Frist NPC model
To start things off we have our first full character model for the game. The android model pictured bellow is the primary enemy we have players facing in the first level/ demo of our game. To now give a little back story on the android; they were designed to be infantry drones to minimize soldier casualties in war. However the immense setup required to prepare an area for their deployment drastically limited their function.
They were later re-tasked as drones for combat training and simulations like the one you find yourself in during the first mission. the bots carry stun weapons that temporarily slow players down and if taking enough fire knock them unconscious(same as death). Now that you have the back story here is Red Comet commenting on modeling this character in just 18 days.
I want to be clear that I have no formal training with Maya or any 3D software for that matter. I’m completely self taught. I know there are probably many people who could look at these pictures and point out tons of flaws but I don’t know any better. When I got the original concept sketches from Halley the task seemed very daunting. I couldn’t figure out where to start, what should be separate pieces, how to make certain shapes using polygons, ect. Eventually I just picked the shoulder and started there. Luckily Halley gave me at least a rough front and rough side view… that didn’t match up, i figure he was probably rushed to get those sketches done so I ran with it. Day 1 resulted in an upper arm.
After finishing the arm I moved on to the torso. It was hard to determine depth and which pieces were separate layers. Another issue that came up was destructibility. How were we going to show these robots were taking damage? Also, How can I make this model more variable, and reusable ? After posing those two questions I decided on making an inner torso and wrapping armor onto it. since the armor is separate we could model other variations later without having to do a complete rework of the model, this also doubles as destructibility because androids taking heavy damage can have armor plates ejected off of them. I lost 1 day to meetings, and another to my job. The front was coming together nicely by the end of day 8, however the back hadn’t been concepted out. There was nothing for me to go off of. So, I improvised, which led to 3 days trying ideas until finally settling on one.
I moved on to the leg after the torso. It was fairly simple but, with work, life, and meetings got in the way stretching out the modeling to 3 days. Determined to make up for lost time I moved on to the head which just chewed up time. On day 18 I finally had the head presentable. I started cleaning up and organizing the pieces when I realized that I had forgot to model the hand. to make matters worse there was no clear reference for the side of the hand . In 3 hours I managed o hammer something out and in my opinion it seems reasonable. It has yet to be rigged and textured. I might also try to increase the polycount in some areas later as well.
Winter Production push
Monday we kicked off our winter production cycle. We’ve agreed to post updates every two days in an attempt to get us closer to a playable alpha build. The Last couple days we’ve been hard at work prioritizing and researching various topics for our assets. Right now there is a heavy focus on Scaleform since it is the primary technology in place for menus and the HUD. We’re hoping to have a functioning very rough draft by Saturday morning. Keep checking for more updates. We should be posting more pictures and videos.
A new Operating System
A while back we came to the realization that no one in our current staff really knows anything about music or audio.
We came to the unfortunate realization that we would have to get a Mac.
After years of computer repair we’ve all acquired distaste for Macs because the machine is so locked down. It’s like you don’t even own your $2000 machine, you’re just leasing the right to use it within the means apple allows you. All Bias aside, we rescued a PowerPC G4 tower form an E-waste dumpster (with permission of course) and this weekend was the time to tackle it.
So I started Friday night by booting it up. I thought to myself “Yes! It turns on.”
It’s never that easy. I found that the Admin password that was given to us was wrong and that you need an OSX disc to reset it. Everywhere I looked online for one would only sell it for at least $80 and on our current budget I wasn’t willing to spend that. I began doing research and discovered a way to trick the OS into thinking that it hasn’t been set up before. Pretty sneaky I thought… too bad the directions I got from apple’s website were WRONG. I had to look up Linux commands to figure out how to browse directories from the command line then I had to figure out what file or setting I was supposed to change because the one apple gave me in the directions didn’t exist. After about 2 hours of going through the misc forums I found what I was looking for and managed to break into the Administrator account.
Next thing I had to do was repair GarageBand, which was the sole reason we got the Mac. So I hit the eject button on the keyboard. Nothing happens. I try again. Nothing happens. I look on the tower for an eject button. Nothing on the case; try to open the face-plate, nothing in there either. Popped open the side of the case. This thing was designed to be worked on, which I kind of laughed about. Looked at the DVD drive worried it would be apple proprietary hardware, only to find, they don’t use proprietary hardware, just really old hardware. Reconnected everything got it to power and eject.
Put it back together and find that it won’t work now. Frustrated I curse at it a bit and slam my fist on the eject button. It opens just fine. So I put in the iLife ‘08 DVD and try to install it. As I run through the installation I get a wait time of 4 hours and…then it crashes. So I take the disc out clean it and try to re-install.
While this is going on I begin to look for alternative means of installing the software from the disc and I come across the suggestion of making a .DMG which I’m guessing is some kind of freaky apple .ISO. Anyways it fails again and so I go to make a .DMG which surprisingly actually worked on the first try. Then I installed from the .DMG and it worked fine.
Go to launch GarageBand and…I get the beach ball of death. Then out of nowhere it restarts on me. I logged in and at this point I have no idea how to look for an error report or anything like that so I click into the system preferences and…GarageBand launches. I just go with it and play with GarageBand for the next 20-30 minutes or so.
I decided I was satisfied with how it worked and went to go shut it down. After clicking to shut the machine down System preferences comes up; like it should have 30 minutes ago. I close it and try to shutdown. It just sits there and looks at me stupid. I decided to leave and handle other stuff. I came back to it an hour later and tried to use it then it randomly shutdown. I’m hoping there is just something seriously wrong with this Mac and they aren’t all like that but with my other experiences with apple devices, I don’t see myself switching. I appreciate my Windows PCs just that much more now.
Sincerely Faction IT dept.
In our quest to actually gain a little attention and make it feel like we are making progress (because we can point and say “Hey! See all those updates? Look at all that progress), we use a variety of media. There’s the standard Facebook, twitter, and YouTube. We also have our Tumblr blog, and webpage, which are pretty standard. And then there’s the more game specific things like IndieDB. That is a lot to keep track of and keep up to date. So this is my current to do list:
- Make a video blog for YouTube.
- Make a game play video for Tumblr
- Add our game to IndieDB (This involves: Making the cover, making a poster, maybe more game play videos)
Change the Origins webpage to be our game title and update it to be about our game. Make a spiffy Tumblr theme
- Make personal about us pages for our webpage
- Make 404 pages for our webpage
Transfer our web-server from Windows to Linux because we’re using all PHP stuff anyway
Maybe its not quite as bad as I thought. We’ll see though…
College, Clubs, and Level
So, like many 18-22 year-olds, the majority of the Faction is currently is college. And I don’t know how easy it is for anyone else, but for most of us, it’s a lot of work. While this may mean a slow down of game work, it has many benefits.
One of the major things is we are finally taking steps to actually create a game developer club at the university most of us attend. Its really great because it gives us a chance to meet new people who can really help. We have already found two more people interested in the programming side of game design. Its a challenge to figure out how to transfer the workings of a game studio into a school club and deal with the logistics if it ever comes to selling the game, but it is hopefully worth it.
More big news is that the majority of the demo level is done. That means we need to focus on characters, weapons, and actual game play elements. We have a pretty decent idea of how health is working, how many guns you can carry, what we want the initial abilities to be, but we have to put them in the game.
Wish us luck!