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Matty San

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Aquatichaos – Update [Jan. 12th, 2017|05:27 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

Its been awhile since I’ve posted anything on any of my projects or work. Back in October I was laid off from my full time job as a Graphic Designer at a historic Theatre in downtown Lancaster, PA which was a tremendous opportunity and a lot of fun. Having focused more on that then my own personal work I had let my work slip to the way side during my time employed there. Now with a lot of downtime in between finding new work I’ve re-focused on developing my Unity knowledge, C# programming, and to finally finish this game. I’ve put a lot of work into the scripts and play mechanics and I think its finally coming along enough that maybe just maybe I’ll be able to get a developers table at a con and show off my game this summer which I find to be thrilling.

Now onto the update!

Aquatichaos_logo

 

 

 

 

 

Aquatichaos Updates:

  • Player Size – I’ve reduced the scale of the protagonist as it didn’t make sense for him to be as big as he was in a shooter where a large player object would make avoiding hazards a whole lot harder. I may also toy with reducing the size of the HUD so it takes up less of the upper portion of the screen.
  • Death Animation for the protagonist has been implemented, I’ve redrawn the original “Deadicus” sprite I had created during Aquaitchaos’ Multimedia Fusion prototype days and instead of being a static sprite it has animation for the short period of time it is on the playfield. Getting the scripting to also move the player from off screen back onto the playfield after respawn has proven to be a little tricky though I’m sure I can figure out where my scripting is going wrong.
  • Shield Power Up – I’ve recreated the shield power up from the prototype, however to go with the goofier nano-tech theme, they’ve been made into mechanical stars instead of starfish. Due to some aspects of Unity’s prefab functions that I do not quite understand the shield doesn’t work when a power up is acquired because you can’t as Unity’s log likes to remind me… “Setting the parent of a transform which resides in a prefab is disabled to prevent data corruption. UnityEngine.Transform:set_parent(Transform)” So until that is fixed the Shield is disabled.
  • Boss Scripting aquatichaos_level1_boss_s1 probably one of my favorite parts of developing a game are the boss fights. I’ve implemented some basics for when you enter the “Boss Area” at the end of a stage so scrolling halts and the boss is initiated which is working nicely, allowing me to focus more on individual scripting for each boss as I design them. As with the original Prototype, Level 1 pits you against a giant bullet spewing Sea Anemone with smaller anemone “turrets” though I’ve totally overhauled the design and changed the background setting to fit in with my ideas for Level 2.

In the next week or two I’ll be updating again on my progress. I can’t wait to see how the new enemy redesigns will come out since I’m still using low res placeholders.

Link

Nuckelavee – WIP [Jun. 17th, 2015|06:16 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

nuckelavee_wip5
With E3 2015 still in full swing, I’ve gotten the modeling bug again. Due to working and life in general I hadn’t gotten much modeling done let alone kept up with regularly making posts. What I hope to accomplish in my free time is to finish this model here. I had started it about a year ago and just never got around to finishing it in Mudbox, it currently clocks in at over 2 million faces at a subdivision level of 6 in Mudbox but it still looks pretty rough and in some serious need of polishing before I can export the normals and bake them onto a much lower poly version.

A little background information on this piece might be necessary. What it is suppose to depict is my interpretation of the Nuckelavee. What exactly is a Nuckelavee? Well it is a mythological creature from nuckelavee_wip6Scottish folklore, a type of water elf that terrorizes villages situated close to oceans or brackish waters. It appears from a distance to be a man upon a horse as the Nuckelavee is a shapeshifter… however if you couldn’t tell they are not particularly good at it as they usually are malformed or incomplete (in this case its a torso sticking out of a horse’s back) and their skin is nuckelavee_wip7transparent leaving their musculature and exposed bones visible along with thick black veins. Another characteristic from the lore is they smell awful and one of the best indicators that one is around is a tremendously bad smell.

