Portfolio Thoughts.

Recently, I have had to showcase my portfolio of my work that I have done throughout the year. My portfolio was a PowerPoint presentation which consisted of different pieces of work from all different parts of my course: Art, coding, modelling, animations and VFX. I started off with the modelling since that was where I felt most confident in then ended on my coding which was my least comfortable topicps4-screenshot-8

JeremieTop down gameplayHarrison Ford crushed betterSunset TreeIdent screenshotnightmare-bonnie-finished

Here are some examples of my work. In my presentation, I was very nervous throughout my presentation and I think that it definitely showed. Although I was complemented on being enthusiastic as well as showing care about my work, I think that I was rather laughing a bit with the nerves. I also was running out of times so I couldn’t show much of my games which I think I should have managed my time better. I had been rather in a panic since some of the videos wouldn’t go onto the PowerPoint so I had to put links in a separate word document so it wouldn’t look out of place in the PowerPoint.

I was complemented on my enthusiasm as well as how I put my own twist in some of the work; however, they would have liked to seen more of the games that I worked on due to have not having spent enough time on them and since my games had a bit more going for them the previous year compared to this year.

Animatronic modelling project

I am currently working on a personal project of making a 3D model on an animatronic in Maya. The animatronic that I am currently working on Circus Baby from Sister Location of the Five Night’s at Freddy’s series. I had made other projects after I first started college working on other animatronics from the series that was passable for the first attempt; however, they ended up looking flat, not very detailed and I didn’t know how some stuff worked so holes for the eyes ended up being a black cylinder at first.

circus-baby-project-shot

This is currently how far I am into the modelling process. The eyes being coloured in doesn’t mean anything, it was just easier to colour them in before I started to combine everything plus it adds a bit of life to the model whilst working. I had imported an image of my drawing for reference so that I knew where to put the wires. If you are going to import images into Maya, select the view by pressing space then select and import it into the front, side or top view, not perspective as scaling will be problematic if you import in perspective mode. To import, just press on view under where you choose the polygons to make the model, select image plane then import image.

The next part is just trying to make the model look as close as the reference as you can make it. The eyes is where I started since it was the more complex part of the model. I used a sphere for the eye ball an used a cube for the eyelids. The cube was broken up into segments so that there was more edges that I could move the edges to make eyelids, the eyelashes and wires are both made out of cylinders. Extruding is required to make the model more realistic.

Circus Baby render

This is my current progress on the model. I still need to make the face plates more round as well as sort out the hair so that it fits the top face plate along with including the outer parts of the hair. The edges also need to made smooth to improve the model. I should also texture the model. Getting the hair to work on the face plate has proved challenging as I need to Booleans difference so I get the gaps but the models aren’t properly lined up. I will need to rotate the model around since rotating the camera isn’t really useful in this situation.

Sonic Heroes Analysis

The next game that I will be covering is Sonic Heroes on the PlayStation 2. Sonic Heroes was the first game after SEGA became a third party developer due to stopping making games for the Dreamcast. It was initially made for the Nintendo GameCube but then ended up also making it for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The capabilities of the PS2 I discussed in the Crash Twinsanity analysis. Sonic Heroes supported a more ‘cartoonish’ feel with much smoother animations, exaggeration in the movements, improved mouth movements and much better looking environments. Sonic Heroes also supports local multiplayer although it’s pretty much the stuff that you go through in the single player.

Image result for sonic heroes gameplay

This game actually feels like it was targeted towards kids with how it has the cartoon feel, not really much for story. Team Dark makes things a little more serious with Shadow trying to recover his memory and Omega wanting to destroy Eggman for sealing him up but it’s nowhere near to the extent of Crash Twinsanity or Sonic 06. Otherwise, it’s just Team Sonic stopping Dr Eggman, Team Chaotix trying to pay the rent and Team Rose trying to find Froggy and new comer Chocola Chao (who exists purely to make Cream involved as this is the only time it’s around).

Related image

The biggest problem with this game is the controls. They are very slippery which means that you will find yourself nearly running off of the edge and dying. Also a lot of functions are mapped to one button, mainly the square button (on PS2). This button holds the quick attack (you will probably only use for Espio), Rocket Accel (completely useless), tornado attack (in the air) and light speed dash (which was already awkward). Since the triangle and circle are used for switching characters, square is used for attacking which means that using the light speed dash is unlikely to respond resulting to it messing up and even dying when you have to use it over bottomless pits.

