Monday, September 22, 2008

Back to School

It's been an interesting, if not productive, two weeks. A windows crash on the very first day of the holidays left me without a lot of functionality for most of the holidays. I still haven't got the internet working so I've been out of contact until now. I had to re-install windows, now most of my programs aren't working/working reliably. Thankfully I had unpartitioned space to install to, so I didn't lose any of my valuable files. By the second week I managed to get blender working again so I could start working. Two levels are more or less finished, but the code to switch between levels has been giving me trouble. With only three weeks left I have to start thinking about presentation, I'm hoping to have a third level done and the coding polished by then. I've also been churning out a bunch of 3D artwork to show. I'm confident there will be plenty of product, that being said I'm scared as hell...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sayonara for now

Well it's the last lesson before 2 weeks of holidays, so that means I will probably be posting less. I'm trying to organize ADSL at home, so posts in the next couple of weeks will depend on that getting done.
There's not a lot to talk about at the moment, I'm still coding the inventory, once that gets done I hope to start churning out more levels. So if all goes to plan there will be plenty to talk about by the end of the holidays.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update

I've done my proposal, and I'm now working on that demo I released earlier. I've added a nice menu, a few decorations and some extra items to pick up. Right now I'm working on the inventory system which is pretty code-intensive, I enjoy the heavier coding but unfortunately it leaves me with little to talk about. So here's a little something I've been working on, I'm definitely wanting to put this character into the game at some point,
video

Monday, August 11, 2008

Demo release

http://www.4shared.com/file/58702524/ae695e35/THEdemo.html

There it is, should work. All the info is in the read me, just extract and play. I'm finally settling into python code so the doors are opening. But I don't have long and there's a load of work to do (typical of this course)
I'm gonna work on improving this demo for a bit, the room's a little sparse and the code is messy. But for now I'm working on my project submission.
There's also a video here of the demo thanks to roger. But if you have time, downloading it and giving feedback on performance and bugs would be extremely helpful.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm not hungry

Well it seems I'm obliged to eat my own foot, the demo's not finished. The coding is even harder than I first expected, but I'm making progress, and I'm hoping to have it ready by this time next week. One of the course criteria is about setting goals and deadlines, hopefully the focus isn't on meeting them.
Meanwhile I wanted to talk about free-ware and open-source, see over the exam period I tinkered with a program advertised on the class blog called endorphin http://www.naturalmotion.com/index.htm (natural motion software, character physics simulation, basically rag-doll on steroids), it's not free-ware 'gah' but I got the trial edition. Even with this free version it was clear to see that it didn't follow an open source philosophy. The program itself is entertaining, easy to use and relatively glitch free, but the endorphin user community is one of the most irritating and frustrating groups around.
You install the program, and instead of getting straight into it you are re-directed to the endorphin website where you are made to enter your name, email address, age, nationality and a whole bunch of other stuff. After this is done they tell you to check your email, five minutes later you receive the email telling you to go back to the endorphin website and activate your account. Only once you have registered as an forum user can you get the little bit of code which allows you to use the program. What's more is every time you open the program it will try to log you on to the endorphin website and encourage you to buy the full version.
Now imagine the whole process on dial-up, and that's pretty much why open-source is the best thing ever. Think that's a weak argument? I don't care.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gold mine

Hidden away in the archives of the old game blender community, I've been led to the old un-finished game 'Caffuffle', which operates in almost the exact way I'm planning for T.H.E. I don't plan on stealing the whole engine, but it's definitely a valuable resource to reference from, especially seeing as learning python is proving difficult.
All this has put me in the mood for technical tinkering, so I'm officially planning a technical demo to be released around August 4, end of MYAP. The demo will be a room with the character inside and a few objects to be picked up and used in certain places. This not only motivates me to get the scripting polished, but it will also demonstrate the game genre to anyone who's still confused, it's also solid evidence of work and my first 'checkpoint' to fall back on in the event that no more gets done.
So remember the date August 4th, and if it's not done I'll eat my own foot

