everyone in the team has their own workflow!

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Jakubs designs came out beautifully (they are below) i especially like the little guy with the cap, very cute!

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Jakubs Models

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Jakubs Models

When we presented our designs to Will he was very pleased with the results and the amount of individual characters we had created and especially loved how efficient we had been thinking when it comes to rigging the characters that we just have to copy over the rig, bind it and paint according to what that characters clothing and hair is like. Will wanted us to make sure he had a selection of characters for the game and we believe this would be more than enough for the client to get started for SuperMarket Shriek.

Looking over these designs its pretty cool how each of the character silhouettes are unique to each of their own, its important that the texturing adds to the appeal of each design next!

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Thanks to Claire for helping me out with getting the hang of texturing, even though this is my second year in animation i was not given to best opportunity to practise my texturing until now and as it may had been daunting at first, its not all that bad to be honest! After UV’ing my clothing on some of my favourite designs i applied some basic stripe designs via Photoshop and just applying them over the UV map then porting it into Maya. I also wanted to add the Billy Goat logo into one of the T-Shirt designs simply because other companies such as Microsoft to it in their Avatar scheme.

As for the duplicates of the hipster character you will notice that one of them have pretty detailed hair compared to the other and that is because as i was researching in my spare time i had came across a planar technique known as “Poly hair”

In this video walkthrough, we are going to take a look at creating polygon hair for game characters. I’m going to showcase my workflow for creating polygon hair for my character, “Mr. Grumples.” I used this technique for the Mr.Grumples demo asset I created for GDC 2013.

In the video, I use Maya 2014, but the technique can be used in any 3D application. Although the tutorial uses Maya to demonstrate the technique, it’s not Maya specific and any 3D app can be used.

Modeling and Texturing

This video will show how to model a simple band of polygons that can then be distributed across the surface of the head of a character. We will then look at painting a hair texture with opacity to map to the polygon bands. We will also look at creating a specular map for the hair.

– UnityCookie YouTube Channel

Check me out sometime!
https://gumroad.com/masterxeon1001
http://www.patreon.com/masterxeon1001
https://masterxeon1001.com/
https://www.artstation.com/artist/jer…

How do they make that cool polygon hair? I have my way of doing it but I feel there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I go over some of my favorite features during this unnarrated timelapse. Enjoy and subscribe.

I love this technique so much! Efficient and nice in detail, you can take this in whatever style you want whether it be a cartoon, realism or anime – the boundaries are endless.

With this hipster character i decided to give her some poly hair and the results were pretty interesting personally, i really think she looks lovely with this design though the team thought it would be best to keep the hair basic which is fine – im more happy i got the chance to try this out and come out having a good idea how i could add hair to characters in the future, i did not want to apply a texture to the planes for the character as i felt it would take away the solid block colour appeal we are aiming for the game.

I believe now that we have our characters fleshed out that Jakub will now take the time to rig and skin weight the characters, i will be ready to animate as soon as they’re ready and report any issues that may or may not come with the rigs.

Game Development With Billy Goat Entertainment

We have been put into our group projects for the second semester now and i have been assigned with Billy Goat Entertainment who are better known for their recent release of Her Majesties Spiffing.

 

Playing the game myself over the Christmas holidays i found the game to be very witty and full of the usual British banter we have among friends! Short and sweet game.

During the first week when we met our company boss, Will – very nice chap and was alot more informal than i original thought he was going to be (which im happy for). We sat down and started talking about a game his company had been working on for a 48 hour game jam recently and their theme on the brief was “waves”, thinking out of the box than the generic thought on waves – Wills team went down the path for sound waves for their game.

The game was made for a global game jam which gave the time of 48 hours for studios to create a game based around waves, like i said prior, Billy Goat entertainment decided to base the game around sound waves to in hope give it some authenticity from what the other teams had made.

I like the concept of the game and after trying it out i was happy to find out there was a option to play with controller rather than scream down a mic, not my cup of tea to shout.

Would you like to PLAY THE GAME?

The objective of the game is to get from point A to B without “dying” to the obstructions that are within the level such as pits, swinging hammers or pushers.