Each team plays pretty much the same with occasional minor differences. Rose’s levels are a lot shorter than the other teams. Dark’s levels are pretty much the same as Team Sonic’s (except Hang Castle at the end) but with stronger enemies and Team Chaotix have mission based gameplay (Mystic Mansion can take over 20 minutes).

Image result for sonic heroes mystic mansion team chaotix

There is also some camera issues such as Casino Park and Bingo Highway which have pinball sections but you can’t see where you are falling so getting out of it can be a pain. The controls also have a mind of their own in these sections as sometimes they don’t go where I want them to go. Control is also an issue in the special stages. The control doesn’t respond to you. You need to collect orbs to build up speed but the controls will have you going all over the place. You will get stuck on the ceiling then slow down as you try to collect the orbs.

Image result for sonic heroes special stage

Sonic 06 Analysis

The next game that I will be covering is Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 for the PlayStation 3. Like Crash Twinsanity, this game was rushed in development. The PlayStation 3 is a much more powerful console so that it can handle higher quality models, improved textures, more complex level design, etc. The controller is the same as the PS2 so it shares the same issues that I pointed out in my Crash Twinsanity analysis. Now some people may think that a rushed game for the PS3 may have done better than a rushed game for the PS2. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Crash Twinsanity mainly had the story suffer with little bits of pieces that affected the gameplay: in Sonic 06, everything is affected. Sonic 06 supports local multiplayer where you either work together to reach the goal ring or race each other to get to the finish first.

Sonic 06 1

Age is rather important consideration due to the initial targeting towards children which it still somewhat relative today; however, games such as this and Shadow The Hedgehog have been given a more dark and serious tone to them probably trying to appeal to the older, much more mature audiences that classic Sonic fans wasn’t too happy with. This game has a princess which I guess would put young girls into consideration as well as some female playable characters to attract more people into the game.

Sonic 06 3

Sonic 06 has you be able to select a character to go through their own stories; Sonic, Shadow, Silver (making his debut) and a final story segment. Naturally, since Sonic is the name of the game, you would think that he would have the most relevance to what is going on. Nope, Sonic just tries to catch a princess who constantly gets kidnapped (about six times in one game). In fact, Sonic encounters Iblis (a monster from Solaris’ separation)  once and doesn’t encounter Mephilis (the game’s main villain) at all. Sure Mephilis kills Sonic, but Sonic doesn’t even look at him due to being blinded by a Chaos Emerald. Sonic sees him in one instance but doesn’t actually confront him. Sonic is almost completely in the dark with what is going on, getting a little bit of information as to why Dr Eggman is trying to capture Princess Elise, but you are going to get more information as to what is happening in Shadow and Silver’s story making Sonic rather irrelevant (in his own anniversary game). The game is filled with plot holes, inconsistencies and bad pure writing. At least Crash Twinsanity had some funny interactions to keep me distracted from the bad story.

Sonic 06 2

That’s the story over, now for the gameplay. To say that the coding was ‘bad’ would be the understatement of the century. A more appropriate title might be ‘Sonic Adventure Bugged’. You can clip through walls like nobody’s business, control is super precise, frame rate drops and just general wonky coding. At the end of some of Sonic stages, you encounter what we call ‘Mach Speed Sections’. These sections involve Sonic constantly running with the player only being able to move directions and jump. On the first play through, you will die here a lot (and there is one on the very first stage you play). The main reason that you will die is the jump button: you can’t change your direction in the air so expect jumping into your death.  Another reason is the how it works. Since you are constantly moving forward, you may think that you don’t need to hold the analogue stick forward but jump panels actually require you to do so otherwise you won’t go the full distance. One instance that has this happens results in Sonic running into a small wall. When you take damage, Sonic enters a very weird animation and you can’t jump, this animation doesn’t stop playing until a bit after the invincibility frames stop (the wall you ran into will kill you before you can even get free).

Sonic 06 4

The animations and VFX isn’t all that great either. The spin dash animation is rather basic, the light speed dash just makes Sonic look like he is being pulled by an invisible rope, Sonic does a weird break dancing animation when he gets hit and I don’t really know what is happening in Shadow’s homing attack combo. He’s just rotating randomly making grunts. The Chaos Spear looks decent although it’s just a basic lightning bolt, Chaos Blast looks rather pathetic. When Sonic boosts, he gets blue lines appear and spin dashing and jump dashing gives him some weird effect.

