by Niels Brouwers 5. June 2011 03:22

I'll be updating this entry over the course of next week with more screenshots. As the DBP 2011 is closing on the 14th of june some progress might be expected!

And here we have an image of an endboss! The tentacles are moving in the game and were also made with my procedural animation script for 3DS Max (I love my script!), I am very happy with how this monster turned out. Still needs some brushing up and cleaning etc. but I like where this is going!


This is our hero Carter Jones in his ultra underwater mecha robotic suit blasting an electrical ray from his gun. The kelp and leaves are animated using my procedural animation script for 3ds Max. The blurred background has a slow wave effect to s(t)imulate the underwater look&feel.



Games | Indie Games | XBLIG | XNA

Animationtool updated, making good progress!

by Niels Brouwers 16. May 2011 06:52

Sometimes you try so hard and really want to do the best you can building this great game in your spare-time, and then....your heater breaks down, your job gets real busy for a moment, examinations round the corner and some visit to a hospital need to happen and suddenly 3 weeks have passed without any noticable progress! I guess that's real-life kickin' in......

Bad luck indeed, but it seems to be behind me now and this weekend I have made some good progress. The level 1 background is completely finished (minus some tweaks here and there) and the animationtool also got improved big time (no, not just a save button). The animationtool will certainly speed up productivity as it now allows me to do all sorts of cool things like rotating, offsetting, fading, scaling etc. without any programming at all. Here's a shot with one of the baddies from the game:

That's a nasty squid indeed...

 By the way, if you think that I am posting at the most bizarre times possible......sorry, it's just the time configuration that's messed up somewhere!


Games | XBLIG | XNA | Indie Games

Tentacles with procedural animation

by Niels Brouwers 18. April 2011 03:18

Despite me having a bad headache today, I managed to do some cool stuff!

I have to say, I hate script-languages because you just don't get enough control over what's going on under the hood. So, when I found out about this very cool tentacle script for 3DS Max, I was at first very happy! Great looking tentacle animations with nearly no work at all! But then I figured (as usual) that the script didn't do exactly what I wanted, so I had to change the was not a pleasant experience programming in maxscript but in the end, well worth the effort!

So, now I have cool animated tentacles (and whatever else you can think of that moves the same: sea-weed, tails, legs etc.) and it's all procedurally animated (that just means that I am a lazy bastard designer who prefers to solve things programming....yeah, that's me!). Here's a still image showing you how it will look:

 I'll try to upload something animating to youtube as soon as I'm completely satisfied with it!


Animationtool finished (well, almost finished!)

by Niels Brouwers 17. April 2011 03:25

I was watching a documentary about SKA Studios the other day and noticed they've got a great custom tool to edit animations for their games. As I was struggling with the animations for my game as well, I figured something like what they have would be a solution for me.

You see, memory is a constraint in XBLIG games in the sense that once your game grows over 50Mb you are unable to price it at the lowest price point. Also, being an oldschool programmer I tend to use the most efficient code and memory usage whenever possible. So, if you have a player animation, and he is running then you might just draw a lot of frames for his animation (=lots of memory consumption) OR you get smart and draw his legs moving and leave everything above the chest unchanged (=saves nearly half of the memory required). If you decide to chop the chest off from the lower part of the body you need to take care how these two parts match up against eachother. Typically, the one is draw with an offset to the other. Other things like a glow could also be done in a separate sprite and drawn as an overlay to the main sprite. So you have all these frames to manage for a single character and doing this in-game gets tedious quickly, you know: adjust the offset in code, run the game, move the offset another pixel to the left etc.

So that's why I build this animationtool for my game! It easily lets me handle many frames for one object and adjust the offset in real-time, plays the animation to see how it is going to look etc. Also, by having this tool, it kind of forces me to have the animation completely data-driven and the game-engine just be that: a game engine! It's just good programming architecture, I like that! 

Right now, one small thing is missing: a save button...


Work in progress 2.

by Niels Brouwers 4. April 2011 07:42

Last month brought some real progress in the game's mechanics: I implemented inertia for the players movement, parallax scrolling, I added and then removed the energy bar that indicates your energy. Actually that last little bit is something I picked up from an interview that I saw with Michael Gagne, he mentioned that in his game the power bar was eliminated and replaced with damage on the ship itself - in line with the latest trends in minimalistic interfaces. I figured my hero is extremely wel suited to do the same, so his energy can be 'read' from the light on his chest. It's like a heartbeat.

Also, many bugs were fixed, I made some great improvements on the player's controls and last but not least I increased the overall speed with 100%. It plays so much better now! So I am really happy with the progress, but unfortunately for you there are no more improvements to be mentioned on the graphics front. Therefore, althought the game is destined for the XBOX Live Indie games channel, I will leave you with this (obviously photo-shopped) image:



What do you think?