Catacombs name logo

Continuing on with making the art logo for my synoptic project. I changed up the colour of the bones so that they would match the skull and make it look in place with the rest of the logo. If I had left the bones grey as it was initially then it would just look rather off, unfinished and out of place in the logo art.  I wanted my art to look finished and professional.

Catacombs logo name font

I had changed the colour of the “Catacombs” font to see how it would look with different colours. Since catacombs can be dark places with not much light source unless using a torch or something. I thought that using black would  be a suitable colour choice for the logo font. I still felt like the font was a bit plain so I decided to add some grey light outlining to make it stand out more.

I’m happy with how my art design for the logo turned out. I do think that the drawing for my skull could be improved as it looks a rather bit off. I’ll try to improve the design, maybe make it a bit bigger and rounder. Could possibly fix the cracks in the skull art. Make some changes to the colours and shading of the skull as well to try and improve it; however, I do think that it works well with the theme along with the design of the game.  I drew the art within Photoshop then imported it to Illustrator so that I could use “Image Trace” to soften the edges. To use Image Trace, just select the imported image then select Image Trace.

Image trace ss 1

Image trace ss 2

This draws over the lines so that the outlining will be more smoother.  The arrow box next to it allows more options to be available in image tracing so that the art can look more cleaner to how you want the art to look. Removing any blurry lines from your artwork.

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Catacombs logo concept

Currently, I have been spending time coming up with designs for the logo of my groups Catacombs game that we are working on. This logo maybe used within the game itself as part of the menu screen as well as something to put on the posters and shirts of our merchandise. I made two different pieces of art for the logo which the leader of the group decided would be the logo art of the game.

catacombs-name-concept-2.png

My first concept art was made from different aspects of what is related with a catacomb to form the different letters of the title. For example, a broken in half bone for the “T”, broken tablets for the “A”, rocks forming the “C”, etc. One of the members of my team was a bit uncertain with this design and I found that I tried too hard to make the title to fit the game that it didn’t really work. With it being a massive cluster of different designs for each letter that it doesn’t exactly work with each other.

catacombs-name-concept.png

My second concept was thought of with the idea of my handwriting style. My handwriting style is where the letters connect up with each other.  I had also researched for some name logos for some pre-existing horror games to provide inspiration for my design. The Path title

This logo was the main inspiration for my second design of the logo.  I liked the cuttings of edges that stick out of the letters as well as how the letters connect up to each other.  I wanted some cuttings in my design but didn’t want it to be over the top since at the current time, monsters aren’t an aspect of the game so the title would have felt… unsuitable to the game. I wanted it to be enough to feel like the title was a match for the game.

Catacombs logo screenshot

This is the digital version of my art.  I wanted my logo to look more professional as well as make it look like something that would be in  a professionally developed game. The digital art is still a work in progress as I haven’t finished sorting out the colours in the logo. I’ll need to change the colour of the bones to be more like the colour of the skull. Maybe slightly darker to make it stand out or add more detail onto it.  I may also experiment with adding detail and changing the colour of the “Catacombs” font as the just grey is rather plain.  I customize by adding layers so I don’t badly affect the art when I mess up as well as easier to draw over working lines with the ability to remove the working lines end erasing some of the main art. Drawing by adding layers makes over lapping easier since I can draw the skull that is on its own layer on the top of the font for drawing purposes then move the font layer on top of the skull so the font is on top for final art purposes.

 

Motion Capture practice

Recently, I had been taking a look at motion capture so I could experience for myself how it works. I have been interested in motion capture as I have seen how it has been used for games such as the WWE games and God of War have used it to create really smooth animations.

Now, I haven’t used the same technology as what these companies would use. My lecturer had used a Xbox Kinect to record my body movements. This method isn’t as responsive as it would with a motion capture suit to record my movements.  My lecturer showed me how it works and I would start of the motion in a T pose then end off in the same pose. I tried making basic movements and slightly complex ones like jumping (as uncomfortable and awkward as I was in these movements) just to test it out.

I had a bit of a play around with the animation such as extending the height of a jump for use of exaggeration as well as moving the arms so they wouldn’t clip through the body of the character model. I tried to make the animation a bit more cleaner before settling on this to be for my first go at using motion capture. The character model was provided to me for the process of making the animation and I had done this just out of the curiosity of how motion capture works along with something that could be added to my portfolio.

DC Legends Review

The next game that I will take a look at for my review will be DC Legends for mobile devices. Like Injustice mobile, I have spent quite a lot of time on this game… but for both good and bad reasons. DC Legends is an RPG game released on Android and IOS on the 3rd of November, 2016. The game was developed by WB Games San Francisco.

