The Blog of Ryan Foss

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Young Blenders

I introduced my son Aidan and Nathan to Blender today. Blender is a free 3D program for making geometry, renderings, animation, etc. It’s pretty popular and fairly complicated. I showed them a youtube video of someone making Minefraft stuff and this is what resulted.

Automatic Road Geometry Generation in Unity

I’ve had an awesome project at work developing a simulation in Unity3D that builds a test track, a road essentially, right before your eyes.  Technically, we’re using some pretty hefty data, including OpenCRG and Power Spectral Density data as inputs, but I also added a lower weight random algorithm that can make for some roads more appropriate for game play.

In the image above you can see a long length of track that I generated with a few inputs.  Additionally, it creates road rails to help keep the vehicle on the road.  It also creates a simple ditch on each side of the road from a simple profile. Additional options include material selection, which changes the road appearance.

It’s not often that I get to share stuff from work, but this is only a taste of what it can do. The project will eventually be released to the public. Hopefully some day I can share a video of everything it does.

The vehicles are from the Car Tutorial project provided by Unity.

Unity Skyboxes Help

I’m building a simple weather system in a Unity simulation at work and I’m using the supplied Skybox shader along with some of the supplied skybox materials.  The supplied standard asset skyboxes do a good job for part of what I need, but I needed a few more variations.  I decided to use one of their texture sets and make a few quick atmospheric modifications.  As I expected, doing this in Photoshop can come with some problems.  Texture alignment at the edges and corners required special attention, along with the box distortion.

I made this helper image as I worked to remind me of how things should work.

Global Game Jam

I can’t believe I let this go without mention, but man I’ve been busy!  I have so much to say and reflect on it overwhelms me to think about it.

The Global Game Jam 2012 is one such event.  Way back in January I spent 48 hours making a game and it was awesome.  Of that 48 hours, I slept four!   The result was a game we called “Boogie Fling”.  It was developed in Unity, and you can play the web version here: Boogie Fling

Much credit has to go to Ty Burks for most of the art and Tori Kamal for the hilarious sounds and music.

The Game Jam was awesome and the local IGDA group had an outstanding attendance with over 27 participants on 11 teams!  It was awesome fun to jam with so many cool and interesting people.

 

Logo Work

I’ve been doing some logo work lately.  I normally don’t seek out logo work, because as a freelancer they don’t usually pay well and they rarely are fun (this strongly depends on the customer) but these are close to me in some way.  I’m not going to say much more about them, but I’ll try and post some updates when I come to something final.

New Android Project Underway

I’ve singed an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), which means I can’t talk about it.  However, the picture above pretty much sums it up.  I’ll be posting more about it once the project is complete, which I think will be after CES.

Contest Switch

Anyone whose ever considered graphics art work has probably come across a contest or two. They are easy to set up, you get a number of submissions you get to pick what you like best. Easy. But this is at the expense of the artists of course, and is very annoying when you’re looking for legit work.

Image from The Craziest Craigslist Ads Of All Time: Vol. II

Latest Video: The Incident Security Cameras

Not too bad for 6 hours of filming and 4 hours of editing and effects.

This one shows a hallway at the Facility. Things are going along normally when something happens.

After The Incident, the scientist become mind controlled by multi-dimensional aliens (or some other sci-fi type story) and are seen here using some advanced technology.

I’m actually very happy with how it turned out. It was filmed with my old, and apparently trusty, Cannon GL1. Editing and special effects were done in Adobe Premier.

The New Pat


I’ve created a new lead model for Deadly Chambers. This is the WIP. My triangle budget is 400. This model weighs in at 406. Ha!

Senior Design, GSP-490

Last week I finished my senior design class in my Game and Simulation Programming (GSP) degree, class GSP-490. I was worried because I was very busy with Deadly Chambers I had made the bad decision of doing a senior project alone instead of in a group/team as advised. This meant everything was on me. Documentation, design, programming. At the decision point I was too consumed otherwise to commit to anything but what I thought I could handle myself.

The good news is it went well. Grades are in and I got a 90.04%, just eeking out the A. This was a wonderful surprise since I had accepted the fact I was probably going to get a B. Luckily everything with my game fell into place at the last minute and I completed the game (for the most part).

PING! is an action game where you control a ball. You decide which direction the ball should turn when it hits something. Concept was by Bill Nagel and me. It was programmed in XNA Game studio 3.1 (C# FYI). I did all the art assets, programming, source control (using SVN), etc. myself.

Here are some screen shots of my game.

Start Menu

Dynamic Camera Fly at Level Start

Countdown to Start

Game Play Example

Win Condition, PING!

Menu Integration

Laser Shotgun

This is my newest creation. If all goes well, it will be added to Deadly Chambers. It is a shotgun that shoots lasers!

It was made using Blender and Photoshop. I rendered an AO layer and saved it, then a light layer, the blue glow, by rendering only the light on a dark material to the same UV map. I combined them in photoshop with some metal textures, photos, hand painting and some layer effects. I really like how it turned out.

Tower In Action

I’m finishing the tower level tonight. It’s mostly the little things that take the time. I had to make a quad for every torch, some for portal detection, etc. Here is a shot of the tower level being played. This is the stairs.