With background information out of the way what is left to do here? Well as mentioned their skins is transparent. I have most of the musculature shaped and jagged bones and the overall corpse like look. I hope to use mudbox to texture muscle fibers and veins to further the effect before I begin to paint the model. When that is all out of the way the next challenge will be to rig a model that is essentially a biped torso attached to a quadruped skeleton which should be interested.

Link

Review – Escape Goat 2 (Steam) [Apr. 6th, 2014|08:33 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

After 3 years MagicalTimeBean has done it again. Escape Goat 2 has finally come and I must say it was a real treat. Never heard of Escape Goat? Well you’re missing out. The game is a quirky arcade style puzzle game starring a Goat and his companion, a mouse that helps him solve puzzles in an attempt to rescue sheep in a dangerous prison tower. The newest entry takes the original formula and puts it on steroids with high resolution graphics and not only is the game lengthier than its predecessor it offers many new features without changing the core mechanics of the game which in itself makes this a steller sequel to an already steller indie game.

The original game had you dashing and smashing crates, pressing switches, avoiding hazards and not getting burnt to a crisp by fireball flinging reapers. All of that returns here with much more complexity and at times a much higher difficulty so don’t expect an easy romp through this game. The original’s sole power up was a magic hat that would allow you to switch places with your rodent friend for getting out of tight situations and for completing levels where parts of the level will seal you in. That power up returns in the sequel but added to the mix are 3 new abilities for your mouse to utilize for getting out of the tower alive. The new additions include a cape that turns your mouse into a flying projectile that can not only smash crates but destroy reapers and saw blades, a hammer that turns your mouse into a block that can be used to press pressure plates, cut off electrodes and crush your enemies and finally what I felt was a really cool but under utilized ability was the Alter of the Necromouser. This last ability isn’t so much a power up but an environmental tool that when your mouse is placed in it you are given the ability to spawn up to 4 zombie mice for solving puzzles that require more then just the goat and your mouse to solve. The part that really makes this game so much fun is how the levels are setup. The puzzles are designed around moving blocks and switches along with barrels, trapdoors and moving hazards that all work together in a manically genius Rube Goldburg-esque manner. Sometimes I couldn’t wrap my brain around how they thought these things up even after playing with the originals included Level Editor. With all that is happening in some levels you really need to think about how you are going to solve the level and in most cases (at least for me) that meant countless deaths before achieving victory. In later levels the insanity built to levels where the game knew you were frustrated, I’m not kidding, they programmed it so after so many deaths on a level the option “Quit” becomes “Rage Quit” which I found hilarious. However even with all these new additions to the game the game still only really featured one new addition to the enemies and hazards you will enounter in your journey. While definitely not something that spoils the game by a long shot MagicalTimeBean had an good opportunity to add new enemies to the mix along with the cool new toys for the mouse but didn’t, but you’ll probably be too busy not being crushed, chopped up or burnt on your quest to rescue the many sheep trapped in the tower.

Graphics wise, this is a huge jump from the retro 8-bit visuals of the original. Here you have some really clean high resolution sprites and background to compliment the new complexity and grander scale of this sequel. Also it features some really dynamic lighting effects which were not present in the original and its a very nice effect. Light and shadow are effected by everything in the environment and when you set off an exploding crate or barrel the room simply lights up adding to the mayhem. Blocks cast shadows and when the level mechanics kick in and the tiles change configuration you get a real sense of depth which was simply not present in the 8-bit goat’s foray.

The sound in this game is spectacular. Ian Stocker has once again created a soundtrack that is both memorable and really sets the mood of the game. The remastered tracks from the original along with the new tracks all really add to the overall enjoyment of this game. The sound effects are clean and appropriate nor do they annoy to detract from the game.

I highly recommend everybody check this game out, it has good length, spectacular presentation as well as a bunch of secrets for you to unlock and as I mentioned earlier the original came with a level editor for creating your own levels. There are plans to release such a tool at a later date through Steamworks so that will be something else to extend your goat-centric adventures. As for me I hope we’ll be seeing more of our purple friend in the future!

Get Escape Goat for Steam, PC, Mac and Linux now!

