Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Effects Animation

Raspail from raspail on Vimeo.

Saw this online at and thought it was pretty cool. Interesting effects animation exercise. Check out the LineBoil link for the credits.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Final Body and XNA Buzz

Just wanted to drop a quick update in order to keep myself active on the blog. First off, I have been working through the 3D Buzz videos and loving them. I'm finished with the first section, The Hyperion Project (text adventure), and am thoroughly enjoyed the teaching style and banter between the 2 teachers. I'm starting onto the C# portion now and am excited by the possibilities. I'm a little disappointed in myself for not figuring out a schedule to make sure I get the videos in, but I've been on them enough to not be too upset.

2nd, I've finally nailed down the final proportions for the player character's body (above). I know that seems odd considering I have already animated his run cycle, but I was struggling with figuring out an idle animation and needed to see how he looked standing. I understand if that doesn't make sense. In typical "Me" fashion, I drew it extremely small and then scanned it into the computer. I superimposed one of the head poses from the run cycle and had my rough. My next step will be to do a larger, tighter version on top of the rough and then create a complete model sheet for the character.
Finally, I picked up Batman: Brave and the Bold for the Wii and am shocked to say I really enjoy it. Sure, its easy as hell, but its a pretty fun 2-player beat 'em up. Granted, I bought the game for $18, so its ease and meager length doesn't sting as much, but I would recommend it. I think it might be the art style that is really pulling me in. That, and its throw back to the 60's era of super hero. Just a real "tongue-in-cheek" homage to the Dick Sprang era. If you are looking for a fun rental for some 2-player action, its worth a rental.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


For the last couple of months, my computer has been making an extremely annoying, buzzing sound. I cracked her open and discovered that it was the fan on my graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 9500 GS). Turns out the card still worked fine, it was just the fan. So, after putting up with the ever increasing clunking noises, I eventually looked into fixing it. Now, I'm not the type of person who likes to open up my computer and tinker, but I was at the point where installing a new fan seemed like a good enough idea. Sadly, you cannot buy a fan for that model graphics card, so I was pretty boned. Luckily, I came across some guys tutorial on how to put sewing machine oil inside the fan: Link.

Now this is where the anger happens: After resetting the computer to see if the sound was gone, I quickly turned it off so I could reconnect the monitor cables. I think this is what bit me in the ass. The computer went into repair mode and back to its last safe point. All the while, it assured me none of my files would be deleted. I foolishly believed it. This morning I wanted to jump on and continue the Hyperion Project tutorial and for some reason it had put me back about 3 videos worth of work. What the hell. So I guess I'm going to resist just watching the last few videos and just redo the missing work. I'll just hope this heightens my understanding of the information.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Card Sagas Wars

I was browsing through the posts on Kotaku when I came across a fan project called Card Sagas Wars. The game is being created in the Mugen game engine, but all of the artwork is new and based on popular franchises. Watching the videos on the developer's Youtube page really inspired me to start thinking about my effects animation and how I want it implemented into my game. I might do some tests this weekend, just to see if I can hit on a style I like.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quick Sketch

Just a quick sketch during lunch today. I've been trying to get some ideas down for characters and enemies. This one will be for a rocket pack enemy that the player will have to chase down. I think I was inspired by the intro to GI Joe with Duke's part at the end. That would also probably explain the Cobra Commander-esque helmet. I should probably change that. Hmmmmmmm.

