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.
Last week was spent finishing up the textures on the 3D model of Johnny Fuego. I'm typically not much of a 3D artist in any way but I had a lot of fun with this!! It felt like I could work in my own style.
This week I worked on finishing up the 3D model of one of our game's protagonists, Johnny Fuego.
The model had already been started by our other artist, Sean, and I went in to finish it. Additionally, I worked on the UV mapping (which required I do additional cleanup to that which I'd already expected) and beginning the coloring and texturing of the model.
There's not too much else to say here.
Not a lot of creative work, mostly just cleaning things up and readying them for texturing and importing.
Also, in my down time, I drew another potential fighter I call Amp - vampire and bat based character whose strong points are long range attacks using sound. Also she's a rockstar. Below are her heel and face forms.
We're starting to focus our vision more and more on two of the three games we've been working on. Originally, we thought we'd be working on the farming game for a very short period of time. We ended up going through with that idea two weeks more, but now it looks like we're coming to a stop with that one.
So our focus remains on the other two games - the one we've been calling Dungeons (boy we could use a better name for that), and the other one we've been calling Lucha Megadrive.
In Dungeons, I decided to do a bit more concept work for possible boss enemies. Didn't wanna just stick with the first boss I thought of. So I went for a boss with a completely different look and color scheme - this one is based on Paimon!
Meanwhile, we were preparing work for QA testing of the tabletop version of Dungeons. With this, we had a sort of DM board, dungeoneer sheets, and enemy sheets. The DM board allowed the player that's playing as the dungeon boss to keep their cards and attacks hidden - and I had the time, I wasn't doing any other work that night, so I painted Bael on it to make it fit the look more.
Then we needed cards for allies and enemies -- so I decided to do some quick concept work for those as well! I kept the enemy designs to the theme of Bael - making them based off of two of Bael's three heads. For the dungeoneers, I gave them each different body types and colors to help people keep track of who they were playing. I also thought up some neat lore, that these dungeoneers were a part of an elite mage group that accidentally summoned these dungeons and had to go in and take the demons within down. But whoops - their magic was powerful enough that they created an anti-magic seal on these dungeons -- meaning they have to pick up weapons within the dungeon depths in order to fight.
I had a lot of fun making these. Next week, if we continue to work on this game, I'll be making simple 3d models for the modular rooms.
We also did a lot of planning and changing for our fighting game concept. After discussing it many times, we've decided the best course of action would be to make simple 3d models. We feel that will be easier to adjust animations after getting feedback (without having to redraw tons of frames each time we need something changed), and we can use the same rigs on multiple characters. That means by the end of the semester, we could have two simple characters in the game! And honestly, that would just be great.
Based on this new plan, we've started reworking our schedules and deadlines, and have been meeting with professors to get advice. We also did a lot of research for the pipeline from maya to unity, as well as lighting in unity.
We also worked on some of the lore for the story, and made an emblem for one of the champion fighters - which we stuck on the ring where they'll be fighting. In the next couple weeks, between time working on character animations, I'll be working on the ring and putting it in 3d at a better scale.
Oh, and I came up with our teams name - "Nitro Fist." I think it's fitting if we go with our fighting game!
Here we are at the end of the second week of work!
In this last week, we solidified just what we wanted to create for each of our game concepts as a whole, as well as what we want to have in the upcoming weeks.
I went on to expand on two of our game concepts mentioned in last weeks post - our Lucha fighting game, and our PvP dungeon game.
Pictured above, my favorite part of this weeks work. Her name is Nuclear Winter, and she was created by Sean to be one of the two protagonists in our Lucha game. We want to write her to be the main "heel" character of our game. I think she's badass.
The other character we worked on was Johnny Fuego, pictured below. He's meant to be the "face" character of our game, and is known as The Burning Heart. Both the other artist and I were given a description of both these characters, and we separately came up with a couple concepts for both of them. They turned out very different. Which is cool!
What's even cooler is that the other artist on our team took both of our final concepts, and used aspects of both of their appearances and put them into one character (shown above, on the right)!
