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.

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.

 

Unity Game

In Ant’s lesson, I am creating a small game to practice my coding skills as well as develop an understanding for it. So far, I created a small room and imported a character pack so that I would have the model set up. I had imported a model that I had created to make the scene.

unity-game

Finding the code for the door to open within proximity was a bit challenging to find since I would get a lot of searches resulting in code for opening the door when it is clicked on which isn’t what I had wanted.

As a separate part of my coding practice, I managed to code an object rotating so that I can showcase a model that I had created in Maya.

Model

Here I show what my PlayStation 3 model looks with it textured. The model was created back when I created my room project and I thought that I should use it to practise the code to give a detailed look at my model. I didn’t want to put a basic cube as it would look uninteresting plus some of my other models didn’t import all that well. for some reason the screen of the Wii U became see through.

Unity Top Down Stealth game

I have been working on a top down stealth game created within Unity. This was mostly used to get a better understanding of the coding for the game. I needed to be able to get the character to move, get a goal to move the player into the next level and code the enemy to move in a certain pattern which they would then get out of to chase and shoot at you if you entered their line of sight. For the most part, I have gotten the code finished for the character and the goal; however, the enemy won’t chase the player nor shoot directly at them .

Code shot 1Code shot 2

This is the code for my menu screen. This code can work for all aspects of the menu. Just set this code on a different button and drag the level into the code when editing the level. It also works for when you want to put in credits for the game.

Code shot 3

This is the code for the enemy movement way points. I haven’t gotten to making the enemy rotate to face the direction that they are facing nor target the player yet. It’s important to have the “OnDrawGizmosSelected” code in when selecting the way points so that you can see where it is that the path the enemy will take, otherwise you will struggle due to not knowing if where the enemy will go is the way you want them to go.

Code shot 4

The code above is used to move the character once a button is pressed. You need to have a rigidbody put onto the character but make sure to put the gravity set to zero to stop the player from constantly falling. I had to download a package from my Google shared drive in order to get the code and other stuff such as character sprite which I had changed for my own.

Code shot 5

Finally, this is the code for the projectiles. Like the character movement, I had to download this from the Google shared drive so that I could get the code plus the projectile needed to be a prefab which was why it was necessary. I needed to change the prefab to the sprite that I was going to use.

Top down gameplay

Here is some gameplay from the game that I have developed. I don’t have the code for the enemy to see and target the player so he will only move in a set pattern whilst shooting automatically. Contact with the bullet or the guard will reset the level; whereas, contact with the goal will send the player to the menu screen. I have also coded the menu so that the start button will start  the stage. I needed to rotate the guard so that he was on his side so that he would stand up normally during the game as the code would rotate him anyways making him upside down when walking on the top area.

 

Top down gameplay

Lighting and rendering

This blog will cover the various different lighting and rendering types that will be used in making games, films, TV shows, etc. Each light type will be available in various other modelling and game engine programs such as Maya and Unity.

The first light type that I will cover is directional light. Directional light is light that goes in a specific direction (obviously) but it works a bit like sunlight. The position of where you place the light icon won’t affect it , the rotation does. Directional light will never fade off and the direction of the light will go all around hence why the position doesn’t matter.

directional-light

Point lights work often like light bulbs, they spread light in various directions unlike the directional light which spreads light in one direction. Another thing that makes them different to directional light is that point lights do fade so the closer an object is to the light source, the brighter the object will be.

point-light

Up next is ambient light. Ambient light is a more secondary light as it casts soft light rays which doesn’t cast any shadows or shading to the object due to not having a specific directionality . It mostly fills in areas that don’t have enough illumination and creates more cartoony  light effects on the object.

ambient-light

Area light works almost exactly like directional light only within a set boundary, a circle or rectangle. It’s often used as a light illuminating a room by shining through a window or florescent ceiling lighting. There can be multiple lighting points in a scene to make it more realistic; however, it does come at a cost as this will take longer to render a scene.

area-light

Spotlights work exactly as you would expect them to. They are also referred  to as flashlights. In terms of modelling, the light can be edited to make the overall size of the light to be larger, . allowing the player to be able to see further around them. The intensity of the light can also be edited so that they can  see further a head of them. Spotlights are also often used in three point lighting. Three point lighting is used to show of aspects of a character or object. The first light is the key light, it is used to show off the important aspects of a character or object and is the main light. It lights up the area that the audience is most likely to see and has the highest intensity. The second light is the fill light, it is used to show off the highlights of any object. The third light is the back light, it lights up the back of an object but not as much as the key light nor the fill light due to having the lowest intensity. It creates a sense of realism as there is light coming from behind that object even though the audience may not see it.

spotlight3-point-lighting

Volume light is rather similar to a point light as they both emit  directional rays from a single point. However; volume lights have a specific shape and size which affects it’s falloff. Volume light can changed into either a cube, sphere, cylinder or cone. If you plan on using a volume light to light up an object then you need to have the light placed close to the object.

