Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scribbling to help me sleep

Here's an example of an idea that keeps me up for hours, while I lay in bed not able to sleep. I end up jumping out of bed and drawing pictures to both 'lock in' the idea and hopefully get it out of my head (and onto paper). I draw them up as fast as possible.

This one is a storyboard for something or other.

Wouldn't make sense to anyone, and only barely to myself!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dev - Composer list narrowed

We've managed to narrow down to a few potential composers from the various recommendations and musicians that approached us. Thanks to everyone that linked me to their demos, I had many hours of tunes to listen to! there is a lot of great talent out there and I wasn't aware of how many are local.

Music is important for any game. Burden needs a great score composed to help us provide the mood we wish the player to feel - we hope the player will feel it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dev - A shout out to composers

Our new game project is now under way in a big way. And we're putting our feelers out looking for a quality composer that has a good talent in orchestral sound. We're preferably looking for local talent -  Australia - at this time.
 If you think you're interested, or can recommend anyone please contact me with some links to music so I can spoil my ear holes!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Match and Plot FK from IK - Softimage|Species

Ran into a little issue while using Species by Exocortex (which is a great addon by the way!), in Softimage. I needed to bake a large range of frames from the IK rig to the FK. So created this little script that plots keys along your current Timerange, matching IK to FK arm bones.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Game Dev - A screen Mockup of Burden

To help test for screen real-estate a few mockups have been created. A mix of game elements and scribbles.
This image is a little bare, but everything gets implemented over time including HUD positions and scale of enemies.
This would be the default camera position, the player is able to orbit the camera all around the giant and view Hotspots for tower placements, and search the paths enemy units are climbing or landing on.

This mockup is for iPad, PC/Mac are a little different.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Game Dev - Retopologising a giant of Burden

To continue on from the giant's concept model, I've retopologised it. Roughly rebuilding the mesh to bring into another software package. It's another step closer to getting into the game!

Next is preparing for, and creating the textures, followed by more clean up of the mesh.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Game Dev - Concepting a giant of Burden

I had some fun this evening quickly concepting a giant in ZBrush. I recorded the time-laps because I always feel they're fun to watch!

After doing the quick concept which I used one of the recent 2d concepts as reference for, I'll go over the model and rebuild all the topology. Then it will be one step closer to testing in game!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Game Dev - Burden Giant quick sketches

These are some quick sketch ideas for various giant possibilities. From these we can start up rough models, get a feel for their mass.

Theses are all bipedal, there will also be quadrupeds and others that walk or fly across the lands of Burden.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Game Dev - Burden concepts continue

Another concept illustration from Greg. In Burden, you protect your mobile giant with contraptions fixed to its body. But sometimes you just want to take the enemy head on.

I think I can see my house from up here!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Game dev - A thing of Burden

It is time!

Actually I'm not sure why it wasn't time some time ago, but I'm ready to start sharing stuff - from our new project in development!

Burden, that's the name of the game. Called Burden for various reasons but being a burden to play is certainly not one of them!

A war has broken out in this land named Burden. Men are standing up against the
gods they believe use them as pawns for their own amusement. The oceans
around Burden steadily rise, leaving many cities drowning. A volcano swells and
causes devastation in the western corner, creating more chaos cracking the earth
up into the north.
Man is right to be angry with the gods, it would seem.

Greg Taylor is currently drawing up the concepts for the game. Designing the protagonist and creating some lovely illustrations to help reinforce ideas and spark new ones.

Two of the four element designs of the protagonist.

The game involves a lot of elemental effects and the protagonist uses these elemental powers to great effect. But they are only an addition to what is the main goal here. Escorting Giants.

Easy there big feller.

Your burden in Burden is to do as the gods bid - Escort their mules to and from various locations. Protect them from armies and villagers that believe these large monstrosities are only adding to the destruction of their land.

Oh the epic-ness! I need to lie down I'm so overwhelmed from such awesom-ness.

