Monday, November 28, 2011

IOU: One UV Animation Tutorial

Note to self: post an explanation of how to create animated textures on non-particle objects when (I? You?) create an animated texture.

I've discovered that renderer.material.mainTextureOffset works just fine on line renderers. This would be useful knowledge since I intend to use this property to create animated textures.

Now if only I could remember what I was going to use an animated texture for. Grr…

Here's a picture of the player's primary melee weapon, the Modular Blade. It's a work in progress.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Triple Feature: Charged Shots and Fickle Billboarding

You don't always solve a problem the way you'd thought you would.

Here we have another one of the bullets the player can fire. The projectile, in its finished form, consists of three…well, four, technically, but you can see the trail effect here…elements.
One is the actual bullet.
Two is the glowy aura thing surrounding the bullet.
Three is another glowy thing (you can see this behind the bullet on the right).
What I wanted was…wait a second, I need to explain what billboarding is first.

Billboarding is an effect that makes an object always face the camera, no matter what angle you're looking at it from. It's commonly used for particles and glowing objects. You can see it being used in the image on the right.

What I want for this charged shot is for the glow surrounding the projectile to be billboarded, but only around its z-axis, so it surrounds the shot at all times. The other glowy object will be fully billboarded, and surrounds the projectile when looking at it from the front or the back.

I tried modifying the billboarding script to get the effect I want, but to no avail. However, I did come up with a different solution.

Instead of making the first glow a billboarded plane, I realized I could use the line renderer effect – this creates a plane that follows a line, and rotates around the line so it faces the camera. Exactly what I was looking for.

Here's the final product.

See you next update.

Triple Feature: Particle Texture Fade

Here's a solution to something that annoyed me for weeks.

One of the player's weapons fires what can best be described as lightning rings. They can bounce off walls. When they explode, they expand and fade away.

Or…they're supposed to fade away. In practice, this happens:
The rings expand, but they don't become more transparent, and they don't disappear. For some reason, the unity scripting language can't find the color attribute of the explosion material.

Yeah…some reason. In the unity programming language, you reference most material's colors with this:
Or, more simply…

But that doesn't work with materials that use particle shaders.

After extensive investigation, some experimentation, and a failed attempt to use a script I got off the 'net, I concluded that particle shaders don't have the color attribute. So, the question is, what do they have?

I managed to find a script for a particle shader, and found that they have this:


Bam, problem solved.

Triple Feature: Progress Report

Well…it's been a while. I've made some progress since I last posted.

I've written AI scripts for enemy behavior. The Seraph I showed you now has two different attacks – a claw slash and a laser projectile shot – which she uses in several different fashions. She can figure out the player's position and respond accordingly. If she's close to you, she'll lunge and try to tear you to shreds with her claws, alternating between a left hand claw animation and a right hand claw animation. If she's at a distance, she'll blast you with her laser. If she's above you, she'll go on a bombing run, circling like a vulture and shooting her laser beams. She even leads her fire.

I've tweaked the player's behavior. The hero will now smoothly aim her gun up and down, and, when strafing, aim forward instead of the direction she's moving. She can be knocked down by powerful enemy attacks. If she's flat on her back, she recovers with that stylish jump-flip sort of motion that ninja and martial artists are so fond of these days. If she's face down, she can roll to the side to avoid people fightin' dirty.

I've modified the status screen, or heads up display, or whatever you want to call it. The hero's life bar is very nifty now. It goes up and down as she takes damage or gets healing items, and it does so gradually – I'll show what I mean later if I feel like it.

I've also worked on the player's weaponry. She has two…no, wait, three…different ranged weapons, and I'm starting to work on her melee weapon.

Perhaps most importantly, I've gotten a firmer idea of how the game will work. I've come up with concepts for equipment that the player will get and how it will be used for combat, exploration, and puzzle solving.

But you're not here for a progress report, are you? I didn't think so. You want tips on how to make two different visual effects work in unity. I will provide…In the next two posts.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Refuge in Audacity

So, recently I've been experimenting with the Skinned Cloth physics component in Unity.

The thing about Skinned Cloth is, it only interacts with the Mesh it's assigned to. If a character is composed of more than one mesh then the cloth will only collide with itself. In this case, if I separated the Seraph (more on her later) into one mesh for her skirt and one for the rest of her body, the skirt would be completely unaffected by the movements of her tail. This is, obviously, unacceptable.

If I make the Seraph a single mesh, I run into a different problem - a problem that I am all too familiar with, thanks to my experience assigning joint weights in Milkshape.

If you look at the screenshot above…well, you might see the problem. How easy do you think it would be to assign the various attributes that govern the behavior of cloth when I've got to select each vertex by hand, with the vertices of the Seraph's body getting in the way? Not very easy at all.

The solution to this problem is actually really simple. It's also something I'd never have the nerve to try a few years ago.

Simply open the file in Maya…

…and move the skirt away from the body.

Adjusting the properties of the skirt is now a piece of cake! Just select the vertices you want to modify and you're in business.

When you're done, return to Maya and move the skirt back into place.

 The great thing about Unity is that it cooperates with Maya. When I was modeling characters for Warcraft III the summer before last, this would not have worked at all. I had to use five different programs on two separate computers to model, texture, animate, and import each character, and these programs did not work together well. Taking a model from one program to the next was a tedious – and frequently irreversible – process. Adding new animations after bringing the model into the game was impossible. Altering geometry after skinning the model was nearly so.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blue Roach Revisited

 Okay then.