Verdict:
Platinum
Link

Mudbox and Me [Aug. 10th, 2013|04:29 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve had Mudbox since I had gotten my Autodesk Education Suite back in 2010 but never really went about truly learning the software due to hardware issues and because I found zBrush to be a much better tool for 3D Sculpting. I do not however have zBrush since graduating from my Animation program so Mudbox has had to do. Now that I have a computer with enough power to run a sizeable sculpture I’ve dove in to learning the ins and outs of Mudbox. I’ve been experimenting with sculpting a shield within the program after building a basic bare bones “shield blank” if you will in Max and after several hours of sculpting and painting I have come up with this:

The high poly version looks great from my stand point, but when the normals are baked onto the lower poly blank with the reduced poly version I exported from Mudbox it doesn’t quite look as nice. And there is a weird crease on the bottom of the shield that breaks up the eye pattern which I’m not entirely sure why this is occuring but it is. One problem I’ve encounted in Mudbox that I didn’t in zBrush is painting and sculpting bleeding over to the back faces, I’ll have to look more into this.

I’m not entirely sure how the Specular painting layer is suppose to work as the outputted file I got looked horrible and required some editing in photoshop and still doesn’t look as nice on the lower poly model. I’m unsure of what the proper way to paint Specular is in Mudbox but I’ll find out as I Dabble. With that said… this is still a work in progress as I’ve omitted a few elements for the sake of creating the main feature of the shield which is that howlingly angry looking face on the front. My end goal is to load this into some sort of game engine, be it Unity, Unreal 3 or Skyrim and see how it looks under the ingame renderer. More to come as its finished!

Link

Review – Little Acorns (WP7) [Jun. 8th, 2013|04:19 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

Picture this… you’re a squirrel collecting acorns to feed your family in preparation for winter while running, jumping, swinging, bouncing and stomping your way to the exit with your haul. That sums up the game that is known as Little Acorns, a fun little platformer for your phone. In this case the Windows Phone 7.

Graphically the game is cartoony and colorful with a boxy theme for all the characters and items throughout. Its simple and doesn’t need to be any other way because it works. What it does lack though is animation. Your squirrel is a rounded boxy little guy and besides the squash, stretch and rotation involved with his sprite there isn’t much else going on with your character and this generally applies to all the other enemies in the game, not really an issue but it adds to the simplicity in artistic design none the less.

Game play is fairly simple. You maneuver your squirrel through each stage collecting all the acorns present to unlock the exit door before the timer runs out. While you’re on your quest for acorns, you have enemies impeding your progress including spiders, spitball shooting racoons and bees. Getting hit by these guys doesn’t kill you it just slows you down and time is very important in Little Acorns as the timer hitting zero leads to failing the level. Along with the usual running and jumping the game throws in grapple points which you can swing from with a rope and springs to help propel your squirrel to normally unreachable platforms. One thing your squirrel can’t do is swim… so falling into water is an instant level fail. In addition to the acorns, upon collecting all of them you’ll have 5 fruits pop up which when collected and the level is finished add bonus acorns and unlock accessories for your squirrel including mustaches, fezs, new textures for your rope and other goofy customization allowing for a custom squirrel as you play through.

Little Acorns utilizes the phone’s touch screen for controls with on screen control buttons. The controls are basic involving two directional buttons, a jump button and a pause button up by the timer. While responsive the controls sometimes are too sensitive and you may end up running your squirrel into a pool of water or into a spider you’re trying to avoid.

Little Acorns is a simple and fun game with a lot to do in it. The game has 80 levels to keep you occupied along with times to beat and accessories to unlock so it won’t be a short romp through its colorful worlds and at $0.99 on the market place its quite a steal.

Verdict:
Link

Review – Mirror’s Edge (WP7) [Mar. 28th, 2013|07:10 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

You may or may not recall the release of Mirror’s Edge on consoles back in 2008 but it featured parkour style acrobatics, stunning and interesting artistic style and a strong female lead that wasn’t over sexualized but still alluring all in a first person viewpoint. It certainly was not a typical run and gun game of the genre as the protagonist known as Faith didn’t use guns at all, in fact she had moves to disarm enemies that did. Flash forward to 2010, a 2D platformer version of the game is released for the iOS platform which brings us here to it finally being ported to Windows Phone 7 in 2012. While not as flashy and as graphically intensive as its console big brother this game has quite a bit of charm but not without its flaws which we will be covering in this review.