Well I hope these couple of images have whet your appetite for the moment as there will be many more post coming soon.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Softimage: Batch FBX importer

I needed to import a large number of FBX files at once into a scene, then move objects of a specific prefix to zero origin. So made this little script.

#FBX Batch file importer
app = Application

counter = 0

#ask for the path or use default
defaultPath = ('D:\\Projects\\Creaky\\Doomy\\DoomAvModels\\swords\\')
importPath = XSIUIToolkit.PickFolder(defaultPath, 'FBX Batch Load')
#collect the path and find all FBX files in it
if (importPath != ""):
fbxDir  = app.FindFilesInFolder(importPath, ".*\.FBX", True, True)

#import the files individually and prepare them
for f in (fbxDir):
app.FBXImport(f, 0)
app.logMessage ("%s imported"%f)
  counter = counter + 1
app.logMessage('Import Cancelled')

#set all objects to zero origin
objName = app.XSIInputBox('prefix name of items \n to set origin to zero', 'Item Prefix', 'Sword')
wildcard = (objName + '*')

if (objName != ""):
app.logMessage('Called %s'%wildcard)
objSelect = app.selectObj(wildcard)
app.translate(objSelect,0,0,0, 'siAbsolute')
app.logMessage('name doesn\'t exist')

app.logMessage ('%s files imported from %s'%(counter,defaultPath))

If you wish to use this, be aware that you use it at your own risk. Also you may want to change the default path on the 5th line.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Steam: Greenlight

Valve state that their Steam Greenlight system is slated to be up and running by end of August.

Pixelpickle Games will certainly be jumping on this bandwagon for the current title. It's one step towards Steam distribution and feedback from such a large community would be very welcome.
Greenlight, Unite, Indiepub, and various other site weblogs will be used regularly to spread the word!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Current ToDo list for Pixelpickle Games

Currently working at Animal Logic on The Great Gatsby
Beta evaluation of Crytek's CineBox software
Project for Resolution Independent, developing a comic app
Working on the first feature film made entirely in a game engine - Rezind
Working on animations for Creaky Corpse' latest game
Pixelpickle's new IP in development.

Now that I've written all that... it certainly looks like a lot of work ahead :o

Time to evaluate and plan

While working interstate, I have plenty of time in the evenings to ponder and plan in this small hotel room. The current Pixelpickle project is definitely in motion now. With illustrator Greg Taylor busy drawing concepts and illustrations of the protagonist and other features.
 A little early to show just yet, as I'm still working on the design doc. I'm very excited though. Beside the next Lylian title, this is something I'm looking forward to playing!

Current things in planning are:
    unit types
    unit balancing
    level design

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stay grounded

I tend to do most of my contract work from home or for small outfits, which is great. But once in a while I get employed by a large company which brings me up to date and reminds me how easy it is to fall behind when you work on your own. Having said that it's quite evident how much easier it is to upgrade your pipeline when you're a very small team. I'm currently working at Animal Logic, employed to animate in a bunch of final shots. These guys are super talented. Although there is a full team of programmers there working hard to update the scripts and pipeline, it would be very expensive to give the pipeline the overhual it needs. And tricky too, considering the constant workflow they have going. It's a great project and I'm learning a few things that will help in Pixelpickle projects.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What's happening with Lylian 2?

Since the release of Lylian:Ep1, a full game of Lylian has been in development - here and there - currently called Lylian2.
It's still a very long way from release, in fact there's barely anything playable of it and the story isn't complete.
Shortly after Lylian: Episode 1 was distributed I realised the game would be much better as a full experience rather than episodic, and feedback helped me find the right direction the game play should be taken.

To create such a game I need good funding, and a team bigger than what it is now. Currently I gain funds by doing a lot of contract work, the problem is the contract work takes up all my time - I usually work 7 days, 16 hours per day or more, and then I work on Pixelpickle projects.

After all this time, with all the love I have of the Lylian world I'm going to take a short break from it. In the hopes to come back to it with a fresh bag of ideas, a new skill set and revitalised vigour! Something else has been robbing me of my attention too.