The newest version of the Blue Roach armor is somewhat bulkier than the original, but this helps it stand out from the others.
You could say that the Blue Roach armor takes the Corn Beetle's design, buffs it up, rounds it off, and paints it blue. I'm not quite happy with how the helmet looks in this sketch…oh well, I'll fix it when I model it.

An obstacle has appeared. Obstacles are for killing!

What do you do when you're feeling down? What do you do when you don't know what to do next? What do you do when you just want to give up?

Kick back, find your center, listen to some awesome music, and ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER!

I'm gonna redesign the Blue Roach armor and model it! Suck it, Dysthymia!

On a different note, I find it incredibly bizarre that Neon Genesis Evangelion and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann were both made by Studio Gainax.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Still Alive

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I have this to show for it.

I've now got some stuff in Unity. Yay!

I created the main character and the environment (not the background, though).
I also did some work with the programming.

The other stuff – the robots, the explosions, the electricity – comes courtesy of Unity's 3D Platform Tutorial. An excellent place to start if you want to learn Unity. You can find it here, if you're curious.

Oh, and Unity's website is here, if you want to make computer games.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Corn Beetle Model Progress

I wasn't too crazy about the idea of starting a new human model completely from scratch – I can do it, but it's annoying.

Fortunately, I didn't have to.

I still have a model I made during summer break that I can use as a base. I just have to tweak it and retexture it.

Listen to my expert (ha) advice: don't hesitate to recycle your old stuff.
It can save you a lot of time and annoyance.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"I was hoping you'd know"

Armor Redesigns

I've also made some modifications to two of the protagonist's other suits.

I've simplified the upper arm (I believe this is called the rerebrace) on the "Blue Roach" armor.

I've made quite a few changes to the "Lobster" armor. It's a bit more elaborate and decorative now.

Originally, the two suits were nearly identical save for the paint job.

Also, here's the protagonist's starting armor. It's called "Corn Beetle."

Finally, here are all four of the armor designs in silhouette.

Devil Armor

The design is cool, but I'm not too fond of the color scheme on this armor…

Monday, September 12, 2011

They like their privacy.


Remember, station security is paramount. There are reports of pirate activity near the Lyx system, so all unidentified craft approaching Lyx-4 Station are to be destroyed on sight.

Database Entry – Roach

Biomech Roachform

These vermin, informally called roaches, commonly infest spacecraft, factories, military installations, and research facilities – anywhere were you can find mechanical or electronic equipment. They are native to an unnamed planet in the Oxfard system, and are named for their similarity - both in appearance and resilience – to the Earth cockroach.

Roaches were not originally bio-mechanical organisms. This state was the result of the unsanctioned experimentation of one Doctor Athens Bel. Doctor Bel believed that the roach, with its adaptability and alleged intelligence, would work as a cheaper alternative to Deicorp Robotics service drones.

Deicorp products are famous for their reliability in all situations, so it would have been perfectly acceptable for Bel's supervisor to end the project and dismiss, or at least demote, the doctor. However, he allowed Athens Bel to work on the 'cyber-roach' for several months.

Obviously, Dr. Bel failed to get results. When the project was terminated, all of the roaches were supposed to be destroyed, but clearly some escaped.

Roaches are dangerous pests – they damage mechanisms and occasionally attack people. They are also notorious for being able to infiltrate any facility, and are very hard to exterminate. Fortunately, they are not very durable – small arms of any kind can kill a roach, and the 'Photon Beam' on a standard Spear Tool-set is effective even on the lowest setting.

There are rumors that roaches have been seen repairing mechanisms and electronics, but these are fiction. Remember that only government approved robots are proper mechanics, and Deicorp Robotics produces the finest maintenance drones in known space.

–Excerpt from the official Deicorp Industries information database

Cybernetic Cockroaches

Wow. I almost forgot what my gmail address was.
That was rather embarrassing.



Biomec-Roaches have been spotted in both Storage Sectors and Research Wing A.

Do not leave electrical devices or mechanical parts unattended. All staff have been issued Vector-Class stun pistols. Safety protocol requires that you carry your weapon Belligerence Discourager with you at all times. Be familiar with its use.

Whoever is responsible for letting these vermin on Lyx Station, report to security for execution Friendly Evaluation.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lyx-4 Station

Construction of a new facility is now complete, and the science team has begun researching the alien station.

Scientific Discovery

You have been granted Level 23 security clearance! You are now an "Unpleasant Sub-Maggot Lifeform!"

You may now view a top-secret image.

A mining expedition recently discovered this structure – apparently constructed by an unknown alien race – while searching the <CLASSIFIED> for valuable <CLASSIFIED>. The miners agreed to keep this discovery secret after they were accidently thrown out an airlock.

A joint military / science team has been dispatched to study this alien space station.

FRIENDLY REMINDER: Remember, this information is classified! If you share classified data, your security clearance will be revoked, and your title will be changed to "Deep-Fried."

Have a nice day!

Sanctuary Fortress

I think the Sanctuary Fortress is probably my favorite Metroid environment.

Why is this relevant, you ask?

That information is CLASSIFIED.

Let's get this party started

Hello everybody.
This is my blog for my Senior Project at the College for Creative Studies.
Your current security clearance is at level 24. Your current title is "Unusually Uninteresting Dust Particle."
Work hard, and maybe you'll be promoted to "Unpleasant Sub-Maggot Lifeform!"
All other information is currently CLASSIFIED.

Have a nice day.