Two Years Later

So its been more than two years since I’ve last posted anything on this blog and I’ve just turned 20 today! I don’t really like how I just abandoned the blog without any kind of closure so I just wanted to do something about that.

To start off I’ll tell you about the last project I was working on, Chikara. I basically just felt very unhappy with how I was developing things and I just decided to stop. Although it was pretty fun doing One Game A Month, it wasn’t the best idea to try to create a chapter each month. I just felt like I wouldn’t be able to create anything that I would be proud of if I just made an unfinished game each month. Now I just want to do something more unique on a smaller scale and scope.

Two years ago is also the time when I started college. Due to that college has been my top priority, so I don’t waste my family’s hard earned money. Unlike two years ago I also didn’t have all the free time I had during my senior year of high school. During the past two years I’ve only been working on some small prototypes during my winter and summer breaks, which aren’t worth showing yet. This pattern is probably going to continue for the my last two or three years of college, so I won’t be active on this blog for a while.

Although I won’t be actively working on games, I’ve recently started to post things on my DeviantArt. So far I’ve only been working on my drawing abilities, which is getting better each month. I also plan to add some other things I want to practice, such as 3D modeling, texturing, and animating, which will most likely get posted on there too. I’m still very much dedicated to my dream of developing games even if it’s only a hobby for now. I’m very glad that I decided to write this post and will be back in the far future with improved abilities and more knowledge to make my dream game come true.

So until then this is farewell from an Aspiring Game Developer.

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Chikara Chapter 2 Update 4

     Hello guys and maybe gals, I’m finally back with more news for Chikara Chapter 2. Things have been going pretty well and also slowly due to college, but I still find time here and there to work on the game. I just wish I had a laptop so I could work on the game even away from home, but that is what I’m hoping to buy during Black Friday. My classes are relatively easy so sometimes I just write down the script for the game, code, and ideas. Most of the time I end up drawing during class, as you can see here from my collage of drawings I’ve been doing for the last 2 months. Sadly a lot of the lines are lost due to how lightly I draw.
Collage
     For some reason I don’t ever draw at home, so I only feel like drawing at school due to boredom, just like last year in highschool. xD But man after taking a look back at the drawings I can see so many errors in my proportions and lines. QQ At the least I think I’m getting better at drawing at this angle, although I need to start drawing in the face, which is what I’m practicing right now.

     Besides drawing I’ve completed the majority of the code for the turn based combat in Chapter 2, but there is still some minor code I need to do. Most of the animations are done and implemented into the game already, there are just a few that I need to do to improve the fluency of the characters’ movements.

     I’ve also been focusing a lot on trying to create a good looking forest environment for the game, since I’ve made some pretty terrible looking forest like environments in the past (Supply & Demand, Sensou). So I went back and recreated a few textures, such as the grass, mushrooms, and rocks. I also created some new models like the fallen tree trunks and tree stumps. Here is how it looks like with just real time lighting, which is awesome because they made it available for Unity free.
Basic Scene
     First I baked the lightmaps for the scene using my current light source, but things turned out extremely dark.
Too Dark
     Again I tried to bake the scene, but this time around I used about 3 more lights in the scene. It definitely lighted up the scene but now everything was too bright.
Too Bright
     After a lot more tweaking I finally found a nice compromise between shadow and light and ended up with this scene. Unlike the other scenes I added some random particles to the scene in addition with a change in the lighting’s color to give a tint of yellow for the sun. Along with those changes I played around with the ambient light and added a minor amount of fog to the scene to give more depth.
Fog & Ambient
     At this point I began modifying the scene so that I could get rid of some really dark shadows that the light wasn’t able to reach and then removed the grass because I thought it looked terrible. After that I started studying shaders because I’ve always been interested in how they worked, especially since they can seriously change the look of a scene. For example this is how it looks like with the rim lighting shader.
Rim Lighting
     I thought it looked really funny so I ended up changing it back to the diffuse shaders and instead applied the rim lighting shader to characters like the dragon, Okina.
Ryuu
     And finally here is how the game looks right now. All those brave cubes that died while testing the combat system are gone now and in their place are the actual characters. ^.^ Of course the status bars aren’t going to look like that in the final product, they are just there for testing purposes.
Current State
     Well that is about it for now I still have a list of things to do before this chapter is finished and if you’re curious this is my to do list.

