In addition to the concepts shown here, I sketched 3 additional ones that I ended up tossing.
QA results showed that people really liked B, one of our new concepts, with D, the concept we've had this far.
Because of this, as well as my own design preferences, I think I will go forward with a mix of these 2. I'll probably take the color palette and pinks of B, as well as B's larger arms, and mix them with some of the features of D.
Last week I completely reworked the art doc, and I think it has helped us sit down and define exactly what we're aiming for in our games art style. I'll keep it updated through the remainder if the semester, as assets are updated.
Not much to update this week.
We've decided on which of the Fuego concepts to go forward with. Now we just need to make a few adjustments and smaller iterations, along with trying a couple different color palettes, and then we'll have our new Fuego.
The other day, I also confronted a few of my teammates about some of the problems I wrote about last week. Things should be better, hopefully. I've also made plans to meet weekly to continue to improve and not have these problems again in the future.
Anyways, I've been very stressed about other classes and personal life issues. So, not much to show for this week. I'll also be gone next week, from the 7th to the 12th. So most of what I do then will be smaller sketches for promotional/arcade cabinet stuff -- since I wont be able to work digitally during that time.
Another week about planning. After getting a lot of advice to continue iterating on Johnny Fuego, we've decided to reimagine his design before going forward and finishing the new model. I've also taken the time to revamp the art doc.
Documentation and Planning
I took a few hours to go ahead and renovate the art doc. I think this will help to more easily communicate what we're going for, to both our own team members as well as others that want to better understand the artistic side to our game.
In this update, I cleaned out a lot of old, irrelevant, or repeated information. I cut down on word count, and added more images.
There's now more documented information in all sections of the document - characters, environments, UI, and VFX. Plus each of these now have at least one pipeline explaining our process for working on them.
With each week, I'll continue to add to this. Hopefully now, these updates will be a lot smaller - I'm hoping to keep them under an hour weekly from now on.
Johnny Fuego Renovation
We got feedback that our Johnny Fuego could use more visual interest as we continue going forward and renovated our 3D model. So, this weekend I took some time to make a few new Fuego concepts, which then got brought to feedback.
Here we are again. After a month of break, everyone's come back and begun working again on our games.
Our Lucha Megadrive team has begun meeting, several times already in fact, and getting our larger team organized. Our art team is the biggest section - there are four of us among the 10 total members of the team, so we're already starting to have our own smaller art-specific meetings.
I've taken on the role of Lead Artist, helping to organize documentation and communication. I'm also taking up some of the producer role, since I'll be working with marketing once I finish up my first tasks this semester.
The very first large task I have is revamping Johnny Fuego. The model is going to be higher poly than where we left it last semester. Which means we'll need to entirely rework UVs and texturing. I'll be working on that over the next 2 weeks. Then, I'll be doing the same for Nuclear Winter, who will probably get a bigger character redesign overall.
I'm also working on improving art documentation, since it really needs more images and explanation of intention.
I have, on a personal level, been in one of the worst places I've been in a while. I'm trying to not let that get in the way though, as best as I can, and just power through it. I'm excited to go forward, and to be working with the team that I get to work with.
Whew. Halfway through. We are halfway through my last year here, and halfway through capstone. I'm incredibly proud of all of the game studio. I'm incredibly proud of Team Nitro Fist. I'm incredibly proud of myself.
In this semester, I took on many things I was uncomfortable with - such as a jump into 3D work, that I wasn't comfortable with at the start of the semester. Now, I kind of enjoy it, and have such a better understanding of the entire process that seemed overwhelming to me at the start.
In the beginning, we wanted a 2D fighting game. In time, we began to scope things out. If we wanted the game to feel as best it could, we needed to cut down on characters, environments, and so forth. The hard choice eventually had to be made - we kept hearing that doing thousands of 2D frames was a bad idea. Yeah, it was. But for a while there we considered it - neither Sean nor I are 3D artists. Our specialties lie in 2D. But if we wanted to make this game as best we could, we had to get out of our comfort zones. So we did. Johnny Fuego was brought to life in 3D.
In retrospect, I wish we had made the switch sooner. Or at the very least, been more open to it earlier. I should have explored more options from week 1. I'm so happy I had that experience here though. Going forward, I don't think I'll ever make the same mistake of settling on something that important from the beginning.
Communication, however, I think I was rather strong with. Better than ever, even. There were no major miscommunication issues, and I pretty consistently reached out to my team and professors in order to get feedback, and make sure we were on the right track. In fact, faculty feedback was the whole reason we changed to 3D in the first place. I want to continue to get this kind of feedback and clear communication going into the second half of our project.
As for the work I put in... I think I pushed myself, but I'd like to continue to push myself harder next semester. I did a lot for my project this semester, but it was a learning phase as well. I had to learn a lot about the entire 3D pipeline, as well as how it was integrated into Unity.
