Saturday, January 31, 2009

Update of progress over Cristmas and New Year.

Whilst I was on my holiday in france I had the luckiest descovery ever. I found GoldFinger's car from the James Bond film Gold finger. This was fantastic, it was a perfect example of the style of vehiecles of the time I am recreating. I was able to take a good number of photos of it that will be helpful in modeling and texturing later.

I have made more buildings for the city, most notably the ford factory. It will be one of the many places in the game where events from the story line take place. The content of this area of the story is about the early development of automobiles. Henry Ford's decision to go with the combustion engine instead of the alternatives. It will also provide the player gameplay opportunities where they can modify their car in a similar way to the GTA san andreas mod garages. They will be able to customise many features of the cars like the headlamps, bumpers, roofs, wheels and the color can also be changed.
This level of customisation is an important part of the gamplay and allows the player to be come more immersed in the environment. Other things that might be customisable are the characters cloathes hair and facial hair as well as the characters face. This would be limited but there would be a selection of faces to choose from. In the game this would involve going to a cosmetic sergeon that could change your face and would be a similar to going to the hairdressers in GTA SA. This works well in the story aswell, the character can go under cover by disguising himself as somone else.
Over the holidays I discovered the ESBN better effects mod for GTA san andreas. It is a mod that allows the player to change the graphics settings. This could be encorporated into the gameplay by saying it was some sort of detective vision but I don't think this would enhance the gamemplay. It does enhance the graphics quite considerably by adding a number of visual effects like depth of field, motion blur, ambient occlusion, bloom lighting, bump maping and reflections. This does alot to improve the graphics and it also gives me direct control of the visual style by adjusting settings in a simple script. It will help me create a more realistic and gritty world.
I also moddeled the a new set of cloating for the main character, a detectives raincoat and hat. It's what all good detectives wear. In the next few weeks a want to have set up a working cloathes store and changing room that the player can use to change his cloathes. The map and general layout of the city will be finalised and a working model imported into the game. This will take a very simple form of boxes most likely but will represent the final layout and will help me set paths for traffic early on.
By the mid term review I hope to have the city layed out with traffic and pedestrians around. A small part of this will be textured for demonstration purposes. To achieve this in this short amount of time I must plan the city very thoroughly and be careful not to over complicate things.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Renewed spirits

Hi, I haven't posted in a while. My computer froze from a virus and i've spent the last few weeks formatting and reinstalling all my software. It's all been fixed now and i'm happy to show the progress i've made since.

I've continued my reasearch into technology of history.

I have also started modelling the city for my GTA game:)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Clothing video

A Video of the suit and the variety of colours i've ctreated

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

GTA progress

Over the last week i have continued my research and work with the GTA San Andreas engine. There were a few bugs with my character model, mainly with skinning and problems when combining my models with clothing from the game, where they didn't fit together properly. Originally i replaced the Valet outfit with my suit model and this worked fine because it changes all the characters clothing that roughly matched it. However when you died you wound up back at the hospital with no clothes on which is a bit silly. So I replaced the suit1 model and texture with mine and created a range of textures to go with it. Now I have a range of coloured suits available to wear in game, later I will work on the textures to make a more realistic set of suits(Pin-stripe, Double and single breasted, gangster and other variations). There are other slots available for clothing that could also be modded like the Tuxedo, Tweed jacket and pants(suit2). All of the cloathes can be modified but for the moment i'm replacing like for like so items will appear in the appropriate way and I don't have to change the names in the main.scm(script), this is possible but is a bit tricky. It isn't somthing i will worry about now but when I set my TC mod it would be nice to name the cloathes properly, that way I can have many more. I can replace the hoody model for example with an overcoat model and then rename it appropriately. So the player would buy an Overcoat that looks like an overcoat instead of buying a hoody that looks like an overcoat.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hi i've done more research into procedural animation/programming and realtime worlds. playing some well known games Spore, GTA, Crackdown, mafia provided me with some interesting ideas and inspriration.