Monday, July 7, 2008

Trying to keep up

You might have noticed that this is my first blog for a while. Partly because I'm lazy and partly because everything's been running smoothly. But mostly because I've been knuckling down with level and character design. You see, all of the sudden we're more than halfway through the year and I still have a ridiculous amount of work to do. Right now I'm power building about 20 backdrops, the scenes are disgustingly unpolished but they will serve as good testing grounds while I nut out the finer points of my game-play mechanics (Inventory/menu systems/Quest tracking?/Interaction) That's the important stuff, once that's done I'll make it look all purdy.
I've promised to post a plot summary, which I've been reluctant about because I'm not sure I can make it sound as cool as it seems in my head (always a dilemma)

The game is set on post apocalyptic Earth, (Global Warming maybe? a bit cheesy) where only the rich and intelligent have survived in WW2 style bunkers, with no outside communication. You will play a prototype robot made by the richest and the most intelligent, capable of learning and making informed decisions. To begin with there is no denying your objectives, but as systems sustain more and more damage and dodgy repairs (NPC and friend Jeffery is a fan of the masking tape and fence wire method) Independent thinking becomes a possibility, and one can begin to doubt their creators motives.
If you decide this is social commentary (Humans being damaged perversions of machines) that's up to you. If reading into it makes it more involving that's great. But I want to make it clear that that's not my intention. Don't assume for a minute that I'm shooting for points in the deep and meaningful department, it's just a bit of fun.
Robot with a soul? It's wouldn't be the first time. But there's plenty of my own original ideas in the characters and game-play, so don't fear for that.

Roger has been cracking down on establishing wide and efficient networks, which is a thorn in the backside because this is the exact time when I need to be putting time into game creation.
On a lighter note my network is in fact spreading, site-meter has recorded hits on this blog not only from the mainland but also Switzerland and South Africa, so a big 'hello' to everyone out there, so excited to have you following the project!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm back

Ok, so I look like a bit of a twat after presentations, but I'm not going to worry, because I know I'll get another shot later in the year. But for now there's a whole load of work to be done so I'd better get on with it.
I imagine there's still some confusion about the game type, I have said before that it is in the puzzle adventure style. If you don't know what that is think King's Quest/Myst/Gateway, if you don't know what they are then think Darkseed/Monkey Island/Day of the Tentacle. If you're still confused then chances are you don't play enough old games and you should check out this site: http://www.abandonia.com/ contains games that have either been released into public domain, or belong to companies that no longer exist, so it's free and legal. Games in a similar style to my project will be under adventure.
There's still some nuts and bolts to be added to the plot before I can post it, but it shouldn't be too far away.
Most games are either third person, with the camera following behind the character, or first person, where the gamer sees things from the characters perspective. Mine is slightly different, it will be fixed camera, so the camera will always view the same scene and the character will move around in the scene in a similar fashion to the final fantasy games. This is handy in a couple of ways, because the background is fixed I can use a 2D backdrop giving me a whole lot of room to breathe in the performance department. The backdrops will be made first in 3D, rendered, edited in GIMP then exported back to blender in 2D form. This way the computer only has to worry about the player, moving objects and anything the player can interact with, because of the extra breathing room I can afford to make those to a high standard.
Hopefully that has cleared everything up, I've got the character movement working perfectly, all I have to do now is sort the inventory system and make... everything.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Presntation 'bleh'

Ok so I kinda froze during my presentation, scary stuff. That's the last time I have faith in my charm and charisma and my ability to 'wing it'. But I'm pretty sure I got the message across about my project. If not, the project is a 3D game in the puzzle/adventure genre, if you don't know what that is think Kings Quest/Myst. Each level will have a fixed camera and the player will move around inside the scene, collecting items and solving problems to open new areas. I'm really quite excited because this style of game play has not been seen this decade. I've made a concept map with the obstacles and items contained in each area, but I won't b releasing it to the class. The story revolves around a robot lost in the desert, more on that later...

