A Rat Betwixt Blog Post #5 – Additional Problems

Featured image – “This is fine dog” by KC Green

 

Personal Status

Hello! Back again with another insight blog post into the Game Design Project – A Rat Betwixt.

So, a project such as a game project takes quite a bit of time and work to get finished. This can be quite the stressful period with a lot of crunching (working extra hours beyond the “normal” amount of extra hours. Often multiple hours after midnight after a normal 9-17 work day) just to hit those project deadlines.

Of course you can’t completely give up your life just for work. However, sometimes it feels like that is the case. The struggles of balancing your personal life alongside your project. Also as for my case, having to catch up on old unfinished schoolwork at the same time as you have a project loaded with deadlines that geenrally can not be crossed, such as alpha, beta and release. I am here to tell you a bit of such a moment in time for me during my involvment in this final school project and how it has affected me and my work during it.

Loaded work schedule

I’m sure you’ve all been there. Either you have forgotten, procastinated or not quite had time to finish a specific work assignment and therefor have had to push it along until later. I’m sure most of you can also relate to how those things really can come back to bite you in the behind eventually. This time of my life was just such a period.

There was this one hellish week where I had to work at least 8 hours a day on the finals project at the same time as I had to finish earlier missed school work that I had not quite started when I should have had. Not only that, this was the same period as when I had to apply to further studies in case I did not want to wait for a full year for another chance to apply. This last part doesn’t seem like much work unless you know what applying to these studies would require of you to hand in alongside the application.

The application did not only require knowledge of what exactly I wanted to study, but also a personal Curriculum Vitae (CV), Personal Letter as to why you’re applying as well as a personal portfolio of work showing that you have what it takes. Yes, it was like applying to a job. Which depending on if you have had applied to similar work before or not would take more or less time to do. In my case I have had not applied to something like this before. Which meant a lot of time had to be put aside to write an all new CV, all new Personal Letter and figuring out what work to include in the Personal Portfolio. Not to mention the stress coming from applying to something not previously applied to with the stress of not knowing whenever you will get in or not. Alongside the pressure from a big 2 months finals project at the same time as finishing earlier schoolwork that was planned for a few months before the final project began put a lot of weight on my shoulders.

All in all

You might ask “what exactly does this have to do with your project?” as to which I have to say “depends on what aspects of a project you want to look into”.

This post has probably been my most personally loaded one where I tried to give you readers an understanding of my personal psyche during by far the most hectic week I have had in this project.

I think this is important because this is something that can happen to anyone. It can suck, it can bring you down and it can break you. However, do not give up. If something is truly important to you, then sometimes you have to completely give up some time out of your life to accomplish what’s needed for you to reach your goals.

Do not give up, but also, do not expect to be given to you on a silver platter just because you feel like “you deserve it”. I have done this many times in my life, and it has Never Ever turned out in my favor. Only thing that makes you deserve something is if you put in the workload and hours to make your hopes and dreams become reality.

But, you did work, right?

Oh, of course I did. As I said earlier, I did work at least 8 hours a day during the entire week for the project. Mostly that work involves stuff I have already told you about. Making 3D objects for the game as well as UV mapping them and giving them textures. Not much new under the sun on the project front.

So until next post where I will tell you all about the final project period and how everything went –

Take Care!

A Rat Betwixt Blog Post #4 – Additional In-Game Content

Hello, everyone!

So yes, in my last Blog Post I promised that I would show off some actual 3D coming from me! This is not me saying that rigging and skinning characters or drawing 2D turnarounds for characters isn’t 3D. In 3D projects where characters and animations are important, those things are just as necessary as making the 3D models.

However, skinning and rigging are not really the most interesting topics when it comes to 3D. In fact, they are amongst the most hated parts of working with 3D! They are slow, boring, tedious and not really all that difficult either. It’s just slow pased, drawn out and rarely appreciated by those outside the development team. They are like a clean and tidy room. No one will mention it if it’s clean, but everyone will point it out as a bad thing if it’s not.

That being said, let’s get to something more interesting! 3D modeling!

Importance and use of props

Props.png

A prop is something that can be found inside the game’s world. Everything from items to pick up such as potions and weapons, or furniture and other items to interact with or fill a room with etc.

Props are important when it comes to giving life to any given game world. Imagine a room with  nothing inside it. Quite boring, isn’t it? Now, add in a chair into the room. Still not that much, but it’s something. Now add a table next to the chair, and you have somewhere to sit. Depending on what you put on the table, your interpretation of the room and situation changes. Putting a computer there could mean that it’s a work space whilst putting some plates and silverware on it gives more of a dining room feeling. Each individual part you add can tell its own story depending on how you use it and what you pair it with. Like if you put the table, chair and whatever was on it on its side, then you will probably get a more dire feeling from it. Like something is off about this room. Maybe there had been a fight or something?