Next semester, with this in mind, I want to put in 1.5x the amount of hours I put in this semester - at least. Since I'll have lead artist duties taking up a lot of time, I don't want all my time to be sucked into that. So if I put in that extra .5 time, hopefully that way I can continue to make assets and work for the project. For instance, we're going back and remaking the Johnny Fuego with a higher polycount - as one of our advisers told us we could afford to have much higher count models in the game. So I'll be remaking the model from scratch, making it have shape language that's more similar to the concept art, and putting the old animations to the new model.
Whew. I hate adding walls of text to these posts. But I think that covers about everything I have on my mind, going forward.
I can't wait to see how this game grows in the next few months.
Final presentations have come and gone and... we passed! We get to continue working on Lucha Megadrive through next semester. I'm so happy to not only continue working on the game that I love, but with the people that I love working with.
The best part of our presentation is how excited everyone got. Not only our team, that got super into the lucha theme, but the crowd that went along with it and got hyped as well. Below is a video of our presentation (though the quality of this video isn't ideal). Not shown is how when our game got selected, the auditorium started chanting "Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!," which was an amazing way to enter our presentation.
Besides practicing our presentation, our last week was spent doing some last minute adjustments and additions, and discussed a bit of what we want to do next semester. I was also able to make renders of two characters that could potentially be added to the game next semester. I've posted concepts of the two before, but it was nice to go and make some nicer art for them.
All that's left is to add new team members to Team Nitro Fist. We've got some really awesome people we'd love to work with, who would love to work on our game and I just can't describe how excited that makes me!!
I can't wait to see what new ideas and life these team members bring to the group.
With less and less work for other classes, I've been working more and more on Lucha Megadrive.
I've been working on updating a bunch of background and UI elements - making colors work together better, making the crowd and environment feel more full, etc. There's still more that I want to change before next Tuesday (our presentation day). I'm also helping out with building and visually improving menus.
I've learned more about working in Unity in the past few weeks than I have in my entire college experience combined.
Below is the current in-game look.
I also ended up with extra time to do several bonus things I wanted to do before presentation.
First off, I made the model for our other protagonist, Nuclear Winter. The next day, I textured it, and made additional color palettes. Making Johnny Fuego taught me so much about this process, and I can now do this in less than half the time it took me fore Fuego.
I hope that by having this character ready will help show that we're ready to go on and add content to our game - doubling our cast of playable characters - before we even hit next semester.
Before next week's presentation, I have one more character based thing I'm planning on doing. We have two characters I've posted about in my blogs before, Riptide Rivera and Amp, that I'm going to make renders of. I want to be able to show these off by next Tuesday - that they're a part of the plan for next semester. These will look like the renders I had in my last update of Fuego and Winter.
I'm also going to a few concepts in for other stages that we can make, so that players aren't just fighting in the same lucha arena all the time. These are going to be a bit more difficult, since the boundaries have to have ropes or something LIKE ropes, in order to have the lucha mechanics the game needs. One idea I'm thinking of would be a ranch, and the rope could be a barbed wire fence on each side.
Last but not least, yet another thing I've been working on are our Lucha Megadrive and Team Nitro Fist logos, shown below.
It's been a while since I last wrote an entry, and a lot has been done since then, such as environment work. But in this post, I'm going to focus on what's been done this last week.
First and foremost -- we've got a player select screen! Along with this, our playable character - Johnny Fuego -- has a full 2D render that will pop up when hovering over or selecting his character. Additionally, I made a render for Nuclear Winter, our other main character that we're planning on adding early spring semester. For now, her render will be a dark, desaturated version in the character menu. This way we can show off the character, but also show that she's not in the game just yet.
Below, we have the current state of the game. The UI colors are temporary (and pretty hard to look at), but the background is leaps and bounds better than it was even last week. We have crowds, stairs, color... it's coming along pretty nice! Just needs a few more tweaks in order to really make it feel like a ring (for example, the advertisements we're going to add in the far back soon).
We've also been working on practicing our presentation! I don't wanna say too much about it at this stage, but it's been fun. It's a meeting I really look forward to. Our next one is this Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it.
Another thing I'm looking forward to this week - More time to work! One of my classes has been cancelled and while it IS a class I enjoy, I'm going to have an extra 6 hours -- all of which I'm going to put towards Lucha Megadrive!!
I have a few more surprises I want to put into the final build that nobody will see coming for the presentation. It's gonna be a good time.
The camera choices we're having to make have been... frustrating, to say the least.
We've been switching between orthographic, perspective, and a mix of the two modes. None of them look right for our game. Orthographic gets rid of any perspective, making things look wonky when the camera moves in on characters, and making the 3d space completely flat. Perspective brings in a whole other set of problems where the characters get skewed and are at a bad angle when they're on the far sides of the screen.
We tried a mix of the two, but we couldn't get them to be a good size on the screen -- they'd either be way too small, or be massive compared to the ring.
We're spending the next week focusing on fixing these issues. For now we're using our old background and too-small sprites.
Anyways. Here's a phoenix for when Johnny Fuego uses his megadrive attack.