To Do List
Add sound
Create & add music
Finish animations (jump back, wolf turning)
Create & add interface
Work on special effects
Implement status effects in combat
Add Story
Create tutorial
Redo character portraits

     The current aim is to finish before thanksgiving break, but who knows what will happen. Anyways I need to get back to doing homework, so I’ll see you guys and gals later.

Slow Progress

     First here is a random image because I like posting images. This is from when I failed at baking an ambient occlusion map from a subdivided version of Yuu. I saved an image of it because well why not? xD
untitled (4)
     Progress on Chikara has been slow these past two weeks. First I had to learn how to drive, which went pretty well, since I passed the driving test and now own a temporary license. :] Other than driving I’ve had to prepare for college, which starts tomorrow. Yay! It’s pretty surprising how fast summer went by, but it was a very nice one, since I was able to learn a lot this summer. Although I’m still sad that I haven’t finished Chapter 2 before summer ended.

     Besides those setbacks I spent some time studying animation and now have a better understanding of the workflow of animation. My animations are still going to need a lot of work, but hopefully it should look like an improvement. ^.^ There is also one more thing that I forgot to mention, and that was that two of my friends bought me an Ouya for my birthday, so I’ve spent some time learning how to develop for that platform too. I probably won’t be able to make a game for it until next summer, because I want to focus on Chikara, but it still wouldn’t hurt learning how to port games to it. I probably won’t post anything for a while due to college, but I’ll be back with some actual progress on Chikara next time, so I’ll see you guys later.

Chikara Chapter 2 Update 3

     For today’s update I can show off the enemies for this chapter. First are the basic enemies you are going to fight, the wolves. I’ll be using this model with modified textures to create variants of the enemies that have different abilities. The current plan is to have at least three different types of wolves.
Wolf
     Next is the boss of the chapter, a werewolf. I was thinking of stopping with the first werewolf model, but instantly changed my mind in favor creating a more menacing boss. :] After adding more fur making him look more awesome I modified the texture a lot, fixed up the model some more, and changed his color scheme grays to strong values of black and white, making him more satisfying to look at (at least for me).
W1
Werewolf
     I also have Yuu textured. I even inverted the texture to see how it looked and he looks fabulous and quite evil. xD Unlike the original model he has twin swords, instead of the bow on his back. I plan on making it so he can combine them to create a bow through the power of magic. Hopefully I’ve learned enough about animation to make it look right.
Yuu
Fabulous
     Sorry for the late update, I’m just really tired from all the work, plus the real life events that I have to accomplish right now. I really want to finish the chapter this week, but so many events are going on right now for me. I really don’t want to rush this chapter either, but at least all the characters I’ve shown here are rigged and ready to be animated, so now all I need to do now is animate and code the rest of the game. I will probably have to cut back some things such as the character portraits that I really wanted to have this chapter, but they can always be on the next chapter. Now that should be all for today, so I’ll be back with more information next week. ^^

Happy Birthday Tony Dang!

     Today is a special day. Today is a joyous day. Today is August 9th (Oh the post says today is August 10th… Well it’s August 9th in my timezone!). Today I’m officially 18 years old. :] Man time sure does pass by quick. Four years ago I started to learn how to program in my computer science class. Those were some good times, but sadly most of my friends didn’t go past computer science one with me.

     Two years after that I started learning Blender. I still remember one of the first things I tried to create in blender and I still have it today. Dragon That was my first attempt at creating a dragon and it was pretty bad, it had so many useless polygons and it looked like crap, but at least I’ve learned how to make a better dragon while working on Chikara. It is much more low poly and the anatomy makes a lot more sense than my first attempt.