WB san francisco

DC Legends homeThe image above is the menu screen when you boot up the game. When you first start, you’ll be put into a tutorial which teaches you how to play. This game does have a story mode to it… in a way. Campaign is where the story is told but there’s not a whole lot to it. Nekron (a Black Lantern) has corrupted some of the universes heroes and villains to try to take over the universe with the help of the Manhunters (The Guardians police force before the Green Lanterns Corps). It’s your job to stop Nekron by battling through foes with unlocking and upgrading heroes and villains to become more powerful.

DC Legends campaign map.png

You compete in battles by selecting them in the map. You must complete the fights in order to make progress in the map. There are two difficulty modes in campaign mode: normal and heroic. Normal mode is the main mode that you need to complete to make progress. Completing a world in normal mode will unlock heroic mode which is more difficult, gets you more essence to use and gives you a chance a get a character fragment upon completion. You can use the speed force to skip fights if you want to get through fights faster and get the rewards; however, you need to have speed force tokens required (some upgrade events require five speed force tokens to skip) as well have fought in that match with a three star victory. The amount of stars you receive varies on how many characters are knocked out during the fight. When one character gets knocked out then you will get marked down to two star victory, if you win with only one character remaining then it will be a one star win.

DC Legends PVP

Next up is the PvP Wraith Arena (player vs. player). This is where you can compete against other players online and fight their team of characters that they have unlocked. PvP is a lot more fun than it is on Injustice mobile as characters have fully unique move sets and abilities and aren’t too overpowered (besides Deathstroke).  Gears also aren’t a thing so you have to rely on your teams abilities. Winning the list of players will reward you with 5 character fragments. winning fights increases the amount of trophy points and depending on the difficulty of the opponent along with how many members of your team are remaining at the end will alter the amount of trophies rewarded.  Getting higher on the leader board will increase the amount of character fragments or battle essence depending on the type of arena you are playing in.

DC Legends Red Alert

Red Alert battles is where you compete in a series of battles to earn some rewards. Each battle gives you some sort of reward among completion. Essence, gold essence and character fragments. This order loops every 4 battles but increasing the amount earned. You will earn essence in the first 2 fights, then gold essence, then a certain amount of character fragments then repeat only with earning more each time. There are only 12 battles and you need to defeat the opponents with health and attack recharge turns carrying over (if you used an attack like Green Lantern’s Hammer attack at the end of the last battle then you will need to wait 2 turns in the next fight or one depending on how many recharge turns happened during the last fight). If a member of your team is defeated in one of the fights then they will be unavailable to use in Red Alerts for the rest of the day and if the entire team is defeated then you will be kicked out of the fight and only have the fight you lost available with other battles locked. You need to beat the battle that you lost with a new team before you can continue to choosing the other battles again.

DC Legends upgrade events

Upgrade events can be played to get to get Gear materials to upgrade the gear of a specific character type (physical, energy and mystic), get Legendary essence (used for making characters legendary), or Lantern Power Rings/Ability materials to upgrade characters abilities. To partake in these events, you must have the required amount of essence to get in the fight and get these rewards. There are also Hero challenges that lets you unlock character fragments. They are kind of like a temporary story mode that focuses on a specific character and you can earn lots of fragments for them, making it easier to make them more powerful. These are timed events so if they are missed for the character you want, then you’ll have to wait for when the challenge comes back (which may be a while considering the amount of characters in game.

Collector will generate a small amount of essence for you to collect after a certain amount of time and isn’t really helpful to get essence quickly especially when trying to make characters stronger. Void scanner is a roulette wheel that will give you the reward that the scanner lands on.

Now for the gameplay. The combat involves taking turns and using strategy to defeat the opponents. Each character has a selection of 3 abilities to use on their turn which usually at least 1 attack ability and 1 ability that just provides either buff to a character/characters on your team or a debuff to the opponent’s team. Each character has a main attack that is always available to use then the other abilities that require a cool down period  before being able to be used again.