This combination ended up being the design we liked the most, and is probably what we'll end up with.
Likewise, we might end up doing the same kind of thing with Nuclear Winter!
Meanwhile, in this upcoming week I hope to draw this form of Johnny Fuego as soon as I get the chance. It's pretty great. I'm so glad we ended up with two characters that represent two opposites as our main characters. It's so fitting of the fantasy-extreme lucha we want to write.
Also worked on this week, our dungeon game's in-game appearance concept. We wanted to show what a dungeon room and a boss room might look like.
The placeholder characters are only temporary, in order to get a scale for the size of the ploayer and the room.
Pictured above, a room in Bael's dungeon with just a regular enemy. I got a bit of mock UI up to help give an idea of what kind of space it would need, as well as a color scheme it could have. Additionally, I thought a good way for the "boss" player to tell what they're possessing at any given moment would be a yellow/pink/blue aura that would glow around said object.
It's still rough, but I feel like these give a lot of information for the style and layout of the game we want to make.
That said, the rooms would most likely be simple 3d objects. The enemies, players, and objects inside the rooms would all be flat 2d objects, however. This would allow us to easily iterate and make many different room pieces, while still letting us make the objects in the style we want for our game.
I hope to make a 3d model of one of these rooms next week, along with a few more enemy, boss, and room concepts.
My last year studying Game Art has begun, and with it a new start to another game project. Our dev groups have gotten together, and my group of five (all of which I've worked with great before) has begun working.
In this last week of work, we began discussing different ideas for games. There were about a dozen or so game ideas that stuck around that we liked, and we discussed what elements we want to focus on the most when making our game. We ended up with 3 main games that all of us were interested in making, and I began some concept work.
The first one was a wrestling themed fighting game, one we're all excited about. We want to make a game where the character that's portrayed in the ring is actually who the fighter is. So, for example, in actual real world wrestling a character would be portrayed as a dragon king - that would only be the character they have on the stage. However, in our game, that character would actually be a dragon king, with all the abilities in the ring that a dragon king would have. Fireballs, powerful claws, gliding -- these are all possible in our game's lore! It's not just their wrestling persona.
Additionally, each character would have the option to play as a face or a heel form, changing up their attacks and stats a bit. We want each character to have these two forms, just as real wrestlers can swap between the two in their careers.
One of the concepts we came up with was Riptide, a demon of the sea, whose true face is still unknown. Instead, Riptide uses an entire shark as a mask. Above is Riptide's heel form.
The second was a cut-corners farming sim game. In this, the player would do what they can to keep their farm open - by any means necessary. Getting involved with the mob in order to stay afloat, sneakily sabotaging enemy farmers to stay on top, illegal pesticides, and minimum quality farm equipment are some of the options the player would have for their farm upkeep.
I didn't have the chance to add to the concept work on the farming game concept just yet, since our groups other artist handled that. Plus, it seems like we won't be going with this direction afterall.
The last one was a PVP dungeon game. In this one, there would be a "dungeon master" player that would build the dungeon. Afterwards, the other players would traverse the dungeon in order to beat the boss - all while fighting off traps and small monsters controlled by the dungeon master.
The harder the rooms, the better the rewards.
If they can make it to the end of the dungeon, they'll have to face off against the dungeon master controlling the dungeon's boss. Each boss would play differently, and would have to be learned. The boss I drew as an example was a take on the demon king Bael (whose concept I always thought was cool, but I never liked any art of).
In this instance, the dungeon master would be shooting small projectiles from each head, while they're in their closed eyes state. The heads would rotate above the spider body, and if the player times it just right, one of the heads will snap down onto the body, bringing its eyes open. In this state, the players attacks will be stronger, at the loss of the other heads powers. After a certain amount of time, the head will detach, and go back to its floating state.
As of now, we'll be going forward with the fighting game and dungeon crawler ideas. In a few weeks, we'll settle on one to go forward as a fully fleshed out game.