Monday, 15 February 2010

Week 5

15/2/10 - I started with some more research into iPhone games that use 3D; I found a very good example in Castle of Magic by Gameloft. As is evident from the screenshots below, Castle of Magic is a very attractive game which uses 3D environments and characters to complement its 2D side-scrolling action.

Castle of Magic has a wonderful colour scheme and the models appear to have very detailed textures, something that we can use to our advantage. The whole team has been looking at this game for inspiration to see what is possible on the iPhone; however, some reviews have mentioned slowdown issues (most probably related to the art) and have suggested that the game should not be played on older versions of the iPhone.

Graphical capabilities are also heavily dependant on the engine that was used to build the game - it is likely that Gameloft wrote their own engine as they are quite a large developer. We have to make do with what Unity offers; personally I think that the only 3D we will manage (if any) is for the bees or props.

16/2/10 - Below are optimised models of the soldier and worker bees. They both weigh in at just under 500 triangles, which I think is as low as they can be before sacrificing major details. I also drew some simple textures for them based on the colours in the concept art. They have been rigged, although they are not posed in these pictures; they each have five bones.

Low poly soldier

Low poly worker

These models are extremely simple and far less attractive than their detailed counterparts; however they should look fine on a small screen. Hopefully we can run tests this week to see how many polygons Unity can handle.

17/2/10 - Wednesday is our designated day for the grad show meeting, so most of this day was spent discussing the showreel. We agreed that we would draw a storyboard next week, once everyone has filled in a form with their information; we need this in order to make a start. The forms will provide us with information such as how many clips we need to show, the number of students on each course and how many pieces of work there will be from each media type.

18/2/10 - After a chat with Abi I proceeded to add some 2D layers to my environment; the results can be seen below. It is more or less the same, but there are now obstacles in the mid and foreground as well. I did this to see if it would add some depth to put the enemies on different planes.

Rendered bees and ants with an orthographic perspective.

Modeled bees and rendered ants with an orthographic perspective.

Rendered bees and ants with a vanishing perspective.

Modeled bees and rendered ants with a vanishing perspective.

From looking at these screen tests, the extra layers really add some depth. There are a couple of issues with the alpha showing outlines, but this is due to 3DS Max being awkward with transparancy and I am sure it won't happen in the game. The 3D bees against rendered ants look more natural in the perspective shot, but I am still not sure if they blend well.

My favourite image is probably the one of the rendered bees and ants with the perspective; the difference in size looks really good in my opinion. Hopefully we will be able to show these to Tag at the meeting on Friday and get their opinion on this.

19/2/10 - We spent most of the day developing before the meeting at 4.30. We managed to put some 3D bees and an ant render in, although there was a small problem with the direction the bees were facing.

20/2/10 and 21/2/10 - I made an animation for the soldier and worker bees - I hope to test these animations in the engine next week. Below are the videos; I only made idle animations in the time being. This is because we may need to make changes to the skeletons if there are problems with Unity.

Soldier animation

Worker animation

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