Week 3 Objectives

HELLO!

I know what you are thinking, where the hell is week 1 and 2 objectives.  Well I skipped the first week because I really didn’t do any graphics work we (Scorching South Studios) mostly went over our future deliverables and requirements and our game vision.  As the team leader I was fairly swamped trying to set up meeting dates for the coming weeks.

This week (week 2) I was also swamped with other course work and readings so I did not get a chance to start looking into SHADER programming.

Aside

I know a lot of people are complaining about how much work we have to do in our course, while I am not one to complain, my classmates are not entirely false.  We do have quite a lot of work in terms of outside class work and preparation for the next class.  Lastly, the game we have to build outside of class is essentially the biggest workload.

While I love the fact we get to build a game with a group of your good friends, it is no easy task.  What would be really beneficial to our program would be a student run game development workshop.  The current workshop is fairly useless in my opinion.  I find that sometimes the proctor wastes a bit of our time with project management lectures that I personally do not find helpful.

What I think we should do is:

  • Sign up for separate smaller workshops taking place in the game lab
  • Rather have an official proctor, have one of the very helpful TA’s our program has the pleasure of  having manage the session
  • The time is essentially a 3 hour work session having all the game lab tools near you to work with (3D screens, motion capture, sound and audio recording software, projector screen, etc.)
  • Rather then standing in long line-ups asking the proctor for help then getting shot down because he says “figure it out” , your peers and the TA can help you
  • The original proctor can stop by for the milestones to check and see how we are doing similar to the current workshop

I feel if our workshops were in smaller compartmentalised sections, it would allow for better peer-to-peer collaboration rather then having 80 people in one room working in their own group.

If we had smaller sessions, people would be able to go up to the front and ask for help, while peers who have run into the same problem could help them.  Also during the testing and debugging period, teams can place their game at the front and other members can play the game and help the team collect data as needed.

Week 3: Objectives

That was a pretty massive aside.

Nonetheless, this week I hope to begin doing some CG tutorials and try to get some experience by doing some homework questions.  Aside from the team leader, I am one of the 3 programmers in my team, and will most likely be doing a large chunk of the shader programming and the report that will be handed in at the end of the semester

I plan on figuring out how use the cell shading algorithm so that we can use it to make our game look a lot better.

Cel-Shading or Cell shading or Toon shading?

As you may or may not know, we are using a lego theme for our game, and as a group we thought that rendering our game with a toon shader would really make it look a lot better.

Aside from figuring out how to do that, my other objectives are trying to implement a skeletal animation system in our game.  We are currently able to load and play BVH files, the next step is to get mesh skinning done.

The reason why we need to have the skeletal animation system is because we have several models we would like to incorporate in the game, and doing a keyframe animation for all of them would be very brutal to our artists and animators.  This would also cause them to deter time from making the models and in game assets look better to animate everything while exporting 100’s of obj’s.  With a skeletal animation system we can use BVH files found on the interwebs and use that for many of our idle animations to add polish to our game.

The only problem is that I theoretically understand how to do mesh skinning, but converting that to code is proving to be difficult.  I am having trouble figuring out how to add weights to the mesh from the joints.  I can visually see it done in Maya (heat map), and I need to figure out how to export that skeleton with all the weights with respect to the mesh and convert that to code so that the joint will move with the mesh.

Once I get that done, my next step is using inverse kinematics to bind the feet of the character to the floor.  But that is optional… for now.

Summary

  • Start CG programming and tutorials to finish homework questions
  • Learn how to do cel-shading/toon shading
  • Figure out how to properly do mesh skinning
  • See if I can export the weighting of the joint structure from maya to our game engine
  • Work on inverse kinematics to reduce foot skating

 

That is all for this week,
Thank you for reading

– Moose

 

Game Autopsy: Realm of the Mad God

Hello! Merry Weekend

I would like to introduce you to Realm of the Mad God. (RMD)

Overview

RMD is essentially a co-op fantasy MMO shooter browser based game made by Wild Shadow Studios.  The game is basically about surviving in this fantasy realm.  You pick one of 3 main starter classes (archer, wizard, priest) and in order to unlock the 10 other classes, the player must reach up till a certain level with each class.  For example, in order to unlock the warrior, the player must reach level 5 with the rouge, in order to unlock the rouge the player must reach level 5 with the archer.  The top level classes require you to reach level 20 with other classes.

Classes In RMG

The Hook

I saw this game while browsing through the Google App store, and saw some neat pixel art and looked at the overview and review tabs of the App store and decided to give it a try.  This was just around the same time when I was finishing my second semester of my first year in the game development program and I knew how difficult it was to create pixel art and this game looked like it had a good aesthetic to it.