Information about light types was found at this link: https://www.pluralsight.com/blog/film-games/understanding-different-light-types.

volume-light

Some settings in these light options can be changed. As you may have noticed in three point lighting, that I have mentioned light intensity. Light intensity is basically how bright that you want the light to be. It can be changed in the light settings as well the light colour (rather self explanatory).

Light linking allows you to set a specific light or group of lights to illuminate a specific object or letting a specific object to only be illuminated by a particular light or group of lights.

light-intensitylight-colourslight-linking

Cookies are often used to create an impression that something is there when, in reality, there isn’t. It is often used in movies when they have people in a jungle when there isn’t any trees yet they still make the shadow. They are used for atmosphere and created by putting a mask between the light source and the action. More information on cookies can be found on this link: https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/Cookies.html.

cookies

Naturally, light doesn’t generate any shadows in the modeling software’s such as Maya unless you manually turn on the depth map or ray traced shadows option in the light options. They generally produce similar results although depth map takes less time to render and is the more preferable option. Depth map represents the distance from the light to the surface that it is illuminating. Ray traced shadows are more transparent with softer edges to make the shadows seem more realistic as how they would look in the real world. It works better on coloured surfaces as the shadows are often a darker shade of the colour of the surface that shadow is on. Ray tracing is more time consuming and takes more time to render than depth map. Source: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/maya-lt/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2015/ENU/MayaLT/files/BoL-Depth-map-and-raytraced-shadows-htm.html.

depth-map-vs-ray-traced

Maya software renderer supports all of the entity types that can be found within Maya. Examples of these entity types include: particles, various geometry and paint effects along with fluid effects. Maya software renderer also features a tool called IPR (Interactive Photo Realistic rendering), this tool allows you to make interactive adjustments to the final render of your image. It also allows complex interconnections such as procedural textures and ramps. Source: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/maya/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2016/ENU/Maya/files/GUID-A0ACB70C-2E74-4BAD-AFDD-1D49A8B34EF2-htm.html.

Image converted using ifftoany

Mental ray renderer is general-purpose renderer that generates physically correct simulations of lighting effects which includes ray traced reflections and refractions, caustics, and global illumination.  Source of information: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-484B095B-1229-4CB9-BC53-952AC40F67C2-htm.html.

mental-ray-render

Finally, I will be covering the Arnold renderer. Arnold is a ray tracing renderer developed to meet the demands of feature-length animations and visual effects. Arnold was the primary renderer of various movies such as Monster House, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Gravity and Pacific Rim. Source: https://www.solidangle.com/arnold/.

arnold-render

 

Portfolio presentation

Recently, I had to work on presenting my portfolio in front of some of my lecturers in my games design course. The presentation focused on all of the work that I have done since starting the new course. My plan was to make a PowerPoint presentation and show some screenshots of my work, mainly showing my modelling and artwork. My games along with animations would be presented out of the PowerPoint and then end it with a separate PowerPoint to show my game pitch.

This didn’t go according to plan though. My nerves had gotten the better of me as I don’t like being the focus so I felt like I didn’t really talk about my work in detail. Another issue was that my explosion animation didn’t show up at the beginning  for some reason plus my Photoshop drawing of Nightmare Bonnie wasn’t fully coloured in even though I had definitely saved them in the presentation and had no reason to not be complete. Therefore, I had to say that may drawing was a working progress and not near completion; even though I knew that it was completed.

nightmare-bonnie-finished

The next problems that I had to face was my VFX work. For some reason, some content like the fish image had disappeared and none of my VFX content wanted to actually work so I was left with nothing to show in terms of VFX. My Maya animations worked well so there was an up. Although, Maya was also becoming a bit of an issue when trying to complete my portfolio since it didn’t want to load up almost all of my models so for most of my models: I had to use old screenshots of them. Some models I had re-download from my email ( I sent from home unable to us my USB stick), update them again and reapply the textures. The textures didn’t fit due to being for the original so they were too small which resulted in me trying to fix them.

My game pitch worked fine as I explained what my game what my game was, how the game would work as well as any additional features that my game have in detail. The icing on the cake of my worries was that I had completely forgotten to show off any of my games that I had already made.

Overall, I thought that it was a complete disaster, even though I might have a merit for my work, I will try to improve on all the errors that was made during this time although developing my confidence and ability to speak in front of people will be a near impossibility. In reflection, I am strong in terms of modelling  and probably drawing as well. I am capable of coding, even though my lecturers didn’t get to see it. I want to focus my attention towards animating. Animation has always been my biggest interest as I enjoy watching how characters move and animations can be really realistic. In games, I like good animations and don’t really care if the graphics is compared to the PS2.