Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Lack of Love

This is a game I've been meaning to play for ages. It's an extremely unknown dreamcast game developed by Lovedelic, with music by Hollywood composer and synth-pop legend Ryuichi Sakamoto.
A few days ago I finally plugged in the dreamcast and played through it. But I'm not quite sure if it's absolutly brillaint or plain awful. The game is a kind of evolution adventure, kindof like Evo and Spore. You start off as a small squid-like creature and then gradually evolve into a large mammal. In order to evolve you need to befriend other creatures and collect their DNA. Each type of creature has a different way to befriend them, and you have to figure out how by observing their behaviour and experimenting, without any dialog or text. I really wish I had the patience to enjoy it but in the end I had to use a walkthrough for most of the game. A lot of times it just seems like you have to do random things or you have to watch the creatures for ages before they'll show you what they want; but when I did figure things out myself it felt really great.
Still the game is charming and definitely unique; it has a nice story and some great music, but it's very hard to play after having been spoiled by games that constantly tell you what to do

Monday, 20 December 2010

Merry christmas to me

I've just ordered my christmas present; a Wacom Intous4 A4. I really miss my old tablet PC, which broke down this year, and my old wacom board is ridiculusly tiny and crappy. I've started sketching a lot in the past few months and I'm also interested in learning more about painting digitally and drawing textures.
Unfoutunatly there are not a lot of mid range products available so I had to buy the top of the line, super advanced Intous4, even though its features and prize far exceeds my needs and my budget. But what the heck, it's christmas and after a year of no pay and eating egg sandwiches for lunch I deserve a fancy toy.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Normalmapped pixel graphics

This is an idea I've been meaing to try out for quite a while and last night I finally took the time and made a quick test.The idea is to make pixel graphics with dynamic lighting using normal maps, but still keep the hand made, low res pixelart feel. I figured I'd have to use a a small palette for the normalmap as well. So here's a test I did with the character bengt from an old 2d project of mine.

I used a 25 color palette for the normals; it's a bit much but it was the easiest way to do it (5 values for x and 5 for y). As for the results; I'm not really sure what to think about it. It doesn't look quie as bad as I had feared but somehow it feels more like a super pixelated 3d render than a 2d sprite, though maybe it would look a bit better if I made some tiles as well and rendered in his native resolution rather than having him walking around in a 3d world.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

After another week of manic coding and 3d work I think I'm slowly starting to run out of creative energy, and maybe I'll be able to resume some structure in my life; hopefully even get time to go out and buy some food.
I haven't really achieved a whole lot this week though, nothing quite as epic as the pants-removal system at least. I have worked on a lot of small stuff though, and some pretty valuable improvements to the engine. I've improved the shadow system; so shadow rendering will be disabled for all the lights off screen and only be rendered once as long as there's only static objects casting shadows. I've finally rewritten the exporter so I don't have to manually convert all the files to xml after they're exported, and added support for scaling joints in the animations and multiple UVsets.