Here you are in first person mode standing on the roof.


That is a Verizon Droid phone if you’re wondering.

Tower Power, Shared Texture Space

This is the lightmap layer of the tower level for the game I’m working on with Rob of Battery Powered Games. This is the final level, the Tower, where the big show down with a magical wizard takes place. The game should be out in a month (estimated release second week of May, 2010). It’s called [NAME TBD].


I’ve been using blender solidly for about half a year now and I have developed a number of tricks. My favorite trick thus far is baking textures with shared texture space. Essentially I design a symmetric scene, set up the lights and UV only part the model. I then use this part of the model to create the rest of the scene, but I push their UV’s out of the main UV space. This is a trick, since Blender won’t bake the textures for these faces (when they would normally cause problems), and they are technically in the same place if texture mode set to repeat.

Here you can see the UV texture space. The faces pushed to the top are part of the stairs design, while the parts pushed to the right are levels.


In this image you’ll see that the stairs have essentially the same texture mapping from one level to the next. What is really nice is that since they are the same, they share the same UV texture space, I reap the benefits of the resolution only doing it once. It might seem really weird but its backfaces only. This means you see through geometry from one side, but not the other. So you can see the stairs through the walls so to speak. It’s so natural to me, but I expect some won’t know what they are looking at.


Here you can see I’ve highlighted the portions of the texture in the main UV space. Pretty good use of the space I think.

Fun in 3D, Tron Style


Rock Giant

Rock Giant Tron Style

This is my latest model for NAME TBD. Obviously not going to use the Tron style version, but it gave the developer a laugh.

Android Art


I’ve been really busy lately with work, school, family and side projects. Here’s one of those side projects I’m working on.

I’ve started working with Battery Powered Games, a local android developer I met through IGDA. We’re making a FPS sort of game. The images above is a WIP of level two, a castle level.

I’m limited to around 1000 triangles and two textures. One texture, a 1024×1024 image is the diffuse and the other is a light map, only 512×512 at maximum quality.

I’m having a lot of fun working on this stuff.

XN-Yay!

Well, it isn’t the best but the basics are there to demonstrate the concept.
Essentially you are looking at XNAMentor’s Space Invaders project modified with our game concept in mind. I also got the Blender to XNA FBX pipeline working so I’m feeling pretty confident we can pull this off.

Additionally, I’ve been reading Beginning XNA 3.0 Game Programming and I’ve got one of the “games” working. It’s originally a meteor dodger game where meteors fall and you have to avoid them. I modified the art so instead of a spaceship, you are combine harvester that dodges my son Aidan’s face. This was a big hit with my son Nate.

iPhone Card Game Art


I’m working with another iPhone developer for a card game. Here’s what I have so far for the cards.

I was trying to go for a more modern theme, hence the shiny look. It looks good on the phone. Oh, the characters are part of the theme too.

I Need a Cool Business Card

Right now I’m thinking paper robot.

These are cool too.

O-Force


via Lysol-Jones Deviant Art

Yes, that is Obama with a gun wielding statue of liberty robot.

Game For Review, Board@Work

Ben submitted our iPhone game on Friday last week. He expects it to take about a week to be released, since his last game took about that long to be approved. Since then, we’ve made a video to showcase some of the gameplay.



I also helped him update his website. I’m not one much for web design, because its often frustrating and time consuming, but I think simplicity is nice. Hence, the design of his site conforms to that. You can check it out, along with info about the game, at SpigotGames.com

New Logo for Spigot Games


I offered to make Ben at Spigot Games a new logo for his game company. It was selfish of me because I didn’t like his existing logo very much. This is an improvement.

The drop shadow one is the one he is using. It helped give it some depth I think, though I’m 50/50 on which one I like more.

Welcome to the Light Side


I own a iPod Touch now. Here you can see a development version of the game I’m working on. It’s been really exciting. Ben at Spigot Games is really open to my suggestions and thoughts; its really awesome. So much so that I’ve earned myself a game design credit in addition to graphics. W00t!

My wife is a little bothered by the purchase and rightfully so. Hopefully this gig will pay out well enough to pay for my purchase.

What do I mean by “Welcome to the Light Side?” Well, certain people who know me know my issues with Apple. I applaud them for their success and innovation, but I’m disgusted by certain sales tactics. Case in point, the iPod touch doesn’t use a standard USB interface. If you want to buy White cables to match your iPod, they cost 10x as much as the black ones. In all actuality though, the iPod is impressing me in certain ways. It’s snyc with iTunes is pretty cool and easy (though iTunes is a weird application IMO). It also suffers a little compared to my G1 with its “keyboard”. I can type 100x faster on the Android G1. See this.

Board@Work

We came up with a game name, I think it really works too.

Here’s one of the prototype icons for the game.

iHeart Valentines

Though I think my “partnership” with the iAlleyBall iPhone developer fell flat, my postings led me to another. I’m working on some block game related art for another local developer. This icon seemed pretty topical for today.

This plastic concept was rejected though, but rightfully so.


Things are going very well with this new developer. He was very open and up front about our working relationship, which I appreciated very much. I think it is going to be good.