2017/09/30

Keeping the beat in Unreal 4!

We're really looking forward to not beginning our posts with this: we've been very busy this month, and had almost no time for our personal projects.

That's only almost, though. We have had time for an approximately 3-day practice project in Unreal 4 (about 1.5 days of this was done on a GPD Win device, which can run Unreal 4, impressively, and is also portable, so we could work on it during a long trip). I (Lussy) have finally figured out a way to bind things to a soundwave's position (in seconds) in Blueprints, so we've made a replica of the rhythm game Taiko. Because we didn't have to come up with new gameplay, and only had to implement the existing mechanics, we've been messing around with binding things to BPM, and working on sickeningly colorful graphics.


Excuse me for the sub-par play, it was late and oh yeah we had to show off the 'Miss' particle effects!

The song and beatmap in the video are from one of the original Taiko games, but we used this osu file to bring them into our project by exporting the contents to .csv and importing it into a data table.

We tried to only include really light, unlit-only graphics that wouldn't impact gameplay. We even though about only using 2D sprites or just widgets, but it just didn't seem right for an Unreal project. But in any case, the gameplay stays stable even if the framerate dips. I can't overstate this, we're REALLY happy about the whole thing syncing up, and we never had to use ticks. I've been trying for years to accomplish this

So where to from here... This is a really low priority, tiny project, but we have a few ideas for our own gameplay mechanics that we are going to replace the Taiko mechanics with. Only the timing mechanism will stay. Until then, ... We managed to actually sync things up to a given song and rhythm without the framerate messing things up! Woooo!

2017/08/31

Summer's over already!...

Hey.

We're going through a pretty rough transitional period at the moment. We've had time to do this article for Sketchfab however, so enjoy:


This is related to the Fisheye Placebo fanart lipsync scene we've done. We show off some making of pics in the article, and describe our workflow.

There's also this little test we've cooked up, it's an Unreal 4 Blueprint AI system with very basic pathfinding and a few interactive objects.


The interactive objects work via a point of interest system. First, we created an offset for the head that follows the points of interest that the character is closest to (or that has more influence). After those, we've also added attractors and repellers as child blueprints to the PoI-s. The attractor has a chance to summon nearby characters to itself and make them clap, and the repeller can either explode and kill characters that were caught in the blast, and/or send the rest fleeing and cowering in fear. These are all pretty rough and basic, but functional nonetheless. We spent about a day working on them, they were made as a tech demo.

Oh yeah, and the assets are from the World of Warcraft.

Peace!

2017/07/30

Summertime!

This month has probably been the busiest we've had yet. We'll just avoid telling you about how much we've worked, day and night, with no breaks in-between, every day of the month. It was exhausting.

So, we'll show you some good things instead! As few as they are.

First, we've been 3D printing a lot! Our most impressive prints yet, in our opinion, are two small figures of Max from Sam & Max, Season 1.



It's a rip of Max's mesh from the Telltale series that we've posed and edited for printing. We still have to figure out a way to properly remove the supports from the print, but we're getting there.

In other news, we've made this scene public:

This is Frey from Fisheye Placebo, the same model from our Frey Underground fanart, lipsyncing to a voice clip by VisualRaid from their dub of Fisheye Placebo. This has been done for a while now (we participated in Sketchfab's beta for sounds), but we could only make it public after Sketchfab's sound feature was made public. Hooray for Sketchfab Sound!

Sorry if this embed breaks the whole blog. Sound on Sketchfab is still a new thing, and we've experienced problems with embedded files with sound.

See you again next month! Don't get cooked, stay off the hook!

2017/06/30

Conversation Blueprints!

Hi! It's Lussy.