UV Mapping

Of course, this being a HiddenMaxDesign, I have to show you some boring but important stuff! Can’t go without that, now could we?

UV Mapping is something you do when you want to texture an 3D object. Which is basically painting stuff onto them. To be able to do that, we have to let the program know what can be textures and how it should apply to a certain object. Each object is unique and require its own UV map to apply textures to.  You do this by extracting the surface information from the object by opening its UV map, rearrange it and open them up to get a flat surface, a sort of canvas you could say, to paint on.

UV Maps.png

Hey, remember our old friend, The Troll?

This is the results of proper UV Mapping. In the top picture the textures are all stretched out and weird as well as impossible to paint textures onto. Whilst the lower one is a lot cleaner and has some clear flat surfaces to paint on top of.

Rounding things up

Phew, quite a lot of work for a single thing to be created in 3D, isn’t there? It’s not just make the 3D model, paint it and get it animated as one might first think. You can bet a ton of love and care has been put into a 3D anything if it ends up looking good in the long run. There’s no room for slacking if you want things done properly!

For my next post I will go more in depth with how someone’s work process can be affected by outside forces. Oh boy, the next post will be a doozy.

Well, anyway, thanks for reading and take care!

A Rat Betwixt Blog Post #3 – Additional 3D Work

Hello, everyone!

So, for those of you who have just now stumbled upon this blog of mine. I have been giving insight into our second year Game Design Studies finals game project, some backstory and what I have worked on for it.

So far most of my work has had a lot of do with character design and doing 2D art. Which may seem a bit off for when the project itself is for a 3D game. Well, that is just how it is for the earlier stages of 3D games. You put together ideas and create art to further develop into 3D stuff.

HiddenMaxDesign on 3D

So you might be thinking: “Does this guy even know anything about 3D?”. As a matter of fact, I do. Would be kinda dumb to go into a 3D project without any prior knowledge on the subject, now wouldn’t it? A ton of unnecessary stress and time put into things that are not the game itself if you do that.

As part of our second year of studies in Game Design and Art we have been taught how to create things in 3D in the sense of how a game designer makes them to make it fit for different type of games. It was during this period where one of the characters that you can play as was created – The so called “Dyrkare” which is a combination of the two Swedish words Dykare (Diver) and someone who “Dyrkar” something (Worshipping something)

diver_templar_actionpose2 (1).png

I myself did not have a hand in the creation of this character. Those honors go to my three fellow teammates. I did a different character who in no way has anything to do with A Rat Betwixt.

Then why am I mentioning it? Well, to give some background with my experience in 3D. Also to move on to the first 3D work I did for this project.

Skinning Characters

I was given the task of “Skinning” this character since they found some issues with the earlier version. Skinning is the process of making sure that the 3D model correctly follows the character’s “skeleton”. Just like how our bodies are being held up by a skeleton, the same goes for 3D characters. To be able to correctly control and animate a character, it first needs to be skinned onto the skeleton’s bones.

Let me give you an example:

DyrkareWTF.png

To the left you can see a version which is correctly skinned. If you move the arm, then only the right parts of the arms will follow etc. However, to the right you can see the model with incorrect skinning. The forearm is pulling on the upper arm, the legs are all messed up, everything’s just wrong.

It becomes like this because you have to tell the skeleton what parts of the model to pull from when you bend let’s say the arm. Some parts can be skinned directly onto the firearm, such as the part between the hand and the elbow. But let’s say the skin in between your forearm and upper arm is affected by both parts when opening and closing your arms. Those parts needs a lot of finetuning to become right and it is just a ton of trial and error until you get it right.

What I’ve learned

It has been some time since I skinned my character during our 3D studies, so I had a bit of catching up to do. Doing this again I have become a lot more efficient when it comes to skinning 3D models to create good models to animate without the visuals acting up and destroying themselves.

Doing this is also helping me get a better understanding what makes a good 3D model good and what makes it work correctly when preparing for animations. Even if the model looks good it does not mean that it will be good when animated. If you do not have enough information on the model to skin onto the bones, there will be problems that you can not fix with skinning. If the model is done poorly, it will clearly show in the long run.

I feel like it is difficult to really show off just using images, and this model did not have any of those issues. So I can’t really show the problems off! I’m so sorry! Just imagine certain parts not bending properly because it did not have any good parts on the model to bend around and attach to.

Signing off

Well, hopefully this blog post isn’t too much of a bust! Hopefully I’ve been able to give you enough information to see what is going on!

Next Blog Post I will make sure to show you some more interesting 3D stuff coming from me. Skinning is kind of the most boring part of working with 3D by far! Well, other than finding stuff like this V

 

Kristalldyrkare Blog.png

Until next time, take care!