Sonic 06This isn’t the end of it; you can escape the barriers of boss fights, get killed by horrible hazards (meteors in Flame Core), boss fight against Silver can be aggravatingly difficult (and take up to half an hour as Shadow) and you can even escape the games barriers completely then get sent to space. When you play as Sonic, you can get gems to give extra abilities, there is a bar that is meant to limit how much you can use them. It doesn’t work and you can slow down time as much as you want to get massive time bonuses and shrink to perform infinite jumps and completely skip platforming sections.

Sonic 06 6

The game is broken in almost every sense. The PS3 is a lot more powerful than the PS2 so it can handle a lot more but rushed development has made this game almost completely broken.

 

Low Polygon Models

Over the corresponding weeks, I have been practicing making low poly models for a Wacky Races style race track that my team was tasked with. We had to create a small part of a race track with at least one vehicle featured in it. Each model had to be under 1000 tris (triangle faces). My job was to work on the vehicles. I also worked on the trees for the environment. The environment wasn’t my main job but it was something that I assisted in. I started in making concept art for my vehicle designs before actually getting to work on the models.

Car render

The sports car was inspired by Sonic’s car in the Sonic & All Stars Racing games. I didn’t want it to look basic so I included some patterns to it with headlights acting as eyes. The model consists 474 verts, 1056 edges, 576 faces, 960 tris and 1020 UVs.  I used a fair amount of booleans, extrusions and triangulate/quadrangulate in making may model.

Monobile render

This vehicle was based on the monopoly car. I included the top hat as well a funny little moustache and eye glass on to the car to give it its own personality. I have also included some red and white lines as well as the words ‘Monobile’ on the sides (Unfortunately, I wrote Monobile backwards). This vehicle wasn’t as big as the other car with 398 verts, 855 edges, 470 faces, 778 tris and 918 UV’s.

Tree Render

The final piece of modelling that I worked on was the tree. I made this out of three shapes: two cylinders and a sphere with the amount of faces decreased. The design is rather basic, I mainly just moved the vertex’s out to make it an imperfect shape. I used a ramp shader on the leaves to make a cartoony look to the tree. The model contains 191 verts, 410 edges, 221 faces, 378 tris and 360 UV’s.

 

 

Crash Twinsanity Analysis

We have received a task to analyse at least three games from different generations of the gaming industry. The first game that I will be talking about is Crash Twinsanity on the PlayStation 2. With the game being developed for the PlayStation 2 , Telltale games had to try to restrict themselves from including too much detail into the game due to the systems memory which resulted in some models being rough with some sharp edges (more noticeable on the eyes and shoulders) as well as some textures looking rather odd in order to save memory space. It’s more powerful than most of the predecessors such as the Nintendo 64 and SEGA Genesis so the quality of the games are much better as well as much prettier environments.

Crash Twinsanity image 1

The PS2 controller has 4 directional buttons, 2 analogue sticks, 4 face buttons, 4 shoulder buttons and a pause button. The directional buttons and left analogue stick is often used for character movements with the right analogue stick responsible for camera movement. The face buttons and occasionally shoulder buttons (less so for some games) are the main action buttons such as attacks and utilizing extra abilities. Sometimes the shoulder buttons will be used for camera control along with the right analogue stick. These limitations can result in having to reduce the amount of actions a character can do  as well as have other functions tend to be mapped to one button which can mess up the gameplay.

The PEGI age for this game is 3+ although I believe that the game was intended for older audiences with the fact that the main villains Victor an Moritz gets eaten alive by Evil Crash, getting chased by a chef in order to cook Crash and even some sexual jokes in ‘Slip Slide Icecapades’ when you enter the building in the image below. They cartoony look will appeal to the much younger audiences in any gender. I am a bit unsure of how culture would have affected Crash Twinsanity.

Crash Twinsanity image 3

This and a chicken house are just randomly in this area as well. This game would be more intended for the hardcore Crash Bandicoot fans as well as teens since there are some dark moments in this game. In the beginning of the game, Cortex stuns Coco by shooting her but you see him cycling through the options and an icon with the love icon and dead icon appear.

Crash Twinsanity image 4

This is left unexplained like much other content.

