Thursday 27 February 2014

Throw Back Thursday #1

Throwback Thursdays are a common social media event where people post old photos of themselves or something relating to their life at that period in time.

This will be a series of weekly updates of previous work done over the last few years.

To start my Throwback Thursday series off to a start I wanted to share with you guys some work I did for my Major project at the end of my first year at University of South Wales.

This project was to construct a character and an environment both have to have the same theme. For this I chose a War scene and in particular Vietnam war. For this I created a small wooden hut. I used many action films such as deer hunter and platoon for references as well as in game models from far cry. The character it self I wanted to be slight stylized in the sense of a bobble head.

The list of images that are about to come are wire frames of the final objects and then some final renders Enjoy.  

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Company Research: CodeMasters

Codemasters is an award winning games developer and publisher with a 25-year heritage. Our popular game brands include DiRT, GRID, Cricket and Operation Flashpoint. The company also retains the exclusive worldwide video game rights to FORMULA ONE. F1 2010, the first multi-format high-definition FORMULA ONE racing game released September 2010, is the fastest-selling FORMULA ONE game ever. It entered the charts at number one in six countries and secured the BAFTA award for Best Sports Game.

In 2009 Codemasters won the coveted Grand Prix Award at the 2009 Develop Industry Excellence Awards, an award bestowed on the company felt by Develop to have contributed the most to the games medium in recent times.

Being a huge Fan of racing games Codemasters studio was a good choice for me when deciding to look into studios for employment. Codemasters make some of the best racing games around and from all different racing experiences. From the high profile of Formula One to the street with the Grid and even making a rally game known as Dirt, With all these key areas covered they have some of the most varied racing genre and styles around. 

For me though my person Favorites would have to be Grid series as I prefer keeping to the street racing and getting some sweet rides. But also Fuel as it added more to the standard motocross and quad bike game genre with its unique creative vibe.  

As for myself I am also working on a racing game, based around the real sporting event of Downhill Mountain Biking. For my major project at uni, I'm currently working on the character and Bike but also be working on the Environment and game-play mechanics within the Famous CryEngine.

However Codemasters didn't start off being a major developer of Racing games the origin for the company lies in the hands of Dizzy World Series another classic game which I loved playing when I was younger. Dizzy was a fantasy puzzle based game. And till this day Codemasters hold onto some of its past by still creating other fantasy like games.

Consisting of the Successful Overlord series.

Studio And employment:

Around the world, Codemasters employs over 500 people in development and publishing. We have  two development studios in the UK– one at our Warwickshire HQ with a further site in Birmingham. An additional art studio is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.In March 2010, Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd. (RBEL), a part of India’s Reliance ADA group, acquired a 50 per cent shareholding in the company, alongside existing investor, Balderton Capital, the leading European venture capital firm that first invested in Codemasters in 2005.

Friday 21 February 2014

Tower Project

Having a break from major project at University I decided that I would look into how to unwrap buildings in a proper fashion and to games industry standard. For this I followed a very easy step by step guide tutorial done by Digital Tutors an online tutoring company.

They started me off by going through some of the basic tools found within 3DS Max 2014 as I have previously had problems unwrapping in this edition of the software and most of the time reverted back to the 2013 edition to get my outcomes.

By starting to unwrap a basic sword it was nice and simple and was able to give me the chance to get used to the tools. Something I've never really used when unwrapping which noticed is of great importance is the relax by face angels. The tools used was a simple but effective way to unwrap this object. (Planar, Cylinder, Break and Stitch)

The next stage of the tutorial was going through how to unwrap a rock. This was simple and easy to follow giving me the knowledge to create my own rocks and unwraps for my major project in the near future. The technique used was mentioned as the tennis ball effect where the white strip of the ball becomes the seam-line on the unwrap.

The next stage in development of personal skills was learning how to unwrap for normal mapping and how to ensure your normal maps work effective and efficient. Digital Tutors show a few different techniques on how to solve the issues. The more efficient way for this object was to add in a few extra edge loops. Also another technique shown was smoothing groups, these are very useful when making assets for games as it allows the user to smooth the mesh without changing topology. This was very helpful section as I knew what smoothing groups were I just didn't fully understand how to go about using them until now.   

Finally got to unwrapping the tower. Even though I am comfortable in the unwrapping process I wanted to see if there was anyway I could speed up my process and see where I might of missed out on. With the main tower itself I learned many processes such as being able to unwrap the main brickwork I would of simply applied a cylindrical mapping to it and map it fit, however as this was a atlas map I couldn't do that but learned by creating multiple seams and over laying them it allows the texture to tile perfect.

Another new technique I learned was unwrapping the top of a cylinder like object as usually the process I would of used was to simply select all the top faces and applied a planar map to it. However the new technique learned for situations like this is to break down the cylinder into quarters and overlapping them as shown in the image above this makes it so that the texture is more crisp and higher resolution.     

Throughout the whole project I used the tiled option found within the UV editor to create my UV's this helped me to make quick selections and ensure a clean UV once completed I then compacted the UV's back to the 1 to 1 space and then removed the tiled option from the editor. The left image shows the unwrap compacted down. I then learned that you can copy and paste UV unwrap modifiers so as the windows was the same mesh I could do this then afterwards edited them to make up the window. But at least most of the work was done for me.

This image shows the unwrap of one of the wooden structures this was very simple to unwrap. Once I done one I simply just duplicated it around the tower itself.

Finally I added some steps and unwrapped them as shown in the image. I also added two planes for the alpha mapped handle.

Thursday 20 February 2014

First Ever Zbursh Sculpt

This was for a second part of a project at University.  The brief was simple create a character bust sculpt related to your chosen Environment project.

The Brief gave the requirements of the following:

Sculpt a head and bust which links into the same licensed universe.
This should be realistic and fit within relevant technical parameters and time constraints.

E.g. Sports arena could be Ronaldo.

The bust to be consistent with current generation limits. No greater than 12,000 triangles.

Texture maps:

A combination of:

Normal maps,
Specular maps,
Glow maps,
Alpha channels,

Size between: 128 up to 1024 pixels.

File formats are TGA, DDS or BMP if indexed linked.

For mine I wanted to create an American Football Player, However this soon came to become tricky finding the resource images. As many sources found only showed the front on view of the player and any other view showed the player with the American Football helmet gear on.

So for me to by pass this I opted to bypass this by creating a Jacksonville Jaguars Cheerleader.

As this required no specific look to the character itself.