There are many game engines available to me to use for this project. I have experience working with many game engines (CryEngine2, SourceHL2, Unreal) these are very powerful engines to work in and fantasic mods have been made. Even so these games are complex and geared to making fps worlds which is great if thats what you want to make however the storyline is usually linear and restrictive. Also because they are so complex, making large environments is difficult except for crysis and that is designed for making praridise islands, thats not to say that you couldn't make any other kind of world in it tho. The main reason I don't want to use Crysis for this project is simply it's complexity, at a guess the uni computers won't be able to run it. I will still experiment and create other works with it but not for this project.

I need an engine that handles animations, vehiecles, guns and fighting and a large open and dynamic environment. I love the GTA series and would like to work for Rockstar games in the future, so I investigated the GTA series and assessed their practicallity. I used my modding experience to unlock the GTA game and now have an empty world ready to fill with my own content. This is exactly the kind of tool i'm looking for, it provides all the tools I need. I can now create content and 3d objects and see it work in the game engine, so my character will run round and be animated accordingly and interact with other characters and objects within the 3d world. It also has a fairly simple scripting system for coding missions which is perfect for creating loose open ended sandbox style gameplay.

I'm now researcing gameplay and storytelling techniques, and genre conventions. I'm looking at traditional film plot devices, cinematography and iconography and how they are used create a rich and believable worlds. I think that games atm have got a lot to learn from the movies to help develope narrative and use genre conventions to help the audience relate to the

Games are an amazing form of media they allow us to experience alternate realities share experiences and do things that we never could in the real world. Here lies an interesting idea, communication has been a powerful force in human scociological developement. We developed language to communicate with others then writing so we could develope and document our ideas, these are technologies that were developed to aid in communication. I suggest that video games and virtual reality is almost the ultimate extension of this same drive to communicate and share experiences with other individuals. I think this fundamental concept or understanding is missing in many games and a game that does this and contains an interesting perspective that questions our modern world view will break the mould and realise gamings full potential.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Ideas

An area of study that I am interested in due to the release of games like Spore, is Procedural animation and environments in 3D. I did some research into a number of programming languages (C++, XnA, processing). After some experience programming in XnA I realized that there was no support for bone/mesh animation. So I looked into direct x which is extremely complicated but does provided the necessary framework for handling models and animation DXUT. This seemed promising but a daunting prospect to attempt to create something with it.

During one of my tutorials my lecturer showed me max-script, which I have already had some experience but hadn’t thought about using it for this line of thought. I found some tutorials on the subject below. I started to experiment with some of the ideas in the tutorials and developed a very simplistic building creation and placement tool.

video tutorials for maxscript:

I experimented with the methods of placement and created more controls for it and also developed ways of modeling primarily through code.

I found max-script fairly easy to use and produced some surprisingly good results. I have experimented with texturing through the code and have created some interesting effects as in the images above. I also noted the powerful difference that good textures make on low poly geometry. I would like to further develop this idea into a functional tool for 3dsmax to help with creating buildings that have an amount of variability built in. I would like the user to be able to create a few different types of buildings that can varied through the code to be used to build a city that represents his/her tastes or choices.,M1


I've just started my final year, in Virtual Reality with 3D animation. I'll discuss the work and the areas of study I am interested in and those that I find along the way. As I discover new avenues for research I will reference them here. So my tutors and I can look at the material I have gathered throughout the course. Helping everyone to understand what I am trying to achieve in my Final year.

First off I am a keen 3d modeler, and gamer. I grew up with the games that captured my imagination but playing them wasn't enough. I had to make them! When i got my first PC I started messing around with the games files and discovered I could change elements in them. Textures were easy prey and I heavily butchered many, creating super hero costumes for my sims. I used the tools that are shipped with some games. I made maps for every game I could and became familiar with the applications.

I started modding for HL, Sims, Unreal and farcry and made a number of mods. During that time I learnt alot about games and was introduced to my first modeling package Milkshape. However my reach usually outstretched my grasp, I needed knowledge and like minded people to work with. So I went to uni.

I am now confident in my ability to model anything using a combination of the latest tools (3dmax, Photoshop and z-brush). I also have a good understanding of visual effects in films and a practical knowledge of creating them in video editing software. As I look for ideas for my final year projects I will no doubt encounter many new problems to solve and challenges which I’ll attempt to document here.