I have an idea. Another game idea that has been tempting me for the past 6 months and I'm at the point where I can no longer ignore it! I began developing on this idea - design doc, storyline and early stages of prototyping. I've also asked for the services of a great concept artist and illustrator to help in these initial stages.

So, Lylian 2 will be made, the release date is anybody's guess for now.
No news of Lylian 2 will be made until the time feels right. Until then this new project idea will start developing and I'll be posting about it more and more. It's a project I'm very excited about and can't wait to start showing it off!

Please hang around!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Interactive Installation

After a very short production time, our installation was revealed to the public at Healesville Sanctuary.
The interactive show uses Unity3.5 to trigger DMX stage lighting and input from 10 IR torches (wii remotes). The children learn about Leadbeater’s possums which are close to extinction while interacting using the torches on a projected screen.
A great project, and learned a lot doing it! I think I’ll be happy to get back to the usual grind of game making... a little less stressful. :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dead Frontier intro cinematic

Creaky Corpse has released an update to their web based MMO, Dead Frontier. They let me create the intro animation for it! And thanks to Sean Beeson's amazing music composition, BK's sound effects and Scott Zero's  eye for Post beauty, I think it turned out alright!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shadow of the Colossus, by a 5 year old

My 5 year old daughter drew this picture, after we played some Shadow of the Colossus some time ago.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

End of another half year, of madness!

A little over six months ago, I started on three large contract jobs simultaneously. One of them finished a few weeks back but they all finish this month. I haven't had a weekend or rarely an evening to myself, and I'm very tired, stressed, excited, bewildered and somewhat relieved. The three projects were very different from one another and each very cool!

Next month, I jump straight into new contracts. But this time there will be spare hours available to get back into developing Pixelpickle Games. Lylian, I've had rarely a moment to think about let alone develop. And another game idea that's been relentlessly tugging at me for attention.

So, I'm expecting the cogs to start screaming into action shortly... After I waste a night playing games and sleeping in.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Softimage - Batch rendering - Common issues

I've been doing a  lot of batch rendering from Softimage lately and have come across a lot of errors that end up being simple fixes or possible bugs to work around.

If you ever come across render fail errors that grind your batch render to a halt or make them look wrong, here's a few things to check in v2012:

  • Scene Output path - This one has caught me a couple of times, if you browse for the folder you want to export to, your path may look a little like this C:/Project/Render_Pictures/render . These forward slashes are evil and it's best to use the token and back slashes, [Project Path]\Render_Pictures\render.
  • Unified Sampling - turn this off and use the old min/max Level Aliasing.
  • Optimisation tab - I've found hitting the Optimize button here causes issues, but manually adjusting the Secondary Rays - Depth, etc. Works fine.
  • Instances in simulations - instancing meshes with random offset animations. Point cache the pointcloud then freeze the model.
  • Face Robot - best to make sure Face Robot is disabled in the scene file, otherwise the Slaves will need to activate it which sometimes causes fatal errors.
  • Image clip Default settings - Management type, 'Use From disk' can prevent Slaves from running out of memory.
  • Passes, Pass Gamma Correction - I have no real idea what the heck is going on here, but if you set your gamma to automatic and have this ticked on, all slave renders come out looking dithered 256 colour.
These are things that have worked for me and I understand for some users doing the opposite of a few of the above works. Just a few things you can add to your problem solving list.
I've tried all these in two separate studios and both have the same list of problems.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bones on Path - ICE

While working on three separate contracts, I manage to use Softimage on all of them after successfully converting two studios to this great program.
Using ICE a lot as well, for many different purposes.

This is one of the simpler compounds I've created with it. After rigging and weighting a mesh then constraining those bones to a curve, I have basic control of overall position and spacing of the bones.

There's also a blend control from the original mesh shape to that deformed by the bone weight map and shape deforms

No doubt there's likely much smarter and cleaner ways of doing this. But this is an example of how easy it is to 'throw' something together while I still consider myself a newb using ICE.