DC Legends gameplay

The circle meter around the fighter type icons is the turn meter. Once the circle is filled then that character can take their turn to use their abilities. The green bar is the characters health. The arrows point down at the fighter type icon is who your character can use their abilities on. Attack abilities will target the opponent you choose that has the arrow icon (if the opponent is invisible then they can’t be attacked unless you use an ability that attacks all opponents or they are the last opponent on the field). Some abilities can be used on every member on yours or the opponent’s team. Some attacks can also cause buffs on a member on your team or a debuff on the opponent’s team. Attacks will always hit the opponent (unless the opponent being attacked has Evade buffs on them). There are three buttons on a top left. An exit button so you can leave battles, a fast forward button that speeds up the animations and an auto play button where the AI plays for you. The exit and auto play buttons I can understand but what’s the point in the fast forward button? Just make the animations faster. When the fast forward isn’t on: the animations play ridiculously slow. You could probably make a sandwich during the animation. I never have the fast forward button unselected.

See the source image

Each character is unique in their own way, each bringing something different to the table that can help claim victory. So what don’t I like about the game? Getting the characters. As you can see by the image above that there is a number/number under the character images. This is the character fragments bar. Unlike Injustice, you can’t just unlock a character or buy a character to unlock or level them up. The first number is the amount of character fragments you have and the second number is the amount of character fragments required to unlock/rank up a character. The amount of character fragments required increases when your character increases star rank. But that’s not all. When a character reaches 5 stars then they can be promoted which resets the star to 1 but the character changes appearance, becomes more powerful, and get to add a legendary bonus to one of their attacks (like better cooldown on abilities, attack twice, remove buffs, etc.) Fragments can be rather difficult to get and can be really annoying to grind. Some challenges and PVP can be a rather fast way to get fragments; however, it may not be for the character you want and can be time consuming. Some character fragments can be obtained in the campaign mode but that’s also not great. Lets use the Flash for example. It requires 90 fragments to make him legendary. You can only get fragments in the Heroic difficulty (harder mode) of campaign mode. Also Flash only has one battle where you can unlock his fragments from whereas some other characters (like Green Lantern and Zatanna have several). Not only that but you can only partake in a Heroic battle 3 times before you either wait until the next day to play again or spend gold essence to reset and play it again to get fragments. Think that’s really bad? You can only get one character fragment per fight in that battle and you’re not even guaranteed to get it. Yup… if you choose campaign then you have 3 fights to get 1 fragment that you may not actually get with stamina limiting the fights you can be in. Imagine how infuriating it is to be 1 fragment away from unlocking or getting a character, you beat the heroic mode fight that can get that character and you don’t get it. You can’t buy a character or just use in game money to promote them and it’s really annoying. There is an in game shop but that doesn’t help much either.

Another problem with the game is the in game currency as it’s difficult to get a lot of it. And it’s used for almost absolutely everything in the game. You can buy stuff with it but it’s also required promoting characters (along with needing character  fragments but not when they are legendary. Legendary essence is used for promoting when characters), upgrade gear (along with gear pieces), levelling up attacks (along with Lantern Power Rings), taking part in the Upgrade events (fights in Upgrade events require essence instead of stamina) and levelling up characters (along with experience materials). Yup. Not only can you promote the character but also increase the level number to make them stronger along with levelling up gears. Unfortunately, spending these essence and materials is the only way to make characters stronger. Spending in game currency is the ONLY way to make characters stronger.  Taking part in fights DOESN’T give your characters experience points to level up characters after winning battles. Winning battles in campaign only gives you a certain amount of essence and some rewards that you MAY get. The game focuses heavily on grinding and paying real money to get content in this game and it is really annoying. The game can be fun to play if are just wanting something to waste the time but since it requires internet to even play the game so it’s unlikely to play the game during travel since people may not be able to have internet access to play in travel. Also if people are interested in getting the other characters to try out their abilities and mix up their playing experience in the game then it will require a lot of grinding to even do. Injustice mobile provides a better playing experience. There are more attacks, visual differences, it’s a lot easier to get and improve characters due to being able to get the character and not bits of the character to get them and buy characters in the store, and you can increase the level of the characters by playing the game (reducing the amount of things that require in game currency to spend on).

If you are looking for something to waste the time either you are on a break from work or have nothing else going on whilst your chilling at home then probably give it a shot.  Might have much better views on the game than me. But there are other much better mobile games that are also free that you could play. Even some mobile games that you can pay for like the Genesis Sonic games like Sonic 1 and 2 or something that can give you a much better experience. Overall wouldn’t really recommend playing the game. Give it a shot if curious but not the best out there.

Catacombs update

With the updates about my progress on the models that I have made and the animation for the walking cycle, how is the overall development coming along? The overall progress of the MVP (minimal viable product) is coming along really well. We are currently at the point of putting the models to add more detail in the rooms of the game. We need to fix the flooring  due to being some gaps along with finishing off adding the ceiling.