Game Mechanics

The way I played the game was I waited at a server entrance (little cave like things) to be nearly full and joined it.  These servers allow you to enter the wilderness or Realm where all the enemies are.  The point is to go to this wilderness and kill monsters to gain experience and level up.  The game is easy to play for the first 5 level’s solo, however once you reach level 10, the monsters you need to kill are very difficult to fight alone.

Server Entrace

The reason why I wait for the server to get full is because its a LOT more fun to play with hordes of other players.  Since it is cooperative, there is shared experience but not shared loot.  So everyone wants your help to kill huge monsters, but the real game is running to get the final kill on the monster and grab its loot before everyone else does.

Basic Low Level Boss Battle

The key is to get into these things called “trains” and “hordes” to level up really fast and gain rank.  By levelling up to level 20 in each class you gain rank and that allows to to get better items in the shop and other rewards.  But the hordes are huge groups of up to 30+ characters in one blob shooting their attacks outward and in every direction hoping to hit the enemies.  These hordes have priests that help heal characters, warriors that stand in the front to deal damage, paladins to take damage and increase the packs damage resistance and then the mages and archers in the back firing their spells.  A train is a moving horde across a pathway, and being in a train is lots of fun.  The ability to run and try to lead the pack and get the first hit on many monsters is very entertaining.

Example of a Horde

As you can see, things can get very hectic in a horde and many people die.

The basic game mechanics are you click the mouse to shoot your spell, arrow and sword, while dodging the enemy attacks.  The enemy attacks are normally projectiles in different sprite shapes and sizes.  The main game element is survival.  Death means something in this game.  When you die, its over.  All of you items are dropped for other players to pick up and depending on how well you did, you gain fame that can be spent in the item shop for rare items.

Death makes the game fairly difficult because there are times when a player is at level 19 fighting the huge bosses in the high level area and one massive attack from a big boss can take away almost all their health and they would be dead.

Summary

The point of the game is to survive and live as long as possible to gain fame and rank.  You gain fame and rank by killing level bosses and big monsters.  The basic attacks the player can utilise are his main unlimited attack by using a wand, scepter, bow or sword.  Wands and bows are fast and can shoot multiple projectiles.  Scepters are stronger but much slower and swords are very strong but have a very low range.

Each class has a secondary attack that does different things.  The archer can shoot magic arrows while the priest can heal everyone within a certain radius.

Likes and Praises

The reason why I liked this game the most was because it was really easy to pick up and play for as long as you wanted.  Anyone could play for 5 min and level up and be content or they can put in about 45min and they could get a character to level 20.  Like many MMORPG’s on the internet, it takes months and many hours out of ones life to advance in the game.  This game can be played very casually and it would still be very enjoyable.

The overall aesthetic of the game is really nice.  everything follows the same pixelated art style and all the game assets come together to be presented very nicely.  For a free game you really get a good polished piece of work.

Teamwork!  A lot of MMO’s put you against every other player in the world, but this game really enforces cooperative gameplay.  You cant reach level 20 while having fun without a good group of team mates to have your back and buff you.

NO GRINDING!  Many MMO’s make the player grind for hours to reach level X and get $XXX so they can get this piece of armour.  The armour drops are all at random, or dropped by certain monsters.  The only way to get that armour is to be the fastest clicker and pick it up before anyone else.  There is also player trading.

Dislikes and Criticism

Very overpowered bosses.  While I do realise they wanted to make the bosses difficult and so that only packs of people can kill them, I find that there is no way to “be a hero” in this game.  If you try to rush in and do some damage you end up becoming the epicentre of the bosses attacks and even at level 20 with decent equipment you will die very easily.  I would make the bosses attacks do a little less damage so people can rush in without dying so quickly.  Most of the time I felt like a coward in these battles sitting at the back lines trying to avoid the enemies attacks without dying.

More inventory and elements for free players.  There is only one treasure chest with 6 item slots for your character to save loot in.  Also you only get one character slot to start.  Unless your want to dish out money to conform to the free-to-play micro transaction model to get more items, inventory space and character slots.  The game emphasizes on the micro transaction model way to much and it breaks a lot of the immersion that the game play builds up on.  Granted that the inventory slots and more character save slots are not needed.

More RPG aspects.  The base of operations where you pick your server and store your items is called the Nexus.  There is an arbitrary store there that you can purchase items with fame and real money.  However it would be nice if there were more NPC’s that gave you quests and had item shops.  More RPG elements would help the immersion a lot.

Closing Remarks

There really is not much else to say about this game, but it is worth checking out.  Who knows you might spend 5min to 30min playing this game.

 

– Moose