Before20 project - Issue two - weeks 5&6

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[img]http://www.furry.org.au/caroo/game/logo%20before%2020.jpg[/img]

BEFORE20 - ISSUE TWO - PART TWO

Please refur back to issue one to get a sum up of why I'm doing this project.

Production: Week five.

Well I have to admit this week hasn?t been very productive for my video game folio. This has been for two reasons. Reason one is that it's the Easter holiday and between coles wanting work and Easter being..well..easter!. High production was just not meant to be. The bigger problem however is that I just brought myself a PSP with medieval and Megaman Maverick HunterX [An awesome remake of megamanX] and my free time has been dedicated to this amazing little pocket PS2.

I was able to get a few small things done however. I focused on the corridor between the 2nd and 3ed rooms of my folio level. The interesting thing about this corridor is that it was a diagonal traveling elevator. The thing that makes this elevator a small challenge is that I made it on an odd angle. Therefore placing the meshes couldn?t be done with a simple paste and place. Rotating and placing the parts in piece-by-piece was needed. And while it all worked out. This serves me to remember that more organic level design [corridors and rooms that don?t exactly append to the rules of north-east-south-west come at the price of time. And time in this industry is just as important as money.

I made 4 static meshes this week. Both used as movers [movers are static meshes designed to move. Like doors and elevators.] One of these movers was a small door and the outlining mesh it goes into.

[img]http://www.furry.org.au/caroo/game/level_design_dev_018.jpg[/img]

The other mover was the elevator. Before you I?ve given an example on exactly how I go about making these meshes. This one took a little while longer to do then most because I spent a while trying to get the right texture look to it. I?m pleased with the result. But I know most novice modelers can do much better. The elevator is 160 tris and uses a 512x512 map. I used such a big map because the elevator will be enlarged later on in the game. I recycled the simple system offline/online texture for the control panel. There is importance in everything. And recycling textures is one of them.

[img]http://www.furry.org.au/caroo/game/level_design_dev_020.jpg[/img]

I guess the last thing I can show you for now is a little sum up picture of what has been done so far in UnrealED. Before you you?ll see 2 main rooms and 2 corridors. It looks busy and packed in now but remember these meshes are only the necessary ones. The decorative meshes come in later. I do hope keeping the texture and ploy sizes low will pay off for performance in the end.

[img]http://www.furry.org.au/caroo/game/level_design_dev_019.jpg[/img]

Production: Week six

You know the feeling you get when you look to your work for the week. And while it looks like a fair deal of work, you think you could?ve been more productive.

This week was one of those. I focused my time on two things this week.

The first item only took a day to get done. And that was to make a video recording of the life support room for all you to view and laugh at. This required downloading a screen capture program that can capture it in real time and convert it to AVI file. While I found one for free that would do as I desired. A few more hours were spent messing around with different recording codex to suss out what worked the best. In the end I figured out how the DivX codex is used and got my frame rate of the movie up to 14 frames a second. Opposed to the 3-? frames I got with window's standard codex so 10 points to me in that respect.

OMG INGAME MOVIE: 10meg ? 3 mins

Please save and watch this video - it's an AVI with a DivX codec
[url]http://www.furry.org.au/caroo/productionone.avi[/url]

Disclaimer: This level is by no means finished or polished off. It's only completed in basic game play and has enough assets inside of it to function its purpose. There are many errors still needing to be repaired and fixed. So please. No tearing the movie clip apart.

The second item I did this week was the making of the left cannon rooms main guns. The gun. And the power supply for the gun took me quite a while to lay out the UV co-ordinates and to texture right. I know the texturing skill shown is pretty below standard but I only get a few hours to do the big textures and an hour or less for the smaller ones. Nonetheless I?m happy with this gun. Sci-fi fans will point out he similarities to the tips of this gun and the SDF-1 cannons.

The gun was made in five pieces. Four of those are movable in the game world [called simply enough ? movers] the advantage of using movers in the game world is that you can have simple step-by-step animation without the use of IK joints or Animation imports into unreal. This gives designers and level builders an effective way of implementing movable doors, elevators, and in this case a moving weapon.

[img]http://www.furry.org.au/caroo/game/level_design_dev_017.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.furry.org.au/caroo/game/level_design_dev_021.jpg[/img]

I haven?t got around to animating it yet. That will be next weeks big goal I believe. Hopefully next months update you?ll be able to see a movie clip of this big gun room in action.

Summery:

I think for the four weeks this update has covered I have done well over 100 hours work on this folio [and saved it to a flash drive many times to.] but all in all I?ve really only made 2 corridors and 1 ? main rooms. This tells me one important thing.

Making a game requires the skill and knowledge of many different artists, designers and programmers. No one can function to a full potential without the other filling in his weaknesses. And it's preferable to have people with different skill sets. To put this in example. It would be optimal to have 3 kinds of designers in your team. One who excels at game design document writing? One who has a solid knowledge of programming and therefore doesn?t need terms dumbed down to him when talking to the team of programmers. And a designer with solid knowledge of the art components of game production for the same reason as the program designer. With these 3 types working together and with the rest of the team a lot can be done and communication would be clear. IF!! It's not a battle of egos.

In the next few months I also hope to show some teamwork. I cannot make this mod all by myself. [Well one man can a mod but it would end up being quite uninspiring as a game. No one can do everything.] Therefore my plan is to draw up some detailed character and enemy designs and get someone, hopefully an art student to make these characters and animate them. For me that gives me both content for the folio and a way of showing teamwork. For the artist it gives him something extra he can put his name to on his resume. It's a Win-Win situation.

The target for next month will be to get this gunroom finished and to make some progress on room4 ? the living area of the ship. So much needs to be done. But I?m hopeful this will impress others. The beauty of these monthly updates is that by recording what I do all this work will be able to help other budding designers get a grasp on what they can do to raise their chances of getting a job. While they might be competition for me. It's in the best interests for the country at large to help each other out.

Till next time. Cheers!

Asset tally:

Static meshes made*: 44
*This does not include meshes that have been replaced by better ones.

Textures made*: 68
*Animated textures only count as one each even though there are multiple textures. Textures no longer used are also not counted.

Scripted sequences*: 8
*Scripted sequences are using events and objects to make interesting interactive elements into a game. Do not mistake it as programming

As always; Opinions and critique is encouraged guys. If you have something you want to say just to me please forward it to carooau@yahoo.com.au or else just post it in this forum.

Thank you for your time. .

J I Styles's picture

good to see you focusing more on design (both gameplay flow and level design) - last weeks instalment I was wondering if you where deviating too much into asset creation and losing focus on your desing goal, so it's good to see you're sticking to your objective. [:)]

keep going, great to see your thoughts evolving!

Morphine's picture

I'm liking what I'm seeing.
Keep up the great job Caroo, I'll be interested how it turns out :)