Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Gigantic Log....

Ok so a lot to write about here. 2 weeks left *scream*. Yea so we finally got the lighting working really well, this is a screenshot from the realtime engine, looking really good so far. Had to mess around with numbers to set the lighting up for specular diffuse and occlusion. To use to fancy maya lighting which lets me just select a colour and brightness! Anyway you can see on this one it has a nice orangey light from the front, to give the lightbulb feel and a second blueish light from the back for this cold dark feel. Works really well contrasting each other, especially at side angles so you can see both lights.
The programmer managed to link everything up now so users can change clothing and textures etc. Also I uploaded more textures of the different outfits, for example below the nice green suit. Sticking to dull colours though. Tattoos turn on and off now as well.
Again just an example with the purple clothes. Tilted the camera up slightly also as I wanted the use to be 'looking down' on the character.
Had a bit of discussion about the buttons at the bottom of the design in the project supervisor meetings and I decided to scrap them and use them in another way. Wasnt feeling the UI to much there yet, was a bit messy and complex so I decided to redesign it slightly. As you can see its a bit more straight to the point, and is even more steampunkish. Will carry on adding extra detail into the background.
Quickly designed some Business cards and sent off for 200 of them. Pretty pleased with how they turned out. Nice and simple and showing my model well. Having trouble with the website at the moment, the hosting server isn't being cool so trying to get that fixed at the moment, fingers crossed ill have it ready in time.
Just the reverse side showing low poly.

The log... a lot to flip through but it just shows more back and forth with the programmer. Is a nice example of how things keep getting re-editted etc. Click and zoom to read properly.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Large Update...

Oh how time is ticking down very quickly... lots to show here though... If your reading the blog from down to up this section will be in the wrong order as confusing as that sounds.

So I discussed the editor with the programmer to see what could be done from the concept I posted earlier.Came up with a draft version which the programmer said would work quite well. I had to ensure that it was possible to get transparency into the engine, although you cant see it here theres a lot of tranparency involved in the UI. At the moment the buttons at the bottom seems to confuse people, it was meant to just be aesthetical but I may need to re-think them. After I got the go ahead from the programmer I did an update on the design:
Came up with a nice little logo design which I may use on other products such as the posters and the book which Ill talk more about shortly. Added a Start and Back button to the editor also, even though these buttons won't lead anywhere due to it just being a prototype it always helps to have them there.
Heres the actual engine running. 360 degree rotation and zoom working. You may notice that the sliders are missing here, thats because discussion with the programmer revealed that it might be more effort than its worth to add the sliders, but we'll see what happens. The lighting is still a strobe type light which Ill want changed as I think it would be better static, might try to persuade the programmer to add 2 lights or ill go down the baked lighting route. Ran some tests on some Uni machines too to make sure this will work at the degree show.Looks really nice from the back... well see when the UI is linked so we can actually change items. There are a few resolution issues at the moment, if you run this on a 16:10 screen it works perfectly, but if you run it on a 16:9 screen some of the buttons are a bit off. Going to try and make it all run full screen as well, mainly for degree short purposes.Nice feature where you can view the normals on the model, not for users obviously though!

Set up a DropBox recently as well, which is basically a cloud for storing and sharing files. It was too difficult sending files over hotmail, and was a bit stupid as well because you could only send 10mb files and the while editor is about 200mb... so yea... will post the exciting logs up here to show how were using it. Note: log changes appear every time someone uses the editor and a couple of other people were invited into the project to just take a look.

Had to post DropBox's image too, funny advertising is always the best.

Not the most exciting image in the world, but it shows how we use dropbox. Note it doesn't show when a file has been downloaded to be worked on.
I have been working on my book a lot recently too trying to get it done for professional practice and my degree show. Its going really well so far and will hopefully order it today, really looking forward to seeing it.Here is the front and back of the book, nice and simple. just sorted out a website domain called www.burntrobot.com, nothing on the site yet but I began to design the logo which will be used on my book.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Discovered an awesome way to render wireframes.... sweeeeet.

Ok... so haven't posted on here for a little while as I've been working on the exciting dissertation stuff... mainly just reading lots and writing little... oh well it will come along shortly.

On a side note the editor is going really well.

Also added a few bits and bobs. Really like the mask.

Sunday, 28 March 2010


Running a few test's in the engine (these are screen shot's of the engine in real-time) seeing if it's worth pre-baking the lighting onto the static objects, giving superb lighting. Each lighting bake takes like 5 hours though so it's a timely thing to keep testing.

(ignore the line on his head, that's just a slight texture error, easy fix)

Saturday, 27 March 2010

40th Post... Time to make pretty pictures

So onto a darker theme... started doing lighting test's on the model to see what I could come up with. Was inspired by the one light tests the programmer through together in the editor, with a black background, and I felt this really added to the character so I decided to play on this a bit.

Maybe he is a tad dark here (really depends on your monitor as it was put together on my very bright superb quality laptop... yes its nice) but you can see what I'm going for.
Also the editor designed in my concept art was a bit complex and wouldn't suit a black background in the first place. So decided to get to work on a new, more simple modern looking one, with inspiration from APB and Mass Effect. Still lots to go into it but it's getting there. The UI will have a level of transparency (lets see what the programmer thinks when he see's it anyway, surely must be more simple to program than the last one I pitched...) and you will be able to see areas of enviroment in the background, pipes, chains, patches of walls etc. Still trying to stick with the steampunk feel aswell to blend the character and editor together, have got to get the balance really right here, and not make it look like some future interface. If you can't tell here the key's are the bottom are like from a tyepwriter, with sciencey symbols on... ooo spooky.

This isn't a shot of the actually really time editor, if we could get the character to look like that in the editor we'd probably have jobs for Crytek. It will look a lot simpler (if thats a word) but still hopefully nice... Running some tests on Pre-Baked lighting, which would make it look high quality in the engine, but with the shadows baked in it would look funny if you say put a hat on the guy and the shadows didn't change, which would add another layer of complexity in the end... blah.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Spent awhile modeling the guys trousers, as this was quite problematic at the bottom of the trousers. Had to use more alphas to curve the bottom, as they fold up etc. This made the normal maps a bit funky too so had to do a lot of painting of the normals which was a challenge.

Also not to sure what colour to actually make the clothes, I know i'm going to allow users to change the colours but I want a base to start with, tryed a dark brown but it didn't look to nice, so tryed a greeny colour which looked nice but didn't really fit in, so then I tryed a dull brown which looked nice, might saturate it a bit more still though.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Chapter Headings

At my supervisor meeting the other day it was suggested I really get my chapters sorted out to help me in writing my dissertation.

- Title Page
- Abstract
- Contents
- Introduction
- Player Agency (illusion of user control during game play)
Uses of player agency
Effects of player agency

- Characters for Games
Design Process (visual vs non-visual)
Emotional Bonds
Character Story Relationships
Why are characters important?

- Customization in Games
Case Study feedback
Questionnaire feedback
Effects on character user relationship
Effects on story character relationship

- Conclusion
The results of character customization
What we may see in the future

- Appendix A: The Sims 3 Case Study
- Appendix B: Spore Case Study
- Appendix C: Fallout 3 Case Study
- Appendix D: Maybe APB Case study??
- Appendix E: Questionnaire and results

- Bibliography & References