UPDATE: 7-9-12, I've been going back and retagging posts for the "Superhero Game" so that I have a better way of keeping track of the work done specifically for this.  I am wanting to take this opportunity to say that I like the concept, but despise the drawing and design.  Ben, if you consider using this for even a second, punch yourself in the face.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Art Progression and Coding Fixed

I think I'm getting close to figuring out a system for getting my art to look the way I like in the game. I'm starting out with real loose sketches that I scan into the computer. Then I import them into Toonboom (any coloring software would work) and trace the image. I prefer Toonboom only because I can tinker with the palettes quickly without having to refill everything in. Then I take the art into Photoshop, use "Save for Web" in the File menu, shrink the image, and then start limiting the palette. In the past, I would just drop the colors to a max number and see what photoshop gave me. Now I'll take it down to 64 or 32 and then start deleting the colors that I don't want. The program will compensate with pleasing results. I'm trying to achieve a sort of classic Lucasarts/16-bit/Arcade look for my game, so these extreme measures might not work for you. I'll probably still have to go into the final art and delete a block here or there, but after I save each character's distinct palette, I should be pretty close. If the "Save for Web" feature has one draw back, its that the "undo" function doesn't really work there. So if you delete a color and realize you didn't want to, you're kind of out of luck. It happened to me when I accidentally deleted the transparent channel.

In other news, the previous hiccup in my 3D Buzz XNA studies is already over thanks to the help of their community. Turns out I had placed some temporary code in the program in order for it to stop returning errors. I hadn't corrected it by the end and it kind of bit me in the ass. I'll be sure to stick around their forums as the users there were quick to help me get past a very "noob" mistake.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Working on my Buzz

I know...witty. So I bit the bullet and ordered the XNA Xtreme 101 bundle from 3D Buzz today. I've been making my way through the introductory portion that they have up on the website and am really enjoying the host's teaching stile and really feel myself grasping the information in a way that I hadn't before. I guess I'm just one of those people that learn better by following along with a video, rather than reading in a book. I did, however, hit one snag. Not one hour after ordering the videos did I run into a problem that didn't let something display the way I wanted it to...or at all. I've posted on the forum so I'm hoping the community will be able to help me out with that.

In other news, I was trying to figure out a simple punch combination for the player character and it wasn't working out the way I wanted it to. I think my problem is trying to keep the "wind up" and punch interesting while keeping the character in profile. Its just not a real dynamic angle to draw in so everything looks weak. I might have to go pull some reference to figure out what I want to do.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In the Goop

I wish I was one of those people that drew every day. Now that I think of it, I know plenty of people that have said they'd do it, but none of them pulled it off. I wanted to post on here that I was going to put some kind of sketch up every day, but even has the idea appeared my brain, I knew it would only lead to defeat. I guess I just get hit with too many mental blocks and run of the mill "bad art days" to commit to that schedule. Also, I've never been very good at keeping a sketch book. If I carry it with me, I never want to draw. If I set aside time for it, it intimidates me. Inspiration hits me when I least expect it and most times I will simply have a yellow bad and an ink pen with me. And normally, its my favorite stuff.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Big Things In 2011! least I hope

When I last posted, I had finally finished the XNA book and was looking forward to starting the next book in my studies. That's right when the holidays hit and my schedule got kind of crazy. I'm hoping to pick things up now and make some real strides on the game. In fact, I think I found another avenue that might help my understanding of the C# language and XNA.
While perusing the internet for any video tutorials on XNA, I came across a site with volumes dedicated to teaching XNA called 3D Buzz. While it mostly deals with an older version of XNA, I'm hopeful that it can still be a useful addition to my resources and finally give me enough knowledge to start my game. It also has a series where one of the teachers shows how to make a beat 'em up similar to the classic TMNT Arcade games: link I'm really hoping that this over the shoulder approach to design will prove helpful, much in the way Video Copilot helped me to learn Adobe After Effects.

On the game design front, I quickly jotted down a couple of ideas for a tutorial system within a vintage comic book. I want it to read kind of quirky and old fashioned while showing the player some strategy to employ during the game. It will probably read more like a pamphlet for "How To Be A Superhero" than an actual comic though.
Also, tonight I designed another enemy that will probably be in the same level as the the robot character from earlier posts. This time, I really toyed with the "render for web" feature in Photoshop and deleted colors I didn't want in order to limit the pallette more. All of this will hopefully keep my file sizes down and achieve that 16-bit look I want, without actually have to "sprite draw". I find converting my art to be way easier.