Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Week 8

8/3/10 - My essay structure was approved on Monday, which leaves me free to start writing a draft. The chapters are as follows:

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Graphical capabilities of current gaming platforms
2.1 Gaming platforms from current and previous generations
2.2 The iPhone's capabilities in relation to gaming

3.0 Popularity of game franchises and handheld platforms
3.1 Key factors in the success of casual games and portable platforms
3.2 Successful game franchises

4.0 Game design and visuals in relation to platform
4.1 How the platform affects game design
4.2 The importance of visuals in the context of game design

5.0 Adapting game art for a portable platform
5.1 Low detail 3D models
5.2 2D renders of high detail 3D models
5.3 Pure 2D art assets

6.0 Conclusion

Aside from this, I worked on generating UV maps for all the ants I had modelled so far - this was very difficult in the cases of the high poly models which had been smoothed in ZBrush, as some of the original mapping co-ordinates had been overwritten.

9/3/10 - On Tuesday I finished off the remaining UV maps and sent them to Abi for texturing, as well as creating rigs for the low poly ants (which have changed somewhat from their original formats). See below:

The generic ant and Dark version in low detail models - around 200 triangles each

The heavy ant and Dark version in low detail models - around 200 triangles each

These models now have their arms and legs separate from the bodies, which saves polygons. We reasoned that the ants will probably move in a 2D fashion and as such the 'cardboard' arms and legs shouldn't be too obvious.

This method is an alternative to the original idea, which was to use simple planes for the arms and legs and draw the detail on; the idea was abandoned since overuse of alphas is discouraged in iPhone development. Fully 3D ants, no matter how optimised, still reached polygon counts far too high to be feasible.

These models have been UV unwrapped and rigged; I hope to try one of them in the engine on Friday to make sure there are no pressing problems. At this stage our approach to the 3D ants is very experimental and it would be good to know which method works best.

10/3/10 - I started writing the dissertation proper and almost completed chapter 2; already the structure has changed slightly, since 2.1 ended up being huge. I broke it down so chapter 2 is now as follows:

2.1 - Introduction
2.2 - The history of gaming platforms
2.3 - Innovation and new directions
2.4 - The iPhone's capabilities in relation to gaming

I intend to finish the chapter by the end of this week, and perhaps make a start on chapter 3.

11/3/10 - The low poly ant models are now fully rigged, as are the high poly heavy and Dark heavy. The next step is to try some animations in the engine tomorrow, before commencing the low poly model of the jet plane ant. Once he has been modelled, that will be our main roster of enemies ready. Although many of the high detail models are ready to be posed, I am going to leave this for the time being as it is less important than putting assets in the game.

12/3/10 - I made a start on the low-poly jet plane ant, but as group we did not make much progress since the Unity licenses ran out and there were various interruptions.

14/3/10 - Today I continued with the low poly jet plane ant, who is now very nearly finished.

Perspective view - like the other ants, his limbs (and accessories) are flat.

Side view. This is how he will look in-game.

At the moment I'm not sure whether this model needs arms, but everything else is complete and can be UV unwrapped.

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