Graphically the game is pretty well rendered on the smaller screen and hardware of the Windows Phone 7. This version of Mirror’s Edge would be considered a 2.5D games as its displayed as a side scroller but utilizes 3D models to represent the world. We have well designed character models and the brightly colored backgrounds and saturation of the console version but in terms of overall geometry of the backgrounds the lower polygon count does become apparent but its nothing that detracts from the experience as where the polygons need to be they are. The animations of the character models are pretty fluid and do not look rushed or robotic which I’ve noticed with lesser mobile games utilizing a 3D rendered engine.

The game features some good tunes including the single “Still Alive” by Lisa Miskovsky featured in the console release. The sound effects are generally crisp including most of the vocal effects from Faith and the enemies she faces in the game. However some of the vocals for the enemies just come out muffled and low quality which just seemed odd considering the other sound effects didn’t suffer this same effect.

As for how the game plays? Well, the controls are fairly simple utilizing finger swipe motions to tell faith when to jump, slide under an obstacle, deal with an enemy or clamber up a wall. The game even utilizes the WP7′s built int gyro to utilize tilting the device to balance Faith out when sliding down ramps or crossing narrow beams which adds a little to the strategy. This all works nicely during the slower paced portions of the game but when the action starts to ramp up it almost seems like the game forgets how to interpret your motions. There were several frustrating moments when Faith simply wouldn’t do what I told her to do like perform a jump kick into a guard shooting at her or when she’s clambering up a wall and totally missing the jump. For all the action in the game it does get a little monotonous after awhile as the levels go on, the variety of obstacles starts to dwindle down and it starts to lose your attention. The game only features 14 levels so it is fairly short but for a mobile game that isn’t too bad. As for replayability, each level features messenger bags that can be collected in each level and not all are easily found. The game also features a Speed Run mode which allows you to either beat your own times in the levels you have cleared or go against others times on the leaderboards.

All said and done the game could have offered more and it falls a little short of being all that it could of been. Should you check it out? Definitely, but expect some frustrating moments along the way.

Verdict:
Link

What to Expect in 2013 [Mar. 17th, 2013|04:03 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

Well, its a new year which means new content and potentially new and better things for this site. However I do not want to get totally ahead of myself as time has become a bit of a commodity as of late. So let’s start things out with some upcoming reviews:

360

  • Borderlands 2
  • Dead Space 3
  • Dead Space 3: Awakened

3DS

  • Code of Princess
  • Adventure Time: Ice King, Why Did You Steal Our Garbage!

XBLiG

  • Penny Arcade’s On The Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness 3

PC

  • The Elderscrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn

I realize some of these titles did not come out in 2013 but I wanted to write up some reviews of them as I’ve completed them as to give a well informed opinion.

I’ve decided to implement a simple rating system as well to all my reviews starting now. Now along with my observations from playing the game, there will be a final verdict in graphical form. The rating system will go as follows:

Anyways, keep an eye out for new posts as always.

Link

Modeling: Skyrim Modding – Legacy Armor and Weapons [Sep. 25th, 2012|08:13 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve only recently been getting the hang of the pretty powerful editing tool that Bethesda has made available to the PC community in the Creation Kit, so its been a journey of trial and error to figure out all the best ways to do things and how it all works. Not to mention learn the changes that have been made to NIFSkope and how it creates Creation Engine compatible NIF meshes. Its a whole new game compared to how Oblivion handled them, thats for sure.

My first quest in bettering my Skyrim experience and not to mention get more acquainted with creating meshes for game content… is to add back in some of the legacy armor and weapon types that have been in the Elder Scrolls series but removed in future entries in the series. For you non TES fans, this includes Silver and Adamantium. I was kind of disappointed when I found out they had removed Silver armor from Skyrim only giving us a sword and great sword for that material type that has been in the series since Arena so what better way to remedy that then add it back in? On a plus side, many developers have said the best way to gain more experience in game design is to mod mod mod.