Crash Twinsanity image 2

For it’s time in 2004, Crash Twinsanity was a beautiful looking game in terms of overall graphics. The visual effect are really well made with Cortex’s energy blast to Dingodile’s fire from his flame thrower. The animations are also really smooth with a cartoony feel due to some exaggeration and squash and stretch. There are some animations that feel off like when Cortex falls into the water in Totem Hokum. However, the gameplay and story side was rather lacking not only because of the technical qualities of the PS2 but its development. Crash Twinsanity was rushed in development which resulted of most of the story missing key aspects and elements that might have made it more interesting such as an alternative version of Crash’s relatives in the 10th dimension besides just Evil Crash and most people that we encounter in the game such as Dingodile, Madam Amberly and N.Gin be just people that get in the way.

Gameplay wise, this game suffered in some areas. Pushing objects like trigger spheres and bombs where rather clunky, Crash would levitate in the cutscene after the N.Gin boss fight, platforming in 3D would be rather tense as you would be uncertain if you would  make a jump and the tutorial wouldn’t tell you about the slide jump nor spin throw resulting in some difficulty when going through levels. And that’s just for Crash. In this game, there are three playable characters. Crash, Dr Neo Cortex and Nina Cortex.

Cortex and Nina are pretty much an after thought in terms of gameplay. They only get one stage each (with Cortex getting small extra sections). Cortex gets to fight one boss on his own then is a second phase in the final boss whilst Nina is only the first phase of the final boss. For the most part, you wouldn’t know nor remember that there are instances where you can play as these two. You mainly play as Crash with Cortex getting dragged along now and again. There is an annoying glitch with Nina where you have to grab hooks in the wall to wall jump and get to the top but when you get to the final hook to swing across, Nina tends to perform a punch in the air rather than grabbing the hook which result in multiple deaths. This glitch makes the final boss aggravating to play.

Crash Twinsanity image 5

Sky Changing

Within VFX, I have been working on changing the sky so that it will look part of different scenes. The image that I started was in daytime with a standard blue sky. I had to learn how to change it to make it look like the scene was in the nighttime. The images below are my end result of the sky changing effects although changing the sky from daytime to nighttime like this or from a standard sky to an apocalyptic style sky like the second image is rather different. The style used to create the nighttime sky retains some of the blue from the original sky as you may be able to see with the outline of the trees or the top half of the sky is slightly blue. Whereas the second image doesn’t have any blue in it what so ever.

First of all I needed to duplicate the footage with Ctrl+D then place the sky image that I was using in the center of them. Then I had to add a linear wipe to my sky layer with the transition set to 30% and wipe angle at 0. The eye icon on the left side of the name layer then needed to be unchecked on the top layer so that the sky would be visible for me to be able to put the sky where I wanted it as well as scale it to match how far I wanted it to go. To top this part off, click and drag the numbers on the “Feather” option to feather it to your desired amount.

 

Night Sky

Turn the eye icon back on and add a linear colour key to the top footage. In the “Key Colour” option, select the colour in order to colour pick the sky. Finally, change the tolerance and softness as needed to try to make the sky look as natural as possible.

The second image was more complicated than the first since there was a lot more steps required so that I wouldn’t have the blue maintained in the sky.

This time you need to duplicate the footage of the environment you are using so that there are three versions. There are three little icons on the bottom left corner of the screen, make sure that they are all turned blue so that you have all the options up for each layer. Click on arrows next to the word “None” underneath where it says “TrackMat” and change it to “Luma Inverted Matte”. Pre-compose the top layer then open it up the new pre-comp.

 

Sunset Tree

Find “Colorama” in the “Effects & Presets” on the right and drag it onto the top layer. Change the colour option to “Ramp Grey”. Right clicking on the circle will create a black arrow, you need to do this and right click again to make a white arrow. Move the arrows to make a black and white matte, make sure that the sky is completely white with the other objects being completely black.

Next, you need to create a new black solid. Uncheck the and have the black solid layer selected. Select the pen tool to draw over any white marks that remain on areas such as grass that may have maintained them. Turn the eye back on so that the black solid is visible and return to the original comp. Make sure that the icon left of where it says “Active Camera” is blue and uncheck the eyes for the top and bottom layers.

Place the sky where you want it to be and adjust it to fit as you please. Set the opacity to around 70% and turn the bottom layer back on. Pre-compose the top two layers, this allows you to add effects to them. Add a “Matte Choker” which can be found in the “Effects & Presets” (if needed) to the pre-comp to smooth the edges.

I am rather happy with the end results of my work, I feel that the sky looks like it works and way that I edited to colours on the last two works well for the scene and looks rather realistic (in my views). Rather unsure on what I could improve on but I will still need practice as these are my first three tries at making them.