The animation, decorative bones and trap axes haven’t been placed inside of the rooms yet as we are focusing on fixing the general look of the rooms with the walls, floor and ceiling before adding the extra detail models into the rooms. The general code has been implemented into the game so the character controls how we want it to.

Assets have been made and are ready for inclusion once we are finished the general placement of the walls and other important objects. The team is communicating well, people know what rolls that they need to do as well as what needs to be done to try to improve the game. Assets are uploaded to the Google Drive once finished and tested for the rest of the team to be able to have access to. Models are made, textured, and imported in Unity to make sure that they are working properly  before being put in the Google Drive in case something goes wrong that needs fixing and time gets wasted trying to solve it when it could have already been solved. My animation had undergone problems during testing in Unity which is now currently solved meaning my team can focus on building up the game. Since they haven’t put in the animation yet, if I hadn’t tested the animation beforehand and solved the issue then a lot of time would have been wasted not knowing about it then solving instead of finding it immediately then solving.

Game Render 1

Game Render 2

Game Render 3

Game Render 4

Bone model for Catacombs

Another model that I have been working on is a bone model which could be used as decoration around the rooms within the game. Bones where chosen to create the atmosphere that other people had been captured and tried to escape the maze before failing to escape dying in the process with only bones remaining. The bone is one of the more smoother models to make due to using different polygons to make the individual points then deleting faces and using the bridge tool to connect them once I had combined the models.

Bone render 1   Bone render 2    Bone render 3

I had a bit of an issue UV unwrapping the bone similar to the skull so the textures look a bit off in some places. I tested trying to make the textures like how I did the vase but that made the UV mapping issue more obvious on the model so I stuck with the original textures.

The making of the model was rather simple to make and didn’t result in causing issues for me. The main complication I had was UV unwrapping the model so that the textures would work how I wanted it to. The current textures work well, but if I can find time between my other jobs then I will have a try of reworking the UV map so the textures would look a lot better on the model.

Bone UV Map

Bone Wireframe

I’m happy with the quality of the bone model itself and how it turned out; however, I think that the textures could be improves as they are rather plain. Once I have reworked the UV mapping and made changes to the texture then it would look much improved.  This model is where I thought to try to make a low detail, rough model with low poly individual sections then make them work as one model before smoothing the model to add more detail in it which benefited my model really well.

Arm walking animation

The next thing that I have been working on is the animation for the arm walking cycle for the synoptic project game. The making of the animation was rather a simple process and I didn’t have issues when making the animation itself. I had rigged the model and binded the rig to the mesh so moving  the rig would also move the model I wanted to animate. I used the graph editor to make the animation smoother and make sure that the lantern rotation was how I wanted it to.

https://vimeo.com/215807216

Then I tried to make the lantern glass transparent so the light would be more realistic and this is where the problems started happening.  Because the UV of the glass was connected to the UV map of the top and bottom section of the lantern. So to avoid any issues with the UV map, I applied a different texture file (add another lambert onto the glass faces) then retextured the model in substance painter so that the textures would work properly.

Lantern Unity Render

Next I had to set the new lantern model in the place of the old one. Parent the lantern model to the point that the old model was parented to in order to move the lantern as well. Parent constraint the new model with the old one and bake the animation to the new model then delete the old model as well as the parent constraint in the hierarchy. This allows me to set the animation key frames from the old model onto the new one without having to reanimate the entire thing myself and adding key frames.

I had to also make an new save with the animations removed so I could have the idle animation for being still which would play when the character isn’t moving and export that as an FBX. I needed to but a locator on the pivot point of the lantern model in the walking animation save, parent the locator to the same joint that the lantern is parented to, parent constrain the locator to the lantern model then bake the animation and finish off by deleting the constrain and models whilst keeping the rigs and locator. With the rigs and locator grouped together in the hierarchy, I select everything that is in the hierarchy so I have everything that needs to be selected before exporting it as an FBX (I had to have a lecturer to help me with the process because it was being very complicated even for my lecturer).

With an FBX of my arm model with no animation and an FBX of the rig with animations, I wanted to test it to be sure that everything was working properly. For some reason during testing, the lantern was going through the hand model as the fingers where going through the glass. Along with that, the lantern was rotated so the lantern wasn’t pointing down at the ground. Me and my lecturer had spent a couple of hours trying to fix the issue. The lantern rotation issue was a matter of simply rotating the locator and checking on the new animations in Unity to see if the lantern was facing down. I am rather unsure of what was wrong with the positioning.  We tried to sort it out and repeat the process of putting it in Unity and it eventually worked out.