     Then one year ago I stared learning Unity. Before I started creating games for One Game a Month, there was one project that I started right before the start of this year. It wasn’t exactly ambitious, but the game I was trying to make, a sidescroller with a Christmas theme, required so many skills and experience that I just hadn’t acquired yet. That is when I learned of how difficult game development really was. Here is a screen shot of this failed project of mine. Christmas
The story revolved around a werewolf fighting to save Santa Clause. It was a simple game, but I lacked the knowledge and skill to complete it so I ended up dropping it. This game was also my first attempt at creating a wolf and werewolf models, which were quite anatomically incorrect. xD I’ve made a new wolf and werewolf model for Chikara, but you guys won’t be able see that until Sunday.

     Then began this year I started off anew with smaller games starting with the game Hax, which I made for a friends birthday and because One Game a Month motivated me. It helped push me to learn and try to make more little games for my friends and I even made a game for a school project and of course I got an A for it even though it wasn’t much. P:

     Now finally I’m 18 and have made 7 games in total so far. I’ve learned a great deal of almost all aspects of game development , but I continue feel like a amateur that still needs more training. Well hopefully by the time I finish Chikara I’ll have enough experience to level up from amateur game developer to novice game developer. ^.^

Chikara Chapter 2 Update 2

     For today I’m going to introduce a friendly npc, Okina, a nature dragon. Okina is Yuu’s mentor and helps him by teaching him magic. Originally I wanted a bear or something for his mentor, but switched to a dragon because it’s just plain cooler and for story reasons. First I drew some art for him because well I don’t usually draw dragons and I thought it would be fun.

Dragon Concept
     Man my coloring skills are bad. xD Well at least it helped me get an idea of how I wanted to texture him, which I did after modeling him.

Dragon
     It turned out pretty badly. I didn’t like the single color scheme very much, so I ended up re-texturing him into what he is now.

Dragon Stand
     With the addition of yellow to the color scheme it looks much better along with the additional tiling of the the seamless scales texture I made. After that I went and rigged him, even though he will just sit there the whole chapter, but it was an interesting experience since I don’t often rig four legged creatures in general. Now here is Okina relaxing in the forest.

Text Level
     For this image I basically randomly scattered around all the textures and objects I made for the environment. I do have a texture for the tree’s bark but I got really distracted by trying to make a variety of tree types. I ended up with six different variants that I liked, but I’m still not completely sure which trees I’m going to use. I might just end up experimenting some more until I get some more interesting looking trees. I rendered the above image in blender so I’m not sure how it’ll look in Unity, but with proper light mapping it will probably look better.

     Well that is pretty much it for today. I said I would show the colored character portraits today, but was sadly dragged way off track. I’m still hoping I finish the chapter this week, so I’ll be back with a finished chapter or another update. Goodbye and thanks for reading. ^^

Chikara Chapter 2 Update 1

      Wow, its been three weeks since I last updated… Well I should probably explain what I was doing during those three weeks. For the first week I basically just took a break and played with my friends. One of them bought a Left 4 Dead 2 four pack during the steam summer sale, so we had some good times. On the second week I started creating some environmental assets for the forest location in Chapter 2, but the week was focused mostly on coding the game, so there wasn’t really anything worth showing. For the third week I started a new visual novel and got quite distracted. Something similar happened before I started Chapter 1 when I began playing the visual novel Rewrite, which was absolutely amazing, but it grabbed my attention for about 2 weeks and took me away from starting Chikara.

     I refocused myself and withheld my urge to play the visual novel to draw some nice lineart for Aiya, and the new character Yuu. Hopefully these will help me get one step closer to creating a visual novel like conversation system. The lineart I’m showing here is one fourth of its actual size because the original size would most likely look really bad compressed in this post.
Aiya

Yuu
I also modeled and rigged the new character, Yuu.
Yuu Blender
     Well that’s about it for now, next update I should be able to show the environment and the colored lineart, even though I’m not sure how well I’ll be coloring them since my art skills are pretty limited, but I’ll do my best. ^^ The current plan is to complete Chapter 2 in the next two weeks, and hopefully I can accomplish that. :]