We're busier than ever this month. While we couldn't significantly progress with our projects, I had a little time to practice UE4 Blueprint scripting, so I created a conversation system using the new String Tables in UE 4.16. It's still in progress, but here are some features:

  • Each line of NPC dialogue can have up to four possible replies from the player. The conversation itself is saved into structs that feed off String Tables.
  • There are stats. Player replies can add to or subtract from a stat, and replies can also be tied to a stat requirement; for example, if your knowledge is under 5, a reply will be grayed out. I went with one stat this time, and it's "Personal", which is code name for how many times the player talked with an NPC and wasn't a complete ass. More stats can be added as needed.
  • I based the camera on Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - the camera can be rotated during conversation, and is locked to the middle point between the player character and the NPC. There's a smooth interpolation when a dialogue begins and ends.
  • Greetings above the head - we gave each NPC a random personality out of 4 possible types: Normal, Wise, Upbeat and Lazy. Influenced by Animal Crossing.
    The personality type determines the greeting that appears above the NPC's head when walking close to them. We plan to include a system that lets NPCs insert random, personality-specific words into their sentences, or change adjectives to their own most preferred word. 

I still need to work on making this a more open system; for example, right now it's not possible to converse with more than one person at a time. I also need to figure out a way to tie the conversations to certain situations that come up in the game. Another feature I'd like to add is an optional animation for each line, for each character involved in the conversation.

If this becomes stable, we plan to use it in some of our projects, when it's appropriate to add such a system.

2017/05/31

Unreal 4.16 & 3D printing!

Hi!

This month was also very busy. We're currently working on an outsourced project, and that takes up a lot of our time, but at least we're using Unreal 4 and Substance Painter, so we feel at home. The extra practice doesn't hurt, either.


Unreal 4 got updated again! We've been waiting for volumetric lights and fog, and 4.16 finally delivered them. They will be useful for Lemniscate, since we've used fake godray effects for all the lamps, and this will make it easier and hopefully cost less in terms of hardware. It also looks cool.


In other news, we got our hands on a simple CTC Prusa 3D printer! We're still calibrating it little by little, messing up lots of prints but nailing others. Geril likes the DIY-aspect of it, and the fact that almost all components can be replaced and upgraded, just like a PC. Lussy likes it because once it works reliably, it will be very useful for cosplay.

Putting the printer together wasn't easy (it took about 8 hours), but we've learned a lot about 3D printing. We're still in the process of attaching extra cooling fans, so our prints are imprecise, but here's a bust of one of our characters, Beat!


Have a nice day!

2017/04/29

Project Contrivance overworld progress!

We have lots of work unrelated to our own projects, and we've been networking with other artists. That slowed our progress with Project Contrivance considerably, but we haven't stopped completely.


We've been putting together the game's story for a while now, and I'll share the version we've liked the best.


The game plays out inside a person's head. The players play as two microscopic robots that are sent out to fix the person's faulty implanted chips and other artificial additions. We're already working on boss fights that explain the various things that happen inside the levels.


The overworld will be divided into multiple chunks that give players entry to the game's levels. Because of this division into multiple parts, we can play with the post process effects and color settings of each section. The overworld's fleshy appearance will likely be seeping into the levels themselves as well, through little cracks and damaged parts.

 
Geril loves creating twisted, disgusting things, so he felt great making the pulsing, inflating flesh-columns and the light-up brain nerves.

The design is very unfinished, background objects are absent, there are no gates for the levels, no puzzles, and the overworld is not the final size, but much smaller. But it's a start, and good enough for testing.

2017/03/29

Project Contrivance overworld thoughts!

This month, we've been thinking and working on Project Contrivance's structure. We decided to base the game on an overworld that houses all the levels - kind of like in the N64 era.

Level progression would be driven by beating levels and gaining resources for opening up more levels. The overworld would contain puzzles of its own, so you wouldn't have to beat every level to proceed, you could gather the remainder of the resources in the overworld, allowing you to bypass levels you don't like.
Each section of the overworld would end with a boss that goes with, and explains the previous levels' theme. Beating the end boss would open up the next section.

Other things we've thought about were giving players the ability to color their characters by finding special items in the overworld, adding competitive elements to multiplayer, and opening up bonus levels.

This system was inspired by the N64 era games like Super Mario 64. We'll show you more once we've progressed enough with development.

In other news, the Nintendo Switch has arrived, and it appears to be successful. We like the console's idea, and enjoy playing on it, so we've decided to keep the Joy-cons in mind when designing the game. We've even managed to make them work on our PCs so we can test the game with them!


Stay fresh!