Also here's a quick video summary of the presentation, credits to roger for that one

Monday, May 26, 2008

Room to breathe

Ok, so the presentations have been delayed, which is good, because I have a mountain of other stuff to get done. I have been meaning to post a general blog with some background on the project, but I think I will wait until the presentation before putting it out there. I'm currently working on a concept map for the game, which is a bit of a brain fryer. But I'm getting a really solid idea of what it will be like if it ever gets finished, and I must say I'm really excited. I'll put up my big post on Thursday with info on the game, and that will probably be the last until after the two week holidays. I doubt I will find the time to post a blog with my dial up internet (Yes it still exists in dark corners of the earth) But there's plenty to do before then, so good luck with presentations to everyone in the class and expect a nice big post Thursday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Genuinely Terrified

Here's some stuff I've been working on this week, not really sure if I'll put them in the game or not. But I love to invent stuff like this and I'll advertise it any way I can. The presentation is looming, it's due next week and I'm genuinely terrified. I've pretty much been under everyone's radar until now, I'm positive that only roger reads this blog. Self advertisement is not a strong point. But in a way I'm looking forward to standing up and generating some interest in the project. But I've got a whole lot of preparation to do before I'm ready to get up there, so I guess I'd better get back to work

Monday, May 5, 2008

A quick post

I figured I'd better jot a few things down, went to the 'presentation' on mentoring today, really more a group activity then anything else. But it was nice to put a human face on some of the projects going on and to see how other groups were coping with the workload, it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one with a mountain of work to get done. Hopefully I've generated some interest in my own project as well, with any luck I'll get a few more readers to this blog. Got my first red card the other day for networking, waiting patiently for a blog list on the moodle so I can get my stats back up. Until then I'm working on my intro cut-scene for the game, I'm also really starting to nut out the plot-line and the game mechanics, expect a big post on this real soon. Here's a quick taste of the intro, just a hand so far, but there will be more soon,

Monday, April 28, 2008

Progress

It's about time I wrote another blog. Everything is chugging along nicely, I've come to the conclusion that the blender game engine won't be sufficient so I've decided to make the switch to CrystalSpace. CrystalSpace is an open source game engine with efficient hardware acceleration and a nice heavy physics set. I'll be using the Crystal Entity Layer, (CEL) which comes with all the code I need to make a game. Despite that it's going to take me a while to settle into the change, but it's well worth it. The actual modeling, texturing and animation will be done with blender and is easily exportable to CrystalSpace. Without the almighty dollar to fight over, open source software developers tend to work together to make everything super compatible, which makes my job that much easier. I've also found a nice collection of textures (open source of course) which will save me a bucket-load of time. I watched a quick tutorial today on concept mapping software, doesn't seem that great. If I need to make a concept map I think I'll just scribble it on a piece of paper, The example that roger used to demonstrate it was helpful though, it re-enforced exactly what I'm being assessed on. I'm making a few models right now including Geoffrey the tinkerer and electronics enthusiast. Final project submission is also due soon. Here's some screenies,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Demo!

Here is the demo I promised, all the notes and instructions are in the readme file, all you need to do is extract and play. Feed-back is super welcome. Enjoy!
http://www.4shared.com/file/43616565/af19281/HumanElementDemo.html

Monday, April 7, 2008

Graphic insanity

I've spent most of my lesson looking at the blender gallery archives and I'm blown away! Some of these graphics are insane. I didn't even know this sort of thing was possible, check it out at http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/gallery/archive/ it's pretty humbling to see this stuff, most of these renders are of a calibur way above my level. This is the kind of stuff I want to be producing in the future, hopefully I will be there within a couple of years but it's hard to say. I've been using blender for 2 years and have had no formal training, I'd like to think I'm blending at a pretty high level but after seeing the archives it's hard to be cocky. Anyway, the tech-demo is well on the way and I'm hoping to complete and post it by thursday

Who am I?