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Neo Geo X – SNK Playmore’s Latest Offering [Sep. 17th, 2012|12:01 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

Its been awhile since we’ve seen SNK’s logo on an actual piece of hardware, the last two pieces of hardware to come from the fighting game masters were the Neo Geo Pocket Color and the Atomisware Arcade System but SNK Playmore seem to be changing that with their latest offering, the Neo Geo X. It looks to be a sleek and shiny portable Neo Geo arcade system with 20 games built in. For those of you that have never been involved in the Neo Geo collecting scene or ever followed the platform, this is pretty cool news. Why do I say this? Well the Neo Geo from the get go was a luxury system, with the console costing $600 and individual games costing from $300 – $500. Very steep for any gamers budget. Even with the system having been defunct since the company finally dropped support in 2004, the prices of games for collectors haven’t gotten any cheaper. In comes the Neo Geo X which will provide authentic Neo Geo gaming at a fraction of the cost with two versions, a basic package at $129.99 which only includes the handheld and a gold ‘premium’ package at $199.99 which includes a docking station with AV out functionality resembling the AES console and a replica joystick. SNK Playmore is slated to release the handheld this December, I honestly can’t wait.

The 20 Built in games include:

  • Alpha Mission II
  • Art of Fighting
  • Baseball Stars 2
  • Cyber-Up
  • Fatal Fury
  • Fatal Fury Special
  • King of Fighters 95
  • King of the Monsters
  • J Count Bout
  • Last Resort
  • League Bowling
  • Magician Lord
  • Metal Slug
  • Mutation Nation
  • NAM 1975
  • Puzzled
  • Real Bout Fatal Fury Special
  • Samurai Shodown II
  • Super Sidekicks
  • World Heroes

From a retro gamer’s perspective such as mine this is really cool news, but from a casual or newer gamer’s point of view whats the purpose of buying this? SNK has offered up several collections of most of these games on other platforms including the PS2 and PSP so why would anybody want a dedicated portable platform? Not to mention there are a handful of handheld devices designed with emulation in mind that could be cheaper alternatives. The 20 built in games are nice but it really is a very small portion of the awesome library the Neo Geo has to offer and with only an SD card port as a means of data storage and no word on whether more games will be offered as downloadable purchases or if SNK plans to offer up some new IPs for the hardware leaves little incentive for the more mainstream gamer to invest in it other then as a novelty item. We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out for the Neo Geo X.

Link

Opinion: App Saturation, Facebook and You [Jul. 2nd, 2012|01:54 pm]
Matty San
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Originally published at Cryptic Worlds. Please leave any comments there.

Facebook among other things is a very popular avenue for social networking but not without copious amounts of controversy. I could probably write a book about everything Facebook has done to genuinely aggravate its users but I’m going to stick to one subject for the purposes of this article and that is Applications.

Applications can be a fun little tangent for most things involved on Facebook but it has really gotten to a point where they are over saturating the user interfaces and general overall aesthetic of the site. I find it very annoying when I click on a link a friend has posted and a permissions box pops up asking me to install yet another app to my FB account. The biggest perpetrators for this seem to be news outlets with Yahoo! Reader being the biggest offender however when they try and get me to install it… I don’t install it and just do a Google search. Which totally defeats the purpose for Yahoo! and I found the author of the Oatmeal to represent this annoying phenomena quite nicely.

We get that you want to get better connected to your consumer base but trying to cram apps down our throats to mine our information just really gets on my nerves. I want to read these articles but I don’t need an app telling all my friends I just read an article or to try and recruit my friends as well. Its really just another step toward a entirely transparent internet where nothing I do is truly private and we really don’t need hundreds of apps watching everything we do just to get the information we want online. I think that if these companies could see just how unappealing their forced app requests are they might ease up a bit or stop these shenanigans altogether but that would be too easy or the smart thing to do.

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