It's only recently occured to me that anyone reading this blog probably won't know who I am. It's about time I cleared that up, my name is dustin and I am this guy:





I can't believe this is the best photo I could find

Monday, March 31, 2008

Update

Well this is my first post in a while due to the easter break and my painfully slow home internet. I've made some good progress since, I've tweaked the walkcycle which looks great, and I'm still working on textures. I'm planning on bringing out a short technical demo within the next week to demonstrate the animations, the models and also to gauge performance on a range of computers. After this I am going to start modelling other characters and levels. It probably seems like I've taken a long time making one character, not to fear though! Most of the last few weeks I've spent on the skeleton, which I can re-use, so making the others will be much quicker. I'm settling into GIMP, which is new software to me, it still confuses me sometimes. expect the .exe demo file sometime next week.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Progress good, but slow

I'm slowly chugging through the mountain of work. Between blogging, recording my progress, researching and doing my project submission, there's little time to work on my actual project. I've managed to find a few hours a week to work on it at home and I feel it's progressing nicely. The project certainly has a lot more direction than it did. I've downloaded GIMP and am learning the ropes now, I'll need this to make textures for my models. I've already made the body texture for my main character, once I apply it I'll post screen-shots.I've also made a walk cycle, I can substitute this into any upright character and make them walk backwards and forwards. Doesn't sound like much, but the process I used to do this underpins the whole game engine. I'm feeling a lot more confident about the technical side of things.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Screenies and progress

Starting on a positive note today, my home computer is working again. I'm still not sure what was wrong in the first place, but the important thing is that it's fixed. I have also deciphered enough python and BGE (blender game engine) tools to start working on levels and physics. progress with modeling is painfully slow with just one person, so far only the main character has been partially modeled, but I have a few screen-shots ready so...


If you are observant you will have noticed that the character is still un-textured and un-armed. Not to worry, they are both on the way. While I'm posting pictures I figured I would post this as an example of blender's power when poly-count is not an issue...

This was a little project I did last year, made solely with blender,

Monday, March 3, 2008

My project

My second post in one day! I'm getting into this. I figured it was about time to start elaborating on exactly what my project is about. I got the basic idea from a game called indigo prophecy, there is a brief training session where the user controls a crash test dummy called bob to get used to the controls. I thought on it for a while, and figured it would be cool if the crash test dummy escaped, and the whole game was based around him. I wanted the character to look like a cross between this:
this:
and this:
As I have it so far, the game starts on a train, where a field commander is training in the use of the droid, en-route to a mission. When a bump in the track causes the droid to fall off, he continues alone to complete the mission, only to find it has already been completed. I am imagining the game with lots of rich high-tech surroundings, odd-ball characters, intense cut-scenes and back-plots. Even reading through this it sounds like alot to chew, so I guess I'll take it one step at a time and see how far I get... Expect screen-shots real soon

Big snag

My computer at home is playing up! This is going to hinder my progress as I cannot use python on the school computers without admin rights. It's a really strange problem though, for some reason my monitor can't get a signal from my PC, and yet it works fine with mum's PC, and my computer works fine with mum's monitor. I think it's something to do with the fact that my monitor is high res (1440*900) and mum's is lower (1024*768) will update my drivers tonight and hope for the best. If anyone has suggestions I would appreciate advice. As far as my project goes I'm chugging through it nicely, have made a few models and am actively scribbling down a plot. Unfortunately the completed models are on the home PC, so no screen-shots just yet, but expect them soon. One big triumph is that real-time performance seems good with the models I have made so far, I was concerned that I would have to lower the poly count, this would impact on the visual appeal of the game. I'm not positive on the extent of blender's hardware acceleration and if it has any at all, I guess we will have to see...

I've just realized that this might sound like gibberish to some people, if so let me know and I will clear it up for you

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Progress slow

My game is progressing, though very slowly at the moment. It will probably be a week or two before I have the knowledge to start on the engine, until then I will be modelling characters and scenes. That way if (forbid) something goes wrong with the programming side of things I will still have evidence of work, and I can pretty easily make posters and animations with the models. The scripting seems pretty complex, but luckily it is pretty similar to java, which I studied last year. The basic principle is the same, I just have to learn some new commands and syntax. It seems to be a very powerful tool, very much capable of making the kind of game I am imagining. I only hope that I am capable of that as well.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My first blog

This is my first blog, and I'm not real sure what I should be writing. Today I attended a presentation on virtual worlds, which was very interesting, I never realized the potential for making money on such websites. I also subscribed to quite a few services, del.icio.us, reader, notebook and 43 things. Doing all this, along with this quick blog, didn't allow me much time to work on my project, which was disappointing.